JRR: Please introduce yourselves.
ShuU: I’m ShuU, bassist of GIRUGAMESH.
Nii: Nii on guitar.
Satoshi: I’m Satoshi on vocals.
Яyo: Яyo on drums.
JRR: How did you meet each other?
ShuU: ShuU and Nii have been friends since elementary school, and we were pretty close. We ran into each other at the train station during junior high, we asked each other what we were up to, and found out that he’s been playing the guitar and I’d been playing the bass, and so we decided to start a band. So we started looking for other members, and recruited Яyo, who was playing at the same rehearsal studio as us. Originally we had a different vocalist, and we played for a couple of years until the vocalist decided to quit. At that time Satoshi was with another band and he was also leaving that band, so we invited him to join our band. Hence, we got together officially in spring of 2004.
JRR: What was your first impression of each other?
ShuU: Nii and I didn’t really have an impression of each other [since we met at an young age], but we were both in the baseball team.
JRR: What other sports did you play?
Satoshi: I did gymnastics and ice hockey.
JRR: Do you hang out together on your off days?
ShuU: Yeah, when we have a longer vacation, like when we finish recording or a tour, we’d go somewhere together, about once a year. We’d go to the beach.
Яyo: We’ve gone to the mountains too.
ShuU: Did we?
Яyo: Yeah, after we went to the beach, on the way back we went to the mountains too.
ShuU: Oh yeah. We like nature.
JRR: You do BBQ at the beach?
JRR: I’ve read that in your blog.
Яyo: Oh~ (laughs)
JRR: Where is your home town?
ShuU: We are all from Chiba, except for Satoshi, he’s from Osaka.
Satoshi: I was born and raised in Osaka until the age of three, but I actually grew up in Chiba.
JRR: On your blog you talked about “Naritake” a few times; could you tell us what it is?
Nii: Explain to her! (laughs)
Satoshi: In our home town there’s a ramen place called “Naritake,” which sells tonkotsu (pork bone soup base) ramen, and the soup is really, really thick with fat.
JRR: So you like ramen that has a heavier/richer taste?
Satoshi:: It’s more than just having a “rich” taste…
Nii: It’s like the swamp.
Satoshi:: Yes it’s like the swamp. Very greasy but we like it.
Яyo: We go there about once every three days.
Nii: One time Яyo and I went there six days consecutively.
JRR: That’s like everyday!
JRR: What ramen do they have?
Яyo: They have miso and shouyu (soy sauce base) ramen. I like shouyu.
Satoshi: Me, too.
Nii: I like miso.
ShuU: I like miso too. We’re split into two groups. (laughs) After lives, we sweat a lot so we intake the salt from the ramen. We usually go there after lives.
JRR: Is the restaurant only in Chiba?
Satoshi: Yeah, there are three stores in Chiba.
JRR: So if your overseas fans decide to visit Chiba, you’d recommend Naritake to them?
Яyo: Most definitely. More like, they must go. (laughs)
JRR: What are your hobbies? In your blog you mentioned the game MONSTER HUNTER…
Яyo: Oh yeah… but since I’m hentai, I don’t like to play it the way it is. For example I’d modify the PSP to play the games. I’m pretty good with computer stuff so I like to modify/reconstruct things.
Satoshi:: I like watching movies, reading, and going to karaoke.
JRR: What are B-grade movies?
Satoshi:: (laughs) Ermm… those are the movies that usually people think are boring or way too out there.
ShuU: Like some movies when you see the package you’d be able to tell it isn’t gonna be too good.
Satoshi: Sometimes it’d be a rip off of a famous movie like The Pirates of Caribbean, etc, movies that people usually don’t like to watch. But I like those.
JRR: Are those usually foreign or Japanese films?
JRR: Is there one you’d recommend?
Satoshi: “DEATH BURGER.” (DRIVE-THRU) (laughs) The package of the movie shows a clown holding a hamburger that’s on fire. (laughs)
JRR: Is it a horror film?
Satoshi: Yeah, a splatter horror. The clown goes around killing people, and that’s pretty much it.
Nii: My hobbies are playing the guitar and drinking alcohol.
JRR: What alcohol do you like?
JRR: Any one in particular?
