Interview with Sigh frontman, Mirai
by Vulgardemon and Lucifera
Sigh is an experimental Japanese Black Metal band who have been around since the boom of black metal around the world. They are stranger than your average black metal band now days, and they are not crazy of how BM has become a trend to the minions who use it without knowing its true meaning.
They have been on Cacophonous Records since their 1995 release Infidel Art and also released on that label was their mini-album Ghastly Funeral Theater. Mirai, Sighís outstanding vocalist and extreme bassist and keyboardist, has labeled their music "Horror Music with Class". Sigh is a bands fascinated with murderers, victims and death, they are inspired by heavy & thrash metal but can not be called retro. They are well educated in classical & jazz music which is prevalent in their style of black metal.
Mirai along with bandmates Shinichi (guitarist) who plays his battleaxe like heís not only at war but wants to sadistically slice humanity to pieces when he gets into his sensational solos, and Satoshi (drummer) beating on those skins that it makes you feel like you are caught in the middle of a battlefield. Together these guys make an outstanding trio. Those of you who didnít catch these guys in NYC playing live at CBGBís (Sat.) along with the ungodly Deceased should be impaled!!!
Well, it was a weekend of excellent shows along with Cannibal Corpse and Angel Corpse at Coney Island High, and Impaled Nazarene at The Bank it was hard to choose but those who didnít bother with Sigh missed out on a supreme performance. Mirai even came out in a torn and bloody business suit.... absolutely original! Vulgardemon and I were amazed when they started playing covers of Venom songs and turned us into a couple of headbanging maniacs (we did the same for Deceased, of course... we were metal thrashing mad, ha, ha). Anyway, I will scold you no more, although you who did not go deserve worse, here is the interview you anticipated...
1.How do you feel after your first days in NYC?
Is it what you expected?
M-I think itís a very nice city, maybe much better than Japan, less crowded & many good record stores. I like it a lot.
2.You mentioned that the scene in NY is similar to Japanís, in what ways are they similar?
M-I think the turnout is quite the same as in Japan, I hear that many people support New York bands. Is it true? You people do not support?
L-In a way it is true, thereís not that much of a crowd here like there used to be, there used to be a big crowd but not anymore (also there were 3 shows this weekend) but we hope it will increase with the support of bookers, promoters, bands and zinesters. Those who attend these shows are the ones who deserve many thanks!!
M-Itís quite similar to Japan, the Japanese people do not support the Japanese bands that much.
3.Have you visited some place in NY that you found fascinating?
M-Actually, we only went to record stores & havenít been out sight seeing, so I canít tell, to us the most fascinating place was the record store. It was quite nice to find them.
L-Was it Lethal CDS.
M-Yeah, weíve been to most of the cityís stores which deal with heavy metal stuff. We found a lot of rare stuff which we canít find in Japan.
4.How do you feel about playing at CBGBís which has significant history in the underground music scene?
M- This is our first show in the USA, so we are looking forward to it. We hope we can do our best & we can get a good reaction from the audience.
5.Tell us a little about Hail Horror Hail?
What horrors do you refer to?
M-Hail Horror Hail was recorded from April-June in 1997 and we wanted to make it as strange as possible because now weíre into a lot of experimental music such as fee jazz or Frank Zappa, John Sorin, contemporary classical music. We wanted to mix those things with old thrash metal, black metal & heavy metal & wanted to make it sound as scary as possible, you know, as horror soundtracks and I think it came out as we expected. It turned out quite good.
Daily horror (is what we refer to) rather than horror movies, such as murder & death. Today you can be murdered, there are a lot of horror things in your daily life but I like to expose it with our music.
6.Do you enjoy reading about serial killers?
M-YEAH!!! (hmm too fascinated if you ask me-L), Iím a BIG fan of serial killers. I bought lots of books on serial killers in the US.
L-Which ones did you find the most interesting?
M-Well, maybe Charles Witwong (Witman?!).
7.I understand you have a fascination with death does this allow you to enjoy life more?
M-Yeah, because itís very sad that you have to die sooner or later. I think most of the people are fascinated with death, on TV programs you can see lots of accidents, miserable things. Thatís because people want to watch other peopleís deaths. They are fascinated with death but are not aware of that. Iím fascinated with it and I donít think thereís much difference between me and other people, just that I am aware.
8.You mentioned in an interview with Terrorizer that
"People are afraid of death but death fascinates people too." I feel this is not always the case, people are more afraid of what happens after death and that this brings about the unanswered question of why we exist. What do you think of this?
