Interview Exclusive

Interview with SABLE HILLS

18/09/2022 2022-09-18 08:00:00 JaME Author: Coco

Interview with SABLE HILLS

JaME had the chance to chat with SABLE HILLS, a metalcore/melodic death metal band from Tokyo, after their first shows abroad.


© xoxo_photography_
While they are already well known within the metal scene in their home country, until August 2022, only overseas metalheads familiar with Japanese music knew the name SABLE HILLS. That has definitely changed now that the winners of WACKEN METAL BATTLE had the chance to show their potential on European stages. After playing their first-ever shows in Europe, brothers Takuya and Rict, the band's vocalist and guitarist respectively, spoke to JaME about winning the audition, their experiences on tour in Europe and their plans for the future.

Thank you for making time for this interview today. Can you briefly introduce yourselves and SABLE HILLS?

Rict: We are SABLE HILLS from Tokyo, Japan, and we are four members and one support member. Our members are Takuya, Rict, Ueda and Keita.

It's a pretty big achievement for a young band to play at WACKEN Festival on a first international tour, as it’s the most famous metal music festival in Europe. How did it come to be that you were able to play there?

Rict: We auditioned through WACKEN METAL BATTLE JAPAN. It’s like a competition of metal bands. If you win the competition in Japan, you can go and play on the stage at WACKEN. We did the demo audition, then there was the final live show with six bands, but there were many more bands who sent in demo tapes. It took place in April 2020, around the start of the corona pandemic.


The pandemic left an around two year gap in which a lot of bands didn’t play shows or even stopped their activities completely. How did SABLE HILLS use the time without events?

Takuya: A lot of my friends from bands in Japan broke up and stopped being musicians. One of our past members left SABLE HILLS. I don’t know if it was because of COVID, but our member left. There was no way we'd stop too, so we had to keep up our passion. Even though playing shows was not possible for a certain time, we used that time to prepare so we would be ready when everything opened up again. We knew that COVID would become better at some point and there would be a moment when we could do shows again and go abroad, so we didn’t want to miss that moment. That’s what we did for these past three years. When it got better and we got the invitation for the WACKEN METAL BATTLE, we released our new album called DUALITY.


Congratulations on that! Could you describe the sound of DUALITY?

Rict: I wrote the songs of DUALITY to be very good for live shows. Our music is so difficult and very extreme. A bit too complicated for live shows. Our first album was so complicated that we had some difficulties playing it live correctly. I really wanted to make more simple songs to play them live, because we have lots of shows planned in Europe and of course in Japan. DUALITY is very passionate and energetic because I care about live shows very much.

Who writes the songs and lyrics?

Rict: As for the songwriting, it’s all by me. Half of the lyrics are made by me, and the other half were made by Takuya.

Where do you get your inspiration for the songwriting from?

Rict: Of course, from listening to metal music and other music. In addition, I get influenced by playing games. The games have soundtracks, and I've really loved that since I was a child. I really enjoy playing games because of the soundtracks so I get a lot of influence from gameplay, too.

SABLE HILLS' lyrics are in English. Have you ever considered using the Japanese language?

Rict: Never, but how about you Takuya?

Takuya: Yeah, I never did before, but I want to use Japanese for a new song in the future.

Rict: Really?! (laughs)

Takuya: It’s okay for non-screaming parts. Like synthesizer, PC sounds or chanting. I think it’s better for us.

Back to the tour: you were playing seven shows, including WACKEN, here. Did you organize the other shows yourself?

Takuya: We had help from cube records, some members of CRYSTAL LAKE and Avocado Booking.

Rict: Avocado Booking organized six shows for us, all of them except for WACKEN. We had no connection with Avocado Booking so the members of CRYSTAL LAKE helped us to connect.

At the shows, did you find that the audiences outside of Japan were different? Was it harder to reach them?

