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Jul 16 2018

Live Report: LOVEBITES at Underworld + Midori interview

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LOVEBITES Interview with Midori
Text and photos: Chris Woods

In the past few years, an increasing number of Japanese rock and metal acts have been forging inroads into a Western music scene increasingly receptive to metal from Asia. The five-piece heavy metal group LOVEBITES is one of the latest to garner fame outside of Japan, further validated by their win for Best New Band at the 2018 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. And these ladies are only just getting started.

LOVEBITES have their foot firmly on the loud pedal. Formed from the ashes of the metal group Destrose, Miho (bass) joined forces with Haruna (drums) to continue making music. Fast forward to 2016, and the group enlists the powerhouse vocals of Asami, with Midori and Mi-Ya joining soon after.

On the 18th of November 2016, LOVEBITES makes their formal debut in Japan. Almost exactly one year later, one night in November 2017, the group made their live debut outside of Japan, performing an impeccable set of tracks from their debut album, Awakening From Abyss. Showcasing their slick performance skills and heavy, riff-laden songs (penned by the group), the evening confirmed that LOVEBITES is no ‘flash in the pan’.

The band’s follow-up “Battle Against Damnation” EP is out now on JPU Records promptly rose to #1 on the iTunes Metal chart, echoing their similarly high album debut on the UK iTunes charts. Impressive for any rock or metal group, but let’s step back a few months to the group’s Camden Underworld gig - LOVEBITES‘ first full solo show outside of Japan. Debut overseas concert nerves? None on show: the band confidently tore through a breakneck set, performing tracks from their debut album, much to the delight of the sold-out audience. They even came back for an encore – somewhat of a rarity with Japanese groups, and a further nod to the influence British Heavy Metal has had on the band.

With their UK debut concert, LOVEBITES indisputably confirmed themselves as a force to be reckoned with, showcasing their significant talent, songwriting skills and undeniable high level of musicianship. And, if the raucous audience reception was anything to go by, LOVEBITES are on the path to make a real mark on the hard-to-impress Metal scene.

JRock247 was fortunate enough to witness their powerhouse London performance – and also interviewed guitarist Midori…

A busy few days for you – Hyper Japan and the Underworld Camden show. What were your experiences like for those days in the UK?

It was definitely busy – a full set live at The Underworld after two days of Hyper Japan. It was my first time performing overseas, as well as performing on three consecutive days, but it was fun, fulfilling and a wonderful day. My thoughts were that LOVEBITES’ ambition was to become known around the world from the start, and I am convinced that this was a wonderful first step. Throughout this tour, we were all able to grow together as a band.

jrock247-lovebites-london_underworld-2018-0R3A4723What has the response been like?

The Underworld audience was amazing and the best of any venue we’ve played recently! Everyone cheered for us continuously – and notably at The Underworld, we saw lots of audience members singing along with us. I was delighted to realize that our music was already that well known in the UK. People from the music scene and industry representatives were also there, so I think we acquitted ourselves admirably.

How did it feel playing to a completely new audience at Hyper Japan?

A lot of people came to Hyper Japan encompassing all ages and genders. I’m sure, let alone the name LOVEBITES, I think it would be fair to say that many of the audience had probably never heard much metal music. Despite this, we had no apprehension – we felt straight away that although we can play pretty aggressively, people appreciated our music. I saw the entire audience enjoying our performance; personally I felt something awaken in myself.

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How did you decide the set list for the Underworld show?

Our set list was essentially the album “AWAKENING FROM ABYSS” – released in October 2017 – per the order of the CD tracklist. This is the same as our Japanese tour, but I think it’s also the most popular set list, in that the feel of the album is best conveyed this way. Also, given it was the first tour after the debut, we also covered Halestorm’s “Love Bites (So Do I)” – the source of our band name – in the encore.

Any particular memories from the weekend you’d like to share?

Memorably, everyone visited Abbey Road prior to The Underworld show. After the rehearsal, it was already quite dark, but I hurriedly took a picture imitating the Beatles album cover. We also saw Abbey Road studios from the outside. I got a nice picture and it’s a good memory.

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Japanese artists who have come to London to play live shows at the Underworld have since played even bigger live shows in the UK. Do you think LOVEBITES be playing again in the UK soon?

Of course I also want to play again soon in the UK! We’d love to play some metal festivals – give us a call! We’ll continue with our musical activities in earnest so we can invite you to see us on another live tour soon.

Please share any messages you have for your new British fans and everyone reading online…

‘Hello everyone, it’s been great to meet you all!’ And for everyone who’ll continue to support us, “Thank you!”

LOVEBITES has a new record (Battle Against Damnation). I think we’d love to take the set on tour again in England and various other countries again this year. Please do come if you can make it to one of our future shows – we look forward to seeing you. And check out the new record… Thank you very much for reading to the end! STAY METAL!!

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LOVEBITES will be playing two Europe dates this summer – get heavy with them at Wacken Open Air on August 4, 2018 and Bloodstock Open Air on August 10, 2018.

Don’t forget to check out JRock247′s photo gallery from LOVEBITES’ Camden Underworld concert and the Flickr album for many more photos from the night!

Thanks to Tom and the JPU Records team, Midori from LOVEBITES and JVC / Victor Entertainment

LOVEBITES website: http://lovebites.jp/
LOVEBITES twitter: https://twitter.com/info_lovebites
LOVEBITES on JPU Records: http://www.jpurecords.com/artists/lovebites