Interview by David Cirone
April 29, 2020
Japanese gothic rock band Leetspeak monsters has turned their gaze to the rites of springtime with their latest maxi-single “Beltane”, released April 15. The members talk about moving their cameras outdoors for the bonfire-themed music video and how the wide range of styles on the disc all add up to show the band’s true personality.
What does the band name “Leetspeak monsters” mean? “Monsters” is easy to understand, but why “Leetspeak”?
D13 (vocals): The name has multiple meanings, and the longer our band continues, the more I enjoy hearing our fans guess. I really like hearing our audience’s interpretation, and maybe that changes the more they get to know our music. If you have your own idea, please tell us!
Why did you choose the Celtic ritual of “Beltane” as the theme for your new single? It’s a different vibe from your usual settings like graveyards, haunted mansions, scary museums.
Euskyss (bass): Since our release was timed for spring, I thought I would write a song of warm hope. Beltane is a festival of witches that pairs well with Halloween, so I felt the theme would work well for us. In the Celtic calendar, the year is divided into two seasons, summer and winter. Samhain (just like Halloween) is a festival in the cold season, and Beltane is a festival of the warm season. So I think the theme actually fits our band better than people might think.
How did shooting the “Beltane” MV outside in the forest change the vibe while you were performing?
D13: It got really cold when we were shooting in the woods. Being surrounded by plants and flames was something totally new, and it gave me a lot of energy. It was a very unconventional shooting environment for us.
Yo’shmeer (guitar): Yes, it was definitely cold, but there were moments where I could just walk around in the woods and enjoy them.
Euskyss: The shooting situation was cold and challenging for us, since we were in the middle of the forest with winter snow and rain all around us. We shot some scenes in an abandoned room, but that was a little better because a huge heater was installed.
Leetspeak monsters’ songs usually contain a lot of English, but “Beltane” (written by Euskyss) has lyrics that are mostly in Japanese. Why did you choose this style for the song?
Euskyss: At first, I made created the melody of “Beltane” with English in mind, but as the song developed, it felt natural to add more and more Japanese. Especially since we’re singing about a European ritual, I think the Japanese lyrics are the best way to make sure our audience in Japan can feel the true intention of the lyrics.
“Perfect night” has a dance-rock groove, and then in the middle of the song, the sound gets heavier with a sharp guitar solo. It reminded me of the way “Greenman” shifts suddenly into headbanging. How “heavy rock” can Leetspeak monsters get?
D13: I love heavy rock and I think it’s the true heart of our music.
Euskyss: When I think of “heavy rock”, I think of distorted guitar and powerful riffs. I enjoy it.
Yo’shmeer: It was the first recording we did since I started using a new guitar, and I wanted to create a riff that would reach out into the world and get people to feel Leetspeak monsters’ power. A heavy rock sound is always going on inside my mind. It’s my passion. It’s my soul.
“Burn the life” has an intense rap from D13. He sounds really powerful and a little dangerous. The lyrics talk about “shinigami” and the coffin carriage coming too early. The countdown “5,4,3,2,1” makes it feel like life is running out of time too quickly. Was it your goal to scare people with this song?
D13: I’m not going to scare you. It’s the opposite, there’s a positive message. In our normal lives, it’s easy to sometimes forget the death that comes for everyone. It’s a song to make you think about living the most you can in the time you have.
Euskyss: D13 sent me the lyrics and melody, and I immediately envisioned that countdown and the reaper approaching, so I arranged the song around that theme.
Who’s playing piano on “Wake up alone”? Can fans look forward to seeing you play piano in your live shows?
D13: It’s Euskyss! The Vampire Prince can do anything! I think there will be a day when he will play it at a live show.
Euskyss: Yes, that’s me playing the piano. If there is an opportunity someday, I will try playing the song live. But I wonder how I’ll do that and the bass at the same time…
“Wake up alone” (on the limited edition) is the most “upbeat” song of the maxi-single. It’s a big contrast from the heavy mood of the other songs. How do you describe the balance the different sides of Leetspeak monsters?
D13: We are a mixture rock band. I want to express that by performing a variety of music. I’m always thinking of that balance when we create a new CD or plan our live shows.
Yo’shmeer: Pop, dark, gothic, or something else… We can do anything. It all feels natural to us, so I don’t really feel like it’s that different.
DieWolf (drums): Based on the wild sensations I experienced in Gravetown, I’m thinking about how to make those come alive in each song in a different way. They are all unique, but they’re all showing our different sides, too. Ooooon!!!!!
Euskyss: This time, “Beltane” emerged as a beautiful song that made me feel a little melancholy, so I’m careful not to make a similar arrangement with the songs that are intense or bright. We are always trying to adopt various musical characteristics, but the base element is still “the enjoyment of music that naturally moves”. I think that, no matter what direction our songs take, people can recognize Leetspeak monsters’ music, whether it’s intense or fun or scares you to death!
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