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Interview: One Eye Closed

Officially started from the end of 2019, One Eye Closed is a 4 piece mixture band consisting of REI (vo), none (gtr), Yasu (ba), Kay (dr). Influenced by a wide-range of genres, One Eye Closed combines Western and Japanese elements and mixes genres, such as rock, RnB, hip hop, and jazz, to create a fresh, new style of music. Driven by storytelling, honest lyrics, dynamic playing, and strong live performances, One Eye Closed is starting a new revolution of music, all the way from Tokyo, Japan and soon internationally. One Eye Closed released their first EP entitled “Cain”, consisting of 5 songs. Focusing themes on mental illness, anxiety, loss, and hopelessness, EP “Cain” tells the story about a man struggling with inner demons who he names Cain, after the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. He is reminded about all the struggles he ran away from, which is expressed in each song within this EP. One Eye Closed has played numerous shows with bands, such as ROACH, Siamese, A Scent like Wolves, and more. One Eye Closed is also going to be featured in a video game “No Straight Roads” developed by Metronomik, available for PS4 and PC and released on June 30, 2020.


While searching for new music as I always do I came across the album release on another website, I right away went to check out their new single Monster and right away listened to their entire album and new single, their style of writing their music and lyrics match well, it’s rock but with a gentle tone. REI has a soft singing voice but its perfect to get their story across. My personal opinion on One Eye Closed is that this is a band you should keep your eyes and ears on. They are great and their music become better every time. As I spotted this band I checked out their social media and decided to reach out to them, Of course One Eye Closed was eager to answer some of my questions. I hope everyone likes the interview as much as I did and hope you start and continue to promote these awesome guys.


For people who don’t already know you could you introduce yourself in your own words?
Hello, we’re a 4-piece band based in Tokyo called, One Eye Closed. We mix rock with a wide variety of genres, such as hip hop, rnb, jazz, etc, with catchy vocal hooks. We aim to bring a fresh new sound to Japan and the world.

Could you introduce the four members of the band so the readers know something about them?
Hi, I’m REI and I’m the vocalist and lyricist for the band. I also grew up in San Francisco, CA, USA, from a multicultural family, but now reside in Tokyo.
I’m “none”, one of the original members and guitarist of this band.
My name is Yasu. I’m the bassist of One Eye Closed…and I’m Japanese.
My name is Kay and I’m the drummer of One Eye Closed. I’m from Yokohama Japan.

As One Eye Closed you have only been together for a year, could you tell us how you got into playing music/singing?
It all started when none messaged REI’s previous band active in the US to collaborate on a song. REI explained that he was moving to Japan to pursue a career and music. None and REI became online friends from then and decided to meet up and start a band. None and REI wrote One Eye Closed’s first songs “Make Sure” and “Low” and pulled in Yasu and Kay, who were initially support members and eventually became official members of One Eye Closed.

When writing songs/lyrics/music, what or who inspires you?
We’re a very emotionally driven band, so human emotion is our biggest force behind writing music and lyrics. I use my own experiences and implement them into our writing so that all our music can be honest. Whether these emotions come from personal experiences, watching movies, looking at art, or listening to other music, we aim to paint a picture with our sound driven by our emotions as a band.

You don’t really fall in any specific genre as your music is inspired by a lot of different styles, Could you tell us about some of those inspirations?
Each of our members all have different musical tastes, inspiration, and history. Because of our very diverse musical backgrounds, often people think that this might lead to us butting heads. Rather, we use this as an opportunity to learn from each other and create an original sound synonymous with our band.

Most of your songs are in English though the band is based in Japan but I understand that at least Rei wasn’t born in Japan. There are differences between writing in Japanese and English, are there certain things that may be easier to express in one language than the other?
Each language in the world brings a different flavor of expression. Rather than one being easier to express something with, the question is how we want to express our message. Somethings can be easily expressed in either language, but the challenge for us is how we are going to translate our feelings into words and sound for the listener to understand. Currently, we are writing in all English in an effort to reach an international language and to bring the world to a new perspective into Japanese music. Once we capture the world’s attention, we’ll start bringing Japanese lyrics in and hopefully other languages, as well.

You released your first EP Cain and the single Abel, what can we expect from One Eye Closed the coming year?
Definitely a lot more music. We are currently writing a lot of new music and already have a single ready and music video ready to be released. We’re just waiting for the right time. Though we don’t have a concrete answer for a release date, it will definitely be within this year.

