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Rikugo Vital Stats
Shimpei Tsumita
Shimpei Tsumita - Vocal
Birthday: July 26

Shunsuke Yagi
Shunsuke Yagi - Keyboard
Birthday: November 14

Kiyotaka Masudo
Kiyotaka Masudo - Bass
Birthday: November 26

Shingo Uchida
Shingo Uchida - Drums
Birthday: April 1

Yusuke Murata - Guitar
Birthday: July 14

Shin Ni Homare Wo song sample

Rikugo Live "OBORONE"


DISCOGRAPHY

Yoiyami no Zanko - click for full size
Yoiyami no Zanko - 2008
1 Syorei
2 Mikagami
3 Zekka
4 Shiba
5 Enishi
6 Hitogakiro
7 Sogan
8 Kokorone Shinen
9 Jukai
10 Shin Ni Homare Wo
11 Izuru Nagare Ha Shizuku Yori

Yu-En - click for full size
Yu-En (EP) - 2005
1 Shin Ni Homare Wo
2 Izukuni
3 Sajin No Gotoku
4 Katashiro
5 Yomi Zaka


Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link:
Interview Comments

Rikugo Interview

Rikugo - click for full size Let's take a trip to the darker side of Japanese rock. The Kyoto-based rock group Rikugo began making a name for themselves with the release of the album "Yu-En" in 2005 and "Yoiyami no Zanko" in 2008. Their stage show displays a mix of harder, darker edged rock music interspersed with a more melancholy, almost pop sounding musical style.

They are currently working on their next album, due out later this year, featuring Shimpei Tsumita on vocals, Yusuke Murata on guitar, Shunsuke Yagi on keyboards, Kiyotaka Masudo on bass and Shingo Uchida on drums.

On April 27, 2009 Rikugo was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesty of Rikugo.


Let's start with your latest project. What's new with Rikugo?

We are now recording songs for a single CD. It will be released on June 20, 2009.

What is the title and what does it mean?

The title is (pronounced as "he"). The word means scarlet color, which is a traditional Japanese word. The CD title is not the same as the song titles because we'd like to build up a piece of work consisting of the two songs, which have the image of flame.

What type of music can fans expect?

The sound has an aspect of heavy metal, but also has pop feeling, constructing a unique Japanese world.

Rikugo - click for full size Will the band be touring this spring and summer? Where can fans learn about the shows?

We will have gigs on June 20 and July 20, 2009. You can listen to our music and find information on our gigs at our MySpace page.

Let's learn about the band's history. Can you tell us about your hometown of Kyoto?

Kyoto is an ancient Japanese capital and there are many old temples and shrines in Kyoto. We grew up in Kyoto and got a feeling for traditional Japanese culture.

What groups had everyone been in before forming the band?

Shimpei Tsumita - click for full size Shimpei Tsumita (vocals) formed the band Rikugo. Before forming the band, he played guitar in a heavy metal band. Other members played in many bands before joining Rikugo. Shingo Uchida (drums) is now joining many bands, e.g. All Images Blazing, Symphonia, Freewill.

Can you tell us the story of how the band formed?

The beginning of Rikugo can be traced back to 2004, when Shimpei started to play gigs by himself. In the autumn of that year, Shingo and Kiyotaka Masudo (bass) joined the band. Shimpei and Shingo are friends from high school. Kiyotaka is a friend of Shingo from childhood. In 2008, Shunsuke Yagi (keyboard) joined the band. Shunsuke and Shingo used to play in a band named "Freewill". In 2009, Yusuke Murata (guitar) joined the band, which then changed the band to what it is now.

What type of music did you want to play?

We are now making the sound we want to play!!!!

What other bands have inspired the group?

So many artists affected our musical sense. For example, Bon Jovi, Pain of Salvation, Opeth, Muse, Blind Guardian, The Police, Peter Gabriel, A.C.T, BUCK-TICK, In Flames, Sentenced, Tim Christensen, Rammstein, Paradise Lost.

