On Tuesday, Japanese post-hardcore legends, Envy will release Invariable Will, Recurring Ebbs and Flows, a 14 LP and double DVD box set to commemorate their 20th anniversary. Here’s a quote from the press release: “Invariable Will, Recurring Ebbs and Flows is a limited-edition super-deluxe box set that collects every song ever recorded by Envy (95 songs in total) across 14 vinyl LPs, all re-mastered for vinyl in 2013. Each record is housed in its own full-color jacket, featuring all new artwork. Also included is a brand new, previously unreleased 100-minute DVD, a DVD data disk packed with all 95 songs in high-quality MP3 format, and a 100-page coffee table book featuring dozens of exclusive photos, plus lyrics to every Envy song, transcribed in both Japanese and English languages. The entire mind-blowing package is housed in a sturdy custom outer box – printed on a custom reflective metallic foil board. Strictly limited to 1,000 copies, Invariable Will is a monument to one of underground music's most enigmatic bands, and a celebration of their unfettered brilliance.”
Herein, fans of their more recent post-rock excursions (say everything from 2006’s Insomniac Doze onward) can pay witness to the band’s roots as angular and often violent sounding punk/hardcore band and trace their transformation towards the cinematic, anthemic and ethereal outfit they are today. Here’s the track listing of this behemoth (and when we say behemoth, we mean behemoth - the promo only includes the book, DVD and MP3 discs and it’s probably the biggest item we’ve ever signed for standing in our PJs on our porch at 9AM):
SIDE A 01. IN THE MUDDLE OF THE RAGE 01:50 02. YOU HAVE A VOICE... 01:42 03. REMEMBER 00:43 04. ABILITY 00:46 05. UNDER THE SKY 02:28 06. YOU HAVE A VOICE 01:32 07. PASSAGE OF WIND 01:55 08. STILL REMAIN 02:16 09. END OF THE LINE 01:38 10. JUST ALIVE 02:12 11. REACH OUT 02:03
SIDE B 01. ANGEL’S CURSE 04:43 02. PENDULUM 05:46 03. LEADEN WING 03:10
SIDE C 01. BREEZE AND DESTINY 05:10 02. UNREPAIRABLE GENTLENESS 09:50
SIDE D 01. ECHO REGENERATES 02:41 02. THE END OF MEMORIES 02:00 03. AWAKEN EYES 04:31 04. TESTIMONY OF THE EXISTENCE 01:27 05. AN ENCYCOLPEDIA OF THE UNIFICATION 03:14
SIDE E 01. LIMITATION 04:11 02. TREMBLED 04:12 03. A VICIOUS CIRCLE AGAIN 01:23 04. OFF 02:39 05. CRUSADERS 01:58
SIDE F 01. FOR YOU WHO DIED 03:04 02. BLACK PAST 01:53 03. GREY WIND 04:24 04. CARVED NUMBERS 03:36 05. 444 WORDS 02:14
SIDE G 01. ZERO 02:05 02. FAREWELL TO WORDS 02:45 03. LIES, AND RELEASE FROM SILENCE 04:47 04. LEFT HAND 03:01 05. A CRADLE OF ARGUMENTS AND ANXIOUSNESS 05:24 06. MYSTERY AND PEACE 06:48
SIDE H 01. INVISIBLE THREAD 02:43 02. THE SPIRAL MANIPULATION 03:28 03. A CAGE IT FALLS INTO 06:10 04. THE LIGHT OF MY FOOTPRINTS 04:12 05. YOUR SHOES AND THE WORLD TO COME 08:04
SIDE I 01. A FAR-OFF REASON 06:18 02. AN ADEVENTURE OF SILENCE AND PURPOSE 06:07 03. INVISIBLE UNDERSTANDING 08:02
SIDE J 01. CHACUN DE TES PAS 04:46 02. A RED WOUND PICTURE 03:24 03. CAPE OF DESPAIR 02:37 04. THIS SELF-CRUSADERS 02:36 05. TREMBLED 02:03 06. GUILT 03:06
SIDE K 01. CASTLE OF LIES 03:30 02. CONNECTED VOICE 07:11
SIDE L 01. AWAKEN EYES (LIVE) 06:50 02. GO MAD AND MARK (LIVE) 07:33
SIDE M 01. CHAIN WANDERING DEEPLY 08:29 02. DISTRESS OF IGNORANCE 05:46 03. EVIDENCE 03:16
SIDE N 01. COLOR OF FETTERS 07:19 02. UNREPAIRABLE GENTLENESS 08:11
SIDE O 01. GO MAD AND MARK 06:35 02. A CONVICTION THAT SPEEDS 05:27
SIDE P 01. REASONS AND OBLIVION 05:05 02. A WILL REMAINS IN THE ASHES 12:44
SIDE Q 01. FURTHER AHEAD OF WARP 06:51 02. SHIELD OF SELFLESSNESS 04:30
SIDE R 01. SCENE 07:08 02. CRYSTALLIZE 10:34
SIDE S 01. THE UNKNOWN GLOW 15:28
SIDE T 01. NIGHT IN WINTER 06:05 02. A WARM ROOM 07:18
SIDE U 01. A ROAD OF WINDS THE WATER BUILDS 10:03 02. ALL THAT’S LEFT HAS GONE TO SLEEP 04:01
SIDE V 01. THOUSAND SCARS 06:35 02. FADING VISION 04:44
SIDE W 01. AN UMBRELLA FALLEN INTO FICTION 06:26 02. ISOLATION OF A LIGHT SOURCE 03:40 03. PURE BIRTH AND LONELINESS 05:08 04. CONCLUSION OF EXISTENCE 05:08
SIDE X 01. A WINTER QUEST FOR FANTASY 06:25 02. LIFE CAUGHT IN THE RAIN 04:24 03. AS SERENITY CALLS YOUR NAME 07:38
SIDE Y 01. GUIDANCE 03:21 02. LAST HOURS OF ETERNITY 07:05 03. RAIN CLOUDS RUNNING IN A HOLY NIGHT 08:32
SIDE Z 01. PIECES OF THE MOON I WEAVED 04:48 02. LIGHT AND SOLITUDE 07:15 03. DREAMS COMING TO AN END 04:04
SIDE Z2 01. INCOMPLETE 01:25 02. WORN HEELS AND THE HANDS WE HOLD 05:44 03. A HINT AND THE INCAPACITY 06:44
SIDE Z3 01. A BREATH CLAD IN HAPPINESS 06:25 02. 0 AND 1 07:32 03. YOUR HAND 03:04
