Interview by Alessandra CognettaIt may not seem so, but the Japanese metal scene is active and ever growing. We are thus very pleased to feature Ancient Myth here for the first time. The female-fronted band from Tōkyō has already released two full-length albums, “Astrolable in Your Heart” (2010) and “Akashic” (2012), various demos and singles and a live DVD. Michal, the lead vocalist, kindly gave us a bit of insight on the band and the current situation of female-fronted metal in Japan. Hello and welcome, Michal! We’re really glad to have you here, since you are the first Japanese artist we have the pleasure of interviewing for the Webzine. Let’s start by getting to know you better: “who” is Ancient Myth and how was the band formed?
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to do an interview with you, and I’m truly glad of the fact that I’m the first Japanese artist for your Webzine. Ancient Myth was formed by Mittu, the original Drummer (as the leader) in his school days. I heard the original members of the band were all his classmates in his music college.Your latest full-length album, “Akashic”, was released on 2/24/2012. How did the production go and what has been the feedback from your fans so far?
In October 2011, Puzzy (Keyboards) joined the band, and then we soon went into the studio. We had to get the recordings finished to catch the deadline for the release, so we didn’t have enough time to sleep every day and night, for a couple of months but I felt I lived a full life during that time! Some fans say “Akashic” is a crowning work but I‘m sure that we can create more splendid ones in future.What does the word “Akashic” mean and why did you choose it as your album’s title?
The title “Akashic” was named after the concept of “Akashic Records”, which means all the knowledge and the experienced history of human souls’ activities are recorded in the cosmos. Ancient Myth is a band with a long history, but we have led a tough life, like several member changes and recessions. In the present, the past & the future, all the issues on our destiny are parts of the records of the big cosmos. We have to accept all the things in our past and future and keep making our steps forward, if anything is/has happened on us. Because the things are all decided, as “Akashic Records”.I particularly liked the visual element of AM, all the album covers are so colorful and elaborated and your outfits are amazing. Who’s behind the graphics and how do you choose/create the band’s outfits?
I’m so happy for your words because I myself am in charge of all the visual elements, especially the ones on our website and the dtp things. I’m also a vocalist and a designer/concept manager of the band but I usually accept good opinions from other members. We’d like to match our songs, lyrics, skills, visual elements and characters.How would you describe the current Japanese music scene, especially in relation to female-fronted metal? What has changed from the past and what is still changing now?
It seems a very delicate issue to mention. In Japan, “music” is usually not recognized as an “art” but “a subject of business”, I think. And most of the people in Japan are fond of “girls’ virginity”, so it’s the reason why idol groups make huge profits in Japan. It must be one of our national traits. I think the current female-fronted metal movement here is based on it, and it seems a movement to launch Heavy Metal in Japan, where Christianity and/or Western Cultures didn’t launch. I hope this movement will be established.Have you ever had the chance to tour outside of Japan? Is there any city (or country) in particular you’d like to have a concert in or even just visit?
Unfortunately not yet. It’s my dream to play in Italy, a treasury of symphonic metal, and also Scandinavian countries, mostly home of the bands which I’ve been affected by.You write all the lyrics for Ancient Myth, both in Japanese and in English. What are the main themes you draw inspiration from?
Since I’m not having a good command of English usually, I’m mostly utilizing my brain to think something in Japanese. Just in the case of writing lyrics, I’m sometimes inspired by sights and visual images, as well as the meanings of words.
Since you write songs in two very different languages, what are in your opinion the strong points and difficulties of each one?
Utilizing the Japanese language has some merits and English also has its own ones, so I can hardly say which is better, but I’m sure that Japanese is suitable for me to describe any delicate expressions, because Japanese is of course much more familiar to me.All of you are very active on your Twitter accounts and blogs: what is, in your opinion, the influence and importance of social networks (and the Internet in general) on the band’s activity?
Currently everyone can acquire any kind of information easily and freely via Internet, so we can’t suppose who can reach us, and what keywords to reach us with, can we? Metal is for a niche market actually, but I think we should make opportunities to be picked up by someone as much as we can, not to lock up the door to the broader. Bands and artists should be open to the opportunities for broader people to recognize Metal.You are involved in another musical project beside Ancient Myth, which is codename:Wingless. How did it come to life and how would you describe this artistic experience, compared to Ancient Myth?
codename:Wingless is now suspended. Though the codename:Wingless songs are all sung in English and there is a difference on views of the world between codename:Wingless and Ancient Myth, basically the same to express my inner world. Dare to say, codename:Wingless is darker than Ancient Myth. Ancient Myth is plaintive and appeals my not-too-gloomy view, so the world of Ancient Myth may be similar to mine.I’ve read you are a designer, too. Was it a passion you developed alongside singing? What can you tell us about your singing career?
For me, designing and singing mean the same, both are methods to express my internal soul. Start of my singing career was belonging to a choir when I was a Catholic school student.Another personal question: what are your favourite artists (you can name albums, songs or even just musicians), at the moment, and why?
I love Roy Khan (ex. Kamelot) and Elisa C. Martin (ex. Dark Moor). They are the most favorite singers in my life. I can’t explain the reason to love them because I can’t list up any reasons of my affection for them. My favorite bands are Kamelot, Dark Moor, Delain, Nightwish, Ten, Fair Warning, Apocalyptica, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Amberian Dawn, Omega Lithium and so on.Ancient Myth has also released a live DVD (“Awake to the Next Myth”, out on 2/18/2012), how would you describe this experience?
Do you know the old saying “Riken no Ken” by Zeami Motokiyo, who is a famous Noh play (a kind of traditional Japanese performances) actor. It means “Play a role with imagining what is happened through a sight from your back, because any actor can’t watch himself while he is playing on the stage”. Now I’m sure I can realize the ancient saying through the recording media.What can you tell us about Ancient Myth‘s plans for the future?
To keep releasing better works and playing better shows…we’d like to be one of the most famous bands in Japan, and to be the one to play overseas.This is it, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and we hope to see you soon in Europe!
I should say thank you for your time and doing this interview.
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