Interview with illustrator Yugami Sasaki

I have decided to introduce you not only to musicians or labels but also to artists making different kind of art. We will plan to do movie reviews or book reviews or just intereviews with people across different areas.

I am excited to introduce you to Japanese horror comic artist – illustrator Yugami Sasaki.

Artwork by Yugami Sasaki

Yugami made an artwork for the URGES EP (see above) and I have been enjoying all his work lately. I reached out to him and asked a few questions to introduce him to you:

Filip: You were introduced to me by our artist URGES, how did you meet him?

Yugami: I’d never done cover art for music before, so I put out a call on insta for artists to do it. Then Patrik approached me. His track was rough but fantastic! So I decided right away. It’s an honour as an artist to be part of something incredible.

F: This is the first interview we are doing with an illustrator, but let’s start with music. What part does it play in your life?

Y: I listen to horror film OST when I work. When I’m working on scary paintings, Fabio Frizzi’s music is the best way to get the job done. My roots of sounds are in P.I.L., Ministry, KMFDM and Blonde Red Head and dark others. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to The cure… I love Night Wish, Meshuggah, Turmion Katilot and Butchers Harem, too.  I love dark music of all genres.

F: Do you have any memories of music from your childhood?

Y: I like Martin Atkins’ drumming because as a child I used to hear a lot of taiko drumming at Japanese festivals.T he drum sound, which isn’t “too rock ‘n’ roll”, touches my memories.

F: Do you have any special memories with cassettes or vinyl records? 

Y: Cassettes always make a clunking sound when we put them in the recorder when we press the switch, and when we finish rewinding.

I like that clunking sound. Quiet cassette recorders feel inadequate. Other media don’t have that industrial, rugged feel. The Vinyl…I feel like the vinyl is a kind of art.

F: What inspired you to start doing illustrations?

Y: I can’t live on the income from horror comics alone…so.

F: Why did you choose horror comic illustrations?

Y: I was originally a TV programme director. I loved films. But I realised I didn’t fit in with the broadcasting industry, so I did other work for a while. There was a period when I did nothing creative. My hobby during that period was collecting horror comics from my childhood.

As a result, I had a number of miraculous encounters and found myself on the side of drawing horror comics.

But when I read the future dreams I wrote as a child for my school homework, I wrote: ‘I want to be a comic book artist’.

Funny but perfect life.

F: How did you start making covert art for music? 

Y: I’d never just done music artwork before, so I wanted to try it.

F: You are based in Japan. Are you part of any community of illustrators there? 

Y: Yes, there are lots of communities. There are communities of all kinds. But I’ve recently realised that I’m better suited to being on my own and doing whatever I want.

F: Which artists have influenced your art the most? 

Y: No, I’m influenced by many films and music.

F: What does your creative process look like? Which techniques do you use and why did you choose them?

Y: First, draw circles, squares and other simple shapes in the appropriate places on the canvas. But these are just landmarks and will eventually be painted over. As I connect the shapes and add colour, the base shape becomes visible. I’m the only one who can see the base shape, and to other people it looks like a messy, scattered bludgeoning of paints. Appearently, that’s what I wanted to draw, so I add shading so that other people can see the base shape. The same process is used for both analogue and digital artworks.

I’m not thrilled to paint a piece where I can see the finish line right from the start.

F: Do you search for the meaning through the illustrations? Does the creative process help you to process your thoughts? 

Y: The painting activities are like running a life-support system, so I don’t seek meaning in it. I paint in order not to die.

F: Where do you seek inspiration for your art? 

Y: Most of the time, I imagine a colour, like I’m going to paint an orange painting or something like that. The finished product is a different colour, though.

F: What are your plans regarding your illustrations?

Y: The illustrations I do for job require the touch of the artwork I usually do, so it’s a process of transplanting my working process into a commercial process.

F: Is this your daily job? Do you have a side job?

Y: Horror is my daily job.

F: Do you have any other hobbies besides illustrations? 

Y: I like to look at the stains on the walls and ceilings.

F: Any favorite or inspirational books? 

Y: More recently, I was impressed by “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” the final chapter added.

I also like “books of blood” by Clive Barker.

F: What about movies? Horror movies?

Y: I love 1940s’ Film noir. Especially Fritz Lang’s films.”Ministry of Fear” is creepy and amazing! Anyway, I prefer horror films with a beautiful night atmosphere. There are many different kinds of night scenes, such as European-style gothic nights, Asian-style festival nights, etc. If the night scenes are beautifully designed, I drown in the film world.

F: What keeps you motivated to continue making illustrations? 

Y: I’m looking for new shapes. I always expect to accidentally create a shape nobody knows. I wanna see something my brain doesn’t remember.

F: What was the most challenging thing in your music (artistic) path?

Y: Every time is a challenge. It’s no fun without a new thing.

F: Do you have any set goals with your art? Any milestones you would like to achieve? 

Y: I haven’t decided on those things. It’s better to travel with no destination in sight and meet amazing people on the road, isn’t it?

F: What would you dream of doing if anything was possible?

Y: I wanna organise a festival with alternative artists from all over the world. By the way, in March 2024 we’ll hold a small event called “Yugami department” in Atsugi, Japan. It’d be fun to do that on a global scale.

F: Do you have any advice for artists just starting out or maybe coming back to prior passions? 

Y: Make something no one has ever made before.

F: Could you give us three tips for good Japanese illustrators and three tips for young indie bands from Japan?

Y: There’s a popular Japanese horror manga artist and illustrator Michiru Noroi (呪みちる). Search for him and you’ll realise that there are many amazing horror artists in Japan, like Tarou Kanafuro (金風呂タロウ) and Toshiko.

I’m not familiar with the Japanese independent music scene, but a lot of my friends listen to hip-hop and visual-kei.

F: In the end, choose your three favorite illustrations you have made and tell us a sentence about each one.


Regular tetrahedron

I like the reason that this is something I can’t explain. I wonder what this is!

Tiger’s eye

It has beautiful eyes. It could be a piece about love.


The title is “deer”, but I think deer like this don’t exist. I’ve never seen a deer like this either.

You can find more artworks on Instagram.