The Killing Red Addiction played the Whisky a GoGo on June 22nd. The show has been touted as energetic, damn near violent with original songs and covers of Sex Pistols. JrockRevolution.com had the opportunity to sit down with the members of The Killing Red Addiction to talk about the show, the past and the future. Enjoy!
Please introduce yourselves for all of the fans overseas who may not know about this project yet.
Tatsu: Tatsu on guitar.
Tommy: I’m Tommy on vocals.
Kenzi: I’m Kenzi on the drums.
Taiji: Taiji on bass.
You guys did a show last night at the Whisky A Go-Go, how did it go?
Kenzi: The Whisky is a legendary, long running venue. I was happy that I was able to do my stunt of breaking a fluorescent light with my head there. It was fun. I think it was my first time doing something like that at a traditional venue. I got to play drums after smashing my head with a fluorescent light… For me personally, that was great. As far as the rest of the show goes, there’s nothing to be afraid of when you have these 4 guys in a band, so it felt good drumming.
Tommy: Yeah, they were very open-minded to let us use the fluorescent light.
Kenzi: Yes, because most places deny that. It’s especially strict in the United States. So I’m grateful that I got to do it.
Yesterday’s show was your first show ever as the band, The Killing Red Addiction. Why did you choose to do your first show in the United States?
Tommy: It’s sort of a wrong reason… We haven’t revealed the reason because we thought people might be upset with us until we do more as a band together. But we had to do this in America.
Were you aware of your international fan base before last night’s show?
Tommy: Well Kenzi and Tatsu are connected through MySpace, and Taiji also has a street team through MySpace.
Did you use those outlets to spread the word?
Tommy: Well yes, but we didn’t do too much promoting. Personally, I told my friends who are living over here about it, partly because I thought I better tell them I’m coming. We haven’t even made it public in Japan.
So last night’s show must have been very exclusive!
Tommy: Yes, it would be more appropriate to call it the "0th" show rather than the 1st show.
Was the Whiskey A Go-go a good venue for that then?
Since you performed your debut show in the U.S., can we expect a U.S. release?
Tommy: That’s still undecided.
How did the four of you come together to form a band?
Tommy: I was making a movie, and I’m not as knowledgeable about music so I brought in Taiji as the music director. When I asked him to do the job, he agreed to it pleasantly. The work together turned out amazing, and it was really fun. Then I had Tatsu come in as the music producer, and it all started there.
Is this band a long-term project?
Tommy: We haven’t thought about that at all. The reason we started this is well, we wanted to do something. I had a personal reason, and it turned out like this. Well that personal reason is the wrong reason that I mentioned before that I can’t reveal yet. I will definitely let you know after we’ve done more work, but if I say it now people might think, "oh my god why?"
How would you describe the Killing Red Addiction’s sound?
[After a pause]
Taiji: Well it comes from the spirits. If we claim that it sounds a certain way, it’s no fun. A band’s sound comes from the spirits, and none of us want to claim that it’s set in a certain way so that’s why we all got quiet, and we can’t be answering questions like this.
Tatsu: As long as it’s fun right?
So it seems like you aren’t restricted in a certain way?
Tommy: Not at all. When we’re asked about music… it’s difficult. I don’t even know.
Tatsu: We’ve all done it for so long.
Could it be that each of your experiences and musical backgrounds have come together in any way?
Tommy: Not necessarily. I mean, our musical genres are different. And me, I don’t even like music.
Tatsu: Well I think it’s a great coincidence that all of our footsteps came together at this age… It’s not that easy to start a band.
Kenzi: Our musical style is different but we accept each other.
Tatsu: We all respect one another.
Tommy: It’s like the outcasts of society came together.
Tatsu: There aren’t too many people that I have respect for, and it’s rare that the four of us come together. I personally believe it’s a miraculous fortune that we’re here. I didn’t think I’d ever be in a band again.
What are your influences in songwriting?
Tommy: I’m more into doing things as a band, not specifically music. Hmm, how can I explain. This is only for Japan, but for example, not everyone in the Japanese bike gangs are into motorcycles. They like to have fun with their crew and take it to the limit. It’s kind of like that. We’re all people who can’t live normally in society… We’re all living beautifully in "our" own society. I don’t like music but I like doing things as a band. There’s a difference there, so I don’t know how to answer a question like this.
When you have free time, what do you like to do?
Kenzi: I like to take my dog for a walk.
Oh yeah? What kind of dog do you have?
Kenzi: Maltese. I like taking it for a walk and greeting my neighbors.
How about everyone else?
Tommy: Well I’m usually doing work…[laughs] But I like soccer.
Have you been watching the games lately?
Tommy: Japan isn’t that good…
They’ve been in the World Cup for the last few times haven’t they?
