Ah Vidoll, one of our first Jrock Revolution Festlval bands. Interviewing them is like interviewing old friends, only we always talk about something new. Please enjoy this Vidoll interview.
JRR: First of all, please start off by introducing yourselves.
JUI: I’m the vocalist of Vidoll, JUI.
GIRU: I’m GIRU, the guitarist of Vidoll.
RAME: I’m the bassist RAME.
SHUN: I’m the guitarist, SHUN.
TERO: I’m TERO on drums.
JRR: In your new album “BASTARD,” there are new elements that you’ve added that are quite different from what you have done before, but also things that are VIDOLL-like. Could you tell us about the album?
JUI: Right, this is our second album. We had released our first album in 2006 around November as well. At that time, we thought we had done a great job in making the album, but afterwards we felt that there were places where things could have been better if we had done it in a different way. So instead of thinking “What kind of album should we make?” we decided to just go ahead and compose and make music that fits us. Therefore, we focused more on making the album unique to us instead of trying to set a style when making the album. Of course, to learn new things and incorporate those things is also to be ourselves. So in a way we haven’t really changed our stance.
JRR: How have you grown during the recording of this album?
SHUN: In regards to guitar, I was able to spend a lot more time than the last album. Therefore, whether it be making a particular sound or making the arrangements, since we had plenty of time to get ready before recording, I was able to find out what would and wouldn’t work, and also challenge a lot of new things.
RAME: For my part, I had a bass producer, or a mentor, that looked over me, which I have never had since I started learning bass. So, I was able to learn a lot of things while recording. In that sense, I think I have grown a lot this time.
GIRU: During recording session this time, there were several guitars of different types, so I would think, ‘Which guitar will match the song the best?’ ‘Which guitar’s sound is the most compatible?’ Etc. Just like what SHUN said, we took time to record each song and really considered what would be the best while being forward-looking in regards to sounds, therefore I think this album was a very successful work.
TERO: In regards to drums, for each song I was able to play the phrases I wanted to, do the things I wanted to. As opposed to last time where we didn’t have much time, we were given a lot more time this round, so I think I am very satisfied with the outcome.
JRR: What are your favorite songs from the album?
JUI: Favorite song… hmm… I like “Hatsuyuki” the best, because from the time I listened to the original composition, to the completion of the song, to when I listened to it in the recording booth, I was really moved by it, even though I did not think I would be so attached to it. Therefore, when we performed it during lives, I was able to put a lot more emotions into it, and at this moment it is my favorite song [out of the album].
GIRU: I like “Lost voice” the best.
RAME: I like the song “D.J. ‘Hero’.”
SHUN: I like “Tree.”
JRR: What kind of girl would be your Neo Cinderella?
JUI: What kind of girl? I guess the type that will tell me that she likes me. (Laughs) The type that keeps on coming after me even if I run away, and tries to catch me. It has to be someone like that. It’s kind of my way of confirming the other’s feeling. It’s not at all like Cinderella. (Laughs)
GIRU: You mean my ideal type of Cinderella right? I like someone who’s cool, who would look good with a motorbike or car.
RAME: Someone with big round eyes, cute, and obedient. (Laughs)
SHUN: I am the same as JUI; I like someone who is gentle and would show her feelings directly.
TERO: Someone who will make me feel good. (Laughs)
GIRU: Anyone will do? How about Yamada Hanako? (Laughs) [A Japanese female comedian]
JRR: In DVD in the first edition of the album, there is a clip of when you all were in L.A. for the Jrock Revolution Festival. Did you have fun in L.A.?
JUI: The food there was different from Japan so…
JRR: What did you eat there?
JUI: Hamburgers, meat, etc, also for breakfast it was like a couple of eggs. When I saw it I thought: “Do I have to eat all of this?” I wasn’t used to the eating habits there, so I went to the Japanese store there and bought instant noodles and ate at the hotel.
JRR: Were there any fun things?
JUI: Hmm, what was it… Spiderman! We took pictures with Spiderman! It wasn’t the real thing though.
SHUN: The real thing doesn’t exist.
JUI: It’s ok. We also tipped him.
GIRU: Something fun… well we had fun at the live; the audience was so warm. We didn’t know what to expect when we went over there, but the audience gave us such warm welcomes. I was really moved by that and thought it was a fun experience.
JRR: What about besides the live?
GIRU: TERO was funny.
JRR: Oh really?
GIRU: What he said.
RAME: What was it?
JUI: Oh yeah.
RAME: When we were asked “What vegetables don’t you eat?” by the clerk at Subway, I said “Black olive, no olive,” TERO said “No oliver.” (Laughs)
TERO: When I said “No oliver,” the clerk answered “Yes!” (Laughs)
GIRU: That was probably one of the funniest things. It wasn’t supposed to be “oliver.”