We caught up with vocalist Tetsu Fukagawa for a short email back and forth that allowed our man to display his increasing command of the English language and exhibit as much surprise as we did that Envy is still going strong 20 years down the track.
When you started Envy, did you ever think you’d be celebrating a 20 year anniversary? What were your original goals for the band and how are those goals different today? We weren't thinking about anything when we first started. We never did anything for our 10th or 15th anniversary either. All we thought about in the beginning was to have fun, after a while we started to feel the possibilities and that’s probably when our mindset as a band began to change.
What are some of your favourite moments of being in the band? When I first saw our music in a record shop. Making and recording music is always a hard process but there's always a sense of accomplishment when we finish. Guess the other one would be when we played Fuji Rock for the first time, we were really nervous before but it was awesome.
Is there a particular point where you felt that Envy was going to end up becoming a long term proposition and feature in your lives, whether or not you were able to make a full living from playing in the band? When we first started the band we never thought that it would last twenty years. Not sure if there was a particular point, but I think that the reason why it’s lasted this long is because we're all good friends, share the same values and love to hang out and play music together. Envy's a big part of our lives but we've always felt that time spent with our families and jobs were equally important.
Who had the original idea of compiling all your recordings for Invariable Will, Recurring Ebbs and Flows? The box set was [Temporary Residence boss] Jeremy [Devine]'s idea. If he didn't say anything, we probably wouldn't have done anything for the band's 20th. It's because of him that we were able to make this amazing box set. I'll cherish this for the rest of my life.
How long did it take to get everything (including the mastering of the music, the content for the book and the packaging) and put everything for the box set together? Were there any production problems or issues that you had to deal with along the way? What was the hardest part of this process? It took us a while to edit the live DVD and to photograph the moon for the cover. Guess all in all, it took about six months, but we had a great time doing it. Mastering the tracks was hard, it was a pain to check 95 songs worth of audio and lyrics, took a lot of concentration.
In going back and looking over your career for the purposes of the boxset, is there anything that you stumbled across that you had forgotten about? What other sort of memories were unearthed during the process? Twenty years went by quick…I don't think I've actually looked back on it yet. I have memories of the songs we made and shows we've done, but I figure I'll look back when we decide to stop the band. Going through our old flyers and videos did make me realize that we used to push ourselves really fucking hard.
What do you feel are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned with Envy over the past 20 years? That continuity is important. All of the experiences we've had were because we kept doing what we do. I really feel that continuity is power. The other thing is that I love to stand on stage and perform. There’s nothing like the feeling of performing a song that we made in front of a crowd that wants to listen to us.
Knowing what you know now about being in a band and the music industry, is there anything about Envy’s career you’d go back and change or do differently? It’s a hard question, there isn't anything specific that I would change… Not sure if this is answering the question, but I'd tell myself to pursue what I value in order to understand the process of all things.
Once this box set is out, what’s next for Envy? We're doing some shows in Japan and planning a tour of Asia for this year. We're also currently making new tracks for our next album which we hope to release in the spring next year.
Do you think you have another 20 years in you? I'll be 60 if we do it for another 20 years. I don't think that'll happen, but I had a kid last year so I'd like to keep the band going long enough for him to see me perform.
Got a couple hundred bones burnin' a hole in your pocket? Love you some Envy? Go here.