El -Ethnic Legist- is a relatively young band with a unique theme, even within the realm of ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei): they combine Egyptian elements like folklore, fashion and music in their works. Additionally the members see themselves as “mummies”, and reflect this in their outfits by wearing bandages in addition to their Egyptian-style robes.
But who are El -Ethnic Legist- exactly, and how did they end up in Belgium?
Even though this tour doesn’t have a date in The Netherlands, the band was interesting enough to catch my attention and thus I traveled to Belgium to watch their performance and of course talk to them about their project.
So without further ado…
I’d like to start by thanking you guys for taking some time out of your very hectic day to talk to me. Can we start the first question by me asking you to introduce yourself to the readers please?
El: We are El -Ethnic Legist-, existing out of El on guitar, Yuma on vocals, Sin on drums and Higi on bass.
El -Ethnic Legist- is a rather unusual name isn’t it? How did you get to this name for your band? Does it have something to do with your theme, or not at all?
Yuma: In the very beginning our music was actually based on folklore of the Christian religion rather than the Egyptian theme we have now. Back then we were known as Ethnic Legist, but people started to refer to us as “EL” (エル (eru) in Japanese) instead so we decided to change our name to El -Ethnic Legist- to combine the two.
Why did you choose an Egyptian theme for your band? I mean it’s very rare in the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) scene for sure (meaning it will take me a lot of effort to find another band with a similar theme, if there even is any), but what makes this so interesting for you guys?
El: I have been into both Egyptian music and heavy metal for a long time. At some point I thought it would create a very unique sound if these two would be combined into one project, so I went with this concept and we all liked it so much that we decided to continue with it.
What part of the Egyptian culture other than the music influences your project? Do you have an (or multiple) Egyptian God (or gods) you reference in your work, or is there another historical element in there?
El: The original concept were mummies. When I visited Egypt for the very first time the very first thing I encountered in their culture were mummies, and it got me interested in other historical things. This is why I started to gather more and more information about mythology. There’s no specific Egyptian god referenced in or influencing our band. Rather, it’s all of them as they’re part of the Egyptian mythology.
As a musician you of course have to start somewhere. What got you interested enough in music to want to be in a band? And what makes this specific group the best choice for El -Ethnic Legist-?
El: Ever since I was a child I was constantly influenced by the guitar because my father played it all the time.
Yuma: For me there is no specific influence. I always just felt like I wanted to sing.
Higi: I originally started by playing the drums. But as I was playing them I constantly felt like I wanted to stand more to the front of the stage within a band rather than being at the very back behind the drums. This is why the bass was a great option for me, and I ended up switching to it.
Sin: I played guitar originally, but then I learned about Yoshiki (the drummer from X JAPAN) and I switched to the drums because of the influence his music had on me.
El: I was in another band together with Yuma and Sin since 2006. Higi was playing in yet another band at that time. Coincidentally both of our bands split up on September 11 2008, and the four of us united for this band exactly a year later. It’s funny, our very first European tour started on September 11 2010!
Yuma: I’m also really looking forward to playing “ドゥルガー” (Duruga) and “アスタルテ” (Asutarute) during this tour.
El already said that he’s a big fan of Egyptian music and heavy metal, but what other music do you guys enjoy? Is any of this music an influence for El -Ethnic Legist-, or is it just for relaxation purposes only?
El: I don’t listen to any artist in particular really. But I do look up a lot of Celtic music on YouTube in my free time.
Sin: I actually really like listening to Inca-music.
Yuma: I mostly listen to anime music, like the opening theme for the Dragon Ball series, but also a lot of others.
Higi: I actually don’t listen to the music of others. I prefer to listen to the music I play with my own bands.
Not too many bands can say that they’ve already been on an European tour this early in their career, so what are you thinking of the tour so far? Are there any countries you would have liked to visit that aren’t on the list this time?
El: Nationality isn’t important to us. As long as people like our music we will go anywhere to play it for them!
Yuma: We want to go to The Netherlands of course, since we now know you came from a different country especially to see us play here tonight since we weren’t going to your country. Thank you for that, that’s really amazing to us! Another country we’d like to go to is Germany. Up until now the tour has been great!
We unfortunately only have time for one more question, so let’s take the most predictable one in the book as a closing one: is there anything you’d like to share with everyone reading this interview?
Higi: Actually, yes. Ever since we started this band we’ve dreamed about being able to play in Europe, and that wish only got bigger and bigger. Now we’re here we really hope to meet all of you in person. And if it’s not this time, then next time!
We also took photos of their performance at Le Tipi (Liege, Belgium). You can find these photos on our photography portfolio, Arlequin Photography, by clicking the image below!
(In 2021 Arlequin Photography was officially changed into a full photography portfolio, while all interviews and news were moved to a new domain called Arlequin Magazine. At this time El -Ethnic Legist- were no longer active in the music industry. This is why there is no social media section for this article.)