Even though it has been a hot minute since I was able to ask all members of 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera) a long list of questions about the band and their activities as individual members, there was one thing that wasn’t sitting right with me. Because most of you will recognize 響 (Hibiki) as the drummer of 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera), but there is so much more than just that.
Who exactly is 響 (Hibiki) as a person? Because yes, he currently is mostly known for his position in the band, but there is so much more to see and explore here. Despite his young age he has a real passion for music, but also an incredible talent that he is refining every day. And then we’re not even talking about his YouTube channel yet. We have a lot to talk about today, so let’s dive right into it with a short introduction…
A quick, mini history
響 (Hibiki)’s love for music is definitely not unique in his family, since both of his parents are quite well known as professional musicians as well.
Despite starting with percussion instruments at an early age, he didn’t start playing the drums seriously until he became a college student. During this time he created his YouTube channel as well, but didn’t exactly do much with it just yet. He even studied under the drummer of “Kiba of Akiba”, VAVA.
He joined the electronic core band “SEVER BLACK PARANOIA” in 2014, signed an endorsement contract with Pearl Drums and Zildjian Cymbals in 2016 and proceeded to join the metalcore band “A Ghost of Flare” in the later part of the same year.
Starting with 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera) as a support drummer in May of 2018, and becoming a full member in January of 2019. A position he obviously still holds today.
Some artists he has provided support for throughout the years are DIMLIM, Earthists, Broken By The Scream, iNSOMNiA and Sailing Before The Wind. Just to name some of them, since there’s quite a few.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the actual interview!
Even though you were a part of the big interview with the entire band, this interview it’s all about you! Can you introduce yourself to the readers one more time please?
響 (Hibiki): I’m Hibiki Shiraishi (白石響). That’s also my real name. I was born on July 13, 1993. I started in music back in 2014 in the genres rock and metal, but I’ve also been a (support) drummer for a lot of bands, including my own. I joined 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera) as a drummer in 2019, and I’ve made my major debut on KING RECORDS in February of the same year. Aside from that I’m also involved in various other activities like support for different artists, live participation in educational settings and drum seminars.
In 2016 響 (Hibiki) signed an endorsement with both Pearl and Zildjian, resulting in the fact that he still uses both to this very day, but what exactly attracted him to these two brands in the first place? And why did he choose the setup he’s currently using?
Let’s talk a bit about your equipment, since you use a mixture of Pearl drums and Zildjian cymbals right now, but those definitely aren’t the only brands out there. What made you choose to use these parts specifically?
響 (Hibiki): I’ve been using this setup ever since I signed an endorsement contract with both Pearl and Zildjian in 2016. But the main reason is that I love the sound of the Pearl “Reference” series. It produces a powerful sound that no other manufacturer can produce. I use Zildjian because it has been used for a long time, and because there are so many different types of cymbals to choose from.
You’re using a big setup with two bass drums, among other parts. Most other drummers on the scene don’t go this far in terms of setup, so is there a special reason you’ve chosen to use two bass drums rather than one? And is there something you’d still like to add to your setup right now?
響 (Hibiki): I started playing drums because of the setup from Yoshiki from X JAPAN. It has been a dream of mine to use a large drum set that uses two bass drums. Another reason I keep using it is that 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera) is a ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) metal band. Right now I’m thinking of trying out キャノンタム (Canon Toms / Octoban), but it’s very difficult because I can’t find a place to put it.
YouTube: 響 / 摩天楼オペラ [Hibiki from Matenrou Opera]
Next to 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera) 響 (Hibiki) also participates in various other activities like educational settings (since he really enjoys giving drum classes!) and courses, drum seminars (which he usually does on his own birthday) and lectures, support for other musicians and bands and a completely different project that’s unique even in his own portfolio. We’ll get to this in a moment. Because we have to talk about his YouTube channel first.
He has been uploading drum covers actively on his channel for a little over a year now. With great success, because right before we started to talk for this interview he passed the milestone of 30,000 subscribers. A milestone he celebrated with a special live video on his channel during that time. So let’s take a moment to talk about that.
Your YouTube channel has definitely helped with spreading the word about you and your skills as a drummer to a large audience worldwide, especially since a lot of musicians are moving their stage to an online environment after the pandemic hit. You’ve however started your channel a few years ago already, but you only started uploading to it again about a year ago. Was it because of the pandemic too, or was there another reason?
