PARADOXX – Interview (2024)


Interview by Todd Nelson
March 28, 2024

PARADOXX is a five piece heavy metal band consisting of AMANE on vocals, Maiko and KAOЯI on guitars, SHONO on drums, and Haruna on bass. The band formed in 2021, and is currently on their first national tour to support their recent album release, 逆説のSINGULARITY (Paradoxical SINGULARITY). The band was gracious enough to sit down with us for an interview a couple of days prior to their 3rd stop on the tour which took place in Hamamatsu.

Congratulations on the band’s 1st full album, 逆説のSINGULARITY, and your live tour which is already underway, it must be an exciting time for all of you.

So how did all of you come together to become PARADOXX?

KAOЯI: At the very beginning, I wanted to put together a five-member girl metal band. So I was just pushing through it all, and trying to make a band by asking a bunch of people and so on. One of the things I did was post on social media stating that I’m looking for band members. The first member I met was SHONO from doing that. She was great, and I thought, “OK, I’m going to go with her”, and that’s how she joined. Haruna also joined through my social media postings. that’s how she came to the band.  Maiko heard from someone that we were looking for members, we were introduced, and she joined the band that way. After the instrumental members were put together, we were still looking for a vocal, AMANE heard we were looking from another person, we were introduced, and then she joined. 

Out of curiosity, you specified this would be for a metal band?

KAOЯI: Yes. It was for a metal band. I even specified details like twin pedal for the drums and so on.

How did the band choose the name PARADOXX? Is there a story behind it and/or special meaning to it?

AMANE: I thought of the word paradox because of the meaning of the word itself. If you look at things from a different angle it can become something completely different. It’s like the world you see by changing your perspective. The name makes sense when I listen to the music of our band, it’s called a paradox because we want people who listen to us to discover something new, not just from the front, but also from slightly different perspectives.

I was wondering if each of you could share with me your musical background and musical tastes, and why you choose to play in the metal genre.

SHONO: My parents were hard-rockers, my father liked hard rock, and my mother was quite into punk. Western style music was always played throughout the house while I was growing up. Also the school I went to wasn’t too strict. So going to that school I was kind of able to live out more of a rock life style while in my early teens. I grew up thinking that Mötley Crüe was kind of the cool style, looking at them I liked how it really looked, that kind of person looked cool. That’s why I want to be in a band someday. But at that time, I always wanted to be a guitarist, I wanted to wear leather pants and a tight T-shirt, and I ended up being the drummer. (laughs)

You mentioned Mötley Crüe though, the drummer’s style (Tommy Lee) is pretty flashy.

SHONO: In Mötley Crüe my favorite is actually the bassist (laughing). So, I initially got lessons from my dad for the guitar, even though my dad played bass.  Eventually I went to bass to try to learn that. But it turned out that I’m not suitable for that detailed work. Very, very fast and coordinated movements with the fingers, I would always get very frustrated trying. But I really wanted to be in a band, and the only instrument left was the drums, and it actually turned out that I really liked it and enjoyed it. So it was a perfect fit. 

Sounds like you have some cool parents. 

SHONO: Thank you, that makes me happy.

Haruna: From when I was in kindergarten, I actually started off with the piano, playing primarily classical music. As I went through middle school, I saw that the wind instruments were kind of a thing, so I wanted to try that. The flute was kind of cool, but I ended up choosing the trombone. After playing in the orchestra for a while I saw what it would be like playing in that sort of setting. There aren’t very many slots to fit in, and it is very, very difficult to stand out with so many people. I didn’t want to do that but still wanted to play instruments, so I wasn’t sure what to do. It came to me that with bands you could play with a small group of people. During this time, I also really got into Sum 41, they were like, really, really cool. The high notes that they were playing were really, really nice. The bassist was great, and I still had a love for low tone instruments from my orchestral times, with the wind instruments that I played. The way the bass sounded, I wanted to try it. 

Very interesting, how much of a challenge was that making the transition?

Haruna: Not at all. While going through the phase of switching between instruments, I knew that I could get into bands by playing the synthesizer, piano, etc. , but I wanted to play an instrument that I never played before, and by playing the trombone I fell in love with the low notes of the bass. So I was determined to play the bass. From there, I started looking for a band, ended up finding this band, and joined only really knowing punk versus metal. So this is my first time really getting a taste of metal music in that sense. 

