Interview with Vorchaos

interview - 28.04.2014 10:01

JaME talked to Vorchaos about their musical beginnings, their unique heavy style, their first full album and more.

Loud and heavy, Vorchaos is a band that is difficult to categorize musically, their unique sound appealing both to fans of hard music and listeners who place importance on melody.

Before embarking on a tour in support of their first full album, Vorchaos took the time to sit down with JaME in a music studio in Tokyo.


Could you please introduce yourselves?

Jun: I’m the vocalist Jun.

yuzo: I’m the guitarist yuzo.

Fuji: I’m the bassist Fuji

USHI: I’m the drummer USHI.

KAZ I’m the guitarist KAZ.

First, I would like to ask the members about their beginnings; how did you come to making music, and why metal in particular?

Jun: I always liked L’Arc~en~Ciel. They aren’t metal, but I think they were a stimulus for me to start making music. Even now, if I get asked about metal I don’t really know which bands I like, so please make it L’Arc~en~Ciel (laughs). That was in middle school.

yuzo: My father liked Black Sabbath and played guitar, so I took that from him. In primary school I liked hide from X JAPAN, and in middle school I also liked Japanese music. From high school I started to like Slayer and Pantera, and from there I went to metal.

Fuji: From middle school I went to church, and from there I started liking Christian bands. Well not really, but this was how I started playing bass. At that time, I borrowed the CDs of three bands from my friends, Deep Purple, Nirvana and X JAPAN, and from there I started moving towards this genre.

USHI: When I was in primary school, my mother bought a Queen CD, so I started listening to them, and then I went into prog rock, listening to King Crimson and Dream Theater. I went to Berklee, a school in Boston, graduated from it and came back to Japan and that brings us to here.

KAZ: When I was in middle school, I liked Yuzu and I was like “let’s do it!”, and I started playing guitar and continued on from there. I was inspired a lot by the Japanese metal band LOUDNESS, I started to listen to metal and ended up this way (laughs).

How was Vorchaos formed?

KAZ: Before forming Vorchaos, my previous band and yuzo's band used to play together a lot at events, and we had things in common and became friends. When our bands split up, we went into the studio for fun, played songs that we wrote, and from there we decided to look for members and form a band together. We decided to look for a vocalist and went around live houses, where we found Jun. There was also a drummer and a bassist at the time, but for certain reasons they left the band, so we started to look for a bassist and there was Fuji, who also used to play together with us at events. Then, when we were wondering what to do about the drummer, we saw an acquaintance from a long time ago USHI in a live house in Kichijoji, so we were like “yes, let’s do it together!” That’s basically how it went. We all like different kinds of music, but what we were looking to bring out and what we were aiming for was the same. Many things happened, but when we came together and created music, we became Vorchaos.

Could you tell us a bit about your band concept and introduce your music to our readers?

KAZ: There are many bands out there that play metal, loud music, and pop as well, and we each have our own sound that we would like to bring out. So Vorchaos’ music is a concentration of these elements that we want to create, for example melodies and lyrics that Jun likes, guitar riffs that Yuzo likes and the atmosphere that I like.

Jun: What I’ve been feeling recently is that there is a certain rawness to us, as if we are putting on airs and not putting on airs, we are rough and not rough, there is both stillness and motion, we look scary but we are laughing. These are characteristics that I think only we can bring out.

KAZ: Yes, we have a dual nature.

Jun: I actually haven’t been conscious of it, but through playing together this dual nature is in fact coming out, so I think that’s what we are like. We also get told this a lot.

KAZ: As I said, our sound is a concentration of various elements, and we are not just doing one thing. We are metal but have clean singing, there are atmospheric songs where only one part of it is harsh, and this duality is a part of our concept.

Jun: As for lyrics, the foundation of ours is the theme of living.

As you said, your music includes many elements and it is not easily described as one genre, how did you come to this sound?

USHI: It was because of alcohol, wasn’t it? (laughs)

Jun: I wouldn’t say that. (laughs)

KAZ: One thing I can say is that it is not predetermined. If we decide on something from the start, we can only continue doing that. As we said, the music that we like and how we came here is different, so we throw a “kind of in this direction” out there, and each one of us interprets it in our own way while making music or playing lives. So we have ideas and phrases that otherwise would not have ended up being created, and we go “This is interesting, let’s go with it.” We ourselves do not expect something certain, so I think not being able to categorize us into one genre comes from the fact that we ourselves have not decided on one thing from the start.

Are there times when it’s difficult having such a unique sound? For example, not knowing which events to perform at and the like?

KAZ: No, there are none. We don’t care, so we can go anywhere. We are not troubled by anything, although the people who call us to events may be. Please call us anywhere (laughs).

How does your song-writing process happen?

USHI: KAZ usually creates the base. We take our ideas to the studio, bring out everyone's thoughts, and put make up on it. So it is like bones, meat, then make up, to put it simply.

KAZ: As I said earlier, nothing is decided from the start (laughs). There are bands that create a demo with vocals and pass it to the other members, but we decided not to do it this way.

