Romania meets Sheffield with a hint of Japanese culture in today’s Band of the Day. Who says metal isn’t inclusive? Kurokuma’s bass player, George, took the lead and answered our questions…
I’m from Bucharest, Romania. Joe and Jake are both from near Sheffield.
How did you meet?
I was desperate to play heavy music so I looked for ads on musolist.com where I found the newly formed Kurokuma. I turned up to the audition without a tuner or a battery for my bass and I barely spoke English but the guys needed a bassist and it all started there…
How long have you been playing as a band?
More or less 5 years.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Kurokuma Falls in Aomori Prefecture, Japan. Kurokuma means “black bear”. Joe used to live in Aomori.
What are your influences?
We all enjoy listening to very different styles but with the same underlying qualities, in terms of sound design, textures and atmosphere. I mostly listen to electronic music these days, there’s certainly a big element of that in my tone and style of playing. I grew up playing darbuka along to Romanian gypsy and Turkish music and I’m still drawn to percussion heavy music, which is why you’ll hear a healthy amount of that in our music.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
I’m not a big fan of labels but I would describe us as tribal psychedelic acid doom sludge party grooves. We’re all bored of conventional metal structures so we draw inspiration from anything that catches our ears – hip-hop, dubstep, samba/cumbia or Icelandic folk music. We’ll take an idea and we’ll make it ours. We tread a fine line between a lot of different genres whilst keeping our style consistent which I think makes us unique.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
There’s a wide range of ideas and styles. I think if you had to pick something that unified them, they’re never personal. They’re about the power and forces at work in this world. We have a lot of songs about the natural world. For example, “RVN” on the new EP is about the raven.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Our live show is more of a continuous experience rather than a gig – you can’t come in halfway through and fully get it. We might play a purely heavy set, a spaced out set, a tribal set, or a mixture of all those, depending on the vibe of the show, but you never really know what to expect. I think we’ve played around 100 shows so far, with the most notable ones being Tokyo, Brutal Assault and Rockstadt.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I play a Fender Jazz Bass, my favourite bit of my kit is my Korg Kaoss Pad KP-3 which is traditionally used as a DJ effects unit, but I love it for the synths and the bitcrusher. I use exclusively guitar distortion pedals. Jake plays an old PRS through an Orange stack, using a Boss HM-2 amongst an array of effects pedals. Joe uses a Yamaha kit and mostly Zildjian cymbals.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Our forthcoming EP, “Sheffield’s Best Metal Bands Vol. 1” coming out on Off Me Nut Records. It’s 4 tracks and will be out on cassette and digital on May 3rd in time for our appearance at Desertfest. It’s definitely a progression in our sound if you’re used to our older stuff and we’re very happy with it.
What are your plans for 2019?
We’ve been hammering the gigs in 2018 so I think this year we’re taking a step back to focus on finishing a full length album. We’ve done three EPs so far so we feel like this is the natural next step to take.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
I’d personally love to support Igorrr even if he’s at the other end of the extreme spectrum. I would choose our mates, Under each and every time to support us – I could never get bored of that.
From previous Band of the Day Empire Warning: If a Norse God had to take over from one band member what god will it be, what position would they be filling?
I’d choose Od, the missing husband of Freyja who she constantly mourns for, because he has no other commitments.
From another BotD, The Crawling: Being in a band can be as much of curse as a source of enjoyment and satisfaction. What keeps you going when things get tough?
I think we’re all used to constantly pushing ourselves in life outside the band, which comes in handy. We’re pretty good at just smashing through the tough times. Whether that’s healthy or not I don’t know.
And from King Bison (UK): If you could join any band on stage for one song, who would it be and what track would you play?
I’d love to join Mastodon and play Blood and Thunder, it’s the tune that got me into metal 12 years ago.