Interview with Uchino (guitar/vocals)

By Jens Hellroute

The Japanese hard music scene is a queer beast indeed, full of many quirky and indescribable acts ranging from pioneering hippie hard rockers Flower Travelling Band to classical metal legends Loudness to grindcore trailblazers like SOB and GISM. But when it comes to doomy death metal, one name stands above all: COFFINS!

Recently changed into a four piece, these guys have kept the rancid flag of sick Incantation influenced brutality flying in the land of the Rising Sun for almost two decades now. And they are still just about the only act of their kind over there!

Wormwood Chronicles recently sponsored a Danish/Japanese summit, as our Metal Viking Jens Hellroute spoke to guitarist and sole original member Uchino when Coffins visited Coffin-hagen, Denmark for a festival. Here's the result:

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: COFFINS recently closed the 1st Heavy Days In Doomtown festival in Copenhagen. Any thoughts on that experience?

Uchino: Yeah ,we were very honored!! Unfortunately we couldn't see other dates, but it was A great experience!!

WC: You played Loppen, Christiania - the weed city within Copenhagen. Did you have time to check out that part of town?

U: We didn't have time to check out the town this time. But we also played last year in Loppen, and took a walk through the town then. Walked the bank of the lake. It was very calm and good scenery! Of course we love this town!!

WC: I saw COFFINS at Roadburn last year. How would you compare the two

U: The scale and the facilities.that all is different I think. Roadburn is very professional, and Heavy Days in DT is DIY. That's  the biggest difference.

WC: You hung out with Sourvein at Roadburn. Wild guys?

U: Haha!! Fuck yeah, they are crazy guys, but so cool!! The tour we did with them
last year was also very fun.

WC: COFFINS signed with Relapse Records, how is that working out? Pretty big label.

U: Originally we came into contact with them under the plan to release the split
with PIG DESTROYER. But they offered an album contract offer to us when
that plan was scrapped. We were so surprised because we  didn't do the promotion for them at all. We declined an album contract offer from some other labels and
accepted their offer cause we were big fans of their acts.

WC: You are friends with ANATOMIA, another death doom from Japan?

U: There's really nobody else...ANATOMIA and COFFINS only!! There are almost no pure old school death metal/doom metal bands. Such a sad situation...

WC: COFFINS also played Maryland Deathfest in 2010. How would you compare touring in The States with Europe and Japan?

U: We did US tour 3 times. Anyway, the American audience is so fucking crazy. They stagedive on our doomy songs! I guess the vibration of our songs affects their ear comfortably. It seems we are still unfamiliar to the European audience. But their reaction is not bad. The Japanese audience is always shy. So we expect nothing from them haha!

WC: What inspires COFFINS lyrically? Guess you all are horrror movie fans?

U: Indeed. The vocalist and the drummer are horror movie maniacs. I don't hate horror movies, either. But although I wrote all lyrics, I have not used horror movies as a subject matter of lyrics. The theme of all lyrics written by me are
about "death" and "religion". Although the new vocalist wrote all the lyrics on the next album, he has followed the path of  the past Coffins lyrics world.

WC: Which new bands are you most impressed with?

U: Personally I was impressed with GHOST. As you know, they are very professional!! Nowadays it's the Germany doom band called BLACK SALVATION!! We shared the stage on the tour with them in Germany this year, they were awesome... true underground doom!!

WC: What do you do besides playing music, workwise?

U: I'm a manga-artist. The bassist and the drummer are office workers. The vocalist is a husband. It's very difficult to live as a professional metal band musician in Japan.

WC: In four years you can celebrate your 20th anniversary, what's keeping Coffins going through the decades?

U: Before I knew it,  I stood here by myself. I only played the sounds that I just wanted to do. Indeed the only original member is  me. But I think that the current line-up is the best ever!! We will keep advancing to the next step of heaviness.

WC: Any closing remarks for the readers of WC?

WC: Only doom death is real, cheers!!