Japan’s love of infectious melody is not confined to its pop music. The country has a secret formula for hooks in metal as well, which extends from the extreme to the mainstream. Firmly in the latter category, LOVEBITES have been touted as the Japanese “Iron Maidens.” It’s easy to see why, and not just for the NWOBHM leanings in their music: in the space of two albums, they’ve gone from local Tokyo heroines to main stages at the Wacken and Bloodstock festivals.

The band has a motley list of influences outside of the usual metal suspects. Vocalist Asami has an R&B and soul background which she shows off with the belting notes, and guitarist Miyako cites Yngwie Malmsteen and Disarmonia Mundi in the same breath for the inspiration of both her dexterity in guitar playing and branching out to other instruments. In a Geared Up exclusive, Miyako gives us the low-down on her rocking set-up, including a hair-raising story of when it didn’t go to plan.

Speaking of Bloodstock, check out the band’s performance of “Above The Black Sea” from 2018.

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Miyako: I use a Dean USA Icon guitar, Peavey 6505 amp head and a PPC212C cabinet from Orange Amps.

What about them make them so important to you?
Miyako: I tested out all sorts of amps while seeking out the right sound for metal until I came across this Peavey and Orange combination. Essentially, this is where the guts of the sound emanate, so it’s very important that this part is right.

How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album, Clockwork Immortality?
Miyako: I recorded all the guitar parts at my home studio using the Dean. Then I re-amped it, using the Peavey for the lead and solo parts and I used a Marshall for backing.

How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Miyako: Basically, we aim to get our sound as close to the recording as possible. I know the recording and live environments are different and can sound different too, so myself and the rest of the band are still studying about these differences as we play more shows together.

Check out the talented Miyako and her guitar!

Do you have a backup for this gear, and if so, what?
Miyako: Yep, I use a G&L Stratocaster and Orange Dual Dark 100 for backup.

Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story (this applies to any piece of equipment!).
Miyako: During last year’s tour of Japan, the rental Marshall amp head I was using suddenly stopped working during the performance, there was no sound! Onstage I play guitar as well as a keyboard, so as soon as I realized the sound wasn’t coming back anytime soon, I jumped behind the keyboard and continued the song on there instead of guitar. To my relief, fans seemed to think this was part of a special live arrangement of the song and nobody seemed to notice the big trouble I was feeling! Anyway, our team had replaced the amp head with my trusty backup by the time the song was over and we continued like usual.

Any final thoughts or comments?
Miyako: The gear I’m using today may not necessarily be the gear I’ll be using tomorrow. I love to experiment and try new sounds and equipment, so as my sound evolves the gear I’m using will likely evolve too. I think it’s important to find the coolest sound for you right now, I trust my intuition.

Check out the official video for “Rising”. Clockwork Immortality is available now via JPU Records.