Hello Lixx readers!
I have a special treat today; one that even I was super stoked about. I had the privilege to hit up Sophia from SEASON OF GHOSTS for an interview!
Now, I’ve known Sophia in the past as one of amazing vocalists of Blood Stain Child- specifically during the Epsilon album that pulled me in. Now, she is making music as SEASON OF GHOSTS and it’s purely epic! If you haven’t had a chance to listen, head over to iTunes or Amazon to give the [The Human Paradox] album a listen!
Now, on to the interview:
1) First off, thank you for accepting this interview. Personally this is rather exciting for myself since I’ve been a fan of your vocal work since Blood Stain Child. But, for people who are maybe just getting into your work as Season of Ghosts, could you introduce yourself? Any quirky fact you’re willing to share?
Hello and nice to meet you! It’s always great meeting old fans, but for those who don’t know me, my name is Sophia. I write weird songs about aliens, ghosts and never giving up. For me every day is Halloween!
2) You have stated in other interviews that you weren’t one of those people that can say you’ve always wanted to be a singer, so what happened that made you think ‘hmm this could be promising?’ You said you wanted to teach music so was there someone or something that influenced your life to make you decide that music was for you in some way/shape/form? Did you have a “music background” growing up?
Yes, my grandpa was a music teacher and multi-instrumentalist, so he tried my piano and singing potential from a very early age. However, what made me understand I had to take my chances as a professional musician was my need to help people on a larger scale than, for example, helping a neighbour. Through music, the artist has the incomparable chance to help an unknown number of people around the world in an unknown number of ways. For me, this is a very powerful notion and the more it grew in me the more I wanted to do what I did
3) How did you get the opportunity to make music more ‘professionally?’ Do you think there is another level you could go up in your music? Would you want to take that “step” or “level” up?
I used to work with VK bands for years and I also used to organize J-culture events, so in this way I got to meet countless bands from Japan, one of which was BLOOD STAIN CHILD. In a general conversation about music, I randomly mentioned that I also have a musical education from an early age, so the leader asked for a demo. In lack of an actual demo, I sent him a lousy cover of The Cure I’d done on my guitar and he immediately asked me to join the band.
There’s always a level up from what you’re doing and I’m infamous for my perfectionism and passion for self-improvement, so my natural answer is yes, I definitely want and will level up. I’m already thinking about my next album!
4) You are a lawyer as well and have studied law and translations. It’s always interesting to imagine current musicians doing something other than music, so are you still using those skills now as a job on the side or has it been mainly focused on music? Do you have any hobbies that have fascinated you that you could see yourself making into a business/career?
Yes, I’m an education enthusiast and I’d love to go back to University for Criminology when time allows it. I don’t work as a lawyer because I can’t imagine myself defending a person who is wrong. I don’t like to lie and I can’t sell my soul for money, so if I was a lawyer I’d be a really poor one, choosing only clients who are “right”, hahahah~ Instead, I work as a Manager for my family’s hotel business, focusing on Marketing and Promotion, which is more positive and humane *laughs*.
I’d love to compose soundtracks for Hollywood one day! Or for anime and games! I have many hobbies including traveling, photography, cooking, taking care of stray kitties, etc. One of the main things I do, though, is listen to people’s problems and give them solutions and inspiration to go on. It’s normal, because I always wanted to be a psychologist, but my dad decided otherwise and sent me to Law School *laughs*. I’m particularly interested in hypnotherapy, so I could absolutely see myself working as a psychologist/hypnotherapist in the future. In fact I need 4 clones of myself to do everything I want to do! *laughs*
5) With just a listen to your music, it’s always fascinated me as to who may have inspired you to create music. You have listed specific metal influences, but are there any others that come from genres that may surprise us?
I’m not a metalhead anymore actually. I do appreciate heavy music, but I tend to love completely messed up genres and I’m a multifarious character who loves to combine different influences. I can absolutely rock out to a pop song and then a metal song and then something else. As long as it’s good music, it’s fine with me. Spirituality and the paranormal have always been a major influence, as well as the science of psychology. There’s lots of introspection in my songs. I’m also a notorious X-files and Tolkien geek, as well as a huge anime and Visual Kei fan, so you can see all those influences reflected clearly on my music.
6) I often find myself trying to describe your music to others in order to convince them to give it a listen. It makes me curious- how would you describe the type of music you make to someone who hasn’t listened before? Or maybe even a creative way to word an already existing genre? Maybe even give something outlandish and poetic?
I like to call it “cinematic rock/metal”, but I’ve heard people calling it “aerobic metal” *laughs* and many fans who are into fitness, use my songs during their workout sessions. Health, love and rock n’roll…I guess? *laughs*
7) You stated that sci-fi/horror played into the inspiration behind “The Human Paradox” album. In fact, when discussing your music, I often use the phrase “it sounds like it could totally fit in a sci-fi, Square Enix-produced fantasy video game.” If you could have your music in any media such as video games, movies (live action or animated), shows (also live action or animated), would you? What series could you see your music fitting in- they could be already out or maybe not even a part of the “big screen” yet?
Ahhhh, my music played on the new series of the X-files would be a dream come true. Also, I’m a huge Neil Gaiman geek and I go crazy for The Sandman, so I’d love to have my songs on his movies. Also I love Tim Burton and obscure, intellectual anime with a really strong plot, like Monster for example. I think my music would fit in an anime like that.
8) In relation to the previous question, you covered “Come Little Children” from Hocus Pocus, which is one of my favourite Halloween movies. What made you decide to cover it? What sort of brainstorming did you have to do composition wise- what were you going for musically to change it up? Have you considered covering more songs?