USHI: We just start with the guitar, and then try playing drums and try to come up with images.

KAZ: The bones are, for example, sometimes guitar phrases that yuzo makes, he will sometimes pass us a CD with guitar riffs recorded, and we will pick something up from there. We kind of just roughly decide the mood for the song and then put everyone’s ideas together. It could be my ideas or his guitar (pointing at yuzo), it’s generally something coming out of the band.

You released your album Vortex of chaos last November. Could you introduce it to us?

KAZ: This album is our first one, so it includes songs from when we were first formed to songs created just before the album was recorded. So rather than “this is this kind of album”, I can only say it’s the album that we created with our full power (laughs). It includes the point that I have forgotten when talking about our concept, that duality (laughs), with Jun’s lyrics talking about life, and our loud, metal sound, which we feel is cool.

Do you remember anything that was especially difficult, or on the contrary, that was especially satisfying, when creating the album?

USHI: We didn’t have many days for it, so the schedule was so tight that we could not possibly waste any time. Song creating was difficult as well, because we decided that we would have 15 songs on the album, so until the very last moment we were all like “We will write these songs!” This was quite tough, and scheduling was the most difficult part. In regards to satisfaction, having the album complete was the most satisfying part (laugh). We thought “This is super cool!” when everything was done. The jacket design was done by yuzo, as well as the T-shirts and goods and everything.

KAZ: Also, because it was summer, it was really hot.

Vorchaos: It was really hot!

Fuji: There was one day we were recording where it was record breaking heat, everything was really tough then.

Jun: I wanted to stay warm, so I always went in a hoodie and with a face mask and went in the recording like that, and in the recording booth as well before I noticed the humidity was 50%, that’s what it was like.

KAZ: But speaking seriously, at the last step, when the recording and mixing was done and the sound was being adjusted for the final result, we were editing very carefully, changing the sound quality. And until the end, we were thinking where to take the sound and there was a lot of fine-tuning, which was very hard. Whether we made it really metal, or whether we took it into a pop direction, we were changing many things and thinking, “No, this isn’t it, this isn’t it.” At the end, we ended up with a sound that was metal and loud, but that any person could listen to.

Could each of you recommend a song from the album for us?

KAZ: For me it’s Chaos core, because it is the first song I created in this band.

USHI: Ao kagirinaku… is interesting. It’s fun. It’s a song that starts with drums, so try listening to it. Although we do not play it live the same way.

Do you play it differently at gigs?

USHI: Yes, we’re rather free. Although it’s close (laughs). But we put the MC over the intro, the drums then become like a SE, like background music, and that gap is then also interesting. It’s not like I’m messing it up at gigs (laughs).

Fuji: For me it’s Monster.

Jun: Why that?

Fuji: Simply because it starts with bass…

Jun: You guys, just because these start with your instruments! (laugh) I thought you’d say that (laugh).

Fuji: But I really like Jun’s laughter at the beginning of that song. Personally, I really like sounds of breath, laughter or sighing in between the beats or the sounds of instruments, like in hip-hop or R’n’B, and I also like how it goes from the SE into the song.

KAZ: Why do you all just talk about the intro? (laugh)

Fuji: All together, it is a really interesting song. If I start talking about details, I could talk a lot about all the songs, so there’s really no end to it, but if I had to pick one song that would be it.

yuzo: Fuji said Monster, so I’ll say Technobreak. I can’t really decide on one, and everyone is picking the songs that I like. (laugh) It’s a song we have been playing from the beginning, and we also play it a lot at lives, so it’s a song that we have brought up, that has matured.

KAZ: Also, the beginning of the song has riffs that yuzo came up with.

yuzo: Yes, this is what KAZ was talking about, I recorded riffs and gave them to him, and for this song he picked up many of them, so I am especially fond of this song. It’s a louder song within this band, and it’s a song that everyone gets excited for at gigs, I really like it.

Jun: For me, as the vocalist, there are different concepts for each song, and it is very difficult to pick one. Thinking about it, Technobreak was the first song in Vorchaos that I wrote myself. In Chaos core there were lyrics written by KAZ. Also, because it was the first song, I wrote it sincerely without thinking about anything, without having anything decided. I just got the word “technobreak” from the members, and I had to think of what to do with it (laughs), and then it was done really quickly. Of course, I am fond of the other songs as well, but this is the song that comes to mind.

Could you tell our readers a bit about the themes in your lyrics?

KAZ: For the songs that I wrote, there isn’t one single theme, but I tried to write them in English (laughs). The reason I did that is that, right now, if there is a chance for people from overseas to come in contact with our music, there are many English speakers, and I wanted not only people in Japan but many different people to know the songs. In regards to content, I think the theme of “I want to be this way” is strong, although for each song the content is different, there are ideas of how I would like to be, wishes and aspirations.

