Nabeshima – 2021 - Sliptrick

Imari Tones image
Chatryper, Atsuki Ryo With Jesus Mode, Dakeno Kakari>>NAKAMINE “TONE” TAK>>Chatryper, Atsuki Ryo With Jesus Mode, Dakeno Kakari

Chatryper, Atsuki Ryo With Jesus Mode, Dakeno Kakari>>NAKAMINE “TONE” TAK>>Chatryper, Atsuki Ryo With Jesus Mode, Dakeno Kakari

Chatryper, Atsuki Ryo With Jesus Mode, Dakeno Kakari>>MARIE [NAKAMINE IMARI]>>Atsuki Ryo With Jesus Mode, Dakeno Kakari

Funky Sunday Party>>SHINRYU>>Funky Sunday Party

History & Biography
The Japan-based white metal act Imari Tones is unique. The act started as Van Halen fan Take “Tone” Nakamine’s own project mainly doodling in his bedroom before becoming a bona fide act in 2004. Nakamine found Jesus Christ in 2008 and the lyrics veered in that direction. The band’s drummer quit as a result. Imari Tones was named after Take’s girlfriend two years his junior whom he had met at their high school. As such, the act’s first song was a tune called I, which was about Imari. They would stay together and eventually marry ten years later. The girl would join her man/the band named for her in 2018 having learnt to handle the bass somewhere along the way. She had earlier joined Atsuki Ryo With Jesus Mode in 2011. Even earlier she had been running a Stryper Street Team in Japan. The first time she had picked up the bass was for the husband, wife and friends’ Stryper cover band. Bassist Hassy (Takayuki Hashimoto) and drummer Jake (Yamazaki Hideaki) had left in 2018. In the early non-Christian days Nakamine was flown to Germany to work with producer Sascha Paeth who is known for his work with Freedom Call, Kamelot, Avantasia and more, but the sessions were unsuccessful. The band could not obtain a record deal. Members quit. The man wrote Japanese lyrics about life at this stage. This changed in 2008 when the lyrics, which were mostly but not exclusively in English, turned to religion. Many independent releases came through the band’s Kitchen Knife/Calling Records. These included Entering The New World of 2001, Kodomo Metal of 2003 (recorded in 1999), Color Of Hers of 2006, Fireworks of 2006, Japanese Pop of 2007, Welcome To The School of 2009 and In Glory Zone of 2010. The band played in the USA in 2012. The group played in Japan with The Burns Ins (Canada) and The Lacks (USA). Jesus Wind of 2017 was a concept about Christian history in Japan. Maya Koji, who was in a pre-Anthem band called Black Hole, was in the band between 2018 and 2020. He left ostensibly because of an old shoulder injury. Nabeshima, released through Sliptrick, combined samurai stories with Christianity. Nabeshima refers to the old art of Imari porcelain of which Nabeshima was one of the most dear. Aside from the wife-bassist ‘Imari’ in the monicker, the group’s name also makes reference to this art form.

The band played a show in Tokyo in February 2022 and adopted a ‘Kirishitan metal’ concept and spoke in the olden Japanese language of Edo period when Samurai rules the land and, ironically, Christianity was outlawed in Japan. The members had a side-project called Dakeno Kakari as of 2022. The rock project had a demo called Greetings. Imari Tones had a 2022 demo called To Rome. Dakeno Kakari had a demo called Hypothesis in 2023. Imari Tones, joined Melania Trump in the meantime, and also released a NFT. The band began a mission to establish a heavy metal church in Japan. To this end it had a show in November 2023 and booked another one to begin 2024. The band recorded a new release at the same church as the November performance and hoped to tour in June and July 2024. The new release was likely called Coming Back Alive. The band explained that the couple had a fire in the apartment, which inspired the title.

The act dubs itself “The first Christian heavy metal band from Japan.” The act can be seen praying before gracing the stage occasionally and has played at churches.