Have you heard of Leilah Wendell and the Azreal Project she writes and is obsessed with death?
M-Personally, I donít think thereís a reason that we exist, we just exist without reason. People tend to find (a reason) why we exist & find the meaning of life but I think itís quite ridiculous, we just die, thereís no more things behind life & death.
M-No never (heard of Leilah Wendel & Westgate)
L-They are supporters of Azreal as the personification of death and are an organization that emphasizes on the beauty of death and are based here in New Orleans, LA,USA. We have an interview in issue #3/4 of END.Zine. You can contact them at: Westgate Press- 5219 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115 USA.
9.I noticed that Sigh are much more serious about music and that you are trained in classical and jazz music? Is this a subject you studied while you where in Sigh or before that?
M-I started learning about music theories about 8 years ago. When we recorded our 1st demo in 1990. I didnít know anything about music theory but I like to express feelings with music, so I started learning. I think Requiem for 7" EP released in 1992, this first stuff is where I used the musical theory I acquired. We are quite serious about music, I think itís natural to learn about music, as a musical. With more theories you can write & arrange music much better and you can express your feelings musically. Without theories itís quite hard to get the sound you want.
10.How do you feel about Cacophonous Records? Will you continue working with them for your next album? Do you have any new material in the works? What can my readers obtain from Sigh and Cacophonous Records?
M-I must say theyíre not good. They donít treat us well. They do things too slowly. When HHH was out we had to wait 4 months to receive our own copies & it was absurd Ďcos we canít sell any copies after 4 months because people already bought it. What could we do, we got 100 copies. ( If you donít have a copy try to get it from Sigh-L)
L- Are you planning on continuing with them? Has any other label shown interest in you?
M-Actually, we were negotiating with CENTURY MEDIA but we have to do one more album with Cacophonous Records & they said they would sue us if we go to Century Media.
L-So you have to finish the contract.
M-Yeah, but we want to leave them as soon as possible because theyíre too lazy and theyíre not fair enough.
(About new material)Weíre thinking of recording the new album called Scenery for the Dread Dreams for November. We have a lot of ideas and many riffs but they arenít assembled into the tracks completely yet. We will have a few complete tracks soon.
(Obtainable merchandise)At the moment, Iíve got only Hail Horror Hail copies. But I think you can get Infidel Art the 2nd album and Ghastly Funeral Theater from Cacophonous and they have t-shirts in their catalog but I donít think itís out yet.
11.I also noticed that you are not ashamed to mention your influences unlike many other bands or people. From Frank Zappa, Kreator, Black Sabbath to Schoenberg. How do you feel about those who can not deal with the different musical styles that have emerged in metal music?
M-Itís up to you, I can understand if you donít like horror music because itís too extreme & too non-metal. The die-hard black metal fans will never like us. We put so much different elements of music like Zappa, heavy metal, classical music, jazz and anything that we love. Itís up to you. I donít care (laughs).
I wonít force people to listen to or like our music, itís alright. Iím sure itís love or hate. Thatís the way I like it.
12.What do you think of the book Lords of Chaos?
M-I just bought it a few days ago, I found it at the airport, itís quite surprising that this was there.
L.-Wow! At the Airport?! (laughs)
M.-Yeah, I was thinking of buying it when I came here but I never thought that I would find it at the Chicago, OíHare. (Laughs) Havenít you seen it.
L-I havenít seen it at the airports, thatís a surprise to me.
M-I havenít read it yet but it looks interesting.
V-They have a picture of Sigh in the book.
M-I found a lot of interesting pictures of MAYHEM & some other black metal bands (pictures) that were never released before.
13.Many people donít understand band imagery & find it unnecessary what can you say to this?
M-I think band image is very important. I guess most Heavy Metal bands have long hair, thatís an image too. Thereís not much difference between having long hair and having corpse paint, itís the same. Itís a style. If you play occultic music & you play in Bermuda shorts and basketball shoes, I think thatís ridiculous. Itís important to look like the music that you play. I think itís natural and yes, very important
14.I am curious as to how you learned English? Do you prefer singing in Japanese or English?
M-Iím always trying to write lyrics in Japanese & some tracks on Hail Horror Hail were written in Japanese. Japanese has a very strange pronunciation because each letter contains a vowel, so itís very hard to put the Japanese language into rock music or heavy metal. So, I think English fits much better, also I grew up listening to thrash metal bands for the US for a long time.
L- So you already had an interest in knowing what they were singing about.
M-I also wanted the listener to know about what I am thinking & singing about. If I sang in Japanese, most people wouldnít understand what I am singing about.
