After years playing in Sheffield’s venues, embarking on UK and European tours, the Steel City’s Screaming Maldini have now conquered Japan.
The unusual, pink-clad, multi instrumental pop outfit have just returned from a popular tour of the country, as frontman Nick Cox explains.
“I don’t know what it is about us but we do have a following in Japan. I think it may be because our music is quite crazy and they seem to go for that kind of thing over there.”
But Screaming Maldini’s ‘crazy’ aesthetic is well-crafted, with some of its members coming from a classically-trained musical background.
The band fuses sounds from a rich range of instruments, including horns, guitar, bass, various forms of percussion and a six-part harmony section - as all of the band’s members sing.
But it’s a sound that’s thanks to years of hard work. Screaming Maldini have been together for more than six years and earned their apprenticeship playing hundreds of live gigs and remaining loyal to their fans.
In fact, such is the band’s loyalty that they are releasing a free single every month for their fans. The releases, known as ‘Monthly Maldini’ are downloadable at the band’s site for people who sign up to their newsletter.
The latest single is accompanied by a video of the band’s Japanese adventures.
“It’s basically footage of some of our shows and the Japanese crowds and lots of us walking around and looking at Japanese things.”
The video will make for interesting viewing. “The Japanese fans are bonkers. It’s great.”
“People over there love music and there is a real culture of buying music. It’s not like here where people are just downloading, Japanese people still buy CDs and in Tokyo there’s a huge record shop called Tower Records. It’s got about eight floors, each dedicated to different genres such as ‘avant garde jazz’ and ‘J Pop’. It’s amazing and they make buying music an event in itself.”
The singles need no introduction in Japan. Already, the band’s singles The Awakening and The Extraordinary have appeared in the ‘Tokyo Hot 100’ charts.
“That’s like an alternative music chart, which features bands like the Arctic Monkeys, so it’s brilliant to be on there.”
But there’s more to the singles than meets the ear. “There’s a hidden story behind them all and each release gives fans another clue as to what the story’s about. We also have artwork to accompany the releases and that too gives hints as to what this story is about. This method of story telling bit-by-bit is inspired by TV series such as The Wire and Lost, where the plot is revealed a piece at a time, as the programme goes along.”
But as to what this story is, Cox is giving nothing away. “All I can say is that it is fictional but also partly influenced by biographical things to do with the band.’’