Interview with Hiro from Metal Safari

With their release of 2010’s The Prisoner, Metal Safari has once again proven to the international metal circle the prowess of Asian metal bands. Clarence recently got the opportunity to conduct an interview with Hiro, guitarist of Metal Safari to learn more about the Japanese metal scene as well as have some experiences shared.

HMT: Hi Hiro, thank you for taking the time off for this interview with us. First and foremost, give us a brief history of Metal Safari and yourself, perhaps a little bit about your musical journey?

Aappreciate this wonderful opportunity, too.Metal Safari was formed in 2005. In the first six months, we kept writing songs and distributing demo CDs for propaganda. After one year, Metal Safari released its debut album, and just flew all over the country for live tour. During the time, Metal Safari not only traveled all the way from north to south Japan, but also toured overseas, such as Asia and Europe. All our music recording, live booking, and album release, etc…have been managed by ourselves without any record label. We are independent of finishing our music activities.

Metal Safari has toured hard in promoting your previous album, Return to My Blood, going to countries like Europe, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. What was the reception like at these countries?

A: It was so unexpectingly awesome that has become one of the most impressive tours even in my music career. I’d like to go to these countries again even now. Audiences in these countries are great, and the tour memories are just too many to describe.

Apart from Metal Safari, I believe the band has their day job. What are your day jobs and how do you find the time to rehearse and jam together while juggling with a day job?

Not only recording for the albums of Metal safari, I also work as a recording engineer with other bands. It will be a pleasure to have an opportunity working with you, because it’s my dream to work with foreign bands. Metal Safari has regular rehearsal schedule, and we’re like just follow it. I love band activities, so tour more is what I want.

As a guitarist, who are your personal heroes and your influences? What about the rest of the members and Metal Safari as a band itself?

I don’t know about other members, but I’m influenced by lots of guitarist. Like the Amott brothers of ARCHENEMY, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert, and Steve Vai, all these super guitarists are my heroes. And I have to say that there are many great experienced bands in Japan that have influenced me a lot, such as SUN SOWL, SURVIVE, UNITED, and BAT CAVE. They’ve become a part of me.

How has the Japanese metal scene evolved since the early 2000s, seeing renowned acts like Sigh, X-Japan, Abigail and Sabbat making Japan a country to look out for in the international metal scene?

Actually our metal scene is not quite the same, so all I can say is with the widespread use of the internet, listeners all over the world can get to know them easily. I think the biggest boost should be the start of bands using the internet zealously no matter they’re Japanese bands or not. BUT, you guys still got to watch out for Japanese bands, and Metal Safari of course. Haha.

Metal Safari – Prisoner

Your second album, Prisoner, was recently released. Are there any concepts behind the title and the album itself? After all, majority of the lyrics are in Japanese!

There are quite a lot “prisoners of something” in the lyrics, and that is how the title came out. Prisoners might be us ourselves, or one of you. Everyone in the world is trapped in something, but anyways, it’s better if you take this in whatever meaning you like.

This will be the part which will be interesting for the metalhead in Singapore. Personally, are there any bands from Japan that are worth mentioning, excluding the bands that I have mentioned previously and Metal Safari, of course!


Death I Am
Crystal Lake
Break your fist
Edge of spirit
Infernal revulsion

Too many to list. LOL

Both your debut and second full length are self-released by the band. Do you intend to sign onto a label anytime soon, to aid in the distribution of your music in the international music scene such as in Europe and South East Asia?

Actually, we have been singed a contract with one label recently, and the album starts to sell now. If you pass by one of the Metal Safari’s album, you will see.

With the release of Prisoner, are there any plans to go on tour to promote the album, in particular in South East Asia? After all, Metal Safari has not really toured this region yet.

We’ll go on tour in Taiwan and Hong Kong in June. As I just said, we have contract with one label. After this tour, we are going to start a whole new promotion tour soon. We’d like to go to South East Asia, therefore if there are any promoters who are interested, please give us a call.

Final question: any parting words for aspiring bands and fans out there?

Welcome to our live concert while we play in your city, and have fun with us. We hope you could understand how strong we are when we do the live performances, and look forward to playing with you, too. Please support us when the tour dates are scheduled.

Metal Safari 2010

Thank you once again for taking time off for our interview!

Thanks to you, too. I’m looking forward to seeing you.

Metal Safari on MySpace.

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Clarence

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