"Together the music we make is our shared world view" - Catching up with LOVEBITES

Photo Credit: Kitetsu Takamiya

Despite only forming in 2016, Japanese power/heavy metal outfit LOVEBITES have released three albums and three EPs, as well as two live albums, racking up accolades and fans across the globe for their modern take on the classic formula. As they’ve just released their latest EP, Glory, Glory, To The World, we spoke to guitarist Midori to talk about the EP, as well as writing songs for an anime and the band’s striking visual identity.

How did it feel to be asked to provide the theme song to VLADLOVE?

It feels special to be working on a theme song. This is our first collaboration with a series, and it was an absolute honour to be involved with something from such an iconic director as Mamoru Oshii.

Glory, Glory, To The World was written and recorded during the coronavirus pandemic. How has that impacted the way you wrote this in terms of lyrics, concepts and even the logistics of it?

Although Glory, Glory, To The World was born during the pandemic, it wasn't a conscious decision to write anything reflecting that. The first song I made for the new EP was ‘Glory to the World’, which was influenced by church music and gospel. Asami added lyrics that offered a light to people living in this world, and from there the direction of the new EP was decided.

This time a lot of the production work was done online and it took a bit of time to get used to it and there were various difficulties and new challenges to overcome. Yet, I think in the end this allowed each of us to spend more time on working on the arrangement, and gave us greater freedom in terms of time to experiment. As a result, I think this is LOVEBITES’ most powerful and positive work to date.

You’ve always had a very strong aesthetic and visual identity. How important is that to you as a band?

We’re metal musicians, but we’re sophisticated women first. The white outfits are an expression of our identity, and through our performance we can display our unique strengths and individual characteristics that make each member shine, and together the music we make is our shared world view. All of this together is a collection of the identities of each of us.

Do you think that will change at some point or evolve in some way?

Our underlying identities have not changed, so the foundations have also not changed. But we’re evolving day by day, so I think it’s natural for each identity to visually change and adapt accordingly.

The cover art for the EP is - as ever - very striking. Can you tell us a bit more about it, what it depicts and how you set about creating your cover art?

Thank you! I really like the cover art for this one. The cover art accurately captures the concept of the EP. The chained sphere is a metaphor for the unstable and weakened Earth, representing the current state of the world. The three angels in the top right are shining down light onto the chaotic world, and then there’s the wolf, a symbol of the band, welcoming the light. One of the angels is carrying a staff with a symbol of peace, and the cliff itself symbolises Gaia. I love the detail in this work! The Spanish team, who work on all of our cover art, did a fantastic job creating something so beautiful and detailed from the concept.

You’ve said in the past that keeping the momentum going for the band is hugely important. How have you done that during the pandemic given you maybe couldn’t tour as widely as you would in the past?

Fortunately, I’ve been busy working over the past year! When I work on a project I get so absorbed within it that I lose all track of time. We were also able to play some live shows as well as online events, which were for the first time, so there were lots to think about in how to do it in our own style. We also released a tour DVD, put out two music videos and an EP, so I think we managed to maintain momentum despite the pandemic.

One of the most common comparisons that gets made is Dragonforce - and you’ve toured with them before, including the infamous “farming simulator” from the London show in 2019. What are some more of your favourite touring memories?

Infamous?! Hahaha it was definitely fantastic!! I think the audience really enjoyed themselves as far as I could tell from the stage haha. Dragonforce are such a friendly band and so exciting live, they’re great.

Another memory from performing overseas wasn’t from this tour, but from when we played at Download festival in the UK. Some teenage girls told me that they felt inspired after seeing our performance. I think that most of the people who listen to LOVEBITES had been listening to metal since its golden age, and that we hadn’t really penetrated the younger generation. So I felt really proud and happy to hear these words from the next generation of metal fans.

What comes next for LOVEBITES in 2021 and beyond?

We finished our Japan tour in April and now devoting our time to production again, The situation right now with the pandemic is always changing, but we are preparing for our return to the stage.

Is there anything you wanted to say to our readers?

Thank you for reading this interview! I haven’t been to the UK since our time with Dragonforce, and there are a lot of songs I have yet to play live. I’m sure I’ll be back in the UK when our next release comes out, so please look forward to it! I can’t wait to cause a riot in a venue near you soon!

Glory, Glory, To The World is out now on JPU Records