Visit many of the live houses in Tokyo, or indeed many other cities in Japan and elsewhere in the world, and you are sure to come across several bands, all with a strong passion for the music that they produce and striving to share that passion, that music with as many people as they can.
Time to introduce to you just such a band, one that made their debut last year and has been steadily increasing its fanbase. Four young musicians, full of fire and a drive to succeed. This is Anlique.
One of the songs from their self-titled single gives a great introduction. Addicted to you immediately has an impact with its mix of gentle, almost ballad-like verses and in the in your face power of the riffs and vocals in the bridge and chorus. It is immediately apparent that these people have a lot of talent and potential.
It is this talent that has allowed them, despite being a self-produced band, to begin to attract attention from rock and metal fans outside Japan, with several fans making an effort to travel to Japan to see them live.
They have changed vocalists since their self-titled single was released in May 2017. The addition of Yuu has brought a strong and occasionally haunting voice into the mixture, overlaying the powerful riffs of Koij, Vivi’s striking bass lines and the rhythmic beating of E_na’s drums, the four members combining to provide an effect that is simply mesmerising at times.
This year saw the band release their second single Answer / Wilderness Sign, which like the first is available via iTunes and Spotify. This single showed how much the band has progressed in the 12 months that passed between the releases.
Answer hits you in the face like a train, it opens immediately with the full power of the guitar riffs and drums to get your head moving and feet tapping. A definite crowd pleaser. Wilderness Sign sneaks up on you a little, the power is still there initially but it feels reigned in – like a wild beast trying to break free. Much like Addicted to you the switch between in your face power and more calm sections is what gives the song an extra strength.
Wilderness Sign has appeared on both of their singles, it is a song that carries a message from the band to everyone as they explained to me when the band was interviewed earlier this month. Hopefully, it will give you a little insight into the world of Anlique and its members.
AVO: Thank you for this opportunity, please introduce yourselves.
Anlique: We are Anlique from Japan! Yuu (Vocals), Koji (Guitar), Vivi (Bass) and E_na (Drums).
AVO: The four of you appear to be good friends, how did you meet? How did you choose the name Anlique?
Anlique: We met through social media. Anlique was named after the Absinthe liqueur “Angelique”. We chose the name because we want to be like this handmade liqueur. We want to be unique. We want to be very addictive like Absinthe.
AVO: When did you first begin to learn to play your instruments? Can you play any others?
Koji: I can play the guitar, bass & wood gass. I learned guitar from music school and self-study.
Vivi: I began to play the piano at the age of two. Guitar at the age of thirteen and the bass when I was seventeen. I was studying piano and the Yamaha music school until I was 7 years old. I can also play the clarinet a little, a very very little.
E_na: I started playing the drums as part of my high school activities.
AVO: Wilderness Sign has appeared on both of your singles. Is there a special significance to the song? What is the story behind it?
Anlique: Wilderness Sign was our first song. There is a time when everyone will lose track of what they want to do in their lives. It feels like a person is cast adrift in a wide wilderness and they do not know where to proceed. However, one day you will find the signpost. We take this in life. If you do not know what to do, proceed anyway, if you do not know where to go next, do not stop. There is definitely something on the path. Wilderness Sign is such a song.
AVO: You are a self-produced band, it must present you with many challenges. What has been the hardest part?
Anlique: We fought a lot. Over and over again and we reached the point where we were about to break up. It was more difficult than anything to stabilise.
AVO: There are fans outside Japan that are starting to become aware of you, does that add any extra pressure or does it give you extra motivation to succeed? How does it feel?
Anlique: Anlique has no border, so there is not a special emotion. But we are very glad that people are listening to us around the world. It will be our strength.
AVO: Do you have a favourite song to perform live? What songs would you recommend to potential fans?
Koji: Anything. If I am forced to choose, then Wilderness Sign and Addicted to you.
AVO: This year has seen a new single and a live DVD, what can the fans expect to see next?
Anlique: We are working on the best new and heavy songs, plus other amazing things. We will produce the best show.
AVO: There is a lot of ambition in the group, visible through Vivi’s brand “Solution Mind” and the rock festival from in summer this year. What is your ultimate goal/ambition?
Vivi: I like fashion and I like to investigate different styles. By doing so my life is always fun, the aim is to deliver this “fun” to the world.
AVO: How do you stay inspired? Do you have any other side projects?
Koji: With anything. I am inspired by everything in my life.
AVO: Do you have something that you always do to prepare and energise yourself before you go on stage?
Anlique: We form a circle with everyone.
AVO: Thank you for your time. Do you have a final message for the readers?
Anlique: People who know us and people that do not know us. Please check us out. Thank you everyone, always. We will do our best. Thank you.
I’d like to thank Anlique – Koji, Vivi, Yuu and E_na – for taking the time to answer these questions and Francisca for the support. You canfind out more information about the band at their website and stay up to date with their activities by checkingtheir social media profiles, such as Facebook and Twitter.