It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the masters of Space-Metal the legendary Esprit D’Air.
Let’s jump in with this: What the hell is a “Space Metal” band?
Kai: We were not sure at first, but the founder of Fierce Panda Records, Simon Williams described our music as “space metal” when he listened to “The Hunter”. After a while, we felt it was a good way to describe our music because we have some “otherworldly” and heavy themes in our music.
Where does the name Esprit D’Air come from?
Kai: It means “Spirit of Air” in French, but Esprit can also mean the soul or the mind. We simply thought it sounded nice—we all brainstormed for a name, and that was the name where we thought, “Yes, this is the one!”.
Where does “Space Metal” fit in the board Alternative scene?
Kai: If we had to really categorise our music, I guess it would close to metalcore, and progressive hard rock but space metal sounds cool… right?
What’s the inspiration behind your work?
Kai: We just love music, and we want to a part of changing and shaping it.
So you’re London based. How’s the scene there?
Kai: London is a great city, but it is also very competitive. I think it is one of the best music scenes in the world. There’s also quite a few Japanese bands who have started here in London too, which is rare to find in most cities.
If you could work with any three people who would they be?
Kai: Daishi and I both like Yuyoyuppe—a Japanese producer who composes beautiful hard rock and metalcore music. BABYMETAL, because why not… And finally, I would actually work with Coma again in some way. He was our last vocalist, but he did not appear in any recordings. He’s in Tokyo now, but he was an interesting guy with interesting ideas.
Ellis: Ross Robinson, the music producer because I want to see how intense it is producing a record with him. Whilst growing up, he produced some of best records from nu-metal bands I used to listen to. Rumour says he threw plants at one of his clients back in the 90’s to motivate them. Tetsu from L’Arc~en~Ciel and Toshiya from Dir en grey to see how they write their basslines. They still remain the most influential musicians I enjoy listening to today.
So who would you say is your greatest musical influence and why?
Kai: That is a tough question. Every Japanese band who plays rock would say X Japan. L’Arc~en~Ciel is one of my favorite bands, and I also love a lot of 80s metal bands like Iron Maiden. I wouldn’t say we sound anything like those bands though.
Ellis: Chi Cheng from Deftones because of his raw energy and power when he’s playing bass. I really like his stage presence!
Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Kai: Most of the time, we work on songs individually and compose all the instruments on our own. We do it this way because we think that each of us have our own vision of how a song is ultimately composed. At the same time, it doesn’t sound like it comes from three different bands because the three of us know what sound we are trying to achieve. It helps that each of us can play other instruments—for example. I am the guitarist, but I can play drums too, Daishi, our drummer can also play guitar and Ellis, our bassist as well. As long as we do not write parts that are just impossible for us to play, then this process works! Having said that, “Rebirth” was a construction of two songs merged together. Daishi wrote parts, and I wrote parts to it… then Ellis said, “Hey, these two songs could go together!”, and that was how Rebirth was composed.
Live shows. How do those work for you?
Kai: The crowd are good to us—the best shows are when they put in a performance as much as we do. It’s always great to rock out with them.
So your new single “Rebirth” is coming out soon. Could you give us the influence and story behind it?
Kai: All the lyrics are in Japanese. The concept is is about a “hero”, a ’saviour’ of a town, who regained his voice to sing again under the sky of stars. The first verse implies a beautiful view of audiences from stage, the middle talks about his bright future and he’s waiting for it and moving forward to it. Daishi, our drummer who painted the artwork took the concept and drew this. The figure in the painting is obviously the ‘hero/saviour’, and the crystal symbolizes “Rebirth” and him looking into his future. In a way, it is based on us as a band—we split up in 2013, when two members including our vocalist left and went back to Japan and the remaining three of us decided reform the band in June 2016, so I guess this is our “Rebirth”.
How does the sound of ‘Rebirth’ differ from your other work?
Kai: We have added a lot more electronic elements than we used to, and we really pushed to go further by fusing more ‘aggression’ with ‘melody’ like our past work. I would say it is our proudest work yet.
And the sound, is it genre changing, genre creating or is it something new -yet familiar?
Kai: I think it is somewhere between something new and new, yet familiar. I cannot say we have invented something entirely new, because we have obviously took a lot of influence from rock and metal bands. I would say because the three of us have different music tastes and influences.
What’s next for you?
Kai: We will be heading to Le Trianon in Paris on the 17th of December and back to London for our single launch party of ‘Rebirth’ on the 18th of December at Zigfrid von Underbelly.
Any advice for new bands?
Follow your own personal path and not others’ musical journey, and just be yourself.
In 2017, we’d hope to have finished our new album. We are in the middle of producing it right now. It’s coming together nicely, just got to keep working hard!
Any last words?