Today, 8th August, marks a new milestone in the upward progress of ‘Seremedy’, a Swedish rock band rapidly coming to world attention. Their first full album ‘Welcome to Our MADNESS’ is released in Sweden. You can get it on iTunes and also in various CD stores such as Rocks, CDON, Bengans, Megastore etc. It follows on from a very well-received release gig at Klubben Fryshuset, Stockholm, on 4th August, with followers flying in from as far away as Japan. The album was first released in Japan on 25th July, and that was preceded with a promotional video and single called ‘NO ESCAPE’.
It is not surprising that Japan should be the focus of interest. Seremedy specialise in a form of rock music known as ‘visual kei’ or ‘VK style’ which is popular in Japan, as well as having adherents world-wide. The ‘VK’ look places emphasis on challenging on-stage persona: hairstyles, clothing, make-up, often in androgynous fashion, to complement rich tapestries of music drawing on wide influences from neo-classical to heavy metal.
The interest in Japanese popular culture is certainly not feigned. The Swedish ‘wonderkid’ lead guitarist called YOHIO, just turned 17 years-old, has studied and learned to speak and write Japanese from the age of 11. He has been interviewed on Japanese TV fluently holding forth in the language. An interest in anime, manga, and J-rock fuelled his driving ambition. He became a highly respected prodigy in performing guitar speed-licks, and breathtaking improvisational sweeps, posting on Youtube from the age of 12. A third-generation rock guitarist, his father and grandfather have both been guitarists on the international scene. ‘Seremedy’ provided the project vehicle for advancing his career in the company of older ‘brothers’.
Sundsvall-based ‘Seremedy’ came about through the founding members, guitarist RAY and bass-player JENZiih, building on their earlier roots in a band called ‘DESERT’. The aim in 2010 was to have a band that could musically bridge the VK genre divide between the ‘light and darkness’ of popular music sensibilities and heavier rock tastes. Something of a creative schizophrenia they termed; ‘The Madness of Beauty and the Beauty of Madness’, hence the title of their first album. They recruited drummer, LINDER, the 14-year-old YOHIO, and then added Stockholm-based vocalist SEIKE.
Rapid success followed. The reputation of the band preceded them. As well as local gigging, the band was soon on a rollercoaster of admiration. Playing to appreciative audences at Japanese-cultural conventions in Uppsala in 2010 and 2011, and a gig in Russia, it was not long before Japan beckoned. Highly successful tours were arranged there in those years. Interviews with influential magazines and inclusion on a compilation album followed.
In March 2011 a single was released, soon followed by their first EP ‘Seasons will change’. By 2012, YOHIO released his seminal, solo debut, mini-album; ‘Reach The Sky’ and promo-video, which has seen viral-growth on Youtube.
During the past year, Seremedy has seen exponential growth through the use of social media. ‘street teams’, Facebook pages, blogs, Youtube activity etc. They have broken through the old, ‘glass ceiling’ of ‘Can white men sing the blues?’ Japanese interest is voracious. But also, Seremedy support groups now span the globe, from Finland to Italy, from Germany to Latin America.
The acid test is in the music. Without a shadow of doubt, Seremedy has shown a willingness to take risks. Theirs is certainly not a pastiche of J-rock. Within ‘Welcome to Our MADNESS’ a listener will tap into a rich vein of musical talent from guys who dedicate themselves to bringing you the best. Visual ‘kei’ other-worldliness that rocks you to the foundations of who you believe you are.
A World tour of influences from Bach to Beelzebub. A ‘time-travellers’ album as well. Vocal harmonies of SEIKE and YOHIO redolent of the Beatles, sitting alongside industrial metal. A Tardis outing to musical realms you never dreamed were possible.
‘Welcome to Our MADNESS’ WILL disturb your mind! That is the whole point.
Seremedy IS World Music. Sweden IS the epi-centre of this revolution.
Take a taste now. Put down a marker. YOU were there!