Through the friends huddled around the rim of the stage, Fishing in Japan stands surrounded by lights that strike the edge of their bodies. Before the COVID-19 shutdown, the Dallas based band held frequent concerts in venues in Fort Worth, Texas, and cramped houses of their classmates.
The members, Landon, Matthew, Dante, and Wolfgang began from the bottom their sophomore year of high school, making songs in the garage for the fun of it. Individually, they comprise the band as silhouettes of Fishing in Japan, bringing their flair to the group. Landon poises himself as a redheaded guitarist, bringing his intentional energy and erratic jumps to the stage. Wolfgang, whose name holds surprising irony, stands as the lead singer. Dante is the band’s reclusive bassist, and Matt heralds the group as a sweet, easy-going percussionist.
Interviewer: First things first, is there any room for a 5th member of Fishing in Japan? A member who’s not musically inclined. A.K.A. me?
Fishing in Japan [Wolfgang]: We’ve thought about it a lot. We’re not really thinking too much about the four-piece thing. This band is a technical band. You have to know how to play an instrument. What were you thinking?
Interviewer: I was just thinking that we could be the next Big Time Rush or the next One Direction. That was the vibe that I was going for. In all seriousness, I think y’all are really talented. Can y’all talk to me about the genesis of Fishing in Japan?
Fishing in Japan [Landon]: Wolfgang and I have known each other since Freshman year. I’ve known Dante for ten years now. Dante and I go back. Fishing in Japan didn’t start until 2018. We were in guitar class, and we weren’t fully like, ‘Let’s go start a rock band.’
Fishing in Japan [Wolfgang]: Landon saw me post something about a song about bread, and it started from there. We first started tracking in his garage. Then we were like, ‘Wait; we need a drummer.’
Fishing in Japan [Landon]: We were trying to recruit a drummer. We knew Matt, and I knew he was cool and he was down. We kind of just winged it without a bass player and then two or three months after, we got Dante to play bass with us. We started out playing in my garage and we’re trying to scale it up. We want to eventually play full-length albums. We would love to go on tour when that’s possible.
Interviewer: So when y’all first met, did y’all truly believe that ‘Wolfgang’ was Wolfgang’s actual name?
Fishing in Japan [Dante]: I didn’t really doubt it, I just thought it was a really cool name.
Fishing in Japan [Wolfgang]: It’s either, ‘Wow, your name is really cool or wow, your parents really flopped on your name.’ My dad’s a composer. He writes music for shows, T.V. commercials, and stuff like that. I was definitely raised as a kid where it was cool to pursue music. All of our parents warned us about pursuing a career in music [beacause] it’s scary.
Fishing in Japan [Landon]: My dad was a recording engineer in college, so that’s how I got into music. But he eventually got a different job, but it’s cool that Wolfgang’s dad has gotten a lot of contract jobs and is still getting gigs. He’s always available to help us out.
Interviewer: I love the fact that y’all understand musicality and understand the importance of trying to pinpoint sound. Talk to me about that.
Fishing in Japan [Matthew]: At first, when we were all starting this project, we were all inspired by 2010 indie pop and Strfkr and we were just trying to emulate stuff like that.
Fishing in Japan [Wolfgang]: All of us grew up with similar ideals with what we listen to in music. When we’re writing, it’s always very complementary.
Interviewer: What was that time like when y’all released Constantinople?
Fishing in Japan [Matthew]: Sophomore year was awesome, man. That’s when I realized that this has a lot of potential. Our song was doing pretty well on SoundCloud.
Fishing in Japan [Wolfgang]: I write all the lyrics to the songs. A lot of it has to do with my mom. High school was a very rough time for me and my relationship with my mom. I started writing songs all over the place. Constantinople was one of the songs that I felt comfortable releasing. She was going through her own health issues and taking everything out on us, and there’s definitely a lot of sadness in a lot of our music. My mom passed away last year, so it’s ramped up a little bit more. It’s a place you can draw inspiration from.
Interviewer: What are the stories behind the rest of these songs?
Fishing in Japan [Wolfgang]: I view it a lot in seasons. From our first demo, the songs were mostly me writing about whatever I could think of. Instrumentally, I think we were all going through a weird point in our lives. It was coming from our own lives. Junior year, I became more comfortable with writing about my life. Our songs are mostly muddled with different experiences from all of us.
Interviewer: I feel like y’all are the type of people to be at a party and then pull out a notebook and start writing. Thoughts?
Fishing in Japan [Landon]: That literally sounds like something Wolfgang has done before. That’s pretty accurate. That doesn’t sound like something Matt would do.
Interviewer: Tell me about Fishing in Japan’s craziest concert so far.
Fishing in Japan [Landon]: It was a house show in Denton. We showed up, and these kids must’ve been doing all kinds of drugs. We pull up, and it was probably one of the worst performances we’ve ever had, but they were having so much fun. Kids were swinging from the ceiling. There was a dude crowd surfing. There were tons of people there, then the cops ended up being called, and they had to chill out.