KAOЯI: Towards the beginning, I discovered the band Luna Sea and thought that the guitar was really, really cool, and I was like, well, I wanted to play guitar, so yes, I started playing guitar. After starting up on guitar, I kind of formed a band in high school. A small little original band that played metal. I was listening to Archenemy; their melodies and the vocals of Angela Gossow. I thought it was cool and quite melodic. From there I started getting into melodic death metal, grind core, hardcore, everything rock related. I really just like very direct, very abrasive style music, its what I initially fell in love with. Before PARADOXX I didn’t really do too much in regular metal or heavy metal. I started off as a guitar vocalist doing, things in the other metal genres. 

I am familiar with some of it, I’ve seen some videos of your band GEL? 

KAOЯI: Wow! That makes me happy.

Maiko: When I was very young, I started off playing classical piano.  From classical piano moved on in middle school to the violin. However, kind of early on into the violin, while trying to learn it, didn’t like it. Around that time, one of my teachers told me about this band called Boøwy. I thought they were really, really cool and fell in love with the guitar, and decided to go to the guitar pretty much right then and there. So, with the electric guitar, I was messing around with it, and liked the concept of it. I would go to Tower Records and similar stores, and buy CDs based off of the jacket. I’d just look at the the album cover art and would think that’s really cool, not based on anything else, and I’d buy it. Most of those ended up being a lot more in the hard rock scene or a major band, I guess that’s where the type of music that I’d listen to and end up going into originated from. Artists such as Yngwie, Helloween, and Mr. Big. I fell in love with melodic intense songs, like the work of Whitesnake’s John Sykes. A different kind of genre than what KAOЯI was into. I was more into the melodic style versus her hard core style. So I just kept going with the guitar and was more interested in this type of music and wanted to be in a band, which is where we are now.

 AMANE: When I was around kindergarten age, also started off with piano, classical piano. As I was moving up through my musical endeavors I came across acoustic guitar. While learning the guitar, I would look up online who’s really good, and found there are a lot of people that are very, very good at guitar. Through one thing or another, I ended up liking the sound of electric guitars, so I moved to that. All of this took place over the course of high school. Towards the end of high school I joined a band. While making songs, I tried to play the guitar, but wasn’t really good at it because it’s a bit different than the classical guitar, the way you play the instrument is different. I was told by my bandmates “you’re not good at playing the electric guitar, why not just try and sing”.  So I started singing and they basically said “you’re better at singing than your guitar. Just do singing”, so that’s how I became a vocalist. 

And that’s the first time that you really undertook singing, like seriously?


It’s like natural talent then. 

AMANE: Thank you that makes me happy. I’m very grateful for the other members that helped me notice this natural talent.

So in that band, was that like metal/hard rock where you first started singing, or was it a different style of music?

AMANE: Metal, heavy metal. Yeah. The band was actually twin guitars, guys and girls like mixed style. I basically started off just straight up with heavy metal style singing, yeah. 

So Maiko mentioned the different tastes in metal between herself and KAOЯI, how would you describe the style of music that PARADOXX creates? What genre, if any would you say PARADOXX plays?

Maiko: Maiko: So in Japan, I guess there’s not really too much of a disconnect between the foreign styles of heavy metal and rock, unlike places in the west such as America. Over here there’s not really too big of a difference in terms of when you make music, you kind of dip your toes in both sides. For our band we take the good parts of each member, put them all in and mix it together. So, there’s not really one genre that would encapsulate us. I would describe it as everybody’s sound in one place, not exactly like a genre. 

I understand that Maiko composes the music, AMANE writes the lyrics, and then the band together makes the arrangement. Could you go into this process in more detail, where do you get your inspiration when creating songs?

AMANE: Of course, at the beginning Maiko will compose the music. She’ll come up with the melody that goes along with it, that she was inspired by and then I’m able to take that. I’ll go ahead and will kind sing to it, but not with words, kind of like a placeholder, with intonations and a kind of style. Then at the studio, we will listen to it. Maybe we listen to it on our computers and we’ll try to arrange it, how we feel it would fit better. For me, my inspiration is actually Maiko’s demo sound from the composed music that she comes up with.

Maiko: I get my inspiration from a lot of things in general, but more so from seasonal things, as in the current seasons. You’ll have inspirations of that season, so if it’s autumn for instance, it’s autumn style. 

Maiko: So sometimes we‘ll work on it on our computers, we‘ll take it on a flash drive and at the studio during the rehearsals, and we‘ll show each other their version. Then everyone will hear it and share their opinions.

On your album announcement stream the band mentioned how much blood ,sweat and tears went into making the full album – I have to say the end result is fantastic! While you were making the album could any of you share any particular moments that stick out to you now looking back on it?

KAOЯI: I can’t believe you’re watching that. 

