Duel Jewel was the first visual Jrock band to ever play in the United States. They toured the anime convention circuit back in 2002. Their success encouraged other anime conventions to bring in Japanese artists. We were enthralled to welcome Duel Jewel back for Jrock Revolution!
JRR: How did you become involved with J-rock Revolution?
Duel Jewel: We just had a tour in Japan and by our schedule, it was impossible to do. We had done events in the US before but nothing as big as this, and so we want to be part of J-Rock Revolution no matter what. There are so many great bands coming to this festival.
JRR: Duel Jewel began the trend of visual kei bands performing in the U.S. Did you ever think that such an event like J-Rock Revolution would happen? Please explain why.
Duel Jewel: There was no preparation done when we came to US the first time, but so many people attended our first show. That made us think something big might happen in the future, but it was impossible to imagine having such a big event like JRR – so many great bands and such a big venue. I am sure it took a long time to prepare. It was five years ago when we first came to US, so five years later, the US is having a big visual kei event. This is very historic.
JRR: Do you think J-rock Revolution will differ from or be similar to your past musical experiences?
Duel Jewel: Now that we are touring in Japan as a headliner band, that gives us more time to perform; but at JRR, we do not get that much time. We will play some songs, which the US audience probably would know, and some songs that are important to us. We will try our best set list in the short time we have. We also have new costumes which we only wore once in Japan so far.
JRR: Are you looking forward to seeing any of the other artists perform? If so, which ones?
Duel Jewel: We think every band at JRR is great. If we could, we want to see all of them especially Merry, but we have to leave to Japan on the 2nd day.
JRR: What kind of impact do you want your performance to have?
Duel Jewel: We have wide range of variety in our songs. We have pop, ballad, hard, and other kind of songs. We would like to show a good variety of songs in a short amount of time.
JRR: Before your Project A-Kon appearance in 2002, Duel Jewel’s membership changed several times, but it has remained the same since then. Do you think that Duel Jewel’s overseas experiences caused this to stabilize? What do you think helps this stability?
Duel Jewel: We are not consciously trying to keep a good friendship or anything. Sometimes it’s good to have fights, I guess. Actually, we have a family style BBQ celebration. We just had one right before we came to the US. We see each other almost everyday for work so it’s hard to hang out in private. We actually make time for BBQ to simply hang out and spend time together.
JRR: How many times did you have this BBQ celebration?
Duel Jewel: We didn’t do it last year but the year before that we did. We have already done it three or four times. Yuya actually felt into the river during one once. The water was so cold!
JRR: Do you have any other plans for your visit to the U.S.? Besides the festival, is there anything in particular you are looking forward to doing or seeing?
Duel Jewel: We wanted to go see the Dodgers game last night, but we didn’t have time. If we have time, we want to see the beach. We also bought some candy called “Mike and Ike” that we really liked!
JRR: What were your earlier experiences for shows in the United States like?
Duel Jewel: We were able to bring our lighting and PA crew from Japan to help us for this JRR. It’s great! But when we came to the US before for a concert, we had to do everything ourselves… like… they told us to come in during the middle of the night for rehearsal, and so we showed up and saw that the concert hall wasn’t even set up yet! We had to help to set-up the stage. Another time was when we were in the middle of the rehearsals but the staff started letting people into the concert hall… and many more episodes. In the end, these experiences made us nothing but stronger.
JRR: If you could describe your music in three words, what would they be?
Duel Jewel: Alcohol, Cigarette, Women (laughs)
JRR: Please describe your experience while making Visions.
Duel Jewel: When we were making Visions, we changed our management. The support team helped us along as well as other professionals and experienced staff who gave us advice. For Visions, we recorded with a Scottish musician. All of the dramatic changes made us see a bigger, clear picture of ourselves.
JRR: What are some of your plans for the future? Where would you like to be in five years? Ten years?
Duel Jewel: We are not sure if we will be alive after 5 or 10 years. Our life style is unhealthy like that (laughs) … We hope to have a nation tour in US and an Arena tour in Japan. We would like to keep having concerts with these 5 members. We are also having a new single released in July and a nation tour in Japan.
JRR: What are some of your current influences or favorite artists?
Hayato: Jimmy Eat World & Cold Play
Shun: My chemical Romance
Yuya: Jackson 5
Natsuki: I like female vocals…
Val: Instrumental stuff… Taro Hakase
JRR: Message to American fans:
Duel Jewel: It has been awhile since our last live in the US, but we will keep coming back. Please listen to our CD and remember us! Come to Japan for our shows too! We are looking forward to seeing you all!