Justin’s Japan: Interview with Minoru Niihara of Loudness on ‘Eve to Dawn’

“Compared to the ‘80s, record labels, media and music industry are totally different now, but rock bands’ success has been always written on the stage. I believe that rock bands should live on the stage and that’s the most legitimate way to do our job.” (Courtesy of FrostByte Media)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

In the beginning, there was Loudness. Formed in 1981 in Osaka, the Japanese quartet started out as a successful hard rock and metal outfit and expanded their fanbase to America four years later with an international album deal and hit single “Crazy Night.”

History is now repeating itself. Twenty-five years after the release of original frontman Minoru Niihara’s last album with the group during their ’80s heyday, Loudness has now inked a new global record deal with FrostByte Media to reintroduce them to a new audience outside of Japan. First up is the newly released studio album Eve to Dawn—their 26th overall—and a fall North American tour is in the works.

In this exclusive interview, I caught up Loudness’ charismatic vocalist to discuss opening for Mötley Crüe at Madison Square Garden, the similarities between Japanese and American groupies, and which heavy metal movie makes him cry.

Eve to Dawn was released last year in Japan. Are there any differences between the original version and the American release?

I don’t have a copy here yet, but I don’t think there’s any difference between the two.

Are there any plans for your new label to release your most recent album, 2012, which also just came out inJapan?

It’ll be released next year.

For those unfamiliar with the band, how would you describe Loudness’ sound and lyrical themes?

It’s a very unique hard, heavy and explosive, Asian metal rock band. The most recent album has lots of songs with positive and encouraging messages because of the quake in 2011.

What made you want to become a rock singer?

When I was about 15, there is a cool singer named Masaki Ueda in Osaka, and because I really liked him, I got interested in singing. After a while I found joy in singing when I learned that people loved to listen to me sing. I became a pro, one synchronicity after another.

In a recent interview with New York’s own Chopsticks magazine, the band mentioned that its main goal now is to become a success in the U.S. What plans do you have to achieve this?

There is nothing but touring and doing lots of live performances, I guess. I believe that rock bands should live on the stage and that’s the most legitimate way to do our job. That’s our policy!

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