Interview with FAKE?
June 2009: FAKE? one of the most dynakmic rock bands from Japan, held their first U.S. concert at AnimeNext in Somerset, New Jersey and JrockRevolution.com was presented a chance to sit down with the lyrical mastermind Ken Lloyd about the band, the packed lives in Japan, and how FAKE? has and continues to mesmerize fans internationally through the music scene.
Vocals – Ken Lloyd
Guitar – Mine
Bass – FIRE
DJ – DJ Bass
Drum – Masuo
Programmer – D-kiku
JRR: Are you really excited about playing your first U.S. concert?
Ken: Yup, first U.S. concert and everyone is really pumped up and ready to go.
JRR: I know that you are currently working on a new album for FAKE? What can you tell us about the album?
Ken: It will be produced by Youth, a producer called Youth and it’s going to be more mixed with all kinds of genres. It’s going to be dance, lots of rock, lots of experimenting…that’s about it and the rest we’re going to see what happens in the studio.
JRR: Do you get inspiration from one main place or different places when you’re writing songs?
Ken: I get inspired from everywhere. Sometimes I will get inspired by a film or…I mean there’s one song, one new song I don’t even know if we’re going to choose it for the album but one recent song I wrote was inspired by an evil Michael Jackson. It just sounded like he would be perfect to sing, you know? So, it’s not all inspired by one thing.
JRR: You mentioned movies and a couple of years ago you had a couple of songs in the Taiwanese movie, “Lullabye Before I Wake”, which featured Oblivion Dust’s song Lullaby on the soundtrack and BLURRED was in the trailer. Would you want to release FAKE? songs in international movie soundtracks in the future as well?
Ken: Sure, but I wasn’t aware of that movie. I kind of heard that but I didn’t really know until really recently. Someone came up to me and said, “You know you have an Oblivion Dust song on a movie soundtrack” and I was kinda like, “Really?” So yeah, I don’t really mind. Yeah, of course, FAKE? would be good in movies. There’s some good stuff from the new album that would be perfect for movies.
JRR: In your previous albums, Songs from Beelzebub and Marilyn is a Bubble, there is a different sound and feel to each of those albums. With Songs from Beelzebub, the album had a dark edge, almost a rebellious tone and Marilyn is a Bubble was more like you wanting to come out of the ‘dark’ or ‘heavy’ phase and find more of a clean slate. This transition from Darkness to Light, was there a deeper meaning and feeling of the changing tones of these albums?
Ken: Well, I kind of wanted to…all the FAKE? albums up until then had kind of been like a collage. There was all kinds of music, all kinds of lyrics, just a mixture of everything and I kind of wanted to concentrate on doing one album really dark and kind of almost evil and not mix it with anything that was going to be kind of saying the opposite, you know? Like, I’ve had five songs singing about love and five songs singing about bad things so I just thought we’d split it and make one [album] completely evil and make one really pure and beautiful. So that was the main reason for it and to really be able to concentrate on separating it and doing one thing.
JRR: You speak about doing the differences between albums and as far as emotion wise, when you’re writing a song that has maybe a really deep emotional feeling, is it difficult to write and perform those types of songs or hard to get through if they have a deep meaning to you?
Ken: They’re all the same. I think writing wise, all the songs are pretty personal but some of the songs are more upfront and obvious and some of them are really kind of disguised with words but performing them, they’re all the same you know. In fact, I don’t feel any emotion when I’m performing. It’s like, I kind of feel numb almost. So it’s not like, “Wow! Yeah! This is great!” [laughs] or “Oh man, I’m sucking right now.” I don’t feel any of that, it’s just really natural and the movements during the show and all that, that’s all natural and comes from natural stuff. So, I don’t really feel that much emotion during the shows.
JRR: How did FAKE?s name come about?
Ken: We couldn’t think of anything. [laughs] that’s it. We were just like, “Well, people will probably gonna say we’re fake so….” [smiles] so, that was it. No real reason.
JRR: Well, I like FAKE?s name.
Ken: Thank you.
JRR: As far as FAKE? goes, when it started, in that time of Visual Kei and it was really popular with rock music, what was the deciding factor to not going the route of Visual Kei?
Ken: Well, I’ve never really been Visual Kei and it’s funny because some of the Visual Kei bands start of as Visual Kei but they end up not being Visual Kei, you know? So…why start anyway if…you know? It’s just not my thing, and I don’t think INORAN, when we started, wanted to do that either. He wanted to get away from Visual Kei, not that it was a bad thing, he just wanted to do something different with me. So yeah, we just wanted to keep it simple, no makeup…make it a bit more about the music more than the look, you know?
JRR: As far as the titles of the songs, some of them are pretty exotic and unique. When you’re thinking of the songs, do you write out a title first before thinking out the song or write the song first then the title comes afterwards?
