SIGH – Music is music
At Sigh inntok hovedstaden under Inferno-festivalen er i og for seg en stor nok hendelse, og at vi fikk Mirai til å fortelle noen knappe ord om utviklingen til bandet som har holdt det gående siden 1990 var stort. ”Dessverre” er Mirai engelsklærer av yrke, og jeg får prestasjonangst på sekundet når jeg må prate engelsk med de som behersker språket flytende. Til tross for dette klarte jeg å huske noen av spørsmålene jeg hadde klargjort og resultatet kan du lese her:
E-T: Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Mirai: No problem.
E-T: What I want to know is this; is there a message in Sigh’s music?
Mirai: I personally do not put any messages in the music. Music is music, it expresses feelings. I will not call it a message at all; it’s an expression of my feelings. You know? Inner things, I just want the fans to feel it.
E-T: Because your music has progressed a lot since the start in 1990.
Mirai: Yes. Superficially the music will sound a little bit different from the beginning, but I personally think that the background is the same. We always wanted to mix the ugly things with the beautiful things, that was what we intended from the beginning. The technology has progressed a lot since the ’90 and our musical ability has progressed a lot to so the sound is a lot better then at the beginning. I basically think that the background and our intention has been the same.
E-T: So the music has only changed because of your maturing, technological advances and a maturing of the writing technique?
E-T: Which Sigh album is the best in your opinion?
Mirai: The next one!
E-T: Always “the next one”…
Mirai: Yeah. It will always be the next one.
E-T: I am sorry to say that I haven’t heard the latest Sigh album “Hangman’s Hymn” yet, so I was wondering if you could describe it for me. Is it a progression from “Gallows Gallery”?
Mirai: It is totally different from “Gallows Gallery”, but it is very fast, heavy and symphonic at the same time. I think this is going to be the most intense album from Sigh. Some people might think it is more back to our roots, but I personally think it is quite different from our early stuff. It’s very thrashy, it’s a mixture of the eighties thrash and the German symphony/opera.
E-T: Are you then back to the “Hail, Horror, Hail” –era?
Mirai: Yeah, kind of, but it is not as avant-garde as HHH. It is a pretty complicated album. It’s got ten tracks, but all the tracks are connected to each other so it can be listened to as one track that lasts for forty five minutes.
E-T: Is the intention behind all Sigh’s albums that you are supposed to listen to them as a whole? Kind of like a soundtrack to your life?
Mirai: Yes, but not quite. I would not call “Hangman’s Hymn” a concept-album because there is no strong story behind, but it all connects both musically and lyrically. It is a much deeper album than any of our previous works.
E-T: What inspired you originally to start playing extreme music?
Mirai: In the eighties I started to listen to heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. Heavy metal was very popular in the eighties and I had many Heavy metal fans among my class mates. Then I started digging deeper and deeper, I started searching for faster, heavier and more intense music. I started listening to thrash metal, like Venom and Slayer. I was kind of a violent person, you know?
E-T: Was there a great metal environment when you grew up? Was there a big crowd or were you an outsider?
Mirai: I think I was kind of an outsider. Even thou heavy metal was mainstream in the eighties I still felt like an outsider.
E-T: And how is the scene in Japan now? Is it socially axcepted, or are you still an outsider?
Mirai: Heavy metal is not mainstream at all; it is for the minorities now. Punk is much bigger now.
E-T: What about the old Sigh fans that came aboard during the first two albums? Are they still around today or have you lost them due to the changes in your musical expressions?
Mirai: I’m not sure. Some die-hard fans like everything from the beginning to the end, but I am quite sure that some still claim that the first two was the best. But I understand and respect their opinion.
E-T: Especially with the (black) metal fans there are some that are very, hum; lets call it “narrow minded” when it comes to their approach to new releases by their favourite bands. You can’t change the music too much, because then they leave on account of you not being “true” anymore.