RAME: I couldn’t eat the food there, but I’d woken up early in the morning and went out to take a walk on the streets and took many pictures. Then, it was really different from how the Japanese people treat each other, or maybe because I was Japanese, when I was taking pictures there, the local people would come in to the picture and say “Yay!” or gesture that they’d take the picture for me. It was really a warm feeling and I was happy. It left quite an impression on me. The differences in attitude and environment were new to me.
SHUN: I actually was quite alright with the food there, so I went out to eat steak, etc. at night. The portions of Japanese food is not enough for me, so I liked how they have big portions over there.
JRR: What about Mr. No Oliver?
TERO: Well, besides the “no oliver” incident, when we went to the music instrument store there, I saw a lot of drum sets that superstars use, with autographs and stuff, and a wide variety of musical instruments, equipments, etc.; that was fun. Also, I saw the stars at the Mann’s Chinese Theater and the handprints at the Rock Walk. Those things were fun to see.
JRR: Did you get to go to Melrose Avenue, or visit the Necromance store?
JUI: You mean the accessory shop with the middle aged lady? The three of us went there.
JRR: Did you buy anything there?
All: We didn’t buy anything (laughs) but our cameraman bought something, or was made to buy? It kind of just happened. He didn’t really mean to buy anything but felt like he probably should? So he did end up buying something, but I think he’s lost it already. (Laughs)
JRR: Did you all take part in designing the original silver accessories (for the tour merchandise)?
ALL: Yes we did.
JUI: They should be available for purchase through our website, so please check them out.
JRR: Are international fans able to purchase as well?
JUI: I think overseas fans can look at the site and purchase as well.
JRR: You’ve recently opened the official fan club “Ningyoukan.” Are overseas fans able to join the fan club as well?
Manager: If the overseas fans have a Japanese address they can join the fan club.
JUI: Oh… so if they don’t have a Japanese address they cannot join.
Manager: There are overseas fans currently enrolled in the fanclub, it seems that they probably know someone here, so there are several entries with the same addresses.
JUI: So if you want to join our fanclub Ningyoukan, become friends with a Japanese person then you can join!
JRR: Were you surprised that your overseas fans did the furitsuke during the JRR Festival 1?
JUI: Yeah, it was our first time going to America, we had heard of how Jrock has become popular there, but we couldn’t grasp to what extent. So we didn’t think everyone would know our songs so well, and were really surprised by it. The furitsuke was somewhat different from the Japanese fans, but it was apparent that they were moving to the rhythm, and we also could tell that they were singing along, so we were really surprised by that.
JRR: What’s the most fun thing when you are on tour?
JUI: After each live, and after we go out for dinner and go back to the hotel, I’d get into the bathtub and soak myself in the bath mix, and afterwards, the moment I get into the bed is the most fun part!
JRR: So you mean sleeping?
JUI: I like to lie down and listen to my iPod… I always listen to Anya before I fall asleep, and the moment right before I fall asleep is the best.
GIRU: For me, the lives themselves are fun, and the parties afterwards are fun too. I don’t have to eat the local foods like some people like to do, so just the act of touring itself is satisfying for me.
RAME: We’ve toured several times so sometimes it feels that we’ve gone to most places possible, but it is fun for me to be at each place, look at the things unique to that place, enjoy the food, and meet new people.
SHUN: I also like to eat the good local food of each place, and enjoy the sceneries or things unique to that place.
TERO: The lives are the best part about touring. There’s nothing above that.
JRR: What are your favorite live houses?
TERO: The first time we went to PEPPERLAND in Okayama, it was also the first time we were that close to the audience, so it was really fun for me.
JRR: Do you prefer to be closer to the fans?
TERO: Big places have their advantages, but PEPPERLAND was smaller than we expected, which had an impact on the sound, it also had a second floor which was easy to see everything from. It was the first time for us so it was fun.
SHUN: My favorite place so far is probably Shibuya AX. It’s an all-standing live house and it is big, so it feels good.
RAME: Hmm. After performing there during touring, I’ve came to like Nagoya Bottom Line a lot.
GIRU: I change my mind quite easily and usually depends on my mood at the time, so I can’t really pinpoint a live house that I like, but I did like Crazy Mama in Okayama. I like the sound there.
JUI: I also like Shibuya AX or Nanba Hatch, since they’re relatively big and the sound also sounds good. I like those things about them.
JRR: Are you friends with DuelJewel?
SHUN: We’ve been good friends since I met them for the first time. We’ve also gone to barbecue together.
JUI: We had an end-of-year party, and we also drank together.
JRR: What are your favorite foods and drinks?
JUI: I like Weider in Jelly [liquid jelly drink], the 10 second energy recharge, lemon flavor. I love lemon. I like sour stuff, like oranges, etc.
JRR: How about umeboshi [dried sour plum]?
