With ten years and some six hundred live shows behind them, MUCC is unstoppable.
Their international travels have taken them far and wide, but the Rockstar Taste of Chaos tour promises to be their biggest leap overseas to date.
2006 was dubbed the Devilish Years for its unrelenting schedule.
2007, 10th Anniversary the Brilliant, a year-round celebration and commemoration.
What will 2008 bring? In an exclusive interview, we asked MUCC for some preliminary thoughts, with a more in-depth interview to come. Read on for their answers and a background on their long list of accomplishments.
Characterized by often despairing lyrics but a heavy sound that evokes messages of "hope which exists in despair" and "warmth in sorrow and loneliness,” MUCC (ムック) did not officially export their rock act to the West until August of 2005, where they first experienced a European audience at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany. They’ve caught the European fever ever since with a six-show stop in Europe again in 2006 and a coupling tour with Balzac in 2007. Their mounting popularity in Europe brought them even farther West, and American fans finally got to see the band on U.S. territory when they played Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore at Otakon 2006, and of course a summer later in Los Angeles at the Jrock Revolution Festival.
Band members Tatsuro (Vo.), Miya (G.), and SATOchi (Dr.) are to credit for MUCC’s conception in Ibaraki prefecture, about 100 km outside of Tokyo, when they were still in high school. Bassist YUKKE joined the band in 1999, and in the same year MUCC began their first one-man tour, “Shinrei Taiken Bus Tour.”
After a handful of demos, their first mini-album, “Aishu,” was released in 2001 and was followed by two full-length albums (“Tsuzetsu” and “Homura Uta”) a year later. Their first major label release, “Zekku,” was released in September 2003. So far the band has released 11 albums including the recent “Best of MUCC,” a complement to their “Worst of MUCC” released earlier this year. Their recent albums up to 2006’s “Gokusai” have been released in Europe.
This year proved to be a monumental year for MUCC as they celebrated their “10th Anniversary Year the Brilliant” with a string of lives titled “HISTORY OF MUCK” and toured with Guns N’ Roses as the opening act for the seven-show stop of the Guns N’ Roses World Tour 2007. In November they released a live DVD, “MUCC – Live Chronicle-,", a 2-disc special box focusing on 2007 lives with a host of goodies including reproductions of guitar picks and a photo book ideal for devoted fans.
March marked the release of their first single of the year, “Libra.” The track lyrically ventured deep into Tatsuro’s emotions as it recounts the contrast between the dark and light sides of an individual, a radical shift from the bright, upbeat mood of 2006’s “Utagoe.”
In June their “REAL MUCC Day” concert at Zepp Tokyo was broadcasted live to the world on Yahoo! Japan, giving fans with no chance yet to attend a concert the opportunity to experience MUCC’s live presence. On Halloween of this year they released “FUZZ,” a melodic number laced with MUCC’s classic guitar riffs and a touch of synths, their 24th single to date.
After this year’s success, the future is already looking promising for MUCC: this December they will play “Jack in the Box 2007” at Nippon Budoukan and “Over the Edge ’07” at Shibuya’s C.C. Lemon Hall, while 2008 already forecasts a new album in March and Japanese lives planned for February and May. Even more exciting for North American fans, they have confirmed their participation in the Rockstar Taste of Chaos Tour with D’espairsRay and the Underneath, which will include shows in 46 cities in North America from February through May 2008.
JRR: Looking back on the Jrock Revolution Festival, what are your reflections on performing in a multi-artist Jrock festival in America?
MUCC: It was very stimulating, unlike the ones in Japan. We would like to participate if there’s a chance next time. We enjoyed it very much.
JRR: You performed with D’espairsRay on the second night of the festival. Were you able to see any part of their performance before yours? Did you have the chance to talk to the members of D’espairsRay during the festival?
MUCC: We get along quite well and we talk a lot. We saw them perform from the side of the stage.
JRR: What are you most looking forward to in Taste of Chaos?
MUCC: We get to go to places we have never been to, and so although the schedule is tight, we would like to enjoy each place.
JRR: What do you think you can bring to the Taste of Chaos tour?
MUCC: We’ll just be ourselves. It will be our best.
JRR: What are your thoughts about bringing Jrock to Taste of Chaos?
MUCC: It is fun – we have no idea what to expect.
JRR: What will you do to engage music fans attending this tour for other bands?
MUCC: Nothing special. We just want to be ourselves – it will be our best.
JRR: Many Japanese artists have said that American fans are more expressive than their fans back home. What kind of reaction would you like to get from the Taste of Chaos audience?
MUCC: We hope to be able to say that we are playing in America, that it’s different from anywhere else.
JRR: In planning for the tour, do you think about the big picture of all the different bands and cities you will travel to, or are you more focused on your own performances?
MUCC: We are very much focused on our performances.
JRR: You’ve made tremendous effort to perform internationally. What originally made you decide to reach out to your overseas fans?
MUCC: Given those chances, we were initially curious to go abroad, but then the first experience was so impressive, we felt it was totally different from playing in Japan and very stimulating.
JRR: For your anniversary lives, you performed songs from throughout your 10 years together. Will you delve into older music in Taste of Chaos, or will you focus on your newer music?
MUCC: We’ll be coming as MUCC in the latest style, with our brand new songs.
JRR: We expect to hear "Fuzz"… what do you want to feel from the audience during this very danceable new song?
MUCC: We’ll probably do that – dance ‘til you drop!
JRR: You call 2006 the "Devilish Years" and 2007 the "10th Anniversary the Brilliant." What will 2008 be?
MUCC: The year for rejuvenation, to restart.
About MUCC by Tiffany
Interview by JRR Staff
Edited by Misha