Maybe you’ve heard of エンヴィル (ENVYL) already, considering they showed up in the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) scene immediately once their music video for “D.I.D” hit their YouTube channel, combining metal, programming and ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) in one package with their version of light and darkness. Hitting the scene with an album immediately rather than a single エンヴィル (ENVYL) really embodies the “go big or go home”-vibe, which is more than enough reason for me to ask vocalist and band-leader シェイド (Shade) some questions about the band and how their strategy of “go big or go home” has effected them during this pandemic.
The band has released their double A-side single 「少年／少女」 (Shounen/Shoujo) on April 8 and touches on some serious topics within these two songs. But it turns out life is pretty tricky if you’re an artist that is very dependent of visuals and face-to-face interaction with fans…
So, let’s get into this interview shall we?
So, シェイド (Shade), I’ve already explained the readers that you’re the one speaking for the entire band today, and a little bit about what エンヴィル (ENVYL) is, but can you describe the band in your own words for us one more time? So people can get an idea of what your vision is like…
シェイド (Shade): I started エンヴィル (ENVYL) together with guitarists RUI and 紫黒 (Mukuro), bassist カイン (Kain) and drummer まや (Maya) in June of 2019, right after my previous project “DIERRY CALL” ended. During that time the band debuted with our very first album “白 × 黒” (Shiro × Kuro), and the music video for the song “D.I.D” attracted so much attention when it came out that it sold out the very first oneman show. It became a great success.
As a band we try to express visual rock with a demon-like beautiful voice and a transparent angelic voice which occasionally dips into the loud sound as well.
シェイド (Shade) describes the vocals as “demonic” and “angelic” here, but in case you have no idea what that entails: as a vocalist he has an amazing range that goes from extremely deep “demonic” vocals to very high “angelic” like vocals, effectively making シェイド (Shade) the perfect mixture of both the light and dark side of the band.
I personally have never heard the name “エンヴィル (ENVYL)” before. Can you tell me a little about why you chose this name for your band?
シェイド (Shade): The name and the image of the band are a mixture of “angel” and “demon”, which also reflects in the outfits we wear. The white refers to the angel parts of the band, and the black to the demonic parts. Aside from that I just really love ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) myself.
Black versus White
You’ve said it yourself in the introduction already, but the very first release as a band was the full length album “白 × 黒” (Shiro × Kuro). But why did you decide to go with a full length album rather than a single, just to test the waters a bit so to speak?
シェイド (Shade): From the very beginning I wanted people to be able to listen to a lot of songs. This is why a full length album seemed like a better option to me than just a single.
At the time of asking this question you’re about to release a new single titled 「少年／少女」 (Shounen/Shoujo), which is a double A-side single. What can you tell me (and the readers) about this single? Like, what is the story you want to tell with it? And what’s it like to promote a release as a visual band now you can’t really rely on your “visual” aspect due to the pandemic?
シェイド (Shade): I chose this format for the single because I wanted to get attention for it. I wanted it to be noticed because it stood out among other releases at this time. Like the title implies already, the single has a story about a boy (少年 (Shounen)) and a girl (少女 (Shoujo)). The black song is the boy’s song, in which he sings about the atomic bombing that occurred in Japan. He’s lonely and he’s looking for his deceased family. The white song is the girl’s song. She has survived the bombing and is looking for a deceased family member.
Promoting a release is definitely a lot harder in this situation, yes. All of our live shows have been canceled for safety reasons, so we’re considering doing an online show instead.
Evolving from DIERRY CALL to エンヴィル (ENVYL)
At the start of the interview you’ve already mentioned this name once: DIERRY CALL. This was a project was announced with a time limit which lasted only a few months before you evolved it into エンヴィル (ENVYL). Do you regret setting a time limit, or not at all?
シェイド (Shade): The time limit was set because like with the new single now, I wanted to get attention for the project. If it’s different than what others are doing you will automatically gain attention for it. The concept for DIERRY CALL was angels and demons as well, but I wouldn’t want to continue with it now the time has ran out. I’m very happy with how エンヴィル (ENVYL) has came to be, so I wouldn’t want to go back to it. Same for the name, in DIERRY CALL I went by the name of HΛKU, but I liked シェイド (Shade) better so I went back to that name.
Aside from a name change there was also a lineup change between DIERRY CALL and エンヴィル (ENVYL). RUI, 紫黒 (Mukuro) and カイン (Kain) were already a part of the support band behind DIERRY CALL, but now we see まや (Maya) behind the drums. Have you ever considered a different lineup for エンヴィル (ENVYL), or did you intend to take all support musicians with you from the very beginning?
