Music: Kings of hard-core

By Steven Vigar  /  Contributing Reporter

Fri, May 13, 2011 - Page 14

Over the past 15 years Japanese band Envy, which will be performing in Taiwan this weekend, has become not only the dominant hard-core group at home, but has also enjoyed success internationally for its explorations into sounds that attempt to find a place where intensity and beauty coexist.

Though the lyrics are screamed Japanese, the music needs no translation. From the gentle acoustic guitar strumming beginnings of songs such as Incomplete, off of the band’s latest release, 2010’s Recitation, to unexpected and dynamic metal climaxes on Light and Solitude, off the same album, Envy is a band that needs to be digested as a whole rather than sought after for that favorite song.

Even with a storied career and multiple tours with acts such as Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai, which vocalist Envy Tetsuya Fukagawa collaborated with, “We do not know whether or not our music style fits in the scheme of Western music market,” says Fukagawa, who recently returned from a US tour, the band’s first trip to North America in 4 years. “We think it’s some kind of reward of our effort and honor merely to be valued in the world.”

When asked how the band’s recent signing to Mogwai’s label in Europe and ensuing collaboration with the band came about, Fukagawa explains: “When Mogwai was on a Japan tour, they listened to our music, and immediately contacted Rock Action saying they wanted to sign a contract. Since that time, we’ve maintained a friendship with them.”

Envy, which will be performing a gig in Taipei and one in Kaohsiung, is no stranger to Taiwan and lauded the country’s response to the natural disasters that struck Japan on March 11. “We felt so glad because the Taiwanese donated so much, and touched our hearts.”