Interview Exclusive

Interview with XANVALA

15/06/2020 2020-06-15 02:00:00 JaME Author: Christine Translator: Wicky

Interview with XANVALA

The coronavirus won't stop XANVALA.

A relatively new visual kei band, XANVALA consists of ex-members of the disbanded groups FIXER, LIM and SchwarzKain. While they just officially started their activities with a one-man at Ikebukuro BlackHole on January 30th this year, they have already attracted a dedicated fanbase due to their heavy, yet melodic sound and polished visuals. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, a number of the band's crucial early concerts had to be postponed or cancelled. However, XANVALA have been finding other ways to connect with fans, and they are continuing to build momentum.

As XANVALA have been live streaming often and uploading full audience-free shows to YouTube, fans from overseas have had the opportunity to enjoy watching their sound and performances evolve in real-time. To help introduce the band to a global audience, we reached out to them for an interview.

For any readers who haven’t had the chance to listen to your music yet, how would you describe XANVALA’s sound?

Tatsumi: Although on one side it is melodious and catchy, it also projects a tough and wild side. It seems that these elements don’t have cohesion with each other, but I think we managed to create harmony.

70.: It’s good to focus on one style, but currently our music is in an experimentation process.

Tomoya: I think you will understand if you listen to our songs.

Who came up with your band’s name, and is there any special meaning behind it?

70.: I wonder if Souma can explain it in 400 characters.

Souma: In sumo, when trainees are promoted to a higher rank, the length of their hair is usually not enough to create the classic “mage” bun. The disheveled and loose style used while their hair is growing is called “zanbara”. I thought about giving it the meaning that appearances are not important for defeating strong enemies. ZANBARA looks a little ugly, so we changed the letters to make it more aesthetic. Explaining this in 400 characters is difficult.

You’ve all been members of other visual kei bands in the past. What made you decide to form a band together? Was there a certain personality type you were looking for in the members of your next band or a musical direction that you wanted to pursue together?

Tatsumi: I received the call and we decided to have a concert together. We didn’t have any particular personality in mind, but we wanted to have people we got along with.

70.: I was Yuhma’s bandmate in my past band, and Tomoya was a support member in that band as well. Thus, we wanted to continue together for our next band. Later, we started looking for a great vocalist, and so Tatsumi arrived. Finally, we met Souma, who was a member of Tatsumi’s previous band. In terms of musicality, we already knew the type of music that they did previously, but we didn’t give it much importance. We still don’t focus on a particular style.

Tomoya: All of us had worked together in the past, so we were close already. We feel comfortable with each other; therefore, we decided to get together.

Azayaka na moudoku

Why did you choose Azayaka na moudoku as your debut single? Is there something about this track that you feel captures the essence of XANVALA?

70.: I don’t feel that it is the essence of the band, rather it was chosen as our first cover letter into society. The band is in constant evolution and we hope to find our essence in the process. At this time, we want to continue trying different things.

Souma: We consider the voice as the most striking element in a new band, so we made this song with the idea of introducing the voice from the first moment.

Are there any particular bands or artists that influenced you, either as a band or as individual musicians?

Tatsumi: MIYAVI.

Yuhma: DIR EN GREY and Slipknot.

Souma: T.M.Revolution and Matenrou Opera.


Tomoya: Slipknot and As I Lay Dying.

The video for CREEPER features an obsessed stalker. Where did the idea to explore this theme come from?

Tatsumi: I took inspiration from a movie and the lyrics for CREEPER came from there. The theme is “fantasy vs. reality”, it’s a story that contrasts with the one in Azayaka na moudoku.

70.: It’s a different world from the one in Azayaka na moudoku. The sound and vision are completely opposite to it.

Tomoya: I think that the aggressiveness of the music and the aggressiveness of the interior of the people are linked to each other.


Bunmei kaika seems to be influenced strongly by traditional Japanese culture. Is there a concept or message behind this song and its music video?

Tatsumi: The meaning behind this song is “restarting from zero”.

70.: “This is the beginning”, there is no other particular explanation. The image we wanted to project is that of returning to zero. For this reason, we choose a white cyclorama. Regarding the song, I hope Souma can give us an answer of around 500 characters.

