Today we managed to sit down with the founder and leader of BLOOD, Kiwamu.
This interview was quite a hassle to do, since let me tell you, getting dental work done mere hours before an interview isn’t the greatest idea someone can ever have, but there was no way around it. Luckily Kiwamu was very understanding about the questions being on the shorter side for this reason, since talking in general already wasn’t the easiest thing this time.
Due to a time limit this interview also had to be cut here and there, which is why there was little to no opportunity to go deeper into the world of BLOOD.
Anyway, next to his position as the leader and guitarist of BLOOD Kiwamu is most known for his work as a record label owner. With Darkest Labyrinth and Starwave Records to his name Kiwamu aims to be a label especially for the darker and visual artists on the scene today. This interview however focuses more on BLOOD, but don’t worry. There is something in store for the future!
So without further ado…
Despite the short introduction to the interview I’m sure there still are people who have no idea who you are, so could you please introduce yourself so the readers know who we are talking with today?
Kiwamu: I am the guitarist and leader of the band “BLOOD”, Kiwamu. Aside from that I have two labels to my name in Japan: Darkest Labyrinth for darker, gothic bands and Starwave Records, which is more intended for ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) artists.
I understand that if you had to give BLOOD a category, it would lean more towards the gothic genre. But where do you get your inspiration from? Is it from other bands, or a completely different source?
Kiwamu: I don’t think BLOOD is gothic per se, but I do listen to some gothic bands in my free time so I am sure there is some influence in there. I’m just not sure what that influence would be exactly, or to what extend it influences the sound of the band. I actually get most of my inspiration from movies and novels.
You’ve only recently revived BLOOD again after a long hiatus, in which you mostly focused on your record labels, but you do have quite a tight schedule for this tour. Don’t you feel a little overwhelmed?
Kiwamu: Well, I’ve heard some bands say it was really hard when they returned to Japan after their European tour had finished. But I think they felt like that because they had to drive themselves around most of the time and were running on very little sleep. For this tour the label we’ve partnered with here in Europe arranged everything for us so we don’t have to do anything like that this time.
It’s not the first time BLOOD has toured overseas, or even in Europe. But how are you liking it here so far? As I believe you’ve never been to The Netherlands before?
Kiwamu: You’re right. This is the very first show in The Netherlands for BLOOD. I’ve actually been to Europe for the very first time about eight or so years ago, but due to circumstances I’ve never been to The Netherlands before. I’m quite enjoying it so far!
The Revival of BLOOD
Like mentioned earlier in the interview, BLOOD has been “revived” after a long time of inactivity in which you focused more on your record labels, but what was the reason for this revival? Are you planning on “rebooting” BLOOD’s career, so to speak, or is this a one time thing for now?
Kiwamu: I work for the label more than I work for the band, which means I can’t really see the music scene from the perspective of a band. I usually see it from the perspective of a label owner. Which is why I decided to bring back BLOOD, so I could use that perspective of a band again. The only thing was that I was the only remaining member of BLOOD, so I had to find new members. We do however play the same old songs as I played before though. I’m not sure if there will be a long-term career for BLOOD in the near future or not.
There are quite a lot of record labels out there, yet you’ve decided to start not one, but two of them yourself. But what inspired you to do so? Was it difficult for you to find a label that was willing to produce your works, perhaps?
Kiwamu: Well, when I was younger I happened to come across a music video that really caught my attention and sparked my interest in music. So much that I wanted to form my own band. Which I did, at that time, but then came the struggle of finding a label. Rather than looking for a label that would accept my work it felt natural to me to create my very own label and add my own band to it.
Were you drawn to the guitar as the instrument you play on stage from the very beginning, or did you eventually grow into the role of the guitarist? You’re still the leader of BLOOD, but also the composer. How do you compose your works?
Kiwamu: Originally I was a bassist, but since I was writing and composing most of the songs I eventually changed my position in the band from bassist to guitarist, because it felt like the most natural thing to do. Each instrument is important on it’s own, but since I compose every song all by myself I compose them one instrument at a time. Before you hear the end product it’s actually me playing every instrument: drums, bass, guitars, even the vocals.
What about your free time? Does your entire world revolve around music, or are there other hobbies you practice to unwind?
Kiwamu: During the early activities of BLOOD I actually worked as a graphic designer at an advertisement company. Many people have asked me about my hobbies, but I don’t really have a good answer for them. I don’t think I have any other hobbies besides playing music or making graphics…
Unfortunately this question means we’ve already reached the last one on the list for today… So, do you have a message for everyone who has been reading the interview today?
Kiwamu: Finally I have been able to come here, to The Netherlands. I really hope that the people here will like our music, both the people who are here for tonight’s show and the ones who might find out about my music at a later time. I also hope I will be able to return to The Netherlands, and all of Europe, soon!
Like Kiwamu already mentioned in the interview, the BLOOD we see today is no longer the original lineup from the band. And while BLOOD is here as a full band right now, there is absolutely no guarantee that the band will remain on the scene for an extended period of time. Kiwamu does like his works and activity with the band, but his passion is more focused on his record labels Darkest Labyrinth and Starwave Records, which also is a very noble cause, of course!
Regardless of Kiwamu’s answer of “we still play the same old songs as before”, BLOOD has recently released two new singles: “Bathory” and “Elizabeth”. So maybe we will see more of Kiwamu’s new works in the future!
We also took photos of their performance at P60 (Amstelveen, The Netherlands). 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 BLOOD were no longer active in the music industry. This is why there is no social media section for this article.)
雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind Arlequin Magazine & Photography.
She started in 2009 as a photographer with Arlequin Photography, but due to a growing interest in journalism, translation and behind-the-scenes work in general the project burst out of it's seams in 2021 and expanded through the addition of Arlequin Magazine.
雪 (Yuki) is a native Dutch speaker and maintains both the English and Dutch sections of both Magazine and Photography with original content, translations and photography as well as all the behind-the-scenes work for both websites.
She speaks Dutch, English, Japanese and German.