Despite being unable to attend their performance at the DevilStone rock festival, one of our Music Scouts attended Non-Playable Character‘s gig at the Young Groups’ Competition at Loftas, in Vilnius, a few weeks back.
She was a fan of the group’s Japanese-influenced “pixelcore” sound, and after having listened to some of their stuff, so were we at Music Export Fund.
For the first in a series of articles where we try to discover the guilty music pleasures of upcoming and already established Lithuanian artists – you know, the stuff you don’t really want to admit you like – we caught up with Non-Playable Character‘s frontman, Nikita Voitovas, to find out what music he’s secretly, until now, a bit in love with…
As he said, “if it makes you move, and it feels or sounds fun, you’ll enjoy it. It’s kind of elitist to think there’s good and crap music.”
5. Solar Flare Homicide, Emmure
So, I’ve been sitting this whole morning picking out the most obscure stuff I listen to, because really there are sometimes moments in life where you don’t really care about the quality of the music, just about the band.
One of these bands is Immure who are really best known for their “chugging”, a term used to describe the heavy usage of open string chords, which are usually played on low-tuned guitars.
They’re a deathcore band – they chug, they growl, they scream and all this. The song is called Solar Flare Homicide.
It’s pretty much a party song, I mean, they have this music video where they jump around, and scream and shout. It’s one of those songs where you have to switch your brain off, as they play with open strings.
The whole song is basically played with open chords and there is really little musical variety to it, when you listen to it, you’ll get what I mean…
They’re well known for their open strings and are pretty much really a joke in the metal community.
If you like this band, well, I don’t know – you’re not seen as “a true metalhead” or something and you’re seen as someone who doesn’t have anything between your ears because you listen to Emmure [laughs].
4. Chase The Light, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas
These guys, Fear and Loathing in Last Vegas, are another of my favourite bands. I really like listening to their stuff.
The song that got me into them was called Chase The Light. They keep releasing new songs, and they’re getting really well known outside of Japan. I’d really suggest you check them out.
As always, Japanese Bands write songs, and they usually end up being used in some Anime opening sequence. So, there’s an Anime called Kaiji, and I think the song was used as the opening track in their second season.
My best friend, Marat, who is also the bassist in Non-Playable Character showed me this band, and I got hooked on them.
I listened to their entire discography, but I’m afraid to show this song to the public, because the band mixes oh, wow… Japanese rave music, with dance music, and autotuned vocals and screams.
They generally play metalcore, but imagine a pop-style verse followed up with a brutal breakdown, then followed by a dance bridge [laughs]!
I’d suggest you check them out, because it’s kind of like a #MindBlown thing when you first listen.
I mean, I’ll admit it’s difficult to hook on them because they mix a lot of genres, there’s no ‘verse-chorus’ structure, so there’s no repetition in their songs.
They’re not a pop-band, but they’re really popular and to be honest, I think the Chase The Light video has about 5 million views or something on YouTube right now.
3. Break Down, Girugamesh
Another guilty pleasure is from another Japanese band, Girugamesh.
The song is called Break Down, and I think it’s another example of how in the Japanese rock and metal scene, they mix musical genres.
It starts with a Linkin’ Park style intro, all scratchy with screams and shouts, then it jumps to a J-Rock, almost poppy chorus. They shout something like “boys and girls, are you ready?” or some bullshit.
2. The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku, Hatsune Miku
Well, as you see, most of my choices come from Japan as they have some really unusual stuff over there, but when you get used to it, it isn’t unusual anymore.
Anyway, I think “if something is weird but it works, it ain’t weird” and that seems to work with them.
There’s a really popular genre in Japan called Vocaloid. The instruments are played live, but the vocals are a programme, like a synthesiser. I think Yamaha developed it.
There’s a Vocaloid called Hatsune Miku, and she has a really big cult following. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen something related to her, even if you didn’t recognise her before [Editor’s note – you have].
Since the Vocaloid programme is really, really flexible, anyone can write music for it. You can create anything you like, whether it’s pop, or dance, or metal – literally, anything.
One of these songs I really like is called The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku by, well, Hatsune Miku, and it’s taken from a live performance.
Imagine, there’s this projection of a character, and she dances along and there’s the band playing in the background. Put it like this – there’s a live band doing their stuff, then there’s this projection singing along.
Joint 1st. Dark Horse, Katy Perry/Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park
Well, this was kinda tough to choose between these two because I really like them both… I really like Katy Perry’s song, Dark Horse. I first heard the metal remix by a guy called Drewsif Stalin.
His real name is Andrew Reynolds, but he’s a really cool YouTube musician. He won some remake contest after submitting a metal version of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball.
He then followed it up with a load of metal mash-ups and one of these was Dark Horse. It sounds So. Fucking. Epic!
I don’t know which is better, Katy Perry’s or his remake, because he added a load of harmonies – I mean, when you listen, there are five or six vocalists singing the chorus, some epic breakdowns and all this and that.
Well, the original is pretty catchy, and my friend showed it to me yet again, and we jammed to it… you know, the lyrics, they got stuck in my head. They’re really catchy [laughs].
*at this point, Nikita sings the opening lines to Dark Horse…*
I also really like the album Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park. It’s the sort of thing to put on when you’re feeling edgy and want to break out your inner teenager.
When I was a teenager, I spent most of those times listening to System Of A Down, and when I got a bit older, I tried to, you know… re-visit Linkin’ Park, and it’s a pretty edgy experience!
You know, those poppy, edgy songs that make you cringe a little bit, but still sound so good.
I guess this would be my number 1 guilty pleasure – when you’re sat in your room listening to this really loudly and singing along to In The End or Breaking The Habit and pretending you’re having those teenage struggles… you know, recalling those emotions you had when you were 15 or 16 [laughs]!