Could you explain the concept for EPs Cain and Abel?
One Eye Closed released their first EP entitled “Cain”, consisting of 5 songs. Focusing themes on mental illness, anxiety, loss, and hopelessness, EP “Cain” tells the story about a man named Abel struggling with an inner demon who he named Cain, after the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. He is reminded by Cain about all the struggles he ran away from, which is expressed in each song within this EP. The story then continues with our 2nd EP “Abel”. The story starts off with “Monster”, which is the part of the story where Abel hits his lowest point and breaks. The story proceeds with “Fire” where Cain starts to take over and attack Abel with his insecurities, eventually pushing Abel to accept Cain. At the end of the EP with “Dear”, after accepting Cain and allowing for damage to occur, Abel feels an overwhelming feel of guilt and starts to wonder what is his purpose of living. That’s where the story ends for now, but we’ll be sure to continue it later on in future releases.


Unfortunately this year a lot has been cancelled due to the global pandemic, what are you doing as a band to prepare for when touring and promotion is finally able to happen again?
Luckily all of us are very much indoor bodies. Before the global pandemic, we were very busy with plans. Now with those plans cancelled and keeping us indoors at home, we’re taking advantage of this to write and record music, collect inspiration for lyrics, and better ourselves individually as musicians.

Has it changed any work for the band? Like with the recording process or practicing?
Before the pandemic, we often got together for practices in studios. Now, we can’t do get together as much, so it really allows for all of us to explore ourselves musically and bring in new perspectives when we write music. We fortunately haven’t experienced any negatives other than cancelled shows and hangouts, but we really look forward to getting back into the studio and playing shows for everyone.

Has it changed anything personally, could you tell us your experiences, struggles and opinions on Covid-19?
Much like everyone, we wish for a solution to come soon where the world can recover. We’re all in this together, so let’s work together to a solution.

From your first albums and single, what are your favorite songs to play live and why?
REI: I like all the songs as all lyrics I write are very personal to my life experience. If I have to choose though, it would definitely be either “Low” or “Make Sure”. Both songs are easy for the crowd to vibe with, and it’s fun connecting with the crowd during these songs.

None: All of them. I don’t rank my kids.

Yasu: “Alone” for me is the best song, especially with that immense uplifting feeling I get when the intro comes in. Although the song starts off huge, I also really like that the song gets pretty chill at parts.

Kay: I like playing all our songs live, too. If I also have to pick, I like “Low”, because many of our fans like it.

Can you tell us about your most memorable show since you started?
REI: I think each show we’ve played really means a lot to all of us. If I have to pick one, it might have to be our show called No Borders, which we facilitated by ourselves. We invited all of our friends’ bands to be a part of the show bill, and they invited their fans to the show. It was like a mini festival inside Shibuya’s livehouse Ruido K2.

None: It was a live performance in Tokyo in May 2018 when we were just getting started. We participated in A Scent Like Wolves’ performance in Japan as a supporting act that day. I still didn’t know what One Eye Closed was like or what we would do. On this day we were able to share the show with many nice bands and I think we were able to come to understand ourselves.

Yasu: Definitely the show we played with a Japanese band called ROACH. I’ve been going to their shows for many years as a fan and I even told their ex-guitarist Kubochi, who was a member at the time, that I wanted to play with ROACH one day. Finally accomplishing this, I was overwhelmed with emotions. For our set, I also remember having to maintain my nerves and gave it my all to put on a great show.

Kay: My favorite show was definitely the summer of 2018 where we played with a band called SIAMESE.

What goals does One Eye Closed have at the moment?

REI: My goal within One Eye Closed is to bring a new style to Japan and the world, bridging the world with a music revolution. With us, there are no borders, both for our music and the world.

None: My personal goal for this band is to use our music in more works as a component of dramas such as anime and games. The ultimate form of music is completed in combination with another form of art.
Most dramas, such as anime, documentaries, and musicals, include music to create excitement. My goal is to help one larger work of art through music.

Kay: To have a one-man live show in front of 1,000 fans or more.


Social Media

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Thank you One Eye Closed for taking the time to answer my questions and providing other information, I really look forward to your coming works and hope to be able to see you live some time in the future!

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