Salvatore's interview today is with the guitarist and main vocalist for a Melodic Death Metal band from Japan, who happen to sway into other genres. Learn all about GYZE (which includes how to pronounce their name) while she asks her usual questions.
You can also find the link to the interview in Japanese at the end of the piece.
Salvatore: Could you please tell us something about the band?
Ryoji: We are GYZE from the most north island of Japan, Hokkaido, in 2011 we started GYZE, before that we were called Suicide Heaven. After the huge earthquake disaster of 2011 the band was renamed to GYZE. We released 4 albums worldwide up to now. Our musical style is Melodic Death Metal, Power Metal, Folk Metal... and recently we put Symphonic on new songs.
GYZE has been active overseas in many different ways — starting with a debut release via an Italian record company in 2013 and later co-operating with a big German booking agency. We’ve performed on big international festivals such as 70000 Tons of Metal, Summer Breeze, and Leyendas del Rock, and even supporting Battle Beast on their long European tour. Every time performing overseas, we were thinking “What is our unique weapon on the world Metal market?” and then I realised it's our Japanese origin that can distinguish us from thousands of other bands. That’s why even in the artwork I decided to make an accent on a recognisable symbol of Japan — a strong and noble Samurai warrior.
S: How are you guys handling the current Covid-19 crisis and the quarantine?
R: Well, we cancelled all our shows since the start of Covid-19, but we changed the band’s activity. For example we started YouTube Live, sale merchandise and guitar score on GYZE online shop, and I started online guitar lessons... Also now we are making new songs, we have full filled days. And please subscribe to the GYZE YouTube channel.
S: What was the defining moment that made you say “music is my life”?
R: When I was 3 or 4 years old, I listened to Ghibli songs at kindergarten, at that time I got goosebumps... then I started classical guitar, and then I found Kiss! It was decisive. I decided to be a ROCK STAR!
S: Have you ever thought about your musical journey?
R: I’m always feeling a journey when I am making songs, even listening to not my own songs too. For example when I listen to Beethoven, I’m travelling to 300 years ago in Germany and also when I’m playing Japanese old flute at a shrine, those songs were made over 1000 years ago, but I can feel a 1000 years old Japanese feeling.
S: Any plans for a new album, song, merch?
R: We are making new songs now but we haven’t decide how to use then, album or EP or single... but they are very, very good songs! Definitely next level songs.
And we are selling merch on GYZE.jp. I worked hard on making guitar scores!
S: What can you tell us about your last album and some of its tracks?
R: When creating ASIAN CHAOS I knew what I wanted to achieve. I had many songs waiting to be finished and released, but I chose those that had the most Japanese feel to them for the strongest impact. Also, I invited the oldest Japanese traditional orchestra Gagaku with my friend Yohei Nakagawa to take part in the recording. Moreover, my good friend Marc Hudson, the vocalist of DragonForce, performs guest vocals on one of the songs.
S: Any touring plans for after Coronavirus?
R: No, all tours were cancelled, and we’ll not go on tour 'till over the Corona, but we haven’t? decided where yet?
S: What do you like to do in your downtime?
R: Recently I like singing Japanese old Pop songs with an acoustic guitar, and I really like fishing...!!!
S: Who or what is your music inspiration?
R: My favourite musician is Beethoven. He was the genius of geniuses... and many Metal band’s music gave me inspiration: Kiss, Iron Maiden, COB, Arch Enemy, DragonForce, etc. But recently I haven’t been listening to Heavy Metal, only a lot of Classical, Folk music and some old Japanese Pop. Maybe it adds to our unique style, because if I listened only to Metal, it would be boring. All the songs are similar, so I have to get inspiration from other genres.
S: Do you have a message for your fans?
R: KONNICHIWA!! We are GYZE! Pronounce is Gi-ze. Lol not Guys.
You can now listen to our new album ASIAN CHAOS on Spotify, Apple Music etc…
You can feel a real Japanese atmosphere on ASIAN CHAOS and we hope to get to your town on our next tour!! See you soon!!