Following their U.S. debut performance at this year’s Oni-Con, JrockRevolution.com had a chance to sit down with the band as they enjoyed Arby’s 100% Roast Beef sandwiches.
What do you play and how long have you played your instrument?
TOSSY: When I was in high school, my classmates were in a woodwind ensemble. There were drums that no one was playing and I was asked to fill in and play the drums. That’s how I got started and I’ve been playing for ten years.
Shutaro: I’ve been playing the guitar for the last ten years, but I’ve only been singing since Gakido was formed.
Yuu: I’ve been playing guitar for about seven years. I’ve always really liked Metallica – I always thought they sounded really, really cool. I felt, ‘how do I do that? I want to make that sound!’ So I bought a guitar and I started working with it. Except with the guitar by itself, I couldn’t make that sound, so I thought, ‘how do I do this? This doesn’t sound anything like Metallica!’ But then I bought an amp and it was like ‘wow, that’s really cool!’ And that’s how I got started and that was about seven years ago.
Yohya: I sing. I’ve been singing for a really long time. I’ve always liked singing since I was little. I used to sing in karaoke and sing with friends. So when I was thinking of my future and what I should do as an adult, I thought I should do something I really like. So I’ve been singing for about ten years.
Rito: I’ve been playing bass for about ten years. I was really inspired by Tetsu from L’arc-En-Ciel, who plays bass. The way he played was really amazing and it was so cool that he could affect people and make them happy, seeing their smiling faces when he played. I mean, he didn’t just play, he sang, too. But I was moved by how he could affect people at lives and their emotions and make them happy. I saw him as sort of being a similar style to me and that’s how I got started playing bass. That was maybe ten years ago.
For many bands, the magic number is five for members. Why six members?
Gakido: Because no one else was doing it.
Is this also why you have three vocalists? As well as lyrics in Korean & Japanese?
Gakido: We chose more than one vocalist because the harmony is beautiful. We chose Korean and Japanese because no one else was doing it! We would have no competition [for our style of music].
What got you into Visual Kei? Why Visual Kei?
Gakido: In Japan, the different genres of music are very strict in how they operate. Such as with Rock – if you’re a Rock vocalist, you’re restricted musically about what you can produce. You’re expected to do specific things within the Rock genre. That’s the same with Pop and ‘regular’ genres. We realized it was so much easier to express… really, anything we wanted to musically and lyrically in Visual Kei. That’s what really inspired us. If we want to express what we want to and not be constricted musically, then we can go with Visual Kei and have inspirations from Rock, Pop or any genre and still do it well and have people enjoy it. There are fewer boundaries.
Were you aware there was already a strong international fanbase for Visual Kei when you started out?
Gakido: Actually, we didn’t know about it at all.
Have you been able to see fans or be aware of them online, such as MySpace or Facebook?
Gakido: We’ve seen them through our blogs and MySpace. We each have our own Ameba and we’ve been able to interact with some international fans that way.
Yesterday was your U.S. debut performance. What was your most memorable moment?
Gakido: Everything about the concert was so different from Japan. The audience’s reaction was so much bigger – it was everything. It was so different, it’s impossible to pinpoint just one moment.
Where would you perform internationally now that the world is your stage?
Gakido: Europe. Maybe Los Angeles.
Earlier this year, you released a maxi-single/DVD, what releases are you working on?
Gakido: We ‘re working on the next release right now with our new member, [Kahiro]. He’ll be singing with us on it.
What can you tell us about the new member?
Gakido: He’s a hot vocalist.
Will he sing in Korean and Japanese also?
Gakido: Yes, he’s been practicing!
Outside music, what hobbies do you all enjoy?
TOSSY: I enjoy cooking and drinking sake. Watching comedies… while drinking sake.
Shutaro: I love sleeping all day long. Online shopping, flipping through things.
Yuu: Video games.
Yohya: Doing nails. Shopping.
Rito: Going shopping. Playing video games. Right now I’m playing Final Fantasy 4 on my DS. I played all of the Final Fantasy games. Now I’m just going back to play more.
Other than the release coming up, what else can we look forward to from Gakido?
Gakido: We have a one-man live in November with the new vocalist. Some other things [to be seen in the future].
Have you been able to sightsee yet? Anything in the U.S.?
Gakido: Yuu and Yohya have been to Hawaii, but none of us had been to the mainland before. We haven’t had time to do any sightseeing yet. We want to do some shopping. Some people were recommending the Galleria, so we’re looking forward to checking that out!
What message would you like to give to your fans?
Gakido: We’ve been able to reach a lot of people so far. We’re really excited about our music reaching lots of different people. We’re hoping in the future that we can meet with those people and have our music influence them and see them and reach as many people as we can. That’s what we’re looking forward to the most.
Our thanks to CURE Media USA and Gakido for the wonderful opportunity!