SiM is a Japanese rock band that has gained significant recognition in both the Japanese and international music scenes over the past few years. Formed in 2004, the band blends a variety of genres, including rock, metal, punk, reggae, and hip-hop, to create their unique and powerful sound.
With intense vocals and lyrics, SiM has been captivating audiences with their energy and passion with each release. By merging diverse musical styles, the standout group in the anisong scene delivers songs that range from emotional ballads to aggressive and attitude-filled tracks.
In an exclusive interview with Suco de Mangá, MAH, the band’s vocalist, delves into their main inspirations throughout the creative process of their new work, PLAYDEAD. He discussed topics such as personal conflicts, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and much more. Check out the full conversation below:
Interview with MAH, from SiM
As a Japanese band with international recognition, how do you see the role of music in bridging cultures and connecting people from different parts of the world?
It’s such an honor because that’s something many artists dream of but it’s not very often you get the chance to actually do it. There are many lives that end without dreams coming true. What gave SiM this opportunity is definitely “Attack on Titan”, so we’re grateful from the bottom of our hearts for that.
Your music blends various genres like rock, punk, and reggae. How do these diverse influences come together in your creative process? Can you give us some examples of bands that have inspired you since the beginning?
Bands like Sublime, RANCID, The Specials and The Clash mixed with MUSE or The Used – that was our initial concept when we started out. We then learned about reggae rock bands like 311 and Skindred, which got us thinking; we should create an original sound, even different from them. This led to us mixing the fast beats of SKA and PUNK with Metalcore breakdowns.
What is your favorite song that you’ve created for an anime? Why?
It’s “The Rumbling”. That’s not because we received recognition from others but purely because I had a clear sense of it, like, coming down from the stars the moment I came up with the “If I lose it all …” melody. That was a strange sensation that I’d never experienced in the 22 years since I started writing songs at the age of 14.
It’s impossible to talk about SiM without mentioning ‘The Rumbling,’ right? The song reached a massive audience and is considered by many as one of the best – if not the best – songs in the anime Attack on Titan. Did you expect such a huge response from the audience? Can you share a bit about the experience of this collaboration?
The times have moved away from rock, and we are in the era where Hip Hop is thriving. In such an environment, I must admit I was a little apprehensive about releasing a pure metal ballad. Besides, it was a track with a heaviness, even different from all the previous songs from “Attack on Titan” so I wondered if people might go “What’s this?” and wouldn’t understand it. However, it coincided well with the timing of the storyline where the world view shifted to that of desolation, and this track went viral at an incredible pace. It was fun to see our fans from all over the world uploading their cover videos every day.
Is there any other anime that you would like to collaborate with because you believe it matches SiM’s sound? Which one?
I guess what everyone is anticipating is a collaboration with “Chainsaw Man”. Personally, I love “Kaiju No.8”. I think that kind of anime with powerful battle scenes lends itself to the rumbling sound of SiM, creating synergy.
What were the main influences for SiM in the creative process of PLAYDEAD, your new album? Could you share some of those “key inspirations” and themes behind it?
As Japanese, we couldn’t have escaped the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. In terms of national characteristics, Japanese people are kind of diligent, so we’ve taken our time, dealt with the pandemic cautiously and we’re probably the last county in the world to do so. It was around April 2023 when we really felt “Our lives have returned to what they were before!”
The underlying message is that we should resurrect ourselves from such a state of oppression (which is the state of pretending to be dead = PLAYDEAD) and get back to who we’re supposed to be.
The other thing is the juxtaposition of losing my grandmother having developed Alzheimer’s disease a few years prior and the way my soon-to-be 6-year-old son is growing up.
It was a time in my life when I witnessed the end and beginning of human life at the same time, so I think my own view of life and death is evident in some of the lyrics on this album.
What are the expectations for SiM’s future now that PLAYDEAD, your latest album, was finally released? Do you have plans to take the tour to countries that haven’t had the chance to see SiM live?
In the past, once the album’s released, we would tour for about 6 months in Japan and that would be it for that term. We’d then start production for the next album. That was our routine and I believe that’s the same for all Japanese artists. But this time as we will start a world tour as opposed to domestic tour, from now on, I’m expecting the current “PLAYDEAD” term to last for a year or two. At this stage, we’ve only announced the EU/UK and US tours but we sincerely hope to visit South America, Asia and other countries. We’re looking forward to visiting countries like Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile in particular for live shows, where we have fans who’ve been sending us messages via social media for many years.
Last but not least: do you often interact with the Brazilian fanbase through social media? What message would you like to leave for your Brazilian fans?
I remember many years ago, exchanging messages with a fan who said he got a tattoo inspired by SiM’s lyrics. There is nothing that makes me happier than realizing that our music is reaching the other side of the globe. We love you guys! Look forward to us coming to do live shows!