Tokyo band One Eye Closed not only blend a range of musical genres but also fuse Japanese elements with more Western influences. The result is a captivating combination of rock and djent with hip-hop, R’n’B and electronic elements that they describe as “diverse, emotional and unique.”
The Tokyo quartet initially began with vocalist REI and guitarist none writing music together. They soon got an opportunity to play live shows, so they brought bassist Yasu and drummer Kay on board, who’d both been involved in none’s previous projects.
The band joined London-based international record label JPU Records at the end of last year, with whom their latest single is Never Forget. It opens up with light vocals with building instrumentals that flow into a mellow instrumental section.
The track bursts into life with stabbing guitars under powerful vocals from guest vocalist Nikki Simmons intersecting with REI’s engaging vocals. That drops into another mellow section then dual vocals build up to more guitars under a twisting electronic sound supporting laid-back vocals.
On the track REI told us: “The reception of Never Forget has been great so far! Any kind of positive reaction keeps us motivated and going. It’s definitely a new approach for us as we’re mixing pop/EDM sounds with Djent. This was a big risk for us to do a completely pop sounding intro section that lasts for quite a while leading to a big reward of a djent drop. We wanted to surprise our fans and new listeners with this, especially as this genre mixing is all to support the concept of the song.” Check it out in the video below:
That track follows the release of One Eye Closed’s debut album Adam & Eve in May. It opens in lively fashion with Alone, which begins with fun twisting guitars then djent chords under REI’s engaging vocals. It develops into an R’n’B section before ending on a heavier note.
That’s followed by Low, which was included in the soundtrack for Malaysian video game No Straight Roads. It opens up with a fun opening riff and heavy guitars and drums that give way to an engaging opening verse. Stabbing guitars support more laid-back vocals that flow into a big catchy chorus “You really wanna know what I carry when I sing, The sacrifice I bring, All the people I left? I risk it all, And sometimes it’s hard to believe, It’s so easy not to forget and let it go, I really wanna know, When dreams get into sync, And things start to get deep, All the chances that wait, I’ll take them all, Keep moving, forget the ignorance.”
Another bouncy riff gives way to rapped vocals over lively guitars that flow into another chorus. The pace drops a little but builds with stabbing high-pitched guitars, which give way to a final chorus. Check it out in the video below:
The album sees the band mix genres and musical approaches, often within the same song. For example, Fire has mellow moments followed by a delicious stabbing guitar riff that continues alongside engaging vocals then powerful drums, a huge scream and a booming, stabbing guitar riff brings it to a close. While tracks like Make Sure and Dear drop the pace, N.C.H. brings in more electronic elements and No Fakes ends the album in dramatic fashion as the band mixes things up a little. Check out Fire in the video here:
On the album, REI said: “It felt great and we had a huge sense of accomplishment as a band. For any of us, this was our first time releasing anything in a nicely packaged full-length album, so we have JPU Records to thank for that. We are a band that like to do a majority of our things ourselves, and this album is a big example of that; the album is of course written by all of us and we even designed the album and its booklet together.
“Though we don’t see ourselves as a metalcore band, we were born in the scene from different bands and grew up as a band in it. With that sense, we really pushed the boundaries in the metalcore scene in Tokyo by our choice to mix so many genres, not screaming or adding breakdowns, and not having a standard tone or mix to metalcore.
“We just want to challenge listeners and have them focus on the lyrics. Everything in the album had a reason, from the songwriting, mixing, layering, styles, and lyrics. With that said, we’d love people to expect something fresh, organic, and challenging, yet catchy. Also, we wish for our listeners to not expect so much and let the music take them by surprise.”
The One Eye Closed sound sees the band mix a wide range of genres in a fashion that they describe as being “like a rollercoaster.” And they pick out Linkin Park as their biggest influence. As REI tells us: “There are a lot of louds and softs, fasts and slows, a lot of opposites blending together to make an interesting audible journey for our listeners.”
And on what influences them to write music, REI adds: “We all grew up as musicians and artists. Calling back to the earlier statement of us wanting to do everything by ourselves, we just always have an urge to create. We want to continue to grow as musicians, artists, and performers; this is one thing that keeps us going.
“In terms of song concepts and lyrics, real life influences us. Everyday real experiences in our lives just naturally linger, especially bigger ones. One of the recurring themes in our songs is depression. Fortunately, the world is opening up to such conversations and we just want to be part of that conversation in the world from Japan.”
Speaking of which, we’ve not met too many bands from Japan – with the most recent being our most-read article of all-time with NEMOPHILA. But on their local scene, REI told us: “The current Japanese rock/metal scene is doing great and becoming stronger everyday with every new band and song emerging from here.
“Just like in many places, the Japanese scene is competitive, but it is very supportive and welcoming. Challenges and competition are tough, but these are great things that help artists grow. Some of our greatest friends are musicians we have met from fellow bands in our scene. This scene is like a family.”
There’s plenty more to come from One Eye Closed, inlcuding a new EP and more music videos. As REI adds: “We are currently working on a new EP and music videos, so please be on the lookout for those! We are also slowly coming back into regularly scheduling shows around Tokyo, and we are inviting on a domestic tour that’s still being worked out at the moment.
“We also would love to play shows internationally in countries that fans invite us to. The world is still unstable at the moment so things might change, but we are working on a lot at the moment to make sure we keep creating and delivering to our fans and meet them. We’re still definitely a young band in the scene, but we are very passionate in what we do so expect a lot from us soon.”