響 (Hibiki): I created the YouTube channel when I was still a college student. The original intent was to upload drum covers I did there as a hobby, but it was unheard of for a professional musician to upload covers to YouTube. So when I joined 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera) I abandoned the channel entirely. However, time has given birth to a new profession: “YouTuber”. We’re currently living in an era where professionals are entering the YouTube scene in large numbers too, so I feel a lot more comfortable uploading a cover now than I did before. And yeah, the reason I picked up activity on the channel again was because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your success has both motivated and inspired others to create their own YouTube channels as well. The biggest example of this is probably 苑 (Sono), the vocalist of 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera), who picked up on your dedication to your channel and started his own because of it. But he’s definitely not the only one out there who was inspired by you. Is there any advice you can give those people who also want to start their own channel right now?
響 (Hibiki): I think the most important thing is consistency. You have to produce content on a regular basis to keep your audience engaged and interested in your next upload. In my case I have decided to upload a new video every Friday at 8 PM (Japanese time), because I want my viewers to develop the habit to come and watch my videos when they are published. Additionally I think it’s very important to make videos that are high quality, and to keep an eye on what is trending right now so you can cater to this when needed.
But, you have to think about your own channel as well. Right now we have a lot of free time and this allows you to upload a lot of videos and we can watch a lot of them, but this time is going to end at some point. Live shows will pick up again for you, as well as a lot of other stuff you’re involved in. How do you see your channel after the pandemic finally ends?
響 (Hibiki): The pace in which my videos will be uploaded might slow down after the pandemic ends, but I definitely plan on keeping the channel going then too. By now I’ve done several drum seminars already so I want to continue doing those as well.
Preferences, future plans and dreams
摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera)’s new single 儚く消える愛の讃歌 (Hakanaku kieru ai no sanka) has been released last month, and while there is a lot I can say about this single, let’s limit ourselves to what you said in the previous interview: it’s your favorite kind of drumming. Based on your YouTube channel alone one can conclude that your preferred genre is metal, but what exactly started this love for the genre?
響 (Hibiki): I wanted to copy the drums from Yoshiki from X JAPAN. That’s the whole reason I got so absorbed in the drums as an instrument. Of course I like music from other genres too, but no matter what the origin of my love for music comes from the metal genre. So that’s why I want to continue working with that as my axis.
At the moment of writing you’re also preparing for the first live show of the year with the band, and the single hasn’t been officially released yet either, but we have to think about the future constantly. Can you tell me something about your future plans already?
響 (Hibiki): The single was very well received by our fans. So I think I have been making even cooler music without breaking this trend I’m on right now.
In the last interview you’ve also told me about the dreams you’ve had. You want to be famous with a band, and even though you’re not quite there yet, you’re well underway! It’s important to keep dreaming though, so do you have a dream you want to be working towards after this one already?
響 (Hibiki): Apart from being famous as a band I also want to be famous as an individual drummer. Regarding that dream, I want to play an active part in all kinds of genres. Not just metal. But of course the dream of being on the stage of 日本武道館 (Nippon Budokan) with 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera) remains a very important goal!
We’ve reached the end of the interview, so do you have something you’d like to say to the readers as a parting message for now?
響 (Hibiki): I would like to continue to do my best, both as a part of the band and as an individual drummer. So please continue to support me! I will do my best, and aim for 100.000 subscribers on my YouTube channel!
In this interview we’ve mostly talked about 響 (Hibiki)’s YouTube channel, but like I said earlier already, there is so much more to him than that. But in case you’ve gotten curious to his setup and his channel, here’s a small preview in the form of a drum playthrough of 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera)’s latest single first.
Want to see more of 響 (Hibiki)’s videos?
Let me refer you to his YouTube channel, here: https://www.youtube.com/c/HibikiShiraishi/videos
Aside from that I also have a recommendation for you: if you want to see 響 (Hibiki)’s setup in detail you can do so through this video.
In short: there is so much more than meets the eye. Normally fans of the J-Rock/ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) genres often don’t get to see this side from their favorite musicians. And while researching for the big interview with the entire band I stumbled on so much information I wanted to ask, but wasn’t able to at that time. More than enough reason to ask 響 (Hibiki) for a special solo interview, right?
Even though this interview was mostly focused on his YouTube channel due to that being a very popular platform and topic nowadays, I still wanted to highlight a little more background information about him here. Since he did hint to it here and there, but didn’t fully answer.
My very special thanks of course goes to none other than 響 (Hibiki) himself for willing to answer some more questions that were for him alone. I originally wanted to ask 響 (Hibiki) for an interview like this from the very beginning, but it wasn’t possible at that time. An interview with the entire band was possible, but once we started talking about that 響 (Hibiki) actually asked me about this solo interview I had requested prior.
I explained him my ideas, and his response was “let’s do it!”, and this interview is the result of that. For a musician who plays their instrument with as much passion as 響 (Hibiki), I’m more than willing to take an extra step!