We’ve been blessed at JRR to be able to speak with jrock giants The Underneath several times now as they’ve made repeat performances across the United States. Our latest interview with them caught up with these legendary artists as they prepared for the headlining show at Otakon earlier this year. We took that opportunity to ask them some follow-ups from previous interviews—as well as some points some of you had brought up in the forums about the Taste of Chaos tour and the hide Memorial Summit! Read on for more.


JRR: It’s been such a busy year for you guys and I want to just talk about everything you guys have been doing since you went back to Japan after Taste of Chaos.

Taka: So after we went back to Japan, there were a lot of interviews like, you know, asking “How was Taste of Chaos?” and so every time we are reminded of Taste of Chaos and we always remember how wonderful it was and how we want to come back here.

JRR: So, how does it feel to be back in the United States again after the hide Memorial Summit and all those other things you guys were doing?

Taka:  It was really awesome that through Myspace a lot of fans came to Taste of Chaos and they commented: “Yeah, I’m going to come back and see you again!” So that is really awesome!

JRR:  As American fans, we’re very happy that we got to see your debut in the United States, so how did the fans in Japan react to your debut?

Taka:  So, the long-time fans, from [our previous work as Transtic Nerve] knew that we always wanted to have activities in the United States, so they really support us.

JRR: So, in the last interview, you mentioned all the songs that you wanted to play in Japan. I think it was “Gekkoh” and “Wakusei-Womb Is Planet-” and you played those. How was that? You mentioned that you wanted to do that.

Tal: Well, talking specifically about “Wakusei” and when we did the solo live in Japan, that was the first opportunity that we got to play that song in a live show performance. So we got to finally digest what the song is all about on the first live show. This time we have a lot of time on hand so we’re going to play whole songs from the album, so I’m really looking forward to performing that song.

Ryo: We like the song “Alone Together” and that was not a song from Transtic Nerve, so this is the song after we changed the name to The Underneath. So we feel really good to play that song.

Taka: We played that song in Japan, of course we sang it in Japanese and of course that changes everything through because of the Japanese language. So it’s very different that we perform the song in the Unites States and then we perform the songs in Japan because of the language and how they receive what the means and what the song is all about so it’s a very different reaction but it’s very comfortable, too.

Masato: I really like the song “Deep.” It’s a song where I really feel like we predict the way things will be in the future after we changed our name to The Underneath. I really strongly feel that. So we got a great reaction from the audience, and that’s why I love this song.

Masaki: I can’t pick a particular song but all the songs are really developing and growing as we play along with the audience’s reaction. It’s like the songs are really shining—we have our songs that we put all our essence into and then we get the audience reaction. From that, it’s like all the songs started to shine. So we feel really greatly after we have the Taste of Chaos tour and every song that we play has a life to it.

JRR:  A lot of the readers on our website were very curious about your thoughts on playing at the hide Memorial Summit so, if we could get your thoughts were on that…

Masaki: That was the first opportunity that we have from hide as Transtic Nerve and then this was the first stage as the Underneath that’s related with hide again. So that’s definitely something. And then sometimes in my own personal way when I cannot decide on something I always think: “It’s okay, hide is watching, so everything is okay.” He’s always in my heart and so this is the way it should be. So we’re very lucky.

Masato: There are two days of the event and the first day we went to see the other bands’ show and, wow! That’s so big! I was almost overwhelmed and—is this for real that we have to play on that stage? To share that with the other bands? And that’s what really amazed us. And also that was our first Japanese performance as the Underneath. And definitely hide brought us to that path.

Taka:  Definitely the atmosphere is very different and of course we all respect hide and everybody there, including the audience, was there for hide. All the artists respect and sang their songs for him. We became one world surrounding hide. And it was like the air that we breathed, and the atmosphere was so crazy and so great.  So, as the Underneath, we definitely want to tell the world who we are and then out of love we want to send a message to hide. And probably every member of the audience wanted to send individual messages to hide as well, but overall everybody has that same feeling, the same heart, the same love going to hide. And that was very, very special.

Ryo: Probably we are the band performing the most for hide’s festival. And then every time before we perform we always travel. So it makes you wonder a bit how best to approach hide’s stage while showing it the utmost respect. But we realized that we have to enjoy ourselves. That means we’re going to just give all our energy to enjoy the festival and give that to the audience. In the end, that means that the audience is having fun. We realized really this is exactly what hide would want us to do.

Tal: We are so amazed that everybody gave us a chance to perform on that stage. And everybody else said what I wanted to say but one of the things that I feel like is that there is a big mission and the question of the band—there is an opportunity, so here we are. That you are the chef and you have you way that you want to cook. There’s a great opportunity, and to use it or to not use it depends on the band. So that was a lot of pressure and responsibility on us on that special event, it was a big mission.

JRR So in the previous interview as well,  I think we asked about what you gained as musicians from the Taste of Chaos tour. And I was wondering, now that it’s all done and now that you guys are, you know, finished with a few things, would you do it again? Would you come to the United States and do Taste of Chaos again?

The Underneath (all): Of course!
JRR: Of course.

Taka:  If we could, we’d like to do that every year.

JRR: The fans would love that!

Taka: Well, this time [for Otakon] it’s too short. It’s only three days. Okay, we just got here…are you sure we’re going to go home again? Too short!

JRR: I was wondering what you guys think about, you know, last time you were here you were playing with all these awesome rock bands and now you’re here at Otakon—that’s very different! 

Taka: For Taste of Chaos and the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter we’re Japanese or we sing in Japanese but the bottom line is that everybody loves rock music. And then we try to break the barrier or wall between language or race or nationality. So we just try to play our music as rock music as rock artists. The bottom line is the same and maybe some of the people at Otakon don’t like the rock music, but many of the people came here to try to understand the rock music as well. So some new people might start to like us through this experience, and this is a gateway to introduce ourselves and try to expand our music to a wider audience.

JRR: So the fans are always asking—what are your plans next? Will you come back to the United States and release something else here?

Taka:  We still haven’t decided anything yet and—but as much as we have the chance, we’d love to come down and do the tour. And we just said that, you know, we’d like to do the Taste of Chaos every year and those are our true feelings.

Interview by Maria
Translations & interpretation by Yaz Noya
Transcription by Kia
Many thanks to Yaz Noya and The Underneath