Likely the only white metal band in Japan, Yokohama’s Imari Tones is a special brew mixing Japanese culture and heavy metal (lyrics go over beer, wine and sake!), Japanese and English lyrics (no Aramaic unfortunately!) and musically combines and presents heavy metal, hard rock, rock and pop. This is a band whose previous releases have borne titles like Japanese Pop, Japan Metal Jesus and Victory In Christ.
The band’s leader, singer and guitarist, who also produces his own music, is one of the better English speaking of the Japanese music scene, but that does not mean he commands English or that the lyrics are all English. In fact, like most Japanese artists he and the band mix Japanese with English liberally and get away with it. This comes, as he himself mentioned to us, natural to him. The lyrics for a white metal band are always paramount, of course, but as much as the trio’s website has them in spades the double-CD itself strangely and ironically omits a lyrics’ sheet. It is up to the website then where the band has kindly provided translations as well. Speaking of double-CDs, we at Metallian Towers are against them as a rule. Imari Tones or not, double-discs fail to showcase a band’s best and end up with a mix or mishmash of material. Include your best material and abandon the rest, has always been the best advice. Congruously, Nabeshima, which is named after fine Japanese porcelain and hence is what the band reckons is its best work, features a mixture of the good (Passion), the bad (Redemption) and the embarrassing (Once In A Lifetime).
The first disc of two begins with the better song Passion where the group fires up a storm. Lord’s Prayer is in English and seems disjointed and not in a progressive sort of a way; rather there is little congruity between the music and the vocals. It is something that one hears often with Imari Tones: the band is jamming. This may be a function of the band putting gospel and proselytizing ahead of its music. The vocals of Take occasionally can reach the higher registers, but it may be that the singer cannot hold them always as he is also handling the guitars. Sakura Day is back to Japanese and has an enka vibe to it. The voice is more even-keeled and akin to indie music. It becomes clearer that the album is uneven. Atomic Jam is indeed an alternative music jam that is set to the equivalent to slam poetry with lyrics like: “Easy World Burning Sun/Ending World Burning Fire.” 123,4&5 is a pattern and a memory test perhaps. This one has several good hard rock riffs. Sakura Night has come now and has a desirable solo that is quite short nevertheless. A song called Chanbara follows and refers to the samurai film genre and the way of their swords. Indeed, these guys like samurai and dress accordingly. It may be more than a coincidence that former samurai were major proponents of Christianity in the Edo era of Japan in the 19th century. Then comes a track like Jidai, which is barely a song and subpar. To these ears it is an aimless drift with guitar and vocals atop. God Anthem, in case you like some Anthem from Japan, is Imari Tones not channeling Warning Action!, but the Japanese national anthem. The music is repetitious and the sermon is accompanied by the expected guitar tone. One has to again remember that it is one man who sings, guitars, composes and produces, but that fact amplifies the imperative to re-flex the creativity muscle not to mention recall that 2-disc issue.
Crucified Boy kicks off the second disc in a more contemplative fashion a la alternative music. The musicians see themselves as Sonic Soldiers and tell you so. It is an apt title that could also be used by all the black metal boys and girls singing in praise of Satan or whatever. The difference is that the church of Christianity and God are dominant and everywhere, yet there is not a Satanic church to be found anywhere so it is easier to be rebellious on the dark side. Incidentally, the singer’s vocal range limitations come to the fore on this track. He does not have a bad voice - I have heard far worse - but he cannot hit the high notes and therefore should not attempt them. Like most songs there is some guitar action on the track. "In the black leather suit/Let’s get the guitar and go," sings the band. The Garden is a ballad and launches a respectable solo. Sengoku Christians refers to when Christianity (and Western imperialism) landed in Japan. The vocal dramatizations give life to the story.
This should provide ample summary and representation for the band and its delayed 2021 album. It goes without saying that fans of white metal and Christian rock would get the most out of this, but selectively there is enough material here for everyone else - hardcore anti-Christians aside. – Ali “The Metallian”

Imari Tones Interview
We disagree on nearly all matters of principle with Japan-based trio Imari Tones, but perhaps that in itself is cause for an interview. If not that, then the occasion of the release of the band’s first album on a record company may constitute good timing to speak with Marie (bass) and Tak (vocals and guitar) of the group. Either way, our interview partners demonstrated an open-mind manifest not only in their responses to Ali "The Metallian" and his challenging questions, but also in sitting down for the chat in the first place. Several questions addressed the band’s history; several addressed the music and the new album while several suggested hollowness in the group’s beliefs. To their credit the two were up for it. The band is completed by drummer Shinryu. The album, entitled Nabeshima, is out through Sliptrick Records now. – 31.07.2021

