Planetary Group took some time to get to know Serge and Maya of TEKE::TEKE, a seven-piece group from Montreal, Canada, whose sound is reminiscent of Japanese psychedelic music.
Planetary Group: Tell us about your latest release. How did you come to create it?
Serge: Our latest release is our full length debut entitled Shirushi, out on Kill Rock Stars. It came out in May 2021. We recorded it at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA with engineer Seth Manchester. We came back to Montreal and worked some more with our friend Nick Petrowski at Mixart Studios.
Shirushi is a collection of songs that we wrote back in 2019 and [we] worked on the songs in a remote house in the countryside. And [we] really worked on the songs until the very last minute in the studio. So that’s how we created it basically.
PG: Share a bit about your musical journey, from when you first started making music until now.
Maya: I was doing theater in Tokyo, but I quit everything and I arrived in Montreal and then [started] to play guitar and making music. And I was in a band, a pop rock experimental with theater performance called Dynamo Coléoptera. For a while I was continuing that band, but a little while later, my interest started to move to more like a nature or ecology or so.
I moved to countryside and then I wasn’t doing anything about musical creation for six years. But unexpectedly, I got just the offer to sing, uh, around 2017 and [I started] to come back to the music scene in Montreal and luckily, I met TEKE::TEKE.
Serge: I picked up the guitar when I was 12. I was really into skateboarding, so listening to a lot of punk and hardcore bands – that’s how I got to play in my first few bands while in high school. And then I discovered metal music and learned a lot of chops through those metal years – still love metal to this day.
And then I took some classical guitar lessons, traveled a bit, then got really confused in my twenties and didn’t really know what I was supposed to do with my life. So I stopped making music for a while, but only to get back to it again in a more focused way. [Then I] played and toured with a bunch of artists as a hired gun and started some of my projects.
In 2017, I put together this band TEKE::TEKE for a tribute show to Takeshi Terauchi. [Then we] decided we were going to write our own music and continue to play together.
PG: Let’s talk about the music that you love. Pick one album for each category below & tell us a bit about it!
- An album you grew up listening to:
Maya: Oyoge! Taiyaki-kun is an album from the famous TV show for children in Japan. But this is very famous. So [Serge] was listening in Quebec!
Serge: Yeah! Cause my parents had bought this record in Japan, and when we came to Canada I was just a baby, basically. So, but we had this and…
Maya: [I was] listening a LOT when I was so small and [this album] stayed inside of us.
Serge: It had a big impact on us. And we just found out in the recent years that we had been listening to this in our childhood and still listening to it today. Because the production is very special, very, very nice. This is like from the seventies. Lyrics are fun and it’s good for kids, but it’s a really good for the whole family!
- The album that influences you the most as an artist:
Serge: I don’t think I can pick one. I mean, there are many albums that I guess influence me as an artist. But just off the top of my head I picked up this one: Os Mutantes. Just the energy and the freedom that comes out of the music they make, it’s just like… they’re really doing what they love and they’re not compromising. It’s really great stuff.
Voivod, always keep talking about them, cause they had a big impact on me. I shared this with the rest of the band – this album for me, it’s like, wow, so much going on in there. [And] we played with them. They’re very sweet, very nice people too.
Radwan Ghazi Moumneh here in Montreal too, [his album] Jerusalem In My Heart. Always excited when he releases something because it’s always very powerful and a very strong artistic statement. [I] really love what he does.
- The album you currently have on repeat:
Serge: Well with the rest of the band, I think everybody loves Yeti Season, the latest El Michels Affair record. Really, really nice production and very, very beautiful music, beautiful songs.
And we like Musical youth. We like to listen to Musical Youth because it makes us feel good. And everybody loves it!
PG: What do you want people to take away from your music?
Serge: We want people to feel like they’ve been taken on a journey through different emotions, landscapes, colors, stories… And hopefully they get a sense of freedom out of the experience, feel refreshed and hopeful, even through the brighter or darker sides of the music that’s on the album.
Yeah, we’re hoping people can go on a journey with this record and really listen from beginning to end. And [they] feel like they’ve been watching some kind of movie in their head.
PG: What’s next up for you?
Serge: We’re already working on the next record! And of course we’re waiting to get back on the road again. Hopefully we can do that soon because we really want to share the music from that album and more with the people around the world. And connect, travel and see really what’s going on in the world.
Um, We’re also creating content in the form of videos for our YouTube channel, so stay tuned for that. While here locally, we’re trying to find ways to maybe put together some kind of artists organization to discuss ways to do what we do as artists – touring and everything – in a more ecologically responsible way.