Did you know that Lin (Affective Synergy) collects computer parts and would like to fly through the sky?
I had the honor to interview Affective Synergy’s talented and charismatic guitarist Lin. In this interview he tells us about his musical work, the Chinese visual kei industry and answers questions regarding personal and playful matters.
Interview with Lin, guitarist of Affective Synergy
Hello, Lin, and thank you for accepting this interview. My first encounter with your music was via Lilith, which is probably the only Chinese-speaking visual kei band I have listened to frequently. I look forward to following the progression of Affective Synergy as well, and I would like this interview to become a channel for western fans to get to know you better.
As far as I know, Affective Synergy started up as a solo project. Why did you decide to transform it into a band?
Lin: Around this time last year, I was still living in Shanghai, China, but I was thinking how I wanted the opportunity to live in Japan again, unrelated to Lilith. Several years ago, I had done shows as Affective Synergy, so that desire became the impetus for me to form a band using the members that participated in the project back then.
If you had to describe Ao and Mahiro with a few words, what would you say?
Lin: Ao is a person who possesses their own world. He usually comes off as friendly and easy to talk to.
Mahiro is usually mature, but he’s the type who completely transforms when he gets on stage.
On stage, he’s intense.
Can you tell us something about Affective Synergy’s upcoming work?
Lin: Nothing has really been decided for sure yet, but we’ve been running ourselves ragged so far, so I’ve been thinking it would be nice to be able to take some time and get things in order.
I haven’t participated in many session bands in the past, so I was thinking of doing some of those to maybe look for members.
I’m also planning to continue composing work on commission as my solo activity.
Lilith became popular among many western visual kei fans, but I believe that most of us have very little insight – if any – into the Chinese visual kei scene. Could you describe it to us? How does it differ from the Japanese?
Lin: I’m happy to hear Lilith was popular.
China doesn’t have the same kind of fully formed indies or visual scene as Japan or the west does. Live houses are like an extension of a bar so there’s chairs set up, and it’s sort of like people watch whatever band is on today while they’re drinking. The way it works is that the venue invites a musician to perform, the patrons pay the door price, come in, buy alcohol, and drink.
The bands aren’t given any kind of quota to fill, so there’s not really that feeling of “We have to work hard to get people to come to the show!” It’s a more passive attitude. They also don’t do several shows in a month like they do in Japan. They come from a place of “It’d be nice if we could release a CD every couple of years.”
The audience who comes to support the show also seem like they’re just there to enjoy the day’s performance, so rather than having fans who come to support a particular band or artist, it’s more like there are fans who enjoy rock music in general there.
So, for example, a lot of people come to big music festivals and things like that, but again, it’s not like they’re coming to see a particular person or two who are performing, they’re there to see the whole event. It’s like they’re just there to get excited and have fun, so the reason the fans are there is a little bit different.
It’s common in China for people to play in a band as a hobby while working another job, as opposed to in Japan where people are thinking, “I’m going to be a professional musician in a band and become a well-known artist!”
Up until very recently, there weren’t any labels or production houses. There wasn’t any general understanding of how a band should be managed. That essential entity to coordinate between the live venues, the staff who worked there, and the ticket agencies to help put on a single show didn’t exist.
So when I started Lilith, we created a method for everything from finding staff to creating tickets to marketing and selling them all on our own.
We had no idea what we were doing, but eventually everyone got used to it, and after that we were able to put on multiple events.
Now that I’m back in Japan again, it made me realize how structured the environment here is for the bands.
How did you encounter the phenomena visual kei for the first time, and why did you enter the scene yourself?
Lin: Visual kei was booming when I was a student, and what got me into it was encourting a band called PIERROT.
After that, I found out about LUNA SEA from a friend, and they were hugely influential to me.
SUGIZO from LUNA SEA and Aiji (currently playing for LM.C) are still the guitarists I respect the most.
How long have you been playing the guitar? Why did you start to play and have you mastered any other instruments?
Lin: I started playing guitar when I was in high school, but I didn’t start playing seriously until I started a band. I learned piano originally, but I didn’t like it very much and quitting would have upset my piano teacher so I was forced to continue. But then I was introduced to my guitar teacher through that and started learning both, and from there, I did a slow fade from the piano lessons, lol.
What is your main inspiration when writing music?
Lin: My inspiration is my own feelings.
And I create from a concept of “I want to create a song like this.” In addition, there are a lot of times I make songs because I do a show and I think, “Oh, I need a song like this or that in the show.”
Some people say that difficulties in life, like tragedies, are required to create great art. What do you think about that?
Lin: I agree with that. When an incredibly sad thing happens, it’s something that erupts into inspiration for a song. Experiencing something is connected to musical expression.
What kind of music do you listen to yourself? Do you have any western favorites?
Lin: I really like anime songs. A lot of different creators write for the songs, so it makes for a good learning experience, and it’s fun to listen to songs from anime you like in particular.
For western music, I like metal bands.
I like Killswitch Engage, Marilyn Manson, As I Lay Dying, and Bring Me The Horizon.
If you had to live in a country outside Asia, which one would you chose and why?
Lin: Hmm, Los Angeles or New York would be nice.
I want to know what the current culture is like there.
Do you have any hobbies beside music?
Lin: Collecting computer parts. There’s a company called Razer that makes gaming systems. I don’t play games, but I like collecting their products. I like things that glow, lol.
If you could choose a superpower, which one would it be and why?
Lin: The superpower would depend on the circumstance, but I’d like to be able to fly through the sky.
What do you think are your best qualities as a colleague, and as a friend.
Lin: Probably that my relationships are not too close and not too distant. Relationships that aren’t meddlesome. I feel like the older we get, the harder it becomes to make close friendships.
Would you like to give your fans a final message?
Lin: Once again, my name is Lin.
I’ve put out a lot of different music in my life, so please give it a listen.
I want to try performing in places outside of Asia someday.
I want to keep working hard until that day comes, so I’ll be counting on all of your support from now on!
A big thank-you to you for doing this interview. I wish Affective Synergy great success, and I hope to see you in Europe soon!
Formed: May 1st 2011
- Vo. Ao → Marvelous Maiden → ZODIA → [retired] → Ultimate Sonic → N@H(support) → Ultimate Sonic, Affective Synergy(support/Yuu) → Ultimate Sonic, Affective Synergy
- Gt. Lin → SheryL → Hanaichimonme, AGEHA, Leviathan → Hanaichimonme, Leviathan → Leviathan → brodiaea → Synside → Affective Synergy → Lilith, Affective Synergy
- Ba. Mahiro → Lunatic’blu → brodiaea → Vishnu → ROMANCING Saga → Affective Synergy(support) → Affective Synergy, ONLYYOU(MAFFY)
- Dr. Yue → Lilith → Affective Synergy(support)
- Dr. Takumi → FANG(support) → FANG → Visual Lab, Affective Synergy(support) → Visual Lab
- Vo. Yuu → Marvelous Maiden(Gt.) → zodia(Vo.&Gt.) → Ultimate Sonic(Vo.) → N@H(support) → Ultimate Sonic → Affective Synergy(support) → Ultimate Sonic