International indie rockers Mil made their anisong debut in the 2016 series Bloodivores and have since gone on to contribute themes for Goblin Slayer, Gleipniramd Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045. The group’s newest song “Paper Bouquet” will be featured as the opening theme in the upcoming anime series The Executioner and Her Way of Life and is available digitally today.
Anime News Network had the opportunity to interview the group’s lead vocalist Cassie Wei about the band’s unique sound, her anime and manga recommendations, and the upcoming series.
The group ‘Mil‘ formed in 2012, can you tell us how you each met and about the formation of the group?
Cassie Wei: Around a year or two before Mil was formed, I was making covers of Kasai’s Vocaloid songs and posting them on YouTube. At the time, I was in high school, and Kasai was using a different name. When he saw my videos, he got in contact with me through Twitter. He invited me to join his new unit afterwards. It sounded fun so I immediately said yes (laughs). It genuinely has been a lot of fun.
After that, Kasai invited some of his former bandmates: bassist Yukihito and drummer Shoto. Together, we formed Miland when we were producing our first album, we had the opportunity to bring the illustrator Ao on board.
Can you talk about your group name,”MilAnd the inspiration from the Grimm fairytale? How does the group name represent your music?
Cassie: The Grimm fairytale “Dear Mil” is honestly quite an offbeat story, in my opinion (laughs). The message isn’t clear, nor does it tell you what the protagonist Mil was feeling, or whether the ending was happy or bad. Yet it’s a mysterious tale through which you can feel a sense of beauty. I think that this beautiful yet eerily bizarre aspect is a good match for our style of music.
Vocalist Cassie Wei is multi-talented; on top of singing she also has a degree in software engineering. Does she still have goals of creating computer games in the future?
Cassie: Lately, I’ve been wanting to express my values in a more easy-to-digest format. I love games, of course, and I think it’s an excellent medium for deep-diving into a world, but it takes such a long time before you can show your work to other people, so I realized it was unsuited for me. There are so many ideas in my head that I want to express and so many messages I want to convey that it all threatens to get buried. Every day I think of some new kind of story. If I spend too much time on each individual thing, then (as far as I am concerned) I would turn into someone who can’t give shape to their ideas. I think that’s why I made the switch to writing songs.
How would you describe the mood of your song “Paper Bouquet?”
Cassie: Fortitude, intensity, and a bit of poignancy, I suppose?
Were there any notes or directions provided by the anime staff for creating the song?
Cassie: We received some advice for the composition from the production side, but they generally left things up to Mil. I have so much gratitude for the production staff who believed in our sound.
Are any of the members anime, manga, or light novel fans? What are some of your favorites?
Cassie: All the members are otaku of some kind (laughs). Although everyone’s into different genres. When I was in elementary school, I watched so much anime every day, and I’d even read manga in the bathtub. These days, I’m a fan of Shūzō Oshimi‘s Blood on the Tracks. I think it’s great how it expresses the story and the feelings of the characters not through words but through images.
Are there any anime theme songs that you consider ‘iconic’ or that you listen to often?
Cassie: I’m quite the anime otaku, so there are way too many songs for comfort (laughs). When I was a kid, Yuki Kajiura‘s “Akatsuki no Kuruma” (from Mobile Suit Gundam Seed) was a masterpiece to me. Also, when I was in elementary school, I watched Destiny of the Shrine Maiden (not an anime an elementary schoolchild should watch, by the way). I was a huge fan of the ED song “Agony” performed by KOTOKO.
What bands or musicians do you consider major influences?
Cassie: There isn’t a specific artist, but I’ve been influenced a lot by anisongs and J-Pop as a genre. Although I’m Canadian, I’ve loved anime and games since I was a kid, so I generally listened to anisongs. Anisongs are distinctive for their strong melodies. You don’t find songs with such a feeling of presence in the west. It was very novel to me as a child. I suppose that’s why Mil songs always have a strong melody line? My flashy melodies complement Kasai’s classic and rock band experience. I think that’s the source of Mil‘s unique sound today.
Can you recommendThe Executioner and Her Way of Life” to the western audience？
Cassie: I’ve seen the completed footage with my own eyes. So I can say this: The animation is sooooo pretty! It’s a very impressive show, well worth watching, with solid action scenes. The musical score is a perfect match for each scene, which raises the excitement.
It’s an easy anime to get into while also having a very intricate plot and setting. There’s a lot of depth to the story. I can absolutely recommend it to people who love fantasy. Even people who don’t have much interest in orthodox fantasy or the isekai genre ought to take the opportunity to watch it. It might become a new love for you.
Make sure to watch The Executioner and Her Way of Life!
The Executioner and Her Way of Life will stream on HIDIVE
Readers can find Mil on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music.