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Nakagawa Yohei × Ryoji

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I have asked Mr. Nakagawa from Chitose Shrine Gagaku ensemble that took part in ASIAN CHAOS album recording and performed for the MV, about what exactly is GAGAKU, what instruments are there and what is special about the performance.

Ryoji (R)

At the end of last year, I was glad to offer the Gagaku ensemble where Yohei performs to take part in the album recording.

 

Yohei Nakagawa (N)

I'm Nakayan or Yohei Nakagawa.

I’m playing Japanese flute Ryuteki in Gagaku ensemble in Chitose Shrine.

R

It was a lucky coincidence when I came to Chitose Shrine festival and filmed the performance of Gagaku there. Later, I posted it on Instagram and got your comment!

It was a surprise but thanks a lot for it!

 

N

No-no, it's my pleasure!  It's was an amazing challenge, thank you!

I was really surprised!  (Laughs)  I just randomly searched for #雅楽 (Gagaku) on Instagram and found a video of myself performing!! But I was really pleased so I left a comment. (Laughs)

R

He likes fishing and metal. That might work out well!... I thought so and made an offer.

 

N

When out of the blue I got an offer for the first time I was planning to reject it. And then And while I wasn't expecting it I got the offer for the second time! I was really getting ready for the worst. (Laughing)

R

Actually, I was thinking about adding the Gagaku instruments to the new GYZE album.

 

N

When I heard demo there were many parts that made me think: "oh, it feels so Japanese!“ Those parts were very skilfully integrated with metal sound. And I remember feeling wondered.

 

R

First of all, in this album, I wanted to bring up the atmosphere of some great movie soundtrack or music for historical drama series!

And I've already put some flute parts in it so I thought Gagaku instruments would be a good match.

So, could you please tell me more about Gagaku and the three wind instruments?

N

I think we all (Japanese) have once learned about Gagaku somewhen in the junior high school, but if putting it simply - Gagaku is the oldest orchestra in Japan performing the oldest Japanese traditional music.

Traditionally, Gagaku was used at the services and ceremonies at shrines and temples, however,

Recently you can also listen to it at festivals and even in the concert halls.

N

In Gagaku there are 3 essential wind instruments: 笙 (Sho), 龍笛 (Ryuteki), 篳篥 (Hichiriki)

These three have special meaning:

 

Sho→a sound of rays of light descending from the sky

Ryuteki → a cry of a dragon flying between heaven and earth.

Hichiriki →the voices of people on earth

 

The old legend says that these 3 wind instruments have created the Universe.

That's how magnificent this world's oldest orchestra is.

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R

I wanted Far Eastern Land and Asian Chaos convey the feeling of the place where Gods dwell, make it feel spiritual, so after I heard this great explanation on the festival at the shrine the idea to use Gagaku in it stroke me.

How did you feel when you heard Gagaku combined with the band sound during the recording for the first time?

 

N

If putting my feelings into words I would say, that it felt like a ray of light striking through the space filled with sadness.

There is a fixed preconception that Gagaku would never cross paths with metal.

I was deeply moved especially by the sound of Sho!

 

R

Ryuteki and Hichiriki played their role in creating the atmosphere, too!

Btw, or regular tuning is at 440khz sampling frequency, and not at 444khz as a standard one so I believe it was quite a challenge to play with us!

 

N

Yeah, if talking about pitching - it was extremely hard. (😥)

Moreover, the frequency Gagaku uses is 430khz...And for Ryuteki and Hichiriki 444khz was too high. But as we were given this amazing challenge, we worked really hard and did our best!

 

What did you feel when you heard the song already with Gagaku in it?

 

R

Earlier you explained about the creation of the Universe... And it is definitely true!  The quality of the song reached totally different dimension.

With the three wind instruments everything changed, the sound seemed to extend beyond time and space, it felt like it was created by Mother Nature herself.

 

I think, adding to the song only traditional Japanese musical instruments such as Shamisen, Koto, etc. wouldn’t give the same perspective and open a new dimension as after adding the wind instruments!

 

N

Yes, I also think that the song got the spatial effect thanks to Gagaku.

It's all because with Gagaku even dissonance sounds beautiful.

 

R

While in Western Music there is a precise structure, in Eastern Music has this spatial mono feeling that spreads lengthwise.

Being a Japanese I thought I must have a reflection of my DNA in my music...

 

And that's why I thought that shooting MV at Chitose Shrine would be great, and I asked you to do me an impossible favor.

 

N

I was surprised when you told me you'd like to shoot MV at Chitose Shrine. Metal in the shrine! (Laughs)

I also thought we won't get permission for that.

I remember how we went together to ask for it.

 

R

I'm really grateful to Nakayan and all of the people in the shrine for all their support!

 

N

If working together, I wanted to become a part of the team and do my best for it.

R

This time I thought I don't wanna do this shallow, touching only the surface of things.

Even if we left out Gagaku, I still wanted the location for the video to be a Shrine, but it wouldn't have been the same. Gagaku was an essential part of success!

 

N

Yes! You definitely accomplished a great fusion of metal and Gagaku.

I think you managed to create unique "GYZE MUSIC" that no-one could copy.

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I think you managed to create unique "GYZE MUSIC" that no-one could copy.

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R

I'm just hoping that this music would resonate with not only fans of death metal or metal in general, but also in the hearts of those who like Gagaku or even pop music.

And I also want them to discover how cool can metal be.

And as I'm now playing Ryuteki in Gagaku ensemble myself, I would really like to deepen public knowledge and understanding of it!

 

N

Once I was told by one of my Instagram followers:

“Ryoji's death voice (screaming) is beautiful.” And I thought that it's true!

There are almost no vocalists who can do death voice that would match well with clean vocals.

 

R

Oh, I really appreciate those words!

This time GYZE had some big changes and in new GYZE there is already a special place for you, Nakayan.

So, from now on we're counting on your support as a regular member of the band!

 

Oh, and let's go fishing!!

 

N

Yes!I'll be supporting you as much as I can! (^^)

And with fishing - it's your turn to support me! (laughs)