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Interview with Taka Minamino

Interview with Taka Minamino


taka minamino

Introducing Taka Minamino

What inspired you to begin your metal journey?

I started playing violin at four years of age and took up guitar when I was 14. Studying at G.I.T. Musicians Institute in Hollywood, I took lessons from Kelly Simonz and Joy Basu. After graduating, I sent a demo to Mike Varney (Owner of Shrapnel Records) and he featured me in his spotlight column in Guitar Player Magazine.

In 2008, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater) invited me to play on his sixth solo project, 'Molecular Heinosity'. It was quite an honor since Zakk Wylde was also playing on the same CD!

In 2009, I released my first solo project, 'AngelWing'. I was fortunate to have several guests on the CD; Kevin Jones, Jeff Scott Soto (Journey), Derek Sherinian, Tony Franklin (Whitesnake) and Jeff Bowders (Paul Gilbert). I was really proud of my first release!

From 2010, I was in the process of making my second CD 'Blood Rain' and was trying to create some new and insane music people had never made before. However, it seems like all shred guitarists keep playing the same kind of tunes over and over and don’t try to create something new.

'Blood Rain' and 'Mercy Of Evil' from 'Blood Rain' CD will be legend songs! People have never heard these kinds of arrangements before for guitar instrumental music and my hopes for these songs is that it won’t take 100 years to be recognised. When you listen to these songs, you will see what I mean.

Taka Minamino
- Guitar / Bass / Keyboards


How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before and how do you think your closest relatives might describe your music?

Violence Metal! Not violence as in towards people or society, but as in sheer passion. At first I make songs in my head and just record guitar, bass, vocals, drums and my orchestra arrangements are just followed by my art in my brain. I am sure this record is the fastest metal CD so far and fastest heavy guitar riffs and lots of shred and crying guitar solo. You don’t hear messy guitar riffs like most black metal bands and no boring, repetitive death voice over and over - it all sounds the same and not musical.

Kevin Jones is the heaviest and most soulful metal singer I’ve ever heard! His voice complimented my sound and he dropped some cool ideas that really brought my music to life. No one can sing like he does. You can really feel his passion and his heart on this CD.

Atma Anur, the drummer, is well known from working with Jason Becker, Richie Kotzen, Journey and many others. They're also on this record. This CD is the first time for him to play blast beat and killer double bass. His drumming was so perfect and moved me a lot on this record.

So I'm very happy that I could create a new style called 'Violence Metal'. No one can play like us for sure and 'Blood Rain' will be a legendary metal CD. As for what my closest relatives might think? Well, I’m not sure this is their kind of music, so they are probably still trying to figure it out!

kevin jones

Could you please detail what kind of costs went into creating and releasing your latest album and (if applicable) how does the record label help with the overall recording and distribution process?

Crystalforce Music is my own label. I recorded the whole CD using Pro Tools in my home studio. I engineered, produced, mixed and mastered the CD myself so the expenses were pretty minimal. Currently, 'Blood Rain' is only being distributed via iTunes.

What would be your most memorable gig to date and why?

There were a lot, but I would have to say the 2007 Guitar Hero Competition in San Francisco. I got to play the title track from my first CD, 'AngelWing' in front of greats like Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather, Nuno Bettencourt, Greg Howe and Mike Varney who were the judges at the competition. Of course, the party after the show wasn’t bad either, from what I remember anyways! (smiles).


Kevin Jones - Vocals

Which would be your most favoured song to play and which do you think your fans prefer and why?

I don’t really have just one favourite... I like them all! I’m hopeful that the fans will feel the same way. I really can’t wait to play these songs live! Knowing the energy that Kevin Jones and Atma Anur will bring, if you think the CD was brutal and violent, the show is going to be an all out assault! 

I see that you offer online guitar lessons. How long have you been teaching guitar?

It’s been a few years now I guess. I was teaching at GIT-DX at Musicians Institute at first, but then I was receiving so many emails from guitarists from different places asking how to play some of my licks that I decided, “Hey why not give some lessons online?!” But I’m not really a teacher in the usual sense. Sure I teach the basics, but I don’t want to be a cookie cutter. If you want to play like Yngwie or Satriani, then go to the local music store. If you want encouragement to be inspired by your own creativity, then I’m going to give you the tools to go forth and forge your own style. You can check out my online lessons page on my website

atma anur

What brand of instruments are you using and how did any endorsements come about?

I play a custom made ESP guitar that was made especially for me! It has more frets than any guitar ever made! I love my guitar more than any woman I've ever known if that tells you anything! Haha.. I’m in talks right now on a deal, so stay tuned.

You have eight YouTube clips currently on your web site; do you think you will be creating an official video clip anytime soon? If so, which song would you choose?

Yeah, I’m actually in the early stages of doing that now. I’ve got some ideas and am just starting to look for production.


What have been some of the more interesting adventures you’ve had with the band? Have there been many, if any, lessons you’ve had to learn the hard way?

Interesting adventures? Well... there’s been quite a few! I think the police are still looking for us in a few places maybe? (smiles nervously) Life’s lessons? Hmmm... just one... not to try and out drink Kevin Jones ! It can't be done!

Atma Anur
- Drums


Can you please detail what you tend to base your lyrics on and could you quote your most favoured?

While I’d love to take credit for the lyrics, those are all Kevin Jones. Kevin and I have been close friends for years. All I can say is it’s a true story. As for my favourite lyrics, it’s difficult to say! The words are a story intertwined with a cohesive, raw feeling. Listen to the lyrics. Feel the story. It’ll draw you in.

Let’s pretend you were creating a tour survival guide. What would be your top three tips for surviving a long tour with the band?

Having a band of brothers that you want to spend every day with! Kevin Jones and I are best friends. We have known each other for years and we hang out, drink, laugh and write songs. We get along great! Sure we’ve had our arguments, but never a really heated one. We have a deep respect for each other. We are like musical soul mates. I think that’s the key. Music is pretty individual and you have to respect that. We also share the same evil plan (evil laugh), “World and Planetary Domination Through Violence Metal” coming at ya in 2012 through 2013!




 AngelWing Taka Minamino
Blood Rain

 Blood Rain Taka Minamino
Guest Appearance:
Derek Sherinian - Molecular Heinosity


What have been some of the more bizarre signings you’ve had or the most bizarre experiences in general during your time with the band?

Someone left a goat's head outside the studio while recording the CD. I have no idea where it came from or who left it! I cleaned it and use it as a candle holder at my altar... oops! I mean livingroom! Haha..

Have you ever had any mystical experiences?

Every minute of every day! While recording the guitar tracks, most of the time I played with my eyes closed and felt like I was in total Zen, like in another dimension. I play from my heart, not with my hands.

taka minaminoLINKS

Taka Minamino Website

Taka Minamino Facebook

Taka Minamino MySpace

Taka Minamino YouTube

‘Interview with Taka Minamino’ by Déa di Morté © 03 January 2012
Hails! to Taka for agreeing to participate and taking the time to complete this interview
All pictures courtesy of Taka Minamino