-LEON- is a five-piece band from Gunma comprising of Yuji on vocals, Shin and Koya on guitars, Yamato on bass, and Masashi on drums. Mixing Asian cultural influences with visual rock, -LEON- has a heavy, modern sound with a distinct, ethereal flavor.
On December 13th, the band released their first three track mini-album, 「REGULUS」 along with a PV for their song, 「Kokou ni Tou Tsuioku no Kagen no Tsuki」.
The members of -LEON- took time to answer a few of our questions, so take a read through and get to know this up and coming band! We’d like to thank the band and JapanFiles for giving us this opportunity.
To check out samples or to purchase -LEON-‘s music, visit their page on JapanFiles.
1. Please introduce yourselves and what part you play in the band.
YUJI: I’m YUJI, the vocals.
SHIN: I’m SHIN, the guitar.
KOYA: I’m KOYA, the guitar.
YAMATO: I’m YAMATO, the bass.
MASASHI: I’m MASASHI, the drums.
2. How did each of you get interested in performing music?
YUJI: I became interested in music because my older brother was playing the guitar.
SHIN: I became interested in music as I was mimicking my older sister’s piano when I was small.
KOYA: My dad was a crazy fan of Eikichi Yazawa… (laughs)
YAMATO: I don’t know… because I don’t have memory of my childhood!
MASASHI: I saw X JAPAN on TV a long time ago, and I thought this is it for me.
3. How did you decide on the name -LEON-? What’s the concept behind the band?
SHIN: We were trying to come up with a band name while we were having lunch at McDonald’s. The topic went off to the movie “Leon” and we were like “If we like Leon so much, the band name can be Leon!” Well, it was a spur of the moment. (laughs)
YUJI: We were talking about the anime by Osamu Tezuka, “Kimba the White Lion,” being re-aired on TV… wait, we went off the topic again, right? (laughs)
YAMATO: We’re still trying to discover the concept behind the band.
4. Please tell us how the band was formed? How did you meet?
YAMATO: I was in the same band with the guitarist, SHIN, since high school.
YUJI: Later on, I met the two through my friend and we started playing together.
KOYA & MASASHI: We were invited right before our former band broke up… What do you call that in English? “Headhunting?” (laughs)
5. Why did you decide to become a visual kei band?
ALL: Visual kei people are all handsome and pretty, right? So we thought we’d be popular among girls!
6. “REGULUS” was your first mini-album release. What was it like working on this project?
YUJI: We were all students and didn’t have money. So we tried to do everything ourselves when we started making this album. It was really hard because we were running out of time because of school or work. (laughs) But, we’re happy to complete this album thanks to help from many people.
7. Was there a specific theme behind “REGULUS?” Do you have a certain message that you would like to communicate through your music?
YAMATO: The main idea was to create a point of origin for us. We recorded the main tracks we’ve been performing since our first live shows. The CD is filled with what we want to express and what we want to deliver. When you listen to this CD, you will know -LEON-‘s sound and message. This CD is like our business card.
8. What new songs are you working on now? When will they be released?
SHIN: It’s still not at a point where we can tell you the details, but it will be a track with a completely different feel than our previous release. We will update you as soon as we can.
9. Who are your musical influences? (Japanese and worldwide)
YUJI: Dir en grey for me.
SHIN: For me, Mötley Crüe and Pantera, for sure. For Japanese, Kuroyume and ZIGGY.
KOYA: It’s GLAY.
YAMATO: L’Arc〜en〜Ciel and Stanley Clarke.
MASASHI: X JAPAN and IRON MAIDEN.
10. How did you decide the style of your PV for “Kokou ni Tou Tsuioku no Kagen no Tsuki”?
KOYA: Again, we didn’t have much money, so we checked our wallets. (laughs)
MASASHI: It was all about how we can make it with low cost. (laughs)
KOYA: How poor are we…
11. How do you prepare before a live show? What’s the first thing you do after the show is over?
ALL: “BEER!” (laughs)
YAMATO: I meditate in the restroom right before the performance. (laughs)
SHIN: I find all the picks from the stage floor. It’s like “a ritual” for me. (laughs)
12. Can you please tell us something cool or funny that another member has done during a live performance?
YUJI: SHIN, didn’t you break a bone turning the guitar around during a live before?
SHIN: … It was super painful. I couldn’t even think about the live when the bone was broken at the first song. (laughs)
YAMATO: Cool. (laughs)
SHIN: YAMATO injured a guest after kicking the monitor down during a live, too. (laughs)
YAMATO: …I remember that now! (laughs)
13. Outside of music, what special talents or hobbies do you each have?
YUJI: Basketball for me. I was the top player since the first grade during high school.
SHIN: Cooking. I’m better at handling knives and frying pans than guitars. (laughs)
KOYA: Riding a motorcycle!
YAMATO: Playing darts. I can’t win a girl’s heart, though. (laughs)
MASASHI: Games…and manga.
14. Have any of the members traveled overseas? If so, where? Where would each of you like to travel next?
YAMATO: Is it only me who has been overseas? I’ve been to Australia and Thailand. In both Australia and Thailand, all I did was eating. I don’t really have memory of anything else. I just love to eat. (laughs) I was so surprised because a coke was gigantic at McDonald’s in Australia. (laughs)
MASASHI: I want to go to the moon.
ALL: That’s not even within the Earth! (Big laughter)
SHIN: I’d like to take a long time and travel around the world to study cooking. This is my long-term dream.
KOYA: I just want to ride a chopper on Route 66!
YUJI: Where is Route 66?
KOYA: …don’t know. (laughs) And, what about you, YUJI?
ALL: That’s in Japan! (Big laughter)
15. Please give a message to our readers.
MASASHI: We might go to your country someday. Please tell me about good games when I go. (laughs)
YAMATO: This interview was a lot of fun. We will be having live shows in many places, and I hope we can all enjoy music together. Through music, I’d like to meet many people regardless of countries and races.
KOYA: I will show you the real power of Japanese music!
SHIN: Thanks to the internet, people from different countries can listen to our music, get to know us, and watch our live videos. But, there are many things that cannot be delivered through videos on monitors or through speakers. Soon, I want to perform in the countries of the people who are reading this, so please keep an eye on us!
YUJI: Someday I will show our live performances for the readers outside Japan. Wait for it!
Members from L to R (click to enlarge):
Support -LEON- by purchasing their first mini-album, 「REGULUS」!
1. Cruel Sacrifice
Check out the band’s PV for the third track on 「REGULUS」, 「Kokou ni Tou Tsuioku no Kagen no Tsuki」!
For more information about the band, check out the following link:
-LEON- Official Site – http://dizzyrocks.web.fc2.com/leonnew/