Balzac: Horror Punk on Doctor`s Recommendation

In Europe, especially in Germany, J-rock [rock music from Japan, ed.] has been quite hot for some time already. And in order to to stay that way the Horror-punks from the land of the rising sun have joined forces with Bela B. from German punk band Die Ärzte [“The doctors”; ed.] and will release a split CD. How come and why the Misfits have such a big influence on the band you can read right here.

In the end of April you will release a split single with Bela B. on which you cover two of his songs and he covers two of your songs. How did you meet? How did the idea of this split-CD come up?
Bela B. is a good friend of us since 2004, when we played before DIE ÄRZTE on their concert. I like his music and I respect him. Coincidentally, we have a common friend who`s leading Shocker Europe [European branch of Balzac`s clothing label; edit]. And so we thought about what we can do together. And so the split single idea was born.

Why did you choose “Tag mit Schutzumschlag” (The day with dust cover) and “Probiers doch mal mit mir” (So why not try me instead?) Have you considered trying to do those songs in German? Who did the translations?
We got those songs from Bela B. before they were ready and I liked them. Bela B. and our common friend have translated it and checked the spelling and so on.
Singing in German…Hm. We tried to sing the lyrics in Japanese Katakana [Japanese syllabary; edit], but that was impossible.

Bela covered your „Tomorrow“ and „Wall“. Are you happy with his versions?
Yes, they are wonderful! Very impressing! It`s a complete different arrangement, with a flair of Country and Acoustic…I can`t imagine such an arrangement for Balzac.

Where does the name Balzac actually come from? I guess it has nothing to do with that French writer, or has it?
Indeed, the name comes from our favorite writer.

You have a lot in common with the Misfits, musically and visually, but how do you differ from them?
Misfits is the first band that attracted me when I began to be interested in Punk music. The bands in Japan are often influenced by different Punk bands, most of the time by the Misfits. I think it`s good that many bands are influenced by the Misfits. Furthermore we`re on the same record company in the USA.

Just why are the Misfits your musical heroes?
When I got to know the Misfits, they had already separated. Their trademark was the skull and their hair, but their music was Pop, totally different from their look. That was something that I thought was weird. And furthermore their unique stance on the world has interested me.

How`s the Punk scene in Japan compared to Europe or the States?
The Punk scene in Japan consists already for many years. I grew up with this scene. Many Japanese bands tour through Europe and the USA and the scene there is really great!

Can you teach us some Japanese curse words?
Zikischou! (Damned)

You got a big business dealing with the wide array of your merchandise including t-shirts, action figures, bags, etc. Is this part of your presentation even more important than the music itself?
This part exists, cause our music exists…without music, we couldn`t do this. As long as the fans want our stuff, we keep on producing it.

Do you have something like Manga or Anime stuff going on?
Sometimes we let our cover design by a Manga designer. We have close contact to the Manga world.

What`s your favourite Horror movie?
Texas Chainsaw Massacre! I brought the new DVD with me, I want to watch it during the tour.

If you could star in a Horror movie, what character would you be?
Boris Karloff (Frankenstein)! But I don`t like it, when someone says, that I`m looking like him…hahaha!

In a fight between you and an army of zombies – who would win?
Sure that I will lose.

You`re around now for 15 years. Have you achieved what you were dreaming of 15 years ago or what are your goals for the future?
I haven`t had a dream about that time. But for the future I would have played in many different countries in Europe or over the whole world. I`m getting many letters of fans from countries or cities I haven`t been so far. When I read those letters, I have a great feeling and I think it`s wonderful that I have played so long. The time until now was worth it. Those fans from foreign cities make me happy.

Arigato for the interview.

Photos: Balzac

Kathleen Gransalke

Editor for Reviews - translations, reports, photos - - - Favorite genres? - Punk, Rock, Death Metal, Mathcore - - - Favorite bands? - Coheed & Cambria, Black Dahlia Murder, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon