Billy? Originated from Yukinori Kikuchifs proto-noise unit in 1993. Its main focus was improvisation and electronic sounds. Kikuchi met the turntablist Takagi and they performed together several times in 1994. Takagi was running his own label from which he distributed several albums of noisicians from overseas, free-improvisers and avant-garde artists. Kikuchi and Takagifs performances were composed of Kikuchifs analog noise/radiophonics and Takagifs cut-up turntable sounds. The music was simple and a kind of sound-snapshot. It grew into the early-Billy? sound that can be heard in their first album.
The use of computer (Kikuchifs PowerBook in the beginning) developed Billy?'s sound. Kikuchi met Kazuya Ishigami who played noise music employing computer in Osaka. In those days, using computer as an instrument of improvisation and noise was an experiment and no more generally. However, Kikuchi and Ishigami shared their ideas of computer and Ishigami joined the group. The participation of Ishigami introduced computer-techno and musique concrete sounds that were made from fragmental and electro-acoustic sampling collage. Kikuchifs focus is making collage by sampling sounds and pulse sounds of electronics. This complimented Ishigami's computer-like sounds that are not found in conventional audio equipment.
Around the time Ishigami joined the group, Tadashi Usami enlisted as well. Prior to joining, Usami was a supporting member of Dislocation and became the only instrumentalist of Billy?. His use of the guitar casts him as a foreign body in the presence of electronically produced sound. It is a type of musical allotransplantation wherein his unique and sensitive performance cuts a conspicuous figure in Billy?
After a few years later, Hirao came into the group as a visual artist. His method truly goes to any expense even it appears fruitless, with dozens of cathode-ray tubes and equipment. Hirao seems to make a mockery of sophisticated conceptual art and its pregnant construction. His extravagant image converters hazard every moment, just like music improvisation. In addition, all the members of the group count on Hirao as an engineer.
After Takagi dropped out of Billy? for personal reasons, the group recruited Miyazaki who specializes in PC and is the most proficient of all the members in electronic sound creating. His eminently cool sounds can be heard in the third album and will be featured more in the future.
Billy? exhibits specimens of pure sounds that are put at random but in a deliberate way. In other words, it connects hundreds of sound fragments discontinuously. The computer is necessary for this process. Conventional musicians demonstrate their artistry in their concentration of spiritual energy, while Billy? intends to dilute the stream of artistic consciousness.
Our ordinary life is built up of nothing but intermittent and fragmentary labor. Billy? expresses such a reality. To avoid consummation, to keep disconnected and not to have any musical performance but some process control, these are the main strategies of Billy?. The pieces of the group would be a play list of sound files in which you decide where to start to listen to, where to skip and where to finish. We would like to maintain such a freedom in our music.
4/1/2001 Yukinori Kikuchi