The Erections – Crazy oi!


PEOPLE: During our recent visit to Tokyo, INFRINGE met punk band THE ERECTiONS and learned about their hair routines


Video + Interview: Aris Akritidis
Photos: Panos Damaskinidis
Special Thanks to KentaroNaka-chin and Takashi from THE ERECTiONS

Aris Akritidis and Panos Damaskinidis met THE ERECTiONS in Tokyo in their rehearsal studio in Koenji district. Koenji was the home to Tokyo’s punk scene in the 1970s, and still very much manifests a “retro” underground culture with several secondhand stores and used record shops. Kentaro, singer and bass player, founded the band in 2002 and recruited fellow band members Naka-chin on guitar and Takashi on the drums. We take a glimpse into the life of a modern, retro punk living in Tokyo, Japan.

When did you start the band? We formed in Hiroshima in 2001, the hometown of Kentaro. I had to make my own street punk Oi! / Street Punk scene, which is my favourite style, in my local Hiroshima area. Around that time, there was a punk magazine called DOLL, and it began when I met the first guitar Satochin in the recruitment section.

How did you choose your band name? I wrote out a lot of erotic words that I wanted to consider, and I thought ‘erection’ sounded good, and it also had a bit of a similar spelling to my favourite band The Ejected, so I decided to go with THE ERECTiONS.

Who are your music and style influences? The Discocks is a band who was active in the 90’s Japanese punk scene called Oi! music, which of course, had a great influence on everything from fashion to artwork. By the way, Discocks’ guitar player is Naka-chin, who currently plays guitar with us at THE ERECTiONS. There are also many influential overseas bands such as The Ejected, Blitz, Evil Conduct.

What is the Tokyo punk scene like? Looking at scenes from other regions, and compared to Hiroshima were I was originally active, the punk scene in Tokyo is pretty large. There are a lot of bands. However, the number of punks that can be called street punk is decreasing every year. If you’re a band that has experienced a lot of overseas tours, it may be hard to honestly say that Tokyo is a punk city. But Tokyo’s punk scene also has its own unique appeal.

What do you talk about in your songs? It’s about my feelings and experiences you feel in your day-to-day life. There may not be particularly important message. Many punk bands write lyrics about wars and politics, but THE ERECTiONS doesn’t have those lyrics, because I hate it.

You gave us a song for the video – What is it called and what is it about? The title is “Oi! Oi! Music Working Class. It’s about the everyday, work, and cohesion. The title is from The Last Resort song.

Who does your hair? We each do our hair ourselves. It would be good to have help for cleaning it, but it’s troublesome to ask for help and I like doing it in my own timing.

Tell us about the process of your hair styling. How long does it take? No treatments or conditioners are used because it’s hard for the hair to stand up when it’s too smooth and soft. Use Shampoo because if the hair has oil it’s also difficult to harden. I lather it lightly because too much will make the bright colours fade much quicker. All you need to make it stand up is mirrors, a comb, hairspray and a hair dryer. Fixate the dryer somewhere so you can stand with both hands free, then lean forward so your hair dries upside down. Next, lean left and right to check whether there are any bents, and use hairspray to reinforce the hold from the roots to the tips. This takes me about 20-30 minutes. It used to take about an hour but I’ve had some practice.

How often do you change your hairstyle? I’ve had this current triple mohawk for about 13 years. Before that I had a single mohawk, I just changed the sides to be more spiky. But I’ve had the single mohawk for around 20 years now, since I was 20 years old.

What are some of the best and worst comments you received about your hairstyles? Because it is a flashy hairstyle, it is easy for people to remember, and that can create many opportunities to meet people. Of course that is also because of my personal connections. But I’ve been fortunate to appear in magazines, TV commercials, and movies. The bad thing is that I have a hard time choosing jobs. And generally it can be harder to be popular with girls.