|Interview by Burt Wolf with Hirosuke, vocalist for BALZAC.
Interview done March 29th, 2006.
BALZAC WAS BORN IN 1992 IN JAPAN. CAN
FAR, FOR THOSE OF US THAT ARE FAIRLY
NEW TO YOU GUYS?
BALZAC started out in 1992. I am the only original
member left at this point. Our guitarist, Atsushi, joined
band now. We released our first album in 1995 & then
band now. We released our first album in 1995 & then
had a major change to the band's line up in 1996. In
1997 we started releasing our stuff on our current label
DIW PHALANX RECORDS, here in Japan. They are
an independent label, but are very big in Japan. We
have just released our 7th album & it's called "DEEP
BLUE: CHAOS FROM DARKISM II". In 1998 THE
MISFITS came to play in Japan. We were invited to
play shows with them and they put our stuff out there.
Now you can get our albums overseas through them. We have released two full length albums through them
already. They include a lot songs & they did a cover of one of our songs. We also toured with THE MISFITS in
the USA a couple of times. We also have a record label in Germany that releases our stuff in Europe. We released
two discs over there already too, with more to come.
WHY WAS THE NAME BALZAC CHOSEN AS THE BANDS NAME?
I named it after a writer. I really liked his stuff & I thought it was a cool sounding name.
HOW WOULD YOU BEST DESCRIBE THE STYLE & SOUND OF BALZAC FOR SOMEONE WHO
HASN'T HEARD YOU GUYS?
We are Horror Rock 'n' Roll. We have mixed a whole bunch of Japanese Rock styles into our sound & that gives
us our unique sound, I think.
WHO OR WHAT HAS HAD SOME INFLUENCE ON YOU CREATING YOUR MUSIC & IN YOUR LIFE
I'm really into THE BEATLES, & more specifically George Harrison.
"OUT OF THE GRAVE & INTO THE DARK" IS YOUR NEWEST RELEASE HERE IN THE STATES
RELEASED MID 2005. HOW WELL WAS THIS DISC RECEIVED? WHAT HAS THE RESPONSE
We have received nothing but good responses! We played some shows last year in & around New York &
everyone was really getting into it. We were all really happy about that.
THIS ALBUM WAS PUT OUT ON MISFITS RECORDS. HOW DID YOU GET HOOKED UP WITH
THEM? HOW HAS IT BEEN WORKING WITH THEM?
Well, everything started in 1998, like I mentioned. The first release on MISFITS RECORDS was the MISFITS /
BALZAC split single. It turned out really amazing! Jerry really takes care of us a lot. He's an amazing guy. John
Cafiero from MISFITS RECORDS has always been a great friend & business partner too. Everyone at
MISFITS RECORDS understands what BALZAC is about & that makes them a great label for us. Can't say
enough good things about them.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE COVER ART A LITTLE BIT & WHO DID IT?
I do all the art for our stuff. I like horror influenced art. Darkness is a them of ours...you might have noticed!
WHAT SONG OFF THIS RELEASE WOULD BEST REPRESENT BALZAC & WHY? WHICH IS YOUR
FAVORITE SONG FROM THIS ALBUM?
You know, I never have a favorite song. It's all BALZAC...so it's all good!
WHAT IS SOME OF THE LYRICAL CONTENT IN
very abstract style, I have been told. A lot of people say that
all of my songs are abstract, so there can be many meanings
for many different people. Even if you read my lyrics, it's
pretty difficult to comprehend sometimes.
I READ ON YOUR SITE THAT THE NEW ALBUM
"DEEP BLUE: CHAOS FROM DARKISM II" IS NEAR
COMPLETION. CAN YOU GIVE SOME INFORMATION
ON THIS ALBUM? ANY RELEASE DATE YET?
Sure. We released it on 03/08/2006. It was packaged with a
special called the "Skull Bat". It was a limited edition package.
There is also a regular edition, that comes in a cool box too,
for those who aren't so crazy about figures.
WILL THIS ALBUM ALSO BE RELEASED ON MISFITS
Yeah. We are just in the process of getting things ready for
that. There is going to be a whole bunch of extra stuff
jammed on there. Much more than we did for the Japanese
edition, so it will be a really interesting disc for our overseas
fans. Some really rare stuff is gonna be included.
YOUR SHOOTING A VIDEO FOR ONE OF THE SONGS OFF THIS ALBUM. WHICH SONG & WHAT
WILL THE VIDEO BE ABOUT?
Yeah, we are doing "In Those Days" from the new album. It's one of the tracks off of "DEEP BLUE: CHAOS
FROM DARKISM II".
YOU ALSO HAVE A NEW DVD RELEASE COMING OUT. CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THIS
Our new DVD is our longest running release so far. It includes a whopping 66 tracks! We will release it in Japan
right away while we are on tour. It is actually going to be a free present given to those who come see are show.
It will be split into 2 discs because there was no way to get 66 songs on there. It's over 3 hours long.
