For Tracy Hyde / Hotel Insomnia

For Tracy Hyde / <em>Hotel Insomnia</em>
For Tracy Hyde by Renzo Masuda

It was a truly perverse bit of timing that almost the same moment that Tokyo shoegaze/dreampop veterans For Tracy Hyde got a glowing review in Pitchfork for Hotel Insomnia, their fifth album in ten years, they announced they were splitting up, declaring:

Since the turn of last year, we had been thoroughly discussing about our future directions, and had come to the conclusion that with the current lineup, it has become impossible for us to move along at the same pace, and achieve the potential growth we are capable of both as a band and as individuals. At the same time, replacing anybody with new recruitments was unimaginable, and since our history has gone past the 10-year mark, we feel that it is good timing to call it a day.

[IMPORTANT] Regarding For Tracy Hyde’s Disbandment (ENG)

It’s a real shame to only be coming across the band as they cease operations – their farewell show in Tokyo is in a couple weeks, coinciding with the record’s physical release – but at least they leave a lot of signposts to more to discover beyond the band’s own back catalog: Singer eureka would continue in Ferri-Chrome, guitarist and songwriter Natsubot would focus on AprilBlue, bassist Mav with So Shibano, and drummer soukou retiring from music for the time being.

For Tracy Hyde existed at the intersection of shoegaze, dreampop, and J-pop, and the positioning of it was deliberate enough that they were able to pick and choose the most complimentary aspects of each to create an irresistible brew – walls of guitar with bright, melody-drenched windows and effervescent vocals. It’s not a recipe dissimilar from their domestic genre peers, but they do it exceedingly well and their facility with some English vocals alongside the Japanese help their earworm-iness with foreign listeners. And it was mastered by Ride’s Mark Gardener, if you need that extra ‘gazer-OG seal of approval.

I’ve been reading a few recent interviews with the band, which have provided a fascinating look into the rabbit hole of Japanese shoegaze. I particularly like how in this interview with all the band members at Tone Glow, where they get into how they all came together (Twitter!) and discovered the genre, bassist Mav credits the publication of a book – A BOOK – with invigorating the Japanese shoegaze scene in 2010. I want that book.

Tune Glue 015: For Tracy Hyde @ Tone Glow

A feature peace in Asia Spotlight covers similar topics, though the band’s enthusiasm for themselves seems strange considering they’d call it a day shortly thereafter:

“It’s great for me to have a place where I belong, where I can sing and play and people will come to listen. It makes me feel alive. If we can make people feel alive, too, even for a short while, that would make me happy,” said eureka. 

“These days a lot of young bands both in and out of Japan reach out to me saying that For Tracy Hyde have influenced them. Being able to pass down the music we inherited from our seniors to the younger generations makes me really glad,” said Natsubot. 

For Tracy Hyde on making troubled music and redefining familiarity in new album ‘Hotel Insomnia’ @ Asia Spotlight

For those – like myself – interested in what Natsubot has in his rig, he shared a link to a feature in Japan’s Guitar Magazine last December, though as he mentions in a Reddit AMA where he linked to it, “TBH I’m not a gearhead and don’t give a shit about gear”. You’ll find 12-string electrics and completely un-boutique guitar pedals. Kind of refreshing.

Hotel Insomnia lead single “Milkshake” was released in November of last year as a split-7″ with Thailand shoegazers Death Of Heather, and the accompanying video segued into the clip for the second Hotel Insomnia single for “Subway Station Revelation” – two standouts that are curiously located late in the album tracklisting but still encapsulate the band at their best, from the grimy aggression of the former to the buoyant bounce of the latter. Finally (?) “Friends” was released as the third video from the record and if the jangly, nostalgia-drenched clip ends up being the last word from the record and the band, it’s kind of perfect.

Regarding “Milkshake”, in the Tone Glow interview, Mav said:

“Milkshake” was the first song that Natsubot brought, and from that, I thought that it would become our heaviest album to date; with the balance between fantasy and reality ending up somewhere between our third and fourth albums, New Young City and Ethernity. Listening to the finished product, that’s still my impression. I feel that if you listen to it with the album title in mind, you can interpret it as a sidewise peek into a hotel where insomniacs are gathered.

Mav, For Tracy Hyde
Tune Glue 015: For Tracy Hyde @ Tone Glow

For Tracy Hyde, I only just met you but I’m going to miss you.

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