INTERVIEW WITH UCHINO OF COFFINS
The Japanese death/d00m meta squad Coffins have been spreading the deadly metal since the mid 90’s. Despite several line-up changes the band’s leader Uchino has soldiered on and kept playing the brutal death/doom metal. The four piece spent the whole summer crisscrossing European festivals and played several dates in their homecountry. The band’s leader and guitarist Uchino sat down with Metal-Rules.Com to talk about the upcoming album being worked on, due out on Relapse later in 2019. The previous album FLESHLAND saw the light of day back in 2013.
Interview and pics by Arto Lehtinen
How’s it going there in the land of the rising sun and above all in Coffins ?
Pretty good!! After finishing the European summer tour, we supported many overseas bands at the local show in Tokyo. Meanwhile I kept writing songs for the new album, and have almost finished writing new songs and are preparing for the recording in January next year. I mean, we are busy now haha!!
The European summer festival season is over as you played at various festivals and places. What kind of experience was it to go thru Europe and play in front of different kinds of audience and at different places ?! Where did you receive the most lunatic respond ?!
The tour was fucking amazing!! A few years ago I and Satoshi (drummer) played once at Party San, Brutal Assault and Leperfest, but the new vocalist and new bassist seemed to enjoy it for the first time. This time, we played for the first time in Italy. The Italian bands, organizer and audience were very nice people, but the Italian airline sucked!! This tour schedule was so tight and we could not almost sleep. So we’d like to do next year’s tour with a little less schedule.
What is the biggest difference between for example Japanese, Europe and American audience ?!
I think that US and EU are developed countries for metal music. Anyway a audience’s reaction is so clear. “Really a good sound is good, a bad sound is bad”…I think that overseas audiences can be distinguished about it. But most of the audiences in Japan blindly believe only the wrong information from a Japanese music media and have not heard “really” good metal music. They only go to a big show of overseas famous metal band and never come to a local show of Japanese band, coz they have prejudices that Japanese bands are inferior to overseas bands. That sucks!! People who really understand it come to a local show and support a Japanese metal band. “Japan’s extreme metal scene including most of audiences is still immature” I have to say unfortunately…
The last full length album FLESHLAND came out back in 2013, all in all five years have passed by since that album came out “, do you feel any kind of pressure when working on the next full length Coffins album as people definitely expect another great death/doom metal output from you ?
Time goes so fast haha. We used too much time to solve the member change problem. But finally we are starting the work for new album now. About new album, yeah I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel pressure, but we are writing songs while enjoying towards the direction we want to express now.
When writing lyrics and composing the music for the next Coffins album, do you have to set yourself into the certain state of mind before getting any kind of inspiration or is the writing process an easy going process to come up deadly riffs ?
About lyrics, I haven’t written almost now. It is the work for our vocalist, Tokita. About the writing riffs, I have written almost Coffins’ songs so far. So writing riffs is not easy for me at the moment. I mean, I ran out of ideas haha!! But I have new ideas for new songs of course, the new album has a lot of ideas. Something good, look forward to it!!
As far as the death and extreme metal fans are concerned, do they expect you to release the more deadly and more doomy and even brutal on the upcoming new release or are you going to try out and explore new elements ?
Our style will not change because we are not dexterous, and we are prouding and are playing this extreme doom/death metal sounds at the moment.
As far as I know you are mostly responsible for the lyrics and the music for Coffins, but how much have other members contributed to the next Coffins album ? Do you think you have good vibes and writers that you can share the material in the rehearsal ?
As I mentioned before, most of the lyrics are written by Tokita now. About writing songs, I write basic main riffs and songs, and each member will make detailed adjustments on riffs and compositions about it. All members are discussing about songs than before now.
The previous album FLESHLAND came out on Relapse, and BURIED DEATH on 20 Buck Spin, Have you had any talks with Relapse Records about a release schedule for the next output ? Or do you have had a negotiation with other labels ?
The next album will also be released from Relapse.
Have you been pleased in general with the working with Relapse and other labels ?
Currently, we are satisfied of course!!
