Tokyo-based metalcore outfit SAILING BEFORE THE WIND have entered the 11th year of their existance with a brand new song, “Illuminator,” featuring Clayton King of Texas metalcore band SO IT BEGINS. It’s their first single since releasing their re-recorded EP Immemorial last year. It boasts relentless grooves, ruthless guitar leads, and a driving chorus that rips the song open at the seams. We sat down with the band to ask for some more details and re-introduce them to the international heavy music community.
Fueled by bassist and composer, Bitoku Sakamoto (known as a touring bassist for Crystal Lake), Sailing Before The Wind songs frequently feature highly melodic twin guitar leads, metal riffs, and breakdowns, with a variety of influences including Parkway Drive, August Burns Red, and In Flames.
Sailing Before The Wind is also recognized for their aggressive live performance and synchronized stage presence.
“The new single is for all the people who’re struggling in believing in themselves,” says Bitoku. “When life seems tough, illuminate the way yourself.”
“Illuminator” is now available on Spotify, Apple Music, and most other online streaming platforms.
Sailing Before The Wind is a Japanese metalcore outfit formed in Tokyo in 2011. Throughout its history, the fully independent band has gone through numerous line-up changes, with bassist and composer Bitoku (known as a touring bassist for Crystal Lake), serving as the only original member. Bitoku writes and engineers every song in the band’s repertoire, and is currently joined by four recruited members — Ryoichi (vocals), Kosuke (guitar), Daisuke (guitar), and Hiroki (drums).
The band gained a growing underground fan base from their 2012 EP Judgement, followed by 2016 EP Sanctuary. Their 2019 EP, Revised Standards, ranked #2 in Japanese Apple Music Metal chart next to BABYMETAL and featured guest vocals from Thomas Pirozzi of Sienna Skies, Al & Nick Boltz of A Scent Like Wolves. After releasing 6 EPs and many tours, the band highly recognized in Japanese metalcore scene in recent years.
Can you tell me more about the band’s history?
We formed in 2011 and started doing a show in 2012. Originally, there were five official members including myself, but the other four all left in 2014.
After I was left behind, I had four live members to support me in order to perform shows and tours. That’s the current lineup – Ryoichi (vocals), Kosuke (guitar), Daisuke (guitar), and Hiroki (drums). Without them, Sailing Before The Wind would not be able to perform live!
Where do you draw inspiration?
I’m mainly influenced by melodic hard rock bands from the 80’s and 90’s like Bon Jovi and, Def Leppard. Some of my favorite bands are Treat (Sweden), Frontline (Germany) and Harem Scarem. The reason I like those bands is because they have singable lead guitars and clear melodies. I’m trying to combine those elements with a metalcore sound.
What does the writing/recording process look like for you?
Sometimes I start with the melody of the chorus, but more often I start with the guitar riff and build from the intro.
I write lyrics after I have decided on the name of the song. That way, I don’t get lost in the middle of writing the lyrics. After I finished writing the lyrics, I asked Al Boltz (the singer of A Scent Like Wolves), to arrange them for me. SBTW has toured with ASLW in Japan 2 times, so we’re great friends. Al will correct any oddities in English and suggest better expressions.
I basically do all the recording except for the vocals. I did guitars, bass, mixing, mastering, and the others.
Can you share more about your partnership with Clayton King for your latest single, “Illuminator”?
I was a fan of his band, So It Begins, before we even knew each other, and I knew Clayton’s guitar was amazing! I think the first time we recognized each other was when his band, So It Begins, commented on one of our YouTube videos. After that, we started to communicate on social media.
This time I got a part that I wanted him to play a guitar solo on when I wrote this song, so I contacted him and we had a great collaboration.