Through the chaos and uncertainty of the pandemic, a new young band emerged in Tokyo. Despite facing difficulties, as many other people have, four musicians were able to find a way to come together and create something new. Self-produced, dedicated and motivated they were able to release their debut single STRAY SHEEP during the latter stages of 2020.
Following the release, AVO Magazine was able to get the members to sit down for a Q&A. Hopefully this will give you some insight into the band and its members.
AVO Magazine: Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. Please introduce yourself to the readers.
Aoi: I’m the vocalist, Aoi. Nice to meet you.
Koji: Hi everyone! I’m the guitarist, Koji.
Vivi: I’m the support bassist, vivi.
Kazma: Thank you for the interview. And everyone, thank you for visiting AVO Magazine. I’m the drummer Kazma.
AVO Magazine: Forming a new band can be challenging at the best of times, but the pandemic has made a lot of things more complicated. Did it make things more difficult for you? What challenges did you face?
Koji: The problems we faced were that we weren’t able to play gigs because of the pandemic. Because the members weren’t able to get together, we couldn’t practice well. Our recording and outsourcing contractors were forced to cancel the requests at the last minute, so things did not go as planned.
But the good thing is that the pandemic gave us the chance to explore new ways of doing things, we were able to use the time and money that we had planned to spend on gigs to create the foundation of Cilvie. We were able to find new listeners, we were able to do all the recording by ourselves and we have learned new skills. We are happy with the result.
AVO Magazine: What impact have you seen on the music scene in Japan because of COVID-19? As musicians how do you feel about this?
Koji: Most artists, live music venues, event organisers and people working behind the scenes have lost their source of income due to the lack of gigs and events. I think everyone is in trouble because of this. The future of the music scene in Japan is going to be different, but the artists who can find a new way of doing things will rise to the top.
I think that most of the artists who don’t find new ways of doing things will be weeded out. I hope that this pandemic will end soon so that artists, live music venues and people behind the scenes can get on with their work and get on with their lives. And if there’s anything we can do to help in this pandemic, we’d like to take the initiative and help.
“The songs also reflect glimpses of the artists that have influenced each of us.”
AVO Magazine: Some fans might be familiar with Koji & vivi’s previous band, Anlique. Will Cilvie’s new music be similar? What influences will the new members have on how the songs will sound?
Koji: vivi and I composed the songs for Anlique, but for better or worse there was no unity in the group. Because all the members had different musical styles. I’m the main composer for Cilvie, so the songs are based on the music I want to create and my personality. The new members, Aoi and Kazma, also understand the music that I like, so the songs of Cilvie are more accessible and have a more unique melody and sound compared to the songs of Anlique. The songs also reflect glimpses of the artists that have influenced each of us.
AVO Magazine: Cilvie is an interesting choice for a name. How did you decide on that name? What is the meaning behind it?
Koji: Immediately after the break-up of Anlique, I began working on a new band, starting with the band name. I wanted a name that was easy to remember, had a cool style but also looked like a person’s name. There is a character called “Sylvie” in a game, so I thought “Why not?” and changed the spelling to create Cilvie. I like the name because it is kind of dark and human and a bit phosphorous. Lol.
AVO Magazine: You recently released your debut single STRAY SHEEP. What do you hope that the song will convey to the fans?
Aoi: It is the first song of the new album, so I hope that it conveys not only the world view of Cilvie but also the kind of music that the band wants to do in the future. The lyrics have their own story and meaning which I think can be interpreted in many different ways. I hope everyone will see them from different perspectives.
AVO Magazine: Performing a song in a foreign language must be difficult. What led to your decision to release your debut song in English instead of Japanese? Do you think it will become a common occurrence?
Aoi: It was very difficult. Based on the impression I got when I first heard the demo of the single, I decided to use English lyrics. I have always listened to music that has English lyrics, so I think that may be part of it. In the future, I don’t know if there will be more songs with English lyrics, but I want to continue to challenge myself.
AVO Magazine: 2020 has seen many people face a lot of difficulties. What goals do you have for 2021? Which is the most important for you to achieve?
Aoi: I have always wanted to sing songs that people will think are cool, so I want to continue to grow towards that goal in 2021. And of course, I want to do live shows.
Kazma: In the future, I want to deliver tighter sounds with more of a sense of speed, but still retaining my hard-hitting drumming. I’d like to practice at a slower tempo and better understand the phrases – which beat, where and what you are hitting at the same time. I’m going back to the basics of practicing, getting a better understanding and gradually increasing the tempo.
Koji: I want to get Cilvie back on the road and release an album. I want more people to know Cilvie and to listen to Cilvie’s songs. So, we are going to spread Cilvie more and more around the world. Aim for world domination!
AVO Magazine: What is the biggest influence on your music? Why does it have such a big effect on you?
Aoi: There have been so many influences, so it is hard to choose just one. But, I think that the music I listened to in junior high and high school had a big effect on me. I listened to a lot of heavy music, full of death voices and screams (lol). Finally, there were the cool female singers.
Vivi: When I was in primary school, my sister recommended a CD with songs by a rock band. Until then, I had only played the piano and a little in a brass band and didn’t know much about rock music. My horizons were broadened. I have become interested in all kinds of music since then. My sister had recommended L’Arc~en~Ciel to me, it is still my favourite band.
Kazma: Some of the biggest influences have been X Japan and my experience at music school. While I was at junior high school, I played the game Taiko no Tatsujin(Drum Master) and began enjoying X Japan’s music more and more. I went to a trial enrolment at a music school while I was in high school, I enjoyed playing the drums while I was there and I continue to do so now.
Koji: Both my musical life and my way of thinking are influenced by hide from X Japan. His musicianship and way of life were very cool. My guitar playing is influenced by several musicians including Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), Matthew Bellamy (MUSE) and Nick Valensi (The Strokes). They made me realise it is not just about technique, it is about looking cool.
AVO Magazine: Thank you for participating in the interview. We wish you success going forward. Do you have any final message for the readers?
Aoi: We are just starting out, but we will definitely bring you some cool music. Please support us.
Vivi: Cilvie is a great band that has just started. I’m happy to have been chosen to support them. Please look forward to our future activities.
Kazma: Releasing the first single and making a new start caused some tension which is reflected in the sound of the drums. I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can develop my skills from here, but I am a little anxious. I’m still a work in progress but I am looking forward to your support.
Koji: It is a very difficult time in the world because of coronavirus. I know that people have lost loved ones or are fighting corona. I want to be there for them. Let’s overcome the threat of the coronavirus together.
Keep on rockin’ everyone!
Thank you for reading, my friends!