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Hisashi Suzuki (Blaze)

Interview with Hisashi Suzuki from Blaze
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 12 May 2012, 2:11 PM

Like their fellow countrymen LOUDNESS, the ongoing Japanese BLAZE have been turning tables with well crafted Heavy Metal but with close proximity to 70's oriented Hard Rock. Back in 2007 they served their self-titled debut and it was reissued this year by High Roller Records. Steinmetal has a chance to talk with the band's brilliant guitarist, Hisashi Suzuki, about the band's new album, influences and how they see themselves attracting the west.

Hello Hisashi, how are you doing? It is great to have you for an interview on Metal-Temple. Recently the German label of High Roller Records reissued your debut album "Blaze", and I have to say that I was fortunate to review it, how did you reach the label in the first place or had you been offered?

I was contacted by Mr. Thorsten from High Roller Records about this release in Europe. I thank him greatly.

Did you feel that as a Japanese band you guys were able to reach the Western world as others from your country did? Were you able to form a fan base in the West?

As I have only played in Japan, I have not been conscious of Japan especially. Simply, I’m very happy to hear that there are some people who are pleased with our album in Europe. I do not see if we can form a fan base in the west.

When I listened to "Blaze" I noticed your strong sense to 80s Metal and Hard Rock music, something that I also found in your local players of LOUDNESS. However, I also noticed a passion towards 70s Hard Rock, what did you find in that era that draw you to implement it in your music?

Yes, I like not only 70’s Hard Rock but also 70’s Rock and Folk very much. I like the rhythms of 70’s Rock. There was a space of sound. It’s like … an opening. Sorry, As I cannot find the word, I cannot describe it well. Besides, I like their tones. But I do not think I could draw such a guitar tone…

Listening to your guitar playing made me think of the older version of Akira Takasaki, yet you had several other vintage vibes that kept the difference. What in Hard Rock / Metal music is your personal guideline?

My favorite guitarist is Michael Schenker. Besides, Brian Robertson, Andy Powell, Rory Gallagher and more. I think Mr. Takasaki was influenced by Ritchie Blackmore and Michael Schenker in his early days.
My basis for writing music is NWOBHM like IRON MAIDEN, DEF LEPPARD, SAXON and more. My personal guideline? Ummm, I could not tell accurately.  I had just composed my music for me. It’s the music that I would like to listen.  But it has to be suitable for other members of BLAZE, especially Mr. Shiota as vocalist.

The vintage like sound of the album turned out quite good and it actually feels like an old school album. It would be very interesting to know who produced it?

We produced our album by ourselves.  I asked the engineer, Mr. Nagata, to record our actual raw sound.

Which tracks on the album do you think that characterize BLAZE?

I like “On The Run” and “See The Light”.

Since the debut album ranges to 2007, I have to ask if you are currently working on new material for your second release?

I have kept writing our music. We would like to release 4 or 5 tracks EP by the end of the year.

What is coming next for you guys? Any tour planned?

At the moment, we have not planned and we have not been offered. If there’s a chance, I would like to play in Europe.

Hisashi, I want to thank you a lot for taking the time for this interview. I really enjoyed your music and I think that you are on the right track. I wish you the best of luck!
Many thanks! I hope there will be full of good things for Japan and Greece from now on. 


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