.:: INTERVIEW of SAEKO KITAMAE ::.

Par Michael Duval

 

Saeko Kitamae, the new Japanese woman media star of Heavy-Metal came in visit in our capital to answer to the specialized press on its not very common course. It is a determined and ambitious woman who answered to my interview.

 

Metalisforever : Hello Saeko, before presenting to you, can you say to me, since how long, are you in Europe exactly?

Saeko Kitamae : At the end of 2000, I became ill and quit my band to went into a hospital in Japan. After getting out of the hospital, I still needed to have more rest and visited Switzerland in 2001 where I stayed 2 months and a half. This was the first time in Europe.
While I was there, I got an email from German guy who was one of my fans from the former band. I wrote him back, "Now I'm in Switzerland". Then he wrote, "I want to see you. Will you join us to go to Wacken Open Air?" When I saw the scenery in Wacken, I decided to come back to Europe again when I got recovered. And in August 2002 I recovered and came back to Germany. August and September I spent in a small town alone to contemplate my life. There were too many beloved things in Japan to throw away. But in the end I decided to lay my life on music and came to Hamburg with only a suitcase and laptop computer in October 2002. I've been living in Hamburg since then.

Metalisforever : Can you give me the true reasons which made you leave Japan for Germany? Do I have to believe that with the country of the raising sun, metal is in perdition?

Saeko Kitamae : Actually it was just like an urge and is hard to explain by words. When we feel something very strong---when we fall in love, for example, we, ourselves, don't know why, don't we? Anyway I felt something is calling me very strong to leave the country. Of course I was afraid of the idea. There was nobody to turn to. I didn't even understand the language. But I'd been singing to believe in ourselves and to face the fear to get over it. I should face my fear in the first place if I want to keep on singing like that, for I can't sing things which are not true. So I left the country. About the metal scene in Japan, I cannot say many things about these days, for I quit my band more than 3 years ago.

Metalisforever : How was made your meeting with the musicians of Metalium? One fine day, you knocked on the door of Lars? Why Metalium, more than another band?

Saeko Kitamae : I was alone in Hamburg and had no idea about how to meet musicians. So I handed out the fliers with my contact address, which you can see in the booklet, at concert halls and heavy metal bars. One day I got a call from a guy. I met him at a café. It was Lars Ratz (METALIUM). He asked me if I can copy others' style. I've heard this question several times in my life from labels or producers. Every time I answered, "no, because I'm not doing this to be famous. Music is my life." According to my past experiences, when I answered this, they walked away or tried to persuade me to copy others. So I expected the same reaction from Lars. But he said, " perfect! I don't need anybody only coping others." So I felt I might have met a right person finally.

Metalisforever : Did this idea to make an album, come to you in a spontaneous way? Or did you decide to follow this step on the councils of Lars or other musicians?

Saeko Kitamae : Yes of course! I left my country only to find a heavy metal band to join. From the beginning I was thinking of making an album. That was the only reason I said good-bye to my friends. But, of course, Lars and other musician supported me a lot and we talked a lot. Nobody can make anything alone. Me neither. I'm happy to have nice people around me.

Metalisforever : With through Metal, what do you want to transmit? Your inspiration comes it from your Japanese origins or that what you live, now?

Saeko Kitamae : I just want to express everything in me. This is my life. Sadness, pain, happiness……all the beauty I see before my eyes everyday. Sometimes it's hard to explain by words, that's why I'm trying to bring it through music. But it's still very hard and I've been looking for the way. Anyway, my music comes through my existence itself. That's it. The life I have now is also one part of my existence. Japanese origins are also parts of it.

Metalisforever : Your approach of the European metal began with the role from Metaliana on the last album from Metalium! Can you tell me some words of them?

Saeko Kitamae : They were looking for a fresh voice as a Metaliana. And there was me. Lars liked my story coming from Japan all alone only for heavy metal, and he said, "You are a Metaliana!" It was very challenging for me, for I've never recorded vocals overseas. I was nervous too. But I've kept trying things which seemed impossible for me. So I knew I'd find out the result simply if I did it. And I did it. I'm satisfied with it.

Metalisforever : Lars produced your album, Michael is your drummer, your album sounds Metalium very much! That made a little much, not? Lol!


Saeko Kitamae : I didn't even think about it. In fact, our tastes of music are very close. That's one of the reason I decided to work with them. If you get my old materials from the former band in Japan, you'll understand I've been playing this kind of power metal music. Of course there's a development from the past with inputs from Lars, Michael and others at a studio in this album. But the basic direction are the same, because this is my life.

Metalisforever : Do the compositions come from you, or the album was written with several? Which are your subjects of predilection?

Saeko Kitamae : All the lyrics are written by me. About the music, mostly I wrote basic ideas with my keyboards and computer. Then Michael, Lars and I arranged together to make the songs better. There are also 3 songs, of which basic idea came from Michael and Lars. In this case too, we arranged together later. So, after all, I say all songs were done in cooperation of us 3 people.

Metalisforever : The press qualifies your music like Zen Metal! Me, I would say rather than your voice is powerful and than your music is devastating! What do you think about it?

Saeko Kitamae : Zen is a thought which tries to see beyond the differences of forms in this world. Seeing things from inside and not from the outside. This means it's not about a particular style, because styles are one of forms. If it comes from deep inside beyond forms, it's Zen. When I write songs, first I always concentrate on becoming as empty as possible. This is Zen. We can be totally free from the styles as long as it comes from the spirit deep in ourselves.

Metalisforever : I read that you were going on tour with Doro! It was a wonderful thing, not?


Saeko Kitamae : Yes, I had very meaningful experiences and beautiful moments every night. Not only the audience but also everybody on tour was very nice and I enjoyed myself very much. There were many things to think about too. Now I'm a bit sad, for the tour is over. I hope I have more opportunities in near future.

Metalisforever : France awaits you impatiently!!! A small word for your fans!

Saeko Kitamae : Thank you for reading this till the end! I want to see you someday and hope that we can share some moments together. I cannot meet all the people on earth, but I want to meet as many people as possible, because it's all beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

..: Line-up :..

Saeko Kitamae(Vocals/Piano/ Keyboards)
Michael Ehre (Drums)
Sven Lüdke (Guitars)
Hermann Frank (Guitars)
Mariko Inoue (Bass)

 

 

..: Studio Releases :..

Above Heaven, Bellow Heaven : 2004 (LP)

 

 

 

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