Interview with Aldious
Aldious talk NAMM SHOW, their new album, their European plans, Toki's return, and what vocalist R!N has brought to the band.
Power metal band Aldious took a break from the studio in 2019, to focus on touring and their search for a new vocalist. Now fronted by R!N, the trailblazing band will return on March 18th with the self-cover album Evoke 2010-2020. Fresh off an appearance at the music industry event NAMM SHOW in Anaheim, California - their first ever performance outside Asia - Aldious took some time to discuss their experience there, their new album, and what 2020 has in store.
This January, Aldious performed for the first time in America at the NAMM SHOW. What has left an impression on you?
Sawa: From before, we received many requests from overseas fans on social networking sites asking us to “come and perform in their country!”. Since we mainly perform and tour within Japan, we felt really apologetic that we could not reply to their requests. Even though it was our first time performing in America, the fans’ cheers made us realize that they had been waiting for a long time. Even at times other than during the concert, they would come and talk to us or take pictures with us when they noticed us. It made us feel really welcome. They waited really patiently for Aldious.
How did your appearance at the NAMM SHOW come about?
Marina: My family lives in America. Last year, I took a personal trip there and stayed for about a week. Since I had gone all the way to America, I wanted to be able to bring and give something back to the band, rather than stay there just for a personal trip. I had the chance to participate in the factory tour of Drum Workshop, the company that makes the drums I use.
There I met Don Lombardi, the president of Drum Workshop, and tried to express my enthusiasm and wish to perform overseas. He immediately recommended us to someone behind the NAMM SHOW. While we did receive a recommendation, Aldious’s concert history, our number of views on YouTube and our achievements in Japan also received praise and our appearance at the NAMM SHOW was confirmed.
Are you planning any more activities overseas in 2020?
Yoshi: We might tour in Europe within the year...we haven’t decided on when we would go, but we would like to go sometime this year. Thanks to the NAMM SHOW, others have also approached us, so it would be great if we could expand overseas more actively from now on.
You will be putting out your first new release in over a year, Evoke 2010-2020, on March 18th. The track list will include older songs by Aldious re-recorded with R!N’s vocals. How were these songs chosen?
Yoshi: For all our past albums, we requested the help of various recording engineers. As the recording engineer for this album is someone who has been with us since our earlier days, we initially focused mainly on the songs that he had previously helped us with. As a result, a number of our popular songs like Dominator and Yozakura, which were recorded with the help of a different engineer, were not originally included in the track list. However, we felt like these songs could not be left out, so we chose songs that were popular at concerts and also songs that we wanted everyone to hear. Also, R!N and Marina both said they really like Ground Angel.
Marina: I love it.
Yoshi: R!N even said she wanted to film a music video for it. (laughs)
R!N: We will!
Yoshi: Many of our fans have also told us that they really like Ground Angel and there are actually versions of it sung by RAMI and Re:NO. Then, we also decided to include Deep, which we also recorded with both RAMI and Re:NO. We gave priority to songs that we have been performing in concerts but which only have studio recordings featuring RAMI. Even during our time with Re:NO, when preparing for concerts, there would only be studio recordings of RAMI's versions. Ultimate Melodious is one of those songs.
Sawa: We also suggested songs that had gotten good responses when we performed them during tours.
Toki: R!N is also able to sing the songs we had performed during concerts really well. I gave suggestions while considering that songs she has gotten used to singing might be better.
Marina: We have gotten great responses for Mermaid. I think there are songs that can really show off her voice. Hence we all chose Mermaid, as it really brought out her voice.
Mermaid is only included in the Official Website Limited Edition version.
Will Aldious release any new songs in 2020?
Yoshi: A new song, I Wish For You, which was composed by R!N, will be included in Evoke 2010-2020. We revealed this song at the Nagoya concert of our previous tour and also performed it at the tour finale at Shinjuku ReNY. It’s a song we have only performed twice, after which the producer joined us. Hence I think the studio recording will have a very different feeling compared to what we performed live in concerts. String instruments, like the violin, were also added, and the end result was magnificent.
R!N introduced us to the producer, ex-WANDS keyboardist Kosuke Oshima, who is also the support keyboardist for LOUDNESS and is very knowledgeable about metal music. He created an arrangement for us that was very suitable for a ballad. To bring out the weight of the guitar sound, a distorted guitar sound was also added to the song to make it an Aldious-style ballad.
Toki: This is the first song that R!N composed and wrote lyrics for since she joined Aldious. It really shows R!N’s colors. However, that doesn’t mean that Aldious doesn’t meld in. On the contrary, it matches really well.
Yoshi: We would also like to record an entirely new album with R!N’s vocals. From now on, when composing songs, we would like to make them suit R!N’s vocal color and range. We have not decided on a date but we hope to be able to release it within the year.
R!N, until now, you have not really come in contact with metal music. As a member of Aldious, was there anything that you kept in mind when writing new music?
R!N: There wasn’t a single ballad in the set list for the tour so I had to build up quite a bit of courage to suggest this song. However, when I sent Yoshi the demo, she replied that it was a “superb song” and the song slowly headed towards completion. As part of the new Aldious, I hoped to be able to include even a little of my history as a soloist. For my first step as their new vocalist, I was really happy to be able to sing a ballad and hope the song would bring about a new approach that Aldious has yet to attempt. I also considered my own vocal range when writing the song.
