JRR: Hello the Underneath. How are you feeling today?
ALL: Very good.
TAKA: Having a blast.
JRR: Thank you for having another interview with Jrock Revolution.
TAKA: No problem.
JRR: We have really enjoyed your blog on our website. They are a big hit with our readers.
RYO:/TAKA: Thank you.
JRR: What Japanese food do you miss eating the most?
RYO:: I miss katsudon (pork cutlet on rice). Any donburi (single dish served on rice).
MASAKI:: Ramen with strong flavor.
JRR: How does it feel to release your first album in the United States and not in Japan?
TAKA: Since our first live as the Underneath is also in America, I feel that it’s quite natural the way things turned out. We are very grateful and feel much honored because not many bands have had the opportunity to do so.
RYO:: Releasing an album in the United States has always been a dream for us, so we are really happy. It’s like a dream come true.
JRR: Which songs from the MOONFLOWER album have you enjoyed the most playing on tour? And which songs you have not yet played at the lives, but really would like people to listen to?
TAKA: One of the leading songs that we’ve been playing, "GEKKOH", it has an authentic Japanese melody and guitar riffs to it, and I really feel that it has what we are trying to present as the Underneath.
RYO:: The song that we have not played on tour but would like people to listen to is "WAKUSEI – WOMB IS PLANET"; this song is very meaningful to me, and we look forward to performing it when we get back to Japan.
JRR: Could you tell us what it means to you?
TAKA: It is an emotional song that really focuses on humanity and reincarnation. It is a very spiritual song for us.
JRR: How does it feel to play at a big venue like the Long Beach Arena?
TAKA: Almost everywhere we have been, the venues were large and there were a lot of audiences. We feel very grateful to be able to play at those places. This time we will be playing on the side stage, it’ll be a challenge to see how we play on the side stage as opposed to the main stage. Either way it will be fun.
TAL: It is really heartwarming and wonderful when we say “Raise your hands!” and even the audiences all the way in the back would raise their hands. It makes us feel very welcomed and happy.
JRR: Are people starting to scream your names?
RYO:: No, not yet (laughs). Maybe today.
JRR: We will scream your names for you then.
JRR: Now that you’ve been all over America, what were some memorable things that happened on your trip?
TAL: I lost my wallet in Detroit and had to look all over for it… so that was something unforgettable. Sorry it’s such a personal thing (laughs).
JRR: Did you find it in the end?
MASATO:: Las Vegas was memorable to me. After the live we went up the Stratosphere tower to ride the roller coaster, and the night view was beautiful from up there. It’s not something you can see in Japan.
MASAKI:: There was a location where there was a stream right behind the stage. It was raining that morning but the rain had stopped before the show. During the live the stream was flowing rapidly; it was beautiful and it left an impression on me. I believe it was Little Rock.
RYO:: Hmm… When we went to Chicago, the guitar technician for ATREYU took us to a jazz bar and it had live performance. We really enjoyed it.
TAKA: Since we’ve been to so many places my memory is a little mixed up, but it is the most memorable to me that, since it is our first time performing as the Underneath and in America, we were quite uncertain how things would turn out. Once we went out there and did it, we became more confident that we could make it. It was a great learning experience.
JRR: What do you want to do the most once you get back to Japan?
RYO:: I want to soak in a bathtub, since all we get here is shower.
TAL: I want to write music. We’ve received a lot of influence from the audience and the American bands here, and I’d like to put those into our new music.
TAKA: I don’t want to go back.
JRR: We will support your decision.
TAKA: I will stay at your house. (Laughs)
MASATO:: Since we missed the cherry blossoms, I will try to find some late blooming cherry blossoms when I get back.
MASAKI:: I also would like to write songs when we get back, and also do lives so that our Japanese fans can see us perform, too.
JRR: With the release of your first album MOONFLOWER and performing on this tour in America, how does each of you feel that you have grown as an artist and/or what have you gained?
MASAKI:: The biggest thing we’ve gained is definitely the experience of performing in such large venues, as we’ve always wanted to do something as big as this. Also, the things that I am not able to put into words, I would like to make those into music and have everyone listen to them.
TAKA: Something that I’ve came to believe firmly through this tour: Although we perform in Japanese, if we do a good show the audiences would give us a good response, so there are a lot of things that we can still convey despite the language barrier. With the staff and people who work around us, too, although with our limited English, we are still able to communicate. I think it’s amazing and wonderful.
MASAKI:: This experience and the people we came across have changed my thoughts about rock music. Everywhere we turn there are people who truly love rock music, to the degree that I am almost envious of how much love they have for rock.
RYO:: A lot of people say, there are no barriers in music, and I’ve became a firm believer in that. It is great to get a good response from the audience when we do something; even simple reactions between us and the audiences like that make me feel great that I am a musician. We will be putting all the things we’ve learned on this trip into our new music. This has been a great experience.
MASATO:: After talking with the American people, I learned a lot about the cultural differences and habits. I was awed by the American band members and the staffs here, how they enjoy so much what they are doing. I’d love to be able to have such an environment in Japan, too.
TAKA: Even just passing by them, everyone says hi to us with an open mind and attitude. This isn’t something that we experience much in Japan, and it really influenced me and my way of thinking changed. This has been a great experience to my life as a whole. I’m grateful for everyone and everything.
JRR: Good luck with tonight’s performance!
ALL: Thank you.
Interviewed by Misha.
Interpreted by Yaz Noya
Transcribed by Christina.
Thank you to Heather Overstreet, JSHOCK DD LLC, Rockstar Taste of Chaos, and the Underneath.