Timeless Hits and Fresh Inspiration: An Interview with LOUDNESS

interview - 10.05.2018 10:01

After actively touring overseas and now releasing their latest album internationally, LOUDNESS feel that their music is being rediscovered. JaME had the chance to interview the band about their plans for global conquest.

After announcing a worldwide record deal with earMUSIC, the heavy metal band LOUDNESS is now said to be in the middle of their biggest global conquest since the 80s. The plans started moving forward in January with the release of their new album, RISE TO GLORY. The international version became available both at digital storefronts and as a physical press consisting of two CDs, the second CD offering re-recorded versions of their classics from over three decades ago. Currently the band is playing concerts in Japan and will soon embark on the overseas legs of their world tour. The schedule is still building up, but is known to include a list of headline concerts in Europe as well as performances at well-known metal festivals such as Bang Your Head!!! in Germany and Masters of Rock in the Czech Republic.

In this interview LOUDNESS' vocalist Minoru Niihara discusses the latest album, upcoming tour and the band's next goals. We also find out guitarist Akira Takasaki's thoughts on his guest appearance on metal festival Tuska Open Air's anniversary song. In addition, you might be interested in hearing what bassist Masayoshi Yamashita, a beer enthusiast, tells about his preferred way to enjoy a brew.

There are readers who might not have heard of you yet. Could you please introduce yourself?

Minoru Niihara: The band was started in 1981 by guitarist Akira Takasaki. The debut album was released in November 1981. RISE TO GLORY released our 27th studio album in January 2018.

All the members of LOUDNESS are Japanese. By listening to just a bit of our music, you can recognize it as LOUDNESS. LOUDNESS is a heavy metal and hard rock band that has very unique sounds and tunes. Akira Takasaki's riffs and guitar solos are very characteristic, and are the essence of LOUDNESS' sound. This new album contains that excellent guitar sound and is full of melodic tunes. I would say it is the most melodic album since we reunited.

What kind of things did you especially concentrate on when creating RISE TO GLORY?

Minoru Niihara: We don't care about current popular sounds. We aimed to create the LOUDNESS rock tunes we believe in with free ideas. Especially for the vocal part, I spent effort in spending time singing the melody with care.

The Western versions of the album will include SAMSARA FLIGHT, a collection of re-recorded classics from over 30 years ago. Was it easy to pick the tracklist or were there some songs you felt conflicted about?

Minoru Niihara: It was not difficult picking out songs, and actually it’s because we have decided to select songs from the debut album recorded 35 years ago up to our third album.

Unlike your preceding albums, RISE TO GLORY is getting a simultaneous worldwide release and it's been said that this will be your strongest aim for the global market in decades. What are your thoughts on the timing? Do you feel there is now an especially good momentum for Japanese bands to gain mainstream success?

Minoru Niihara: We have been strenuously touring in Europe and America for the past seven years. Our efforts in touring have paid off and we feel that LOUDNESS is being rediscovered these days. It is certainly the best timing for the release of this album.

You've played at a lot of different festivals worldwide. Is there a festival that left you with an especially good impression?

Minoru Niihara: All festivals are amazing and it’s hard to say which one is the best. If I had to say, I would say that the cheers of the enthusiastic audience at the rock festivals in Spain and the rock festivals in the Czech Republic are very impressive.

Akira, you collaborated as a special guest on the Finnish festival Tuska Open Air's 20th anniversary song. What were your first thoughts when you heard about this project?

Akira Takasaki: It’s an honor to work on the collaboration with my favorite rock musicians in Finland.

The song sounds tough and feels very good. It’s the best!

Masayoshi, on social media we often see you pose with various kinds of drinks. In your experience, what's the best way to enjoy a beer?

Masayoshi Yamashita: My favorite beers are Czech and German beers. Especially, I like Pilsner beer. In Oktoberfest in Japan, draft beers are transported by air from Germany and I always look forward to it.

The best way to drink a beer is to cool the beer mug in the fridge in summer. Summer in Japan is very hot, so it’s awesome to drink cold beer from a cold beer mug.

Which song from RISE TO GLORY are you especially looking forward to playing on your next world tour?

Minoru Niihara: We would like to play all the songs, however I personally want to play SOUL ON FIRE, GO FOR BROKE, THE VOICE, and RAIN.

LOUDNESS has already achieved a lot as a band. What are your current goals?

Minoru Niihara: I feel a bit hesitant saying that but actually, there are so many things that we haven’t done yet. And for now, we would like to play in many countries and entertain people around the world, while we still have the energy.

Please leave a final message to your fans.

Minoru Niihara: We are very grateful to our fans who have supported us since the 80s. Because of your support, we are able to continue the band till now. And for those of you have not experienced LOUDNESS yet, LOUDNESS will come and play in your town! You must come to see our show! We will certainly make it an unforgettable night! See ya then! Let's have a CRAZY NIGHT!

Finally, make sure you listen to our latest album RISE TO GLORY!! We are very proud of it!!

JaME would like to thank LOUDNESS and earMUSIC for this interview opportunity.

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