Oct 08 2015

akai SKY – Interview (2015)

akai SKY
Interview by Jen Wang
October 8, 2015


For the past decade, akai SKY have blended their American and Japanese rock influences to create the bilingual genre of American J-rock. The band recently released their third EP, Chasing Lights, and performed at AnimeFest in Dallas, Texas alongside the violin-and-cello duo Ramen and Rice. JRock247 recently talked to them about that special collaboration, Chasing Lights, and their current music and fashion influences.

What you motivated to move from covering J-rock songs to writing your own?

Hayashi: Covering songs is a great way for a band to have a catalog of music to play live. But, we all have such diverse tastes and no J-rock songs out today really capture the fusion of our own American and Japanese inspirations. If it doesn’t exist you create it, right? Playing your own music is the best way to express ourselves so it really seemed like the most natural progression. Not many bands have done this in America so why not be the first? I’ve learned a lot about music in general from covering songs, but you got to live and die by your own music and not rely on covers to keep people listening.

How does Chasing Lights reflect how each of you has grown over the course of ten years?

Ryuusei: Our recording engineer remarked that our songwriting had really grown since Heart, Attack! [their second EP, released in 2013]. I think we’ve really grown in how we develop our songs, particularly in the area of arrangement and with this release, adding different backing tracks. Individually, I think the individual parts we write have all gotten stronger and show more of our individual personalities.

Umi: We’ve built upon our previous experiences and tried some new things with Chasing Lights that we haven’t done before. Every time we do something, we try to make it a little bigger and better using what we learned from the process the last time around.

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Oct 06 2015

YOUSEI TEIKOKU – Shadow Corps(e) (Review)

Shadow Corps(e)

Review by David Cirone


Yousei Teikoku’s Shadow Corps(e) is easily the best Japanese rock album released this year. Tightly constructed songwriting, heavy metal riffs, and epic vocals from Fairy Empire’s ruler Yui combine into an album you’ll cycle back on repeat the second it’s over. You won’t want this metal onslaught to end.

Diving into a heavier sound than 2013′s Pax Vesania, this new album is an aggressive step in a self-described new chapter for Yousei Teikoku. Fully embracing their metal side, there’s no attempt to mix in a pop sound or easy hook as a safety net. Empress Yui and her band are ruling this empire with an iron fist. The whole album is undeniably epic, starting from the monster riffs in opening tracks “D Chronicle” and “Yami-iro Corsage” (from the upcoming game Valiant Knights) driving through the to the relentless force of the title track “Shadow Corps”.

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Oct 06 2015

BAND-MAID – Don’t Let Me Down (MV)


Sep 30 2015

White Ash performs theme for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain


Japanese rock band White Ash performs the title song “Phantom Pain” for Konami’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The song is coupled with their 7th single release “Insight/Ledger” featuring their song from the anime Gatchaman Crowds Insight.

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Sep 29 2015

URBANGARDE – Interview (2015) Pt. 2

Interview by David Cirone
September 29, 2015


Your most recent song is about a dark, real-life subject, “Coin Locker Babies.” It seems to me that URBANGARDE breaks the mold of Japanese pop by speaking so openly and consistently about politics, sex, dark psychology. Don’t you think Japanese fans want pop idols instead? Why are those taboo themes so important to URBANGARDE?

Temma: Even Japanese punk bands seem to steer away from those topics. They don’t touch the Japanese social problems, and I always think that’s strange. Why isn’t anyone singing about it, why isn’t anyone expressing this feeling, and so we’re looking to create the channel to express these concepts that no one else will touch.

How does that connect to the image component of URBANGARDE? Does it have to be outrageous to get people’s attention?

Temma: We’re not trying to dictate a point of view or even cause a debate, but I feel like it just has to be said.

Yoko: It’s real and it exists in the world. So we have to say it.


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