The metal band DEVILOOF recently achieved the remarkable dream of signing with a major record label. Considering how big this milestone is for the five-man band, we were curious to learn about the implications of what “going major” actually meant—how will it affect the band’s activity?

With the band’s latest EP, “DAMNED”—serving as a testament to their unwavering creativity—DEVILOOF opens up about the impact of its newfound status. We also learn about the inspirations behind its powerful tracks, and DEVILOOF’s burning desire to stay true to its unique identity.

Let’s dive in as DEVILOOF share a heartfelt journey from underground pioneers to achieving major label success.

DEVILOOF has come quite far in the years that you’ve been active. How does it feel to finally achieve the dream of going major?

Daiki: Actually, even we couldn’t have predicted that a band with the musicality of DEVILOOF would be able to sign with a major label. However, no matter how the environment surrounding DEVILOOF changes, we intend to continue with DEVILOOF without wavering.

We like your attitude! Keisuke also mentioned on Twitter that going major was once seen as an unrealistic dream, but now that it has happened, what are you looking to further accomplish that wasn’t possible before?

Keisuke: I wish our song to be used as the theme song for the sports variety show “SASUKE – Ninja Warrior” [a Japanese competitive obstacle course TV program].

So how do you think going major will impact your creativity?

Keisuke: I don’t think it will have much impact at this point. I’ve been told by the label that I’m free to do what I want. But we have to meet the deadlines. No time to be lazy!

In the same vein, how does the EP “DAMNED” play into your success of going major?

Daiki: The main track “Damn” was originally an idea in Keisuke’s mind before the major label approached us. However, as he thought that by going major, more people would listen to it, he produced the album to be more varied than before.

DEVILOOF - Damn(Official Music Video)

Interesting, and what message did you want to convey with the EP?

Keisuke: I think I made it so that people don’t think the DEVILOOF they all know has changed just because we’ve moved to a major label. Even the title is “DAMNED”, it’s not “Lollipop” or something like that. It’s very DEVILOOF. I just don’t want people to misunderstand.

Ray: I agree with Keisuke that even though we’ve become a major label, the kind of music we do won’t change. Also, I’d be happy if people feel that DEVILOOF can also do this kind of music. All the songs have different tastes, but they are all good EPs.

With that in mind, what were some main sources of inspiration for the EP?

Keisuke: I wrote “Damn” and “False self”. For “Damn” I wrote the lyrics, and the music video story inspired by Christopher Nolan’s film “Memento”.

In terms of composition, I made the tracks with an awareness of genres such as nu metal, hardcore, chaotic slam, industrial, etc. and interpreted them in my own way.

“False self” was about a time when we had a lot of problems within the band. It was when our live attendance did not increase in proportion to the response on social networking sites and CD sales, and we felt that we were fictitious.

The lyrics are about convincing ourselves that our wishes will come true one day if we believe in them despite these negative feelings. So I think this song is a life-size song.

DEVILOOF - False Self(Official Music Video)

Ray: Although not an inspiration, I personally wanted to have one more standard live song, so I wrote the thrash metal, deathcore, and metalcore element: “After Life”.

As for “Terpsichore”, it was the first instrumental song I’ve ever produced. The backing is quite simple, but the tempo of the part in the middle where it develops into a metalcore phrase is very fast, so it’s very difficult. I came up with the melody for the lead part on the piano.

I wanted to give the chorus a Japanese taste, and as a result, I came up with that shape. The image of a dancer dancing came to mind, so I decided on the name “Terpsichore” [the muse of dance in Greek mythology].

What would you say was the biggest challenge creating the EP?

Keisuke: It took me a long time to generate the textured and FX-type sounds.

I’ve been playing around with software synthesizers for a while now, but it’s difficult because it’s so deep. I guess the rest is edit work. [Laughs]

Pitch correction and rhythm correction take a lot of time.

Ray: The two songs I wrote this time are catchy, but wrote them with DEVILOOF in mind.

No matter how catchy it is, if it’s not DEVILOOF, I have to rethink it.

But I think the hardest part was the editing process.

Oh, that was unexpected, but insightful and sure gave us a bit more perspective on things.

We also noticed that the songs feature less clean vocals from Keisuke, but at the same time, gives Ray a more prominent role in that department, for example in the song “False Self”. Do you plan to continue featuring Ray’s clean vocals in future songs?

Keisuke​: I guess it depends on the songs we’re going to write in the future, but it would be a shame not to use a guitar vocalist who can sing, because we’ve discovered a new form of expression through “DAMNED”.

About “DAMNED”, if there’s anything the listeners should pay attention to pay close attention to, what would that be?

Aisaku: It’s everything! Like the songs written by each member and the illustrations by Egawa!

Kanta: There are so many things to listen to that it is difficult to give a concise description. First, listen to it from the heart and then tell us what you think.

Did the illustrator Toshihiro Egawa create the album artwork based on his own ideas, or were there specific concepts given to him?

Daiki: I normally give only a rough concept to Mr. Egawa. Based on my rough concept, Mr. Egawa finishes the work.

The concept this time is based on the theme of “resurrection”, and as this work marked the start of a new chapter in DEVILOOF, I also included the desire to start from scratch once again.

Right now, DEVILOOF sits on an interesting midpoint between visual kei and heavy metal. Do you feel you favor one side more than the other?

Daiki: In recent years, many bands in Japan have mixed visual kei and heavy metal, but DEVILOOF is more of a metal-oriented band. We wear make-up, but the genre we play is metal itself. It’s up to the listener to decide what they think of DEVILOOF, but I’m happy for anyone to listen to us without prejudice.

How do you see DEVILOOF evolving and growing in the future, both musically and visually?

Ray: Honestly, I don’t know. But I don’t want to quit putting on make-up. Although it’s hard for me to have to put it on early in the morning, even if I’m performing at night, I think it’s “DEVILOOF” to put on make-up, get on stage, and perform.

Aisaku: Trying to be like as we are and go at our own pace!

Shifting gears a bit, we’d love to hear the story behind the creation and sale of the official DEVILOOF whiskey and sparkling wine. How did this unique idea come about?

Daiki: The idea came from our staff and made it happen. I’m very happy to be able to sell these goods, even though I can only be involved in designing them because I can’t drink alcohol.

Fans overseas have been eager to see you live, even if it’s just a teaser, what can they expect going forward?

Daiki: Our latest concert was filmed, so I think we can show it to people all over the world some day. We’re working on going to your countries, not just the video, so please wait.

DEVILOOF Keisuke teases overseas tour, talks EP "DAMNED"

Please leave a message to your fans overseas!

Aisaku: Please support DEVILOOF continuously!

Daiki: Thank you so much for your support on us as always. Our overseas tour had to be canceled due to Coronavirus pandemic, but I’m expecting to go and see you soon.

Bring your friends to see us!

Kanta: We’ll be coming to see you soon, so please await!

It’s always lovely to hear from DEVILOOF and we hope we can finally catch them touring overseas soon!

If you’re interested in the EP “DAMNED”, you can catch the streaming, download, and purchase links below.

“Stay metal!”—as bassist Daiki always says.

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  1. Damn
  2. The Blackened Sun
  3. Afterlife
  4. Terpsichore
  5. False Self
  1. Damn
  2. The Blackened Sun
  3. Afterlife
  4. Terpsichore
  5. False Self
  2. Damn (MUSIC VIDEO)
  3. Damn (MAKING VIDEO)
  4. False Self (MUSIC VIDEO)
  5. False Self (MAKING VIDEO)
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