D’espairsRay played the second night of the Jrock Revolution Festival. They aren’t strangers to the US audience as they have played many times here. They even played a double-header at A-kon, the same convention that Duel Jewel once started their American career at.
JRR: You have already performed in Europe and the U.S. What made you decide to accept this new opportunity?
D’espairsRay: Lately, more Japanese bands are coming to the US to perform, but we are not just coming overseas because we were simply invited or free minded. We actually feel a responsibility to ourselves to show what Visual Kei is to overseas fans. So we want to show our full effort.
JRR: Are you looking forward to seeing any of the other artists perform? If so, which ones?
D’espairsRay: We would like to see all of the bands. We want to see ourselves from the audience’s perspective as well. There has not been an event in the US where 9 Japanese bands appear together. So if we could, we would want to see them all.
JRR: What kind of impact do you want your performance to leave?
D’espairsRay: We would like to show our capability, especially our originality. Since we have done tours in the US before, we want to show our accomplishments from those tours.
JRR: Do you have any other plans for your visit to the U.S.?
D’espairsRay: Our staff handed us a guidebook of the LA area and asked us where we wanted to go.. But we couldn’t figure out where we wanted to go… We talked about visiting a beach…
JRR: What does it take for a Japanese or foreign artist to perform in the United States?
D’espairsRay: If you perform with local American bands purely for the music and not the Japanese culture aspect, you will be able to experience it all.
JRR: If you could describe your music in three words, what would they be?
D’espairsRay: Rock, Soul, Jazz (Laughs) …Really? I think Jazz is not right the right word… We just want our music to stay in the hearts of people. We don’t know how to say that in one word.
JRR: Do you engage in any special ritual or routine before a show?
D’espairsRay: Before a performance, we start by communicating in our own way. It starts with a handshake and then a high five. We thought that we should try making a circle, screaming, and all the typical things… but we knew it wouldn’t work for us… (Laughs)
JRR : Please describe your prior experiences performing in America and Europe.
D’espairsRay: Our European audiences seemed very excited to see our first performances. On the contrary, we felt that it would be very tough for us to impress American fans, but now we feel better especially since fans are exchanging information. After Japanese and European fans saw the US tour DVD, we felt that they got a strong vibe from American fans.
JRR: What are some of your future plans?
D’espairsRay: We are planning to for to Finland, Spain, and Sweden for a tour. Then we are going back to Japan for a tour. We will release a single at the end of this tour and begin working at the studio for our album being released next year.
JRR: Would you ever consider living and working outside of Japan? Why or why not? If so, where would be your first choice be?
D’espairsRay: We all like London and NY.
JRR: What are some of your current influences or favorite artists? (They don’t all need to be musicians.)
D’espairsRay: Yui and Bjork
JRR: What do you think about your new album – Mirror? Tell us the story behind making it.
D’espairsRay: It took about a year to record. Our managements changed, and we went through a transition. So that is why it took longer for us to release it. When we make this album, we blocked ourselves from the outside world. We kept focusing on what was on our mind – concentrating on who we are. It came out very good!
JRR: Message to American fans:
D’espairsRay: We used to fear America… (Laughs) America had a scary image before… But each time we come back to America, our image of America becomes better and nicer. We are looking forward to seeing you. Let’s have fun together when we visit America!