The covid pandemic, and the confinement to which a large part of the population of this planet was subjected, had great consequences on the music scene, some were devastating for a large number of artists, however, many others knew how to make the most of the time and took advantage of it to regenerate themselves musically or to create projects out of nothing.
Dawnrazer was born in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, this duo from Tokyo took advantage of the lack of routine activity to give shape to a new sound concept based on influences that were quite distant from each other. We would like to talk to its two members about this and other issues.
First of all, Industrial Complexx would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your project. Who are the two members of Dawnrazer and how was your life before founding this project?
Hi, thanks likewise! We are two musicians who each have a separate career and different sound. We met by chance and discovered that even though we didn’t have much in common, we loved talking about the same music. So Dawnrazer originally was created to see if we could “meet in the middle” of our music styles. As a way of keeping our individual image out of the project we just use the letters “L” and “K” as our names when working as Dawnrazer.
Dawnrazer was born in the middle of the pandemic, did it affect the style and sound of the band?
Well, the pandemic closed a lot of music venues, and there were fewer chances to play music at live events, so this was why we decided to try a completely different style as a recording project. At first we did not think about our image, or how to perform it live or anything. So there was a lot of freedom. Naturally when we talked about the style, we were conscious of the global pandemic, and we were in a bar in Shinjuku, and we had been talking about the soundtracks to Terminator and Tetsuo… So “cyberpunk” was on our minds.
How was the confinement in a city like Tokyo?
On the positive side, there was never a full lock-down and most people were sensible about masks, sanitizing their hands, vaccinations were easily available, etc. There were never any formal laws to stop people going out. But…in Japan societal pressure is very strong, and most music or entertainment places had restrictions just because it was expected. So quite soon some of them started to go out of business.
You define yourselves as a cyberpunk band, what is cyberpunk for you?
Hahaha. We were worried about this question! “How the 80’s saw the 2020’s” maybe?? It’s funny because now we live in the cyberpunk-like world, and it has many of the problems that were highlighted in those SF works, so cyberpunk now is like a “alternative history of the present”.
You both have common influences such as Vangelis, the gothic scene and computer game soundtracks, are there any influences from either of you that have also added to the project?
Well, one of us is a classically-trained soundtrack composer, and one of us is a noise musician, so maybe you can hear influences from both. It’s funny that we even made friends: we work in very different fields. But after a few drinks we started talking about those cool 80’s goth bands like Bauhaus and Fields of the Nephilim…now you can see where our band name came from!
Japan is home to great artists, what Japanese music projects would you highlight?
We listened to some old stuff for inspiration for Dawnrazer. For any fans of 80’s new-wave of course Togawa Jun is a legend. And if someone is new to industrial definitely check out the soundtrack to the original “Tetsuo: the Iron man” by the late Ishikawa Chu. There are also lots of good chiptune and breakcore artists. J-pop sucks tho lol.
Does Dawnrazer have a lot to do with Japanese culture?
Difficult to say yes or no. It’s our home so of course it is part of us. K was born in Tokyo. L was born overseas but has lived in Tokyo most of his life. We use lots of Japanese folk voice singing and elements of traditional and religious sounds. And a lot of the songs are inspired by the feelings and sounds of places in Tokyo; stations, clubs, shrines. But we are not consciously thinking about specific parts of Japanese history or anything.
If there is something we know from the West, it is that the Japanese audience is very loyal and very dedicated, how would you define your followers?
I don’t know if there is a big difference: have you seen K-pop fans in the west!? Haha. Something we notice is that our fans cover a wide range of ages, fashion styles and so on, not only one particular subculture.
Do you plan to play live?
It depends if we can find good support members.
You have released 4 releases so far, all of them self-released, have you considered releasing your music on a label?
Sure. We recently contributed a track to a compilation by “Synthwave Radio”. We are always happy to hear offers.
The first three releases were released in 2020, and the fourth and last release was released a few days ago, why has there been such a long gap between Tokyo Dark and Internet Famous?
Hahaha. There was actually an album in between. And to everyone’s surprise we removed it from our catalog, because neither of us was happy with it. We decided to remake it completely. It will come out some time in the future.
Why does Internet Famous sound harder than the 3 previous releases?
We had some harder tracks for “Tokyo Dark” but the concept for that album was more “dark synth soundtrack” so they didn’t quite fit in, although some tracks like “Urahara” are heavy.
Why the name of this EP?
The title track is riffing on the beguiling but self-destructive nature of parasocial relationships on social media.
You say that this EP is dedicated to a friend who seems to admire you a lot, why do you dedicate it to her?
Because she, and many young people, end up hurting themselves for the empty approval of strangers on the internet.
What are the future plans of Dawnrazer?
Another EP and Album already in the works. Possibly more tracks with vocals. Also planning to get some cyberpunk/fetish/goth club events going in Tokyo now that some of the restrictions are being lifted. We’ll stay in touch!