Onmyōza Interview - "Pitch-black Dining Table"4th October 2001, Place: Tōkyō, Otowa, Abe Seimei Grand Shrine, inner shrine (Actually at a family restaurant)
People present: 瞬火 (Matatabi)、黒猫 (Kuroneko)、狩姦 (Karukan)、招鬼 (Maneki)、斗羅 (Tora)
INDIES NET-LIVE (henceforth INL): I heard that you came from Ōsaka by car. Thank you for the time and trouble.
Matatabi: You're welcome.
Tora: By the way, I was the one who did the driving.
INL: Mr. Matatabi, I noticed that you talk normally when you're not on the stage performing. So you don't have a setting like "From Hell's Bitter Valley (Shibuya), 10,0xx years old" like with Seiki***** II's De**n **gure?
Matatabi: Onmyōza's motto is "Go all out with staging, music and costumes, but offstage, be yourself".
INL: You're always wearing beautiful kimonos on stage; who makes them?
Matatabi: We have a person in charge of clothing. We send him/her the materials and he/she will sew them for us. Currently we have about five sets of stage costumes.
INL: It seems that there was a competition between several companies for your major label contract. When did you feel that things were starting to get into swing?
Matatabi: We had released two albums independently, going around and leaving them at shops, and selling them during concerts. Before long, we started getting orders from shops in Tōkyō too. And at the end of last year, we took part in a large event at Ōsaka Mother Hall and that's what caught people's attention.
INL: Excuse me, but your agency is quite not so famous.
Matatabi: That's true. Fufufu.
Maneki: (To the waitress) The chicken cutlet is for me.
INL: Ms. Kuroneko, you're the only woman in the group. How did you come to join such a(n eerie) band?
Kuroneko: I have been singing among adults since I was 15~16 years old. However, when I'm in bands with people of the same generation as me, all I get to sing is popular songs by bands with female lead singers. That's why I was making progressive music with another girl, with materials from children's songs and classical music and such. That was when I met Matatabi and we decided to make interesting songs together.
INL: Is that how it was? ....Umm, Mr. Karukan, you sure seem quiet.
INL: ..... Er... About your songs, "Gainagateya", which you allowed us to release earlier is not purely heavy metal, in fact it's quite funky.
Matatabi: In this song's case that might be true. However, we do have songs that are out-and-out heavy metal and we also have quiet ballads. Since we all like heavy metal, I guess that we are ultimately a heavy metal band. It'd be nice if Onmyōza could get people who have not listened to heavy metal before to listen to it. We are not going to confine ourselves in the genre of heavy metal, but intend to expand our scale from here on.
Tora: Since we're heavy metal yōkai, our songs have the variety of yōkai. (laughs)
INL: Now, the title "Gainagateya", is that a word that has something to do with onmyōdō?
Matatabi: It's Ehime dialect.
Matatabi: I live in Ōsaka now, but I was born in Ehime. Dialects have many words that sound funny and you don't know what they mean, even though they're Japanese. Currently, they are on the verge of disappearing and I find that regrettable.
INL: By the way, what does it mean?
Matatabi: It means: "That's amazing". By the way, the "ou-ichi-nii-no-san-yoi-doo" that we shout in this song is the shout used during a tug of war at the sports days at the Kamiyama Elementary School in Yawatahama, Ehime. So it means: "Heave! Heave!" It probably came from "ichi-ni-no-san-yon-go" ["one two and three four five"]. As you can guess, a lot of people want to know what our titles and lyrics mean, so we're publishing them in this Shikigami-kurabu [Shikigami Club] (Note: Fan club) newsletter "Shikigami-eiri-an" [Shikigami illustrated hermitage].
INL: Oh, what a fine newsletter. Ah, there's a four-scene comic drawn by Maneki. By the way, what are your day jobs?
Everyone: That's a secret.
INL: OK... So, in conclusion, would you tell us the ideal that Onmyōza is aiming at?
Matatabi: We haven't decided an ultimate destination. I think that it is wonderful to be able to continue engaging in creative activity. I would like to keep doing this as long as I have the feeling of wanting to create something. .....If possible, it would be even better if we could do this in better surroundings. Our motto is "phantasmagoric and ever-elusive". We'd like to continue making our music, appearing in various places while occasionally changing shape, not being shackled in frames.
Onmyōza is truly a serious band that has its feet tightly on the ground. The next day, I went to see their live show at LOFT. In contrast to their serious answers to the interview, it was a succession of radical headbanging. Kuroneko gave a performance where she appeared to be possessed by something, and on the other hand you had the funny banter of Matatabi and Tora between songs. It was a fully worked-out, fun concert that was like a roller coaster ride. It feels like they are going to get other fans than just the usual heavy metal folk, just like they said.
And also, it's nice to see that although their major label debut has been decided, they have preserved the unrestricted attitude of an amateur band, like driving the equipment car between Ōsaka and Tōkyō and doing management and designing visual concepts themselves. There are concerts planned for every month focusing on Ōsaka and Tōkyō. You absolutely must go and see them. You are bound to have fun!
Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20060110141554/kodansha.cplaza.ne.jp/indiesnetlive/special/onmyo1017i.html (change encoding to Shift_JIS)|