Ang-pang - Vocals, Guitar
M - Dance, Keyboard
Annie J Tomorrow - Guitar
Gig - Drums
Starting Over song sample
For A Long Time
1 For a long time
2 I Wonder
3 Starting Over
4 The Long & Winding Road
6 How Did You Know My Place
7 Next To You
8 The Light Ray
9 Just Stay Here
10 Bleed Me Honey
For A Long Time (2009)
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"Man, it all started from this song. Starting with a sweet, tearful melody in the beginning and then moving to an almost satanic feel at the end, like everything is falling to pieces. We couldn't control our excitement the first time we played this song." - Ang-pang
That song is Starting Over by the band Skybeaver. Like the song, this four-man band rocks to a powerful Weezer-inspired style of music, mixing elements of Metal and Power pop. Their latest album, "The First Countdown," was released earlier this year from Thistime Records.
So come take a listen to the group who describes their start in the world of music with the vivid expression: "...we were struck by the lightning bolt of rock, grabbed the baton and ran with it."On November 27, 2009 Ang-pang from Skybeaver was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of Skybeaver.
Let's start with the release of your latest album, "The First Countdown." Where did you record the music, and who all working on the music with you?
We recorded at a place called Soundcrew and Hamon Studio, our secret headquarters. Kenji (secret headquarters owner), and Yuko and Orie (two cute girls) held us out with it. Yuko also lent her voice to The Light Ray, track number 8, and Orie played keyboard. Kenji also helped with the keyboard arrangements; he's an 80's specialist.
How would you compare it's sound to your earlier work?
Basically it's the same kind of album as our last one; good melodies help to break down barriers between people. But we wanted a little more stimulation with this album, so we added some metal elements and mixed in a little wickedness.
Tell us more about the lead track, For a Long Time.
It's a song about repaying our gratitude to the Believers (our fans). Even when it seems you're stuck in the same place for a while, people always find a way to progress, and so it's a song about never thinking you're not moving forward.
The accompanying music video is a riot. Can you tell us about shooting it and who came up with all the visual elements?
Ichi from Traveloqu, a super talented director, thought up most of the ideas for us. He loves our music and the way we think, and so he really put his all into doing this for us. With our fashion and our lovely metal, he started thinking, "hey, you Skybeaver guys are definitely not from this planet, let's make this a story from outer space!" Shooting was kind of like a picnic, where we just shot a bunch of stuff that we thought would be funny, and the video was made.
We had a bunch of other crazy ideas, though I can't describe them here... but for example stuff using some health appliances from a home shopping channel, an homage to Kiss, etc...
In the video you are all wearing rock tee-shirts by various groups. What bands have been your greatest musical influences?
Well, we don't have any bands that are unconditionally our most major influences, but we decided to wear the shirts for those bands in the video because it kind of brought back memories of when we all first really started getting into rock. I mean, don't you feel more courageous when you wear the shirt of a band you love? But I guess we all particularly like Weezer and 80s thrash metal.
Starting Over begins with more of a rock ballad sound to it. Can you tell us more about this song?
Man, it all started from this song. Starting with a sweet, tearful melody in the beginning and then moving to an almost satanic feel at the end, like everything is falling to pieces. We couldn't control our excitement the first time we played this song. If you were imagining something Beatles-esque, you'd be quite surprised.
I Wonder feels like more of a love song. Can you tell us what inspired this tune?
Like seeing that the field next to you is green. As long as you always understand that, you can understand what's really important. I guess that's the message we're trying to make with this song. It has the feel and arrangement of an old song, but we like that.
We all like love songs too. Like songs about guys who just cannot find success in love, or being worried about what the other person thinks about you. We have a lot of songs in the album that draw on our own experiences.
Where can fans see you perform live?
We want to play shows that are not like your typical show. Shows that are more than just a show. We've definitely played a lot of shows, but want to play shows at places that let us capture that. Playing at Mt. Fuji sounds like it would be awesome. We've decided to make some secret appearances around Tokyo in December.
What are the band's plans for the rest of this year and next?
We're kind of in the process of remaking our live show, and after the new year plan on starting our assault on the scene. I think by the end of next year something pretty special may have taken place. We're also in the process of thinking of new material.
Let's find out more about the band's origins. Where is everyone from?
Everyone was raised in a different place. Some of us had a very urban upbringing in Tokyo, and some of us grew up in the mountains. But I think it was fate that brought us all together to make music.
