1.First of all, can you explain your band name, Yvonxhe?|
It's said unique quite often, we also think so. Honestly, we chose just alphabets randomly without any thought of meaning. We did not even know how to read it. Listeners might have some stereotype from a meaning of band name, If we have strong purpose to explain one clear ideology, it would be very important to have a meaning on the band name. However, we wanted to understand Black metal more flexibly, and explain all kinds of emotion. That's why we chose this unknown band name. We call it 'Ivoncshe', since when I asked my American friend how to pronounce it, he said so. He was actually quite stumped. You know, it's like that foreigners make an original Kanji and ask someone how to read. So this band name has no meaning, and this is our commitment to this band.
We joined this band as a support player. When I know this name, I thought it's a cool name. I currently know how to read.
I thought that taste of music would be changing since we formed this band. Sometimes we are called primitive Black Metal, but we were just primitive since we have been doing our recording by ourselves in earlier, and did not know any technics. We have no specific taste of music, but it's more important how chemistry we can create with these members. So we play Black Metal for now, but we don't know how it goes. We'll just chase our way to explain.
2: I have been living in Japan for 15 years, but I hardly find Japanese people who like Metal, especially Black metal music. What is the reason do you think? How did meet Black Metal?
There are few Black Metal lovers in Japan. First of all, Metal music in broad sense is not getting much attention. Japan is known by popularity of Metal music, but I think it should be popularity of foreign music. Some time ago, listening to foreign music has been kind of a fashion in Japan for a long time. In that situation of 80's, a lot of people found Heavy Metal music that was very popular in Western countries. When it came 90's, Heavy Metal music boom got calming down in Western countries. But it was still popular in Japan due to jet lag. That's why Heavy Metal bands thought that Metal music was still very popular in Japan when they saw a lot of Metal fans during Japan tour. It's same as Japanese Metal fans. However, in 21st century, that situation is changing. A border between foreign music and domestic music is disappearing. First of all, the priority of listening to music is dropping. Moreover, most of Japanese have never listened to Metal music, and have no interests in it. This is the fact. The less people find Black Metal music. You know what, not everyone enjoys these kinds of music, and I have no dissatisfaction about this. There is underground scene all the time that never stops. In ordinary life, we hardly meet Black Metal fans. But once you step in underground scene, it changes. Very deep arguments are rolled out there. So once you step in that culture, you won't feel any loneliness. How I met Black Metal is, when I was college student, I formed a band with a record store staff, and he told me Mayhem and Burzum and these kinds of famous bands. I loved Thrash Metal like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Destruction, Pantera, so it was quite fresh for me. Then I started to dig Black Metal and still I do. I think meeting Black Metal is linked to 'Meeting someone who has deep knowledge'.
Shit-Cho told me when Deathspell Omega released "Si monvmentvm reqvires, circvmspice"(2004). I had known Black Metal, but haven't been paying attention to it. But after I got shocked by expression of Deathspell Omega, I threw my biased view and started to listen to Black Metal. I've never met the music that awake darkness in my heart.
3. Yvonxhe remainds me bands in 90's, especially Legion Noires. I think there are many bands inspired by French Black Metal in Japan. What do you think?
I think it is because most of the bands that inspired us are from 80's and 90's. We are not conscious French bands very much, but we often feel sympathy when we listened to French bands. I guess it's because our sense of beauty is resonant with that of them. I'm glad that people have that kind of impression with our music, but honestly we don't adopt those tastes to our music with any conscious. Also we're not very into those music. I guess we have been inspired more by Death Metal and N.W.O.B.H.M that we have been listening to before we met Black Metal.
4. Only two (too short) EPs and an (too short) album made Yvonxhe the hope of world's Trve BM. Do you care about reviews from Japan, and overseas?
I was very surprised when I saw review about us written in overseas after releasing first EP, even not having released full album. Black Metal fan's sensitivity of antenna is crazy. I'm curious about reviews about us, but it don't affect our sounds. Our music is very withdrawn, and it's very important to go to depth of consciousness. When I write songs, someone's opinions are just noise for me. I'm just interested in how people feel for my finished work. So I check our review after releasing stuff. I read review in Trashocore. We are sorry for too short stuff.
5: You make songs that represent Hate, Anger, Frustration, Revenge. Most of foreigners think that Japan is very easy place to live, like 'Japanese people are very kind', 'Japan is peaceful country', 'Japan is very safe place'. So I'm very surprised that you make these kinds of songs. Where does Anger come from?
You know that Japan is peaceful and safe, abundant country, even came down more or less. But there is no hungry spirit in our national character, there are some weird feeling that is not filled all the time. Japan is the county that requires perfection.
People take everything for granted. Trains are working on time, not late even 1 min. Unfortunately we are imperfect and could not adjust that perfect system. That makes the world hard to live. Once you become a minority, you'll never be able to come back. You don't get a second chance. Because of political problem, betrayal government, fake patriots, fucking left wing that never unity, and many kinds of problems, we are about to be flickered away and lose place to live. Of course we have not only 'Anger' but also more 'Sadness' , and 'Death' is not very far from us. Actually I find myself like dead quite often. Our Black Metal is not fantasy that praises nonexistent devil, real world is hell enough. Japan looks like fulfilled enough physically, however the atmosphere that covers Japan now is quite freaky. It's just escaping to myth from real world if you imitate foreign Black Metal because it's just Black Metal. We should see through the truth of the things.
