Madmans Esprit, the avant-garde metal project led by Korean independent artist Kyuho, is known for its unique blend of heavy music and visual kei-inspired aesthetics. Self-described as “making depressive suicidal blackened pop”, the project is set to make its first appearance outside of Korea in over a year in Japan this February.
Kyuho, accompanied by a lineup of session musicians, will bring electric live performances to Tokyo. We invite you to enjoy this interview and join us for the opportunity to experience Madmans Esprit live in Tokyo this February.
When we last spoke in 2022, it was just before your previous album’s release, titled Naneun naleul tonghae ulileul boneun neoleul tonghae naleul bonda (나는 나를 통해 우리를 보는 너를 통해 나를 본다), which translates to “I see myself through you who see us through me” in English. You described this album as the end of a chapter for Madmans Esprit, so we have been excited to see what would come next.
In December 2022, Madmans Esprit held three performances in Tokyo, including one at Ikebukuro Chop. Now, this February you’ll take over that very venue for an intense five-day schedule with other bands. Given your history of playing at Ikebukuro Chop, why have you chosen to have the entire tour exclusively at that venue, rather than at different venues across Tokyo or in other Japanese cities?
Kyuho: It was actually CHOP’s idea. We were originally planning to have shows at multiple venues, but when we were organizing the tour, CHOP suggested the idea of having a five-day concert and we thought it was fun. It reminded us of DIR EN GREY’s “BLITZ 5DAYS” tour, where they performed for 5 days in a row at Akasaka Blitz in 2003. Ikebukuro Chop is definitely our go-to venue for many reasons and we also have a good relationship with them.
Aside from headlining as Madmans Esprit, this tour also features a diverse lineup with familiar bands like 101A, emmurée, and Ziggrat from your previous Japanese tours. However, this time you’ll be sharing the stage with newcomers ACM:::, Larme Belladonna, Ai to Heiwa, and ZIZ. Are there any specific bands among these that you are particularly excited to perform alongside on this tour?
I wouldn’t say there is a specific band I am more excited to play with. But, we made the setlist differently for each day, so the general atmosphere of the show would fit the sound of the other bands. For some days we will have darker, sadder songs and some days we will have more fun songs. Instead of picking a particular band, I would say each day of the tour will be unique.
In our prior interview, you expressed a preference to have Dazzling Bad, Deviloof, and DIR EN GREY join you for performances outside of Korea. However, you chose a wide variety of other artists to perform with in Japan. Could you share the reasons behind selecting the other bands included in the tour lineup?
We didn’t select the bands ourselves. It was mostly the decision of the organizer.
The tour flier says the band Ai to Heiwa will have a “friendship performance”. Can you tell us what that means?
The band is a project of some people with whom we share a friendship. They might not fit us 100% musically, but we wanted to have a show together.
In 2022, Madmans Esprit gave us their latest album, Naneun naleul tonghae ulileul boneun neoleul tonghae naleul bonda. Since then, you’ve released four singles—Jugeosseumyeon (죽었으면), Bitter, Hass Und Ignoranz, and Mismatch. Some of these songs were reinterpreted versions of recent songs. Why did you choose to re-record them?
They were not re-recorded. It’s rather a remixed and remastered version of each song with some additional elements. Originally we had a plan to make music videos for every song from our previous album that didn’t already have one. Then, I thought it would be more fun to make a different version of the songs if we were going to make a music video anyway since the songs that already have a music video were all released as singles before the full-length album.
While most were remastered and reinterpreted versions of recent songs, Mismatch is entirely new. Please share some of the themes or messages in Mismatch.
Mismatch talks about the tragedies happening every day in the world. While so many of us act like the world is just fine, some of us actually have to live that reality and none of us are truly free from that responsibility. Sound-wise it was heavily inspired by nu-metal, specifically the Korean rock legend “Seo Tai Ji”.
Can fans anticipate the inclusion of more new songs, such as Mismatch during this tour?
Yes, there will be some good news soon.
Speaking of the setlist, could you provide hints about the song selections for the five-day tour? Can fans expect a selection of songs from Madmans Esprit’s earlier discography, a mix of music from various years, or will the setlist be revealed as a surprise?
It will be a full package deal. Whatever your favorite Madmans Esprit release or era, you will find at least one song from each of the releases in the setlist. Also, there will be some surprises as well. We will keep that a secret.
We imagine that you will have your hands full with five days of live performances. If you end up having spare time, is there anything you want to see, do, or eat while you are in Tokyo?
We are thinking about going shopping after the schedule. There is also a very spicy ramen place I want to go personally.
In one of your recent livestreams, fans from all over the world asked you to come play in their country. You gave them “homework” to contact local promoters. Has this led to any future tour plans you can tell us about?
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can share so far. I would rather say that we are working hard on visiting different places as soon as possible.
Finally, please tell the fans why they should come see Madmans Esprit on this tour!
This has been almost a full year since we performed live last time. You will be able to witness how the band’s sound is evolving. Especially since we have new live members now, even if you saw us live in the past, this will be a whole new experience. Please look forward to the concerts. The band’s past, present, and future will be there!
The “Madmans Esprit JAPAN TOUR 2024 -CHOP 5 days-” takes place over 5 consecutive days from February 11–15, at Ikebukuro Chop in Tokyo. Tickets can be ordered on Tiget (website in Japanese only) until 23:00 JST on the day preceding each show.
Please note that each Tiget account is limited to purchasing one ticket per show, so if you’re attending with friends, individual ticket reservations are necessary. No prepayment is required; simply display your ticket reservation QR code to the venue staff and pay in cash for the ticket along with an additional drink fee.
For more information, check out the tour details below.