XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
NOZOMU: Next year on January, we will have a show in Tokyo, Japan with the original line up of “METAL SOULS”. Each member has own bands or projects, so it is a bit difficult to schedule a tour with them, but I am discussing with the Agent to make it happen. I am thinking to do a show in America, somehow, perhaps next year.
My plans for the rest of this year, I will be going on a tour in Japan this summer as a backing musician for a Japanese solo artist, and also around fall I will go to Las Vegas to continue working on the album I started with Paul Shortino last year. We’ve got a lot of demos already, so I am sure it will become a good album.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
NOZOMU: Actually, this project ‘DESTINIA’ up to now released two albums. The first album was released in 2014, so this is the fourth year for the band.
I have significantly changed a style of music this time compared to my previous albums as this album “METAL SOULS” will be released worldwide. In order to fully express my ideal music in this album I had to make an offer to great musicians such as Tommy Aldridge, Marco Mendoza and Ronnie Romero.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
NOZOMU: I was doing fighting sports before I played music, but I experienced failure and gave up all hope of doing it. It was HR/HM music that saved me from despair. Since then HR/HM has been my life goal. Someday I really wanted the people to listen to my HR/HM music.
Unfortunately in Japan even you do HR/HM music, people in general do not think that’s cool. Rather, you get looked with curious eyes. It’s not a mainstream music and also not popular as business so it’s not quite profitable. My love for HR/HM keeps me motivated.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
NOZOMU: I was not interested in music until I listened to Deep Purple when I was 16. I studied Jazz at the music university, but what I learned there was how great effector is such as distortion. HR/HM is everything for me.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
NOZOMU: It’s nice that the person who will listen to my music will decide freely what to imagine.
Music concept of DESTINIA is ‘Classic Modern’. The image is like combine the structure of 80s-90s heavy metal with modern sound.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
NOZOMU: I want to leave in this world a work that could be called “a master piece” by everyone.
And of course, I would be very happy and honored to be a part of HR/HM history.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
NOZOMU: I think there is good in both of it so I like both writing/recording music and playing for my audience. However I think I have a lot of studio works because I also get chance to produce or record for other musicians not only for my own music. As I said before, I will be on a tour in Japan as a backing musician for a Japanese solo artist in July and August.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
NOZOMU: It’s different for every song. Usually I wrote about my life experience or something that really happened. For example, ‘Metal Souls’ is inspired by a story of Ronnie Romero singing for Rainbow, and ‘The End Of Love’ is about my love story when I was a student. ‘Take Me Home’ is about the family feeling that Paul Shortino talked about when I was in Las Vegas.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
NOZOMU: To keep being heavy metal, Keep it metal!
What to think and how to live as a heavy metal artist, and it’s my own HR/HM and musicianship.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
NOZOMU: The first time I went on tour with a local band was fun but I remember as soon as I came back home, I’d been hospitalized for one week. I was 18-19 at that time, and we were traveling with a very small car. The car was full of all our equipment and also all the other members were physically bigger than me. The car was old, and I was 10 years younger than the other members, so my seat was narrow…
On the way back from the tour, we were driving at a tremendous speed so I got carsick and I fell and threw up as soon as I got down from the car. Perhaps it was a good experience of the harshness of touring for me as a young musician.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
NOZOMU: The audience got so excited and I was throwing my guitar like Ritchie Blackmore did. They incited me to smash my guitar like Ritchie. I was a backing guitar but I didn’t care about anything and I just smashed my guitar. It was the best feeling ever. Thirty minutes later, an owner of the venue was very angry at me as my guitar crash damaged the stage, and also my guitar was broken into two. I regretted it for a week.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
NOZOMU: They don’t like HR/HM, and it’s hard to say that they are supportive.
My friends are all musicians, and they are supportive but at the same time we are also a rival.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
NOZOMU: You should try to smash a guitar on the stage at least once. Your vision of the world will change I think. Then practice.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
NOZOMU: From ‘Metal Souls’, I like to play ‘Raise Your Fist’.
Because I can already visualize how everyone fists will be up in the air when this song is played live.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
NOZOMU: I like the bands like Rainbow, DIO, and Whitesnake who have the beautifyl melodies. I like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Riot who play the straight riffs, and also I like flashy Hair Metal. However, it is interesting that each their music has own features and is full of energy. I think that those elements become one and then become a core of my music. Therefore my music is collection of 80s-90s heavy metal. In terms of guitar play, I am influenced by Ritchie Blackmore and also Michael Schenker.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
NOZOMU: DESTINIA actual line up is the best one. If only we didn’t have to worry about everyone’s schedule, it would be easier to set up shows…
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
NOZOMU: I cannot say that I have accomplished something. With doing a worldwide release, I am just at the start line. So far, this is only the Overture.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
NOZOMU: I think I could not adapt to the society. It would become a problem even before starting my career.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
NOZOMU: I used to use the custom painted Kramer Pacer as a main guitar before but now I mainly use the Dean V even for live shows. For the amps, I had used Ecstasy B101 by Bogner amp, but recently I am using the Kemper controlled with Helix by Line6.With this, I can freely use the advantages of both Kemper and Helix, and also it’s trouble free because it has a backup system integrated.
About the pedal, I am using Dimebag Darrell signature wah. The Cabinet is a Bogner 414.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
NOZOMU: The current music is sounds like a bit tight and kind of “polite”, and I feel like there should be more space. Guitars are precise and clean but need a bit of aggressiveness and wildness. I treasure passion and energy come from HR/HM, so I want to preserve them and adapt them in today’s music scene.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
NOZOMU: Many people may be surprised that a Japanese musician is going to release an album that is true to the principles of Heavy Metal. It’s been like that since LOUDNESS debuted overseas.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
NOZOMU: If you like the album, please keep on following and supporting DESTINIA!
I hope to meet your expectations so I can deliver another great album.
Before that, we must meet at the show!!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
NOZOMU: Thank you for the opportunity, it was fun! Keep it Metal!!