Minoru Nihara, the explosive frontman of Japanese metal legends Loudness, is at once an engaging and enthusiastic interviewee; but his English – despite obviously being better than my non-existant Japanese – is not the best and , with a predictably dire international phone connection doing it’s best to defeat both of our efforts to make a go of things this interview, designed to bring the band to your attention as they prepare to head Down Under for their first-ever Australian shows, turns into th aural equivalent of wading through treacle. But we’re professionals if nothing else, me and Minoru, and we plug away as best we can to provide you with some sort of insight into the World of one of the most important bands in the history of heavy music…
So, I would imagine you’re looking forward to your first trip to Australia? “Of course! Our dream has come true, finally! We are so excited to come and play for you in Australia”.
What sort of set can we expect from you? Will it be a greatest-hits type of thing? “Oh yes! We will play many songs from our previous albums, especially the Thunder in the East, Lightning Strikes and Hurricane Eyes albums, and some songs from our most recent album Rise To Power. The sat will be about one hour and fifty minutes long. We’re going to have a good time!”
I remember the first ever time you played in England, at a small pub in London called The Royal Standard – “Yes! I remember! wow! I remember being so scared because it was the first time we had played in front of British or European people!”
I mention this because you’ll obviously be playing in smaller rooms in Australia than in the venues you are used to at home – do you find it difficult to move back down to smaller venues? “Sometimes it is difficult to play at a small club. You can see everybody’s faces! In a big hall it’s harder to see the audience’s faces… so for me I think small clubs are harder to play than the bigger halls.
But obviously you’re still enjoying playing. “Of course, and I do enjoy playing small clubs. I have other projects in Japan and we play with those in small clubs. It’s fun”.
And you’re not getting tired of touring? “It’s still fun to play and meet many different people. Sometimes the travelling gets me tired. I just flew for eighteen hours from Japan to Germany, and I was sick… but it’s so fun to play for the people”.
So do you perhaps prefer recording now to touring and playing live? “I enjoy both. They are totally different things to do. It’s fun to record songs, to make music. Sometimes it is tough, but it is still fun. When you make a great album, it feels great! But also it’s fun to play for people, to see the smiles on their faces when you play! It’s so good to make people feel better with your music”.
Is it strange that some of your audience has grown up with you over the years? “Yes! some of the people in the audience who are my age, they bring their kids, and their grandkids! Three generations! that’s so great(laughs)”.
Do the Japanese audiences treat you differently to audiences elsewhere in the world? “No, audiences everywhere are very similar… the only difference maybe is that Japanese audiences find it easier to understand, so communication is easier. But the audiences are just as wild in Japan as anywhere else”.
What would you say are your favourite Loudness songs to play live? “I would say Crazy Nights, because people know that song and go crazy and sing along, but also Esper, Crazy Doctor, the really heavy songs from our early albums, and also our ballads, which are great for me to sing!”.
I’m glad you said Esper and Crazy Nights – they are my faves! “That’s great! We will sing them for you soon!”
You can see Loudness on their first-ever Australian tour at the following shows:
09/05/19 – Max Watts, Melbourne
10/05/19 – Crow Bar, Sydney
11/05/19 – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane