JrockRevolution.com participated in a round robin style interview with ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D at AnimeNEXT in Somerset, NJ. The other two media outlets who participated alongside us in the interview were AllFiction and 91.8 The Fan.
Thanks to AnimeNEXT for filming the interview, which can be seen here:
Or, simply read our transcript of the interview below!
AllFiction: What was your first reaction to having your music featuring in an anime?
Shinnosuke: The first time when that happened, it didn’t hit me that hard. I do like anime, but it just wasn’t something that felt realistic so it just didn’t hit me that hard.
U: When I was told the news I was really happy, but when I was in the middle of making the music, it wasn’t hitting me: “Is this really actually going to play in an anime?!” But then once I watched it and when it actually did happen, that’s when it hit me and I was very happy about it.
2RASH: It’s actually a different feeling, even U said before – making music and then actually seeing it on the screen. I’ve watched anime, but it was a different experience from what I have experienced before, and also a different feeling than actually playing it for people at the live verses seeing it on screen. It’s like “Oh my god what is going on, this is crazy!” That’s the kind of feeling that I got.
98.1 The Fan: At the concert last night, Shinnosuke dedicated the song “Complication” to everyone suffering a hardship. He said he wrote it when he was considering leaving the music industry. What happened during that time and what brought you back into music?
Shinnosuke: After doing music for such a long time, starting from before debuting, and trying to continuing doing those things that you like for financial reasons…trying to follow through on your dreams is a very hard thing to do. And seeing as time goes on, seeing your friends having a real job and becoming financially stable, being able to push though and follow through with what you really want to do gets harder and harder. And you start getting hit with the reality that, “I might not be able to continue doing what I really want to do.” I was trying to get through that and the song was actually made. Once that song was made, I felt I wanted to dedicate it to these kinds of people, and it’s not just people in Japan that has problems like this, it’s overseas, in the US, and all over the world. That’s what the song is portraying.
JrockRevolution: When writing an album does the song order on the album matter, do the songs go together in a certain way?
Shinnosuke: We do feel that it’s something very important. All the member actually talk about it and try to figure out the shape of the album. Seeing this song, like “we want it here” in the line up of the songs, we even switch it up, or “during here we want this kind of song” or “here we want a different kind of song”. We make changes even after we create the songs. And thinking about it, also with the seconds such as “right here I want 1.5 seconds of this” or “.25 seconds of this here”, it’s something very important. The lineup of the songs is something we feel is very important in making an album.
AllFiction: During the concert you featured some American music in your line up, such as “I Got A Feeling” from Black Eyed Peas. Is American music a big influence in your music?
Shinnosuke: We do get influenced by American music. With Black Eyed Peas, we talked about it amongst the members, and we said “if we put this part in here,” we thought about the audience and “oh they would be able to sing along with us and that would be great!” That’s why we integrated it into the setlist. Also with our song ‘eggmate of the year’, the song we were inspired by was by an American band called Zebra Head, they had a song called “Playmate of the Year”, and when we actually played it, the song got to them in the band and they actually made a comment back to us. It was just something exciting because you never think the actual artist you were inspired by would come back to you with a comment. So you never know what music is going to bring to you.
U: There’s a lot of great artists in Japan, but American artists their body structure’s different, their power is different. And there are so many people that do different kinds of music, it’s a completely different grade of power that they have. From my eyes, yes I am very inspired and I look up to them a lot. I do get inspired a lot by American artists.
2RASH: Obviously the first reason why I started with a band was because I was influenced by Japanese bands, but when you go through the roots of that if it’s rock, it’s rock, its not just inspired by the UK bands or American bands. You see on the billboards what’s popular now, and you are very sensitive to what’s popular with the crowds right now. When I started the band, in the beginning, it was the Japanese hip-hop scene which was popular and I was inspired by that. That’s how the mixture band genre was created and that’s when I listened to Limp Bizkit and was like, “Oh my gosh, this is a crazy awesome band!” Making that an inspiration, we put a filter through it, and take the parts that we want to take. From there, there are a lot of Japanese artists that come over here inspired by American bands too, but they’re influenced by all the different filtering that you do and integrating what they want from those bands, and I think that’s American rock.
91.8 The Fan: A lot of Japanese musicians have said that American audiences tend to be very unpredictable. I know you performed on the west coast prior to performing in New Jersey. How was it, the west coast compared to the east coast, and compared to Japanese audiences?