I got to do my my research, you know? 

KAOЯI: So there was a live that we had in Osaka, and Maiko and I decided that we were going to stay in the same room at the hotel. We would be in there practicing guitar together, practicing for some of the songs that we were making. In the middle of it all, I was very, very tired and Maiko was tired. I started looking at the wrong music sheet. I was going back and forth between “逆説のSINGULARITY” and “BACK BONE”. As we were playing it, I said that’s wrong, it’s not the right one. Then I kind of just gave up, this is not it, and I put the sheet on my face and then fell asleep like that. Maiko then also gave up and took the sheet off my face and said I’m going to sleep too. So that’s one memorable episode that we had while making this album.

(everyone laughing) 

It’s a very entertaining story. 

SHONO: On the way back home from the Osaka live we were in the car, and because KAOЯI and Maiko fell asleep at the hotel, when they woke up, they basically were practicing guitar in the car as we were all sitting next to each other. The rest of us wanted to sleep because we’re tired after the concert. We had our seat belts on, They have their guitars out and they’re both practicing with 100% focus, with no care in the world about anybody around them. So the rest of us were getting the guitar necks in our face, getting nudged, and all that stuff. We’re all like, do that at home and don’t do it here, but they just kept going.

(more laughing from everyone)

AMANE: I fell asleep.

You get any strange looks from other drivers or anything?

SHONO: We probably did because I mean, we were looking at them weird too. (the other three members)

The band has had a different look and costumes with each release, how much input does the band have when creating the various looks, how involved are you?

KAOЯI: We’re actually kind of self produced in that sense, we decide on what our costumes will be. It’s mainly between AMANE and SHONO. They decide on what everybody wears. One factor is what’s easy to move in. Also for each of our personalities how would the look suit them individually but also mesh together. But more so I guess on each member’s role, if she plays the guitar, it should be easy to move the arms. If she plays drums, it should be easy to move the arms up and down and so on.

AMANE: Another factor has a bit to do with Maiko’s themes from her songs. Based off “逆説のSINGULARITY”, I would listen to that and basically come up with like some inspiration as to how the costume should look. Our 3rd single “Day’s eye” is actually inspired by a daisy and based it off of flowers. So that’s how we came with the costume for that one. 

Yes, when I first saw that it’s what I immediately thought. It makes sense now talking about how Maiko gets her inspiration from different seasons. It all ties together.

AMANE: It seems that Maiko and myself have a good connection, our minds mesh well. Maiko will think of the guitars and of the seasonal things and I will pick up on that, basically understand, almost telepathically what she’s meaning by it. I guess subconsciously we kind of came up with the daisy. We want to be an enjoyable band to watch and to hear. So visually nice to look at, and in that sense, we do kind of correlate the songs with a vision, how they look. So for instance, “逆説のSINGULARITY”,  we wanted to envision that song in our costumes. So that’s a direct inspiration there.

For each of you what is your favorite PARADOXX song to perform and why?

SHONO: My favorite song to play in all of the PARADOXX songs is “FREAKY CAT”. It’s on the Day’s Eye CD single. 

I want to say when I watched the album announcement stream, your recommendation of “FREAKY CAT” really got me into it when I went back and listened to it. I love the one part in it that’s like a homage to “BURN” by Deep Purple. 

Maiko: Oh, you found out!

(all laughing)

SHONO: I’m more into the hard rock style of music, and I think it’s probably the most hard rock oriented song that we have, so I love playing it, and listening to it.

Haruna: My favorite song to play is “BACK BONE”. In the beginning I actually didn’t understand it at all. It was very, very difficult, and I wasn’t exactly a fan of it. But KAOЯI told me that it’s not just regular metal, it’s Viking metal, imagine the Vikings when you play this song. When I heard that, it all made sense, and I had to try hard to actually play it. Now I really enjoy it, and it’s my favorite song to play. There’s also a cool bass solo in there, too.

KAOЯI: We haven’t played it live yet, but very soon we’re going to play it at an upcoming live and the song is “this is”. It seems like a song that’s going to be very fun to play live. It’s my favorite song to play currently.

SHONO: My favorite version of KAOЯI is her playing that song. 

Any chance the song will be ready in two days? (referring that I will be attending their Hamamatsu performance)

have to be lucky.

(editor’s note: turned out I was lucky)

Maiko: It’s kind of embarrassing to say since I’m the one who composed the song and to just pick a song that I made. But my current favorite is “BACK BONE”. In the beginning I thought that everybody would say no when I came up with idea and composed it initially. But it turned out that KAOЯI really liked it, and she was like, this is the one. I was very, very happy about hearing that. I like the song because, I enjoy more difficult to follow tempo and things like that, I just really enjoys playing it at live shows. 

