3LA -LongLegsLongArms- Interview with Asunojokei (EN)

asn_1stalbum_jacket

Q. I listened to the album. When Asunojokei appeared, I felt a band which played post black metal music of good quality finally came out from Japan. This album changed a lot from the previous E.P. It feels like that this is not even post black metal. How do you think of your style of music now? Do you think this is a progressive style of post black metal?

Nuno(Vo): Thank you. We think we are still making and playing post black metal music. When we started the band, we just did what we wanted to do. But now, we found that post black metal was proper for expressing our playing style. So, this album became straightforward and solid. However, we fitted the ideas coming out from our hearts into post black metal music rather than making post black metal itself. That's why some people might feel that this is not post black metal.

Toriki(Gt): I don't really care about our genre and style of music while playing or making it. This is because my sense of value and motivation for music is inward. I think when we have release of records or shows in order to assert our attitude through music, we need some kind of criterion for our music. In terms of that, we can say this album is based on post black metal.

Q. To be honest, I expected that this album would mainly have catchy songs like 'Flower Garment' included in a compilation album 'Till Your Death vol.3'. However, I felt this album turned toward metal more.

Nuno: We intended to make 'Flower Garment' a chaotic song because the bands joining this compilation album sounded chaotic. Also, songs from the E.P. were simple and focused on chord structure. So, we wanted to add complexity and weirdness to this song. By the way, this song was titled '花葬束' wrongly on CDDB. It's like a song '花葬' of L'Arc〜en〜Ciel. [laugh] The other reason for our tendency to metal is that we found post black metal proper for our style of music as I told you.

Toriki: I agreed with Nuno. We think we make and play music with overlooking flow of time and circumstances around us. I realized that a line connecting each work would have metaphysical message. So, we are not completed with only one work. I think Asunojokei is seeking a common feature between heavy metal and hardcore music which have different ideologies from our own perspective.

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photo by Fumi (@fmkkk23)

Q. Give me a hint to understand what the title of the album『わたしと私だったもの』(Awakening)means.

Nuno: It's difficult to give a 'hint'. [laugh] I began to think of some elements in common in each lyrics of the songs when we had all the songs to record and decided the title of the album. What came to my mind was parting who I used to be and affirming myself for good or bad. In one word, it's 'Awakening' which became the title in the end. I used the words 'わたし' and '私' to express the meaning of 'I' because I wanted to avoid repeating the same word. For the other reason, I have an impression that the word '私' has a sense of keeping a distance from people. So, I wanted to show that '私' who kept a distance from people turned to 'わたし' who was more gentle. By the way, 'わたし' and '私' is a fictitious character.

Q. This album has two songs which have over 10 minutes length. I felt that the songs became more complex and progressive. Were there any changes on the process of composing compared to previous works?

Nuno: Those two songs are based on my idea. Basically, there was nothing changed on the process. Someone in the band brought a demo version of the song. Then, we arranged the song in a studio together. But, I often felt that there was something missing and unfilled on the process. So, we refined the songs many times compared to previous works. That's why this album became more complicated. There was no intention to make it complicated though. By the way, track 1, 2 &4 originated from Toriki, track 3&6 from Saito and track 5&7 from me. Toriki and Saito can make demos by their own. So, the process moved on smoothly. However, in my case, I just record the guitar sound and tell how drums should be on paper ( blast beat in this part, beat slowly here, etc.). As a result, we struggled to organize the songs in the studio.

Toriki: Asunojokei has been making music together since working on the E.P. 'A Bird In The Fault'. We set a value on the environment that we can bring any ideas and exchange opinions each other through experimentation. In this album, there are songs which are based on daring structures and rhythms by Nuno and Saito.

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photo by Fumi (@fmkkk23)

Q. Artwork of the album is by Japanese-style painter Choji Beniko, how and why did you choose her? Are you thinking about going outside Japan as post black metal band singing in Japanese?

Nuno: While I was searching for someone to make the artwork, I’ve just found the announcement of album release of 死神紫郎(Shinigami Shirou) and Choji did the artwork of CD jacket. Love at first sight, we’ve offered her. We actually wanted to make the artwork Japanese style, but it is just a coincidence that we’ve met her.

