Interview Exclusive

Interview with HYSTERIC PANIC

26/08/2019 2019-08-26 16:00:00 JaME Author: Christine Translator: Sophie

Interview with HYSTERIC PANIC

Just before their overseas debut in Switzerland, HYSTERIC PANIC discuss their unique sound, anime, cats and their new album "Survival Game".

© HYSTERIC PANIC. All rights reserved.

Eccentric rock band HYSTERIC PANIC are poised to make their overseas performance debut in just a few days at the convention Aki no Matsuri in Switzerland. To give fans overseas a chance to get to know them better, JaME was able to ask the members about their unique sound, their feelings about anime, their third full-length album Survival Game, and more.

Since this is our first interview with you, can you please introduce yourselves?

Tomo: I am the vocalist Tomo. Nice to meet you.
Tackrou: I am the guitarist and vocalist Tackrou. Very pleased to meet you.
$EIGO: I am $EIGO, on guitar and chorus. Very pleased to meet you.
Okacchi: I am the bassist, Okacchi. Pleased to meet you.
Yacchi: I am the drummer, Yacchi. Pleased to meet you.

HYSTERIC PANIC’s sound is a bit difficult to categorize. How would you describe your music, for any readers unfamiliar with your work?

Tomo: I think we can be described as a ‘mixture’ in the broadest sense of the word. What makes us different from anyone else is that we mix Japanese lyrics, and characteristic Japanese melodies, with the essence of J-pop.

How did the band form, and how did you end up with three vocalists? Was it something you planned from the beginning?

Tomo: Personally, I didn’t want to do a band that had only one vocalist, so we had already decided to have two vocalists from the very beginning. It was just by coincidence that when $EIGO joined us partway through as a guitarist that he also turned out to have an amazing voice. So that’s sort of how we came to have three vocalists.

Your sound varies a lot from track to track. If you had to pick just one song to recommend to a new listener, which one would you choose?

Tomo and $EIGO: Usotsuki.
Tackrou: Gachi Koi Darkness
Okacchi: Head Bang!
Yacchi: masquerade
$EIGO: Doraemon

What is your songwriting process like? Is one person writing most of the music, or do you work on the tracks together?

Tomo: Each member may come to us with several ideas (imagery, riffs, choruses, etc.) and then we expand on that together as a five-piece band.

Your latest digital single Yowamushi Riot was described as a “message song”. What is the message of this song, for fans that don’t speak Japanese?

Tomo: It kind of carries the meaning that even if someone is weak alone, if you come together with similar people, collude together and raise your voices, you can become something with power. It’s a song that I want all of our fans to sing together.

Your new album Survival Game will be coming out on October 9th. What can you tell us about the release?

Tomo: It’s our third full album, and it comes three and a half years after the last one. Even from the very first lead song Yowamushi Riot the theme is “fight to live”.

You are known for having some very unusual lyrics. Is there a line or verse from one of your songs that you're particularly fond of, or one that sticks out in your memory for any other reason?

Tomo: I have always liked hip-hop, and by nature those songs have very different lyrics to your usual rock or pop. Furthermore, I have drawn influence from quintessentially Japanese anime songs, electro songs, vocaloids, and use a lot of internet slang, mixing together a lot of different essences, so it is hard for me to give an example.

You recently recorded a cover of GO! GO! MANIAC, a theme song from the anime “K-ON!”. Are you fans of anime? If so, are there any series that you personally relate to or would recommend to fans overseas?

Tomo: All of our members love anime and manga. Because of that, we watched “K-ON!” as it aired, and because we also covered the theme song as a band, I would be so happy if people showed interest in that anime because of our version of the song.
Tackrou: How about “Gintama”?
Okacchi: “Nichijou”, “Shirobako” and “Clannad”.
Yacchi: “Medabots” and “BrainPowerd”.

Tomo mentioned on Twitter recently that he would be interested in doing guest vocals. With that in mind, if you could do a collaboration with any artist in the world, who would you choose and why?

Tomo: There are so many people I want to do a collaboration with that I can’t give an example, and I also want to become a better vocalist before I do have a collaboration. There are way too many vocalists that I respect.

What kind of music are you listening to lately? Are there any artists in particular that you've been following?

Tomo: I’m always checking up on the hip-hop and extreme music that gave our style its roots. New styles are constantly appearing so it’s impossible to get bored.
Tackrou: Superorganism.
Okacchi: Marcus Miller.
Yacchi: abingdon boys school.
$EIGO: Slipknot.

Your appearance at Aki no Matsuri will be your first overseas live. Is there anything you’re excited about experiencing while you’re in Switzerland?

Tomo: I want to do the usual sightseeing because it’s my first time abroad.
Tackrou: I want to go to a Swiss concert hall.
Okacchi: I want to go to the Matterhorn.
Yacchi: It’s my first time going there, so I want to learn a lot!
$EIGO: I want to eat loads of different things.

Are there any other countries you would like to perform in or places overseas that you would like to travel to, if the opportunity arises?

Tomo: Personally, I want to go to England. I like the townscape and the fashion.
Tackrou: I want to go to France.
Okacchi: London! Paris! Italy.
Yacchi: Venice.
$EIGO: Mongolia.

You have a few songs about cats (Neko Jigoku and Neko Mafia), and your latest band logo and the music video for Yowamushi Riot also both feature cats very prominently. Is there any specific reason why you're drawn to cats (as opposed to other animals)?

Tomo: I have lived with cats for a long time, so I am definitely more attached to them than I am to other animals. It’s cute that they’re so tsundere (hot-cold personality).

You've played shows with a wide range of artists, from idols to visual kei acts and metalcore bands. Is there one type of audience that you've noticed reacts particularly strongly to your music, or a type of crowd you particularly enjoy playing for?

Tomo: Right now, we have loads of different types of fans. If you say it the other way, I guess we could brag that we are a band that has multi-faceted appeal, so it would be perfect if we could create a space where we could sow the seeds of our appeal into lots of different people.

Can you please leave a message for JaME's readers?

Tomo: Ever since I was young, I have had the dream of travelling abroad as a band, so I am so happy that this time that dream has become a reality. I think that a lot of people still don’t know us, but I would be so happy if people could enjoy our style of music that entirely changes, but always carries the quintessential essence of Japan. I am so excited.
Tackrou: Give us your all!
Okacchi: Head bang a lot for us!
Yacchi: Let’s create the greatest concert ever together!
$EIGO: Please come to our concert.

JaME would like to thank HYSTERIC PANIC, Tamara Schütz and the organisers of Aki no Matsuri for this interview opportunity.

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