Interview Exclusive

Interview with ASH DA HERO

26/05/2023 2023-05-26 02:00:00 JaME Author: LuCioLe Translator: Hiro

Interview with ASH DA HERO

In an interview with JaME's French team, rock band ASH DA HERO's frontman discusses their music, their feelings about France and their future goals.

© Katada Hitomi
This February, rock band ASH DA HERO released their first major single Judgement. The song was also selected as the opening theme for season two of the anime series “BLUELOCK”, introducing the band's music to new fans around the world.

Shortly after the single's release, JaME's French team had the opportunity to interview the band's frontman about their origins, their unique sound, their goals, their feelings about France, and much more.

Could you please introduce yourself for people who don’t know you?

ASH DA HERO: Hello, I'm ASH DA HERO! We're a rock band active in Japan. We're very interested in French music and culture. And the food and wine, too! Also, I'm a big football fan, and I'm a fan of French football, always watching Ligue 1 games! My favorite team is Stade Rennais. They play beautiful, fast football. Arnaud Kalimuendo is a great player, too! France is our favorite country, and we want to go there as soon as possible! Thank you!

What did you do before your debut as ASH DA HERO?

ASH DA HERO: I formed a band in my teens and started writing songs and lyrics back then. Before starting this band, I was doing solo artist activities, writing songs and touring Japan. I also sang and provided music for Japanese anime works. Music has taken up most of my life.

Could you tell us more about how you met?

ASH DA HERO: I met Narukaze, the guitarist, at a live house a long time ago. I thought, "there's a really cool guitarist here!" and became his fan immediately. He also liked my vocal style, so when I decided to start a band, I asked him first.

Sato, the bassist, and I have known each other for a long time. He supported me as a musician on tour when I was doing solo activities. He's a very elegant player and charming person, so I thought he was necessary for this band and asked him.

WANI, the drummer, is from the same hometown as me. When I was still there, he was already a drummer for a popular band. I bought tickets to see his live performance before. I loved his style and personality, and I wanted to work with him. He actually turned me down once, but I'm a persistent guy, so I approached him again. When I did, he finally said, "OK, let's do it!" It was like confessing to a girl I liked. (laughs)

Dhalsim, the DJ, was a DJ I had heard about frequently. Narukaze suggested the idea of adding a DJ to the band, so he introduced me to Dhalsim. We hit it off immediately with our music talk, and he's a pretty quirky and funny guy. More than anything, I thought he was really cool when we played music together. I thought, "He's absolutely necessary to make this band explode!" the moment I met him.

Can you tell us about the meaning and reason behind the band name "ASH DA HERO"?

ASH DA HERO: Ah...actually, it was inspired. (laughs) This band originally started as my solo project, and I came up with the name at that time. I thought it was cute and cool. (laughs)

My nickname is ASH, and I added "The Hero" based on feeling. I used "Da" instead of "The" to give it a slang influence from black music. At first, there wasn't any deep meaning behind it. However, as we continued our activities and interacted with more and more fans, it gradually took on a deeper meaning.

Our fans gave meaning to the name "ASH DA HERO".

Does the band have a concept or purpose?

ASH DA HERO: The world is full of ambiguity every day. There are happy things, but there are also many negative things. Everyone has their own definition of right and wrong, and we often end up in conflict. When someone is laughing, there is someone else who is sad behind the scenes.

I think there are a lot of monochrome realities in the colorful world that we see. We want to be a rock band that can save the "gray world" through music, and we intend to convey that message across languages and cultures.

How would you describe your music?

ASH DA HERO: ASH DA HERO's music genre is rock, but it's not your standard rock. It combines elements of alternative rock, blues rock, rockabilly, punk and hip-hop. Our style is a blend of all these genres in a melodic and popular way. Each member of our band likes different types of music, and we respect each other's differences. That's why when we create music, we experience new and surprising chemical reactions. In Japan, this is called "mixture rock", but I think it may not be a familiar term in France. In other words... it's rock!