METALLIAN: Hello and thank-you for your time. Could we start with an introduction to the band? Despite your longevity I suspect many of our readers are unfamiliar with the band.
TAK: We are Imari Tones. The band was formed in 2004, but as the singer I was recording some music on my own prior to that and we include them in our history. We became a Christian band in 2008 and started to play Christian metal music. We call ourselves ‘The first Christian metal band from Japan.’ So far no one has told us "Hey we are the first, not you" or anything like that. We mainly play old school hard rock and heavy metal music such as Judas Priest, Loudness or Stryper. We are a Christian band and play some serious songs, but we usually like to make people laugh.

METALLIAN: You also describe your band and music as "traditional Japanese Christian metal." Why "traditional" given how such music or band has no history in Japan?
TAK: We started playing Christian metal music in 2008. Since then we have been playing for both Japanese and international audiences. But we wanted to seek our Japanese identity, because many people in Japan think Christianity is a religion from the West and it has nothing to do with them. We don’t necessarily think Christianity is a religion from the West. Japan has its own Christian history and you can find so many Christian influences in our culture. So we had to make Christian metal music based on Japanese traditional culture and music. That’s why we made the Nabeshima album, which we call "Traditional Japanese Christian Metal".

METALLIAN: One could say that the Christian history in Japan is Western driven given how it was proselytized by Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch missionaries among others. Nevertheless, your gospel is crucial to you. I appreciated that all your lyrics are on your website for example. Is this more important than the band’s music to you? I found it useful that there was also the occasional context and explanations as well.
TAK: To us, music itself is more important than the lyrics. There are spiritual messages in music that are nonverbal. That is the most important thing. You can fake the words but you can’t fake the music. The lyrics are also important, but they are more supplementary. Those words are hints to understand the music. But every listener has his or her own answer and understanding of the song. You can feel it in the music.

METALLIAN: That was frankly a surprising answer from you. Let’s go further. Your faith and belief in Jesus Christ are front and centre in everything you do. However, logic and probability tell us that there is no Jesus and never was. Does this make your religion just fantasy similar to those who follow Islam or The Force and the Jedi or whatever?
TAK: As a believer, we feel God and it is real. But even if Jesus didn’t exist, I don’t think it will make Christianity a lie. If you take Star Wars as an example, people love those movies because there is some truth, lessons or whatever, in them. Christianity has been around for 2,000 years. That is like the biggest fandom in human history. Jesus died on the cross and came back to life. Yes it’s really a weird story. But if so many people for such a long time believe in this Jesus story then it’s highly likely that there is some solid truth in it. I think that’s the hope mankind wanted in its heart, whether Jesus actually existed or not. This actually gives more credibility to Christianity. That’s how I feel about this "what if" question.

METALLIAN: I think that is an astounding and beguiling answer. Christianity without Jesus means the whole story is false. It would be like heavy metal without guitar. I also think popularity is not indication of something being good or right. More people like rap music with twerking than Wagner. More people eat Big Macs than a vegetable shake. Still, it is surely interesting to hear your thoughts, Tak. Similarly, there is no soul. No one has seen one or spoken to one. What is the point of being spiritual if it is fiction like cosplay? To quote Imari Tones "It’s better to be a wise than a fool."
TAK: In this world there are physical things which you can see and touch. There are also spiritual things which you can’t see nor touch. Emotion, feelings, mind, those things are real, and for some people they are more real than physical stuff. I think, if you are an artist, you believe in soul in one way or another. If you only believe in physical stuff, music and art are just a stimulus to make our brains happy temporarily. But some people are not satisfied with that. We want something more than that. I don’t know what it is, but you can probably call it a soul.
Maybe it’s no different than drugs but it’s a healthier drug.

