Interview with YOHIO
Thank you for taking time to complete our interview – Could you introduce yourself for our readers?
- You’re welcome! Hi, I’m YOHIO – guitarist from the Swedish Visual Rock band Seremedy. Currently active as a solo
artist in Japan under Universal Music as well!
How did you first get involved with music?
- I come from a music family, so I’ve always had music around me. I wasn’t that interested though until I started
playing the piano when I was 6 years old. That was my first instrument and the start of my musicianship.
When did you know it was going to be a career for you?
- My band Seremedy started for real in 2010, when I was 14. In the starting phase I didn’t have a clue that I was
going to get this busy. But I guess when Seremedy signed a record deal with Ninetone/Universal, I had a feeling
that this was going to be my profession for real.
Could you share the story of how you first got involved in Visual kei?
- Yes, of course! It all started back in school when I was around 12 years old maybe. A friend listened to Japanese
music and showed me AN CAFE. He didn’t say it was Visual Kei, so I just thought it sounded like an anime intro
or something like that. And when I looked them up on the internet later, I saw how they looked. At first, I thought it
was a girl band. But then I watched one of their music videos on YouTube and read the comments. Everybody said
“this is Visual Kei”, so I searched for the term and found out what it was. Then I got immediately hooked.
Did you anticipate becoming this popular in Japan?
- Of course Japan has always been the country I wanted to make a career in, but I never really thought it would
happen. When I started in Seremedy way back I didn’t have a clue actually… But I’m really happy that it’s turning
out the way I’ve only dreamt of in my head. It’s still very hard to take in, so I still don’t understand what’s going on
really. Haha. I hope I will realize soon enough!
Even though you are quite a big name yourself, do you ever get starstruck when meeting any other big names in J-rock?
- I’m getting used to meeting and hanging out with known or “famous” people, but sometimes I can get a bit starstruck.
The most recent examples would be: Meeting GACKT when Seremedy played at V-ROCK FESTIVAL last year. And most
recently meeting KÖZI (MALICE MIZER), at a bar when I was meeting up with HIZAKI and Kaya after a show just over
a week ago.
Who have been some of your musical influences?
- I really like classical composers like Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. Those two especially are great
influences. MALICE MIZER is one of my favorite bands. But if you listen to my music, it’s very pop-oriented. So
of course I’m influenced by pop as well, especially J-POP.
In terms of style, you have been compared to the likes of HIZAKI and Takeru. Where do you get the inspiration for your style?
- It’s very funny to be compared to your friends, actually. I get inspiration for my style from everywhere and nowhere. My dress on the “REACH the SKY” Mini Album is designed by me and the sewstress. I guess I’m not sure where my inspiration comes from, but it’s just out of my head what I want to wear.
What was the deciding factor in starting your own solo project?
- The truth is that I’ve had plans on a solo project long before Seremedy started. I had a lot of solo material before
I started playing with my band. But why I started it right now, is because Universal Japan asked me to do a solo CD.
Even if they hadn’t asked, I would launch my solo project sooner or later anyways.
Would you ever hold a concert with Seremedy and your solo project?
- That’s not impossible! I think that would be interesting. I would be really tired afterwards, though. Haha. I would
be doing two shows in a row!
You are the CEO & Founder of KEIOS ENTERTAINMENT – what made you want to create Sweden’s first Visual Kei label?
- That’s right. Well, I’ve always been inside the walls of a record label. Since my dad works in the music business as well.
So I’m not only interested in making music as an artist, I’m interested in the music market as a whole. And I know how
things work, despite my age.
I started KEIOS ENTERTAINMENT in the purpose of giving western Visual bands a chance they may not get anywhere
else, because of their looks. Of course, KEIOS is about music first, but Visual bands with good music. I will also not
only sign western bands, but bands from all over the world. Including Japanese Visual Kei bands of course. That’s also
one of the reasons i founded KEIOS, to get Japanese Visual Kei bands released in the rest of the world.
What are your goals for this new label?
- My major goal for KEIOS ENTERTAINMENT is to spread Visual Rock around the world! I want to make this relatively
small scene a lot bigger than it is now.
You’ve recently announced that you are now the manager of the Swedish band DESAIHA. Could you tell us a little about them?
- Exactly. DESAIHA is a very new band which was born from three of the members’ former band, Vanity. I have known them for a long time, since the Vanity times, and I was very sad when Vanity disbanded. So when I heard that they started a new band, DESAIHA, I was eager to hear the material. When I heard it, I was happily surprised. I just felt that I had to work with them as a manager, because I want to turn them into something big. They really deserve it. If you listen, you can hear that they are very, very talented musicians, and they really lay down their lives on the will of becoming better. They always want to evolve, which is a good feature for a band.
For me, working as a manager is also something completely new. My father is managing several bands, including me and
Seremedy, so I know how it works, but I’ve never done it myself before. Yet another aspect of the music business to discover!
Do you have any upcoming plans for them that you can announce?
- They are currently recording new material (which for the record is very awesome), and the next step is to find a suitable record deal for them. I can say nothing more, but there will be news coming up in the near future!
How does it feel to be moving ahead with KEIOS ENTERTAINMENT so quickly?
- Actually, the only part of my company that’s started officially is the management part, which is something completely different from the label. So I think that it’s not really that quick.
Of course, I’ve had so much other things to do lately, so thinking of the circumstances it’s kind of quick maybe. Right now I think that it’s moving in the right phase at least!
If you could sign any other band to KEIOS ENTERTAINMENT, who would it be and why?
- I haven’t actually signed any band to KEIOS ENTERTAINMENT as a record label yet. DESAIHA is just under my management, not a record deal (actually doesn’t have to do with KEIOS as a label at all, since it’s two different things).
But I have some exciting signings coming up, that’s not yet official. So keep your eyes on KEIOS, because I will release some information soon! I’m really looking forward to making everything official, it’s going to be very exciting indeed.
And what about your social life – do you have much time to relax?
- Relax? What’s that? Haha. No but seriously speaking, right now I don’t have much time to relax. I haven’t had since 2012 started actually. I’m a very busy man these days, but that’s the life of a major solo artist, band member, song writer, CEO for a label and Manager for a band all together! Even though it’s often stressful, it’s the life I want to live. There is no other life for me than doing what I’m doing now. I mean, I could decide to quit whenever I want, but if I did I wouldn’t be happy, because I wouldn’t be doing what I love. So in a way, I’ve only got myself to blame for being this busy.
You’ve already accomplished so much at a young age, what should we expect from you in the future?
- You should expect much! As you may have noticed, I’m not a person who sticks to only one thing. I already have several professions, everything is within music, but in the future I would like to do things not related to music as well. I’m actually writing a book at the moment too, so when it’s finished I’d like it to be published. That’s only one of the other things I want to do in my life. You can expect almost anything from me, so keep your eyes open!
Any closing comment for our readers?
- Yes. I hope that this interview was somewhat interesting, at least. Even though I’ve answered the questions 4:30 in the
morning! Anyways, I just released my first solo Mini Album called “REACH the SKY” April 25th. I would be very happy if you bought it! It’s only released in Japan for the moment, but you can order it from places like cdjapan.co.jp.
Also, my band Seremedy is releasing it’s first Full Album this summer! So please look forward to that. If you like Seremedy, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
And lastly, give your full support to the guys in DESAIHA as well!
You will be seeing a lot more of me, Seremedy and DESAIHA in the near future. Stay tuned, and stay MAD!
To find out more about YOHIO: