Sibile Bashir has been entertaining — and confusing — crowds since its beginnings in 2012. Based in Tokyo, this four-member unit has come to be known for its extremely unconventional antics on indies venue stages, something that ‘has to be seen to believe.’ Their wild presentation has been turning more and more heads each year, and in 2015 they were signed to Shimizuya Records, surely as a result — the label best-known for top contenders in the indies scene, Lycaon and AvelCain.
From cardboard stage props to spontaneously-filmed YouTube content, we’re getting the scoop on the band that’s sure to entertain, or at least make you scratch your head. What’s with the name? Where does their seemingly boundless inspiration come from? What should we even make of this band? Get to know Sibile Bashir in their first overseas interview, and enjoy the ride!
Thank you for meeting us today. Since this is our first time talking, could you each introduce yourself to our readers?
Izumi: First, I’m Sibile Bashir’s vocalist, Izumi.
Rei: I’m the drummer, Rei.
Marya: I’m the guitarist, Marya.
Yuuto: I’m the bassist, Yuuto.
What kind of meaning does the band name “Sibile Bashir” have?
Izumi: There’s none.
Izumi: Well, there is, but we picked it because it’s cool. “Sibile Bashir” sounds cool.
Yuuto: It’s the way it sounds.
Izumi: Yeah, the way “Sibile Bashir” sounds — it sounds like a name that could be popular.
What language is it?
Izumi: It’s tentatively Japanese but it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just the pronunciation. It has a good sound.
So, does Sibile Bashir have any concept?
Izumi: Really, there’s none (laugh).
Yuuto: It’s basically whatever we feel like doing or what Izumi feels like doing.
Izumi: We have a free concept.
How would you describe a typical Sibile Bashir live for someone who’s never seen you live before?
Yuuto: Well, every performance is different. We don’t do the same thing every time, so I think it’s just something you need to come see for yourself.
Izumi: Each performance is based on a new part of myself that I discover, a new door to my personality that I open.
You sometimes put live photos up on Twitter — we noticed that some of the photos show art made of cardboard. Is this something you started recently?
Izumi: Yeah, pretty recently. I’d been wanting to use a lot of props on stage. Cardboard is easy to bring along, it’s cheap, and you can get it anywhere.
Where do you build the props?
Izumi: At the livehouse — if they were already made in the car they’d get in the way. So we put them together at the livehouse, from cardboard taken from grocery stores.
Yuuto: Because you can get cardboard from the grocery stores that they don’t need. We have a ton of cardboard in our equipment car right now as equipment.
Many visual kei fans overseas find new bands through the convenience of YouTube. When we looked at your YouTube channel, we found a lot more than just PVs. There’s a lot of other interesting content like furitsuke tutorials; can you tell us about those videos?
Izumi: Filming is one of my hobbies, so I do it as I like.
Marya: I do the editing. Izumi tells me what to do, and well, I capture performances and handle the editing.
Izumi: Were there any videos in particular that caught your eye?
Maybe one of your more impressive videos is the Kichijoji “Stress Hakai” video…
Izumi: Oh, right. The one where I look mentally unstable. I started acting that way and I was being filmed before I knew it. That’s genuine.
Speaking of videos, your June release, “Sayonara Rhapsody,” (link: NSFW) got a lot of attention among overseas fans as well…
All: (laugh) “A lot of attention…”
…How did you decide to make a video like that?
Izumi: That’s just how I felt. When I heard that song, that sex scene popped right into my head. I knew we had to do it, so we did it.
Yuuto: What do overseas fans think of it? Are they okay with it?
It seems a lot of people were pretty surprised by it.
Izumi: I was pretty surprised by it, too.
Yuuto: Do people think we’re gross?
Izumi: Or a weird band?
Well, not gross. Maybe weird. But there are a lot of visual kei fans who like weird bands.
Izumi: Oh, yeah, that’s good.
Yuuto: I’m glad.
Izumi: Me, too.
Do you have plans to upload live videos to YouTube?
Izumi: It’d be nice if we had some, even though the video would sound different from actually seeing us live. I think you’ll experience more both physically and emotionally live. So we don’t really have plans to upload videos.
Even for the overseas fans that can’t see your shows?
Marya: I guess we could make a sort of live digest movie. But we’d really, really like people to see us live.
What song would each of you recommend to someone who hasn’t heard your music before?
Marya: It’s hard to pick just one song, but there are a lot of songs that aren’t on YouTube, like coupling songs… I’d be happy if more people listened to those.
Yuuto: A song I’d want someone who doesn’t know us to listen to… We have so many different songs that I’m not sure if I can pick just one.
Izumi: “Gomi Ningen.”* There are a lot of parts of me that are trash and this song does a good job of showing that. I want people to be able to notice that in the song. If they don’t like that, then they probably won’t like us. It’s a good introduction to the band.
Rei: We have a few ballads that I like playing. They’re also good for telling things in the third person. I’d like people to listen to those, even though that’s not just one song. We have about 3 or 4 [ballads]. We play them occasionally live… when we do, I’d like people to really listen to them.
Yuuto: If I have to pick just one…well first, I want people to listen to what’s on YouTube. But besides that, I’d also like you to listen to a song on our mini-album released in 2013 called 「歪んだ精神、落者は嘆く」(Yuganda Seishin, Rakusha wa Nageku). It has a slow tempo and sounds a bit creepy. We weren’t able to make a PV out of that song, but I think it’s a good one for people to listen to.