But I guess we're somewhat of a mystery to our fans, they don't really care about how we were raised. They're much more interested in who we are now!
How did everyone first get into music?
Obviously, it was when we were struck by the lightning bolt of rock, grabbed the baton and ran with it. You don't need permission to start a band!
What type of students were you in school?
One of us was the student council president, one of us was obsessed in his school club, one of us liked playing guitar in his room more than hanging out with friends. Just like the places we came from, we were all different.
When did you decide to make music a career?
Well, it's not like we made a decision to make music our careers, music is something we enjoy that we can continue doing, I guess.
What did your family and friends think of your decision?
We have had some friends and lovers who kind of drifted away, and there was a time when our families were opposed to the idea. But I guess things like that are just a part of life, right? We've also gotten so much to be grateful for from it.
How did everyone pick the instrument they play?
I wonder if we chose our respective instruments because of our personalities, or our instruments we chose helped to shape our personalities... not sure anymore, so I guess now it's just because we like that instrument.
Can you tell us the story of how you and M met and started to play together?
One sunny day, M was in a park using a L'arc en Ciel (this famous Japanese band) CD as a Frisbee. I happened upon him randomly, and because our personalities matched and we got along well with each other, we decided to form a band.
How did Gig and Annie J Tomorrow join the band?
Gig used to always come to our shows, and loved the cassette tape we had out at the time. Annie J Tomorrow was really young at the time, but had a real zeal for the guitar and helped steer the band in new directions. Skybeaver wanted to become a new Skybeaver.
Btw who came up with the name "Skybeaver" and what (dare we ask) does it mean?
"Sky" is such a clean, refreshing word, while "Beaver" is somewhat dirty and dangerous (I think you know why...). Put the two together... I guess that's exactly how our music is.
And we have to ask... how did you come up with your band member names of Ang-pang, M, Gig, Annie J Tomorrow?
Tell us a little about working on the music for your first album, "Simpleton."
Well it was our very first album, and we were clueless. We were all starting from zero and everyone involved was fumbling around. Our prerecorded stuff become the actual album and progress was hectic, but looking back on it now it was all fun. Took a lot of energy though, we would start suddenly in the middle of the night and the schedule was rough.
How big of a moment was it for you when it was finished?
Of course we were just thrilled. More thrilling than sleepovers with my first girlfriend. Of course there were a lot of things we were not able to express and technically it left a lot to be desired, but we were able to capture the first time impulsiveness and everything we've done as a band to this point.
How did you get hooked up with Thistime Records?
It all started when we released a split with Brokenspace, this awesome lo-fi guitar band. I wonder if they're ever going to get back together. Thistime just puts out great bands one after the other, regardless of the type of music.
Tell us about some of the most memorable performances you've done.
The last show we played during our cross country Simpleton tour was awesome. Also, when we played with the band that toured with us for their final show before breaking up. The first time the four of us all played a show together also still stands out in my memory.
What does the band do to prepare for a show? Any rituals you always do?
Well, there was a time when we believed that drinking the oil out of a tuna can is good for your throat, so we used to always do that but... maybe it was just a placebo effect? There is a saying in Japanese that "devotion starts from the face of a sardine" but... we don't drink anymore before shows, but sometimes feel like eating like crazy.
(To explain the "devotion starts from the face of a sardine" saying... What it's trying to say is that even with something as boring or normal as the face of a sardine, if you really believe in it, really have faith, even a sardine's face can look like something divine, like showing the mystery of faith. It's usually used sarcastically when talking about newly started religions.)
Anyone in the band married? Any kids?
Well, I was married to rock, but every once in a while electronic or soft rock steals my heart and I end up cheating on her.
Outside of music what do you all do for fun?
Well, we try to resist the anime and manga, but we have soccer and basketball teams. We play on the weekends at the grounds next to a riverbed or courts at schools.
But our fans don't really want to see us doing that, do they? Hard to imagine, right? Us sitting around and reading manga?
Do you have anything else you want to bring up or comment on?
For those of you who've made it this far, thanks for reading. Give us a listen, if you're interested. Wait, no no, you need listen to us. LISTEN TO US!!
Do you have a final message to all your fans?
Our fans call themselves the Believers We always get our power from the Believers. Expect big things from the whirlwind that is Skybeaver!!
For more info checkout Skybeaver'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