Jun: Regarding my songs, the themes for each of them are different. The basis is the theme of living. Technobreak is a song exactly about that, Ao kagirinaku… is about a negative mental state turning positive, it’s a song I wrote wishing that I could also make the listener feel the same way. On the other hand, Gensou DIMENSION is a song about my personal thoughts, about the memories of what I have lived, so it may be difficult to have empathy with that song, but I would be happy if the listener could empathise with it, or if the listener could have even one part of the song that they could relate to. Ano oka no mukou is a song that isn’t that dark, it’s kind of what follows after Ao kagirinaku…. So for every song it is different, but after all an overarching theme is "living".

If we talk about metal, the image of Western bands is strong. Would you say that as a Japanese band there is something that makes you stronger or special?

KAZ: One thing is simply that there are songs in which we sing in Japanese (laughs). Regarding the sound, people talk about “Japanese-ness”, for example shamisen and other things that come to foreigners’ minds when thinking about Japanese music, but there is no such background to us, so it wouldn’t be interesting if we did something like that unnaturally. Our Japanese nature comes through in the other things that we talked about before, such as being influenced by L’Arc~en~Ciel and Yuzu. J-pop is music that has “Japanese-ness” to it. We play metal, but we have J-pop influences coming in, and I think this is something that only a Japanese band can bring out. On the contrary, bands that grew up listening only to metal could not create the same sound as us.

You have played in Taiwan before, how did you feel it was different from playing in Japan?

Jun: I suppose it is different for every country, but what I felt in Taiwan is that we were met very warmly. We threw our straight feelings at them and they returned their straight emotions to us, so we could play an earnest gig.

yuzo: In an environment where we could not understand each-other’s language, there was only sound, or vocals and melody, in which we could present ourselves. In that environment, I was simply happy to see the reaction of the audience. In Japan, the language is the same, so the lyrics, the MC and talk can compensate a bit, but there we could only go with sound. Receiving a reaction like that was a lot of fun and I felt happy.

If you play overseas again, where would you like to play?

USHI: Wacken!

KAZ: Germany! Because there are festivals. And I want to go to America as well, since many of the artists that we like come from there. Also England, since I like Oasis.

Jun: Of course I would also like to go to Taiwan again.

KAZ: We want to go to places where the music industry is prosperous.

USHI: And Australia. I want to go to Soundwave. I want to go and have a feast, with alcohol (laugh). We want to go to places where there is tasty alcohol (laugh).

KAZ: We want to perform at festivals, please invite us!

Would there be any artists from overseas who you would like to perform with or collaborate with?

USHI: I like Periphery. I went to see them the other day and there was some Japanese progressive metal band playing before them and I thought we could do way better than them (laughs). If it doesn’t have to be an overseas band, I would like to perform with Ningen Isu, although they’re from a bit of a different genre (laugh). They are not active right now, but Lamb of God as well. They are real metal.

yuzo: I’d also say Periphery or Bring Me The Horizon, but then I like death metal or thrash metal bands, like The Haunted or Behemoth, but it’s hard to imagine us playing with them (laughs).

Vorchaos: Other than that, Bullet For My Valentine, CROSSFAITH, Dream Theater, Killswitch Engage, Metallica, ONE OK ROCK, Trivium, LOUDNESS

Could you tell us about the band’s upcoming plans?

KAZ: We are going on tour! And then we are hoping to start preparing our next album. (note: tour dates are listed below)

Lastly, could you please give a message to our readers?

Jun: To readers from all over the world, it seems like such a broad concept to say it like that, but I hope that you will read this article, know about us and remember our band name. That would make me happy. I also think that if you hear our songs you will like us, so please listen to us. And please look forward to our next release.

yuzo: We are a cool band from Japan, Vorchaos, please support us.

Fuji: Now looking at the website you can only see characters, so I would like you to listen to our music and know what kind of band Vorchaos is. I hope you remember us, because we are a cool band! (laughs)

Vorchaos: You can buy our CDs on iTunes or listen to songs on YouTube.

USHI: Konnichiwa! I think it may be difficult to buy CDs sometimes, but you can find us online, and I hope that we can connect on the web. If you have any thoughts, you can also write us a message on the website, or on Facebook, and since one of us speaks English you can write in English as well.

KAZ: There are many cool bands in Japan, and we want to continue creating cool music and songs, and we will go all around the world, so when we come to your country please be friends with us!


The band's first album Vortex of Chaos will become available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, RecoChoku and other websites from May 14th both in Japan and overseas.

From April, Vorchaos have embarked on a nationwide tour to support their album release
:

Vortex of chaos tour 2014
April 5 Aomori Quarter
April 12 Nagoya TIGHT ROPE
April 19 Yokkaichi CLUB CHAOS
May 9 Sendai CLUB JUNK BOX
May 24 Shizuoka Sunash
June 8 Kawasaki Serbian Night
June 13 Nagoya SONSET STRIP
June 20 Kashiwa ThumbUp
July 5 Osaka club ALIVE
Tour Final
July 11 Harajuku Astrohall


JaME would like to thank the band and their management for this opportunity.
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