Coffins have released quite a few split releases with different bands. How do you end up doing a split release with some band ?! Are these band friends of yours ? You have done splits with Hooded Menace, Skullhog, Warhammer and the list goes on…
Recently, we are busy so we can’t make time for split work. But basically, we are releasing split with friends and respect bands.
Do you have to turn down offers of split album releases from labels and bands ?
Now we have to use time for new album. So there was also such a thing , I think.
Do you release these split outputs on your own or do you pick up some more underground based label to take care of the distribution ?! And it seems like it is a bit hard to find them, because of they are mostly limited to certain amount of copies like 500 ..
As we have no financial resources and distribution capabilities, a split plan must always borrow the power of a label. We are grateful to them all the time!!
The cover artwork for every Coffins releases are truly amazing grotesgue brutal. C.Moyen created the cover art for FLESHLAND. How did you end up doing the art for the album ?! Will he do the art for the upcoming album ?!
We consistently offer to him for our album artworks, and offered to him without hesitation for “The Fleshland” album as well. Perhaps we will also contact him for the upcoming album of course!!
In general, you have a lot of awesome, yet brutal grotesque pieces of arts. Do you give details for cover to an artist, do you give free hands to a guy to do the most bizarre and sickest album cover ever ?!
About split release and single EP artworks, basically we will not order the image to artists for details. About our albums, we will only tell Chris the title of an album and album songs. Chris draws artworks
freely based on only the images.
What inspires you nowadays about the gory art ? Do you collect some pieces of the gore/splatter stuff ?
Personally, I’m not interested in gory/splatter stuffs so much now because already I’m an old man haha.
When speaking of the gore thing, frankly where do you ladle the inspiration and dig out the creative mode to write about lyrics ?! What kind of topics inspire you to write about ; fantasy, real life horror things ?
When I was writing lyrics before, I wrote them by replacing world affairs and complains on real life etc to the fantasy world. “Truth is stranger than fiction!!” I thinks so from the bottom of my heart haha!! It seems that Tokita expresses the negative things of his inner by lyrics.
You have always had the passion for the old school doom/death metal, but as well doomy sludge and in general heavy stuff. Obviously your passion toward different kinds of approach must have influenced the sounds of Coffins since when the band was formed, apparently the sounds and the music of Coffins have evolved to this point, how do you view these years of progression of the the sounds of Coffins within all these years ?
As you said, my musical preference is devoted to the old school death metal, doom sludge and alternative noise rock sounds etc. And it doesn’t change now yet. In the past, I was pursuing extreme “heavy” and “slow” sounds. I mean, I devoted to the doomy sound. But as time passed, I started wanting to play more death metallic sounds. I mean, I wanted to play a song with a change in speed. So we improved our technical skills by changing our members for it. It became the band organization now, finally I got to do what I wanted to do.
The Japanese thrash/death/black metal scene has a long history since when Necrophile started out, we can’t forget the legendary Sabbat, of course Sigh, Sacrifice presenting the thrash metal genre. How does the Japanese extreme metal scene look like now when we are heading to a year 2020 ?
First…Necrophile started in the first phase of death metal scene in Japan. But the first Japanese death metal band is NOT them. (Indeed, the only ones who are active now is them haha. The bands called “Beleth”, “Deathpeed” and “Messiah Death” are the first Japanese death metal legends!!). So…about the Japanese extreme metal scene, in metal music, I still think that Japan is a backward country. Grindcore, Black metal, Doom/Sludge and Thrash metal are born a lot of young bands and I’m not sure…but I think that the scene can have hope for the future. But…old school death metal style, only an old man (including us) is playing the style band and there are few young bands now. As it is, the Japanese old school death metal may be extinct. It’s so sad thing…
I came across one of your interviews where you unveiled that your wife is not interested in metal, well how do you sort out this when willing to blast out the brutal stuff at home and your wife says “no way” ?
Hell yeah, but that is an old interview article right? Unfortunately…the situation in my family has not changed, I don’t share a musical hobby with her haha!! But my negative feelings for my wife are getting faded. Now I have a son, so I need a cooperative system with her.
All right I for one thank you for your time to do the interview for Metal-Rules.Com. So spill your last words to end the interview …
“Only death is real…” Thanks for supporting us!!
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