15.Would you consider yourselves part of the black metal scene?
M- Yes I used to be proud of being categorized as black metal. It was really exciting around 1992 and 1993 but these days I feel that being labeled as a black metal band becomes very limiting. So many people refuse to listen to us because we are black metal.
16.Would you agree with ideals of the Norwegian black metal bands?
M- I was quite impressed with Euronymousí activities and beliefs, so I think it used to be great in the early 90's but afterwards it became a trend Ďcos so many little kids try to burn churches.
After KERRANG and Grishnach was on the cover, so many kids jumped on it and started burning churches and it became quite cheesy and very childish thing. At first it was quiet exciting.
L-The idea was stronger!
M-Yeah? And the 80's, there were many thrash metal bands with satanic images & thatís all they were, image (in the 80's) nothing else.The Norwegian bands were the 1st to do it so it was quite interesting.
17. Do you consider to have your own hatred for christianity? What do you think of satanism?
Iím interested in satanism as occultism. As I am from Japan and do not go to church on Sundays and we donít learn anything about the bible at school. We donít have anything against X-tianity. We are not interested in it.
L-So thereís no way of them trying to get into Japan and influencing you?
V-Letís go (to Japan). (laughs)
L-Weíre moving to Japan with Sigh.
M-If you claim to be X-tian in Japan you will be weird or strange. (More laughs)
I think most of the Japanese are atheistic because they donít believe in any religion or gods. We just hold funeral rites, wedding parties according to Buddhism or X-tianity itís nothing more than formal. When satanism is a kind of a anti-Xtianity, I think thereís no point in singing about satanism in Japan, so I prefer to sing about oriental occultism. Japanese Occultism.
18.I understand you are more into Shinto and Buddhism, why are these more acceptable to you? Do you have interests in Ninjitsu?
M- As I said, satanism is opposition of X-tianity but buddhism has both sides of malevolent use and benevolence. It is believed that you can heal a disease by chanting mantra and you can curse someone too by chanting mantra.
L-So they have more of a balance?!
Itís quite interesting and they have their special style fighting & they have thier own weapons.
Is it popular here?
L-Itís become very popular here.
M-Ultimate fighting. Some fighters claim he learned ninjitsu or something, it was quite strange because in Japan we donít have any place were you can learn ninjitsu.
L-You donít have any school at all!!??
M-No, Itís a kind of legend in Japan.
L-Is is something that has become incorporated, more of a business.
M-I think so. In Japan, of course, you can learn Karate, Judo, or Jujitsu but no Ninjitsu...itís a good legend.
19.What do you think of Japanimation? Itís very big here in the U.S.
M-Japan what? (Laughs)
M-Oh, I know itís big in the U.S. because when Morbid Angel came to Japan they bought a lot of toys..but in Japan those who are into animation and those kind of toys are very childish. Cos, Glenn Danzig used to like a lot of stuff.
L-Have you ever watched one and heard the music used for it. Donít you think you would do a better putting some of that demonik music on there.(laughs)
M-Yeah. I think itís strange. Do you consider it to be strange if someone tells you theyíre in to Japanimation?
L-No! Itís big here.
V-They have channels for that (such as Sci-Fi).
L-There are stores too.
M.-In Japan, if you are more than 20 (years old) you canít say you like Japanimation (more laughs). You have to hide it.
L-Theyíll think youíre immature.
20.The theme of Endemoniada is mostly female oriented bands, are you familiar with Tyrant and what do you think of the emerging females in our musical underground?
Could you mention a few that you enjoy?
M-I think itís great! Unfortunately, ther arenít many female bands in Japan. Tyrant, have a female keyboardist, they broke up but they were beaten up by black metal fans.
L-Why is that?
M-Because they steal a lot of money & bandsí equipment so they are hated by everybody & have been beaten up!
L-Wow! So now we know.
M-Well, Hellion who did release a record in the 80's, I think had a female vocalist.
L-And I think one of you were wearing a Great Kat t-shirt.
M-Yeah, Great Kat is great, quite funny.
L. Oh, so you find her humorous..o.k.
21.Any last words?
Thank you very much for the interview & have a home page on the internet and you can get the latest info. You can e-mail me.
Special thanx to Sigh for this devilish interview, Sigh are really down to earth and pleasent to speak with. I hope I didnít freak him out too much... I do that sometimes, ha, ha.
To contact them :
Mirai Kawashima- 406 -6 Mizuno, Sayama-shi, Saitama 350-1317, Japan
or try the internet address: Http: //www.asahi-net.or.jp/~ndbm-kwsm