Featuring Chris Slade of AC/DC fame, MIWA unleashes their debut album, My Wish is Your Command. The screams of vocalist Miwa, combined with the energy of the instrumental section, provides listeners with 40 minutes of good heavy metal music to headbang to. We talk to the band to find out more.
HMT: Hi Sean, thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk to you! The band recently released the debut album, My Wish Is Your Command earlier this year. How has reception for the album been, and how does the band feel?
Reception for the album has been great! Sony Creative Software also did great article in their July news letter about me and the release of “My Wish Is Your Command”. People are finding out exactly how much MIWA ROCKS!
Before we move on, would it be possible to give our readers a history of the band? How did the band and the current lineup come about?
MIWA and I have been working on this for a long time. We have had many members in the band but our current lineup is best ever! We met Chris Slade (formerly of AC/DC) while he was playing a gig down the street. We were big fans, so we hung out and invited him to jam with us. He came the following Sunday and we jammed. Chris liked our music and Miwa’s vocals so much, that he joined us right then and there. Bjorn Englen and I have been friends for years. We are both music teachers in and around Hollywood, so he is a perfect fit to complete the lineup. Bjorn also currently plays with Yngwie Malmsteen.
The band is named after frontwoman, Miwa. Was there any particular reason behind the naming of the band, instead of coming up with another band name?
We were trying to come up with a cool name, and I thought; Miwa’s name is cool! So I can take credit for that. Miwa’s dedication and passion for her art has earned her this credit. Miwa is a MONSTER SINGER!
Chris Slade was also involved in the recording of both the music and the music videos of the album. How did the collaboration come about, and what was it like working with him? Will his involvement be a permanent thing and can fans get to see his continued involvement in the band in the future?
Chris Slade is the best! He is easy to get along with, and is always game for any crazy thing that we come up with. Chris really added to the songs because he really played to the music. We can’t wait ‘till we start on the next album together.
Let’s now talk about the new album, My Wish Is Your Command. The first thing that strikes the listener is the cartoon/manga-influenced album artwork. How did the artwork come about?
One of my students named Yuji was a producer of a lot of Japanese animation like Trigun, Tenchi Muyo and many others, introduced to me to an amazing artist named Tom Watanabe that did Yuji’s album cover. I was kind of new at the whole Japanese Animation thing, but I thought Tom’s work was really cool! He took the ball and ran with it… We couldn’t be happier with what Tom has done for us! Our album cover turned out great!!!
Miwa, on the album, alternates between singing in Japanese and English. What was the reason behind this, instead of choosing to do the album entirely in just one language? How have fans received this lyrical approach of the band?
Miwa’s first language is Japanese, so those were the first songs that she wrote. We talked about doing other versions as well but Miwa is very adamant about keeping the proper message intact so we decided to go with it! This decision has been well received with our fans, we are all very proud of her for sticking to her guns!
Miwa’s vocals also range from gruff, thrash-influenced vocals to clean and soulful singing, evident on the different styles of music available on the album. Does she have any formal vocal training, and who are some of her influences and inspirations in terms of vocals?
Well, as a matter of fact, I taught her. I’ve been known for years in Hollywood as “The Voice Mechanic” and out of my 2 000 + private students, I got the greatest results from Miwa! And she was totally into METAL!!! So I decided to make a band with her. All the classic 80’s Hard Rock bands were a big influence, especially Judas Priest, Halford, Dio, etc. She even warms up with Alice Cooper!!!
The guitars on the album also bring to mind old school heavy metal legends such as Loudness and at times reek of blues influences. What are some of your influences when laying down the guitar solos on the album?
I too am a fan of all the classic HEAVY METAL! We recently partied with Loudness in LA, and Akira is an AMAZING guitarist. My influences have been Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Halford, Slayer, Iron Maiden, The Scorpions, Queensryche, Metallica, Accept, U.D.O. and many other great Heavy Metal bands…
On to the lyrical themes on the album. Are there any main running theme and concepts behind the lyrics of the album? Where does the band draw lyrical influences from?
Each song is unique. Miwa draws from her experiences and dreams etc. Miwa writes all her own lyrics and melodies. A concept album would be cool though, maybe a good idea for a future album…
The band has also filmed a music video for Finally Found You and the title track. What were the experiences like, and were there any memorable incidents while filming the video?
Well, trying to play guitar and direct a music video can get hectic. Especially when the sun is going down and minutes later you won’t be able to see a f***ing thing! Or even find your way out of there! We were in the Mojave Desert outside of Los Angeles. The coolest part was when I was on top of a mountain playing the solo! Thankfully, my camera crew put up with my antics and we had a great time!
In addition, songs from the album have been selected for various short films and video campaigns. How did these deals come about, and how does the band feel about this?
Yes, the title track for the album was selected to be the main theme in a short film by Director Jonathan Heap entitled “Bed Ridden”. The very first thing that you hear in the movie is our song and again as it smashes to the credits. “Playing with Fire” and “.7” also appeared in some commercials for Always Hope in Malibu. We have also been asked for a song to be used in an upcoming feature film. It’s a lot of fun to go see a movie and hear your song in it as well!
With the album finally released, what are the near future plans of the band?
We have a few more videos to shoot, and then we’ll start touring a bit, before working on the next album.
We have come to the final segment of the interview: the last words are yours!
Thank you to all of our fans around the world and thank you to Heavy Metal Tribune for this interview. Watch for MIWA coming to your city and Keep it METAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Album Review: MIWA – My Wish Is Your Command