Interview with Eizo Sakamoto

interview - 05.14.2014 20:01

JaME's Polish team had the opportunity to interview the legendary heavy metal vocalist.

In February, we heard that Eizo Sakamoto was leaving ANTHEM, and in March he released his first solo album in ten years - his fifth in total: Heavenly Days. Known just as much for his work with Japanese heavy metal legends ANTHEM as for his love of anime music, which he has expressed in ANIMETAL and the supergroup JAM Project, Eizo Sakamoto spoke to us about his latest release and plans for the future.

Your previous album was released over 10 years ago. What can we expect from Heavenly Days? Is it similar to your previous albums, or will it be a surprise to your fans?

Eizo Sakamoto: I sought to achieve the style that I'm into right now. It can be described as “POP”. It features lyrics which inspire me the most, lyrics about things that upset me the most and melodies that I myself want to sing the most.

Who else participated in the recording of the album, are there any special guests?

Eizo Sakamoto: All of the instrumentals were performed by TOMO Yano.

Which musicians do you like to work with, and what is it you like about playing with other people?

Eizo Sakamoto: It's really fun to work with musicians with greater experience and knowledge than mine.

Your new album includes a song in Spanish. Did you think of your Latin American fans when you recorded it? You often perform in Central and South America, is that part of the world special for you? Was singing in Spanish a big challenge?

Eizo Sakamoto: Every country is important to me, but since I do perform in Latin America a lot I wanted to sing in Spanish, and I included two songs in that language on my album. It's difficult to master a foreign language, but I like the sound and the rhythm of Spanish so I enjoyed singing it.

You’re a rather busy person, so how long did it take you to compose and record Heavenly Days?

Eizo Sakamoto: The composition process alone took about two months, and then recording took another three.

There are 11 tracks on your album – which was the most satisfying to record and which makes you the most happy, and why? Which one was the most time consuming to record?

Eizo Sakamoto: Recording the Spanish versions of Honō (“flame”) and Inishie (“Ancient”) was the most rewarding. The main reason was that even though it was difficult, by singing in Spanish I could feel the future, the direction to which my career is heading. So even though it was time consuming, it was worthwhile.

What is more important to you when creating a new song – the lyrics or the music? Which comes first?

Eizo Sakamoto: The rhythm of the song is the most important. No matter how great the lyrics, if there's no dynamism it just doesn't move me.

Is recording and performing songs on your own more satisfying than working in a group?

Eizo Sakamoto: I prefer working solo to working in a band.

You've been part of many different projects: EIZO Japan, Licht, ANIMETAL, Aisenshi, Nerima Maccho Man. Do you plan to continue any of them?

Eizo Sakamoto: Only Aisenshi.

Ever since ANIMETAL times you have been wearing specific makeup on stage. Does it hold any special meaning to you?

Eizo Sakamoto: Yes, the makeup makes everything on stage all the more exciting.

You just left ANTHEM for the second time – do you think this time you're leaving for good, or do you think you will play together again in the future? What were the musical differences between you and the rest of the band?

Eizo Sakamoto: My work with ANTHEM is definitely over. Now that I started a new career, I will not be standing on the stage with ANTHEM.

You participate in the recording of nearly all of the STAND PROUD CDs, but you also recorded many other covers of Western artists. Have you ever thought to release a similar CD on your own?

Eizo Sakamoto: Yes, I would like to make something like that one day.

What does a typical Eizo Sakamoto live look like – do you perform songs from all the different stages of your career, or do you concentrate on recent releases?

Eizo Sakamoto: I sing songs from all the different times. During my lives in South America I also occasionally sing other artists' songs.

You often perform in South America, but do you also plan to perform on other continents? It has been a while since your last concert in Europe, back with ANIMETAL...

Eizo Sakamoto: If you're waiting to see me live I will gladly come play in all of your countries.

Are concerts you play in Japan different to those overseas?

Eizo Sakamoto: The idea of the live show is basically the same, but when I play abroad the audience is more enthusiastic, which makes me all the more excited.

What are your plans for the near future?

Eizo Sakamoto: I have lives planned for May in Mexico and for July in Brazil. Apart from that I will do some recording with Aisenshi, and I also plan to record a Spanish version of Heavenly Days.

Your discography includes dozens of songs - hundreds if you count the anime covers. Do you remember them all, or do you use any help during lives?

Eizo Sakamoto: No, I don't remember them all. I recall them before every live, relearn them.

Is there any song in the world that you wish you had written? What artists inspire you, and what music do you listen to every day?

Eizo Sakamoto: I tend not to think in those categories. That's the value of original songs – they're original. I'm not the kind of person to draw inspiration from other artists. Recently, I've been interested in music from commercials in the countries I've been performing. I also enjoy watching music programmes, such as MTV.

Lastly, what would you like to say to your foreign fans?

Eizo Sakamoto: Thank you for always supporting me! I would like for the music and performance of Eizo Sakamoto to reach all your countries. I will try to make performing in your countries possible, and I thank you in advance for your future support!

Eizo Sakamoto’s latest album is being distributed worldwide through Japanese Music, World's Music online shop.
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