Nii: Asahi beer. When we went to Germany we had a lot of German beer there, but when we came back here I still thought that Japanese beer tastes better. I don’t really drink wine or sake though.
JRR: Can you drink a lot?
Nii: I can drink up to 3 liters.
JRR: Are you the biggest drinker amongst the four of you?
ShuU: He can drink a lot at once, then he just falls asleep.
JRR: So his drinking behavior is…?
Nii: Not at all! Am I really?? (asks ShuU)
ShuU: Pretty bad; you become hard to take care of.
ShuU: You get too excited.
Nii: I guess.
ShuU: My hobbies are playing the bass, and to relieve stress I go shopping.
JRR: You sleep late a lot. Do you have trouble sleeping?
ShuU: Yeah, I have insomnia. Now I try to go to sleep with the help of alcohol. But when I went to the doctor’s [for a check up] the doctor said I shouldn’t do it because I might get alcohol poisoning so I should stop drinking. So now I try to exercise during the day.
JRR: Such as baseball?
ShuU: (laughs) Yeah, badminton, and soccer, get tired and fall asleep.
JRR: Do you have any special or hidden skills or abilities?
ShuU: Hmm… mine is hadouken (from STREET FIGHTER).
Nii: Mine is kamehameha (DRAGON BALL)
ShuU: (Pointing to SATOSHI) Yours should be teleportation. And yours (ЯYO), isn’t it the gomu-gomu something… (ONE PIECE)
Nii: …I think you’ve overdone it (laughs)
ShuU: You’re good at drinking (laughs)
Satoshi: You’re good with computers and mechanical stuff.
Яyo: Yeah but that’s no fun.
Satoshi: But that’s what you’re good at.
Яyo: Yeah I guess. SATOSHI is good with cooking.
Satoshi: Yeah I can cook, and I can fall asleep right away anywhere I want, for example I could sleep right here right now (pointing to the floor).
JRR: (Looks at the floor) Then…
JRR: Never mind~ What’s a dish you’re most confident with?
Satoshi: Curry. I pay a lot of attention when I make it.
JRR: You put in lots of love.
Satoshi: Yes. (laughs)
ShuU: What’s the use? You eat it by yourself.
JRR: Don’t you share it with the others?
ShuU: I haven’t had it yet.
Яyo: I’ve had it once.
Satoshi: I like curry so much I can probably eat it for a whole week. I enjoy making it as well.
JRR: Do you start from scratch?
Satoshi: No (laughs), I use the store-bought rue and start there. I slice up about four onions and stir-fry them in the frying pan, and put in tomatoes…
ShuU: You put tomatoes in there?
Satoshi: Yeah. It tastes good. And I also put in yogurt.
Satoshi: Yes, it puts a delicate spin on the curry.
ShuU: Can I say something? So far you’ve talked about Naritake and curry, all food-related, maybe you shouldn’t be in a band! (laughs)
Satoshi: It’s just a hobby! I’m good at it.
Nii: What am I good at? I don’t know myself… I need others to tell me. You got any ideas?
ShuU: Hmm… he can play the guitar non-stop. He loves the guitar. After playing the guitar non-stop for a week when we do recording, I’d be sick of playing the bass for a while…
Яyo: Yeah and I’d be sick of playing drums.
Nii: I feel the same, like I don’t want to play for a while, but the next day I’d pick the guitar up and start playing again.
JRR: So the guitar is like your girlfriend?
Nii: Ermm… just a good friend (laughs). Great partner.
ShuU: My special skills are hadouken and shouryuken… (laughs). Hmm… oh I’m good at cracking up jokes.
Nii: Oh yeah that’s right.
JRR: Are you good at telling jokes or being funny?
ShuU: Rather, I’m comedian-compatible. I try to get everyone involved.
Nii: He’s probably the funniest of us all.
JRR: Could you tell a joke right on the spot?
ShuU: Erm… no sorry (laughs). My funniness comes out naturally.
JRR: From your photos, it seems that none of you have eyebrows; is there a reason why the make up is done that way?
Satoshi: I think ЯYO shaves his.
Яyo: Well, I shave it when it gets too long. Then at the lives I just draw it in if needed. I don’t draw too much in though. As long as there’s just a little bit of it.
JRR: You prefer not to have eyebrows?
Яyo: No… it’s just that sometimes it gets in the way.
