London-based J-Rock stars Esprit D’Air are premiering the video for new single Guiding Light exclusively with TeamRock. Taken from their upcoming comeback album, due to be released this summer, the track mixes meaty guitar riffs with delicate vocal harmonies and twinkling optimism.
Having been on hiatus for three years, Esprit D’Air’s new material tackles themes which may seem prescient to many modern listeners. “There are periods when everything feels dark and hopeless, times are bad, and the world seems monochrome and binary,” says vocalist Kai. “Then we see the light and realise there is hope, things will get better and a spectrum of technicolor radiates around us, this is what keeps us moving forward.”
“Inside each human there is a guiding light, it leads us through the journey that is life”, he continues. “This powerful feeling is what we tried to convey with the song. The lyrics reflect the everyday struggles that we all face during our short time on this earth.”
Below, we catch up with Kai to find out more about the track, and what’s next for the band.
What’s the story behind the song Guiding Light?
“The guiding light helps us through the journey that defines our lives and the everyday struggles we face. At times, we can feel hopeless and empty, but the light gives us the motivation to keep moving forward and [belief] that there’s still hope for the future. The track, Guiding Light, serves to remind us that this feeling exists in all of us, even when things in life turn for the worst – it gives us the will to keep moving forward. I guess you could say that the song is our anthem that tomorrow can be different.”
How did you come up with the concept for the video?
“It was all from our director, Charles Shepherd who did an excellent job. We had some input in the process, but we really liked the idea of using an infinite black and white room, and the rest of it came out very naturally. Daishi came up with the artwork for the intro and Kai produced the animation with Daishi’s layers of art.”
You’re dedicated to the DIY ethos – does it get more difficult to uphold that as the band grow in popularity?
“As with everything in life, the more popular something becomes, the more work and risk is involved. At the moment, we feel that we should try our best to achieve as much as we possibly could within our power, to craft the perfect sound and visual for our fans and listeners. By following this DIY ethos, it means that we have absolute control over what our fans experience and so we will continue with this as far as we can but who knows what would happen in the future.”
How did it feel to be approached to get involved with a project like Rock Band 3?
“It was a very exciting moment for us, and [we’re] very humbled to have been the only band in the J-Rock category of that game. It really helped us gain a lot of exposure within the gaming community, and we had some fun trying to play it ourselves.”
You sing in both English and Japanese on the track. Many Japanese/Visual Kei bands have broken through to global markets recently. Where do you see your place in Japan’s rising profile when it comes to heavy music?
“We’ve seen many bands like One Ok Rock, Crossfaith and coldrain achieve global popularity in recent years. The thing they all have in common is that they all sing in English. Guiding Light is the first track we have written with English lyrics in, and since we are trying to break into the Western market, we hope that some English lyrics could open doors for us to new audiences, but we still keep the sound very Japanese.”
Which J-Rock bands have particularly influenced you?
“X Japan has been a big influence on Kai especially. Ellis loves Dir en grey, the GazettE, and more recently, coldrain. Daishi mainly likes Western bands, but is a huge fan of Japanese post-rock group, MONO and also BABYMETAL.”
What’s the story behind the artwork?
“Every piece of artwork for Esprit D’Air singles and albums so far have been curated and directed by Daishi who leads the vision for the visuals. The prism for Guiding Light is a continuation from our previous single Rebirth which also featured a suspended crystal form. Light is an interesting element which has been used extensively in modern mediums such as photography, films and theatre, to religion and fine-art to represent positivity, enlightenment and hope. There is a spectrum of violence and suffering – in different doses, some worse off than others – and so, this world needs art-forms such as music to help lift peoples spirits. We wanted to create something to represent that in our work, both audibly and visually.”
What’s next for Esprit D’Air?
“It has been a very intense process and a lot of hard work, but we are finishing up our album ready for release this summer. It’s been just under a year since we’ve reformed and the response has been amazing. We are also looking forward to doing more shows in Europe, and hopefully do more tours.”
Esprit D’Air’s new album will be released this summer. Check their website for more details.