Sibile Bashir formed in 2012, but you recently joined Shimizuya Records in August. What do you think has changed the most for the band since you joined?
Marya: Before it was just the 4 of us, but now we’re planning things with input from a lot of people – songs, lives, everything.
Izumi: The owner of Shimizuya Records is also named Izumi. Since we have the same name, I’ve stopped being called Izumi. They call me Takappi now (short for Takahiro, his first name). I think that’s been the biggest change for me.
Your look can be pretty shocking and off-beat sometimes. What inspires some of the more outrageous costumes?
Izumi: Nothing in particular. It just sort of happens. It’s like I’ll start working on something, look at it, and go, “Oh, okay. That works.”
Looking ahead, what are some things you’re looking forward in 2016?
Izumi: There are a lot of visual kei bands that are doing well right now, but I’m looking forward to ourselves rising up in the ranks as a band.
Yuuto: We have some shows planned in areas of Japan we haven’t played in before. I’m excited for that.
Rei: I’m looking forward to all of the shows we’ll play, but I’m also excited for our single release in March. We also have some other interesting plans in regards to music, but they’re still secret.
Marya: We also have a one-man show coming up in February. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most so far.
Do you have anything special planned for the one-man?
Marya: Before the live, we’re going to clean up garbage around the venue.
Really? How did you come up with that idea?
Yuuto: Because we’re garbage.
Marya: Yeah, we’re “gomi ningen.”
Yuuto: Because of that, we owe a lot to garbage. Like cardboard.
Marya: So this is our way of giving thanks to trash.
So, your next single release will come in March, and it’s also the ending theme to “MOONBOW.” Have you written a tie-up song before? How was the experience?
Yuuto: This is the first time we’ve done a tie-up song, but we selected the song from demos we’ve already written. We didn’t make a song specifically for the movie. It came from Marya’s stock of songs.
Could you tell us a bit about your role in the movie, Izumi?
Izumi: In the movie, I work in a butler cafe. I won’t say much else, though. I think you need to see the movie for yourself to judge.
Following the release of the single, you’re going on a 4-stop sponsored tour, “Tsukihime no Himegoto.” What do you have planned for this tour?
Izumi: We don’t really have any plans yet.
Have you decided what bands you’re playing with?
Yuuto: Not yet, but recently we’ve started playing with a lot of bands we don’t usually play with. I’d like to ask some of them.
Of course, most of our readers are overseas so we want to know – if you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Izumi: Southeastern Asia. Like Thailand. Because people tell me I look Thai. I feel like we’d be able to draw a crowd there since I sort of look like them. I’d like to play a show anywhere, but I’d really like to go to Southeastern Asia.
Marya: I want to play where a lot of [other visual kei] bands play, like England, Germany… I want to visit the places that bands I like have been to, like X JAPAN or LUNA SEA. I also want to do an Asia tour.
Yuuto: If we’re talking about where we really want to play, then I’d pick Madison Square Garden. That’s where L’Arc~en~Ciel and X JAPAN played before.
Rei: I want to play in Korea. It’s somewhere I’ve personally wanted to go. It’s close, and visual kei is already slightly popular in Europe, right? It would feel like jumping on the bandwagon if we played there. So I’d rather play in a place that I personally want to visit. I also want to eat yakiniku.
What about other places, like Australia?
Yuuto: I’d like to go to Australia, too.
Izumi: Me too. I want to eat Aussie beef.
Yuuto: I want to play at the Sydney Opera House.
Rei: I want to see Ayers Rock.
Marya: (quietly) I want to see the animals.
Is there anything you’d like to do to promote the band overseas?
Yuuto: I guess we’d like to try singing in English. I’m not the one singing, though. (laughs)
Can you speak English, Izumi?
Let’s hear it.
Izumi: (in English) Excuse me. Thank you.
Do you have any plans to write more lyrics in English?
Izumi: Nope. We don’t really use English in the first place.
Marya: I’d like to keep singing in Japanese since we are a Japanese band, after all.
Izumi: Most of our overseas fans find us through YouTube, right? I want to do something really shocking in a YouTube video. I want to them to think, “Oh, so there are Japanese people like this, too.”
Even more shocking than the “Sayonara Rhapsody” PV?
Izumi: Even more. I want to use fire. Like, I want to sing while breathing fire. (laugh)
Marya: That’s pretty metal. (laugh)
In closing, please tell us one thing you want the world to know about Sibile Bashir.
Marya: We like to make songs that will make you dance, like the ones on YouTube, but I want people to know that they’re also really good songs.
Izumi: Sibile Bashir is a band first, but we’re not just a band. We want to try different things… variety show-type things, politics…
Izumi: …sports… Our activities don’t end at just being a visual kei band.
Rei: You can’t know everything about us just from what’s on the internet, so I want people to come see us live. That’s all I can tell you.
Yuuto: We’re different depending on if you listen to us live, listen to our music, or watch our PVs. So if you have the time, see all that Sibile Bashir has to offer.
We hope you learned a few things about Sibile Bashir and are looking forward to their next step just as much as we are. If you’re already a fan or became a fan after reading this, we have a little present for you. Two lucky readers will win an autograph board signed by all the members in commemoration of the interview. You have until Tuesday, February 2nd to enter.
Interview: Shannon & Ku
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