ShuU: How does it get in the way?
Яyo: When I had all my eyebrows, the people from the management office said they made me look too young so I should shave them. They said I look like a kid with my eyebrows untouched so I started to shave them. But then to have no eyebrows at all is a bit extreme for daily life so I grew a little back.
JRR: What types of girls do you like?
Яyo: I like the quiet types. I don’t like the ones that talk too much or too loud.
JRR: Any female artists that you like?
Яyo: Hmm… I haven’t watched much TV lately.
Satoshi: Yamada Hanako.
ShuU: Don’t say that!
JRR: You mean the female comedian Yamada Hanako?
Satoshi: She’s super noisy though!
Яyo: Yeah… I can’t stand that.
Satoshi: I like TSUCHIYA ANNA.
JRR: So like a mix?
Satoshi:: Face-wise, yeah, and someone that seems to have been a former yankee*.
(*A common term used to describe teenage delinquents, which originated from the late 70s and is still used sometimes nowadays to describe flamboyant delinquents. They usually have bleached blonde hair, or are dressed loudly)
Girls who have their own thinking, and stick to what they believe.
Nii: I don’t quite have a type… the type of girl I like would be the one I fall in love with.
ShuU: Who? (laughs)
Nii: I don’t know.
ShuU: But I think I know what type you’d like. You like the very traditional Japanese women, the type that follows you one step behind.
Nii: I’ll probably grow to be a stubborn old man (laughs).
Satoshi: You also like the quiet and obedient type.
Nii: I don’t know (laughs).
Satoshi: It’s true.
Nii: If you guys say so then so be it.
ShuU: I like a girl that I can have a fun conversation with, but she must have common sense too. She can’t just be noisy and talkative; she should know when to be quiet.
JRR: What about Yamada Hanako?
ShuU: Erm, her, well I think she does know a lot.
Nii: She’s not K.Y.*! She’s aware of what goes on around her!
(*K.Y. stands for kuuki yomenai, someone who cannot read the “air,” meaning someone who has trouble following what’s going on around them, or doesn’t know how to respond correctly)
SHUU: Yeah but she overreacts when she gets drunk.
JRR: Have you ever confessed your feelings to a girl, or have a girl confess to you?
Яyo: Oh, like when we were students? I’ve never done it, but I’ve had girls confess to me a couple of times, when I was in junior high; I felt the youthfulness back in those days.
Satoshi: I did when I was in junior high… or was it elementary school?
Nii: You dated an elementary school kid??
Satoshi: No! I was the most popular during elementary school days and beginning of my high school years.
JRR: What about now?
Satoshi: No, not now. (laughs)
Яyo: We don’t really get to meet girls.
Satoshi: No, not at all. We either do lives or lie half dead at home (laughs). Yeah we don’t get to meet girls.
ShuU: When you were in elementary school, what did you tell the girl you liked?
______(name of girl) suki! (I like you _____ )
Nii: I’ve never had a confession either way. I went to an all boys’ school, so I really didn’t get to meet girls. In junior high, before I started playing music, I usually just stayed home.
ShuU: He’d just stay home and play video games.
Nii: Unfortunately I don’t have any experiences with girls.
ShuU: I’ve had both, but I feel that since I’m a guy I should be the one that speaks up. But I’m usually passive in a relationship, although I am a man when I need to be, I usually put the girl before me…
Satoshi: Lady first (giggles).
ShuU: Yes, lady first.
JRR: So you’re a gentleman.
ShuU: Yes, “I am gentleman” (speaks in English). And then I release hadouken.
Gentleman! (then gestures for Hadouken) Gentleman! (gestures again for Hadouken) when the enemy shows up.
JRR: Would you date yourself if you were a girl?
ShuU: I think about it sometimes but I think the girl would be unhappy.
JRR: How come?
SHUU: With this line of job, you really don’t know when something might come up, when there’s something you must do. If you miss the chance you don’t know when the next one would come up, so as a band we have to take whatever we can get. So the girl has to be able to understand our situation. But regular girls won’t be able to handle that.
Nii: Hmm… I don’t know; I’d have to be a girl first to know. I don’t think I’d date myself.
Яyo: Meaning you wouldn’t date a gamer.
Nii: (Laughs) I’m not a gamer!
