Interview with BLOOD STAIN CHILD

interview - 03.29.2012 20:01

The band answered some questions for JaME after their Russian-Ukranian tour.

At the end of 2011, BLOOD STAIN CHILD toured four cities in Russia and Ukraine, and their concerts were definitely among the hottest events of that winter. After all the shows, JaME spoke with the band about their origins, the ups and downs of a musician’s life and more. Constantly laughing, they also talked about their album epsilon, the tour and their dynamics.

Please introduce the band members with an interesting fact.

Sophia: The person sitting to my right is RYO on bass and vocals. You can also call him “Winnie the Pooh.” He ate all this honey of Russia...with the hands! Next to him is G.S.R on rhythm guitar. T.M. Revolution is his god. Next is AKI on keyboards. Everything about him is secret and I shall not speak any longer. Now the bitch to my right is called RYU, and plays lead guitar. (laughs) He’s girlier than me, despite the fact that he’s a boy, and he’s an otaku to the core. Next to him is GAMI on drums. He has monstrous stamina. He can party all night and wake up in the morning fresh like the morning dew. (laughs) Finally, I’m Sophia on vocals. Fans like to call me “Dictator.” Well, a loving dictator that everybody wants nevertheless. I don’t know how to take this! (laughs)

What made all of you want to start a music career?

RYO: For me, I guess it was because I used to watch lots of musicals and movies when I was younger. And because I used to play the piano. I picked up bass during high school.

Sophia: It was thanks to my grandfather who is a music teacher. I never aimed for a career in music, at least consciously. I don’t know if my subconscious ran wild all these years, but through helping other bands with their career, I gained both positive and negative experiences, which eventually led me to seize the opportunity of starting a band when it appeared before me. I felt I was in the right place at the right time with the right people. I knew I couldn’t decline, no matter how crazy it sounded at the time. (laughs)

Why did you choose metal? What are your musical influences? Recently, what music are you listening to?

RYO: Well, I guess our music sounds like metal, but putting everything together, my intention was something rock. I love extreme sounds though. IN FLAMES, DIMENSION ZERO, DARK FUNERAL are among my favorite bands.

Sophia: I used to listen to metal when I was younger. I still appreciate the bands I listened to, but I don’t search for new bands anymore. My musical influences range from 80’s electro pop and rock, techno, 90's Britpop, alternative, to experimental and depressive metal, gothic, electro-industrial...visual kei, bossa-nova and jazz. I like sad songs the most. Recently, apart from visual kei, I’m listening to lots of smooth jazz and oldies. (laughs)

Sophia, how did you meet the members of BLOOD STAIN CHILD? And how did you become the vocalist of this band? Weren’t you afraid that some of the fans might be against such a drastic change?

Sophia: I met RYU through my previous job. I was a visual kei/anime event organizer in Greece, and I also worked as a promoter and agent for Japanese visual kei bands. I’d booked BSC for a Greek show, but that year’s Japan Expo was cancelled, so I had to cancel my show too. Funny, huh. Haha, I was definitely worried about being vocalist, ‘cos I know how fans think, both metal fans and visual kei fans. So I was expecting lots of negativity that never came. Of course not all people were happy with the result, but the majority was and I’m very thankful to all of our fans!

Is it difficult to be the only girl in a band?

Sophia: I don’t get any special treatment. I carry heavy equipment two floors up, just like they do. We usually don’t have problems, but sometimes the guys don’t understand that I need a certain level of cleanliness around me to survive. (laughs)

How was the recording of your latest album epsilon? Were there any difficulties?

Sophia: I can’t say there were any difficulties, really. Except for the fact that it was my first time in a studio, which made me super stressed. I also recorded all the vocals in about fourteen hours, which is a rather short amount of time. GAMI was the first to record and I was the last.

Who wrote lyrics and music? What inspired you?

