Have you started recording the follow-up to Hail Horror Hail? What can we expect from this new full-length?
No, we haven’t started recording the new album yet. We hope to start recording it in November and it will be entitled Scenario IV: Dread Dreams. Musically, it will sound like something between Hail Horror Hail and Infidel Art, but the new album isn’t going to be as hard to get used to as Hail Horror Hail. Actually, I haven’t finished the lyrics yet, so I cannot tell the details, but I’m thinking of handling the status between dream and reality, being the key concept the Dream. In this dream, anything can happen and the past, present and future can co-exist. We are trying to express these feelings with music this time. I’ve just programmed the theme for the album entitled Funeral Waltz, which is obviously the most beautiful song I’ve ever composed. This album will be more tonal, whereas Hail Horror Hail was more atonal-driven. The songs are equally symphonic, but even dreamier than those on Infidel Art. I will also use more choir effects, which are way more “real” this time.
Why do you think Japanese bands aren’t getting more recognition abroad (unlike yours or Abigail)?
The reason is very simple: there aren’t many bands worth the worldwide recognition. Most of the Japanese Metal bands aren’t original or innovative at all, as their aim is just to copy the foreign leading bands and lots of fans appreciate it too (it is totally ridiculous). It is true that we’ve got the geographical disadvantage, but just look at the Hard Core and Noise scene, where so many Japanese bands are recognised worldwide. I also think that the Japanese bands that have their own style are getting fairly recognised. Abigail and Sabbat are getting known more and more and Ritual Carnage is now on Osmose Productions. If you have your own style, it isn’t difficult to break down the wall.
Since the press still sees you as an Euronymous’ offspring, do you think it would be wise to regard Sigh has, perhaps, just another Black or Thrash Metal band, in view of the fact that your music is now incorporating even more experimental subtleties?
If Euronymous would be alive, we would still be on Deathlike Silence Productions now. However, we do not call Sigh a Black Metal band because Black Metal was a symbol of evocation of old Trash Metal bands against trendy, boring Death Metal – even though our musical style has always had roots from so-called Black Metal – but now we’ve realised being categorised as Black Metal does nothing than limiting the fans. If you want to express the horror feeling, brutal thrashy sound is not the only way to achieve it, as you can express it by solo piano or you can do it with full orchestration too. Combining many styles of music is not our main purpose, because we just choose the best way to express our feelings, and sometimes it may be Metal and sometimes classical music. That is the reason you can feel why Sigh touches various musical styles, I guess. It isn’t easy to tell what is important in our music and what is not, as we just want to express the negative things in the world. You know, Horror movies are recognised as one of the decent genres in movies, which means some people want that negative expression and, basically, we want to do that with our music.
There’s no denying that Thrash Metal is Sigh’s musical foundation. When did you start listening to it and do you think this genre is still being kept true by this new wave of young bands?
Yes, Thrash Metal is one of our biggest influences. We all grew up listening to lots of Thrash Metal bands in the 80s when we were teenagers, so it is impossible to avoid their influences. We do love bands like Celtic Frost, Venom, At War, Necrophagia, Post Mortem, Wehrmacht, NME, Possessed, Aggression and many others. Those bands were truly powerful and they were true Metal for us. To me, Thrash Metal belongs to the past; retro Thrash seems to be trendy these days, but I am such a fool to be reluctant to check out new bands, so I prefer to listen to the bands which I listened ten years ago. These days I spend most of my money on classical experimental music rather than in Metal, which may be the proof that I am getting old.
You said that Euronymous inspired you a lot in terms of life-style and philosophies. How did you two first meet and how critical might you be about what happened between him and Vikernes?
Our relations began when I sent Euronymous a tape of the Requiem for Fools EP in 1992. He happened to like it and offered us a record deal, which we immediately accepted, since we liked what he was doing and there weren’t any labels that were interested in the stuff influenced by early Thrash Metal at the time. Unfortunately, I was not able to see him in person, but we often talked on the phone about music and thoughts and I totally adored his innovative ideas. At that time, I totally agreed with his views and actions, although I must admit that now I am getting older and it makes me disagree with him on some of those issues.
What happened between Euronymous and Vikernes must have been their personal matter. Some claim that Vikernes would have been killed if he hadn’t done it, so I have no right to criticise him. However, considering that without Euronymous we would have never had the opportunity to release an album – and would have probably disbanded as a consequence – we can’t help deploring what Vikernes did to him.
What do you think about the Internet and its multiple forms of communication and ways of getting information accessible to everyone so quickly? Do you work with computers on a regular basis, or are you still old-fashioned in that sense?
The Internet is a real great technology. At the moment there is no other technology than the Internet to spread your information worldwide for only a few bucks a month. In your case, if you want to start-up a fanzine on the web, you do not have to pay for the printing, and as soon as you have the latest information on something you can easily modify the page. E-mail is also a great benefit, because not so long ago you were used to have to go and buy an envelope and a stamp and again have to go to the post office to send a letter, but now you can do everything in your own house.
Sigh’s lyrics are quite personal and, in some ways, quite expressive. Do you think that should be the norm or might there be room for fictional ideas as well?
Well, this is a difficult question. It is true that I reveal my personal feelings in my lyrics, but it is just a part of my whole thoughts. I don’t always think of death – even if I am a depressive person – and I really don’t think it is important for the artist to express his feelings through fiction stories for the songs. At the same time, that is fine, but it’s not of similar importance. Also, I must admit that I am not good at writing lyrics; I’ve learnt a lot about music – from Classical to Jazz – but I do not know any special technique on writing lyrics, and after releasing three full-lengths albums and one mini-album it isn’t easy at all to find more topics to sing about.
Do you rehearse often (both individually and as a band)?
We usually rehearse once a week on every weekend, as the three of us have a full-time job and live quite far from each other, so it’s best for all of us to do it this way.
If, for any reason, Sigh comes to an end, how would you like it to be remembered as? On a more personal note, do you believe in any sort of creed or doctrine?
As I am a musician, not a poet or preacher, I think Music itself is our message, and it would be great if somebody would appreciate our music forever. It is obvious for me that Music is the most important thing in my life, as I spend most of my money on CDs, instruments, books and all things related.
I do not follow any path or doctrine, as I do not believe on anything but myself. I have no certainties other than the fact that I exist and that I will die sooner or later. Here, in Japan, almost everybody is an atheist and they do not care about religion, so it’s really hard for the Japanese to believe that Christianity takes such a big role in the western society. Personally, I do not believe in any kind of organised religions, as their purpose is always to suck money out of the weaklings who can’t trust themselves. The leaders of these religions may be wise enough to know how to make money, but religions themselves are for the weaklings.
Feel free to address any more plans for Sigh in the short, medium-run.
I guess this interview is one of the best I’ve ever received and I hope my answers are as good as your questions, so thank you for it.
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