JUI: Hmm…not in particular, but I sometimes eat it with rice.
GIRU: Drink-wise, recently I drink Fibemini often. It has a lot of fiber in it and is an orange-colored drink. I like it.
RAME: Recently I eat a snack called Boukun Habanero often. I don’t really like it that much, but I get a kick out of the spiciness. I’m not supposed to like it but once I start eating it, I’d eat it as long as it’s around. It’s really spicy though.
JRR: Do you like spicy food?
RAME: Not in particular, but I always end up eating it. I like kimchi too. So, maybe I do like spicy food.
SHUN: I like noodle dipped in sauce.
TERO: Recently I like cutlet curry, and Nodogoshi draft beer.
JRR: Can you cook?
JUI: I can’t cook…
GIRU: Don’t you cook that?
JUI: It’s just stir frying.
JRR: What do you make?
JUI: I stir fry meat and vegetables or fish, something simple.
JRR: What have you been into recently?
JUI: Well this isn’t really what I’ve been into, but I felt that I need to be in better shape before the tour, since I bought new clothes and they are really heavy, so before the tour, I ran marathon at nights. You know the NASA sauna suits? I ordered one from online, wore it and went jogging at nights along the river. That’s what I was into.
GIRU: I’ve been searching for a good Gibson Les Paul, so I’ve been to many musical instrument shops.
RAME: I’ve been into shopping on the internet, since I don’t have to go out, so I’ve looked at a lot of clothes and CDs and been buying those. It’s became a hobby.
SHUN: I go around eating noodles.
TERO: I’m into Nikoniko Douga. (Laughs) [Japanese video clip site, similar to YouTube]
JRR: If you could be an animal, what would you like to be?
JUI: Probably a cat.
JRR: Do you have a cat?
JUI: I don’t have one, but my parents have a dog. I do think dogs are cute, but I think cats are more fortunate.
JRR: They sleep a lot.
JUI: They like to sleep, and they’re very tactful. They get pampered and loved by everyone, yet they’d still take off to go somewhere else. I think that’s very charming, so I’d like to be a cat.
GIRU: I don’t like animals.
JRR: How come?
GIRU: Because I cannot communicate with them. I’d be like, oh whatever. (laughs) Between human beings you can at least gesture to convey what you mean, but you can’t do the same with animals, so, yeah.
RAME: I’ve had pets and I could communicate with them, so I understand how they feel.
JUI: Me too.
GIRU: I don’t get it at all.
RAME: I want to be a bird and spread my wings in the sky.
SHUN: If I were to be one, I’d probably like to be a cat too. They go at their own pace, sleep and play, however they feel like living.
TERO: I’d like to be a horse. I love horses. Sometimes I feel like I can communicate with them.
I get along with horses.
RAME: He is somewhat like a horse.
JRR: In what way? (Laughs)
RAME: The way he moves. His temperament is rough like a horse. Like a racing horse, once he starts running, he cannot stop. (Laughs)
JRR: What is “visual kei” to you?
TERO: The people I like and respect and looked up to happened to be people who are doing visual kei music, so I worked towards that. Also, putting on make up, etc, and transform myself and present myself on stage is fun.
SHUN: I personally liked such music, and it’s my hobby as well as work; that’s how it feels to me.
RAME: It’s not just an interest to me; I feel that visual kei is the best and only way for me to present myself, that’s why I am doing it.
GIRU: To me, it’s something that’s necessary and I’d be troubled if it doesn’t exist. It might be a little exaggerated but I feel that it’s as important as anime is to the Japanese culture. That’s how I see visual kei.
JUI: What is visual kei… to me, it’s a way to make myself look good and present myself in a good way. So even if it’s something that’s embarrassing to do normally, for example wearing make up, when it comes to visual kei, it takes away all embarrassed feelings, and I am able to show my true self. That’s how it feels to me. Yeah.
JRR: A lot of the bands turn away from visual-kei after a while. How do you feel about that, and where do you see VIDOLL?
JUI: Since we started as a visual kei band, for me, probably even if one day we stop putting on make up, I don’t think we won’t be visual-kei anymore just because of that. By starting out as a visual kei band, no matter what shape or form a band takes later on, that band would still be visual kei. So, make up isn’t the only thing that makes someone visual-kei. It is important to charm/appeal [to the audience].
RAME: I would like visual kei bands to stay that way. It’s sad to see a visual kei band stop being visual kei, and I think as long as we are VIDOLL, we’d like to stay as visual kei.
JUI: The name VIDOLL is visual kei in itself.
I feel that a visual kei band should continue being a visual kei band. I cannot agree with those who don’t see it that way.
JRR: Thank you very much.
Interviewed by Misha and Christina
Translated by Christina
Transcribed by Hibara
Edited by Maria
Thank you to Vidoll and their management, Sword Records.