Tour Diary: The Mouldy Lovers present…How to Tour Japan – 101

Brisbane seven piece The Mouldy Lovers are gearing up for a solid run of tour dates through Australia next month through into the final months of 2017, a great way to cap off what’s already been a fruitful year of touring for the group.

Ahead of their next run of shows, the group takes us behind the scenes of their recent trip to Japan – they present their guide on how to tackle the city below!

Touring in Summer

Japan’s summer is exactly like a Queensland summer – hot and incredibly humid (or mushi atsui, as we quickly learnt to say). Coming from Brisbane’s rather enjoyable winter, the weather on arrival in Tokyo was a brutal harbinger of what’s to come in the coming summer months in Australia. This photo was taken on our first night in Tokyo. Excited, tired, hot and sitting in tiny teppanyaki joint where the kind owner supplied us with fans to cool down.

Advice: Wear minimal clothing, always carry a fan and stay hydrated (ie. get on the cheap cans of Suntory highball. Soda is hydrating right?).

Transit Days

This is a photo of one of our many inter-city transit days. Most days we would check out of our accommodation before 11am and spend between 4-6 hours in transit. This was by far the most exhausting part of the tour as we had all of our luggage and instruments (not to mention a massive 30kg merch bag). The countless trains, buses and walks between venues and accommodations got very old very quickly. A few days in however, we got the travel team sport down to a fine art and were moving through turnstiles, busy crowds and platforms like pros.

Advice: Pack smart, bring suitcases with sturdy handles/wheels and headcount your team as you travel through checkpoints. It’s easier than you’d think to leave someone behind on those crowded trains. Just ask our drummer Steph.

Food

As a vegetarian; soy sauce, rice and kewpie mayonnaise became Steph’s lifeblood for the entire tour. Japan is not a vegetarian friendly country and many restaurants will happily feed vegos some sort fish product (apparently it’s in pretty much everything). During the trip our vego members made regular use of Happy Cow, a worldwide vegetarian friendly restaurant guide app.

Advice: If you’re vego or vegan and heading to Japan, download Happy Cow beforehand. It’s a lot more effective than googling “good vegetarian food Kyoto” and saves you a lot of time and wondering around.

Convenience Stores

Japan’s convenience stores are incredible. They’re on pretty much every street corner, open 24/7 and boast literally the weirdest range of snacks you can imagine, as well as cheap booze and full hot meals. Because we were travelling a lot, we would often find ourselves at the local Lawsons or Family Mart late at night if we’d not had time for dinner (or had a case of the late night munchies).

Advice: Plan your snacks in advance for travel days and try as many weird and wonderful chip flavours as possible.

Band Dinner

Much like a family dinner… actually, exactly like a family dinner. We stumbled upon this restaurant in Yokohama in a desperate attempt to find vegetarian friendly food close to our venue. They gave us two huge plates of veggies, rice, miso soup and three additional plates of meat which Louis, Kat and Matt demolished.

Advice: enjoy the amazing food Japan has to offer and sit down to a nice family meal whenever possible.

 Confined Spaces

Japan is a country of confined spaces. This is a photo of all seven Mouldies and their instruments crammed inside a tiny lift that had a weight capacity of about 500kg. We did this a lot throughout the trip and often ended up doing multiple trips to avoid hauling our gear up unnecessary stairs. It was always entertaining to see the reactions of the people waiting at the other end of the lift as all seven of us and all our gear exploded out.

Advice: Save time and sardine your band into every lift possible, it’s a good team building exercise.

Sleeping Arrangements

This tour was very close knit. We spent a lot of time in each other’s pockets because Japan’s accommodation is often cramped with seven people. This is a photo of six out of seven Mouldies fast asleep in our AirBnB in Nagoya. We actually had all seven of us in that room on the first night but Jo decided to sleep in the kitchen on the second night.

Advice: Don’t book AirBnB’s for four people instead of seven to save money.

Finding time to do washing was tough as we had to wait until we were in accommodation for more than one night in order to wash and dry our clothes. This was our balcony in Kyoto on the first day we had off this tour (Not pictured – several shirts, pants and bras hanging from every door frame in the living area.

Advice: If possible, book accommodation that has a washing machine. Bands quickly become stinky in hot touring conditions.

Making New Friends

One of the best parts of the tour was getting to meet and play with so many great bands. This photo was taken after our set at Do Be Do Bar in Yokohama with Walkings, an amazing 3-piece rock band who we were lucky enough to share the stage with. The calibre of musicianship in Japan is out of this world. On the final night of the tour we had the trumpet player from Oreskaband, the guitarist from Walkings and the singer from The Cavemans join us on stage for our final song. It was probably the most memorable moment of the tour. We can die happy Moulds now.

Advice: Meet and hang out with as many bands as possible!
Bonus Advice: Convince a new friend that in order to pass the Australian citizenship test they have to do a shoey. You won’t regret it.

Downtime

This is a photo from one of the few nights off we had this tour, which we spent out in countryside of Kyoto at a beautiful Onsen (Japanese hot spring). Lounging around in robes and spending some quality nude time with your bandmates can be truly rejuvenating (or leave you with a nasty flu in some cases..). We were actually listening to a near-final mix of our single Boondock in this photo and compiling notes for our producers. Shortly after we demolished the biggest hot pot dinner you’ve ever seen.

Advice: Strategically plan some down time/days off while on tour. Otherwise you’ll burn out quickly and your live shows will suffer.

THE MOULDY LOVERS TOUR DATES

October 13th | Nightquarter, GOLD COAST
October 14th | Bayside Blues Festival, REDLANDS
October 27th | Island Vibe Festival, HOME BEACH
October 28th | Tablelands Festival, YUNGABARRA
October 29th | Tablelands Festival, YUNGABARRA
November 3rd | Lazy Bones Bar, SYDNEY
November 4th | The Lass O’Gowrie, NEWCASTLE
November 10th | Phoenix Bar, CANBERRA
November 11th | Bar Open, MELBOURNE
November 17th | The Homestead, HOBART
November 18th | The Royal Oak, LAUNCESTON
November 30th – December 2nd | Jungle Love Festival, IMBIL

Photo: Savannah van der Niet.