After his show at OshareCon I sat down with RYU (OROCHI) for an interview. Even though I have visited his shows in The Netherlands before, I never seemed to be able to have a chat with him, so the last time in 2014 I made a promise that the next time I would definitely succeed. And I did.
In this interview we talked about how OROCHI evolved since the very first time in The Netherlands (which was in 2011) and what story he wishes to tell through his music now, as well as support members and his visual performance.
01. Today you are at the OshareCon convention in The Netherlands, would you rather have had your own show, or play at the convention like now?
RYU: I like the convention, because there are so many people and the show is more challenging. Because when I have my own show, people come for me. At a convention they do not come for me specifically, so I have to ‘convince’ them to come see me play with my music.
02. The first time you were in The Netherlands was in 2011, with the full band, you used a samurai sword during your performance. Last time you used this sword as well, but it made me wonder, did you learn how to wield this sword specifically for your visual performance, or was there an interest before already?
RYU: When I was a child I already had interest in the sword, also because my father told me I would find it in my hometown. I have searched and searched but could not find it, but when I was a student I did learn how to wield it properly.
03. When I first saw OROCHI in 2011 a big part of the show revolved around the story of Yamato no Orochi. Now we are in 2016, how much is left in the current music of this story? Do you still use any of it?
RYU: Yamato no Orochi is an evil dragon from a myth, while my name is RYU, which means ‘dragon’. My artist name in Japan has already changed from OROCHI to RYU, because it’s almost the same meaning. In the myth the evil dragon Yamato no Orochi takes virgin girls from a village as a sacrifice, which is very, very bad. But I am not evil, or bad. The concept of RYU is the opposite, I want to be a nice dragon.
04. For your latest release, which already in 2015, you’ve used a new style of music and influences. What inspired you to go this route?
RYU: The main difference is that I added more keyboard and piano sounds behind the original melody. Before it was more simplistic with less instruments, but I learn new things every time and I want to try different things.
05. Throughout the years OROCHI has lost almost all of it’s original members. Do you plan on replacing them with permanent new musicians, or continue as a one-person-band?
RYU: Recruiting members is really difficult because I already have so many songs. I am happy with solo singing, but I don’t know if I can add musicians easily. Being a solo musician is difficult and challenging, but I want to try the impossible so I will continue as a solo artist.
06. Even though you are a solo artist now, you still have a guitarist with you today. Why did you choose to take HARU with you even though you want to be a solo artist?
RYU: I know HARU since last year, where we did a show together, but not as OROCHI. I have seen his playing on stage and I also consider him to be a very decent and responsible person. In Japan I have different support musicians, but they are busy with their daily jobs so fitting schedules together isn’t an easy task. With HARU I could make arrangements to come to Europe with me as a support guitarist, so that’s why he’s here now.
07. For the future, what do you hope RYU and OROCHI to become?
RYU: I would like to release more CDs, and a new music video will be coming very soon as well.
08. The ‘traditional’ Japanese theme seems very popular in music today. What do you do to keep your style unique compared to the many other artists who have adapted the same visuals nowadays?
RYU: I know many similar bands, because Japanese musicians play traditional Japanese instruments. It’s very normal, though in Japan people have told me ‘don’t do that, it’s not original’, but I have not listened to them. But since I can speak English, I want to be a bridge between the cultures. That’s my far concept of OROCHI. But I also like the traditional Japanese sound.
09. And as a final question, do you have a message for everyone reading this interview?
RYU: My main focus is music, so please listen to my music. There are so many sources on the internet that stream it, and I even upload it myself as well. So please, listen to it!