Actually it was Zombie Sam’s idea, but I admit, Hocus Pocus is one of my favourite movies of all time as well! We wanted to respect the original composition, but freshen it up and make it even more magical and a little bit scarier. I hope we succeeded! I will absolutely cover more songs; it’s a good outlet for creativity and also a nice little treat for fans.
9) As previously stated, you did vocal work with Blood Stain Child. I don’t want to step on any toes or touch a sore subject so you are free to pass part of this question if you wish- but what were some of your reasoning for leaving Blood Stain Child? Do you miss any part of the group- be it the members or the atmosphere of music? Also there is obviously a difference between then and now, but what specific difference do you feel and/or notice?
I have nothing to hide and I’m completely comfortable with the truth, so no worries. The band has been around for many years, but quantity doesn’t equal quality, so I was negatively surprised to find out that the level of professionalism was very low, although the compositions were good and I saw lots of potential in my participation. As soon as I joined, I made a strategic plan that would be carried out in a course of a few years, however the leading members were too proud and obstinate, too opinionated about the direction of the band and how they’re old in the scene and how I’m just a newbie and blablah…Typical musician ego battles that lead to the band’s demise. Therefore, more than half of my planning went to the trash and the rest was carried out spasmodically for the reasons I explained, which brought positive results but nothing close to what it was supposed to be.
Topped with the band’s inappropriate behaviour towards me as a person, I felt that my presence was not appreciated and instead I was exploited for what I had to give. Plus, I was expected to keep silent and not complain or voice any meaningful opinion. I have a powerful character and I’m a feminist, so I’m the last person who will take insults like that lightly, despite my love for frills. Lolita doesn’t mean weak character. Underestimate me and you’ll wake up with my platform boot on your face *laughs*
After starting SEASON OF GHOSTS, I saw a universe of differences between my past and my present. Responsibilities are more, but I have full artistic freedom and I’m able to control my own career and most of all I don’t have to pay for other people’s mistakes anymore. My team is absolutely splendid, there’s mutual love and respect, so this makes me feel fuller and more accomplished!
10) Speaking from a fan perspective, I have to ask- have you considered performing in the US? Where are some venues or locations you’d like to go to?
The U.S is probably my favourite place to perform, so I’d love to come back soon! No specific venues in mind, but for sure I’d love to perform in as many places as possible and meet many people. I love talking to fans after my shows; their feedback and energy are indispensable sources of inspiration. They encourage me to go on.
11) As a vocalist and just all over fan of vocal work, I wondered if and how you voice train? Did you take voice lessons? Do you have any rituals to take care of your voice- especially around the cold/flu season?
For sure, I always have Vit C available at all times! I avoid A/C, places with smoke, cold drinks, talking loud and drinking coffee. I also started cutting down on alcohol since 2011 and nowadays I don’t drink at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love alcohol and it helps me a lot because I’m a stressful person, but I feel healthier without it. I do take voice lessons and I have the best teacher in the world! He’s helped me level up and rediscover my voice from scratch. You can hear quite a difference between my old and new stuff. Wishing you luck with your vocal work, by the way!
12) To expand on the previous voice topic, it’s always interesting to hear someone talk versus how they sing. You have such an interesting singing voice, but do you think it is a change from your normal speaking voice? Has anyone ever told you that it was?
Nice question. Most people that have known me for years had no idea I also sing (I never told anyone because I was shy), so when they listened to my voice they were positively surprised. However, when I use my singing voice in the way I choose, for example my recent album, there’s not such a big difference. If you pay attention, you see a similar voice colour both when I speak and when I sing.
13) Let’s get to some slightly less serious questions. If you could meet anyone in the music scene- musician, producer, etc-, who would it be? It could even be someone who has since passed on or maybe aren’t as well known as they used to be. What would you talk about or want to talk about?
Never thought about that, because I don’t idolise anybody, but I’d love to meet a top music industry manager and ask him a few questions. By the way, I deeply appreciate the artistic legacy of Michael Jackson and I believe he was a good person, so I’d have loved to learn from a person like that.
14) I follow you on Facebook and love seeing the pictures of your cats. Tell me, if you could have any pet in the world and with the ability to house as many as you want, what type and how many would you want? Would it be more cats or maybe something even more exotic- a bigger cat?
Thank you! I go crazy with animals, waaaaahhh *laughs*! It’s a dream of my life to have a house big enough to house as many animals as I want. If I have the funds in the future, I’d love to make a pet shelter. Now, if I had the space and the opportunity to own a park, I’d love to have tigers, leopards and other felines, but also cute stuff like elephants, hippos, deer, monkeys and a shitload of peacocks *laughs*. I also go crazy with dinosaurs, but that’s a different story *laughs*
15) Lastly, seeing as to how I also do the fashion articles for Lixx and it is admittedly an “interest perk” in the music when I see some fashionable musicians such as yourself, I wonder, who are some of your favourite fashion icons or genres?
Hmm, Asagi is an all-time favourite fashion icon and friend. Also Mana-sama and Kamijo in his LAREINE days. Other than that, I love seeing every day people dressing up, so I like Harajuku street snaps for example, mainly in the vein of Lolita, Visual Kei, Gothic and Steampunk. I like edgy and refreshing fashion, not the constipated, mainstream stuff *laugh*
Special thanks to Sophia-Sama of SEASON OF GHOSTS and Mariana Madalina of Afterglow Belgium. SEASON OF GHOSTS released THE HUMAN PARADOX in Japan on July 8 in an exclusive Japanese edition with two additional tracks! Find it now on Amazon.jp.