We were lucky enough to catch up with ESPRIT D’AIR following the release of his superb single ‘Leviathan’. Read the full interview now!
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Kai. I create and produce the music for my solo project, Esprit D’Air. It started out as a band between 2010-2013 with myself as the main writer, and I restarted it as a solo project from 2016.
What is your songwriting process?
Whenever I have a melody in my head or a guitar riff, I will just keep singing it in my head until I get in the studio to record it. Sometimes I start with the guitar, the vocals, the synth or even the drums if it’s really rhythm-based. Basically, it can be any part of the song. I am a multi-instrumentalist, so I’d write anything for as long as it is within my capability and skillset.
I cannot force myself to write or compose a song. It can only come when I feel really inspired, and sometimes that could come in the middle of the night. Whenever I start an idea, I need to finish it, or else it will never be done. For example, if I start creating a song in the evening, I will probably be working on it until the early morning until it’s finished. I don’t believe in stopping and starting songs because the end result is never the same way you visualize it when you were initially inspired. This is what happened with my latest release, ‘Leviathan’.
Tell us about your latest release ‘Leviathan’?
Leviathan was a song I started creating at the start of lockdown. I thought about how it had affected the world and how we have all faced losses and tragedies during this pandemic. I lost my mom earlier this year, not to Covid-19, but to cancer, and it is the most horrible thing that I am still going through today. It is still beating me up, but the theme of this song is to have hope during these tough times.
I am also honoured to have HEAVYGRINDER remix the track – I remember following them when I was a teenager on MySpace, as well as Shirobon, who I actually have records of with his mixes in. Both created incredible remixes, and I am so proud to have them both be part of the project.
The music video to ‘Leviathan’ was created by Andy Mihov, what was that process like?
Andy and his production team was an incredible inspiration to work with. He’s just so creative and comes up with such amazing ideas. He’s a talented storyteller and screenwriter, and I feel honoured to have worked with him on ‘Leviathan’. I presented Andy with the track, and straight away, he was able to visualize the ideas, and when he pitched me the idea and story to the video, I was thinking, “wow, this is going to be incredible”, and you know what, it really was.
How did Coronavirus affect the making of the video?
Thanks to both the supporters and fans that crowdfunded the video, and to the incredible production team, things were done without delays, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t go through challenges. We followed safety guidelines to make this happen though, and it’s incredible that we did something so magical in times like these.
You are based in London but sing in Japanese, what formed that choice?
Not sure, really. I can sing in English, but I feel I can express better in Japanese, and the flows in the lyrics feel much smoother for me. It just happened that way, and I feel with the music I create, Japanese complements so well, and I don’t know how to describe why.
As a DIY musician, what are the challenges you come up against?
The biggest challenge for me is finding the time, not only for creating, producing, and recording the music but to manage everything around it. For example, I take time to respond to messages and comments on social media; I would plan and promote the tours myself (when I could), and build connections within the industry. I learned to do a lot of these things myself and becoming self-sufficient. In the end, you are just always working, but at least you’re doing what you love. I also feel that you can also be in a disadvantage when you’re not signed to a major label – they have so much more money, which means bigger budgets for advertising, distribution, and production. Money that I definitely do not have, but then again, I am not doing music for the money, which is also why I choose to be independent.
Who are your musical influences?
Recently, I have been re-listening to Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory, as well as the new Bring Me The Horizon album. I always like how their music always challenges the way conventional rock music is written by incorporating electronics in their music, and that’s where the inspiration is for me to create something of my own. I have to say; I am also a big fan of a lot of 80s metal music. I don’t play music like that in Esprit D’Air, but Iron Maiden has been one of my favourite bands for a very, very long time.
Who are your non-musical influences?
I am inspired by a lot of video games. When I wrote Leviathan, I was actually playing the Final Fantasy VII Remake on PlayStation 4 around the same time. I was thinking of the J-E-N-O-V-A theme and its arpeggios, and that’s where the inspiration for one of the synth melodies came from. It sounds so haunting. I am also inspired by works of ethereal art with otherworldly themes because somehow, it also makes me think of creating something like that in music.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
Remember that whatever stage you are at in your career, you keep doing it for the love of music. For anything else, it’s meaningless.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
Firstly, I’d love to have this pandemic to be over, so that we can tour and travel again. There’s still so many countries that I haven’t been able to go to, and was planning to go to this year. Secondly, I hope to have my second album out soon, as soon as I can finish it. It will be called ‘Oceans’.
FV Music Blog December 2020
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