Friday, August 12, 2016

Kurokuma Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

Things are really heating up for us. All the effort we've invested for the last two and a half years feels like it's finally coming to fruition. We have our EP coming out on Medusa Crush in September, our first UK tour in October and we're getting booked for a few different shows and festivals - Doomlines and Red Sun this summer were a lot of fun. After Advorsus is out we've already got a concept EP in the works - it's based around one of our favourite comic strips, Dope Rider. And we have a cover of "Radioactivity" by Kraftwerk already recorded that we need to do something with...

2. You have an ep coming out in September, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

The only thing we'd put out previous to this was a demo on Bandcamp. We've been living off that until now so we felt it was time to put out a more fully realised release. I think the song-writing on Advorsus is more measured and accomplished rather than the all out assault of the demo. There's just three songs on this EP but they're all fairly long, dark and heavy. I think they all contain that doom/sludge sound mixed in with a more exotic, sometimes Latin feel and that combination is the sound of Kurokuma so far. We're still exploring what kinda noise suits us best though.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your newer music?
4. One of your tracks is name 'Kali, does the band have any interest in the mysticism, mythology of philosophy of the east?

On the EP the first track is called "Lust" and it was written by our guitarist, Jake. It's about the seedier, psychological side of sex and relationships. "Dark Triad" was also written by Jake and it's about the three powerful aspects of personality that are said to give you anything you desire if you're willing to use them - machiavellianism, psychopathy and narcissism.

I wrote "Kali". Yeah, I have a deep interest in mysticism, mythology and philosophy. My whole life is focused on that stuff and I get a lot more out of the Eastern ideas than the Western ones. I feel Kurokuma somehow channels a mystical feeling and we want our shows to be a truly psychedelic experience - something that opens people's minds and transports them to another plane. I think that all goes hand in hand with a lot of the stoner and doom culture. When I was reading about Kali I realised she has a very striking and dark image and I felt that would go well with the kind of music we make.

5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Kurokuma'?

Kurokuma means black bear in Japanese. I used to live in Aomori in Japan and I first came across the word when I was visiting a waterfall called Kurokuma Falls. I'd always felt some kind of affinity with bears and the name just stuck with me. When Jake and I were searching for a name that represented what we wanted to create I suggested it one day and we both knew it fit perfectly. It's foreign and exotic but has a visceral power in the way you say it and its meaning. Most people can't say it or spell it right which just adds to the mystery...

6. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

I think we'd probably all agree the best show we've played so far was in our mate's cellar in April. He's in another local doom band called Lunar Maria but they're on hiatus because he left Sheffield to travel round the world. For his leaving party Kurokuma and Lunar Maria played at his house and the crowd was not the usual metal audience but totally got into what we were doing. There was so much energy that night, it was unreal. It was all captured for an upcoming documentary called The Doom Doc we're going to be a part of...

Our stage performance is wild, heavy and psychedelic. We often get people coming up after and saying we blew their mind or we're the heaviest band they've ever seen, which is exactly what we like to hear.

7. Do you have any touring or show plans once the ep is released?

We're just finalising the planning for our first small tour. It'll run from October 12th-16th and will hit five cities in the north of the UK and the Midlands (Liverpool, Birmingham, Leicester, Rotherham and Manchester). Our mates in Under ( rstockport) will be supporting us. They're another doomy trio who don't do things by the book and we get on well with 'em.

8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of sludge and doom metal?

We've got people from all over asking us to play shows in their country. We wanna take them up on their offers soon, especially in France, and Europe in general cos it's so close and easy to get to for us. We've also had a good reaction in the US with some positive reviews of our music on the doom and sludge blogs. We'll be premiering our EP on the Doomed & Stoned blog in September.

9. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

We just wanna keep getting more extreme - heavier and trippier. We also wanna continue to incorporate exotic rhythms and instruments into what we do. Jake wants to start using analogue synths.

10. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

For me I've been listening to a lot of Primitive Man, Indian, Grief etc. lately - just really heavy sludge. But then we all like a lot of electronic Latin music which is completely different in terms of feel. Artists like Dengue Dengue Dengue and the ZZK Records catalogue - that definitely finds its way into what we do. Jake listens to a lot of funk, George listens to a lot of techno and bassline. In fact, he makes that kind of music under the name Glitchtrip.

11. What are some of your non musical interests?

For me personally, a huge part of my life is mysticism like I mentioned earlier. I spend a lot of time reading up on it and exploring it. I recently spent a week at a dergah in Cyprus and that was a pretty transformative experience for me. I'm into psychedelics and exploring different realities as well - Carlos Castaneda books and things like that. It's all linked for me. Aside from that and music there's not time for much else haha.

12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thanks for the interview. Everybody stay tuned to Kurokuma cos we're only just getting going. Shout out to Mathieu from Medusa Crush and everyone in the Sheffield doom scene. Peace.