JPHiP Interview: Ohmura Takayoshi @ Guitar Universe 2014 European Tour
With the upcoming release of Marty Friedman’s “Inferno” album and the recent release of Gus G’s “I Am The Fire” album these two guitar heroes set off for a co-headline event called the Guitar Universe European Tour 2014.
Joining them as support guitarist is the Japanese talent Ohmura Takayoshi. He is active in a lot of bands and projects, including BABYMETAL, DCPRG, C4, Liv Moon, Nomizu Iori and many more.
JPH!P took the opportunity to interview him at De Pul in Uden in the Netherlands on May 18, 2014. We gathered a wide variety of questions from the community aiming to learn more about him and to put him on the map in the west.
Please introduce yourself to the foreigners who might now know you yet.
I’m a guitarist who is active in a lot of Visual Kei and metal bands and as a support player for various artists. My strongest skill is guitar technique.
No argument here, your “Guitar Dojo” instruction books are very high level.
(laughs) Definitely, please try your best.
Is this your second time in Europe? What’s your image of Europe?
Yes, this is the second time I came here as supporting player for the Guitar Universe Tour. I like Europe a lot, because it’s easy to get around and play many shows all over the continent.
You started playing electric guitar at the age of 14 years old. Who were the guitarists or bands you looked up to during that time?
George Lynch. Marty Friedman too. He has a unique phrasing and sound which I really like.
Is it true that Kelly Simonz was your guitar teacher? What did he teach you?
Yes, it’s true. I don’t remember what he taught me specifically. He was one of many teachers during my education at the MI Japan in Osaka.
What’s is your favorite amplifier?
Even though you’re known for playing Marshall amps, you switched to ENGL amplifiers for this tour. What’s the reason behind this change?
Ah, it’s the brand Marty uses so there are several advantages to me using them as well. The sound matches nicely and it’s easier to replace them in case one of our amps break down.
Note: ENGL Powerball full stack used during the live.
You have been using ESP guitars for many years now. Are there any plays for an Ohmura Takayoshi signature guitar?
Actually, it’s been 10 years since my debut so we’re working on one at the moment.
Can you tell us what it will look like? I think your “Eclipse Gold” custom is very popular.
It hasn’t been decided yet. It could be the gold, silver or pink model, or something else.
Which guitar is your current favorite?
Pink-chan. It suits everything from playing with BABYMETAL to Visual Kei bands to Marty Friedman.
Note: ESP SNAPPER-7 Ohmura Custom “Twinkle Pink” AKA Pink-chan.
The pick-ups in Pink-chan have been changed from Seymour Duncan to EMG. Any particular reason for this?
Yes, the other guitarist in BABYMETAL uses EMG pick-ups which suits their songs perfectly. Furthermore, even Marty uses the EMG 57/66 set nowadays. The pick-up change in Pink-chan is to make the sound match better.
Do you have any plans to release a new instrumental album? I know many fans love your “Power of Reality” EP.
The truth is I’m not a big fan of instrumentals. I feel that a good vocalist can really add a unique flavor to a song. It’s a sound which you can’t create yourself using a guitar. It can really set a song apart. In other words, there are no plans to release a instrumental album at the moment.
What was your reaction when you first heard BABYMETAL?
It was like “ehh…”. The gap between cute J-pop and metal is what makes it special.
Their popularity has gone through the roof recently.
Yes, it’s amazing. The three girls have grown a lot. They got their picture taken with Metallica which just blew my mind. And they’re playing at huge festivals like Summer Sonic and Loud Park.
Note: BABYMETAL and Kirk Hammett from Metallica at Summer Sonic 2013.
What is your favorite BABYMETAL song?
There are so many great songs to choose from. I’ll pick Iine! Because I like the PV a lot.
What is it like touring with three young girls. How is it different from this tour?
The girls are really energetic. Please look forward to BABYMETAL’s World Tour!
What do the girls call you? Takayoshi-senpai, Ohmura-niichan?
What a question (laughs). Guitar no Kami-sama!
Are you interested in idols at all?
It is through BABYMETAL that I became more aware that there are many idol groups in Japan, like Morning Musume and AKB48. I didn’t really know much about idols before, but I want to learn more. I became a bigger fan thanks to BABYMETAL.
Do you have an oshimen (=favorite member)?
I won’t say. (laughs)
When did you meet Marty Friedman?
It was six years ago. He was looking for a Japanese guitar player to join his band. I auditioned and started rehearsing with him. It worked out well so I stayed on.
You are involved in a lot of bands and projects. Isn’t that difficult?
Yes, the schedule is very busy. It can get confusing, so I have to keep an eye on when, where and what I’m playing next.
Are there any other artists you would like to collaborate with?
I would like to collaborate with more idols. Furthermore, I would also love to work with voice actors. They have the ability to act which can make their vocals extra special.
Finally, what are your dreams and goals for the future?
I would like to collaborate with musicians and artists I like and play lives with them. Basically, I want to continue in the current direction.
Thank you very much for your time.
Thank you very much.