Burning Ambulance (World Wide) 12/2014 – Interview with DESECRAVITY – Yuichi Kudo

Desecravity are a technical death metal trio from Japan. Their second album, Orphic Signs, will be out next week on Willowtip. (Pre-order it from Amazon.) Their debut, 2012′s Implicit Obedience, was an extremely complex and multifaceted record that kicked off with a synthesized orchestral intro (including female choral voices), then vacillated between ultra-crunching riffs that almost sounded programmed rather than played, and more organic progressive death metal tracks including the little bass and guitar breaks beloved by fans of the jazzier side of tech-death. It almost felt like the kind of thing a lone obsessive would build in his bedroom, like a 21st Century version of Necrophagist‘s Onset of Putrefaction. But while drummer Yuichi Kudo was definitely the driving force, he had an actual band backing him: guitarist/vocalist Yujiro Suzuki, second guitarist Keisuke Takagi, and bassist Toshihiro Inagaki.

On Orphic Signs, all those dudes are gone. This time out, Kudo is supported by new guitarist/vocalist Shogo Tokita and bassist Daisuke Ichiboshi. And the music is even more dense and complex than before, the riffs colliding and bouncing off each other in all directions like pachinko balls—it seems impossible that humans could remember these hyper-technical sequences. It’s almost like an inhumanly precise sampling collage of ultra-crisp, digitally distorted riffs rather than songs played by dudes in a room. But the breathless intensity of it all makes it a truly exhilarating album, well worth any tech-death fan’s attention.

Drummer/bandleader Yuichi Kudo answered a few questions via email:

You have a new singer/guitarist since your last album. What does he contribute to the writing, and how has his presence/personality changed the group’s sound?

We had been looking for a person who was talented, hard working and understood Desecravity well since around the end of 2011. When I met Shogo, who is the current singer and guitarist, I was sure he was the one, and could imagine him standing on a stage with us. He wasn’t everything perfect at the time, but I’ve seen his strong potential to grow with us. Although I am the main person for writing songs, making the sound and so on, I think he has let us improve the writing and sound, and he is a very cooperative person and has supported the band a lot. I have great hopes that he will have a more positive influence on our future.

The songs are very complex and precise, with a lot of tonal shifts and constantly changing riffs. How much rehearsal time is required to prepare for live performance?

We usually go to a rehearsal studio a couple of times every week, even if we don’t have a tour schedule. So we are pretty much ready to play shows anytime. And about new songs, when I complete a new song, I send the tab to all members. They usually need a few days to learn it, and then we start practicing in a studio and continue it until we are able to have a good vibe and an ensemble sound.

Obviously, in death metal the goal is not to write a “catchy” song, but what do you strive to achieve when writing Desecravity music? Are you challenging yourself on a technical level, or trying to be more aggressive than before, or synthesize new elements into your style, or something else?

When I write a song, I always imagine and express something with sound and let it have a story. For example, an artist expresses in drawing, a film director expresses by making a movie, and a writer expresses through words. In my case, I am a musician, so I express with sound. I haven’t thought about the technical level of my songs. However, those songs I wrote have made us improve our technical level. Acquiring the skill to play your instruments is important to express a song, though retaining flexibility and an open mind are also important to bring new ideas. Sometimes people ask me, “How do you write a high quality song?” I answer, do whatever you want to write, throw out your fixed ideas, don’t be sensitive to others’ evaluation, and if your song impresses you, it must be a great song.

What is the state of the Japanese death metal scene? What bands would you consider your peers that American listeners may not be familiar with?

It’s a really small scene compared to North America and Europe. Although the number of metalheads should be not far behind other countries, I have seldom seen a new death metal band come up in the scene. But all bands existing in the scene are great.

Have you done much touring outside of Japan? Do you have plans to come to America in support of this record?

We have toured Asia, Europe and Japan in the past. Unfortunately we haven’t had a plan to tour in the United States yet, but we really wish to go to the United States one day.

»Burning Ambulance (World Wide) 12/2014