Interview with GYZE

interview - 07.12.2015 20:01

Melodic death metallers GYZE talk to JaME about their new album Black Bride, how they got to this point, and the band's desire to go global.

Unusually for a Japanese band, your debut album Fascinating Violence was first released in Europe. How did it feel when you were offered a deal with major label Victor?

Ryoji: GYZE are from Japan's most northern island, Hokkaido, but we have become active as a band in Tokyo. However, things have only gone badly in Tokyo, so it has been frustrating. Japanese companies place more importance on the question "How many were you able to sell?" than on the contents of a piece of work, so there was nobody willing to stand by us and our musical style. That’s when we decided to approach an overseas label.

My wish was to not play an active role in Japan, but in places such as Europe, the holy ground of metal. Amongst the overseas labels, we were fans of Coroner Records because it’s the label Disarmonia Mundi are on. That's why we were delighted when it was decided we would be releasing through Coroner Records. They were the first people to notice GYZE.

After that, our album Fascinating Violence came to be talked about in Japan. It was ranked number-one on Amazon and topped the import CD chart in a magazine called BURRN!, which is mainly focused on metal. Once the album became topical, we quickly received offers from several labels. The kindest of them all was Victor. Of course, we were very happy. Until then I had hated the people of the music industry, but now I think we’ve finally found a wonderful team.

Shuji: From now on, the amount of people working with GYZE has increased, and so has the pressure. But, we have endeavoured to show the fans supporting us from all over the world our dreams and impressions. Our attitude will not change, and because we are going ahead with a major label, our feelings have not changed either.

Aruta: Honestly, my hopes and anxieties are 50/50. But of course, now all I will do is have confidence in the band, the label and the management that have enabled our major debut, so that we can move forward.

In your opinion, how has your music style evolved since Fascinating Violence?

Ryoji: Hmm... Firstly, it is more melodic, and we have consciously turned up the guitar playing. It's also heavier. But I think it's fundamentally the same as when we did Fascinating Violence. I believe GYZE's best trait is how the lead guitar plays the melody. The kind that makes you want to just start singing, and I think it's the kind of melody which has a certain flavor only Japanese people can write.

Shuji: It’s much more heavy and comfortable!

Aruta: I think it’s evolving normally, and the same vector from the first album is still developing. Brutal songs are more brutal; beautiful songs are more beautiful. Every instrument, even the orchestration, is more gorgeous. That is the result of putting all of our power into playing!

Ryoji & Aruta, on Fascinating Violence, you had guest vocalists on almost every track. Was it challenging handling all vocals yourselves on Black Bride?

Ryoji: From the beginning, I’ve been the band’s frontman and lead vocalist, so there was no change from the usual. Claudio Ravinale kindly provided guest vocals for several songs on Fascinating Violence, but I had to sing them during concerts.

Aruta: It wasn't challenging at all. I personally like doing the death growls, and there are many fun times when doing trial and error. During pre-production for the vocals, we all put our heads together, but during those times especially, it becomes a personal and self-confident "creative time".

Aruta, you joined GYZE last year. How did you join the band, and how have you found your first year as a member?

Aruta: I was kindly introduced to the band by the manager of a concert venue who I have been indebted to since my teens. From there I passed time as a support member, and we have now arrived here. One year has passed since I joined the band, and I’ve realized the band's importance and preciousness through the things we’ve done like tours and recordings, both inside and outside Japan.

Shuji, what’s it like being in a band with your older brother Ryoji? Are there things that are easier or harder because of this?

Shuji: The reasons for things being easier and harder are the same. Because we’re brothers, I know too much of what kind of a person he is. Sometimes I feel things are much easier because of that, but it can also cause difficulties.

What’s a GYZE show like?

Ryoji: First of all, we wear make-up, so we are perceived as being feminine. But in actuality, our staging is extremely metal. Even with our make-up, we want to embody a very visual image. That is, whether with their eyes or their ears, we want people to enjoy us. I think Fascinating Violence is a very fitting name.

Shuji: I endeavour to give the kind of full-throttle performance that stirs emotions and makes people think "That was fun", "I want to see them again" and "It was good that I came"!

Aruta: Fascinate&Violence!

Do you have plans to publish sheet music for some of your songs on your website or in print?

Ryoji: Not at the minute, but we do have some songs that were written on tab sheets. If we announced it, would someone sell them for us in Europe too? (laughs)

Shuji: Publishing sheet music is undecided for now, but I think I'd like to publish it! I want people to do covers!

Ryoji, not long ago, you established your own jewellery and accessories line BLACK BRIDE. What is your main idea on designing these goods? Will they be available outside Japan?

Ryoji: The concept is "the simple beauty of black and white”. A pure cross was wrapped by a snake, which deceived Eve as written in the Old Testament, and it's a symbol of a demon that allowed her to eat the Forbidden Fruit. In the modern era, our "desires" are demons, which reside within our hearts. Everyone bears the cross under the name of righteousness or responsibility, but I want you to be true to your desires. That is this brand's wish.

I established this brand wanting to explore visual art. The first image I had for the brand was the GNOSIS necklace I always wear. It has a snake and cross design - it's also my image. And I want to treat a monochrome atmosphere with great care. If you have Paypal, you can buy from overseas. If you would like to purchase something, please order from The music streaming on the website is my own. I am thinking of fusing more music and visual art together. However, GYZE is my top priority, so in order that I do not become a burden to GYZE, I will work on it at my own pace.

What’s the next big step you want to take as a band? For example, a nation-wide tour? Playing a big festival? Maybe a tour of Asia?

Ryoji: That would be a world tour. Of course, likewise, we want to play on a big festival like Wacken Open Air. GYZE doesn't want to be a local band in Japan; we want to be a band on the international stage.

Shuji: I want to do all the things that I haven't done yet! There are so many, it’s impossible to write them all down... (laughs)

Aruta: This isn’t one of our ‘official’ goals, but I think we have to stand on the stage of some big festivals. That's our minimum line.

As long as you’re releasing albums in Europe, it seems that you have plans to continue to expand there. Will it be possible to see you in Europe again in the near future?

Ryoji: Our interaction with the media of various countries such as France is increasing, so I think we may have another chance. If there are any promoters who have an interest in GYZE, I would really like to receive offers from them.

Shuji: We will go to Europe at any cost!

Aruta: Of course! I want to go in the near future!

Do you have a message for JaME’s readers?

Ryoji: Hi everyone who reads JaME, I am Ryoji from GYZE. I am the guitarist, vocalist, composer and leader! Metal was born in Europe, but I want you to know that there are also real metal bands in Japan. Of course, not only GYZE. I hope GYZE's sound makes everyone feel good. Please check out BLACK BRIDE which was released on June 9th. Let's meet at the show!

Shuji: To all GYZE fans, I am Shuji! Thank you so much for your continued support. I will make it my priority to continue to play the drums because I want to show you dreams and impressions! Enjoy every day!

Aruta: Hello everyone, I am Aruta of GYZE. Have you listened to our second album, BLACK BRIDE!? It's a very self-confident album. I’ll be very happy if you’re able to have fun with it. I want to come to your place for a concert soon! Please look forward to seeing us!

JaME would like to thank GYZE and Coroner Records for this interview opportunity.

Below you can watch the music video for Honesty, a song from Black Bride featuring Ettore Rigotti, the band’s producer and member of Italian band Disarmonia Mundi:

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