ShuU: I think he’s dateable, but he’d probably shy away at the critical moments. For example, when he confesses his feelings, he probably won’t be able to get the words out.
ALL but NII: Chicken!
Nii: It’s fine, I like myself the way I am.
Satoshi: I wouldn’t be able to date a guy like myself, because I’m very selfish and have to have my way. (laughs) And I don’t like troublesome stuff, so I don’t think I can handle myself.
Яyo: I’d have no problem dating myself. I spend all my time working so I can be fine even if there’s no communication for a month, so a relationship that demands minimal attention is best for me. I don’t like girls who are clingy or keeps on wanting to meet up. The girl I’d date, for example, like I’d be busy with work, and she’d be busy with her own work too, I think that’s the best. We just need to talk a little once in a while. I like someone who spends most of her time working. But yeah, I’d definitely date myself.
JRR: What is the concept for your new album [GIRUGAMESH, released December 26]?
ShuU: Our concept for the new album is, we have extracted the most out of ourselves, did all the things that are possible within our capabilities at this moment. We do want as many people as possible to listen to our music, but we don’t want to put the focus on simply selling the CDs. We made the album just thinking that we want it to be the best we can do, something that we can be proud of.
JRR: How many tracks are there in the new album?
ShuU: 13. All new songs.
Яyo: We did a lot while touring, so it was pretty tough, physically. But at the same time we were able to extend all the experiences from the lives and use them on making the album.
JRR: What is unique about this album?
ShuU: So far all we’ve been doing is touring, recording, touring, recording and here we are now, so I think we have successfully packed the groove of our lives in this CD. Also, Satoshi wrote the lyrics while touring, too, so I think this is a CD that makes you feel like you are at a concert when you listen to it.
JRR: In regarding to the lyrics, what was the main theme for you this time?
Satoshi:: My theme was to show as much as possible the rawness of human nature, and write lyrics that show real human emotions. I dug within myself and wanted to expose the most honest feelings within me.
JRR: What is the biggest difference between the new album and the last album, if any, and how have you grown since the first album “13’s REBORN?”
ShuU: Each of us have become more dedicated to making good sounds and pickier about the results, and since we’ve been touring so much, we’ve really been able to incorporate the way we play at lives into recording for the album, instrumentally and such.
JRR: Recently you have done several lives in Europe. When you performed there, did you get to do sight-seeing?
ShuU: The only day we had off, we had to do photo shooting. (Shows the picture of the four of them standing on a building roof) We got to walk around this area (laughs).
Яyo: We got to write our names on the Berlin wall.
Satoshi: Yeah we signed on the wall.
JRR: So if people go there they can find your autograph on the wall?
Satoshi: I think it’d still be there.
Nii: But it was tiny (laughs).
JRR: What did you think of the food there?
ShuU: It was pretty bad… I don’t know, Satoshi seemed to like it.
Satoshi: I liked the pork dishes. I thought the food was decent.
ShuU: The rest of us had bought some food from Japan and we were fighting over the food.
JRR: What did you bring?
ShuU: Cup ramen, instant miso soup, soy sauce, etc.
JRR: What about natto?
ShuU: I thought about it but thought it’d probably go bad.
Satoshi:: It’s already fermented.
SHUU: When we went to America, I couldn’t stand not eating Japanese food anymore so I asked the manager to buy me natto and rice and sushi.
Nii: You did?!
ShuU: Yeah you wouldn’t wake up.
Nii: The soba we had on the plane on the way back brought tears to my eyes.
Яyo: That wasn’t when we flew back from America.
ShuU: No, we flew Korean Air that time. They had bimbimbap. On the way to Germany [with another airplane company] they had some food that I wasn’t sure where it was from, but on the way back they had soba and we were all glad to have it. But the portion was very little and we finished in one gulp.
Nii: Being in Germany made me miss Japanese food.
JRR: In your mini album “REASONS FOR CRYING” you had the theme of wanting to destroy the part of yourself that you don’t like; were you able to achieve that?
Want to know the answer? Stick around! Jrock Revolution will post PART TWO soon! In the meanwhile, feel free to discuss this on our active forum here!
Interviewed, transcripted and translated by Christina.
Thank you to Maverick DC Group and girugamesh for this interview.