The visual kei group DaizyStripper is a hot ticket on the live circuit—they hit #1 on the Oricon indies chart within a year of their launch. Single after single goes into second press because fans just can’t get enough of their sound. Best yet for overseas fans, they made a bombastic United States debut at Otakon 2008! Their newest single "TRUTH" was released in October with a new release coming out in December. Here’s our sit-down interview with this already very popular group just as they made their States-side debut.
JRR: So we’ll do the name-by-name introductions?
YU-GIRI: I’m the vocals, YU-GIRI.
MAYU: I’m MAYU, on guitar
NAO: NAO, on guitar.
REI: I’m REI, on bass.
KAZAMI: I’m KAZAMI, on drums.
JRR: So, how do you feel about playing in the United States?
DaizyStripper (DS): It’s the first time performing in the United States for all five of us so we are not exactly sure how the American audience will react to us. It’s an unknown for us. But we’re expecting a lot of heat and passion from the audience during the concert. We are a Visual-Kei band from Japan and Visual-Kei is part of Japanese culture so we are representing Japan here in America. We are hoping that we can leave some sort of impression and leave a piece of Japanese culture here with the American audience.
JRR: Great! Is it everyone’s first time being in the United States just on their own?
DS: Yes! The first time!
JRR: Do you like it so far?
DS: The scenery is just beautiful.
JRR: Have you done anything while you’ve been here so far?
DS: Yesterday we went to the Hard Rock Cafe [in Baltimore]. It was very, very…tanoshii! (“Fun”)
DS: It was like a dream. They had instruments from rock musicians that I admired and looked up to. And they were just hanging on the wall and I could look at them up close. It was really a dream come true.
JRR: Which musicians? I’m curious.
DS: Led Zeppelin.
JRR: Since you guys are new to many fans in the United States, how would you describe you sound to an American audience?
DS: The band Daizy Stripper, our music is aiming to be something new and fresh yet nostalgic. We want to create a tune that will remain with the audience for years and years. We put a lot of passion into our lives, we make it sadistic.
JRR: You guys are also a very young band and you’ve achieved a lot of success. You have a number one single—congratulations on that—what has that been like for you?
DS: We’re not successful at all yet. We’re still up-and-coming but we will keep working hard. There are still many things we want to get in this world.
JRR: I want to ask about the hide Memorial Summit as well. That must have been an amazing thing so can you talk about what that was like for you to play?
DS: We all grew up admiring X and hide so it was really an honor to be able to play at his Memorial Summit. It was very emotional for us, knowing that he’s listening to our music from somewhere up there. Our music is here because of what he left behind for us so we’re hoping that our music can also leave something behind for the next generation.
JRR: Does everyone have a favorite song of his?
YU-GIRI: Rocket Dive!
MAYU: Beauty & Stupid.
KAZAMI: I can’t pick!
JRR: As a band, what drew you specifically to visual-kei? Why didn’t you go in to punk or something else?
DS: Well, most of us were influenced by X JAPAN so we were sort of used to having make-up onstage and making our hair stand up and stuff like that already.
JRR: I think we talked about this a little earlier about Led Zeppelin but who or what inspires you musically? Where do you get your ideas for your songs?
DS: Of course there are. We read books, we watch movies, sometimes a song can come out of a beautiful scenery. And of course there’s the usual stuff like love and just our imagination.
JRR: So what do you guys do when you’re not playing music?
DS: Well, we don’t really do anything other than music these days. If we’re not at a live, we’re either rehearsing or making songs. I mean, other than music, all we really have in our lives right now is eating and sleeping.
JRR: I think a lot of people are curious how you guys met and actually formed as a band.
DS: First, YU-GIRI came to a live that MAYU was performing in and YU-GIRI asked MAYU if they could play together and be in a band together. And MAYU already knew REI as a good bassist and he showed REI a video of their live and REI said that he really wanted to play with this vocalist so now they had three people. And REI and NAO knew each other from before and they performed a live before and, you know, NAO is a good boy so they scouted him in to their band. But they were still missing a drummer and KAZAMI and MAYU were in the same high school together. So they were just talking to each other, catching up on how their bands were doing and, you know, they were missing a drummer and KAZAMI listened to a demo tape with YU-GIRI’s singing and he wanted to join the band. And that’s how they formed.
JRR: So you guys must have been performing music from a very young age. How did you guys get in to that? What made you start?
KAZAMI: I started playing classic piano when I was three and that was how I entered the music scene.
REI: My old sister was always into music and, you know, being her little brother I was interested in what she was doing and that’s how I started getting in to music.
NAO: Well, in junior high a bunch of my friends and I were talking about all these really cool bands like Nirvana and just watching them made me want to play the guitar.
MAYU: Well, in junior high I was watching music shows on TV and I really thought guitars were cool. And I had a neighbor who was a rockin’ middle-aged woman—I mean like, she would walk her dog carrying a guitar! So I went and talked to her and said “I want to play the guitar! Can I borrow your guitar?” And that’s how I started.
YU-GIRI: Well, I borrowed a CD of X from a friend in junior high and I took it home and listened to it and lightning just shot through my body. And that’s how I got into music.
JRR: So switching to your new single in October. What would you like fans to take away from your music and the new single?
DS: Well, if you pay attention to the lyrics, we tried to put in feelings that there are a lot of choices in life and out of all those choices, sometimes you are going to fail. Sometimes there are going to be sad things or tough things but, to summarize shortly, we basically wanted to communicate the feeling of not giving up. We’re hoping that whenever our listener feels like they don’t want to go to school or they don’t want to go to work that this music can be a strength they can rely on to find the strength within themselves to go on. But the sound is heavy and passionate.
JRR: That’s a beautiful sentiment.
DS: Ah, thank you.
JRR: Can I ask where the name actually came from? Daizy Stripper?
DS: Daizy is…cute. Stripper is…erotic. Cute and erotic!
JRR: Is that how you guys describe yourselves? [Laughs]
DS: Very cute and very erotic!
JRR: So what are your plans for the future? For the sound of the band and for places you want to tour.
DS: This is our first time in the U.S. and outside of Japan, and it’s really made us want to perform more lives overseas. Perform overseas, release CDs overseas and just create a music that surpasses borders. That’s going to be our goal in the future.
JRR: And lastly, can you give a message to your fans in the United States, please?
DS: Well, this is our first U.S. performance but after we go back we’ll work hard at our music so that we can come back again someday. So, for the people that come to our performance, we want them to remember our sound and remember us and, of course, visit our homepage. It’s on Myspace and you can watch videos, too.
Interview by Maria
Transcription by Kia
Special thanks to Yaz Noya