JRR: Did you have a good time at your concert last night?
JRR: What were a few highlights?
Wataru: The audience voice [Makes a rawr sound to mimic the crowd]
JRR: You’ve visited the U.S. before – what have you looked forward to the most with this particular performance?
Wataru: The last time we actually felt that the audience was a lot more overpowering to us, but this time around we toured Japan right before so we were able to answer to their feelings.
JRR: Seven years and ten albums is quite an accomplishment for any band. When you were younger and starting out, how was your chemistry in coming together? What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome to achieve a good cohesion?
Wataru: Actually, each one of us has a different kind of chemistry, so even if we’re all looking at the same thing, we’re able to see it from different angles. Especially when we started out in the Indies days, we all didn’t have money, and it was really hard to live everyday life. We kept pitching money together and trying to make a living out of it. [In English] But, now it’s the same! [Everyone laughs]
JRR: Can you tell us a bit how each of you came to play the instrument you do now? Are there others you also play, or have experimented with?
Tōru: I wanted to play an instrument, so I tried out everything when I was fifteen. The one that fit with me were the drums.
Hiroaki: I actually decided to play the guitar because it looked cool. As for other instruments, I can pretty much play a little bit of everything. I can play bass, drums, and also viola.
Tōru: You can’t play drums!
Wataru: When I was younger, I actually felt a vocalist is someone who doesn’t use any equipment and expresses their selves. I thought it was a wonderful thing. I’ve actually tried out different types of jobs but I felt a vocalist is who I’ve really wanted to be so that’s how it’s come about. As a part, it was one of the easiest and fastest way to convey my feelings directly.
Tomoyuki: Bass was actually fit well with my body balance. Also, I just feel it very much suits me too. As for other instruments, I’m learning piano and my father recently gave me a clarinet so I’m trying to learn it right now.
Yūsuke: I was looking through a catalog of instruments and saw that the guitar was the cheapest out of all. As for other instruments, I can play anything. I also can drive a car, a boat, and can dance too.
JRR: In your most recent album, SEVEN, what was the underlying message you wanted to convey overall?
Wataru: The concept for the album, the world “seven” actually is a metaphor for victory. For example, victory fighting with a tank. As for our music, we’re not trying to sing it to people who are content. We’re actually trying to sing it to those who are discontent. Especially to those who are having troubles, sorrow, or those who are fighting with things like illnesses which they aren’t physically able to be cured from or can get over. It’s telling a story of people in situations as such.
JRR: Your theme is “madness inside a human”. Has that concept taken on a new meaning since you first came together in 2003?
Wataru: Since then, emotionally we felt when people asked what we’re singing about, it was sadness about people, things, and happenings. It was what made people sad or mad. When you think of it in a broader perspective, emotion of madness and sadness is something very close to each other. So that’s what we’ve been expressing with our concept.
JRR: In the last couple of years, what have been some of your favorite activities; be it making music, touring or even relaxing?
Everyone: Touring. We all like touring a lot.
JRR: Have you had the chance to explore D.C. or, if not, are there any tourist spots your looking forward to visiting?
Wataru: We actually haven’t been able to go site seeing yet, we’re going today.
Hiroaki: I want to go to the White House and he wants to go to the Lincoln Memorial to see the Lincoln statue.
JRR: Japan did pretty well in the World Cup. Did you watch any of the games?
Wataru: I actually went to South Africa and watched them live.
JRR: All of them?
Wataru: All of them.
JRR: You were the only one?
Wataru: [In English] Yes. Lonely! [Everyone laughs]
JRR: When you were younger which bands did you look up to? Do you have any new favorites today?
Yūsuke: Bob Marley. Right now I don’t have a certain one I really like, I listen to a lot of things but what I think is cool, I do like.
Tomoyuki: B’z. Linkin Park, I liked their new single.
Wataru: I was actually singing Beatles when I was walking home from school! [Sings part of “Love, love me do.”] Now, I don’t have a specific one I really like, I listen to all different ones and then I pick out things that I like from there.
Hiroaki: Back in the day, there was a group call Komuro Family, which were groups produced by Tetsuya Komuro. Right now, I really like GLAY.
Tōru: Before I started music, I wasn’t actually really into bands. Once I started, I started liking X Japan and Luna Sea. Now I listen to Muse and Tool. I like to work on solos from them.
JRR: Are there any bands that you would really like to perform with one day individually?
Yūsuke: This time around, we weren’t playing with them, but I felt like I really wanted to play with Echostream, who was the other band at the convention.
Tomoyuki: Dir en grey.
Wataru: I would like to tour with a band that is close to our music here in the United States, so please look for one!
Hiroaki: The band that I want to perform with one day is the band U2.
Tōru: There are too many, I can’t pick one!
JRR: Message to your fans?
12012: Every time we actually come to America, we have more interest in coming back. Especially with everyone’s energy, we want to do more lives and see everybody. If there is a chance, we want everyone to come to our lives. Thank you so much!
Interview by: Debra H.
Special thanks to 12012 & JhouseRock.