January 26 2022


From indie royalty to riotous no wave, NNTT’s Ochan and Anabebe sketch out a few vital songs that helped shape their musical outlook.

As with so many modern musical acts, Niko Niko Tan Tan isn’t so much a band (in the traditional sense, anyway) as a multi-format art collective. The group dubs itself a ‘creative mixture unit’; NNTT includes both dextrous instrumentalist Ochan and drummer Anabebe, but also other members responsible solely for art direction, videos and motion graphics.

As such, contributions from videographer Samson Lee and motion graphic designer Drug Store Cowboy are crucial elements of the NNTT experience. Take a look at the band’s website or YouTube channel and it’s clear that NNTT’s visual duo is vital: the group’s videos are striking, characterful, often beautiful representations of NNTT’s music.

Foremostly pop music – colourful, upbeat and easily digested – Niko Niko Tan Tan add elements of distinction with volatile time signatures, subtly skilled pieces of instrumental play or scuzzy IDM freak-outs. Debut record Bishō [Smile] established an audience for such a sound, while last November’s standout single “Yoru o samayō, boku no shōdō” [“Wander the night, my impulse”], a tune that wrought melody out of twisted, complex instrumentalism, saw the band’s intellecto-pop reach more chaotic, anthemic heights.

The musical members of NNTT, Ochan and Anabebe, speak to us here about some of their crucial influences. Each chose three tracks, ranging from ‘00s post-hardcore to pioneering glitch hop, that helped shape their current views on art and performance.


Animal Collective – “Fireworks” (2007)

This song is a wonderful combination of experimentation and pop, from a band which taught me new ways of expressing myself when I was a teenager. Animal Collective’s meticulous and playful sound is one of my ideals, and makes me feel again the joy of creation. (Ochan)


Yes – “Close to the Edge” (1972)

As a 10 year old, I was inspired to start playing the drums when, one day, I heard my brother playing Bill Bruford's polyrhythmic drumming at dinner. I was then shocked to learn that this song was 18 minutes long and had four chapters. (Anabebe)


Jack’s Mannequin – “The Mixed Tape” (2005)

His melodic lines are positive and melancholic; I, as a Japanese person, can easily relate to them. The album Everything in Transit, which contains this song, has always been my favourite album, even as my tastes have changed. Everyone feels melodies differently, but those on this album are the best for me. (Ochan)


The Mars Volta – “Inertiatic ESP” (2003)

This is the song I listened to the most when I was in high school. The intelligence to handle any variation in time signature, combined with the wild drumming of John Theodore, are the core of my own drumming style. (Anabebe)


Massacre – “Killing Time” (1981)

A long time ago, I happened to see a live performance of Fred Frith, and I was struck by it. His creative attitude changed the way I thought about creation and had a profound effect on me. A few years later I saw Fred Frith, Bill Laswell and Charles Hayward live in Shimokitazawa, and I'll never forget how they managed to pull off such an epic and experimental show. (Ochan)


Prefuse 73 – “The Color of Tempo” (2003)

This is the song that rid me of reliance on the acoustic drum beat. This track has a complex rhythm that at first listen you don't know what it's doing, but in fact it's a grooving, singing beat that feels great. Scott Herren, thank you so much for being born into this world. (Anabebe)

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Author: Ed Cunningham


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