For this interview I spoke with the leader of the relatively young visual kei band ENVYL, シェイド (Shade). Because despite everything that’s currently going on in the world the band had a new release planned: the double a-side single 「少年／少女」 (Shounen / Shoujo). This single has been released in the meantime (the official release date was Wednesday, April 8), but it turns out it’s pretty tricky if you can’t work with your fans directly…
01. So シェイド (Shade), can you describe ENVYL in your own words for the people who have never heard of your band before?
シェイド: Starting in June of 2019, right after the end of DIERRY CALL I formed ENVYL together with RUI and 紫黒 (Mukuro) as guitarists, カイン (Kain) as a bassist and まや (Maya) as a drummer. During that time the band debuted with our first album 白 × 黒 (Shiro × Kuro), and the music video for the song “D I D” attracted so much attention that it sold out the very first oneman show. It became a great success.
The band tries to express visual rock with a demon-like beautiful voice and a transparent angelic voice which occasionally dips into the loud sound as well.
02. What is the story behind the name “ENVYL”? Why did you choose this name?
シェイド: It’s a mixture of an angel and a demon.
03. Does this mixture of angel and demon also have to do with you sporting a very black and white image in terms of costumes as well as a visual kei image overall?
シェイド: Yes. The black and white colors refer to the angel and demon parts, and I just love visual kei.
04. Like you’ve already mentioned, the first official release of the band was the full length album 白 × 黒 (Shiro × Kuro). But why did you decide to go for a full length album instead of a (digital) single first? Isn’t a full album a bit risky?
シェイド: I went with a full length album because I wanted people to be able to listen to a lot of songs from the very beginning.
05. At the time of me asking this question, you’re about to release your second single, titled 「少年 / 少女」 (Shounen / Shoujo), on April 8. Which is a double a-side single. Why did you choose this format, and what can you tell me about the other choices (visually, lyrics) for this single?
シェイド: The format was chosen because I wanted to get attention for it. It’s a story about a boy and a girl, who each have their own song. In the black (boy) song, 少年 (Shounen), the boy sings about the atomic bombing that occurred in Japan. The boy is lonely and is looking for his dead family. In the white (girl) song, 少女 (Shoujo), the girl has survived the bombing and she’s looking for a deceased family member.
06. Under normal circumstances you would have a lot more freedom to promote your new works, but right now we’re all more limited to livestreams and other online things rather than live shows. Is it harder for you to promote your work now you’re unable to have “direct contact” with your fans through instores and live shows?
シェイド: Yes, it definitely is a lot harder this way. But we’re doing what we can right now. Our live shows have all been cancelled, so we’re considering doing an online show instead.
07. At the very start of the interview you’ve mentioned another project, DIERRY CALL. This was a time-limited project lasting from December 30 2018 to April 26 2019. But why was it time limited? Would you have liked to continue it after it’s time ran out? Plus, what about the name change from シェイド to HΛKU and back?
シェイド: The time limit was set in place because I wanted to get attention for the project. Though no, I wouldn’t want to continue with it. The concept of DIERRY CALL was also angels and demons, but I’m very happy with the way ENVYL turned out. As for the name change, I simply thought シェイド was better so I went back to that.
08. When you created ENVYL you actually took all of the support members from DIERRY CALL with you, and added まや (Maya) to the lineup as your drummer. Did you ever consider any other members for this project?
シェイド: No, I actually did not!
09. The very first band we’ve actually seen you in was Azero, where you had the position of a (support) guitarist. After that you’ve switched to vocals. What made you become a musician in the first place? And why the switch of positions?
シェイド: I was inspired by L’Arc~en~Ciel. I actually always aimed to be a vocalist.
10. I also have a question for each of the other members. Starting with 紫黒 (Mukuro). You seem to like wearing “dark” colors a lot more based on the previous works of the band. But for 少女 (Shoujo) you suddenly appeared in a fully white outfit. What was that like for you?
紫黒: I was very uncomfortable…
11. RUI, you’re actually playing a 7-strings guitar. A type of guitar that seems to be more and more popular lately (since bands like Deviloof and Nocturnal Bloodlust use(d) them recently as well). What made you opt for the 7-strings guitar in ENVYL?
RUI: Our music is less tuned, so 7-strings are a lot more stable for our sound and thus I prefer to use this type.
12. カイン (Kain), you’ve been playing bass for a lot of years now. But what inspired you to play this instrument instead of well, any other? And for so many years already?
カイン: I thought the bass was the coolest, and I’m still playing it because I can’t give up on my dream!
13. まや (Maya), you are by far the most colorful, but also the most changeable member of the band. A concept I also see used in more visual kei bands in recent years. But what inspired you to go for this ever-changing looks?
まや: I am very inspired by the drummer of MEJIBRAY, meto. Who also uses this ever-changing (often drastic) type of looks.
14. There is one more member most people probably won’t know about. Since he only appears during live performances. YUMA, who is your DJ and shout-support member. Most artists just opt for using digital support, but a real person is obviously better. Right?
シェイド: Yes, the live shows definitely sound better with YUMA instead of a computer supporting us. Which is why.
15. Despite the current situation worldwide, can you tell me anything about the future plans for ENVYL?
シェイド: A new single will be released in the summer. But unfortunately due to the Corona virus we can’t plan a live show or a tour right now.
16. And last but definitely not least, do you have a message for everyone reading this interview?
シェイド: Yes, as a matter of fact I do! Please look forward to the future of ENVYL. I can’t wait to meet all of you someday!
ENVYL – 少年 (Shounen) (MV):
ENVYL – 少女 (Shoujo) (MV):
If you’d like to support the band from overseas, the single 「少年 / 少女」 (Shounen / Shoujo) is also available through CDJapan, and their previous works are also available on various streaming services!