Which song would you like to introduce to those who haven't heard your music yet?

ASH DA HERO: Judgement is an important song for us and it encapsulates our style. I'd love for you to give it a listen!

What is the songwriting process like for your music?

ASH DA HERO: Narukaze is a man who always has music and a guitar with him, and he quickly turns his ideas into tracks and brings them to completion. I put my lyrics and melody on top of his tracks, and we often create demos together as a duo. Then, we refine the demo's format with the other members in the studio, and work towards completion. That's our pattern for creating music.

As for me, I often write the lyrics and melody together. I usually start with the phrase of the song and look for a hook. I'm always looking for the phrase that will become the hook, whether I'm at a café, working out, or with friends. Once I come up with a phrase, I write it down and let it rest. I take a shower or go for a run, so that the phrase is still fresh and strong even after some time has passed. I always want to make sure that the phrase is still powerful and impactful.

Are there any artists who inspire you?

ASH DA HERO: I'd say Eminem and Green Day. Both of them have the ability to take underground culture and music and elevate it into pop culture, expanding the breadth of popular music worldwide. Hip-hop and punk receiving Grammy Awards is not as unusual now as it might have been 20 years ago, but I think it's an incredible achievement and I have a lot of respect for them.

Are there any artists you would you like to collaborate with?

ASH DA HERO: I would love to collaborate with Gojira from France! I really like their sound, and I have a feeling they would like Japan too! I would love to perform together with them!

Your latest album Genesis was released last summer, but we'd like to hear a little more about it. How was the recording process?

ASH DA HERO: That was our first album, and we produced it with the tense atmosphere of just forming the band. It was during the time of COVID-19, so we were inspired by the city and the social situation at the time. Japan became too cautious in response to the pandemic, and people and society were divided and confused, resulting in the pandemic lasting longer than expected. The album includes a criticism of society and a call to look for the truth with our own eyes. However, these are not just criticisms, but a positive message and a call for action. That's what the album is about. The recording process was very intense, but we were able to concentrate and record with the band's momentum. We think we recorded a really good album and it's one of our favorites.

Recently, the single Judgement was tied up with the TV anime "BLUELOCK". Could you tell us the reason for this collaboration?

ASH DA HERO: It was a big surprise for us too! We are big fans of the original comic, and I personally read "Shonen Magazine" every week, so I was really surprised. The author, of course, and the anime director liked our music, and then the offer came. When we were told in the dressing room at a live show, everyone shouted loudly. I was so happy that I almost cried and couldn't speak. (laughs)

With the release of this single, is the next album confirmed?

ASH DA HERO: Of course. We are currently in the middle of production and plan to release it this fall. We want to create an ambitious work that can reach a wider audience. Please look forward to it!

This May, you will be appearing at an event with FLOW and Lenny Code Fiction. What kind of event is it?

ASH DA HERO: We are also very excited about this event. Take from FLOW and I have actually worked together a few times, and the members of LCF call me "aniki" ("big brother") and we have toured together before. All three bands have worked on anime theme songs, so I think anime fans will really enjoy it!

Do you want to perform live overseas? If so, where would be your first destination and why?

ASH DA HERO: Absolutely! Our goal is to achieve success throughout Asia, but we also want to challenge ourselves in Europe. I think France really loves Japanese culture, so we definitely want to perform live there too!

Can you tell us about your upcoming plans?

ASH DA HERO: After this, we'll immediately start working on our album. We have events, festivals, and a tour coming up in the fall, so it looks like we're going to be very busy.

Can you please share a message for our readers?

ASH DA HERO: Thank you for reading! France is a country that we admire and love, so we really want to go there and perform live as soon as possible. Please listen to our music and check us out! We are looking forward to meeting all of you in France soon!

JaME would like to thank ASH DA HERO and VAMPROSE for this interview opportunity.

Links to download and stream Judgement on various online music platforms are available here.

A collaboration video with "BLUELOCK" for Judgement can be viewed below, followed by a short version of Saikyou no Endroll.

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