Sigh is perhaps best known to have a different sound for each of their studio outputs, with Scenes from Hell being yet a change from their previous album, Hangman’s Hymn. We had the privilege to speak to Mirai to learn more about his musical journey and his hatred for mankind.
It was a real hectic. Just a few days before our departure, our guitarist Shinich was diagnosed as Tuberculosis and was forced to hospitalized. So we had to swithce our instruments and change the setlist drastically.
Are the fans from Finland receptive of the band?
Half of the setlist was Venom covers and we played mostly from our debut album. Fortunately Finnish die-hard fans liked the setlist.
What was the experience of sharing the same stage with the likes of Impaled Nazarene and Barathrum like?
Unfortunately I was not able to see Barathrum as they had finished playing before our arrival. This was our second time to play with Impaled Nazarene. They came to Japan about 10 years ago and we played togerther then too. Of course it’s always great to play with them.
Scenes From Hell was released in January. How has the response for the album been?
Well, the resoponss is always the same. Some says it’s our best work while other claims it’s the worst. We’ve been facing the same things since we released the second album. The fans who was expecting the symphonic album must have liked it but if you were waiting for another Imaginary Sonicscape, this wasn’t your thing.
You managed to get Eliran Kantor, who was responsible for the artwork for bands like Testament and GWAR, to do your album artwork. How did the collaboration come about?
I just got e-mail from him, and I took a look at his works on his website and we have decided to ask him to do the artwork straightaway. The artwork of Scenes form Hell is perfect, it describes the world which we tried to express with the music. Eliran 100% understood what we wanted.
In Hangman’s Hymn, there was a general storyline regarding Earth, Heaven and Hell behind the lyrics. The lyrics for Scenes From Hell are, well, about the scenes from hell. How and where do you draw out all the hatred towards mankind from?
Well, I believe it’s very natural to be frustrated in this world. There are too many stupid things around us. Politics are crazy. Everybody tries to fuck over you. However, there’s not much we can do. We cannot change anything.
Scenes From Hell is the first full length album featuring Dr. Mikkanibal on vocals and saxophone. How did the idea of having a female vocalist and saxophonist come about? How has she brought a new edge into the band’s music?
Definitely the role of Dr. Mikannibal is huge. Not only visually but also she musically contributes a lot. Well, saxophone might be a bit unusual instrument in metal, but in rock music it’s rather a cliche. We’ve been using the saxophone sound from the early days, so it was great to finally have a permanent saxophonist in the band. Also splitting the vocals with her gives a new dimension to our songs.
I believe most fans are curious about Sigh’s debut album, Scorn Defeat’s release on Deathlike Silence. How did the collaboration with Euronymous and his label come about?
We were looking for a deal after we recorded “Requiem for Fools” 7″EP for Wild Rags Records, and we were sending out it to many labels. And I sent one to Dead, who was the owner of Deathlike Silence Productions, however, it was Euronymous who replied because Dead had killed himself. Back then everybody was enthusiastic about Florida Death Metal and grindcore stuff, so Euronymous was the only one who was interested in signing Sigh who were heavilly influenced by 80s stuff which was considered to be outdated.
With the reissue of Scorn Defeat in 2009, can fans expect to see more Sigh classic albums such as Infidel Art and Hail Horror Hail be reissued soon as well?
We’ve been working on re-issue of those albums, however still we’re having a problem with Cacophonous shit. They’re the WORST label on this earth for sure.
Almost every Sigh album, right from the debut to the latest album, features a major shift in the sound of the band. Where do you get all the inspirations to write music ranging from black metal to thrash metal to avant-garde metal from?
As I said in the following answer, I have a lot on my musical pallet. And I always choose the best one from the pallet to express the view in my head. Sometimes it’s metal, sometimes it’s not. Being varied is not our purpose, but it’s just a result.
We see Sigh displaying their jazz influences in the Jazzy Outtakes in Gallows Gallery. Besides metal, what are some of your biggest musical influences?
As I was taking the classical piano lesson for more than 20 years from at the age of 4, so definitely classical music influence is as big as heavy metal on me. Then after I grew up, I had to study various musical styles including jazz as I was composing music for TV shows, video game etc. When you have a job like that, you can’t say “Sorry, I’m not familiar with that kind of style” so you have to have a lot on your musical pallet.
In the previous 2 albums, Sigh has always boasted a long list of notable guest musicians (with the most notable being Gunface from The Red Chord). Was it difficult getting so many different musicians from all over the world to guest on the albums? Why have them guest on the album instead of doing the parts that they have done by members of the band?
No, it’s not difficult at all. Usually we only have the guest musicians who understand what we’re doing. Gunface has been good friend of ours for a long time, and he knows our music very well. And definitely it’s good and stimulating to have something different into our music from outside of the band.
In the recent albums, Sigh has invited fans to contribute in various ways to the band’s output (such as the Latin singing in Hangman’s Hymn), with the latest being the Prelude to the Oracle video shoot. What gave you the idea to do that, and was that a means of showing your appreciation to fans of Sigh?
Thanks to the Internet, now you can record your parts and swap them via e-mail. I would never imagine that when we started the band in the beginning of 1990. Definitely fans’ participation is truly helpful to us, and it’s great if they also enjoy it.
|A Tribute to Venom EP|
Sigh’s A Tribute to Venom EP showcased ever member’s talents in the sense that everyone switched instruments to some extent. How did the idea of paying tribute to Venom by doing a tribute album with each member switching instruments come about?
We are huge fans of Venom and we’ve been playing Venom covers since our very first gig in 1990, so we though it’d be a good idea to do the tribute to them. The biggest reason to have swithced the instruments was that we have two drummers in the band, Satoshi and Junichi, and their styles are totally different. Satoshi’s style fits songs like Schizo while Junichi is good at drumming for faster song like Witching Hour.
With Sigh playing in August at the upcoming Hellfest in France and Brutal Assault XV in Czech Republic, what can fans expect from the performance?
We’ve never played in either of these countries, so we’re really looking forward to both of them. The setlist should be rather short like 30 minutes, but there is going to be lots of blood and fire. We hope to give a huge impact on those who never heard of us.
Will fans from South East Asia get to see Sigh anytime soon? Are there plans to tour SEA?
We’ll be there any time but we don’t get any offers! We have booking agencies for the US and Europe, but we don’t know anybody who could arrange the Asian tour. It’s very strange considering that we’re an Asian band!
After the touring cycle to support Scenes From Hell, can fans look forward to another release from the band? Perhaps a DVD documenting the history of the band?
Actually now we’re recording the new two-track demo for the next album. Now our deal with The End Records is through, so we’ll have to start hunting a new deal when the demo is done. Hopefully we’ll secure the deal ASAP and start working on the new album from this Autumn.
Mirai, you are also one of the guest musicians to appear on Singapore death metal outfit, Obliterhate’s album. How did the collaboration come about?
I got e-mail from him. I’ve been wondering what is going on with the project. I’m looking forward to the final result.
One final question: any parting words to fans and music critics out there?
Thank you very much for the interview. For our latest information, visit our websites:
Album review: Sigh – Scenes from Hell