METALLIAN: One more for you. Why are you against the dark when you say, "It’s better to be in the light than in the darkness"? Darkness is as useful as the light. Darkness gives us delicious mushrooms, helps us avoid skin cancer and of course is cooler in the shade in the summer.
TAK: Oh, that is the lyrics from our song Extravaganza, right? That is actually a quote from the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes. So you have to read the whole book, in the context. Ecclesiastes is very interesting because it’s really similar to Buddhism. In Buddhism, everything is relative. There are good things and bad things, but in the end they are the same. So, similarly, here the book of Ecclesiastes says "There is wise man and fool man, even though the wise man looks better, in the end they are the same" and it says, "there is light and darkness. Even though the light looks better, in the end they are the same."
Let me quote the actual Bible verses, Ecclesiastes Chapter 2, verse 13-16. "And I discovered that wisdom is better than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness. Wisdom is like having two good eyes; foolishness leaves you in the dark. But wise or foolish, we all end up the same. Finally, I said to myself, "Being wise got me nowhere! The same thing will happen to me that happens to fools. Nothing makes sense. Wise or foolish, we all die and are soon forgotten." (Contemporary English Version). I think this book of Ecclesiastes is something Japanese people may feel familiar with, because it’s so similar to Buddhist ideas. But anyway, this song, Extravaganza, is based on Ecclesiastes, but it’s just a party song. It’s about this ‘everything is empty’ notion. Funny thing is the book of Ecclesiastes says something like, ‘There is no point in a party because everything is empty,’ but we are more like, ‘Hey, let’s party because everything is empty anyway’ because Rock ’n’ Roll, you know?

METALLIAN: That is sad and cauterizing to hear, Tak. Last question around this topic, you believe that Jesus brings people together. However, at the same time Imari Tones emphasizes the Japanese culture. Doesn’t culture separate and divide people since different people have different cultures? Culture, like religion, has been the cause of so much death and misery.
TAK: Christianity is a funny thing because Jesus didn’t necessarily come here to unite people. Jesus Himself said He came to divide people, as shown in the Bible in Luke 12:49-53. That is a very deep thing and I won’t explain the meaning of it here. By the way, it’s true that religions, including Christianity, caused so many wars. We should really think about that. The most important thing in Christianity is forgiveness, I think. We have to forgive others just like Jesus forgave us. We have different roots, different cultures, but we can overcome those differences and love one another. There is a very famous Biblical story which is about the Good Samaritan. You have to love your neighbour and it doesn’t matter what kind of people they are. No matter where you are from, it makes no difference because we are all sinners. Christianity and culture is actually a very interesting topic. Christianity was borne from Judaism. It was originally for Jewish people. But the Salvation in Christianity is open for all the people in the world. You can say that is one moment that salvation overcame the cultural barrier. After that, well, please ask a historian. I think in the history of Christianity, so many things were mixed and changed, yet the most important thing has remained the same, which are Jesus and His cross.

METALLIAN: There are people who believe the following. It is also a good plot and story for the local Tourist Bureau presumably. Do you think Jesus Christ lived in Aomori (Northern Japan) and was a rice farmer?
TAK: I have no idea. We Christians say Jesus is alive and the Bible says, "there are also many other things that Jesus did," other than what is written in the Bible (John 21:25) so it’s possible, but I don’t know.
Frankly I don’t care. These kinds of latter day episodes and spin-off stories are everywhere. Personally, and for me, the Bible is already a big enough book and I don’t need any more extra chapters like some newer religions have.

METALLIAN: Firstly, the "spin-off" mention makes me smile. Secondly, you may be referring to the Latter Day Saints. We should change the topic now. Let’s talk about Imari Tones’ music. One hears heavy metal, hard rock, rock and alternative music. Do you agree with this description of your style? If yes, do you reckon it discourages the band from gaining fans?
TAK: We say our musical style is 1980s’ style heavy metal because it’s easy for people to understand. But in reality, our music is a bit more diverse. We have some alternative sections, we also have some indie rock things going on and some people say our music is progressive. I actually think it might discourage people from listening to our music because in this day and age many musicians, especially metal musicians, are all living in their own bubble of a sub-category. I guess it’s easier for listeners that way. We received several review that say they were confused because this album is not really metal and it contains several alternative and pop songs. But to us, they are all classic hard rock/heavy metal songs with some variations.

