It’s been 3 years since your last concert, but what made you guys want to perform again?
SUGIZO: We already knew we wanted to keep performing at that last concert 3 years ago. It was a very good show content-wise, potential-wise and personnel-wise; we thought it might be bad karma if we stopped there. We thought it was most natural to throw a show again when the opportunity came about. But that opportunity didn’t come for 3 years due to our conflicting schedules.
What do you want to accomplish with this concert? Do you want to pursue a more mainstream career?
SUGIZO: I’d like to explore our new possibilities. We thought that this tour would be an inevitable step for Luna Sea to keep living on as a strong band now, and for the future. I believe this is a tour towards Luna Sea’s future.
Is your goal to get more people to know who Luna Sea are?
SUGIZO: We’ve gotten many requests from fans in different countries so we’ve wanted to go visit them. 10 years ago, we toured Asia but those fans at the time were waiting for a while. When we finally were able to go do a show, we got great vibes. We’d like to do that around the world.
Did you have a feeling that your world tour was long awaited?
SUGIZO: I think it depends on the country. For example in Europe, there are demands in Germany and France, but not in England. There’s surprisingly some demand in the U.S. and a lot in Asia. I think we’re wanted in Singapore and Thailand too. We were planning on doing a show in Bei-jing but we had to cancel it due to the current dispute between Japan and China. The Shang-hai show might be in danger of cancellation too.
Please tell us about your upcoming releases. Are you currently recording new material?
SUGIZO: Yes, we’re currently recording. All the band members are bringing their own material and it’s showing a new side of Luna Sea. I think you can look forward to it.
How is the new Luna Sea material different from the old Luna Sea?
SUGIZO: Well first off, the situation was different because I was on tour with X JAPAN. I was quite surprised I could still record in my hotel room even though I was on tour. I wouldn’t have even though of it before. I guess it’s sort of unusual.
I also think we all shaped up our skills as musicians.
I think the quality will have increased by simply recording what we are performing. Although it’s been 10 years, we haven’t lost our edginess and I feel like our aggression and speed as musicians is at it’s best. Who knows if we can still perform with the same amount of aggression and speed when we’re all 60 years old? I think we’re at our best right now with experience added to the speed we had when we were in our twenties.
You’re not only the guitarist of Luna Sea but you’re involved in many other projects. With so many projects to juggle, how do you distinguish each one?
SUGIZO: Well I’ve never been able to express myself 100% in Luna Sea. Same goes with Juno Reactor and X JAPAN – it’s all within my musical capacity. Being in a band is like that – I think if I pour 100% of myself into a band, I wouldn’t be able to function. I stop myself when I think it’s the limit. I’m able to do this because my blood type is O, and I’m not anal. (Note: In Japan, there are stereotypes that come along with blood types. Common stereotypes for blood type O’s are that they are welcoming and big-hearted whereas traits such as being anal and sensitive usually belong to blood type A.)
Were you keeping in touch with your band mates while you were involved in the other projects?
SUGIZO: Yes, I have for about the past 2 years. We would occasionally meet as a group. Since I’ve been overseas lately, I would Skype myself in at times.
A lot has changed in the music scene itself over the past 20 years. But there is something universal about Luna Sea’s music. The songs that you wrote 10 years ago are still being listened to today – what do you think is the secret to this success?
SUGIZO: It’s quite simple and clear – to give that moment your 120%. If you devote yourself to the moment, the outcome will be great. Upon listening to Luna Sea material now, I believe half of the stuff is still relevant today, but I believe the other half is getting old. We’ve been experimenting with the most advanced sound of each era. There have been successful experiments and not so successful ones. When I listen to the music now, I feel like half of the material is old.
This next question might be similar, but over the past 20 years, you have gained experience, and met a lot of people. How do you think this reflects on your songwriting for Luna Sea?
SUGIZO: It’s difficult to analyze, but I’ve studied all types of music over the past 10 years. All of our experiences become our blood, our flesh, and is shaped together and put out as Luna Sea’s music. My songs are like this, but it’s remarkably apparent in the songs that my band mates write as well. It’s important to have the ability to correspond to anything including X JAPAN and Juno Reactor. And now I feel like I’ve gained that ability. I’ve always felt that I’ve had it, but now I can say that with confidence now.
What or who do you get most inspired by?
SUGIZO: I have two – musically, I’m most inspired by John Lennon. It’s been nice because I’ve been listening to a lot of John Lennon and the Beatles lately. Coincidentally, the John Lennon Museum in Japan that I’ve loved for 10 years has closed at the end of September. I’m always absorbing from music and there’s times when I’m hungry to learn from jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, and Jaco Pastorius, but I think the reason why I’m so obsessed with John Lennon now is because I’m inspired by his inner spirit. When I’m going through a rough patch, I want to listen to John’s music.
The other thing is this great book, “WorldShift” by Ervin Laszlo. Everything in the world is unsustainable, but this book provides the answers to that problem. The book shows that it’s possible for us to get through by shifting our thought process a little.
I’d like to ask about this tour with Luna Sea. In the western world, you’ll be performing in Germany, and in Los Angeles. Why did you choose these locations?
SUGIZO: We asked our promoters where we should perform overseas and they gave us these answers. There are places that had high demands, but we weren’t able to go everywhere.
It’s been a few years since your last performance, but do you think all of the band members of Luna Sea are on the same page?
SUGIZO: Well Luna Sea has always been a band without any unity – in a good way and bad way. Some of us are very nervous, and there’s some like myself that want to go for it since we’ve traveled around the world. I think this push-pull factor has worked out for us.
Can you tell us what to look forward to at your upcoming shows?
SUGIZO: Well we haven’t created our set list yet. But if everything goes how I imagine it to be, it’ll be like the “Best of Luna Sea.” I’d also like to include some of the new material as well.
Lastly, please tell us why we should come out to the Luna Sea concert, especially for the people who have never seen Luna Sea live.
SUGIZO: I believe Luna Sea is a rock band that represents Japan. We coincidentally came out from the Visual Kei scene, but we never wanted to create a “scene.” We were always searching for the newest and stimulating sounds and it turned out this way. I think Luna Sea is the last remaining band that carries on the pure rock n roll spirit. There haven’t been any bands with that spirit since we entered the 21st century. Pure rock n roll and punk rock spirits are condensed within Luna Sea.
Please give a message to your fans.
SUGIZO: See you at the concert on December 4th.
Editor’s note: LUNA SEA performs this December 4th in Hollywood, CA at the Palladium theatre. You can check out other tour dates on the site here as well as purchase tickets for the Hollywood show.
Interview by: Yaz Noya
Translation by: Akiko M.
Edited by: Ali W.