AMANE: Of course I love all the songs we have, but as a singer, as a vocalist, you use your brain a lot more than you would think. You have to really think about what comes next, how you should do these inflections and intonations, etc. When it comes to my favorite song, it’s probably going to be “BACK BONE”. The reason is that it’s one of those songs that you can kind of just sing from the soul. You don’t really have to think too much about it. You can sing it by feel. 

So three votes for “BACK BONE”.

To AMANE – From one of the band’s streams you were mentioning how “逆説のSINGULARITY” is special to you, can you give some tell more about that?

AMANE: Well, for one it is the title song. That has a lot of meaning to it, but also the meaning of the actual name of that song has its roots in the modern day. A lot of things are moving more towards AI (artificial intelligence). You can do everything with AI. You can even make songs with it. With this song I was trying to push the envelope in a sense to create something that AI can’t do, to make songs that AI can’t copy, and how PARADOXX as a band doesn’t actually use vocal syncs and synths. Because we don’t use that, I do all of the actual vocal sounds. The filler sounds in the background, all myself on stage. Trying to do the utmost of what a human is capable of and not be overtaken by AI in a sense. So of all the songs in this album, for all the PARADOXX songs so far, this is the one song where I sing the highest note, that’s the feeling behind what it’s like pushing the envelope of what a human is capable of. I’m bringing out everything I have for this one song, not to be taken over by AI.

So you’ve just started your first national tour – 16 dates in total. I know you all are looking forward to each show, but are there any cities in particular you are excited about or special to you?

SHONO: I am looking forward to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka because that’s where I’m from, I feel like I have to say that for that reason. The livehouse where we’re going to to have the concert is the same place I used to go to when I was younger, starting out my music career. So I’m very, very grateful for that place and am looking forward to going back there playing with the band. 

Will any childhood friends and former classmates be in attendance?

SHONO: Yes, I’ve called a lot of people. Yeah.

Maiko: I’m really looking forward to Yokohama because when I was younger, I’d go there to play a lot, but haven’t been there in a while. I want to check out Chinatown when we’re there, lots of good food.

KAOЯI: I’m very looking forward to Okinawa, we will be performing there at 2 different places. One of the places the owner is a foreigner and I guess they do things a bit differently. I’m told that they start the lives kind of late and everybody’s already really drunk and they keep drinking as they play the live, I really want to see how much different that style of live is compared to Tokyo. 

SHONO: But you don’t even drink that much. 

KAOЯI: Well, we’re not going to drink while we’re playing.

( everyone laughing)

Haruna:  Hokkaido, I have a really good memory of going there from when I was younger. I went there on a vacation with my parents. Also really looking forward to the food they have there because it’s really good.

AMANE: I’m going to go ahead and go with the one that hasn’t been mentioned yet, but Fukuoka. It is sometimes referred to as the city of music and I want to see what its like playing there. I also want to eat good food. 

I noticed that Tokyo LIVE Station is where the band is holding the tour final, which was also the venue where the band made its debut, was that intentional?

KAOЯI: It’s kind of like our home base that we go to all the time, since we go there and play there a lot, it kind of just made sense to have a one man live. 

Are there any plans for a concert DVD/Blu-ray release from this tour?

From the band manager: We’re still thinking about it. 

Many bands have names for their fan base, if I understand correctly, PARADOXX fans are called PARADIN or PALADIN? How did that name come about?

AMANE: I was trying to figure out a name that’s related to the name PARADOXX. As I was going across a bunch of names I was thinking about the fan base, the fans as a kind of people who fight alongside us. A lot of our fans have feelings of anger towards society in a sense, with that type of sentiment, I was thinking that they would be called paladins, as they’re more like knights, fighting alongside us – PARADIN

KAOЯI: The misspelling is intentional. (to tie in with the band name)

An additional meaning in the name as well, in English ‘din’ means noise. So I think the name really fits perfectly.

All the members: Really?

AMANE: Wow that’s so… I knew it. (joking)  That makes me happy.

To SHONO: I know some drummers like to play barefoot, I noticed at your debut performance it appeared you were barefoot leaving stage, but in videos you’ve been in shoes, which I understand may be just for aesthetics, how do you prefer to play?

SHONO: 100% barefoot, I do not like wearing shoes when playing the drums. Its funny I always paint my nails or have my nails done for my toes, but by the end of the performance it’s all over the place chipped, chipped everywhere. (laughing)

Outside of music are there any hobbies you have? I know SHONO is a huge soccer fan from her social media posts and even attended the World Cup! 

