Funeral Moth’s new album transcience is out now.
As is abundantly clear from our Artists From Japan series, the country is, and has been for a good time, ridiculously well endowed with a frankly opulent amount of musical talent. One such talent is Tokyo/Kanagawa based doom metal quartet Funeral Moth. Mining a spacious and expansive sound, the group are more akin to a more focused version of drone metal pioneers Earth than many of their more obvious peers. Their new album, transcience, is an oppressive and engrossing listen consisting of two tracks that clock in at forty minutes combined.
We had a chat with the group about how they’ve developed since their debut, mortality, and writing in the unusual ‘Rondo’ format.
Overblown: Transience is your second album. How has your songwriting approach developed since you released dense fog?
Makoto Fujishima (guitar, guitar synthesizer, vocal): All songs of dense fog were written while we were a single guitar band. But these 2 songs on transience album were written for 2 guitars in the first place. I think it’s the biggest difference between the songwriting process of dense fog and transience. 2 guitars allows us to write much more complex and harmonically rich songs.
O: This is your first release with new bassist Ryo Amamiya. How did he affect the writing and recording process?
Makoto: Yes, he’s a really talented bass player. He joined the band a few month before the recording, so he’s not involved with the songwriting this time. In the recording process, he contributed a lot because he’s also capable of recording by himself.
Ryo Amamiya (bass): Since I was capable of recording and mixing along with Makoto, I think we achieved our desired sound to the very detail.
For example, when we were recording drums, me and Makoto were trying several ideas on the positioning of the microphone to capture the raw but crisp sounding drum kit. It’s nice to have more than 1 sound engineers in a band.
O: Is the shortness and temporary nature of living on this planet something that is interesting for you? Why?
Makoto: Because I’m a mortal. In general, I’m an optimistic type person and don’t care so much about negative matters. But sometimes, I miss what I had lost in my life. That is youth, close people who passed away, love given to me and I gave, etc. When the emptiness in my mind opress me, I listen to music or write a song to fill the void. I think I’ll never feel like I’m a perfect person until I go into nirvana after death.
O: One of the new songs is written in ‘Rondo’, a format traditionally used in classical composition. Was it challenging to adhere to this format? Why inspired you to try to write in this format?
Makoto: Yes, ‘transience’ is written in Rondo format. The main theme appears third times and 2nd one is the variation of it. It wasn’t so challenging to me, but it was just same as other songs. The theme of the song ‘transience’ is the cycle of life and death. So I thought this format, which the main theme alternates with sub themes, was the perfect format to represent it.
O: How does the album cover link to the theme of the album?
Makoto: Transience is the story of transient mortal lives. Our lives last for 100 years or so at most. The earth will last much longer than human beings but it will be vanished in the end. Everything doesn’t last forever except time. The sea in the album artwork is the symbolization of womb and grave. Life was born from sea and after death my ashes will be thrown into the sea. From the mortal’s point of view, the sea is eternal but from the time’s point of view, the sea is also transient.
O: Metal Injection recently named transience their Doom Metal Album of the Year for 2016. They suggested that the album has a “crisper and airier” sound than much doom metal. Is this something you aimed for when creating the album?
Ryo: Although we do play a music categorized as doom metal, we thought the crisp and clean atmosphere we aimed on the album fits best for our music.
I think the clear production brings more potential to enjoy and feel each notes played.
Tomohiro Kanja (guitar): In this recording, I took care so much to create airly atmosphere. Especially, I was particular about the sound and playing. I achieved this natural sound after many trial and errors. So I’m pleased with hearing such a response.
O: What touring plans do you have?
Makoto: So far, there are no touring plans. We have a few gig plans in Japan.
O: What can people expect at a Funeral Moth live show?
Ryo: There are much more dynamics to our music when played live. Sometimes we can even hear audience talking or taking pictures with their phones. It isn’t one of those in-your-face loudness you would expect on typical metal shows, its more subtle and calm.
Makoto: Total bleakness! Stay doomed!
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