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MerceDeath Takes On The World From His Bedroom

Tokyo guitar geek Shingo Ohno.

MerceDeath is a one-man band who has been touring the world from his bedroom with series of live concerts over streaming video to corresponding time zones.  A self-professed guitar geek, Shingo Ohno “always just loved playing guitar, the bands I was in high school didn’t mean that much, but I just wanted to keep playing guitar.”  About five years ago, Ohno was intrigued by his friend’s loop sampler and went out and bought one as to quell the impulse. After six months of experimenting with riff upon riff and getting lost in his loops, it was time to put the bedroom formulas on display and gig. Armed with a wah pedal, some over drive, a Boss Loop Station and a mini Kaoss Pad, the full metal jacket guitarist got his first gig crossed off the list.

Ohno’s solo performance name is taken from how the automaker Mercedes is lost in Japanese translation, or pronunciation at least; the last syllable of the Mercedes brand sounds the same way the Japanese pronounce the word, “death.” A little playing and mashing up of the literal anomaly and the name MerceDeath was born.  Based in Yutenji, a quieter side of Tokyo’s fashionable neighborhood Nakameguro, Ohno has been engineering everything from his bedroom, even the “world tour.”  “All my songs are improvised so its hard to count the number of songs I’ve composed but its easily well over a 100. When I was a teenager, I wrote compositions that I would actually call songs.”
Since then, Ohno has been sidestepping traditional composition structure and arranging his tracks by loop or with a peculiar editing and layering of video clips.

Since he’s been playing, Ohno has been experimenting with his four track multi-mix recorder and dabbling into heavy metal and country; quickly mentioning Bob Log III as an influence.  “Bob Log is all about doing things that are just cool and at the same time, so ridiculous, I think thats better than just trying to do something ‘cool.’” This year, MerceDeath has started using Ustream and creating his own portal where people from all over the world can come and hear his songs.  The latest idea is the World Jam Band where people can play simultaneously via streaming windows at the same time, so it becomes an online jam. Now, the online troupe has reached six members but Ohno wonders if it will reach over a one hundred one day. Now, the band’s online home has some sound available 24 hours so anyone, anywhere can listen.