METALLIAN: Imari Tones featured drummer Maya Koji until last year. He is something of a notable figure in the history of Japanese heavy metal. Is he a Christian? How did you and he meet?
TAK: Koji Maya was in Black Hole in the early 1980s. He simply contacted us through the internet when we were looking for a new drummer. He was not a Christian, but he was a very good drummer with the real 1980s’ vibe. I am a big fan of Anthem, the legendary heavy metal band from Japan, since my teenage days. When our previous drummer quit I was joking it would be good if Mad Ouchi, the former drummer from Anthem, would join us because I knew he was not in Anthem anymore. Then we got an email from a drummer who had played in Black Hole, the band before Anthem! So I thought it was God’s guidance. Technically, he was in Imari Tones from July 2018 to January 2021, even though we made it official as late as June 2019 that he was on a break. We haven’t played together after January 2020 when he suffered a shoulder injury resulting from an old motorbike accident he had when he was in 20s. The COVID-19 thing surely made things difficult for him. I wish we could have played together longer.

METALLIAN: That coincidence is quite an anecdote. Could you speak about your latest album, Nabeshima, which is a double-CD? What can the listeners expect?
TAK: It will take you on a spiritual journey to ancient Japan where the samurai spirit meets the Christian faith. That’s the catch-phrase we use on our website. I think there is much more to it than that. Nabeshima is a very special album and we are very confident that it’s the best thing we have ever made. It’s a multi-cultural album sung in both Japanese and English. Some people could get confused without the context. And it is true that it contains various types of songs. Other than straightforward heavy metal songs, there are alternative songs, pop songs and progressive songs. There are also acoustic and instrumental tunes.
If you are a believer in Christ and if you believe love and faith transcend time, space and the other stuff that separate us then this album will make sense to you. It’s a message of faith from ancient Japan. At the same time it’s a musical statement from crazy musicians from contemporary Japan. You have to have those collateral view-points to really understand this album.
But really, we are totally happy if you listen to just one song from this album and like it. Let’s call it God’s guidance.

METALLIAN: The title of the new album, Nabeshima, refers to traditional Japanese artisan porcelain. This is disappointing. I was hoping it refers to an island in Japan where I can find the best sukiyaki. I was going to ask you where this island is ...
TAK: ... Because ‘Nabe’ means a pot and ‘Shima’ means an island, right? Sukiyaki Island, yeah I want to visit it if such place exists. But actually, Nabeshima is named after Nabeshima porcelain, which has the highest quality in the history of Imari porcelain. Our band Imari Tones was named after Imari porcelain, so Nabeshima implies the best music from Imari Tones.

METALLIAN: That makes sense now. How did the band come to work with Sliptrick halfway across the world?
TAK: We have been making music independently for a long time. We never wanted to be famous or successful, like rock stars on TV. But it’s true, things are really hard when you try to release music on your own. We never thought this type of straightforward heavy metal music could have commercial potential in the 21st century. One of the mistakes we made was we were only considering Japan and the USA. When you look at European countries, heavy metal music is much more alive there in its classic form. That’s why we sent our music to Sliptrick Records, based in beautiful Latvia.

METALLIAN: Let’s delve more into the tracks. Could you tell the readers about the songs Sakura Day and Sakura Night? Why these titles and what are they about? Why mix Japanese with English? Finally, the lyrics mention "earth shaker." Is this a subtle reference to the band Earthshaker?
TAK: Hey, we Japanese people mix those English words with our Japanese ones all the time. We don’t think it’s that weird. Sakura blossoms have a very special place in the heart of Japanese people. In Japan, Sakura trees are everywhere. When the spring comes, we all celebrate life under those Sakura trees. So those songs are about life in Japan and Japanese emotions. Those are songs about life and death. Sakura blossoms in spring time and they are in full bloom - all of them - at the same time. But after a mere two weeks they are all gone. We feel those blossoms are beautiful because they all fall soon. It’s a representation of death, but it’s a beginning of a new life. As a Christian, it’s very easy for us to relate this death and rebirth notion to Jesus’ resurrection. Coincidentally the Sakura season arrives in late March to early April, which is the season for Easter in the Christian calendar.
About the word ‘Earthshaker,’ you can say it’s a reference, but we put the word there just because it sounded cool. But yes, it’s true. I am a big fan of Earthshaker, the legendary Japanese hard rock band. Their first four albums are something very unique and extraordinary. They are definitely one of my favourite Japanese bands.