Shinnosuke: One of the main things that really stood out from last night’s live and also from California too, was when we’re just standing by and getting ready for the show, all the screaming and chanting is great. And that’s not something we experience all the time. We feel that the vibe was very, very high and very passionate, even in San Jose and even in New Jersey we get such a great response from the audience. We feel the audience is actually able to convey their feelings a lot more easily than the crowd in Japan.
U: Even playing lives in Japan, I feel this, having the audience makes me not my real self. From the vibe of the audience, being influence by the audience, that pushes my vibe to the max. Even my MC at the show was really fun. Normally I don’t take clothes off, I didn’t persay take it off, but I did take one T-shirt off last night. I had a lot of fun doing that. [Underneath his band t-shirt, which was for sale at the convention, he wore an anime shirt featuring Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion.]
Shinnosuke: Normally I can’t actually speak English, and I try very hard to learn it – I practice it and try my best to get at it. But even with the little English that I know, the audience tries to take that from me, and was I trying to push to communicate with them more and more. From that, it made me really really tired. I was in pain, my body was aching and things like that, but thanks to them I was able to have such a great live last night.
2RASH: The difference between America and Japan is that the audience really enjoys it from the bottom of their heart. It seems like in Japan there is a little bit more shyness going on, so whenever we perform over here, you actually intake something different. So it would be great if Japanese bands come over here to perform, so that they can learn from this experience and grow from it.
JRockRevolution: How would you describe your music, seeing as how you have such a diverse sound? What is your music like as a genre?
Shinnosuke: In the Japanese genre, I think we would fit in as a mixture band. Without being tied down to a certain genre, having influence from the US, the UK or overseas, we take in whatever we like. A couple of things that we have as a center point for the band is having a melody that will be conveyed all over the world. But because the language that we can speak is Japanese, so we sing in Japanese, we bring in all the different pieces of music and sound that we like and putting in as the ‘meat’ in the music. If we were to say a type kind of genre we are, we mix all things together to eat them together – “omnivorous” kind of style. –gestures as to eating all the genres- Rock. Punk. Pop. Jazz. We would eat them all.
AllFiction: Aside from performing live, were you impressed by anything in America? Did you enjoy everything and would want to come back?
2RASH: I really like beer, and there’s a lot of delicious beer here, but other than that, there’s a lot of things that I’ve learned and take in everyday. Coming overseas is actually something I learn a lot from. I would love to come every month but that’s not possible, but being able to reconnect with the people that I’ve met here would be something great. I would like to come here even on my private time.
U: I’m actually not able to speak English very well, so I haven’t really been able to become really good friends with people. But last night I actually drank a lot, and I was able to communicate with a lot more with people, so I would like to drink more alcohol tonight.
Shinnosuke: Even with the live yesterday, there were all the people there enjoying my live and all the people hanging around after the live, and they were all great nice people, even the staff. I feel that I want to become more acquainted with everybody, and be able to come back and say “Hey, I haven’t seen you in such a long time! How have you been?” And I forgot to add on, but all the cosplayers are so pretty. They’re all really cute.
91.8 The Fan: I saw the shirts you worked with for Subciety in Shibuya, and you’re working with SRH clothing in San Diego. How is that going? What are you expecting to turn out? What are you most excited about?
Shinnosuke: ‘Subciety’ and ‘SRH’ are a support brand for us. They actually make our costumes, the outfits that we wear for the lives. Not only that, but they’re part of a culture. They support free basketball players and motocross people, and using that as a connection it’s like a way to connect with other subculture scenes. All different kinds of people get together. Being able to talk to them and hear stories from them about what they have experienced becomes such an impact and inspiration for making our music. So it’s something very important and having a brand like this supporting us, we are so thankful for.
JRockRevolution: What does the future hold for ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D and what is the next step you will take?
Shinnosuke: One of the main things would be to release a full album, and be able to put something out there that is able to be conveyed to many more people than we have already, and that philosophy is going to follow us forever. Basically we want to release something and do more lives overseas and becoming a band that holds connections with so many people.
U: I would like to be able to do more types of anime and be able to do more overseas lives, and making a lot more connections. We want a lot more people to find out about Rookiez, that’s one of the biggest feelings that I do have, I feel like it’s something important for us to grow as a band to be able to play more overseas lives and gaining experience. It would something great to be able to do.