Just in case you can’t get enough of MUCC, here’s a little something we’ve been saving! We interviewed MUCC just before they embarked on their Taste of Chaos tour in the U.S., and they didn’t hold back in sharing their thoughts on the tour, what they hoped to experience, and what they hoped to convey to the audiences.
JRR: Please introduce yourselves.
MIYA: I am the guitarist, MIYA.
YUKKE: I am the bassist, YUKKE.
JRR: We are very excited that you will be participating in the ROCKSTAR Taste of Chaos Tour. What are your thoughts on having spent ten years as a band together?
MIYA: Even though ten years sounds like a long time, it doesn’t really feel that long to us. We are very happy that, after ten years, we are able to participate in this long tour, the RTOC in
JRR: What are your expectations for the tour?
MIYA: Well, we have never done a tour in
JRR: After ten years of being a band together, what do you think has changed in you, and what has stayed the same?
MIYA: Well, MUCC is the band that we started back in junior high/high school, so our feelings of friendship are still the same. However, the way we see performing music is very different from when we first started in school, when we played just for fun.
YUKKE: I think it’s great that we have been able to maintain this relationship after ten years. We have kept our friendship intact; also, in addition to that, we now share the same experiences of becoming adults and of working.
JRR: During your ten years together as a band, how did you balance what you would like to do and what you must do or have to do?
MIYA: Well, when we do things we want to do, naturally things we must do appear, as well. Sometimes to be able to do what we want or like to do, there are also things we must do first. We just try to enjoy whatever comes our way.
JRR: When you first started out as a band just for fun, were you able to envision the band one day being on top of the ORICON Charts?
MIYA: We didn’t think about it at all at the time. But once we started playing, we wanted more people to hear our music.
JRR: In the past, your music and lyrics were darker and were of more depressing subjects; your recent work has lighter subjects and a lighter sound. What caused you to undergo this transition?
MIYA: It wasn’t as much a transition as that we became such people. In the past, our personalities were gloomier and our way of thinking was gloomy, too. Having experienced working with different types of music and experiencing more things as adults, we want to do more various types of music. We have become more cheerful and spirited.
JRR: Are there any particular experiences that made you more cheerful?
YUKKE: No, it’s not like that. (Laughs.)
JRR: The bands that will play at the RTOC mostly have very heavy sounds, so the audience that comes for those bands will be expecting heavy music. You have expressed in an earlier interview that you would like to perform your newer, brighter songs. How will you manage to keep the balance with the other bands?
MIYA: We have a lot of different music. In fact, there are several bands that we like from the RTOC. We would like to pick the songs that have a stronger Japanese image to perform to the audience. I think those will represent us better.
JRR: Of your recent music, which ones do you feel have that Japanese image you want to convey to the audience?
MIYA: I think “FUZZ” sounds Japanese. The music and the lyrics both have a strong Japanese feel. In our album to be released in March, we will have a blend of Japanese style and not-so-Japanese style songs.
JRR: What was the filming for the PV of “FUZZ” like?
MIYA: We filmed the PV in the countryside—very, very countryside. In
JRR: You mentioned earlier that there are several bands from RTOC that you like. Which bands are those?
MIYA: AVENGED SEVENFOLD. Recently, they came to
[Ed. Note: “FUZZ” can be heard during the hit monster movie Cloverfield.]
JRR: When you go to watch someone else’s live, what do you like to see in a performance?
MIYA: Well, it’s really different seeing a foreign band perform here in
YUKKE: I’ve only seen one live overseas, and I don’t really go see other bands’ lives—foreign or domestic—maybe going only a couple of times. But the biggest difference I felt was the audience’s reaction over there. When AVENGED SEVENFOLD came to
JRR: When you performed in
MIYA: Our first time there was with the Wacken Open Air Festival; we had no idea what it would be like to perform in a foreign country. We couldn’t sing in English, so everything was in Japanese. Most of the audience couldn’t understand us, but they seemed to enjoy our performance. The way they showed their enjoyment was completely different from the Japanese audience. Although the language was different, we were able to convey our songs through the melody and nuances. The audience seemed to enjoy it, so we were really happy.
JRR: Most overseas fans cannot understand Japanese, and your lyrics are often very intricate—sometimes they tell a story and are very descriptive. Are there any particular songs you would like the fans to understand the lyrics for?
