Hey guys, do you like music? Do you like anime? Do you love your senpai? Do you like prog metal?!
Well man do I have a treat for you guys.
Introducing Sithu Aye and his latest EP, Senpai. This EP contains Sithu’s work which fuses his usual prog metal style with your usual anime soundtrack style. It includes three tracks: Oh Shit, I’m Late For School!, Senpai, Please Notice Me!, and The Power of Love and Friendship! As you can see, the titles parody the usual tropes you see in anime. The videos that Sithu uploaded on YouTube on the Senpai EP complete this parody picture. In the test video he made, you have that typical SHAFT white outline. And in the album stream, we see Megumi, one of the characters that Sithu made for the story to accompany the EP, running with toast in her mouth, late for school.
This album is a parody on anime and anime music tropes but it doesn’t mean the songs aren’t taken seriously. Sithu shows us the same level of musicality in this EP as he would in his other serious releases. The guitar chops, the backing track, and the mixing are all masterfully done in this album, all of which are done by Sithu himself.
“Who is Sithu Aye?”, I hear you say.
Sithu Aye is a one man band based in Glasgow, Scotland. He records his guitar and bass all by himself and programs drums and synths himself as well. He plays instrumental music which are usually progressive metal and djent. But enough about me talking about him. Let’s let him speak for himself. I emailed Sithu-senpai who agreed to answer some questions about his music and his EP, Senpai.
I track all the guitars and bass by myself, while I program the drums and synths. Everything is written, recorded, mixed and produced by me.
3. Who would you say you take musical inspiration from?
I’ve kind of hit that place where I don’t really take specific inspiration from any one thing, it’s more like I take inspiration from everything I hear. So whether that’s other bands, music from films or tv shows, from video games or from anime. I think that helps me bring together a whole lot of different musical ideas to form something that hopefully sounds fresh and new.
4. Speaking of inspiration, the “Sithu Aye lick”, in your My Music In Four Notes video, can be likened to specific parts of tracks in videogame OSTs like Chrono Trigger and Ocarina of Time. Have video game OSTs influenced your playing in anyway? If it has, do you have any favorite game OST?
I’m going to sound like an absolute philistine by admitting I’ve never actually played either Chrono Trigger or Ocarina of Time. I’ve played many Final Fantasy games though! Like I said in the previously, there’s no specific game soundtrack that is a big influence, more just like having a lot of influences from a lot of games. I love the music from the Final Fantasy Games (even XIII, although it was a terrible game), the Mass Effect series, the Elder Scrolls series and from indie games like FTL: Faster than Light.
5. Now that we’re in the vicinity of geek topics, let’s move on to your EP, Senpai. What gave you the idea to make these songs?
I’ve always been a big anime fan, but it was something I enjoyed in my own time. One day, I had gotten a new guitar and an Axe-FX, which is a piece of digital amp hardware, and what I normally do is make a little test clip with my new gear. However, for whatever reason, I thought it would be fun to do my mixtest in the style of an anime opening song. I tried to use the same kind of melody, chords and instrumentation that you would normally find in a OP, and I even made it 1:30 minutes long, which is how long OPs usually are. I then made a youtube video for the anime playing through the song. Normally, I would have just left it there and then, but for whatever reason, that youtube video became one of my most popular so I decided that I would make an EP in the style of anime theme songs. The plan would be to take common anime tropes, both musical and otherwise, and use them to theme the EP.
6. Any anime soundtrack in particular that influenced your sound in this EP?
The problem is that I watch so much anime that all of them seem to blend in my head. I do remember the opening to Madoka being an influence on the original Senpai track.
7. In your stream of the album there were illustrations, made by you, depicting the story you made for the album. They were pretty good. Is drawing like your side hobby? How long did it take you to complete them?
I’m glad you thought they were good, I went back to look over them and I think they’re kind of terrible now! I’ve drawn for many years but only in a traditional pencil style. The anime/manga style is very new to me and it is taking me a lot of practice to get better at it. The art in the Senpai EP took a few days to do and I was pretty much working non-stop to finish them.
I’m currently practising to get better for any Senpai EP’s that I will do in the future! Here is my latest piece with all three characters from the youtube stream. There is still a LOT of room for improvement but I’m happy with it as a starting point.
8. Any kind of anime art style that you favor?
9. Would you consider making a sequel to continue the story? Maybe a Senpai EP part 2 to go with it?
10. You could say that the Senpai EP kind of deviated from your prog metal sound to a more j-rock, fusion-ish kind of sound. How did your fans react to that? How did you react to fan feedback?
I think people enjoyed it! My music has always been on the happier, more upbeat side so this was just a less metal version of my music, albeit with an anime spin! It’s been weird because I kind of thought that the initial buzz would have died away but I still have fans asking me about the EP and for Senpai EP related stuff! The best part about all of this is that I’m playing my first ever tour next May, which, you guessed it, is in Japan!
11. Last question, how would YOU get senpai to notice you?
I’d like to think I would be the earnest, hardworking Kouhai. Keep working hard to get better at the things you love to do and your work and effort will hopefully pay off!
12. Anything you’d like to say to anyone reading this article?