Sophia: I wrote the lyrics for my parts and RYU wrote the lyrics for RYO’s parts. Also he wrote the music, along with AKI. My lyrics talk about the search for knowledge, the incorrigible human nature, the battle with oneself, aligning with the universe and feeling nature, paranormal phenomena, anti-human conspiracies and humans seeking freedom, light, and fighting for what they believe in.

RYU: I get inspired by space and anime a lot!

All: Because you’re an otaku! (laughs)

The cover art of epsilon features an anime character. Who is it? Who’s the artist of the picture? Does it have any specific meaning behind it?

Sophia: It is an original character, created by the Indonesian artist Mario Wibisono, and it’s based on me. Fans like to call it “Cyber Sophia.” (laughs) Do you think I should dye my hair pink?

That would be cool! I think you should try it. What song of the album epsilon does each member like and why?

RYU: I like Moonlight Wave. It’s a party song.

Sophia: STARGAZER. This track is unique because it has been written from three viewpoints. It’s a monologue. First an alien talks and says that he knows humans can hear him, and he wonders if he really exists. It’s a debate about the existence of aliens and how humans react to it. And whether an alien invasion will be humanity’s salvation. (laughs) The second viewpoint is that of God. God talks about how humans doubt his existence and how mankind has failed. “Annihilation is the only salvation?” The third viewpoint is Sophia. From what I’ve seen and experienced, I feel that I’m not human, but an alien, because I do not understand how human nature can be so laughable and even when I do, I cannot forgive it. It’s a song for Mulder and Scully. [Note: Mulder and Scully are from the American TV show "X-Files.")

How did you come up with the idea of the cover album Imaginary Flying Machine - Princess Ghibli? Please tell us more about this project. When and how did it all start? Since this band consists of musicians from Japan, Greece and Italy, how did the recording go?

Sophia: The artist names are many. It’s a compilation of metal covers and it was created by Ettore Rigotti of Disarmonia Mundi. He was in contact with Studio Ghibli and they told him they wanted to do an album like that, so he gathered the musicians he liked and compiled this album. I was very surprised to receive his offer, because I’m sure he knows many other female singers, but he insisted I sang not one, not two but five songs on the album. BSC and I recorded in Japan and the other bands recorded in their own countries.

What would you want to be if you weren't in a band?

RYO: A florist!

RYU: An anime character!

G.S.R: A professional gamer!

All: Whaaaaatt!!! (laughter)

Sophia: I would probably be a hotel manager or a criminologist.

If BLOOD STAIN CHILD is a family, who's who?

RYO: AKI - dad, RYO - mom, RYU - older brother, Sophia - older sister, G.S.R - younger brother, GAMI - the baby of the family. 

Sophia: I would be the mom for sure. I always am, inevitably. RYO would be the dad who’s crazier than the kids sometimes, RYU would be the older child with issues and a split personality that everybody worries about. G.S.R would be the younger brother who’s very proper and contained. GAMI would be a glutton baby, eating everything with a smiley face. AKI would be a weird dog who laughs all day.

All: (roar of laughter)

What do you guys like about being in a band?

RYO: I like the fact that although we’re all different from each other and everybody has his own character - one could say we don’t match - we’re able to stand on stage together and create this show. It would be impossible if one of the members was missing.

GAMI: Traveling abroad and eating different countries’ food!

RYU: Seeing our fans worldwide.

Sophia: I hope that people who read my lyrics can become better people or improve their lives somehow.

What do you feel when you’re on stage in front of so many people?

RYO: It’s my natural environment! When I see the smiling faces of our fans, all my tiredness and stress disappear.

Sophia: Stressed! Well… I feel much better compared to when I started though. When I’m in front of a very enthusiastic and loving audience and their positive energy fills me up, I’m naturally more excited to give them something back. It’s an honest relationship.

How do you usually get ready for the show? Do you have any traditions?

Sophia: Not really. I try to sleep if I can. The rest are just around in different places, doing their own thing. RYO and GAMI usually smoke or eat together somewhere. (laughs)

Unfortunately, due to circumstances, you toured only Russia and Ukraine this year, but there are a lot of BLOOD STAIN CHILD fans all over the world. So do you plan to go overseas again?