MIYA: I think that Japanese is a very interesting language; some words, even when they’re written the exact same way, might have a different meaning depending on the pronunciation. Some of the songs are hard to understand if you have never lived in
JRR: Lyrics-wise, though, are there any songs that you would like the audience to understand the meaning for?
MIYA: Nothing in particular; it really depends on how a person enjoys music. For example, if I like an English song, I might decide to look up the meaning to that song. But I think that it is sufficient as long as whoever listening to the music enjoys it in his or her own way.
YUKKE: There isn’t really a song in particular. Everyone enjoys music differently. When we performed overseas, there were people who probably found the meanings to the lyrics and sang along during the performance. Others just enjoyed the music and the melody.
JRR: MIYA was the one who composed “YASASHII UTA.” Is that correct?
JRR: Was there anything in particular that inspired you to write it?
MIYA: To me, it was a pop-ish, simple song. In the past, I never really wrote any songs that said, “Let’s enjoy this moment.” I think that it’s a big thing to be able to feel that way. If someone can’t think like that, they probably can’t last very long. I was like that before, but now the horizon, has widened so I am able to write music like this.
JRR: What was the deciding factor for the song selection for the BEST OF MUCC and WORST OF MUCC?
MIYA: All the songs in BEST OF MUCC are singles; the songs for WORST OF MUCC were either songs that were not singles, but we felt are representational of MUCC, or songs that were made before our major debut and are now out of print.
JRR: Why did you decide to title it WORST OF MUCC?
MIYA: It was simply to be the opposite of “best.” (Laughs.) It doesn’t have any negative connotations. Of course, the singles songs are easier to listen to, but we have a big variety of songs—like light and dark; if something has an exterior, it must also have an interior. The interior may be a completely different character and/or something unique. We felt that the listeners can know us better and enjoy our music better if they see both of our sides.
JRR: Will your new album be more of the bright side or the dark side?
MIYA: (Laughs.) I think it will have a mix of things. It might be completely different, too.
JRR: You will be touring with RTOC, the biggest tour you have done outside of
MIYA: Well…. If we have time, it’d be nice if we could do some sight-seeing; the schedule seems really tight and, when we are not performing, we are probably headed towards the next location.
JRR: Will you have your own tour bus?
MIYA: I think so.
JRR: What is your main method of transportation when on tour?
MIYA: The tour bus.
JRR: When you are in between shows traveling on the road, what do you do for fun?
MIYA: We usually sleep, play video games, or listen to music.
JRR: What games do you play?
MIYA: I don’t really play much, but TATSURO plays a lot.
JRR: What about YUKKE?
YUKKE: I don’t play a lot, but I think I will buy a few games to play on this tour.
JRR: What games do you want to play?
YUKKE: MONSTER HUNTER.
JRR: It’s really popular now, isn’t it?
YUKKE: Yeah, a lot of people are playing.
JRR: What kind of game is it?
YUKKE: I don’t really know, either. (Laughs.) But you can play with a few other people and go fight as a team. For example, if you have four people, all four can be a team and play. I think four is the maximum number of players possible.
JRR: Then it’s convenient that MUCC has four members.
JRR: Since TATSURO and satoCHI are not here, what would you like to say about them?
MIYA: (Laughs.) Well, TATSURO is the vocalist of MUCC, and he’s an unusual guy who’s capable of singing unusual songs. He’s an interesting guy. satoCHI is the kind of drummer that shows more of his passionate groove than just focusing on the techniques.
JRR: Who is the most passionate (Japanese: atsui) person amongst the four of you?
MIYA: I think I am.
JRR: But you act so cool.
MIYA: That’s one of the more interesting, multi-meaning words of Japanese. There are different types of “passionate.”
JRR: Which type are you?
MIYA: I am very passionate about my music work.
JRR: Your PV for “FUZZ” has very strong images. When the video was completed and you looked at it for the first time, what did you feel?
MIYA: It was better than I had expected.
YUKKE: We didn’t have to retake anything; it was okayed in one sitting.
JRR: Did you come up with the concept?
MIYA: We had some ideas and also consulted the director.
JRR: For the “LIBRA” PV, was it also your own idea or did you come up with the concept after consulting the director?
MIYA: We consulted the director.
