Friday, 19 September 2014

Interview: Area 11

Music Review Database: Is it true that Code Geass was not only the reason behind your band name, but also the reason you guys started a band in the first place?

Area 11: That series certainly influenced our band name, although it didn't contribute to the band's creation as we were already (half) formed by that point. The desire to play rock music, of course, was the main factor, closely followed by the fact that a packet of guitar strings once opened only stays good for so long, so time was of the essence and we worked with who we had. The name 'Area 11' was place-holder until we could find something better. We're still looking.

Will you ever make songs about anime you don't like?

I shouldn't think so.

For those who don't know, could you tell us what "Gaijin Rock" is?

Gaijin Rock is one way of describing our brand of in-yo-foice rock music, although really it's a joke that went too far. It pays tribute to how we have take influence from Japanese culture, but realistically it's such a small part of what the band is about, it's not a very good description.

It pays tribute to how, as outsiders, we draw influence from a wide range of art forms and media. Particularly so in our first album that drew from Japanese culture and music.

How long have you guys been a part of Yogscast? Have you enjoyed your time with Yogscast?

Sparkles* and Parv worked for the Yogscast for a couple of years, although Sparkles* has not worked there for a few months now. But Parv is still technically a Yogscast member. It was often enjoyable, yeah, and also very stressful.

Was Area 11 the main reason why Yogscast Studios was created?

One of the reasons, but not the main one. The Yogscast already released their own songs by this point. It was a long time coming.

Three of your songs have charted, did you expect to get charting positions?

The first time we got in the charts was a total shock (especially how due to an administrative error we got to the top spot of the American comedy charts). However chart numbers don't really mean that much to us, but conversely it shows how many fans took the time to support us by buying one of our songs, and that means a great deal to all of us. To them we are incredibly thankful.

How do you come up with a song about an anime? Do you watch specific scenes and content to sing about?

Essentially the same way in which you come up with songs about anything. You expose yourself to something and it either inspires you or it doesn't.  Some concepts or narratives really stick out in your mind, and those are the ones you want to write about.

How did you get Beckii Cruel to sing on Shi No Barado? Did you know her previously?

We put out a Craigslist advert, and she was the nicest person who replied.

Do you plan on collaborating with anyone else in the future?

At the moment we're focussing on writing as a tight-knit four piece, although we are always open to working with other musicians. So Burt Bacharach, if you're reading this (and I know you are), get in touch.  

You're recording your second EP, which is exciting news for me and other fans! How many songs have you got planned for it?

Three songs on the new EP, and then it's on to the next full-length album after that. 

Has their been any difficulties recording the EP?

The hardest thing over the summer has been getting all of us in the same place for prolonged periods of time, which is kind of ridiculous as we all live within two minutes walk of each other. But now with our various summer adventures behind us, the pace has really picked up.

Have you guys got enough material to write another album maybe?

Yes sir.

With live performance you seem quiet compared most bands, do you ever plan on touring the UK or Japan? 

We've got quite a long UK tour coming up in November which we're all very excited for. We'd love to tour in Japan, it's been on the cards for the while, we're just thinking about the most effective way to make it happen.

Would you guys ever play somewhere like The Sugarmill in Stoke-on-Trent (nudge nudge,  winkwink)?


You shared a "plugDJ" link on your page, what is Radio 11? Will it be music and anime related, or is there more?

It's a place to connect with fans, where we can share music with each other. It builds upon our ethos of immersing yourself in music of all types of genres.  We've heard a lot things that we wouldn't have otherwise been exposed to in there. We generally don't encourage people to play anime music as we want to hear new and exciting music, not intros to TV shows that we've all heard 1,000 times.

Did you know Area 11 is also a youth organisation for pony riders? If you had any four items from an anime to equip the pony to make it the ultimate war machine, what would they be? And would you be able to draw it?

We'd actually rather not discuss the Area 11 youth organisation for pony riders, as we are currently in a fierce legal battle with them for rights to the name. The feud has gotten progressively worse over the last few months, and just the other morning Parv woke up with a severed pony head in his bed with a note attached saying "All opposed to Area 11 ....say neigh". It was a very distressing time for all of us.

Wonder Momo is being rebooted, how did Namco Bandai approach you guys to play the theme tune for it?

We'd worked with Namco Bandai before on their Bravoman cartoon series, and we were so polite they invited us back for seconds.

What are your favorite anime theme tunes?

There's been some strong tunes on Naruto, probably Haruka Kanata by Asian Kung-Fu Generation. We've covered it live a couple of times, and coincidentally it's the song we all lost our virginity's to (for the most part) on different occasions.

How far are you guys willing to push your fanbase? You seem to have enough fans

If by "push" you mean "grow", then as far as possible. Whereas if by "push" you mean "wind-up", then as far as possible 

And the last question, in a brief sentence, how would you describe Area 11?

I would describe it as taking some honey, and plenty of money, and wrapping it up in a five pound note. And then trying to spend that five pound note, but nobody will accept it due its being covered in honey.

~Matthew Clewley

Track Review: In This Moment - Sick Like Me

There's always that time of day where I finish going to work and then listen to music until I pass out. It's unhealthy, but finding new songs and new bands brings bliss yet ignorance to my spare time. This time my attention has been taken by In This Moment's new song, "Sick Like Me". The intro is wonderfully eerie as the guitar plays through it. This song hits hard and bruises my mind, leaving an aftermath of destruction and shock. The riff rebuilds everything in it's own way, it's such a good riff that has the vocals over it. The vocals effects are great and the singing from the beautiful Maria Brink is addicting to listen to. 

The lyrics aren't to everyone's taste, don't expect the happiest of lyrics from this, it'll be like going to a funeral dressed as Mr Blobby if you're expecting love and joy. From what sounds like a war air-raid alarm during the breakdown after the chorus goes well with the sound of this track. "Sick Like Me" is a fantastic song, and with this tune being on the new album, Black Widow, In This Moment wont fail to impress. 
~Matthew Clewley