METALLIAN: Marie, you have been silent until now. Women have a unique place in Japanese bands. I would guess no country has as many women in bands as Japan. How do you see this? What motivates you personally to be in a group?
MARIE: I think it’s Japanese pop culture. For example, we have so many girls’ idol pop groups since long ago. That’s the nature of Japanese music industry and heavy metal is no different. It used to be different, but now it’s idol business just like any other genre. But I don’t think I belong to that category. I’m a different type of person than idol girls. I don’t butter up to anyone and I don’t seek attention. I have my own place in this band because this band was born from a very personal background. This band is the one and only place in the world I can be myself. That is the main motivation for me to play music.

METALLIAN: You were in a Stryper cover band. What was it called and is it still active?
MARIE: It was called Chatryper, which is a mix of the words ‘Chatora’ and ‘Stryper.’ Chatora means brown striped cat in Japanese. So we were wearing cat ear hats and changed the word "God" into "Cat" in the songs’ lyrics, like "In Cat we trust." We only played several shows around 2010 and don’t have any videos of it. Maybe we have to do it again and we will be popular!

METALLIAN: Who can say no to cats? Trivia question: Who is that on the cover of Color (sic) Of Hers? Where is the cover photograph of Reluctant Savior (sic)?
TAK: Yes, it’s Marie. She is on the covers of our albums, including Entering The New World, Reluctant Savior and Color Of Hers. The place on the cover of Reluctant Savior is somewhere in Kita ward, Tokyo. It was a kind of nostalgic place with a 1970s’ vibe. Even though Marie joined the band as a bassist in 2018, she was always there supporting it. We said our band is named after Imari porcelain but at the same time she is the reason we named our band "Imari" because that is her real name. Somehow she is now called by her nickname, Marie, and it seems she feels comfortable this way.

METALLIAN: Let us bring our conversation to an end with an obvious question. Everyone knows that Metallian is the best website in the galaxy. Why do you think that is?
TAK: Just like Christianity, heavy metal is a musical religion and you got to have faith in it. And Metallian is certainly a defender of the faith!

No better way to end an interview than with that! Readers may find Imari Tones on the web at Thank-you to for providing Japanese translation services.


TAK: 2004年に形成されたバンド、伊万里音色です。音楽を自主制作していたので、それらも活動年数に含めてだけど。2008年にクリスチャンバンドとなって、クリスチャンメタルを演奏し始めました。「日本最初の本格的クリスチャンメタルバンド」と謳ってますが、今のところ「私たちこそ、最初だー」などと言ってきた他バンドはいませんね。 主に演奏するのは、ジューダス・プリーストやラウドネス、ストライパーなどのオールドスクールやヘビメタ音楽。 クリスチャンバンドで、真面目な曲をよく演奏するけど、基本的には人を笑わせる事が好きなバンドです。

TAK:2008年にクリスチャンメタルの演奏を始めて以来、日本と海外で演奏しています。 でも、多くの日本人にとってキリスト教は西洋の宗教、自分たちとは何の関係もないと考えられている中、僕たちは日本人のアイデンティティを求めたかったんだ。 キリスト教は必ずしも西洋の宗教とは限らず、 日本独自のキリスト教の歴史があって、日本文化にも多く影響を与えている。 だから、日本の伝統的な文化や音楽に基づいた、クリスチャンメタル音楽を作らなければいけなかった。そこで「日本の伝統的なクリスチャンメタル」と呼ばれる鍋島アルバムを作ったんだ。

TAK:僕たちは歌詞よりも音楽を重要視している。言葉にできない様な、スピリチュアル・メッセージがそこには含まれていて、 その事が最重要。 言葉を偽造することはできるけど音楽を偽造することはできないし、もちろん歌詞も大切だけど、補足というか歌詞に含まれる言葉は音楽を理解するためのヒントかな。 でも、全てのリスナーは自分の答えと曲への理解を持っていて、音楽を聴く中で感じることができると思っているよ。

TAK: 信じる者にとって、神様の存在を感じ、現実にいる。万が一にもイエスが存在してないとなっても、それによってキリスト教徒が嘘つきとなるとは思えないな。スターウォーズを例に挙げているけど、人気がある理由はその内容に真実や学ぶべき事などが含まれているからでは。2000年近く存在しているキリスト教は人類史上最大のファンの集まりで、確かに十字架上の死から生き返ったというイエスキリストの話は奇怪だけど、これだけ長い間多くの人々に信じられていることこそ、そこに確固たる事実があるからかと。これが"もしも"の答えだね。