シェイド (Shade): I never considered anyone else, no. From the very start I intended to take all of them with me to エンヴィル (ENVYL). I’ve always wanted to be a vocalist in a band since I was inspired by L’Arc~en~Ciel when I was younger. I have been in another band as a guitarist, but I wanted to be a vocalist so after that position I officially made the switch to vocals, and I felt like I had a connection with these musicians so I always intended to take them with me to the new project after DIERRY CALL’s time was up.
A cameo appearance
Even though it’s シェイド (Shade) who has accepted to do this interview with me, I do have one question for each of the other members, so let’s do a quick lightning round where the other members make their cameo appearance, shall we? It’s a bit unconventional, but I was permitted one question for each member to add to this interview. So, let’s go!
紫黒 (Mukuro), you’re actually part of the “demon” side of the band, so how did it feel to appear in full white for the video shooting of “少女 (Shoujo)”?
紫黒 (Mukuro): I was very uncomfortable throughout the entire thing, since I’m really not used to wearing white clothing. It was a completely different style for me.
RUI, you play a guitar that contains 7-strings, a version of the guitar that is becoming more and more popular in ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) recently. Why did you choose this format for エンヴィル (ENVYL)’s signature sound?
RUI: Our music is less tuned, so the 7-strings guitar is a lot more stable for the sound we have as a band. This is why I prefer to use this type over any other. With this guitar type I can express the signature sound of エンヴィル (ENVYL) that you hear in every single one of our songs.
カイン (Kain), I understand you’ve been playing bass for a lot of years already. A lot of bass players eventually graduate to a different instrument, but you haven’t. What attracts you to the bass so much?
カイン (Kain): When I first started playing music I thought the bass was the coolest instrument, so I really wanted to play it. I’ve continued to play it ever since for that reason, but also because I can’t give up on my dream!
まや (Maya), you’re by far the most “colorful” and “changing” member of the band in terms of looks. I can throw out a wild guess which musician inspired you for this, but what attracts you to this ever-changing style?
まや (Maya): I am very much inspired by the drummer of MEJIBRAY, メト (meto). He also uses this ever-changing style which often is quite drastic opposed to his previous look, and I just really like it.
I was going to guess メト (meto) as well myself for まや (Maya)’s answer here, since it seems like メト (meto) has influenced quite a few artists who each have given their own twist to this concept, and even within ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) it’s funny how good “being unrecognizable” between one look and the next actually makes you extremely recognizable…
There is one more member most people probably won’t know about, even if they have visited one of your live shows. Since YUMA only appears as a DJ and shout-support member during lives. Most artists in this scenario would opt for a digitial (recorded) support, but a real person is the better choice here, right?
シェイド (Shade): Yes. I agree. A real person can react to situations in real time while a recording cannot. This is why I decided to add another member to our live shows as a support and thus increase the quality of our shows. This is why YUMA joins us whenever we do a show.
I know we’re living in a difficult time right now, and we’re all hoping for it to end sooner than later, but can you tell me a bit about エンヴィル (ENVYL)’s current plans already?
シェイド (Shade): We’re planning to release a new single in the summer of this year. But thanks to the pandemic we unfortunately can’t play a live show or go on tour right now.
And as a last question to close of this interview, do you have a message for everyone reading?
シェイド (Shade): Yes, as a matter of fact I do! Please look forward to the future of エンヴィル (ENVYL)! I can’t wait to meet all of you in person someday!
Like I mentioned at the start of this interview already, the band has just released their latest work in the form of a double A-side single called 「少年／少女」 (Shounen/Shoujo). シェイド (Shade) already described the topic for these two songs having to do with the atomic bombing in Japan, as told through the eyes of a boy and a girl who survived them. A pretty heavy topic, and a completely different turn than their first MV “D.I.D” and their second MV for “デス・パレード” (Death parade), which also touched on heavy topics like abuse and murder.
Yet, these two new songs show a different side and a slightly different style of music for the band while still being instantly recognizable as エンヴィル (ENVYL). So if you’ve became interested in their work you can view the videos for 少年 (Shounen) and 少女 (Shoujo) below already. For their other videos I have to refer you to their YouTube channel, available in the social media links list.
This band is actually a personal recommendation from me, because of their unique style that’s created through their programmed sound and シェイド (Shade)’s vocal range… And even though DIERRY CALL was a project with a very short lifespan, it has definitely not been forgotten. The songs from DIERRY CALL are still available through エンヴィル (ENVYL)’s YouTube channel, and they even appear on the very first release of the new band, “白×黒” (Shiro × Kuro) in a re-recordered/remastered state to fit the style of エンヴィル (ENVYL).
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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.