Sacrifice , thank you very much for this opportunity!
First please introduce each member.
[Sutari] I’m vocalist Sutari. Nice to meet you.
[OGA] I’m guitarist OGA. I also compose and write the lyrics. I’m Sacrifice’s so-called leader.
[Yodo] My name is Yodo, I’m the bassist and also do the music production. Thanks for your cooperation.
How did you all meet each other and how was the band formed?
[Yodo] OGA and I met 10 years ago in a Kuroyume (黒夢) copyband.
[OGA] At the time our parts were reversed: he did guitar and I did bass. Since then, Yodo and I have often played in the same band or against each other at events.
[Sutari] And for me, one year ago I went to a live to see Mr. OGA and Mr. Yodo do a Laputa cover band, and was introduced to them there.
[OGA] Since getting to know Sutari, I wanted him to sing for us, so I gave it a shot by casually asking “would you be willing to do vocals for a session with us?”
[Yodo] When I first met Mr. Sutari, he told me how he was struggling to prepare the launch of a band at the time. He played me his demos for that band, and I could sense his enthusiasm for band activity, so I agreed with the proposal to have him sing for our session band.
[Sutari] As Yodo mentioned, I was actually starting up a band with other members at the time. I was in the middle of preparations, I was in a situation where things weren’t going well and I was blanking on what to do next.
Being in that slump, I accepted the invitation to sing with their session, thinking it would be a good opportunity to rekindle my instincts as a vocalist, so that I could finally launch my band.
[OGA] While we were preparing the session, Sutari contacted me out of the blue and said “the band I was preparing has broken up...” (laugh)
[Sutari] Yep (embarrassed)
[Yodo] I heard this story, and since he’s attractive as a vocalist, I proposed to OGA “why don’t we ask him to be vocalist for an official band with us?” OGA agreed, so the two of us approached Sutari about it.
[Sutari] I was in a state of self-doubt after my attempt to start up my own band, so I decided to officially join with them. The invitation to sing as a vocalist was the best thing that could have happened. With the desire to make up for that failure, I made the decision to form a band again with the three of us.
How and why did you choose your band name?
[OGA] I'm sorry if you were looking for a deeper origin, but there's no meaning! Honestly, I was looking for a cool English word, and I feel I just chose it like "Yes! Let's do this one!" (laughs)
[Yodo] When we were still planning this as a session, I thought it would be nice if the session's name sounded like an actual band name (laughs)
[Sutari] It's simple and vkei-esque, and I had no objection to it since I was the one who was invited to join the band. I didn't think the name of the session would become the name of the actual band though (laughs)
But in retrospect, we’d like the listeners we meet to become our “sacrifices” (laughs). Oh, of course I mean that in a good way!!
[OGA & Yodo] (laugh)
[Yodo] Maybe we're fragile beings who can't live without Sacrifices (meaning everyone who supports us)...
[OGA & Sutari] Ooooooohhh..... (applause)
Could you each tell us a little about each member’s musical history so far?
[Yodo] At one point in my life, I wanted to be a music creator working with rock and pop bands.
[OGA] I started playing in bands in high school, and I did various forms of visual kei and Western copybands.
[Sutari] I was active in Kyushu with La;Cen-zhow. (螺旋錠), and after their breakup I left music for a while. After that, I started to do a yearly copyband with some bandmates and really enjoyed that.
Later still, I moved to Nagoya, and after a year I had the chance to communicate with some of my seniors from Nagoya bands. That awakened my smoldering desire of "being on the stage in this area," and here I am now.
How has your past band experience influenced your plans for Sacrifice?
[OGA] [I've learned how to to] start a band up from nothing. How do we get people, who have never heard it, interested in our music, listening to it...? The answer to that question has come from my past band experience.
[Sutari] Thanks to my past experience in bands, I've been able to compose music and go through with activities even in the midst of quarantine.
La;cen-zhow was based in Fukuoka, but Sacrifice is based in Nagoya. Does there seem to be a difference between the vkei scenes in those two regions?
[Sutari] When I compare my activity with La;cen-zhow and Sacrifices, both the locations and time periods are different. As this is my first time working in Nagoya, it's hard to tell the differences between the two areas, but I'll say what I can.
Fukuoka was kind of the music hub of Kyushu, where bands and fans from all over Kyushu would gather. We were fortunate to have access to relatively large venues, which I think was a beneficial environment for the band, and helped it grow.
For Nagoya, I just have a kind of image of it, but the vkei scene itself has a phrase "Nagoya Kei," so I'm acutely aware that Nagoya is a place that's rich with deep history. I'd like to express my gratitude to my predecessors who left scars deep in the vkei scene of Nagoya--including my favorite, KUROYUME, who made history. I have great respect for this city. I'm honored to start this project in Nagoya, my dream city.
You mention being inspired by Nagoya Kei, Tanbi Kei, and Kote Kei. What does each of these phrases mean to you?
[Sutari] Last time I was interviewed in English*, I was asked how I would describe Sacrifice's style, or which visual kei subgenre it might fall into (out of a list that I was provided).
[Ed.: We reached out to Sutari previously, in English, but completely redid the interview to expand it.]
So choosing from that list, I chose Nagoya Kei, Tanbi Kei, and Kote Kei, and I chose them subjectively.
To be honest, I can't give a good meaning for each of those terms, as these subgenres are interpreted differently by different people, even among vkei fans. I think it's all about the music.
In Sacrifice, we didn't have any subgenres in mind when creating the band. While singing the original songs composed by OGA and Yodo, I expressed them as I felt appropriate, and the result is Sacrifice's music.