Ken: No, titles come afterwards. But they’re not unique when we start off. We’ll make songs and call one ‘Pink’, one will be called ‘Green’, one will be called ‘Red’ and then we’ll be like, “Which song is which?” and in the end it all gets fixed but when they start off, they’re really simple….1, 2, 3..and then everyone doesn’t know what’s going on.
JRR: In a past blog post you said, “The Planet is coming” Was that a hint toward FAKE? doing an international tour?
Ken: I’ll let everyone figure that one out in a bit. It will all have meaning soon.
JRR: In relation to that with FAKE?s MySpace, were you creating it because it would be acceptable to international exposure and did that play a factor in FAKE? doing a U.S. live because of the huge fan base in the U.S. that interacts with you via the blog?
Ken: Well, when we made the MySpace with Oblivion Dust, I was telling everyone in Oblivion Dust that they should make a MySpace page for themselves? And everyone was like, “Why don’t you?” So I said yeah okay. So we all made each other’s MySpace pages and then I realized how many fans we had outside [of Japan] and until then I didn’t realize. And that’s when I really started thinking about it. And so yeah, in a way MySpace kind of made me think about it a lot. But it wasn’t really a big, huge reason why we started a MySpace it was just because Oblivion Dust had one so we made one for FAKE?
JRR: I know the fans really appreciate the posts you make on Oblivion Dust’s page and FAKE?s page and the post you mentioned recently about the live in Tokyo that got so out of hand, you actually had to have everyone calm down.
Ken: Yeah, it was crazy…
JRR: Are you hoping to recreate that atmosphere tonight?
Ken: Yeah and there’s no stores underneath today. But yeah, I’m hoping everyone will go crazy. That’s when I’m the happiest, that’s when the band is happiest.
JRR: Speaking of the band and just interacting on stage, is there anything you guys do traditionally before or after the live?
Ken: Well, some of the members are new, the first show we did was on the 2nd. [asks the others the question as well] We just joke around.
JRR: I actually wished to ask you about that; because I’ve heard that you like to play pranks. What’s the best prank you’ve ever played on someone?
Ken: The best prank? Well DJ Bass is the biggest prankster so he’s always making fun of everyone. Those two, Kiku and DJ Bass are the evil ones. And Fire and Mine are still new so they’re still well behaved. But the best prank I’ve done…. Mine keeps snoring. Is that a good prank? He’s been snoring the whole time we’ve been in New Jersey.
[Ken starts talking to Mine and the band laughs]
Mine: …Matte ne.. (…wait/wait a moment..) [the band laughs]
Ken: Oh! Mine was late onto the plane, he almost didn’t make it. He was basically late on the plane, we were waiting by the door, they were about to close it and I was like “No, no, wait, wait.” [laughs] I can’t think of my best prank but that one involving New Jersey is the best prank, but I guess it’s not really a prank.
JRR: I can see you guys really like to joke around and are very relaxed with each other.
Ken: Yeah, but on stage we’re serious…I think. I don’t know…I have my back turned to everyone.
JRR: The STATIC lives you’ve had in the past with FAKE? and various DJ’s, have been really great and successful. Do you have any plans to do more of those?
Ken: No, they were just kind of…because FAKE? wasn’t playing shows and I was busy doing Oblivion Dust and I kind of wanted to do something for the FAKE? fans since we weren’t doing any albums and it had been three years. So I wanted to do something for everyone and they were specifically for that. Maybe in the future, but that is like hard work, to do those, to set everything up. But not right now, I don’t have any planned.
JRR: And as far as working with other artists in general, are there any other artist you would like to work with? Another dream collaboration that you would like to have?
Ken: I always like working with everyone. Anyone I meet, I’m interested. Like this band is all new and I wanted to work with these guys. I’m just really open, we share the same vibe and it’s good for me too, to learn things, you know.
JRR: In a previous interview, you described Oblivion Dust in five words, “A Kiss and a Punch”. How would you describe FAKE?
Ken: A Tickle and a Kiss. Probably.
JRR: Where do you see FAKE? In two years?
Ken: In two years? Hopefully more international then we are. We’re just getting started and I finally really feel like I’ve got a really good strong band that I think I can take overseas so yeah, hopefully we can be international with a couple of good albums out there too.
JRR: Is there a message from the band that you would like to give to JrockRevolution.com and all the fans?
From the band: Ganbare masu! [everyone laughs]
Ken: Ganbare masu! [to help motivate the fans] is that cool?
JRR: Yes! Thank you!
Special thanks goes to FAKE? for taking the time for us.
And to Jhouserock.com and AnimeNext.org for making it possible.
Photos appear courtesy of Jhouserock.com.
Questions and Interview by: JaNaye
Edited by: Ali W.