Watch GYZE x Jackson Guitars
twin-guitar playthrough of ASIAN CHAOS!
Special interview with SHINKAI, who turned GYZE into an unstoppable twin guitar combo band!
I think fans were surprised to hear that GYZE became a twin guitar band and that the new guitarist entering the band was no other than my guitar teacher Mr. SHINKAI!
Maestro, please introduce yourself!
Sure, since creating a band CAPTURED back in 1986 and its debut, I've been working as a support guitarist for different projects, producer, composer, arranger, etc.
I met with Ryoji about 10 years ago, right? when he came to my guitar lessons.
At that time a had quite a lot of students, so when he came to me for the first time, I refused to teach him.
But when I met him I thought "this one's different"... and I think that was the reason why I started teaching him playing guitar and working with DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) after all. (Laughs)
Yeah, I was 18 then and was about to make a solo debut. And that's when I thought "going on with the level of skills I have now is No Good!", and asked my acquaintance for a good guitar class that I later entered.
I used to learn to play classic guitar when I was little, but my electric guitar skills were definitely not good enough at that time.
SHINKAI's lessons were really Sparta-style, but I believe that that period of my life opened me a door to the career as a professional musician! So I'm really grateful!
What do you think about your guitar playstyle?
I think you're a crazy guitar freak that does stuff that goes way beyond the regular definition of what guitarist is... Laughs
I think I'm a regular metal guitarist.
But as at one point, I used to play techno and electronic music on guitar, there might be quite a lot of weird things when it comes to guitar play and interpretations.
And as I realize that what I do is different or if you wish weird, I embraced and starting making use of it. (Laughs)
I would say that the musician concerned is a Japanese tapping king!
(Laughs out loud)
However, as I'm now more focused on composing, when it comes to guitar solos I do pay more attention to chord progressions and how they match up together rather than make some crazy stunts. (Laughs)
And you obviously are different from other guitarists.
You take metal as a base, put full of tension piano chords on top of it, tapping and who knows what else...
Somehow you seem to have a similar music spirit to Steve Vai... What do you think?
Haha I would be great if I were like Steve Vai! Laughs
And he taught me not only playing the guitar, but also recording skills, and cutting-edge technologies in music production.
Thank you for all that!
Well, you've always had that different aura, and I've just thoroughly taught you the techniques of that time and those that would become popular soon and that's it...
The age changed and now I have a lot to learn from Ryoji. (Laughs)
That's not true...
I don't remember whether or not my lessons were severe (Sparta-style), but I surely remember that despite the fact that I was the one teaching, I also needed a lot of energy and patience. (Laughs)
The speed Ryoji was improving his skills was amazing.
And you think that wasn't the result of Sparta-training?! No matter what I was trying to play, you always instantly replied ”mm..that's bad!” or "no good!" (Laughs)
You always gave me difficult homework, so j was practicing really hard aaaall the time, and when I could finally play it I was coming back to you to show it. Laughs
And this time I'm really excited to have you with us starting from the new album Asian Chaos and play a student-teacher guitar duo within GYZE!
This time everything started with me asking you to help with keyboard arrangements, right?
Actually, the fact how easy and smooth working with you went and how well you did the job was almost scary! It made me want to immediately add you to the line-up！
That's true, this time I when I started doing the piano arrangement, I got a lot of ideas straightaway but I wasn't sure which one should I bring to live...
Which part are you talking about? Most of it I created beforehand, but with your arrangement, it felt like it was under a spell. Really magical feeling!
It actually might have been the first time I was making a synthesizer arrangement of a metal song so, to tell the truth, my head was spinning. (Laughs)
When I heard GYZE new songs I thought "it's definitely something different from what they've written before", and that might be the reason I was feeling a bit of pressure.
But in the end, I feel totally satisfied with my work and general result!
During our previous tours abroad I felt so-called "need for authentic Japanese metal", so I purposefully used Japanese scale, Oriental instruments, Gagaku, etc. to finally create the one and only in the whole world original music. I was really conscious of it.
So when we had to distance ourselves from common metal practices that's when Shinkai's unique keyboard work really came in handy.
Among all things SHINKAI made, Koto arrangement was especially great.
Were you working at Yosakoi festival or something like that?
Yeah, it might be the influence of Yosakoi. When I was involved in creating music for it, I learned a lot about Japanese scale and traditional instruments.
It was a great experience.
When it comes to this album production, it's scary how well and smooth everything worked out. And as you are a very skillful guitarist, I asked you to join the band as one.
With you on board, I also felt that making sound on stage, programming, keyboards, etc will be something we don't need to worry about anymore.
And what is most important, as we've known each other for years, and have this great teacher-student relationship, I immediately felt the harmony between us in the band.Thank you for agreeing to join GYZE!
Last year when Ryoji asked me to do the arrangement I started feeling unease cause it was the busiest time for me, as I had a huge workload producing some Japanese artist, touring Japan, etc.. (laughs)
So when I finished my work and stopped to catch a breath I thought that I should focus on the activities overseas. And somehow exactly at that point, I got an offer「Enter GYZE」(laughs)
To tell the truth, I wasn't so sure that working together with my student would be a good idea...
But I thought it might be my destiny, so I obeyed it and decided to try to join the band (laughs)
We both look in the same direction and want the same things, which I thought is very important!
When I told other members about my idea to have Shinkai join the band, the difference in career length became a hot topic for discussion. But apparently, I'm a person who wants to advance and I felt that Shinkai is with the same passion is moving in the same direction as us!
Yeah, you're right!!
So from now on, I want to build a strong foundation for GYZE and enjoy twin shredding with you!!
Now the band's line-up has extended and GYZE team itself has changed a lot.
GYZE became an organization with Aruta as its head and with management support from JVC/Victor Ent.
Also, GYZE new album will be released worldwide from Out of Line Records, so we're getting ready for activities overseas while being active in Japan as it's very important for us.
And I think having a twin guitar duo is a great change for the band in current circumstances.
Can't wait to go on a tour and show everyone the power or teacher-student guitar combo!!
I'm looking forward to touring, too!!
Apparently, all the support guitarists before me were fired so I really should do my best... (Laughs)
So, I put all my effort to make GYZE big!!
All photos & MV by Litchi