Moon And Azure Shadow is the brainchild of one Sean Yoshioka. “Formed in 2012, the solo project “Moon and Azure Shadow” seeks to combine influences from Japanese Soundtracks and Atmospheric Black Metal to create an immersive dark and ethereal sound” Moon And Azure Shadow creates sonic landscapes that successfully combine atmospheric black metal with dungeon synth and neo-classical music. We’d like to thank Sean for the interview.
Hello and thanks. To start things off, where did you come up with the name of the project and can you give us some background on it?
Thanks so much for the interview! The purpose of Moon and Azure Shadow is to combine influences from Japanese soundtrack composers and Atmospheric Black Metal to create immersive dark and ethereal music. The name Moon and Azure Shadow was taken from a soundtrack by the composer Koh Ohtani who is probably best known for creating the Shadow of the Colossus soundtrack . Basically I liked the dark and brooding mood of the piece and decided to use its name.
What about both black metal and dungeon synth do you think keeps them commonly associated with one another? In other words, why do you think that dungeon synth is often categorized as black metal etc. Feel free to elaborate.
Dungeon Synth and Black Metal both have similar philosophies and can be created by an antisocial loner in a bedroom. Because the music is more minimal and hypnotic it does not require cripplingly expensive gear or advanced technical mastery from a large group of people. I don’t see too many anti cosmic misanthropic one man jazz projects.
Your latest release is “Age of Darkness And Frost.” Is this based on a central concept or are the tracks stories in and of themselves?
Both of the albums are concept albums with a story. The first album is set in a world of ruins and shadows and has a more personal lonely sound. “Age of Darkness and Frost” follows a story set in a Dark Ages or fantasy setting and is a bit more epic in scope. I will leave the exact details for the listener to imagine.
Your Bandcamp states that you are influenced by Japanese soundtracks? How did that come about?
My father is from Japan so I grew up with the stuff. There is something unique and different about the perspective of Japanese soundtracks I became obsessed with. Some of my favorites are Susumu Hirasawa, Kenji Kawai, Yoshihiro Kanno – Angels Egg Soundtrack, Haibane Renmei, Ico, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Tetsuo the Iron Man, too many to list.
Six years or more passed before the release of the new album. Why so long? Had you been involved in other projects?
There’s no excuses here, I just allowed myself to be defeated by life’s instability. After the first album I moved to Los Angeles and have been through like 5 different apartments and bunch of different unstable jobs. It used to give me anxiety thinking about how the “Age of Darkness and Frost” album was still not completed after all this time. Having an unfinished vision is just a burden to carry around and weighs on your spirit. To get it completed I eventually had to make life changes, quit a job/end any remaining social life and relationship. There were lots of dumb mistakes made in my 20’s but I am 30 now and feel more optimistic than ever that I will be able to be focused and dedicated to my purpose which is composing music.
What are some of your most significant influences in both black metal and dungeon synth? What about non-musical influences?
After the Self Titled album, I heard the work of Basque project Elffor for the first time. I thought albums like “Unblessed Woods, Frostbitten Pain, Heriotz Sustraiak” were completely amazing and decided I had to do my take on a Dark Ages / fantasy themed album.
As for non-musical influences I like to check out writers like Carl Jung or Yukio Mishima
Can you give us an insight into your studio and creative process?
I’m not like Brian Wilson or something where grand ideas or inspirations just come to me. All I have is opinions and attitude. I have to sit down and record something, think it totally sucks and just change things and work on it till it improves. I learned to make this kind of music mostly from reading the Summoning forum and listening to the Darkthrone and Isengard Commentary tracks.
The longest track on the new album is over 17 minutes. How long did that take you to write and arrange?
I don’t want to think about that, lets just say a depressing anxiety inducing amount of time haha.
What further plans do you have for the coming months?
I decided to take a break for at least a month to focus on emailing people and trying to get the word out about the album. But I don’t really like shilling my own music so I’m excited to get back to composing again.
What do you hope people learn about your legacy simply from listening to your music?
Well we are pressured to think that in society that you have to have children to create a legacy. But if you have it inside you to be a creator or artist I don’t believe anything will be able to completely fulfill you in life other than using your unique talent to complete projects. So do not be distracted by the false song of the system, go and be dedicated to your dream and purpose.