Toriki: Well, I don’t get what you actually meant in the term “going outside Japan.” We just want to make music with who resonate with us naturally, and we wish we could express our music where we can make this resonation larger.

Q. Are all the lyrics written by Nuno? So you all make songs but the concept and the story are made by Nuno, is that right?

Nuno: That style is what we used be. In this album, lyric of 3rd song is written by Saito. Well, most of the song title and lyrics are written by me, so it is true that I’m naturally making the concept and the story. We aren’t actually so particular about them.

Saito(Dr): Just because I made the 3rd song, member asked me to write the lyrics. Compared to other songs this song has really personal lyrics, but it actually has same feelings of “breaking my past.” To share the concept, Nuno checked the meaning of lyrics very carefully. So, for me it was like getting counseling by him because the lyrics was so personal. [laugh]

Q. Asking about “Outside Japan“ was too abstract, but I personally think that there aren’t so many bands considering Japanese domestic music (both over and underground) to music outside Japan. Now world is facing declining birthrate and an aging population, so number of people who starts their band, who listen to their music… So I mean, in the aspect of culture which needs young sense, the population is decreasing and I’m worrying about cultural weakness. In Japan the population will decrease in the future, so it’s “the frog in the well knows nothing of the great ocean” to express music in Japan, and it’s easy to reach quite high position. Actually, talking about post black metal, Asunojokei which is going to release the 1st Album is quite featured already. Pale, a post black metal band in Japan which hasn’t even released their music yet (just Demo) is also quite featured at overseas and that fact sounds silly for me. Sorry for the long sentence but, I just thought “Japanese Color” of this album was made to strongly approach to foreign country. So the essence of Visual-kei which you said you are influenced in other interview is also “Japanese Color” I think.

Nuno. Yes I think many people will agree with your idea. Simply thinking, It’s better to deal with not only 100 million people in Japan but 7000 million people including people outside Japan. But it is actually difficult to have a vision to perform in oversea countries, or to know how to approach people outside Japan. It’s same with us. Well we don’t know why pale is known to some people outside Japan, we’ll just ask them someday. There are some people who have interest in Kanji outside Japan, so it is one way to express “Japanese Style” to gain the originality. But that is just a reason given afterwards, we just like “Japaneses Style” and tried to express in this album. Essence of Visual-Kei is also positive elements to approach to foreign country I think, because Dir en grey and girugamesh has already appeared on stage of Wacken Open Air.

Q. From first Demo, E.P. to compilation did your surroundings changed? Are there any reason you released you first Album now? You used the term “breaking my past,” does that also mean something in musical way?

Nuno: No big change in surroundings but I’m very happy that our music is recognized. No special meaning in timing, we just have our own life, naturally chose 2018 February to release. The term “breaking my past” has no connection to our music.

Q. Is the message included in your music and activity private message or inward energy? Or is it some kind of message thrown to the outside world, society, community or music scene?
By the way, as I said before, Dir en Grey is known as Visual-Kei in Japan but, also known as Japanese metal outside Japan. So for me, the fact that you describing your own music as metal, and the fact that you saying that you are influenced by Dir en Grey somehow links.
Are there any bands or music scene you are now interested in?

Toriki: For our music the former is the answer. We just keep experimenting what we want to do. There aren’t any clear message thrown outside from our activities but our experience and knowledge, “Hey, why don’t we try this?” kind of idea is thrown outside I think. And I am aware that that kind of expression has impact to our positioning. I have interest in music genre or style but I think there are other way of finding common trait from different things. I started my career as a classical guitar player, and afterward I started using electric guitar, so I have a energy to get out from framework like genre and style. Well, I don’t actually listen to Dir en Grey or Visual-Kei stuff so much.
Not a band but I was surprised by 長谷川白紙(Hasegawa Hakushi)’s music. I was so impressed by the fact that new music is coming out from his accumulation of music technique and knowledge.

Source : 3LA -LongLegsLongArms- (JP)