R!N became as an official member of Aldious in August last year. What were your impressions of her?
Yoshi: Since before she joined, we both had good impressions of each other, although there are also times when the reality was a little different. However, a year after meeting, I always think: “How can there be a girl as nice as this?” She made us realize we have to work harder. She is a hard worker and is also serious about music. I respect her for that.
Sawa: She is always very motivated. Even now, she writes more songs that any of us. When we first met, we had something like a recording session and even then, she sang the song like it was her own. Her bright character is also very attractive and I am really glad she joined Aldious.
Marina: Initially, R!N participated as a guest vocalist. Even back then, R!N looked like she really enjoyed performing with Aldious and that really left an impression. More importantly, I could really tell she truly enjoyed singing. Thinking about performing together as a group, while musicality is also important, I was really attracted to her nature. While there was a dark atmosphere surrounding us after the departure of our vocalist Re:NO, her bright personality really played a big part in giving Aldious the energy we needed.
Toki: She is a great singer. Even so, she still strives to become even better and always stays determined, which I really respect. Even ten years into our career, there is still much we have to learn from her. While there was a low mood with the departure of our vocalist, when we heard R!N singing, we felt like “her voice can bring energy to her surroundings”. Our fans were even more saddened than us by Re:NO's departure. However, I felt like the fans were really glad that R!N has joined us and sings as a part of Aldious, so I am really thankful that she joined.
How do you decide on your stagewear for Aldious? Do the individual members choose?
Yoshi: We actually have colors assigned to each member. For example, my color is red and Toki’s is pink. The members generally each wear the color that they like. There are also times when I tell them “this color suits you” and recommend it to them. As for Toki, I told her “pink suits you so make your color pink!” and made her wear it. She ended up really liking it. (laughs)
Toki: When Yoshi recommended I wear pink, at first my reaction was “Flashy colors like pink don’t suit me... I’m fine with something like brown”. However, once I tried it on, it was really gorgeous and looked very pretty on stage. Since I originally also loved the color pink, it’s now come to the point where I will not be satisfied if something isn't pink. Even now, both my dress and my guitar are pink.
Yoshi: The clothes she's wearing now are pink too. (laughs)
R!N: Her nails are pink too. (laughs)
Toki, once again, congratulations on the birth of your child. Did you participate in the production of Evoke 2010-2020, and what are your plans regarding your return to touring?
Toki: Since I had just given birth, I ended up leaving most of it to my bandmates. However, within the limits of what I was able to do, I participated in the filming of the music video and audio mixing. It has been decided that I will return to the stage in April this year. Many female artists don’t or are unable to return to the stage after marriage or giving birth. However, I didn’t want to give up on performing with Aldious, with which I have been for the past ten years. I think I gave the rest of the band a lot of trouble and worries but the members sincerely congratulated me, which made me really happy. For all the trouble I have given them, I want to do my best for our Unlash tour this year.
For the fans as well, there were many places that I could not go to see them last year so I want to go and show them my appreciation and gratitude. I am really thankful for the members and fans who supported me so that I wouldn’t have to give up on my dreams. I was not able to perform at the NAMM SHOW. However, my dream to perform overseas has started to take shape and I hope I will be able to perform my best at concerts overseas. It might be hard to balance raising my child and performing at the same time, but as they are both precious to me, I would like to do my best without taking any shortcuts.
Will fans of Aldious around the world be able to listen Evoke 2010-2020 on streaming sites?
Yoshi: Yes, we are planning to release the new album worldwide through music streaming platforms. In fact, we are actually planning to record an English version of We Are. (This isn't included in the Japan version of the album.) The song’s first verse and chorus are both originally in English with the second verse in Japanese. However, as we have received many requests from fans from overseas, we decided to record the English version. R!N is fluent in English, hence she rewrote the lyrics to the second verse in English and sang it.
Finally, do you have a message for JaME’s readers?
Yoshi: Aldious’s concerts are really intense with headbanging, running around and jumping, but we also keep in mind to maintain eye contact with our audience and with each other to create a sense of unity. While metal concerts may have a scary image, Aldious’s concerts are fun and our music has been said to be metal music that goes well with smiles. If you’d like to enjoy or experience a concert like that, please do come see us live.
Toki: Aldious’s costumes and performances are really glamorous, so it’s really fun even just to watch. If your curiosity has been piqued, I would be really happy if you could look for us on YouTube. We are currently working to make our European tour a reality, so please look forward to it.
Sawa: Aldious does not have much experience performing overseas, and with the language barrier, I feel like there are times we are unable to communicate our feelings well. However, I hope we can communicate with the world through our music. Please look forward to it.
R!N: Although it has not been long since I joined Aldious, I would like to perform in various countries while cherishing the image of metal music that goes well with smiles. Please do come to see us in concert, let’s gain more energy and have a great time together. Personally, I will also be heading to Leipzig, Germany in March, so please do come and see me then.
Marina: Although Aldious has little experience performing overseas, I would like to perform in many places including Asia and Europe, and challenge ourselves to see how well Aldious, which was born in Japan, will do in the world. I want many people to enjoy our music. I have also been to Europe about five or six times in the past and it’s a place I really like. With the performance in America, one of my dreams has turned into reality. Next, I want to work hard so that the dream of holding a concert in Europe also will come true.
JaME would like to thank Aldious and SYNC NETWORK JAPAN for this interview opportunity.
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