Shunsuke Yagi - click for full size Tell us about your 2005 CD "Yu-En." What does the title mean?

"Yu-en" means that the sound of Rikugo comes from another dimension far from here.

How long did it take to finish the CD?

5 days including mixing work.

Who writes the music and lyrics?

All songs and lyrics are written by Shimpei. First, he makes a demo and then the other members contribute to improve the songs. We have a discussion about playing the songs in studio and also on the web.

What were the recording sessions like? Can you describe a typical day recording?

Kiyotaka Masudo - click for full size Vocals, drums, guitar, and bass sounds are recorded in a studio (studio RAG). Keyboards are recorded at Shunsuke's house. After all the sounds are recorded, the sounds are gathered in the studio and the mixing work starts. Mixing work is done by engineers (Mr Miura and Mr Tsuda from studio RAG). During the mixing, all the members (especially Shingo) suggest the direction of the sound.

What was the first year like as a band? What were the biggest challenges and rewards?

Shimpei could not find members for his band at first, and he played many gigs by himself. This was so challenging. "Perseverance leads to success!!"

In 2008 the band released "Yoiyami no Zanko." What does the title mean?

"Yoiyami" means darkness from sunset until the night, and "Zanko" means afterglow. Thus, "Yoiyami no Zanko" means afterglow of the darkness, implying the world between our bodies and minds.

How did the music compare to your earlier music?

Shingo Uchida - click for full size The basis of our music has not changed so much, but our recent sound is more diversified and more balanced between body and mind.

What songs are you most proud of?

All... but especially, Zekka and Kokorone shin en... These songs are not influenced only by metal sounds, but also express our original sounds.

Can you tell us more about the song Zekka?

Zekka is the name of an imaginary and symbolic flower (pronounced like the ze in "zed" and the cu in "cut"). Another name for it is "Tachibana" (pronounced like "touch" and the ba in "banana" and the nu in "nut.") In the song the word Tachibana appears, but Zekka doesn't. Zekka symbolizes two aspects of the human heart: the power to make great advances, and the selfish and violent aspects when people fight against something.

About the translation: Since many archaic and elegant words and expressions are used in the lyrics, some old words like "thou" are intentionally used in the translation. The original lyrics are so poetic that even Japanese don't understand the whole meaning of them. In the translation I don't explain the meaning of them, but try to show you how they are.

ZEKKA

From the early days without doubting it, I've made my way
But before knowing it, I took wrong steps in the unstable hollow world

What the world has cherished inflicts wounds upon my body
If so, I will make the shallow thorns fall

Tachibana, thy petals are shinning blades
Or the reflection of the past
Reflecting ourselves in thy petals
We will go over the corpses on the eternal frozen land

Powerlessly groaning men remain standing still
on the edge between their hopes and reality
Carrying a flower of silver blades

Tachibana, thou take root with thy time,
and maintain consciousness so beautiful

Holding my breath, I will forge my blood
into the blades with my pride in the days with ninety-nine folds

Cut off and remove the ivy separating ugly rapids and graceful world
And I will be able to touch the true virtue

Although the time and my mind I've sacrificed are feeble,
They will be able to become unbreakable power
In the days like ripples, my life, breathing with Tachibana, will
never wither

© 2008 Lyrics by Shimpei
Translation by Woog

Do you have a favorite song to play live?

Shin Ni Homare Wo. This song is often played at the end of a gig!!! Okusoko No Zoki!!!!

What do you want fans to know most about Rikugo?

We emphasize Japanese sense!

Any plans or hopes of touring overseas?

There is no plan, but we'd like to have a gig overseas someday soon if we have a chance.

Do you have a final message to all your fans?

We really appreciate that you enjoy our music with traditional Japanese sense!!!


For more info checkout Rikugo's official site and MySpace page. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments