In a year where so much has slowed down, there’s one artist who has been busy. Enter Japanese electronic metal multi-instrumentalist, Esprit D’Air.
Reformed back in 2016 as a solo project by the talented Kai taking the reins as vocalist, musician, composer and producer, Esprit D’Air have been bringing hard-hitting aggression with melodic vocals and electronic synths to an ever growing fanbase.
With over 3 million YouTube views and 80k Spotify listeners, and a growing social media presence, the fresh and unique sound of Esprit D’Air has continued to evolve.
After the release of the incredible Leviathan back in December 2020, 6 weekly consecutive releases in 2021 including the 10th Anniversary Live Album, and the most recent single, Glaciers, Esprit D’Air are certainly making an almighty impact which will culminate at the end of the year with the album Oceans.
Now it is time to welcome Kai for a chat about everything Esprit D’Air has accomplished this past year.
Welcome to Beyond Senpai! It has been a busy and productive year for you so far, with three new tracks released since December. What is it that keeps you inspired to compose and produce such great music?
Kai: I would sometimes create a visual moodboard like I have done with my most recent single, “Glaciers”- basing my compositions on Icelandic sceneries. Iceland was very inspiring because being there made me feel I like I was in another world. When writing “Glaciers”, I would imagine I was there, trying to create the atmosphere and ambience with delay and reverb on my guitars with cinematic and loud sections.
“Leviathan” was written at a time I was playing Final Fantasy VII Remake and when the first lockdown began. In a way, some of the synth melodies and sounds I used were inspired by the music in that game. Again, I really like the ethereal themes in those games, and wanted to create something that sounds and looks like it is from another world.
BS: Can you tell us about the concept of your new material? Does the idea or the music come first when you are composing?
Kai: I think it varies. I may create a short sketch of the song and then create a theme and idea around it to complete it, or the idea and concept comes first. Some artists prefer to write lyrics first, but I got used to composing the music first. I always like to create the music as detailed as possible before introducing what I think is the “final layer” of the song—the vocals.
BS: As the world begins to reopen, how are you feeling about getting back on stage, and is there hope for some live performances in the near future?
Kai: I feel like there is something missing in my life, and I know that is live performances. I can see more positive things happening this summer with small shows and festivals. Right now, that is not my focus but I look forward to doing it again in 2022. I am definitely looking forward to it.
BS: What other bands or artists are you listening to at the moment? And do they have any influence when you are composing new music?
Kai: Rock and metal bands from the eighties have always been a big influence on me, even if my music is not obviously influenced by it. I was not born in that era, but I wish I had a chance to live through it. It seemed like an exciting time to be alive. I still listen to bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Megadeth, X Japan, Mötley Crüe, W.A.S.P., and Anthrax but I don’t create music that is anything like those bands.
How I approach music is to try and evolve from what is already done in rock and metal music. I do not find it inspiring to copy music that is already done, but at the same time, I also do not want to follow a current trend. It is difficult to do, but I want to create music that is unique to me and try to create my own path. Sometimes that means trying and trying again!
BS: Your social media presence and fan interaction has continued to grow this past year, what do you enjoy most about interacting with your fanbase?
Kai: I want to create a positive community around my music, so I started creating Facebook Groups in countries and have our fans moderate them. I noticed we have many international fans, but they may not know each other. The idea is to bring all of those fans and supporters together so they can get to know each other now, and maybe even the band more.
So far, we have groups in Brazil, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Spain, UK, and USA. I love that the community is positive and welcoming, and like that we can make jokes and have fun too. Sometimes, I would get homophobic or racist comments on my social media profiles, but these are not my fans, and they do not represent my fans.
BS: What can your fans look forward to over the remainder of 2021?
Kai: New releases every six weeks! Anybody who wants to follow and support me on my journey can follow me on my Patreon.
BS: Thank you for joining us, we look forward to the release of Oceans later this year.
Kai: Thank you too for the opportunity! It has been great speaking to you.
Beyond Senpai thanks Kai for joining us.