Japan is a good country. I'm happy to be Japanese. However, it's not that I have no dissatisfaction. Truths are not visible all the time. Feeling of strange irritability, alienation, inferiority, dislike, despair, these are behind us all the time, and not easy to take away. As a fact, these negative emotions exist, but the reason of that is not usually clear. They come from weakness or greediness that people have since they are born. It's impossible to correct. We might want tentative relief to make these internal reasons visible somehow. Nobel, picture, music, movie. there are several formats, and we just chose Black Metal. In that connection, let me say I like Japan pretty much.
6. Music of Yvonxhe doesn't have Japanese taste, but artwork is Japanese stuff all the time. I'd like to hear about that. Are they old drawings? Why did you choose that kinds of drawings? (I love them!)
Thank you. As you said, we used old Japanese drawings. Artwork of 1st EP is from 'Hell book', 1st album is from 'Gaki book', 2nd EP is from famous Ukiyoe in 19th century.(Gaki=People who were deformed uglily to pay for their sin after death since they were too greedy in their life.) The reason why we chose these old Japanese drawings is that we want to focus on the world and curiosity after death that people feared at that time again. Fear for strange things is the spirit that is common in all Black Metal. We don't have any Japanese taste in our music, but we wanted to explain these kinds of spirits in our artwork, then 'a picture of Hell' came to my mind the earliest. That was the beginning. I hardly listened to classical Japanese music, so there is no influence in my music, but I'm familiar with classical drawing and that's why things went so. As unexpected miscalculation, a lot of good feedback like 'cool' about our artwork come from listener in overseas. It's just old hand stained Japanese drawing for us, but probably fresh from the view of overseas. We are also satisfied in point of fact that we are letting people know that this is Japanese Black Metal clearly. We are thinking about collaboration with current Japanese artists, not only using old stuff. We are interested in original artwork too.
7. There are few Japanese bands that made international career, Do you think there is any problem among Japanese bands?
The reason why Black Metal does not settle in and the bands that make international carrier don't show up should be involved not only to sounds but also problem of context. It's quite easy to make sounds like pretty much Black Metal. It's not important. As we can see it in history of art, evaluations of famous artists or arts are formed with being involved to historical event in that era. We can say Black Metal is most far away from Japan if we see the Black Metal from North Europe is historically mainstream. To receive international reputation, with taking over mainstream of Black Metal, we have to show new sense of value and sounds, and add some new contexts. Where are we from and where will we go? With thinking about that kind of things, there are definitely things that all the more Japanese Black Metal can do or explain to the world. You know Sigh's avant-garde Black Metal is quite Japanese and well received. This is because they know that they are wrong course. Imitating foreign sounds has no meaning. We should gaze 'who we are' deeply.
I'm not sure if it's right to bring BABYMETAL as an example, but they were just like parody of X-JAPAN in Japan. But when they advanced overseas, they quickly came close to big artists. Of course there are pros and cons but when they were accepted by heavy metal legends, they grandly committed to Black Metal history. A music magazine "BURRN!!" that keeps ignoring them looks older burden. Actually that magazine evaluates only old bands as authentic, so their attitude for newer scene is quite chilling. Of course it's also same for domestic young bands and underground scene. That magazine evaluates new music in 100 points, but even that page is bought! That's fucking bullshit.
That's why the Black Metal scene in Japan has been divided for a long time, and there is no connection between famous bands like Sigh, and young Black Metal bands. Some time ago, there was no supporting system for domestic bands, so they just had to distribute their stuff to overseas. In other words, old bands are great but they haven't contributed to make domestic scene, and hardly hook up the young. Now Zero Dimensional Records is giving great contribution for domestic scene, and more and more people make fanzine and release information. More and more bands are coming from overseas so there will be more chances for Japanese bands.
8: I saw the comments below quite often. 'EP ends just after I started to listen and sit. Album is too short.' Why don't you make song that is more than 2 minutes?
This is the result that we have been chasing the thrill. We tried to not make the moments that people can forecast. However, personally I don't think our stuffs are too short. There might be right length. So it will depend on what we express in the future.
If the length of the song was indication for the value, X-JAPAN's Art Of Life would be the masterpiece (that song is shit, only long, no fun). It's boring that most of Japanese music are going like 1st chorus, then 2nd verse with similar arrange. Breaking existing stereotype and style is our philosophy and we are keeping that style, even we know we will be criticized. About the stuff we made so far, even these short lengths have meaning. However, now direction is changing a bit and we are not obsessed about it.
We don't feel any needs for that. We are not stick to short length. However, we don't think we should make it usual length. My first improvisation work for Yvonxhe was 1 and half min with some riffs. Since that was prototype, I supposed to make it usual length, like 4-5 min. But once I listened to it, it's certainly short but enough to enjoy. Then I thought I don't have to refrain the riffs to make it longer. When I asked to Diezine about that, he agreed to my ideas. On that stance, we have just short tunes, but we want to say that it's NOT our identity.