Interview with Atomic Tornado

interview - 03.15.2007 08:00

JaME had an interview with the heavy metal band Atomic Tornado.

Why did you name your band ATOMIC TORNADO?

Yo-suke: Originally, Hiroyuki Murakami (ex Blizzard) named our band in 1992. When we started the band over in 2001, we used it again to make the name meaningful, because we already made the song DNA and we named it after this. ATOMIC TORNADO expresses the DNA spiral.

Could you tell me how you made the band, and how it was going to be until now? In your profile, Hiroyuki Murakami and Yo-suke made the band in 1992, but the band stopped their activities in 1996. In 2001, the band started their activity as Daxchie and Hiroyuki joined, Chaly joined in 2004, and Yu-ya joined in 2005 then the band became the way it is presently.

Yo-suke: In 1996, we broke up once and then reformed under the same name with different members.

So, you started in 2001 again?

Yo-suke: Yes. But our present ATOMIC TORNADO wouldn’t exist now unless our former ATOMIC TORNADO had existed.

What did you do in the time from 1996 until 2000?

Yo-suke: I played in Lemon-Glass which was a visual kei band.

Did you play with Naoki of Jinkaku Radio?

Yo-suke: Yes, and with Shin who is the support drummer of Jinkaku Radio. Naoki was a member of ATOMIC TORNADO in 1992.

In your lives, the members make up the five elements: light, water, wind, fire, earth. Who makes up each element?

Yo-suke: I am light, Daxchie is water, Hiroyuki is wind, Chaly is earth, and Yu-ya is fire.

In your profile, the music of ATOMIC TORNADO is hard and beautiful, which is traditional hard rock but you try to find new possibilities in your music. Could you explain more about your music?

Yo-suke: We are influenced by various musicians, however, we want to put our new expression into their music. For example, we have two guitarists and we want to put together a new guitar ensemble that hard rock bands have never done before. I also have experience doing visual kei music so I want to do something new in style, which is neither visual kei nor hard rock music.

For example, which bands were you influenced by?

Yo-suke: Helloween, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. As for Japanese bands, LOUDNESS. I’m influenced by both Western and Japanese bands.

I heard your new album TORNADO EYE, which will be released on February 7th, contains various elements such as synthesizer, computer programming, and pop elements. You have used many genres.

Yo-suke: We don’t care of genre especially, so we just express what feels good.

You don’t care especially about traditional hard rock?

Yo-suke: No. We have many hard rock elements, but we want to put them into our new music.

Your musical themes are ‘genes’ and the ‘mystery of life’, and you use the letter ‘D’, ‘N’, and ‘A’ often in the titles of your songs. Have these themes been present since the beginning of your band?

Yo-suke: Yes. Those have been our themes since we formed in 2001.

What do you think of the Japanese metal scene?

Yo-suke: There are many bands that have good skills for making good songs, but I feel they are rather negative during lives. (laugh) We want to do lives more and do them positively.

What do you think about the visual kei scene since it's popular in Europe?

Yo-suke: I like visual kei music very much, and I’m putting such elements into my music.

What did you guys think when you got the chance to do a cover song of Helloween’s Eagle Fly Free?

Yo-suke: That was a compilation album which various bands joined in. We often played Helloween’s Eagle Fly Free so by then, we could play it without practice! (laugh) We are influenced by Helloween so much.

So you chose that song of Helloween's because you are strongly influenced by them?

Yo-suke: No. That was the producer’s direction. (laugh) That was a great opportunity for us, so we wanted to make it better than the original song and we played each part more technically. We thought it would be rude if we didn't make it better than the original version.

Once you played in a live which you dressed up as Angelina Jolie and other celebrities. Do you still do that during your lives? What was the purpose of this masquerade?

Yo-suke: I don’t remember if I played such a live. (laugh) I play guitar in a band of LUPIN THE THIRD's Toru Yamashita, in which Hiroshi Sasabuchi of Plastic Tree also plays. When I play in his band, the four members wear costumes and make up of visual kei because we like frills! (laugh)

Yo-suke, you do a lot of various music, including some remixes of older ATOMIC TORNADO songs. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Yo-suke: I got all of my inspiration from the natural world.

Yo-suke, you worked together with a lot of artists, produced them, did some background vocals and so on. Which one was the most impressive?

Yo-suke: I work with many great musicians, but the most impressive work is the one that ATOMIC TORNADO will release on February 7th, 2007.

In your new album, there are promotion novel songs; Dynamite from the online game Counter Strike Neo and Into The Wind from the online game NEW SPACE ORDER. Did you make these songs imagining how the games would sound?

Yo-suke: Yes. I have very close feelings with the playwright and producer of the sound novel of Bandai/Namco, so I could collaborate with them very well.

Yu-ya, since you’re the last one who joined: how would you describe the band members from your point of view? And why did you decide to join this band?

Yu-ya: Yo-suke is the leader of our band, and he is also an engineer and producer who is working making lyrics and music. I learn from him a lot and trust him. Daxchie is not only a guitarist but also a composer who knows a lot about DTM, and I respect him. And he is also my good partner in music. Hiroyuki contributes to the management of our band and he is a very indispensable person for us. Chaly is a very serious musician and I think he gives our band some tension in good way. He is kind of like our dependable senior. The biggest reason why I joined this band is that other members are all very professional.

