Friday, June 19, 2009


Name: Iroha
Latest release: Iroha [later in 2009]
File under: Metal/shoegaze

I first heard Iroha at that Mono gig I posted about. I didn't realise it at the time, but the un-announced, un-named support act that did 3 or 4 songs was Iroha. The first thing that hit me, as a big Jesu fan, was "this sounds like Jesu". Of course, although I didn't realise it at the time, standing on stage in front of me strumming away was Diarmuid Dalton...of Jesu. That would explain the resemblance, then.

So I did some digging when I got home, found out they were called Iroha and checked out some familiar stuff on Myspace. If you like the shimmery guitar that's prominant in shoegaze then you'll like these guys. Add some heavier riffs more a metallic edge and that's where they'll appeal to the Jesu crowd. A self-titled debut album is on the way soon...and a lot of touring.


Who are you, where are you from and what is your role in Iroha?
Andy: "My name is Andy Swan. I’m from Birmingham, England and play guitar and write songs for Iroha."

What kind of emotions do you try to convey in Iroha's music?
Andy: "There isn’t any specific emotion I deliberately set out to convey via the music and lyrics of Iroha although, if I take an objective view, I do tend to unconsciously lean toward themes relating to the passage of time and melancholic feelings of nostalgia."

You have worked with Justin Broadrick in Final and Diarmuid Dalton has worked with him in Jesu. How big an influence is Justin?
Andy: "I first met Justin when he was 14 or 15 and I was 16. We met, quite by chance, at a music stall in Birmingham’s Rag Market. Unbeknownst to eachother, we had both visited the stall on a regular basis but quickly struck up a friendship when the owner of the stall introduced us both to the music of Throbbing Gristle. We were both obsessive about music and quickly became immersed in the burgeoning experimental electronics scene of the early 80’s. We formed Final as a result and, being of such tender years, I guess we were both very receptive to new sounds and ideas but Justin was a huge influence on me personally what with his enthusiasm, love of music, endless ideas and friendship. And now, 25 years later, I don’t think there would be an Iroha if I’d not met up with Justin and Nic [Bullen, ex-Napalm Death, Final etc.] again in late 2007."

There are obvious similarities, but what do you feel are the main differences between Iroha and Jesu?
Andy: "I think Iroha’s songs are more traditional in a verse-verse-chorus sense whereas Jesu’s songs seem to be less defined in their structure; almost like abstract poetry. I’ve tried writing like that but have always ended up frustrated and have had to revert back to a regular structure."

You supported Mono on some dates here in the UK earlier this year. How were you received and how was the experience?
Andy: "It was an incredible experience and one that we wouldn’t have had without the generosity of Mono who are amongst the most humble people I’ve met. Playing only our third gig at The Scala was a little daunting although nowhere near loud enough for our liking!"

Cheers Andy. Good luck with the touring and new album.

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