SHONO: Yes! In fact I will be going to Europe next month to go see soccer.

KAOЯI: One of my favorite things to do is riding motorcycles. I don’t own one yet, but I rent them, 250cc American style motorcycles. Like the Honda Rebel 250.

AMANE: Going to shrines. I like going to sites of castles. So, if there’s a castle somewhere, I’ll enjoy it no matter where. 

So, will you be going to see the castle in Hamamatsu?

AMANE: I’ve seen it many times. When we go to Hamamatsu to have our live, I plan on waking up early and going there.

KAOЯI: What about me?

AMANE: Are you going to be able to wake up?

(everyone laughing)

KAOЯI: When we were in Osaka, we were planning on going to the Osaka Castle. However, I didn’t wake up and was left behind.

All these stories circulate around Osaka.

AMANE:  So there’s a lot of stories around Osaka because making this album was kind of a big thing then.

Maiko: My hobby is watching my pet blowfish. It is an Mbu pufferfish. 

Haruna: I like really like cookies and confectionery things, and enjoy making them. But also in Japan recently there’s been an increase in different styles of tins that cookies are packaged in, so I like to go to a bunch of stores to look at the tins and then occasionally buy them.

Do you ever bring in cookies for rehearsal? 

Haruna: Sometimes for Valentine’s Day, I brought cookies for everybody and had them packaged for each member.

SHONO: Sometimes she’ll come and kind of put different types of like snacks in, like a bag per person. At the time I said she’s like a grandmother (everyone laughing), but actually she’s the most ladylike. 

Many of our readers are into music gear so we like to ask bands we interview what gear they use. So could each of you tell us what you use, and why it suits you?

KAOЯI: My guitar is a B.C. Rich Warlock. For most of the effects and sounds I use a VEROCITY Goichi-Gomaru Boutique Amp Emulator (the model translates to 5150, but it’s written in kanji). I use Marshall for my amp. That’s what I choose for the majority of songs. Actually, to specify I use a Peavey 5150 head amp for recording, but when it comes to playing live I use the VEROCITY.

Maiko: I use a Combat guitar (custom Japanese manufacturer). I use a Mesa Boogie Mark V for recording, for live I emulate a Mark V through the pedals. I have a pod system that basically goes through a Marshall to emulate the sound of the amazing Boogie Mark V. 

AMANE: So at the beginning I was using a Shure Beta 58A microphone but have moved to a Seinnheiser E945 microphone. I like the Sennheiser better because it can handle higher pitch sound, high tones much better than the Shure. 

What was the chrome one that you used initially? 

AMANE: It was kind of like a skeleton mic.
 It couldn’t really emulate or handle my voice. There were a lot of things that I wanted to, do but was limited by the microphone. So I started moving towards different ones, and now currently on the 945.

Haruna: My bass is from Sugi guitars, which is a Japanese company, and the bass model is the the Night Breeze, the NB5M. It’s a 5 string bass.

SHONO: My drum set is pretty much all Pearl, the pedals are the Demon Chain Pearl pedals and my cymbals are all Sabian. The sticks are also Pearl. 

This is certainly a big year for PARADOXX, what goals do you have for the future?

KAOЯI: In the future, we would like to tour overseas and branch out to places other than just Japan, but in the short term, we’re hoping to hold a one man at Spotify O-West in the most realistic terms. We are looking forward to going to tour overseas though. 

That partially answered my final question, are there any countries or cities in particular you would like to perform in?

SHONO: I want to go to Madrid and Spain, and if possible play at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid. It has a capacity of 81,000 people (laughing). That’s my dream of being able to go because my favorite team is also in Madrid. At the very least it would be nice to play in that area.

Maiko: My favorite bands are in Germany and Brazil so I would like to go play in Germany or Brazil. 

AMANE: I want to go to Finland. I would like the people in Finland to listen to our music.

KAOЯI: I really want to go to France because I’ve seen and heard that there’s a lot of things that are similar between France and Japanese anime. I want to perform there and also experience their culture. 

Haruna: One of my family members is Brazilian, so it would be kind of nice to be able to go experience Brazil because I’ve never been there before. Also my aunt lives in America currently and sometimes comes back to Japan with her partner and basically explains what things are like there and I would like to see those things myself.

Thank you all so much for your time, good luck on your tour and I am really looking forward to seeing you all rock Hamamatsu in a couple days!

Buy PARADOXX full album at CD Japan: 逆説のSINGULARITY

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