Yu-ya, you also work as an instructor of MI-JAPAN (music school for people who want to be professional musicians). How is that?

Yu-ya: To teach something to people that is needed that I also have to review and study by myself and to tell them exactly and steadily, so I’m learning a lot from that. And I think it’s the best way to show my students that I’m actually working as an artist at any time.

Daxchie and Hiroyuki, when did you start playing instruments and how did you decide who plays which one?

Daxchie: I started to play guitar in my junior high school. In fact my younger brother (Hiroyuki) bought a guitar but I took it and used it for my practice, which is my senior privilege. (laugh) My younger brother used to be a guitarist, and we played together in the same local band but the bassist left the band, so he started to play bass.

Hiroyuki: I began to play the guitar, when I was 14 years old. I liked TMN the best, and at the same time, I began to listen to heavy metal like Helloween and GAMMA RAY, because my brother liked them. At the high school festival, I played the bass at first. When I was 20 years old, my first band, consisting of Daxchie and my friends, began to compose original songs. Then the bassist departed the band. Because we couldn’t find a new bassist and I had gotten interested in the bass, I decided to be a bassist.

Hiroyuki, you studied German and English and played in a lot of bands (like a TMN cover band), when did you decide to become a professional musician?

Hiroyuki: In our first original band we aimed for making heavy metal like Helloween and GAMMA RAY and because I was the only one from the members who was good in English I started writing English poems back then. I got interested in writing English poems, so I entered university to study English literature in earnest (there I also studied German a little as a required subject, because I liked German Metal!). While I was a university student, I joined Jack Rose. After my graduation, I wanted to be professional musician. Jack Rose released a CD from an independent label and went on live tour, but after it, I departed the band because of the difference of the direction and music I wanted to play. I was asked to join ATOMIC TORNADO, for I knew AT’s music well, because Daxchie played there and I was familiar with Yo-suke. It’s wonderful for me to play in AT, and I think AT is the band where I can show off my best.

Daxchie, Yo-suke once introduced you as the "Kai Hansen of Ikebukuro", what do you think of this comparison?

Daxchie: Uhn, nothing I can do about that. (laugh) But actually I was effected by Kai Hansen the most, so he said the truth!

Daxchie and Hiroyuki are brothers playing in the same band. Does it bring any advantages or disadvantages?

Daxchie: The advantage is that I don’t have to be always attentive. I guess my younger brother Hiroyuki says that he cares a lot. (laugh) The disadvantage is that we are brothers so we seem to dislike the same things so I’m afraid it’s hard to distinguish us from one another.

Hiroyuki: We began to like music at the same time, and we have played together in the past. So I think it’s easy to know what he thinks. He is good at composing, and I’m good at writing lyrics. I think we can influence each other to think about the music on the different sides. A bad point, well, we are family so...

Chaly, you used to be a gymnast. When did you start playing drums?

Chaly: I played drums for the first time in high school. At that time, after I finished my practice at gymnastics, I went to the studio. I used to play in lives copying popular bands. To tell the truth, I practiced guitar a lot, and I intended to be a guitarist only until I was 20 years old. (laugh)

I want to ask you about your new album, TORNADO EYE, which will be released on February 7th. What kind of album did you want to make and how did you complete it actually?

Yo-suke: We released TORNADO EVE in 2003 and the songs which weren’t recorded in the album and songs which we made after that are included in TORNADO EYE. So this album is our compilation since 2001.

So this album includes various songs from old to new.

Yo-suke: There is one song from old ATOMIC TORNADO, which is Spiral Illusion.

Which are the newest songs?

Yo-suke: They are AN98 and Chikyu~The Planet Earth~.

Your melodies are bright and beautiful and the main melodies are especially impressive. Do you make songs from melodies?

Yo-suke: I do both, but mainly from melodies and lyrics. As for composition, I make melodies first.

Do you compose music using keyboards?

Yo-suke: I often compose using guitar.

Then you put other instruments in after that?

Yo-suke: Yes. It seems like lyrics lead to melodies. Of course, there are songs which I make the guitar parts first.

Does each of you arrange each instrumental part? Or do you put all the parts into demo tapes?

Yo-suke: We can’t go through the competition in our band unless we make 70% of all the parts! (bursts out laughing) So I can get an OK for one song while another 5-10 songs are killed. (laugh)

Could you tell us about your aspirations about your major debut?

Yo-suke: We all feel we can stand on the starting line finally. And also, we’ll go on a nationwide tour.

Has anything changed around you?

Daxchie: Our environment hasn’t changed so much but our interiors might have changed quite a lot. I’m glad to be in a major field, but I want to continue further into more activities.

Yo-suke: Many magazines now put in articles about us so we all are in high spirits.

From February 2007, you’ll go on a nationwide tour from Hokkaido (Northern part of Japan) to Kyushu (Southern part of Japan), going almost all over Japan. In the lives, will you play songs mainly from your new album?

Yo-suke: Basically, we’ll play songs mainly in this album, but we’ll also play songs of TORNADO EVE.

Finally please give your message to foreign fans.

Daxchie: I want to play overseas! I’m happy if you listen to our new album and will get to like each song, because we spent much time putting our many thoughts into them.

Yo-suke: I really want to go overseas. ATOMIC TORNADO has both English songs and Japanese songs, so please come to Japan to see our lives!
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