Akarusa Yami: Vocalist Tom Brumpton & guitarist Tom K
Interviewed by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
They call it caffeine fueled metal, in which case Akarusa Yami should be looking to take out shares in Red Bull after a monstrously busy year that saw them climb to the lofty heights of Bloodstock. After just over 12 months as a fully fledged band, and following the recent release of debut album ‘Ouroboros’, vocalist Tom Brumpton, and guitarist Tom K take a few moments of breathing space to reflect on what’s still to come…
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions!
Tom B – Pleasure.
Tom K – No worries!
Starting with the obvious one, where did the name Akarusa Yami come from?
Tom B – Our guitarist Tom Clarke came up with it. It means opposite of dark, opposite of light and we really liked the imagery that conjured up.
Tom K - We took it as being symbolic of balance/equality etc., and can apply it’s metaphorical interpretation to a whole host of differing meanings and ways of thinking.
You hail from Nottingham, so what do you think about the local music scene in the Midlands? Are there a lot of opportunities for upcoming bands?
Tom B – I think in this day and age young bands need, more than ever, to make their own opportunities. I think if you can garner the support of people in your local area and the abundance of great music supporters around the country and even the world, then a band can do fine. As for the Midlands, it has and always will be a great place for new artists.
Tom K - It’s always been tough for bands to make a name for themselves from around the midlands because of the amount of self promotion you have to do. I concur with Tom that there are a lot of quality bands out there but you have to garner a lot of support with a lot of people, in and out of the industry so to speak.
I believe you released your debut album ‘Ouroboros’ digitally in September – clearly you have a penchant for names that are difficult to pronounce! Why ‘Ouroboros’?
Tom B – Its fun watching journalists squirm *Laughs*. It was a two pronged thing really, we wanted to come up with a name for the EP that, like the band name, wasn’t really bog standard and stood out. On the flip side, the EP has a basic narrative of a man trying to cut away the negative parts of his life and emerge a stronger, better human being. I saw this as a cycle that we all go through at different parts of our life. It’s a cycle that never really ends, and I felt the Ouroborous moniker worked really well to purvey this.
From your perspective, what has the reaction to the album been like? Did you do anything special for the launch?
Tom B – We worked like dogs on the PR trail! *Laughs* We’ve been up and down the country doing interviews all over the shop, which has been a lot of fun. So far the reaction has been quite good and everyone seems to be into what we’re doing which is brilliant.
Tom K – The reaction has been very reaffirming for the amount of work we have done and are still doing for it, so we’re pretty stoked it’s been received well!
On all accounts you’ve been receiving rave reviews left, right, and centre – does hearing all these good things pile on the pressure?
Tom B – Yes and no. I’ve found it’s important to take heed of what people say but don’t let it dominate what you do or how you write. If you do, you’ll never enjoy what you do and you’ll just second guess yourself according to what you think people want to hear.
Tom K – For me personally it puts on a good type of pressure to try and better myself as a musician and composer to try and come up with something even better than the last thing I wrote (be it a riff, song, concept or solo etc.).
Obviously you played Bloodstock earlier this year, how was that? Did you get a good reception?
Tom B – The reception was brilliant. We had a great time and the feedback so far has been nothing but glowing, so we’re elated!
Tom K – Bloodstock was a complete trip! Awesome weekend and we were received really well.
Did you get to meet any famous faces whilst you were there?
Tom B – Nope, not that I can remember! We spent most of the time there in the press tent selling ourselves to anyone with a microphone and a pulse *Laughs*. It’s kinda part and parcel of being in a young band, when you go to these kinds of festivals you really need to make yourself known to all and sundry, otherwise people will just forget you very easily.
Are you starting to see people who really know who you are, and are out there singing along at your gigs? How does that feel?
Tom B – Its really funny you ask, because Bloodstock was actually one of our first few gigs and we had people coming up to us at the festival telling us what our name meant! *Laughs* That was quite incredible!
Tom K - When it does happen it’s quite surreal and humbling in a way that some people actually latch on to the music that much, but it’s the biggest compliment you could have as a musician.
Now I had heard that you were recording a new single this month with James Dunkley (Sick of It All/Samael/Vallenfyre) for release at Christmas – is that correct?
Tom B – Yep, its all finished and its being sent on to Tim Turan (Emperor, Plan B) to master.
How is the recording processing?
Tom B – The recording process was brilliant. James is a pro and did a great job.
Tom K - Very intense weekend of recording at an old RAF base in the middle of nowhere *laughs*. But it went really well: James did a brilliant job and pushed us to get the best performances.
Any aspirations of reaching Christmas number one, and maybe showing those X Factor types up?
Tom B – Hmm, I think a band like ours getting into the top 10 charts is one of the signs of the apocalypse, isn’t it?
Tom K - We were thinking of covering an old Whitney Houston song….
As we’re approaching the end of the year, looking back at 2011 as a whole what moments stand out most to you?
Tom B – There are a few, but I’d have to say being invited to Kerrang Radio for an interview and Bloodstock are probably up there as the top moments of this year.
Tom K – That and the recording with Dunkley, travelling to Dublin to do press for ‘Ouroboros’, and being featured in Terrorizor in 2 consecutive issues and of course us supporting Textures in less than 2 weeks!
Can you let us in on any of your plans for 2012? Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to?
Tom B – 2012 is looking quite busy at the moment. We’re heading to Norway at the end of January for an interview with NRK (National broadcaster in Norway) which we’re very excited about. We’re trying to work out flying to New York City and Sweden for shows and we’re hoping to release a new EP at the end of next year. We’ve dubbed it our “Opera” and its going to be a bit of a departure from the last record.
Is there anything really different musically that you’d like to try and incorporate in the future?
Tom B – Definitely, I’d love to throw some flamenco music, some classical music and some ambient music in there. I believe that if you want to keep people interested, especially as a young band, you’ve got to keep things fresh and interesting. Some of my favourite bands are Porcupine Tree and Rammstein, and I guess the thing I like about those bands is that they’ve always kinda done their own thing. I really respect that and I’d love it if in years to come people view us in the same way. In that if you hear an Akarusa Yami record you immediately recognize it the same way you would Rammstein or PT.
Tom K – Me personally I would like to experiment with samples and synths and incorporate them into what we do as another layer into our already chaotic sound.
On a final note, love it or hate it Christmas is on its way, but if you could ask for anything from Mr Claus what would it be?
Tom B – A plane ticket to Berlin. I’m dying for a vacation! *laughs*
Tom K – A Mesa Boogie would be nice *laughs*.