I KNOW YOU HAVE A TON OF PAST RELEASES. CAN YOU GIVE A LITTLE INFORMATION ON
EACH & IF ANY ARE STILL AVAILABLE?
We'll we've released 7 albums, a mini album, tons of singles & been on a lot of compilations over the years.
There is just so much we have released that it would be impossible to talk about them all.
BALZAC HAS PLAYED A LOT OF SHOWS OVER THE YEARS. DO ANY STAND OUT FOR ANY
REASONS? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF PLAYING HERE IN THE U.S. TO PLAYING IN JAPAN?
The USA tours were really fun. But, no matter where we play it's great. Going to new places or new live houses
are always interesting. Personally, I love the city of New York & I always wanted to spend some more time in
San Francisco too. We had a really good show in San Francisco last time. We have played so many places in
Japan & all of those places are great too.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE BALZAC FIENDISH CLUB & THE 12 INCH SKULLMAN ACTION
The Japanese Fiendish Club has about 1200 paying members. They get tons of limited edition BALZAC items, &
a whole bunch of other added bonuses. We really appreciate our fans, so we try to do as much as we can for
them. As for the figures, we have made many, many varieties & one of them is the "Skullman" figure. We have
sold a lot of them. They are a very popular item. The "Skullman" is a product that we make ourselves. Most of
our other toys & figures are created by very famous toy makers here in Japan. The 12 inch "Zodiac 308" figure
was packaged with our limited single "Horrorock". It sold out immediately. It is one of the coolest figures I have
THE BAND ALSO OPERATES A STORE CALLED
SHOCKER IN OSAKE JAPAN. CAN YOU GIVE US
SOME INFORMATION ON THIS STORE?
Yeah, SHOCKER is a store we opened a few years ago.
We sell a lot of merchandise there for our band, as well as
for our 3 other clothing brands, SHOCKER,
DEMENTIA13 & CULTURE. The designs are all done by
myself & our bassist, Akio. We also have a new online shop
where anyone from outside of Japan can order directly
from us. It's called "Shocker World Wide" & you can
check it out at
www.evilegend13.com/shockerworldwide. So far
it has been a great success, even though it's still in it's
WHAT DO THE MEMBERS OF THE BAND DO
WHEN NOT DOING ANY WORK FOR THE BAND?
JOBS, HOBBIES, ETC?
Well, outside of playing in the band, we run our stores,
SHOCKER in Osaka & COFFIN in Kyoto & the online
SHOCKER WORLD WIDE shop. We do a lot of different
things. It keeps us extremely busy, but I think our jobs are
really fun & interesting. We all love what we do.
WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT ABOUT YOU?
One thing a lot of people don't know is that I do everything for BALZAC. I not only write the lyrics & songs,
but I am also in charge of production & merchandise. BALZAC is my brainchild, my life, really. It's what I do.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE HORROR MOVIES? ANY GOOD JAPANESE HORROR MOVIES YOU
My all time favorite is THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. It's so good, even now. I also like THE
OMEN, the HALLOWEEN & ZOMBIE series too. I like most horror films, it doesn't matter how good or bad
they are, there is something unique & interesting about all of them. I like films by Ed Wood & Rob Zombie lately
too. I am also into Japanese horror movies like RING & JU-ON. They are great.
WHAT ARE SOME MISCONCEPTIONS PEOPLE SEEM TO HAVE OF LIFE IN JAPAN?
That's a really difficult question to answer without getting into a lot of detail. I don't really have an answer.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE BETTER BANDS & LABELS IN JAPAN YOU WOULD RECOMMEND
There is an unending supply of talented bands in Japan. One band that I have been into for a long time is the
MAD CAPSULE MARKETS. They are really popular in japan & have had success overseas too, so some of
your readers might already know of them.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST ALBUM YOU REMEMBER BUYING? WHAT WAS THE FIRST CONCERT
YOU REMEMBER SEEING?
When I was 10 years old I bought THE BEATLES - "SGT. PEPPER". I have been collecting their stuff ever
since. I am still looking for some stuff that I don't have in my collection. I don't remember the first show I went
to, but I remember the first show I did. I was 15.
WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO COMING FROM
BALZAC IN THE FUTURE?
We'll just have to wait & see. I don't think too far ahead. I think
about right now. I wanna do the best I can do at any given
moment. Whatever we feel like doing next...that is what we will do!
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE ANSWERING THIS
INTERVIEW? WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW THAT IT'S OVER?
I was just at rehearsal. We rehearse pretty much everyday. After
this interview I will be making some new demos.
THANX MUCH FOR DOING THIS INTERVIEW. I REALLY
APPRECIATE IT! FEEL FREE TO CLOSE OUT WITH
ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD. HOPE TO SEE
YOU HERE IN THE STATES SOON!!!
No problem, please come out & see us. We should be back in the
USA this year. So, come out & enjoy our show!