JrockRevolution.com was escorted into the labyrinth of the Los Angeles Knitting Factory, and deep in its belly we found four poised young men awaiting their stage time. In a small red-walled room the size of a shed, we had the opportunity to interview Fuki and Kiwamu of BLOOD, and Ken of GPKism.
JRR: Hello everyone, thank you for letting us interview you today. Our first question is in regards to your previous live in Mexico. How was it?
JRR: Any difference from last time?
BLOOD: Ken has been added.
JRR: How did you decide on the line-up of this tour?
BLOOD: We went by the schedule and tried to call as many people as possible. We could only select a few since we couldn’t bring everyone.
JRR: Is there anything you wish you could have done as a band before you broke up?
BLOOD: Well, we accomplished a lot. We were one of the first visual bands to tour France, well, really Europe in general; we did seven lives in France, nine in the USA, six in Mexico. We were one of the first bands to sell over 20 thousand copies of CDs around the world without any company promoting them or any particular management. BLOOD was also one of the first bands to mix songs for other bands. Other VK artists also mixed for us, and we got some international bands too.
JRR: Like who?
BLOOD: Silver Six of Greece, The Last Dance of the US, Spectrum-X from Italy. The composer for Hamasaki Ayumi wrote various songs for us.
Kiwamu: I wish we had a bigger fanbase in Japan, more like we do overseas. Our overseas fans go through MySpace and listen to the music, not really thinking about what we look like. 99% of fans look at our faces and not even bother. They don’t listen to the music.
JRR: Regarding your latest album, “Last Sky”, is there any difference between this and the previous album?
BLOOD: There really isn’t any difference between “Last Sky” and previous album. We didn’t really think of it as our last album.
JRR: Which is the most meaningful to you?
BLOOD: All the songs are important, it’s impossible to pick one.
JRR: Americans are often scared of visual kei. What would you say to someone who was wary to get him or her to try your music?
BLOOD: Most people in Japan, when they [hear] VK, say, “eww…” or “oh, it’s visual kei” (in a disgusted tone of voice). It’s far better to look at the picture and listen to the music first. It’s a better way to get them to listen to the music.
JRR: Do you still have your first guitars?
Fuuki and Kiwamu: We lost them.
JRR: If you had a child who wanted to become a visual or gothic musician, would you support them?
Ken: I wouldn’t push myself on my child, I would give my child total freedom and contemplate exactly he or she wants to do for life. It is all about freedom.
JRR: Have you ever had problems with that attitude? Or challenges or difficulties personally when people look at you weird?
Ken: There were others who misunderstood the aspects of that type of lifestyle, how the individuality is inserted. I am just trying to evoke a sense of freedom upon myself.
JRR: What about BLOOD?
Kiwamu: Like Ken, I will let him do what he wants to do. I will not force a certain style on him.
Fuki: I have numerous amounts of instruments and CDs at my home, so it’s highly likely that the kid will go to that direction. He’ll be curious.
JRR: For GPK, any more international tours planned?
Ken: We’re planning [an] Australian tour.
Kiwamu: Four places with DJ SiSen.
JRR: Where else?
BLOOD/GPKism: We did a lot of touring. Besides the spots we already went, there’s no place else we want to go. We tried to go to Italy, but it didn’t really work out with tour promoter. Maybe London again.
JRR: What about the rest of Asia, like South Asia and Korea?
Kiwamu: If we had connections to those places, of course we’d go. Maybe China, I’ve heard of a couple of bands that played there; sounded really fun.
JRR: What else will you be up to after BLOOD’s dissolution?
Kiwamu: In addition to continue GPKISM, I will be running my label. I have five artists so far, but I want to double that amount and focus on supporting those artists and assisting them with knowledge they’ve gained as a band myself.
Fuuki: Right now, I have a bar, and I can play music there that I think is good. One day, if I make a good song, I want to publish it through Kiwamu.
JRR: You work at a bar? What kind of alcohol do you like best?
Fuuki: My original cocktail, Raining Blood.
Kiwamu: I can’t drink alcohol.
Ken: Never tried it.
JRR: Was dissolution something that the band had been thinking about for a while, and now seemed just like a good idea to try it?
Fuki: At the end of their last Australian tour, I decided that I found something else I want to try. Up to then we’ve done, everything we could try or want to experiment with, we’ve done what we’ve set out to do. We feel very accomplished. Truthfully, this isn’t my personal music style. I’m ready to move onward from BLOOD.
JRR: What kind then?
Fuki: Heavy metal.
JRR: Do any of you have any interest in doing a fashion line design?
Ken: I have a fashion label running at the moment in Australia. I wanted to continue with my fashion label after I settle in Japan. Right now I’m concentrating on the music.
JRR: Do you have any background education in fashion?
Ken: I’m self-taught. My major in college was fine arts, specifically drawing. Music is an extended projected from my artist endeavors.
JRR: Did you design any of the album covers?
Ken: I designed the first album cover for GPKISM.
Kiwamu: He did the first mini album cover design, but it didn’t have a big impact because we were a new band. We hired a pro to design the rest. It’s more fashion design than graphic design.
Ken, jokingly: It sounds like he’s bashing me.
Kiwamu, with a smile: I just wanted us to sell, to be successful.
Our deepest thanks and appreciation for BLOOD to have taken the time to talk with us. Good luck in your future endeavors!
Interview by: Christina
Edited by: Ali W.
Photographs by: Valerie