Sophia: Yes, our collaboration with a specific tour organizer was very unfortunate and caused us a lot of trouble. I’ve never heard of a professional agency who abandons an artist alone in a foreign country, without prior notice. There are more unspeakable details, but I'm trying to forget them. Thanks to the local Russian/Ukrainian promoters, we quickly appointed new staff and the tour was a dream! I can’t express how thankful we are to all of them. We also go to America pretty often and we’re currently working with new partners and setting up a new EU tour.

AKI, why are you called ‘mad scientist’?

(AKI glares darkly, making everyone shiver.)

GAMI, during one of the shows you said you like AKB48. Have you ever thought of doing a cover of one of their songs in BLOOD STAIN CHILD style?

GAMI: Naaaah, if it’s not AKB performing, it’s not fun right? There’s no reason why I should cover their songs. (laughs)

This question is for RYO, RYU and AKI: you’ve been in this band since the very beginning. Tell us how has the band evolved.

RYO: RYU and AKI were classmates, and RYU is my older brother. There was nothing difficult about this process. We just did what we liked and that’s the end of the story.

G.S.R, tell us a secret of your name, what does it mean?

G.S.R: It won’t be a secret if I tell you!

RYU, for a metal band your image is rather unusual. Is it because you like anime, or are there any other reasons for that?

RYO: Gay!!!

All: (roar of laughter)

RYU: NO!!! It’s because I love cosplay and anime!

Sophia: You look visual kei, whether you admit it or not.

RYU: BUT I’M AN OTAKU!!! (cries)

All: (more laughter)

Imagine BLOOD STAIN CHILD in five years, what do you think you would be like?

Sophia: Mutated. You know why. (winks)

Sophia, you have a very special relationship with Russia. Can you please tell our readers more about it?

Sophia: My grandmother speaks Russian. It’s her mother tongue. Together with my grandpa they used to live in Russia for many years, so my mom was born there too. My grandpa studied music there and used to work as a choir conductor. I can’t speak Russian - yet - but I know some words and I’m pretty familiar with the cuisine, because my grandma still cooks Russian foods. Even I can cook some Russian dishes.

What do you think of the Russian/Ukrainian fans?

RYO: They’re wonderful. I honestly thought it’s amazing that a Japanese band can perform in front of a Russian crowd. The fans came to see us with shiny, happy faces and they were really crazy, so this made me very happy!

Sophia: They’re very passionate and impulsive and I really appreciate that.

What did you think about Russia before the tour? Did your opinion change?

Sophia: I didn’t know what to expect from Russia, so I was reserved. I usually have mild expectations, so anything positive becomes a bonus. I was impressed by the Russian hospitality and the food was very good!

You’ve done some sightseeing. What impressed you the most? What surprised you? Or maybe something scared you?

RYO: It was definitely cold. Even my nostril hair froze! (crazy laugh)

Sophia: The Russian airport staff treated me like trash because I couldn’t speak Russian and they were very rude and making fun of the fact I spoke in English. I was like “what the hell?” Other than that, I admit Russia has very good concert organizers/promoters like Squall and Motley Concerts. They know how to do their job and they’re very nice people. I found it interesting that the police were performing a body check in the middle of the street, looking for drugs in a random guys' underwear. (laughs) Looked pretty wild to me, but interesting nevertheless. Next time after the tour, I’ll stay in Russia for a few extra days in order to get more aspects of the country. I’m totally a tourist. I like visiting tons of places and taking a million pictures! (laughs)


Have you already tried Russian or Ukranian cuisine?

GAMI: Yes, AKI, Sophia and I tried as much as possible. (laughs)

Sophia: RYO surely became a Russian honey expert. Everyday he stole honey and ate it alone.

Please give a final message to your fans.

RYO: We promise to come back to Russia! Until that time please wait for us and support us!


Thank you very much and good luck!

JaME would like to thank BLOOD STAIN CHILD and Vladislav (Squall Company) for making this interview possible.
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