Souma: I wanted to create a song like the ones you can hear at Japanese festivals. There are a wide variety of situations in life, but there are also fun things, so we made this song with the intention of having a good time, to show the fun side of XANVALA. Answering with only 500 characters is complicated.

Unfortunately, you started activities just before most bands became unable to perform live due to the COVID-19 crisis. Still, it seems like you are making the most of this time by connecting with fans through live streamed concerts and talk sessions. How has it been performing shows with no audience? Did you have any difficulties adjusting to this format?

Tatsumi: The essence of the band is in our concerts. Now it’s not possible to perform live; therefore, we are mainly looking for what type of content we can stream online. Usually when we have concerts, we don’t do streams, and vice versa. This has made me take many things into consideration. The most important thing right now is to adapt to the circumstances. However, our priority is to be able to perform live.

Souma: It’s really sad not to be able to perform. Concerts without an audience haven’t been so bad after all, considering that we have received many comments from people showing interest in XANVALA after watching them. We are using your messages as a source of support to continue living.

70.: It has been very frustrating that the world has changed in such a way two months after starting the band. Live streaming is completely different from the original way of doing concerts, so I don’t want this to become the norm. Moreover, I don’t feel that live streams have the same impact for conveying everything we want to as a band. There is nothing left to do but change and grow according to the era in which we live in. Although it’s quite uncertain, we are still looking for new challenges.

Tomoya: Live streams are not the same as regular concerts, so I have not gotten used to it. If it hadn't been for the current circumstances, we wouldn’t have made these type of streams or concerts without audiences, so it has also been new for us.

Do you feel that having most of your activities based online these past few months has allowed you to deepen your connection with overseas fans early on?

Tatsumi: I feel that the response from the foreign audience has increased, which makes me very happy.

Souma: The comments and messages from our foreign fans have been increasing. I translate and read them after receiving them.

70.: I’m not sure if it has really helped us to connect more with foreigners, but I’m glad when I receive their messages and tweets.

Tomoya: One of the advantages of the online activities is being able to spread our music around the world. We are proud to be able to strengthen our connection with foreigners and achieve a greater reach.

Bunmei kaika

While it may not be possible for a while, do you have any interest in performing overseas once life returns to normal? If so, is there any country or city in particular you’d like to play a show in, given the opportunity?

Tatsumi: Of course, I would love to perform outside of Japan. There are too many countries I would like to go to, so I can’t give an answer.

Souma: The urban landscapes of Europe attract me, so I yearn to see them with my own eyes someday. I particularly want to visit Venice. I would also like to visit other countries in Asia, North America, Latin America and Africa, even Antarctica.

70.: If there is an opportunity to go somewhere, I would be delighted to perform there. Although, I would rather not have to travel to some dangerous country.

Tomoya: I will go anywhere you ask me to.

What can fans look forward to from XANVALA in the second half of 2020?

Tatsumi: The coronavirus won’t stop XANVALA. We still have a lot of plans, so wait for them.

Souma: We will stay healthy thanks to the measures for containing the spread of the coronavirus.

70.: I wonder if the music entertainment industry in Japan will decline due to the coronavirus crisis and its aftermath. We are working to keep the music scene and visual kei culture alive. We will find a way to prevent this situation from ending our band and diminishing everyone’s spirits.

Tomoya: We have been accumulating a lot of energy during the confinement, so wait to see how we will release it when the time comes.

Finally, please leave a message for JaME’s readers.

Tatsumi: Please stay tuned for XANVALA’s activities. I hope that a day when we are able to cross the borders to meet you will come.

Yuhma: XANVALA will be a band that will go outside Japan to have activities around the world because many are waiting for it. I promise that we will meet your expectations. Someday we will meet in a concert, so stay tuned.

Souma: Let’s join together to overcome this international crisis. We will see each other when the world has stopped wearing masks.

70.: Due to the current circumstances, I’m glad that more opportunities to become known in Japan and in the rest of the world have arisen. We won’t be defeated by the coronavirus, so please pay attention to our streams.

Tomoya: See you in the pit!

JaME would like to thank XANVALA and Royal Stage for making this interview possible.

While the limited physical versions of their first three singles are already sold out, fans can purchase other XANVALA merchandise items from this online shop.

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