Mirai: Yes, and I understand their opinion, because there are many bands whose first albums I like the best. Exodus made their best effort on the first album, the rest… Well.
E-T: Yeah, but with their two latest releases they are coming back again. He he.
Mirai: Yes, well, but it is impossible to top their first album. I really understand our fans there; they might say the same thing about us.
E-T: Do you feel that you have accomplished everything you could with Hangman’s Hymns?
Mirai: Well, yeah, but we finished recording the album last year and these last months I see some points that could have been better but it’s impossible to… Whenever we’ve been finishing of the recording of a new album we feel that we have done everything we wanted to do, but as the time goes by you always realise that there are some points that could have been better because we always progress as musicians. I think that it’s very natural.
E-T: You could always a new album similar to the last one and correct the errors that way, but them again you will get a lot of similar albums and you have not really progressed at all. Are you gonna collect the loose threads and start making the next album already?
Mirai: No. First I have to think of the concept of the album, but I have still not come up with any new ideas.
E-T: Will you be doing a lot of touring to promote the album?
Mirai: There is the U.S. tour this summer. Unfortunately the Europe tour has not been confirmed yet, but we hope to play Europe again too.
E-T: For 17 years you have been creating and playing music in Sigh; what motivates you to keep going?
Mirai: I think that it is pretty much spontaneity; music is my life, it is in my blood. Sometimes I wonder why I keep playing music after 17 years without making any big money or anything, but it’s in my blood.
E-T: What is the best experience that you can recall from these 17 years with Sigh?
Mirai: Meeting cool people from all over the world, that is the best thing. Playing for the big festivals.
E-T: And the worst?
Mirai: The worst? Well, you know. The worst has to cope with our stupid guitarist, that is the worst thing!
E-T: What can you tell us about the metal scene in Japan?
Mirai: There are many death metal bands and some black metal bands and some of them are cool. The scene itself is very small, but some people might think that Japan is a heavy metal heaven because there are some “big in Japan” melodic death metal and melodic power metal bands from Europe and the U.S. The reason that the domestic scene is so small is that most people think that heavy metal is something from the west, that it is not music played by Japanese people, witch I think is true in a way because it is a western kind of music. The Japanese people prefer to listen to and support the foreign bands instead of the domestic bands, but I understand their feelings.
E-T: If they listen to foreign bands the interest for metal will grow and generate more fans. Is that something that can help the domestic scene to grow?
Mirai: I don’t think that the domestic scene has been growing. In the eighties the domestic scene was bigger and it has been going downhill since then. There are some supporters of course, but the scene itself has gotten a lot smaller.
E-T: Why has the scene decreased since the eighties? Has other forms of music, like punk taken over, or is it just that all the old fans have grown up, gotten children and tired of music?
Mirai: I don’t know the reason, but heavy metal has gotten smaller and smaller in Japan. I think that for some people heavy metal might be the music from the past, unfortunately.
E-T: So you are looking forward into the future instead of clinging on to the old days?
Mirai: Yes, there seem to be a heavy metal revival in Europe and the U.S. so it might happen in Japan again to.
E-T: What can we expect from your live show?
Mirai: It’s an honour to perform in Norway since our first album was released here, so we are looking forward to it. We will do our best.
E-T: Will you be playing music from the old albums?
Mirai: Basically. Most of the tracks are from the old albums.
E-T: Any final messages before we end this interview?
Mirai: Yes: We have a website that you can go to for more information.
E-T: That’s right; and it’s the best and most informative website I have ever seen for a metal band!
Mirai: That’s cool, thanks.
E-T: Are you involved in the website yourself?
Mirai: No, I have a moderator from the U.S. and he has been doing it very well. He he.
Besøk the Slaughtergarden her: http://sigh.gospel-virus.net/ Klikker du inn på discography og begynner å lytte til smakebiter av låtene, kan det hende du blir sittende lengre enn du hadde tenkt.