That said, after listeners heard the preview of our song Ugly Figure (which was available for free via Twitter), they expressed that it had a Nagoya Kei vibe. I'm honored to be called Nagoya Kei by our listeners.
We're proud of Japan's wonderful "visual kei" music culture, which we were born and raised in, and we'll continue to express the musicality that overflows from within us--without being bound by a rigid concept.
How did each of you get into vkei? And are there vkei artists that you still listen to often?
[Sutari] When I was a child, my cousin showed me a VHS of KUROYUME's live, and I was shocked at the staging and seeing Kiyoharu's performance of hanging himself on stage.
Is there a certain period of visual kei which is most influential to you?
[Yodo] The 90s, when X JAPAN had expanded overseas--that was most influential on me.
[OGA] My biggest influence is late 90s bands.
[Sutari] I think the bands active in the late 90s and early 00s had the biggest influence on my vocal style.
You’ve released samples of 7 demo songs. Could you tell us a little about each one and how it was composed?
[Yodo] Ugly Figure: Although it's a visual kei song, I tried my best to put a pleasant melody over the intensity of the instruments, because I wanted as many people as possible to like it. We're planning to release the lyrics at a later date, so please look forward to them.
Papaver somniferum: We had the idea of making a weird, slow tempo song. When I asked Sutari to sing it, his performance was really crazy--I love it (laughs)
Lilian: With this song we tried to show that Sacrifice isn't a band who's just about the darker side of the world.
[OGA] kitten: We made it with the image of something with a dark intro, but a lively chorus.
Kokuu: I came up with the chorus melody and then started production from there. The title "void" is used as a theme to express the world of lyrics that's unique to Japan.
GROW: I wanted to make the most of Sutari's vocal style, so I tried to create a traditional dark visual kei atmosphere.
Shuumaku NO HaTE: This production came out of wanting to make a backbeat song.
MawaRU, Sora NO Moto・・・: This is a fast, intense song, with a dark visual kei image from the 90s, which I love.
Of your demo songs, “Ugly Figure” was released by free download via Twitter. Please tell us more about that song and why you chose to distribute it.
[OGA] Yodo wrote this song, but it's my favorite among our band's songs, so I suggested we choose this one first! I like it because it's easy to listen to, but also speedy and cool♪
[Sutari] I didn’t have any objection to leader OGA’s decision. Yodo wrote it for my range, so as a vocalist I feel like my voice is strongest in this song. Also, I feel that the story in this piece of music is particularly well developed, so I thought that it was the most confident point of presentation at this time.
[Yodo] This song was written with the image of Sacrifice in mind, and the phrases came smoothly and easily through the end, with no trouble. In my past songwriting experiences, I've struggled and often end up with songs that I don't like--so I think the other two made the right choice in this song.
In fact, La;Cen-zhow. (螺旋錠) was known among foreigners because their songs were on audioleaf. Did this past experience with digital distribution influence your decision with “Ugly Figure”? Will you continue to use digital distribution?
[Sutari] Actually, I didn't know until this question that La;cen-zhow was known overseas. However, one of the reasons we decided to release Ugly Figure for free is because of overseas listeners.
When we announced the band’s formation and activity start live on Twitter, we received a lot of positive feedback from international listeners. We weren’t expecting that kind of response, so it was a great honor for us.
We wanted our listeners to enjoy our music as much as possible, beyond the borders of the world, so we decided to offer it for free online as a way to achieve this.
Your debut live will be on October 11th, 2020. How will you make sure that this is a memorable first live?
[Sutari] Our debut live will certainly be a memorable event. As you said, we want to make sure it’s something the audience can’t forget.
Of course, our main goal is to build up our performance skills before that live. In addition to that, we want to be able to deliver our feelings through our band’s activity in a straightforward manner, without compromising ourselves.
I can’t say anything great about the band because it’s not ready yet, but it would be fun making memorable memories.
Could you please tell us about the creation of your costumes, logo, jacket artwork, and so on?
[Sutari] Actually, the images used in promotional material that we’re currently using, they’re temporary, pre-activity. When the band was formed, we were affected by COVID-19 too and were forced to refrain from normal preparations.
We weren’t able to make any major plans since our live shows were cancelled and preparation for our activity start live was limited. In that situation, we prepared as much as we could by looking for activities that we could still do in quarantine. This is why we did our own band photos, demo music, and gave away free songs.
I was in charge of makeup and photography, and I met individually with each member to do it. So please look forward to the official promotional images, costumes, hair, makeup, and filming in the future.
As for our artwork, it was done by our in-house designer. For the logo, we used a sharp and aggressive style to match the origin of the band’s name, Sacrifice. With the jacket of our freely distributed digital single, we worked with the designer to make sure you could get a feeling for the song through a single glance. We’re really glad that they’re able to realize the concepts that we transmit from our side.
Finally, please give a message to everyone reading.
[Yodo] Sacrifice is like a newborn, but I hope that you’ll support us from now on. Our goal is to build a band that can be considered art.
[Sutari] We’ll pour the life-size musicality that comes from within us, into this band. We want to express something with substance, not just for show. Our Sacrifice will continue to evolve and take shape as a band, one step at a time.
If you read this article, we hope that you’ll continue to bear witness to our progress. To those who are looking forward to seeing us start activity: we’re looking forward to meeting you! We’re committed to making the most of our abilities.
[OGA] Rather than forcing ourselves to do things we can’t do, we believe in giving our best at what we can do. The current social climate casts a severe shadow over our music and performance capabilities. But we decided to start up Sacrifice in the midst of this, and we’ll get through this ordeal with everyone’s help. I hope we can count on your support.
Thank you for this interview. We wish you the best of luck.
Thanks to Ryu and for coordination. And friends for help.
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