I recently had the pleasure to go to Shimokitazawa Shelter, a local underground venue located in a downtown area of Tokyo, to see the Japanese Metal outfit “Her Name In Blood” or commonly called “HNIB” here. They were sharing the stage with “Skhaotic” band Feelflip. As they are busy touring, they took some time off to answer a couple of my questions:
So guys, for the people who have never heard about the band, could you tell us a bit more about “Her Name In Blood”, and its history?
Makoto (bass): Daiki and I used to live in Gunma prefecture, where we had common friends with a bunch of guitars and a drum kit. We formed a high school band and played a couple of shows, for about 3 years. After we graduated high school, we decided to move from Gunma to Tokyo, and that’s where we welcomed Ikepy as a singer. We changed our band name to “Her Name In Blood” in 2007. That was the beginning of the band!
We have released 3 EPs, 4 full-length albums and have toured in 15 different countries. As you can see in the group photo, each of us has a different style and a different musical influences, that’s making our sound unique.
Can you tell us about the gears you use, and the writing process?
Ikepy: I use a Shure’s Beta58 on stage and also PSM300 in ear monitor system. I’m fond of products from “My Protein” they help me keep my body in shape during my work out.
Daiki: I play on ESP guitars, Orange cabinets and Mesa boogie amplifiers. I’m so happy to be part of the ESP family because James Hetfield is my long time favorite guitarist.
TJ: I play on Ibanez guitars, Orange cabinets and Peavy amplifiers. Ibanez has a bunch of line up and options of lefty guitars on their catalogue. I appreciate their support for lefty guitarists. I really like how my Orange cab replays my Peavey 6505 amp sound, heavy and tight.
Daiki: “Yeah, I also love the look of the cabs! It looks cool on stage with my Mesa Boogie amp.”
Makoto: I use Fujigen guitars, TC electronic amplifiers and Shure inner ear monitor. Fujigen is one of the best “Made in Japan” producer. I love the toughness of their instruments while touring.
Maki: I play on Pearl Drums and Sabian cymbals, the sturdiness of Pearl’s products always save my ass while touring. Also, the Sabian’s Cymbals crisp and deep sound is an important aspect of my drumming. I see it like the cherry on the cake!
Ikepy (vocals): We have 3 main song writers. Daiki (guitar), TJ (guitar) and Makoto (bass) usually write demos on Logic Pro X. I bring my ideas on top of it, then Maki puts his beats in the studio. That’s the main process of writing. Sometimes, we jam in the studio, but it’s quite rare.
Can you tell us about your last album “Power”? Is there any concept or message behind it?
Makoto: After having finished writing the single of the album, we were in the studio discussing about what word could represent who we are and how we feel now. That’s when Ikepy said “Power!” so we decided to use the word as the main title. “Power” has strong meanings like “Power of the physical”, “Power of the mental”, “Power of words”. At the same time, we thought it would express the musical variety of the record and showcase how powerful Ikepy sings or screams on his microphone.
As teenagers, what kind of music would you listen to? Any bands in particular that may have inspired you?
Daiki: I grew up listening to the Big 4 (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax). At the age of 10, my dad brought me to a Kiss’ concert and it inspired me a lot!
Maki: I was looking for something extreme on the drums and discovered Slipknot’s “All Hope Is Gone”. Joey’s beat blew me away and I decided to play the double bass and blasting on my kit.
Makoto: NOFX, Lagwagon, No Use For A Name, Bad Religion… A bunch of great bands from the Western punk rock scene, were my musical influence especially on live shows. They would jump, yell on the microphone and look like crazy people, but being so energetic on stage would inspire me a lot.
Knowing that you’ve had you fair share of rough times (their previous drummer got caught using illicit substances), how do you cope with difficulties in general?
TJ: Honestly, it was the coldest winter we’ve ever had but we focused on finding a new shape for the band with Maki. We tried hard to do our best in writing good music, as much as we could. We thought it was worth it.
Looking back at your evolution, have you got any advices you would give your younger self?
Makoto: Be honest to the music you write, your instruments and your band mates.
If you were not playing music in a band, what would you be doing?
Makoto: It’s hard to tell… I would be a chef or a backpacker maybe, hahaha.
Any plans on touring abroad, in a near future?
Makoto: We’re currently writing new demos and are planning to do a headline tour in Japan, in early Spring 2019. We’re also hoping to do a EU tour again. We really had some good time out there, in 2016. We would love to bring Maki, our new drummer, to the Europe.
Last but not least, do you guys have any messages you’d like to add, for your present and future foreign fans?
Ikepy: We’d like to express our gratitude to every fan and all the support you do for us. Please tell your friends that there are 5 crazy Japanese guys, trying to play good heavy music, so come see us play live!
PS: what’s your favorite Japanese food?
All: SUSHI, RAMEN AND YAKINIKU, HAHAHA!