JRR: For the RTOC tour, what are things that you think you can predict, and things you can’t predict at all?
MIYA: Something we can predict is that we will definitely miss eating real Japanese food. What we can’t predict is that, because this will be our first time touring so much in a foreign land, if our health can hold up.
JRR: What do you do to protect your health when you are touring for a long period of time? Such as that YUKKE has just quit smoking recently.
MIYA: Hmm… Gargling. Everyone catches colds easily. I don’t really—but, even if I don’t think I caught the cold, I seem to pass it on to the others.
JRR: When you opened for GUNS’N’ROSES a couple of years ago, there was a fan that described on a blog post an incident that took place there. According to the blog, the audience was upset because GUNS’N’ROSES took longer than they were meant to to get ready and you had to extend your opening act. A lot of your overseas fans have no way of finding out, and are really upset that you might have been disrespected [by the audience]. Could you tell us what really happened?
MIYA: There probably have been speculations or people writing about it online; in reality, there was just one guy who started booing and the others around him were trying to stop him, which caused some havoc. It wasn’t like there was a group of people booing us. He was escorted out by the security soon after. In opposition to that one guy, there were also people who clapped for us to show us support. There are just people like that every once in a while. We understood that the audience was there to see GUNS’N’ROSES; most of them did not even know who we were, so they were probably impatient and wanted to see GUNS’N’ROSES as soon as possible.
JRR: Thank you for letting us know what really happened.
In preparation for the RTOC tour, do you have any plans to learn English?
MIYA: I’d like to learn some conversational English. Otherwise, it will be difficult communicating with the other bands. I want to learn at least the basics. For example, if I wanted to tell the members of AVENGED SEVENFOLD that I liked their performance, I wouldn’t know what to say.
JRR: Say, “It was great!!”
MIYA: Yeah something like that. I’d like to learn some more words.
YUKKE: Every time I come back to
JRR: Will you be bringing a translator with you?
JRR: Out of the bands that you are looking forward to play with, what are your favorite songs?
MIYA: I liked the first song ATREYU played at the final show of FAMILY VALUES TOUR 2007, but I don’t know the title of the song.
YUKKE: I like AVENGED SEVENFOLD and I think they are great, but I don’t know the titles of the songs that I like.
JRR: Do you hang out with each other when you are not doing band activities?
MIYA: We really don’t have much time for anything other than work-related activities. We used to in the past, though; we’d go gamble together.
MIYA: Yeah… pachinko. There was one time that we didn’t tell each other we were going, but we all went there at the same time by pure coincidence. (Laughs.)
JRR: Would you like to go gambling in
MIYA: Oh… yeah, probably. I hadn’t really been to a casino before—since there are no casinos in
JRR: Do you like arcades?
MIYA: I haven’t gone to one recently, but we all like arcades.
JRR: If you could take a vacation for a month, what would you like to do as a band and what would you like to do individually?
MIYA: If I had a month, I’d probably go travel—either within
YUKKE: Me, too.
JRR: Which countries would you like to go to?
YUKKE: I’d like to go to
JRR: Do you like Thai food?
JRR: So you like spicy food?
YUKKE: I can’t really eat spicy food, but I like it.
JRR: Are there good Thai restaurants around here?
JRR: What do you usually order?
YUKKE: Kapow. (Stir fried ground meat with rice)
JRR: What did you eat last time when you came for the Jrock Revolution festival?
YUKKE: Udon. (Laughs.) But it tasted completely different.
JRR: There are a few really decent Japanese restaurants in
MIYA: We know there’re a lot of Japanese restaurants there, and some of them are pretty good. But the American Denny’s is completely different from the Denny’s in
JRR: Oh, yes.
MIYA: We were really surprised that it was like a fast food place.
JRR: Did you have hamburgers there?
MIYA/YUKKE: Yes. And French toast.
JRR: We were also surprised that it’s very different here.
MIYA: Yeah; here in
JRR: When you went to
JRR: Something you didn’t expect, that you thought was weird.
YUKKE: Well, it wasn’t something weird, but the day that we got there, there was a premiere or event for Pirates of the
JRR: What do you feel when you see someone cosplaying as you?
YUKKE: I think it’s great. A lot of them do a really good job. I even think they look better than the real person!
JRR: Is there anything about Japanese culture that you would like to teach to overseas fans?
