Japan… a country in the Far East with a long and rich history and traditions, especially in its music. Anyone who has got in touch with Japanese artists or bands will understand that there are no clichés or prejudices something unique; We could say that they create and do it in their own eccentric way that blends in with their culture. And for this very reason we will talk to the music duo Blacklab to get to learn about quite a few interesting things about their music career, and in my opinion is a band that has a lot to give and offer to the doom metal music scene.

After I’ve done my research, noticed that you formed in 2012. Please give us a brief history of the band.

We were a three-piece band at the time of formation in 2012. After one or two years, the bassist left the band. But we continued the band in a duo format without inviting another bassist. Since that time the band became active. More live shows, recording etc. We released the first demo ‘CDR‘ in 2016, a split album in 2017, and then, released a first full-length album ‘Under the Strawberry Moon‘ in 2018. ‘Under the Strawberry Moon 2.0‘ has been released worldwide by an offer from New Heavy Sounds (UK) who heard this album in 2018, and ‘Abyss‘ in 2020 as well.

Recently you released your new album ‘Abyss‘. Would you like to share some information about it and how satisfied do you feel with the result?

This album was recorded, mixed and mastered in the same way as the previous album. But there’s a bit changes in the guitar settings and drum sound processing. From these, the drum sound has become clearer and more powerful, and the guitar sound has become more intense. About song writing, the method hasn’t changed, but this work has more desert rock and stoner rock elements. Some listeners seem to feel that the occult and underground elements have been slightly reduced. I wasn’t aiming for these things, but I was influenced by various things and this happened naturally. I write songs based on the inspiration that comes to mind at that time. So, there may be a bias in the song’s tendencies, but I accept it. I’d like to continue to write songs freely based on my inspiration. ‘Abyss‘ is a work that can accurately express ourselves as of now, so I am very satisfied.

How would you label your music?

Well, umm… It’s hard to say in one word because there are many elements in our music though if anything, simply put, it’s Doom Rock? But strictly speaking, I describe ourselves as dark witch doom Duo.

Which is the ideal moment for you to create music?

That’s the time to relax at home. I usually lay the foundation for the song in my mind, not from having a jam session.

What’s the message you want to convey to your listeners? What is the feedback from the audience?

We don’t have something that can be strictly defined as a message. I think that something the listeners received from the sound we create, that’s the message from us. Anyway, just want to say, “loud music rules”. Many of our listeners refer to the intensity of the guitar sound, the strength of the drums, the breadth of vocal style, etc. The points they make are accurate and I’m really pleased with it.

If someone would like to get in touch with the band for the first time, which album would you suggest starting with and why?

Absolutely ‘Abyss‘. It’s a work that was strongly incorporated the band’s opinions in mixing, mastering and artwork. It can also be said that it’s the result of the band and the label working together as one. However, the original ‘Under the Strawberry Moon‘ is our starting point. That’s rough but full of the band’s unaffected charm.

Which are the major difficulties you have faced so far?

One of our most important issues is increasing the number of live show spectators. In Japan, not so many people go to rock/metal music shows compared to Europe or U.S. The audience for our shows is mostly limited to musicians, their associates and some avid fans.

Which ones would you consider as influences for your art?

When I tried to form BlackLab, I had the concept of a female band like Black Sabbath. So Black Sabbath has a lot of influence on the music I create. However, while we continued the band, the colors of each of us were incorporated and fused, and it has sublimated into our original. Chia (drummer) is deeply interested in primitive ethnic cultures such as Ayurveda and shamanism. That influence is reflected in the rhythm she plays. That gives depth and breadth to the music the band creates.

Which are the songs that you feel closer to and why?

If take one song as an example, ‘End of the Beginning‘ by Black Sabbath. A long time ago, I have improvised a movie insert song, the riff created by tracing that performance was very similar to this song. But I told myself, “Go as it is!“. It’s a common story, right? That’s ‘Warm Death‘ included in our first album. Besides, ‘Abyss‘ includes a track with desert rock scent like ‘Green Machine‘ by Kyuss. When all the dark and slow songs continue, that would make me to also want to play songs like that.

Which one do you consider to be your best live performance?

I always think that the latest live performance is the best. Various issues occur each time, I move forward without being too obsessed with them. We will continue to update the best one of live performances. As an aside, one day, I did a too big headbanging during the performance and I fell down, then the audience was so excited. It’s one of the most memorable moments.

What is your opinion on the Japanese rock/ metal scene? How do you see the fans’ reciprocation?

I think that in Japan, rock/metal music is not rooted in people’s lives. Especially metal music is supported only by avid fans. This trend is progressing year by year. However, the emergence of BABYMETAL could be one of the breakthrough in that issue. There’re many videos on YouTube of Japanese girls playing metal music guitar covers. I hope more people will be interested in metal music because of them.

What are your next steps and future plans?

Recently, we have been focusing on songwriting activities for releasing the next album. That’s the first target. We’ll continue to work with New Heavy Sounds as before. I would like to visit the UK to thank them when this COVID-19 crisis has subsided. Of course, I would also like to play live there.

I have nothing else to add, thank you very much for your time, last words belong to you.

The world is in crisis now, but this will surely come to an end. I’m looking forward to the day when people will get together and make noise with loud music again. We’d like to see you all someday somewhere. Thanks.

Photo credits: @mayumin66photographer

Michael Natsis