For this interview I spoke with vocalist Roku, guitarist Takaki, bassist Sin and drummer Tva, four guys who form “Rumbless.” together. Rumbless. combines metal with J-Pop and elements of ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) to create their unique signature sound. And even though they’re still a relatively young band with only two releases to their name, they’re just as affected by the pandemic as everyone else. They too are stuck at home rather than playing live shows like they originally thought they would be doing.
Regardless, there are more than enough reasons to ask them a few questions about their project, so let’s get this show on the road then, shall we? (I swear this was not intended as a pun, but I’m going with it anyway…)
I think it’s pretty safe to assume that most readers haven’t heard about your project yet, so can you please introduce yourselves and Rumbless. in your own words?
Roku: I’m the vocalist, Roku. As a band we are active the keywords of “decadence” and “lyricity”. In terms of music we use metal as our core sound, but we combine it with elements of ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) and J-Pop for a wide range of approaches.
Sin: I’m the bassist, Sin. It’s nice to meet you!
Takaki: I’m Takaki, the guitarist. Thank you for reading this article. Please stay with us for a while.
Tva: This is Tva on drums! I love ramen!
The name “Rumbless.” is an interesting choice for a band name. Can I ask about the story behind the name?
Roku: The name is a combination of the words “rumble” and “bless”. We wish for our music to reach people all over the world.
Like I already said, I’m pretty sure that most people have never heard of Rumbless. or your music before. So if you have to introduce yourself to them through your music alone, what song (or songs) would you tell them to listen to?
Roku: Rumbless. has a wide range of songs available to listen to so far already, but if you want me to suggest one song to use as a sort of “business card” it would be “catastrophe.”.
Sin: I would also suggest “catastrophe.”! It’s the very first work of Rumbless. and the recording, mixing and mastering was done by none other than Яyo Trackmaker (ex. girugämesh). He ensured it turned into a wonderful sound. I was also quite particular about the music video for this song. All in all this work is packed with both the sound and visuals that we wanted to express as a band.
Takaki: I also suggest “catastrophe.” as the first song to listen to. But honestly, all of our songs have different qualities to them, so if you become interested in our work after listening to this song, then please listen to our other songs as well.
Combining metal, J-Pop and ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) into φ -phi- and Σ-sigma-
In September of 2019 you released your very first EP, “φ -phi-“. And I’m pretty sure you’ve had some feedback on this release by now. What was this feedback like? Did listeners receive it like you hoped they would?
Takaki: I was surprised to hear so many evaluations from overseas. Especially since I didn’t hear any feedback from Japan that allows me to say it went as I expected it would go. So I would really like to be able to do a live show and a tour soon so many people can listen to our works.
In January of 2020 you’ve followed up this EP with another one, this time titled “Σ-sigma-“. Can you tell me something about this release as well?
Roku: “φ -phi-“ was released at the same time we were starting up the band. We’ve decided to name this new release “Σ-sigma-“ because we wanted to expand on our previous work and flesh it out further. We had that plan even before we officially started the band, so to us these works are both part of a two-part series.
Takaki: This is a work that represents the first phase of Rumbless., together with our previous work “φ -phi-“. At the very beginning I took these two EP’s to do what I wanted with this band.
This question might be a bit of a common question in the meantime, but as musicians your love for music has to start somewhere. What made you fall in music enough to want to be in a band?
Roku: I’ve always loved to play music. Ever since I was little. When I learned how much fun it was to sing, I happened to hear a song of Dir en grey and attempted a shout. I was shocked, but I ended up falling for the vocals as my main instrument.
Sin: When I was a student I was attracted to the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) genre, and I eventually started to admire it. I had a chance to form a band with an acquaintance who had the same dream. I was encouraged to play the bass because it was so easy, and started to play it. But actually… It wasn’t so easy when I first started out. (laughs)
Takaki: In one scene of a movie the main character had an instrument, and I was inspired by it.
Tva: When I was in my third year of junior high school I wanted to play MEGADETH, which I loved at the time, and I bought a bass guitar. I started learning it from a college student because it was so hard to learn the scale of the bass. And it seemed fun to play when I hit it.
Rumbless. combines metal with J-Pop for the sound, but in terms of the visual aspect the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) influence is very, very apparent. But why did you chose this rather than a more J-Pop look for example?
Roku: Of course it’s wonderful to have music that fits into everyday life in it’s natural form… But the band I especially admired was one that gave rise to various sensations and emotions, which were extraordinary and covered various world views. Based on this I wanted to become a person who sent that same feeling out into the world. So it inevitably turned into a visual band.
Of course everyone has their own preferred fashion, but especially in the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) genre the looks of the band are at least as important as the sound. Yet all members have their own unique personality and style within the band. Can you tell me how the design phase of the outfits for Rumbless. works?
Roku: I decided on the concept for the overall atmosphere and direction of the band, but after that was established I requested the other members to help out so I wouldn’t end up choosing anything for everyone by myself.
