'Music Is Over!:' An Interview with Author Ben Arzate!
With his latest novel, Music Is Over!, author Ben Arzate pulls readers into the grimy darkness. The horror tale follows Juntaro Yamanouchi, the leader of the Japanese noise band The Gerogerigegege, who goes missing for twelve years and returns with no explanation as to where he was.
“Perhaps he met a victim of the Slit-Mouth Woman and they took a night train to nowhere. Perhaps they stumbled on an industrial wasteland of a city filled with strange doctors, mysterious foreigners, psychotic policemen, and unfriendly residents. Perhaps they became caught between violent struggles they barely understood in their journey to go back home. One can only speculate.” Described as “totally bizarre,” the author takes you on a violent and touching journey to discover the truth behind Yamanouchi’s disappearance.
To learn more about the story behind the story, read A Good Book To End The Day’s interview with the author below.
Did you always have it in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?
Originally, I wanted to be a musician. I made music on my computer in high school, and I discovered I enjoyed writing lyrics a lot. I didn't move to writing until college where I wrote some poems and submitted them to the student journal. Getting those published encouraged me to continue.
Tell me about Music Is Over! and the inspiration behind it.
Music is Over! is about a Japanese noise musician and his friend who find themselves lost in a mysterious suburb of Tokyo. It was inspired by the real life disappearance of Juntaro Yamanouchi of The Gerogerigegege, who went missing for roughly a decade. It's also a spiritual sequel for my first novel, The Story of the Y, which was about a music journalist seeking a mysterious musician in Mexico.
What do you hope readers take away from the book?
I hope readers will be entertained and will find the book's imagery coming back to them when they finish it.
Who are some of your favorite authors/books that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
The Kryptonite Kid by Joseph Torchia is probably the most influential book on me. It showed me what a book was really capable of. Stephen Crane's Black Riders and Other Lines is the most important poetry book to me personally.
William S Burroughs was a big influence in terms of imagery. Italo Calvino in the importance of a sense of place. James Ellroy in direct, lean prose. Stephen King and Carlton Mellick III in terms of process, that is writing quickly and with little to no planning so it all comes directly from the subconscious.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Probably from reading the Bible in Sunday school. Specifically, the Book of Revelations.
What does literary success look like to you?
It depends what you mean. A successful project? That would be a book feeling fulfilling to finish and being well-received. Career wise? I suppose being able to pay the bills with writing.
Do you have any other projects in the works at this time?
I have a book of plays coming out from Madness Heart Press called PLAYS/hauntologies later this year. Next year, I have a novel from D&T Publishing called Saturday Morning Mind Control.
I'll also be publishing the first novel by author Rob Ramirez, Candy Shopping at the End of the World when he finishes it.
I'm also working on a poetry collection and a short story collection.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Readers can find my blog on dripdropdripdropdripdrop.blogspot.com and my Twitter is @benarz13. I also have a Substack at benarzate.substack.com.