ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: esprit d'air

Interview, Heavy-Metal, Rock
Esprit D’Air – Enter the world of Japanese electronic metal. With the release of their new album, we talk to Kai about stolen laptops and making music during a pandemic.

Q. How would you describe the journey leading up to ‘Oceans’, the album?

It’s been a tale of hard work, sacrifice, happiness and misery—four years in the making! Some of these songs are four years old, some of them are less than a year old. Long story short, my laptop containing my work-in-progress was stolen in 2019, so I took a massive break between 2019 and 2020 just to refocus and work on my mental health. I believe most of the songs that were released from the album were created (and recreated) during the pandemic between 2020 and 2021, so I like to think I came back a lot stronger.

Q. What are some of the main ideas behind it?

Overall, I wanted it to be a step up from our debut album, Constellations. While the first album was all about creating something otherworldly and establishing my own unique sound, I wanted to push boundaries even further, creating a more progressive and mature sound. I also played a lot of video games during my year-long break, and some of the songs from the album were partly inspired by titles such as Final Fantasy VII Remake. I like to imagine some of the tracks could be “boss battle music”.

Q. You recently announced a run of UK tour dates. With the world slowly re-entering ‘normal life’ post COVID, what’s your experience of performing live again so far? How have you found the transition back to the stage?

When we did our launch show at the O2 Academy Islington, for both the band and the fans, it felt like a long time coming. We just really missed it and gave it our all with all of the energy we had. I am looking forward to being back on the road again this summer. Returning to London, Newcastle, Glasgow and Manchester is super exciting!

Q. How do you continue to motivate yourself during uncertain times?

During the pandemic, I set myself a goal of releasing a new song every six weeks leading up to the album. I set up a Patreon page to keep the project alive, ensuring the costs of each music and video release were covered. After each release, I had to already work on the next! I could have chosen not to create music, but I took it as an opportunity to be as productive as I can while I am working on my own, and while the world was staying indoors and bands were not touring. I do this full-time; I may not make a lot of money from my music, but what motivates me is that I am creating art, art that I hope would last for some time and for people to listen and be inspired by

Q.  With the release of the album, are you taking some time out from writing or heading right back into the studio?

I am still working on releases privately via Patreon and touring with the album that’s just been released. I will also be re-organising my studio and coming up with ideas for the third album. I will have my files backed up this time!

Q.  The album has some awesome features from Ben Christo and Ryo Kinoshita, would you like to work with other artists in the future?

Definitely. It really brings out new ideas and perspectives and that’s what I really enjoyed about working with these two incredible artists.

Q. What are some defining tracks of your career? Which songs do you listen back to with the most satisfaction?

‘Leviathan’ from the new Oceans album is probably the one that I am most proud of. The track mixes so many different elements and textures that make it a cinematic piece. We did a really sick futuristic sci-fi music video for it that premiered on Loudwire too! Paul did an incredible job ensuring all of the elements had its space in the mix and it sounds monster!

Q. How did you find the process of working on mixes remotely with Paul? Were there any unexpected challenges or benefits?

Paul has been an absolute pleasure to work with. I love his clarity, efficiency and attitude to everything he does. I used to mix my work myself, but when you’re composing, producing and arranging, while you’re marketing and managing your band, it can not only be time-consuming, but you’re also not objective enough to identify all the weak points in the mix to the point where you don’t see the forest for the trees anymore. I create everything digitally, so everything has been really easy to do remotely, and the mixes sound awesome!