Former Anthem and Animetal vocalist Eizo Sakamoto interview
Written by Kevin Tanza on April 13, 2021
The Japanese Metal scene has never gotten the credit it deserves, at least from my perspective. There are a lot of great bands and musicians that have had long careers with a lot of great albums along the way that didn’t get a lot of exposure outside Japan and today I have the pleasure of interviewing one of their most important vocalists, Eizo Sakamoto.
Eizo started out in the early 80s with the now-legendary Metal band Anthem and he made a name for himself in that group for the ensuing decade. By the end of the 80s, he would leave the band, improve his craft as both a singer and a songwriter and reach stardom in Japan with Animetal, which is a project where they combined the Metal genre with Anime songs.
He would eventually get back with Anthem in the 2000s, but he would leave to focus on a successful solo career. And today we had the possibility of discussing a little bit of everything about the man’s career, his influences, his highs and lows and a lot more. Hope you enjoy it.
It’s great to have you here, Eizo. How are things going for you in Japan during this pandemic?
I create songs. I plan about things after 2021. I also have live shows. I do less live shows in these pandemic days, but nothing special changed as Eizo Sakamoto. Keep on Rockin’!!!
For those readers that might not be familiar with your career on this side of the pond, what can you tell them about yourself?
My career goes as follows:
2001: JAM Project
2004: Career in Latin America
I am a Heavy Metal singer with great shouts. The man who shout anime songs the hottest. It is EIZO Sakamoto.
And what are you working on these days?
I tour around in Japan as a solo artist. I’m working on making the best possible Metal album.
How did you get into Rock and Metal music when you were younger?
Whan I was in junior high school, a female classmate told me about Deep Purple. I was surprised by Ian Gillan’s shouts. I mimicked him, and I could do that. Then I wanted to be a vocalist.
How did you started to sing?
Nobody taught me how to sing. I mimicked records. And soon later I formed a band to sing.
Who were the vocalists that influenced you the most?
Ian Gillan and Ronnie James Dio.
You obviously started to become known because of your work with Anthem in the 80s. What do you remember of the band’s beginnings?
I took ANTHEM’s audition to test my ability, and I won. A short time later I did recording and a tour. We became popular right away. We even performed at L.A. Country Club in the US in the 80s. Paul Gilbert’s Racer X was the opening act.
Anthem’s 1986 album, Tightrope.
Looking back on that 80s run, which is the album that you like the most and why?
I like ANTHEM’s second album, Tightrope, the most. This album ranked in the United States’ West Coast Metal charts. We had foreign fans as well.
One thing that I have noticed throughout the years is that your singing has evolved and improved throughout the years. Did you ever take singing lessons? What do you do to take care of yourself?
I have never taken singing lessons. The tours and recordings were very tough and my throat was always damaged. I slept well to take care of myself.
One day a kid told me that he likes EIZO to sing and shout the best. So I kept singing shouting, even though the tours were hard. This is how I exercise my voice.
Why did you decide to leave Anthem in the late 80s?
I was tired after three years as ANTHEM. I wanted to do more popular things. I wanted sing in different genre of music.
Anthem’s 1987 album, Bound to Break.
What can you tell us about that time period after leaving Anthem and before forming Animetal? What were you doing in those years?
I studied how to compose. I tried to make and sing in many kinds of music. I practiced the guitar. I wrote many songs.
How was Animetal formed? What is the story behind it?
The ANIMETAL project came up first. They chose me to be the vocalist. I was the only member of the unit in the beginning. Then other members came and formed the band.
When we took the picture together as a band for the first time we didn’t know that we would do makeups. We didn’t want to, but we did makeups. Later I ended up liking it.
Were you a big anime fan back in the day?
I preferred Metal to anime.
As a Saint Seiya fan, I have to ask: What do you think of Pegasus Fantasy as a song?
I think that it’s the best anime song. I’m proud that foreign anime fans sing this song.
You eventually came back to Anthem when the band reformed. How that happened?
The fans hoped for ANTHEM to reform. They decided to reform the band, and chose me as vocalist because I was famous and popular.
Out of those albums you did with Anthem in your second period with the band, which one is your favorite?
You also started a solo career around the same time. What was the goal behind your solo project?
I set the goal to success, which was something I couldn’t do in ANTHEM, ANIMETAL and JAM Project. I mean, make Eizo Sakamoto, the artist, more famous.
You have done very different and eclectic albums. How do you alter your writing process for each band?
I write the same process for each band. Sing hot, shout hard, whisper sexy, sometimes comical. But fans will know is Eizo Sakamoto when they listen to each songs. I use my talent for each song.
You have done so much in your career. What is your biggest accomplishment?
It’s been 36 years since I debuted. I still can shout hard.
Eizo Sakamoto live.
Do you still have any particular goals in your career?
My next goal is to succeed with Spanish songs.
Thank you for taking the time to do this, Eizo. Any last words for our readers? Where can we find you on social media and buy your music?
It’s tough in the corona virus days, but EIZO Sakamoto sings hot as usual!! Please look forward to my Metal albums. Check out my SNS. I love you.
You can follow Eizo on his Facebook page.