Takaki: It was interesting that all members showed a different feeling from when they were making music.
“Stay Home” Worldwide
As you know by now I am based in Europe. In Japan this makes me an “overseas fan” of the scene. A lot of overseas fans can’t come to Japan to visit the shows of the artists that they like, they are very dependent on artists coming to their countries in order to see them live. Does Rumbless. have any dreams of playing overseas? Is there anywhere in particular where you’d like to play?
Roku: I know there are listeners all over the world who love ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) music. I would love to play wherever I can, but especially in Europe, Taiwan, etc.
Sin: If there’s a country that wants Rumbless. to play there I would love to try it! I personally have the courage to try things abroad, so I look forward to your invitation! (laughs)
Takaki: I want to go to all places I’ve never been to. If you want to help us out you can do so by informing promoters in your country about Rumbless., but you can also spread the word of our music so it can reach more people, who in turn can help promote us too.
Even though it’s not the happiest topic we can talk about right now, the Coronavirus makes it very hard to be a musician during this time. A lot of artists have moved to doing stuff online rather than in person like we’re all used to. Are you planning on doing something like a livestream or online performance as well?
Tva: We have no plans at this point in time, but we are considering it. I want to do something online too, not just live!
Another result of the pandemic is that we all have to stay home and find other ways to entertain ourselves to pass the time. That includes you too, of course! So what is Rumbless. doing at home right now? Maybe you can inspire someone to try the same thing you’re doing!
Sin: I care about the refreshing methods that can be done at home. In my case I prepare several different kinds of bath salts and choose one that matches the mood of the day before relaxing in the tub. It feels a lot like a hot spring! (laughs)
Takaki: The Coronavirus should end early, but I think that the current situation in which we’re forced to stay home is a good opportunity to reconsider myself and everyday life. I would like to take this opportunity, but I wonder if it would improve my everyday life if I tried to do something I can’t do. I’m learning new things about music and it’s so fresh and fun.
Tva: It’s all about making a plastic Gundam Wing model. The spirit is sharpened!
How can people support you as Rumbless. in this difficult time? Since you can’t do anything in person right now live shows are off the table, but are there other ways people can interact with you in a helpful way?
Takaki: Please listen to a lot of songs, and give us a lot of impressions.
Tva: I can’t meet everyone live, but I hope I can add fun to your life through music. Even if you don’t have the original CD, you can listen to it on our YouTube channel or through streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify.
Future plans: Keep looking forward!
We obviously have to keep looking forward and think about the future. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream. What do you guys dream about?
Roku: I want to do a oneman live. And after that I want this situation to end early and go on a tour. I also want to visit tourist spots with the members.
Sin: I want to go on a oneman nationwide tour with the band! And as an individual I want to continue to enjoy and play music.
Takaki: I want to be in a band that can fly around Japan and overseas. Which is also required by tens and thousands of other people…
Tva: As Rumbless. I want more people to listen to the existing songs. As an individual I want to improve my drumming skills and the stability of our live performances.
What about a little closer future dreams? Are you guys planning a new release already perhaps? And where can people find your current releases? Since as a foreigner it took me quite some effort to get a physical copy of your CD…
Takaki: You can listen to our music through our YouTube channel, but also on popular streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. As members we’re also on Twitter and Instagram, so please feel free to listen to our music and give us your impressions about them!
Tva: We’re making music all the time, so we do plan on releasing something again this year!
I think this is the end of my list of questions, except for one final one… You can guess this one, it’s very predictable after all… Do you have a message for everyone who’s reading this interview?
Roku: Let’s meet alive! Anyway, that’s all.
Sin: When we go abroad or you have the opportunity to come to Japan again, please visit us for a live performance! Rumbless. will continue to work with a passion. Thank you for your continued support!
Takaki: Thank you for reading. I think that when this interview gets published we’ll still be in the middle of the war against the Coronavirus, so please be careful first. I think Rumbless.’ songs will add a lot to your feelings, so I will be happy if I can accompany you in your everyday life. I will do my best, so thank you!
Tva: Thank you for reading all the way to the end. The Coronavirus will be a rough task worldwide, so if you know someone who’s feeling down while they’re at home and trying to kill some time, it might be a good opportunity to ask that person to listen to our music as well. Listen to your favorite music and let’s overcome this pandemic without feeling down!
Like the guys already said in their interview, their musical business card is their song “catastrophe.”, which combines both the sound and the visuals they want to express as and with Rumbless.. So I’m sure you’ve gotten a little curious to this song by now, so let’s have the guys introduce themselves through their music once more:
I’ve already said it earlier, but Rumbless. is still a relatively young band. I was very surprised to hear that most of the feedback they’ve received on their work came from overseas rather than from their home country of Japan… But regardless, their music is on both Apple Music and Spotify, so you can listen to it no matter where you are in the world. And of course, give them your feedback through Instagram or Twitter!
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.