Greetings! How is it going?
M > Hello. It's going fine. Our first 7" is finally coming out and we're trying to organize some gigs. Everyone, feel free to ask us play.
First, could you introduce Aokigahara to readers?
M > Aokigahara is a hardcore punk band with metal influences. We've decided to call our music "dark core", though that's mostly just a joke on all these different made-up genre names.
What does "Aokigahara" stand for? And why did you choose this name?
M > Aokigahara is a forest in Japan, near Mount Fuji. It's famous for being a popular place for suicides. Also the forest is said to be haunted. From the beginning it was clear that this band was to have a Japanese name. Aokigahara was one of the options and now it seems it couldn't have been any other. It suits our dark music perfectly.
F > Especially now that Miro has gotten into Norwegian black metal. [laughs]
M > Which reminds me, that some people have said that we sound like black metal at times. But just to make sure, we do not consider ourselves a black metal band.
Your lyrics are written in Finnish, English and Japanese. This is very unique concept for punk band. Where did you get idea for this?
M > Well, originally me and our original bass player (Arttu, no longer in the band) wanted to form a band that would be a kind of tribute to "japcore" (Japanese hardcore) bands. Because I have been studying Japanese and also lived there as an exchange student I decided to try to write lyrics in Japanese, again as a kind of a tribute to Japanese band like Laukaus, Poikkeus etc. that have lyrics in Finnish.
We quickly realized that it's better to have our own sound than try to copy japcore, but I think the influence of those bands, especially of the more metallic bands like G.I.S.M can still be heard. The reason why we have lyrics in English and Finnish, too, is because my Japanese is not that perfect and it's easier to use languages more familiar to me. I've been consideing quitting using English, though.
F > There's actually been some Swedish in our live sets too when we have played certain coversongs.
If I'm right, you are still working with new 7" EP. Can you tell something from this release?
M > We just received the test pressings, so the album should be out very soon! It can then be ordered through our myspace or bought from our gigs. It's got 6 songs and it's limited to 300 copies.
F > And it was made 100% D.I.Y! Teemu (guitar) recorded and mixed the record while I mastered it. Miro designed the coversleeve.
Do you think that punk in general is still alive and breathing? And what do you think about Finnish hardcore punk scene? Any bands you would like to mention?
M > I personally think punk is very alive. There's tons of great bands all around the world. In Finland, too. Khatarina was one of the best but unfortunately that band's dead at least for now. Kylmä Sota is also great. Some new bands that seem really good but which I haven't seen live yet are Ydinperhe and Armless Children. And of couse I have to mention Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät!
F > Horros from Hämeenlinna is great, and what lovely fellas they also are! Pastori pyhälä & Kuoropojat from Tampere has also seemed promising while playing live, but haven't heard any records from them. But as mentioned, there's shitloads more intresting bands such as The Dwyers, Arrestum, Out of Tune, Lapinpolthajat, Speedtrap...
As mentioned, you have also Japanese lyrics. So has Aokigahara got any feedback from Japanese people? Do you maybe have some Japanese fans?
M > While I've been in Japan I've given out our demo cd-r's to random people, so at least I know there are some Japanese people out there who have our demo and maybe they have even listened to it. A few people have given feedback and it's been positive. Though they say it's hard to make out the lyrics, but that could be because of my style of shrieking, haha. So, I don't know about fans, but a Japan tour is definately our dream and ultimate goal.
Now, I must thank you for the interview. You have the last words.
M > Thank you for interviewing. Come to our gigs, offer us gigs, buy our record, feel the darkness.