Tommy: Yeah, but they’re not too good. But I still like watching France and Brazil. I like to go to the games when I go to Europe.
Tatsu: I like being the "one man band" on my computer at my house. Or I go out and drink if Tommy calls me.
There will be a lot of U.S. readers and other overseas fans reading this interview, are there U.S. or international artists that you are influenced by or like listening to?
Tommy: The Sex Pistols, Clash… around there.
Kenzi: I also like the Sex Pistols… I like Marilyn Manson too. I’m not necessarily influenced by him but I like his aura.
Tatsu: Iggy Pop, PJ Harvey. The Sex Pistols and Clash were my starting points. I’m also into GBH and 80’s hardcore.
What is the CD or artist that you’ve been listening to the most lately?
Tommy: Exile [laughs]. The Stooges, and the Timers [Japanese rock band]. You know how Kiyoshiro Imawano recently died? I’ve been listening to the Timers in his memory.
Taiji: Fujio Yamaguchi [Japanese guitarist].
Have you had any free time since you arrived in LA?
Kenzi: Yes, and I went shopping. I went to Ross and bought a pink baseball glove. I’m so happy about it!
Tommy: I don’t know if I’d call it free time… but we may have some after this.
Are there any other cities in the US that you’ve been to? If so, please share some stories.
Tatsu: I was very happy to have been at the Whisky A Go-Go, I hadn’t been there in 20 years. I didn’t think I’d ever be in the U.S. again.
Kenzi: it was memorable when I went to New York with Tommy and we stayed at the Chelsea Hotel, where it’s said Sid Vicious murdered Nancy. We almost missed out flights the next day…
It seems to me that Japanese culture, whether it is anime, music, or fashion, has been getting more popular here in recent years. How do you feel about that?
Tommy: I want everyone to watch more "Baki the Grappler"
Tatsu: Go Dir en grey!
Tommy: Oh you mean music too, then yes, Dir en grey!
Ok, so what do you think is a precious gift from Japan that everyone around the world should know?
Tatsu: Dir en grey.
Tommy: Dir en grey and Baki the Grappler.
Kenzi: Dir en grey.
Taiji: The Killing Red Addiction.
There are a lot of Visual kei bands out there right now. Do you think Visual kei has a new meaning now from when you started your respective bands? Could it have become a trend now? Please tell me how you feel about it.
Kenzi: Yes, there’s clearly a difference. Back in the day, there were bands, but people would try to do things differently. Nowadays, there’s one band, and everyone copies off of them. A lot of vocalists are imitating Kyo from Dir en grey.
Tommy: I don’t think our breed of Visual kei exists anymore. Well there’s Dir en grey and some other bands that we’re friends with… but other than that I don’t think there are any more. [The newer bands]. Their origins have nothing to do with how we formed bands. Because don’t these new bands actually enjoy playing music? Some of us like to play music too, but I think there’s something more important than that. These new bands like to play music and do something for society… we don’t have that. They want to be famous and do good for people. They encourage people to go green, or help the poor. I think those are good things, but to me it seems like they are simply pawns of the government. It’s a good thing to help people but by doing that, they’re making politicians happy. You know, we despise the government, whether it be Japan or any where else. They’re all pawns of the government. If I saw a poor man that was on the verge of dying, I’m sure I would help him, but I don’t want to preach to society to do the same.
What do you feel is most different in the music business from the 80’s or the 90’s?
Tatsu: Well now, it’s hard to live…
Tommy: Back then there was nothing. Now, it seems like everyone can do it.
Kenzi: Yeah, it’s a lot different from how it used to be. Anyone can do anything now. For instance when you’re recording, back then it was all analog, but now you can do anything you want with digital technology.
Right, you can even record an album in your room now.
Kenzi: Well that’s a good thing. Back then, there weren’t many guidelines or manuals to go by. There weren’t many respected figures in Japan yet, so we all had to think for ourselves.
Tommy: Nowadays, kids from good homes are starting bands… kids whose lives are going perfectly, and their parents are supporting them. It makes me laugh.
Tatsu: It’s not something you can learn from going to school either.
Tommy: I think you could. They can learn to do what they want to do, but you can’t learn to do what we’re doing.
What’s in store for The Killing Red Addiction from now? Can we expect more shows?
Tommy: I think we’ll do shows. I brought everyone here so we need to do something.
Please give us a message for all of your international fans.
Tommy: Please watch over us with open hearts.
Interview conducted by: Akiko M.
Edited by: Ali W.
Photos by: Valerie
Photos appear courtesy of The Killing Red Addiction and ONEANN, Inc.
Special thanks to The Killing Red Addiction and ONEANN, Inc. for their hospitality.
Check out the live report of the show right here!