Interview – Anji Kaizen

Anji Kaizen is a fantastic singer and musician who has a range of influences behind her back – she recently released a song, titled Monster, and I loved the track so much I wanted to find out more! Read on below to read our interview with her.

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a song titled Monster, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about this song and where can it be purchased?

Monster is such a breakaway from my previous songs – we chose to make it more of a hard rock / alternative track, harkening back to some of my earlier musical influences as a teenager like Evanescence, Skillet and The Cranberries. The subject matter itself has a level of intensity that I wanted the arrangement to match as well; blistering guitars and thick, layered vocals with a heartbeat kick. The track is available for purchase on my website at anjikaizen.com, apple music and also on Bandcamp. Here’s a link: https://an…aizen.com/

We hear you’ve just filmed a video for the song, what can you tell us about that?

Yes! The Monster music video just dropped this past week, and we filmed the whole thing in our practice space. Until now, most videos have been story based, but we decided to go with a raw and edgy live performance take of the song. With Monster it makes more sense to show all of us rocking out with full production (fog machines, lights, props, etc) because it’s one of more hype songs. We’ve also got sabres in the video to show how we’re holding off the monsters in our lives, but there are also scenes where we are embodying our inner monsters with masks, horns and eerie violet lighting… as a reference to the lyrics “overcome by the monster within”. Here’s a link to the video: https://ww…C_GkF7NhgA

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

At first, everything stopped. The band and I put the music on hold during quarantine. When the pandemic hit I was a wedding DJ, so I had to pivot and find new ways online to continue working as a full time musician and artist. I launched my online music lessons studio Kaizen Music Studio (www.kaizen…studio.com) to offer vocal coaching and now that we’re starting to have band practice again, we’re picking up more projects, releasing more songs and also launching a Patreon to keep our creative outputs more consistent! Really looking forward to releasing a new EP this year, and touring and collaborating with some other incredible artists.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

It usually starts off solo, me and my guitar, singing ideas into my voice memos app… I think I’ve currently got over 800 memos right now… Then if the song keeps getting stuck in my head I’ll share it with the guys (Nik Marshall, drums and Jory Marshall, guitar) and we’ll start to flesh it out into full instrumentation. Now that I’ve got a home recording studio, I make most of the demos myself or record my own final vocals and instrumentation at home, then send it off to my favourite producer Aaron Pace to get a final mix and master. It’s an overall fun, creative process and I love seeing everyone shape the song with their own talents as well.

Have you started writing for a future EP/album yet?

Absolutely – in fact, I’ve currently got over 20 song demos on my hard drive just waiting to get fully recorded and studio produced. We’ve decided to start off with just a few singles to test out the waters since we’re rebranding as an alternative rock/pop punk band to see how the fans react, but yeah we’ve already picked out five songs to release as an EP this summer of 2022, and it’s going to be the most badass/kickass Anji Kaizen project to date.

Do you plan to release any singles in the near future?

Be on the lookout for the next single Blink which will be dropping later in February! We’re wrapping up art and final studio vocals this week. This one is a really special song to me, full of nostalgic emo influence that gets referenced in the song with the lyrics “I’ve been listening to Blink again” (Blink 182). The whole story is pretty ironic because when I first played it for my producer a year ago he said “nobody listens to emo and pop punk anymore, we can’t release that” and then Good 4 U came out and the pop punk resurgence took over, so joke’s on him. And you can bet that we’re definitely releasing that song now!

You’re based in Atlanta. What is the music scene like in your part of the world?

Atlanta has a MASSIVE hip hop/electronic music scene, so that’s the music that everyone knows it for, but there’s actually a pretty tight knit community of indie rock artists. We all know each other, see each other at shows, and it’s a really fun community to be part of. I’m stoked to go to the Masquerade this weekend for an event called the “Big Ass Gig” which is a pretty rad festival featuring a bunch of local bands. Hopefully we’ll get to be part of the line-up next year!

What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

Damn, this is a tough one because the music I’m listening to is the polar opposite of the music I’m making. I’m currently OBSESSED with the music from the new anime movie Belle, it’s so gorgeous and orchestral but produced sooo magnificently, and I’ve also been vibing to lots of Grimes, Lights, electronic and lo-fi lately. Here’s a playlist I recently made for my fans and friends called “Pure Dopamine” for a mood boost – upbeat vibes only: PURE DOPAMINE
Link: https://op…bdc38a41f9

Do you have any tour dates lined up? What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

We just launched our Patreon, which will have monthly livestreams and more events, (you can check it out here: https://ww…anjikaizen ) So you guys can check that out to join us for those. And now that the Patreon is launched, we’ll start focusing more on booking dates with our favourite bands. Our live performances are hype as hell – we love curating high energy shows so there’s lots of opportunities to dance, sing, and throw down at an Anji Kaizen show. As a former DJ, it’s important to me that the audience feels like they’re an integral part of the music, and to keep the energy moving through our whole set. A live show should always be an EXPERIENCE that transports the listener and makes them part of the moment, something they will remember for the rest of their lives! That’s my goal as a performer, anyway.

Any last words for the fans?

Yes! If you’re reading this right now, please know that you are already incredible just as you are, so don’t let anybody get you down. Have fun, be fucking majikal, and do whatever sets your soul on fire!! That’s what this world needs more than anything right now, is people who are THRIVING and not afraid to be their most powerful, awesome selves. Also, please feel free to reach out anytime! I’d love to connect with you on socials @anjikaizen in all the places.