TAK:世の中には物理的に見たり触れたりできる物と、 見ることも触れることもできない霊的な物があって、 想いや感情、精神、これらは本当にあって、一部の人々にとっては、物理的なものよりも本物。もしあなたがアーティストなら、何らかの形で魂を信じていると思うよ。 物理的なものだけを信じるなら、音楽や芸術は脳を一時的に幸せにするためのただの刺激にしか過ぎない。 でも、一部の人々はそれに満足せず、 それ以上のものが欲しい。 それが何であるかはわからないけど、おそらく魂と呼べるんじゃないかな。

実際の聖書の一節、第2章13-16節を引用させてもらうと 「光が闇にまさるように、知恵は愚かさにまさる。賢者の目はその頭に、愚者の歩みは闇に。しかし私は知っている、両者に同じことが起こるのだということを。賢者も愚者も、永遠に記憶されることはない。やがて来る日には、すべて忘れられてしまう。賢者も愚者も等しく死ぬとは何ということか。」(現代英語版)。これは仏教の思想にとても似ているから、日本人にもなじみがあるんじゃないかな。ともかく、この曲、Extravaganzaは聖書にある「すべてが空(カラ)である」という概念を用いた、パーティーソング。面白いことに、聖書では「すべてが空なのでパーティーには意味がない」とあるけど、僕たちは「ねえ、すべてが空ならとにかくパーティーをしよう」と歌っている。だってロックンローラーだもんね。

METALLIAN: 、トーンさん、残念ながら聞いていて虚無感に襲われます。宗教関係では最後の質問をしましょう。イエスは人々を一つにすると言われていても、そんな中、伊万里音色は日本文化の強調をしてますし、異文化や異教徒の人々の間ではそれが異なる事での悲惨な死も多くありますね。
TAK: キリスト教では興味深い事に、イエスは必ずしも人々を団結させるために存在したわけではないんだ。ルカ12章49-53節と聖書にあるように、イエス自身が人々を分けるようになったと言っていて、これは非常に奥深い内容。ここではその意味を説明しないけどね。それとキリスト教を含む宗教が多くの戦争を引き起こしたのは事実で、これについては本当に良く考える必要がある。キリスト教で最も重要なことは許しだと僕は思うし、イエスが僕たちを許すように僕たちも他人を許さないといけない。僕たちは様々なルーツ、文化を持っているけど、それらの違いを克服し、お互いを愛することができる。"善いサマリア人のたとえ"という凄く有名な聖書物語があって、"あなたの隣人を愛さなければなりません、そして彼らがどんな種類の人々であるかは関係ありません。あなたがどこから来たとしても、私たちは皆罪人で、違いはありません。"と。実際キリスト教とその文化の話題は非常に興味深い。キリスト教はユダヤ教から生まれもともとユダヤ人の為のものだったんだ。でもキリスト教の救いは世界中のすべての人々に開かれていて、それは救いが文化の壁を乗り越えた瞬間だと言えるんじゃないかな。これ以上は歴史学家にでも聞いて欲しい。キリスト教の歴史の中で多くの事柄が混ざり合って変化したとは思うけど、最も大切なことは変わらない。イエスと彼の十字架だよ。

TAK: まったく知らない話だね。僕たちクリスチャンはイエスは生きて聖書では、ここに書かれていること(ヨハネ21章25節)以外にも、「イエスのなさったことは、このほかにまだ数多くある。」とあるから、その話は可能だろうけど、僕には分からない。
ぶっちゃけ僕は気にしないかな。 こんな感じの後日談やスピンオフストーリーは至る所にあるからね。 僕個人としては聖書はすでに十分な大きさの本だし、他の新しい宗教のようにこれ以上追加は必要ないかな。