JRR: Can you do it?
MIYA: No, I can’t.
MIYA: There are a lot of things that are interesting about the Japanese culture, especially those that involve manners and etiquette. It’s completely different from “tea time.”
YUKKE: I’m thinking about budou (martial arts)—such as judo—that originated from
JRR: Can you write calligraphy?
YUKKE: Yes, I did up till I was in fifth grade; I am about a level 2.
JRR: What are your favorite characters to write?
YUKKE: My own name.
YUKKE: No, my real name. (Laughs.) For our last album, which was titled GOKUSAI, the characters were really fun to write.
JRR: Nowadays, most people use the computer or their cell phones to send messages, and they have few chances to actually write kanji. There is a fear that more and more people will forget how to write kanji. What do you think the outlook is on that?
MIYA: I think that there are already many people in that situation. Most people can’t read or write kanji as well as the people in the past.
JRR: YUKKE, how did your name come about?
YUKKE: It’s been my nickname since I was little, because my real name is YUSUKE.
JRR: We thought you liked eating YUKKE very much, and thus, the name. (Translator’s Note: yukke is Korean marinated beef sashimi.)
YUKKE: I do like eating it. But I didn’t name myself after that, no.
JRR: What about MIYA?
MIYA: I got mine from my real name, too.
JRR: Are there any Japanese words in particular that you would like to teach the overseas fans?
MIYA: MUCC’s song titles.
JRR: Any one in particular?
MIYA: Probably from our new album to be released in March. We haven’t really decided yet, though.
JRR: What about YUKKE?
YUKKE: Most people over there only call him by “SATO” because they cannot read the hiragana “CHI,” so it’d be nice if people can remember his name right.
JRR: You’re so thoughtful of your bandmate!
JRR: What music have you listened to recently?
MIYA: Old records. Some have been made into CDs, but I like the old records.
JRR: Any type of music in particular?
MIYA: Dance music. House.
JRR: Do you like dancing?
JRR: So do you go to clubs to dance?
JRR: Are you a good dancer?
MIYA: Well, there isn’t really a dance style that I dance to; I just go with the flow.
JRR: Do you and the other band members go together?
MIYA: No, usually just myself and a friend.
JRR: What about YUKKE? What music have you been listening to lately?
YUKKE: I’ve been listening to a Japanese girls’ band; it’s rock, but they play a variety of music. It’s really interesting.
JRR: Do you dance?
YUKKE: Hmm? Me? No, I don’t go to clubs to dance.
JRR: What about at home, when you listen to music?
YUKKE: Well, sort of. I don’t know if you’d call that a dance, though. (Laughs.)
JRR: What do you think it is that kept you together as a band for the past ten years?
MIYA: Musically, we’ve always chosen to do what we wanted to do; at the same time, we shift our focus (balance) over time to keep things elaborate and interesting.
JRR: What would you like to see happen in the next ten years?
MIYA: We haven’t really thought of that. We could be disbanded or still going on.
JRR: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
MIYA: I think I will still be doing music.
JRR: Have you ever thought of doing anything besides being a musician?
MIYA: Something with cars.
YUKKE: Soccer player.
JRR: Did you play soccer in school?
YUKKE: Just for fun. I also wanted to be a ping-pong player.
JRR: We understand all four of you are from
MIYA: Erm, it’s probably a place you’d visit after you’ve been in
YUKKE: You’re probably better off going to
JRR: What else is
MIYA: Natto (fermented soy beans).
JRR: Do you like natto?
MIYA: I love it.
JRR: To a lot of non-Japanese people, natto is a really awkward and interesting food.
MIYA: Just like blue cheese.
JRR: You probably receive a lot of fan mail and gifts. What do you usually do with those?
MIYA: We use them. For example, if it’s a shirt, I’d probably wear it.
JRR: Is there something you would like to get from the fans?
MIYA: Not really… I’d buy it myself. The heart is the most important.
YUKKE: Yes, the thought is the most important.
JRR: How about a hug?
JRR: Could you give a message to your overseas fans?
MIYA: Yeah… We feel very honored to be able to take part in such a long tour in
YUKKE: There will probably be people there who have already seen us, but most of them will have never heard of us before. We will be touring many places this time—so if we are close to your city, please come by, bring a friend, and come watch our performance.