Takuya: European people are very passionate and energetic. They are very straightforward and kind. When a Japanese band like us delivers a great show with a lot of passion they will express that frankly. In Japan, the audience often doesn’t care about bands or songs that they don’t know. In Europe, there’s nothing like that. Even if it’s the first time to see a certain artist, when they see it and think it’s cool, everyone will get hyped up together. That’s pretty impressive. We have nothing but passion, so we want everyone to have an awesome time with us.

After the shows, some members chatted with the fans. Are there any special encounters that you remember?

Rict: There were some people who went to our tour in Japan or who we met in Japan, and we met some band people, which was so memorable for us.

Takuya: European fans surprisingly know a lot of Japanese bands. I was moved by hearing fans talk about our friends from bands who we often play shows with back home. That made me super happy. When we came back, I told those friends about it and everyone was pleased to hear that. Because of these small things, I hope Japanese bands will become more and more interested in expanding their activities worldwide.

On the tour you shared the stage with several famous artists. Was there one particular artist that you have been longing to meet?

Rict: AS I LAY DYING. They haven’t come to Japan for like 10 years. I have been their fan for a long time and I did not see their show in Japan so I wanted to see them.

Takuya: I also love AS I LAY DYING. And Darkest Hour. They are my legends. When I met them for the first time, I was so excited.

Speaking of idols, is there any band you want to share a stage with in the future?

Takuya: AS I LAY DYING again. (laughs) And August Burns Red.

Rict: August Burns Red and Parkway Drive.

Takuya: FIT FOR A KING. We met FIT FOR A KING in Japan before and showed them around in Tokyo. I don’t remember the museum… Samurai Museum!!

Rict: We also played with them at the same festival organized by CRYSTAL LAKE. After the festival, CRYSTAL LAKE asked us to take FIT FOR A KING around and go to Samurai Museum and Pokemon center (laughs). We enjoyed that time.

When was that?

Takuya: 2017.

Rict: A long time ago.


What was the most surprising thing that happened in Europe? Or what was the weirdest thing you’ve seen.

Takuya: Daytime is soooo long. Longer than in Japan. Darkness comes around 10:00pm. It’s so late.

Rict: Everyone is much taller than in Japan. (laughs) And we found the best drink in the world: Spezi. That was the most surprising thing.

Did you bring some to Japan?

Takuya: Yeah, I already drank it.

Rict: I tried to create Spezi with Coke and Fanta Orange and the taste is similar. I was so happy.

Takuya: I didn’t do that yet. I have to try.

You had dates in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Did you learn some words in these languages, and do you still remember them?

Takuya: Only German…

Rict: Guten Morgen!!

Takuya: Vielen Dank!!

The tour lasted for around three weeks. Is there anything you will miss when you're back in Japan?

Takuya: Spezi. (laughs) Okay, not Spezi. Adana Teller.

Rict: We went to a shop called Kebab Land in Cologne. It didn’t look like it was for tourists. Our cameraman showed us the shop and it was fucking awesome. In Japan Adana is not so popular. If Japanese say "kebab", it means mostly Döner, and not Adana. Döner is mostly the cheaper stuff.

What are your plans for the future?

Rict: We are working on making new music now. We will release a new record next year. In Japan, we will do a tour in winter and also organize a festival. A big festival. It’s much bigger than what we held before. We are planning to go back to Europe, and go to the US or Australia, outside of Japan. Next year, we will go back to Europe and try to go outside of Japan a lot.

Thank you again for taking time for this interview today. Please leave a message for your fans abroad!

Takuya: We want to come back ASAP. We should do shows in Europe, it’s better than in Japan.

Rict: We are working on new music, and I promise to go back to Europe or go to other countries with the new record next year. So don’t miss the chance to see us!!

SABLE HILLS' latest album DUALITY is out on digital platforms worldwide now, and links to download and stream the release are available here. The band's full performance from WACKEN 2022 can be viewed below:

 Download or stream "DUALITY"  Follow SABLE HILLS on social media
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