TAK: 僕たちの音楽スタイルは理解しやすい1980年代のヘビメタだと言っているよ。 でも実際は、もう少し多様かな。 オルタナティヴ・ミュージックやインディーロックもあるし、他にもプログレッシブだと言う人もいるね。 今の世代のミュージシャン、特にメタルミュージシャンは皆、サブカテゴリで独自のスタイルを持っているから、僕たちの音楽を聴く事は躊躇うかもしれない。 それならリスナーにとっては気軽じゃないかな。 このアルバムは実際メタルじゃなくて、オルタナティブロックやポップソングもいくつか入っていて、実際に混乱しているというレビューがいくつか寄せられたよ。 でも僕たちにとって全曲、少しのバリエーションはあるけど実直なハードロック、ヘビメタだよ。

TAK:彼は 80年代初期のブラックホールというバンドに所属していたね。ドラマーの募集時にネットで普通に連絡して来たよ。彼はクリスチャンではないけど、80年代の雰囲気を携えたすごく良いドラマー。僕は10代の頃からアンセムの大ファン、日本の伝説的ヘビメタバンドだね。バンドのドラマーが抜けた時に冗談で"アンセムを脱退したMAD大内が来てくれたらなー"なんて言っていたら、そのアンセムの前身バンドブラックホールの元メンバーの彼からメールが届いたんだ!神の導きだと思ったね。彼が伊万里音色に参加したのは2018年の7月から2021年の1月、この事は2019年の6月末の彼の休暇に合わせて公式発表しているけどね。彼が20代の頃にあったバイク事故による肩のケガが悪化してしまって2020年1月以降は一緒に演奏してないね。そしてコロナウイルスの影響が余計に悪い。もっと長く共に演奏したかったよ。

TAK: 「Imari Tonesは、ニューアルバム"Nabeshima"において、侍のスピリットとキリスト教を融合させる」これが僕らのウェブサイトで使われているアルバムのキャッチコピー、でも僕はそれ以上の出来だと思っているけどね。Nabeshimaは今までの最高傑作となっていて、僕たちも誇りに思える特別なアルバム。英語と日本語の曲が入った多文化アルバムになったよ。確かに色んな音楽スタイルの曲が入っているから、説明無しでは一部のリスナーは混乱するかもしれないけどね。ヘビメタはもちろん、オルタナティブロック、ポップ、プログレッシブそれにアコースティックとインストメンタル・チューンも。
もしイエスキリストを信じていて、その愛と信仰心が時間や空間といった僕らを隔てるもの超えると信じているなら、このアルバムは受け入れられるんじゃないかな。 古代日本から続く信仰へのメッセージと同時に、現代日本のクレイジーなミュージシャンからの音楽による声明。このアルバムを本当に理解するには、これらの視点が必要だね。



METALLIAN:楽曲についてもう少し掘り下げてみましょう。Sakura Day と Sakura Night、この二曲の各々題名にした理由とその内容、また何故英語と日本語を織り交ぜているのか、最後に歌詞内のアースシェイカーとは他バンドの事を軽く示唆しているでしょうか?それぞれについて教えてください。


MARIE:チャトライパーね。猫の"茶トラ"と"ストライパー"を文字ってます。猫耳帽子で歌詞の"God" を "Cat"に置き換えて歌ってたわ。2010年にいくつかステージで演奏しただけだから、もう一度やれば人気が出るかもね。

METALLIAN:猫ちゃんであれば誰にも拒めないですね。雑学としてお聞きしたいのですが、アルバムColor (sic) Of Hersカバーに映っているのはどなたでしょう?それとアルバムReluctant Savior(sic)カバーの撮影場所は?
TAK: マリーだよ。彼女には僕たちのアルバムカバーのモデルをやってもらってる。質問の2枚に加えてEntering The New Worldもそうだね。Reluctant Saviorのカバーの場所は昔懐かし1970年代雰囲が香る東京の北区のどこか。彼女には2018年にベーシストとしてバンドに参加する以前から、いつもサポートしてもらってたよ。バンド名の由来に伊万里焼を挙げたけど、同時に彼女の本名でもある。なぜかバンドではニックネームのマリーで呼ばれているけど、それが彼女にとっては心地よさを感じるみたいだね。

TAK: キリスト教と同じさ。ヘビメタは一種の音楽宗教で人々に信仰心を持たせているから。メタリアンはその完璧な守護者だね!

名残惜しいが、インタビューはここまで!伊万里音色の最新情報はこちら。(英語サイト) 彼らの日本語サイトはこちらまで。

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Imari Tones