An Interview with METAL SAFARI

interview - 02.01.2008 23:00

After the Metalfilia 2007 tour finale, JaME met up with METAL SAFARI's guitarist, Hiro-yuki.

At the beginning of December, METAL SAFARI, together with six other bands which represented a total of five countries, participated in Metalfilia 2007, a metal tour across Poland. The day after the final live in Krakow, JaME met up with Hiro-yuki to talk a little bit about the band, their impressions of Poland and their plans for the future. Most of the band was exhausted from playing every night and went to sleep earlier, but we were joined by Jun, who didn't talk much during the interview but did throw in his two cents once in a while.

Firstly, can you tell us something more about the beginning of your band? How did you meet?

Hiro-yuki: We formed METAL SAFARI in March 2005. At first it was only me, Hiro, drummer Yazu and Ina. We were only three people so we started looking for a bassist. He (points at Jun) was one of our friends, so I asked him "will you join in and play with us?" and he accepted, "Yeah, okay." So he joined the band in July 2005. Before forming METAL SAFARI, me, Yazu and Ina played together in the same band.

What about the name? Who came up it?

Hiro-yuki: 'METAL SAFARI' was Inamoto's idea. We think 'safari' sounds funny.

Yeah, I think so too...

Hiro-yuki: Everyone thinks so! But we don't care about the meaning, we thought the most important thing was that it should be easy for everyone to remember. We don't like long and difficult names. I think if somebody hears our name once, they will easily remember it.

Who writes the songs in your band? Who writes the lyrics and who writes the music?

Hiro-yuki: Almost all of the music is made by me, the guitarist, and the lyrics are all Inamoto's.

What comes first?

Hiro-yuki: Basically, I bring my ideas and in the studio I show them to everyone. Then they, Yazu and Jun, join and finally Ina joins with his vocals as well as comes up with the lyrics.

What is the general message in his lyrics?

Hiro-yuki: Oh, I know what he's thinking. He wants to sing about his life. He can sing about many things, many feelings - happiness, anger, everything from his life.

What about the inspiration? When you write the songs, do you think about stories or events?

Hiro-yuki: As for me, when I make music I carefully arrange the sounds, so that it sounds good. Heavy metal, metal music is mainly about being able to hear better sounds, they express the fun, the aggression, the heaviness. I think about that carefully and then... the construction... it's difficult for me to say (laughs). I have a very special way.

Do you all have similar tastes in music? When you bring a song do you always agree or do you sometimes fight over what it should sound like?

Hiro-yuki: We're not all the same. (thinks) Ina can sing many very different things, it's not all about anger.

Let's talk about the tour now. What were your expectations before the tour?

Hiro-yuki: (laughs) We had many expectations. (consults with Jun) We Japanese think Polish metal is very 'real,' very professional. We were very excited, we have respect for Polish metal. To play here is a very exciting thing for us. And this tour is, for us, the first step to play in Europe. We've already experienced playing in Asia. Over there we're all the same - Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, we're all Asian. But in this country the people are different, so before the tour we were simply interested. "If we play in front of them, how would they feel about a Japanese metal band?" Simply that.

So now, after the tour is finished, how do you feel?

Hiro-yuki: We got real satisfaction from the tour because at every concert, every night, we did the best. And we got the same response, it was fucking great everywhere. We proved we can play a great show for audiences everywhere. The place is not important - whether it's Japan, Asia, Poland, it doesn't matter. We proved we could play a great show anywhere, so we got great satisfaction and we gained a lot of confidence. We could play for you and for ourselves...

So the shows weren't different from your shows in Taiwan and Hong Kong and Japan?

Hiro-yuki: Yeah, they're not different, they're the same. Fucking great. I'm very happy.

What about the other bands you were performing with, did you know them before the tour?

Hiro-yuki: I just knew their names - Virgin Snatch, None...I checked them out on MySpace, listened to their music, but before the tour I only knew their names.

You saw the other bands performing, right?

Hiro-yuki: Of course! Every night! I enjoyed it.

Which one did you like the most?

Hiro-yuki: Every one, they're all fucking great. Everyone was very nice to us. You know, when the first date of this tour was canceled, we were very disappointed, we worried and we were afraid, "What should we do?" It was the first day and we didn't know anybody, "Oh my god, what should we do?" But the first night, when we were in the hotel, the Polish guys invited me to their room and said, "Japanese guy, let's drink together. Let's talk." They were very nice. They took care of us, so I was very happy.

Before coming here, did you know anything about Poland?

Hiro-yuki: Of course, we knew the Polish have great bands - Vader, Behemoth, Frontside...
Jun: Decapitated...
Hiro-yuki: Yeah. We have respect for them. As for other things, I didn't know very much (laughs)

After you came here, did anything shock you?

Hiro-yuki: I have many impressions from Poland, especially the people. Polish people are very very nice, they were nice to us. You Polish have a lot of good tasting beer... and "wódka!" (laughs) It was a big surprise to us that everyone - guys, young girls, young boys, all the people love to drink. Every day, every night I asked them "do you like to drink?" and they replied, "of course, we're Polish!" It never happens in Japan. For example, young girls wouldn't be able to drink vodka, it's too strong. That was the most surprising thing. And you have many beautiful cities. I love Krakow. The landscape, the buildings, it's very romantic. I love your country... and potatoes! It tastes better than in Japan.

Have your tried Polish bread? It's much better than in Japan.

Hiro-yuki: Oh yeah. And cheese, it's better too! (talk of Polish cheese commenced) Everything tastes good here, the food's good. And one more thing... (Hiro-yuki can't recall the pronunciation of the word, but fortunately Jun comes to the rescue!)
Jun: Bigos!
Hiro-yuki: Yeah, bigos. Can you cook?

Errr... a little bit. But I can't make bigos, it takes too long, but I CAN make you cheese sandwiches!

(everyone laughs)

Hiro-yuki: Yeah, that's easy!

A few days ago you mentioned you have plans to release a new CD. Are you working on new material?

Hiro-yuki: Yeah. I can't really say when we will release it yet. But yeah, we have a plan to record it next year, maybe around the middle of next year. And after the release, we want to come back here, we want to make a tour, and tour Asia and Japan as well.

Is the CD going to be a full album or a mini-album?

Hiro-yuki: We have a few ideas now and in the future we will create more songs, but I'm not sure. We want to make a full album, but we also have a plan to release a mini-album, so we don't really know. We can't see into the future (laughs) but we plan to release an album next year.

So next time, you want to perform in more countries. Which ones would you like to play in the most?

Hiro-yuki: Germany! We hope we can play there.
Jun: Sweden!
Hiro-yuki: Yeah, Sweden. And France.

I hope you will. Thank you very much for the interview!

Many thanks to the guys of METAL SAFARI and to Michał!
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