For the heshers out there who don’t know their Marios from their Doomguys, Dead By Daylight is a hugely successful video game that wears its love of all things horror on its tattered and bloody sleeve. Known as an asymmetrical online multiplayer game, each match sees four players in the role of a near-defenseless survivor attempting to quickly fix generators that power the gates to their freedom, all while a fifth player performing the part of a killer attempts to track down and slay their would-be victims as a sacrifice to a faceless force known as “the Entity.” First debuted in June 2016 to the PC and published by Canada’s Behaviour Interactive, Dead By Daylight’s steady growth in popularity has lead to licensing deals with the horror industry’s most recognizable titles, including Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser and several more. The game’s latest chapter, titled “Sadako Rising” and released on March 8, welcomes Japanese horror icon Sadako from the Ringu series into the nightmare with a largely positive reception from horror and gaming fans alike.
While players were focused on the ways Japan’s most famous horror export would stalk and maim her victims, Mirai Kawashima, mastermind of OG black metal masters Sigh, revealed via Instagram that he was the voice of the new survivor Yoichi Asakawa, released as part of the “Sadako Rising” chapter. Being more than three years gone since their latest album, 2018’s Heir to Despair, Decibel felt it time to check in with the Tokyo-based Kawashima via e-mail and see what led to this unlikely pairing as well as what’s in store for Sigh.
How did you get the job working with Behaviour Interactive? Was this something you sought out or did they contact you?
I am a member of The Monster Factory, which is a team consisting of metal vocalists from all over the world to offer voice acting, etc. Travis [Ryan] from Cattle Decapitation, Frank [Mullen] from Suffocation, Mary [Zimmer] from Hellion Prime, etc. belong to the team, too. And as Behaviour is their client, I got the gig through them.
Your lines are entirely comprised of grunts, whimpers, screams with no actual dialogue. What was the recording process like? Did your previous experience with metal help at all?
Because not only have I been singing in Sigh for more than 30 years but have also been taking voice training lessons for a while, I was confident about what I could do. I had a lot of experiences with recording and I was sure about my voice control. On top of that, Monster Factory gave me a full-on lesson on each sound required, so I was completely ready. Or at least I thought so. However, this recording session turned out to be the toughest one I had ever encountered. I had to keep screaming and grunting for more than 3 hours without a single break. Once, I was completely out of breath and somehow my face and arms got completely numb, which was even scary. But yes, I am sure my experience with metal helped a lot. I don’t think I would have got through the recording without it. Thanks to those experiences and the voice training, I was able to keep grunting and screaming for 3 hours without losing my voice. Also, I did one line in Japanese. I don’t know if it’s actually used in the game, but it’s in the trailer for sure.
Have you found much overlap between fans of Sigh and Dead By Daylight? Have you had any interest in seeing players’ reactions to the new character?
Honestly, I have no idea. I am extremely old-school as far as video games go as Xevious is the latest game I am familiar with. My 17-year-old son knows Dead By Daylight and even has played it, so I guess some of the Sigh fans should enjoy the game. Obviously I am curious about what the video game fans think of my voice as this is my debut work! When Sigh released the first album, I visited all the CD stores in Tokyo to see how our album was being treated. It’s the same thing.
You announced your participation via the Sigh Instagram account (@sighofficialjapan) the day that the character was available for purchase. Was there a lot of secrecy involved with this, even after the character was initially announced in mid-February?
I believe I revealed my involvement on the same day as the character was announced, but I could be wrong. But anyways, yes, I had to sign the non-disclosure agreement and I could not say a word before they gave me [the go-ahead].
Speaking of the Instagram account, most of the content shows some classic Sigh photos or photos with other bands over the years. Was this a product of the pandemic disrupting the live show industry? Has Sigh been able to perform at all since the start of the pandemic?
Our last concert was in March of 2020 in Tokyo. Back then, the pandemic already kind of started, and [saxophonist and vocalist] Dr. Mikannibal didn’t want to be there, so we had to play without her. All the gigs after that were cancelled or postponed.
About Instagram, we’ve been together for more than 30 years and have a lot of photos that were not published before. Back in those days, you only published the best photos, which meant most photos had to stay unpublished to protect the “image” of the band, etc. But now you don’t have to be this picky as people enjoy casual photos and Instagram should be the best platform for that.
One photo in particular on the Instagram account stands out: A photo of a seashell with the caption, “My brand new gear.” Does this mean we can expect some new Sigh material in the future?
Actually, the new album was already completed last year and it will be released on Peaceville Records sometime later this year. At this stage, we cannot reveal the details, but I can safely say that it will be a very Japanese album. The seashell on Instagram is a musical instrument named Horagai. As the album was already done, I could not use it on it. It will be a part of the photo shoot for the album though.
Is voice-over acting something you’re interested in pursuing further? What would the dream role be for you?
Whether it be voice-over acting or extreme metal vocals, any kind of performance using my voice is something I am interested in pursuing further. If I’m given another opportunity for voice-over acting, I’ll definitely take it. I have never thought about the dream role. As I’m just a beginner as a voice actor, I need to improve my skill more.