Part One of our interview with KAI, leader of the GazettE.
In Part Two of our interview, KAI shares his thoughts on Jrock overseas, fanmail, LUNA SEA‘s reunion, who he’s bowled with, the future of the GazettE, and more!
Since you joined the GazettE in 2003, is there something that changed for you individually?
KAI: There are countless changes. For example, I probably shouldn’t say it myself, but I think I have become more considerate of others. *laugh* Because the staff, and a lot of people that we come in contact with while working, all work as a team to make things happen. It’s like a happy thing to see happening. So naturally, I’ve gotten better at human relationships, and although it’s not a substantial thing, it is definitely a treasure to me.
That’s great to hear. the GazettE is very well known amongst fans for reading fanmail. Is that true?
KAI: Yes, we do read fanmail. Fanmail from overseas fans have also increased recently. The ones that go on and on in English are of course, very hard to read, but now there are translation websites that can convert a whole text of English to Japanese, so we input the text and the site would translate it for us. In that way, we can read it. Some of the English mail, since my mother can read and speak English, she translates them for me *laugh*
Have you ever replied to fanmail?
KAI: We cannot reply to emails. A lot of people write, “I will wait for your reply!” But we cannot reply to them. It’s set up so we cannot reply mails. Even if we want to we cannot. As for hand written letters, we used to do those a long time ago. To everyone.
Around 2003 or 2004, I would reply to all the fanmail. Then my mom said, since I kept on writing the same thing to everyone, and I would continue on in the same position, I would get tendonitis, and it would be stupid to get that through writing replies to fanmail. She said she can understand if I get tendonitis through playing drums, but to get tendonitis from writing mail would just be silly. So I decided to stop replying to mail. Also since I can’t just reply to one person and not the other, I stopped writing altogether. But I still do read the mail.
Were there any letters that really moved you?
KAI: Hmm… letters that moved me… Yeah, there were a lot… there were a lot of sad letters, or letters that left a strong impression. For example, there was one fan who wrote that their friend really liked us, but got into an accident the day before our concert, and passed away. When we got that mail, since it was the day before the concert, although we weren’t really dedicating it to that fan in particular, we felt that we wanted to perform as if they were there with us. Of course there were also a lot of happy letters, such as one fan who wrote that, since she has five kids, she named her kids after our names. The ones she named KAI and REITA were twins. The other three were just RUKI, URUHA, and AOI. *laugh*
How do you feel about the growth of popularity of Japanese rock music in foreign countries?
KAI: I think it’s great. It’s great that without having to change the visual scene, Japanese music is gaining recognition and popularity overseas.
What do you think of Jrock Revolution, the idea of gathering different bands and presenting them to a foreign audience? And would you like to be a part of that in the future?
KAI: I think it’s great since as a band, we have been doing one-man lives for a while, and haven’t been doing concerts or appear in festivals with the other bands, so it would be nice to see what the other bands are like, and we can learn from them, too. I think it’s a good idea.
the GazettE has performed with other bands from PS Company. Are you friends with the other bands as well?
KAI: Well… we don’t usually go beyond exchanging “Happy birthday” messages. Even though we are from the same company, we are all quite different so… Hmm… what was it again? *laugh* Interacting with the other bands? Well, I guess there is something; as a company we have an annual bowling contest.
Bowling contest? Not soccer?
KAI: Yeah, I don’t know why it’s not soccer *laugh*. We have a bowling contest every year, and we get to talk to each other about things besides music as well. So we do interact with the other bands.
You are a LUNA SEA fan, right?
Are you planning on going to their live on December 24th?
KAI: Yes… I would absolutely like to go.
How did you feel about their resurrection?
KAI: I am sincerely happy, since they inspired me to become a musician, to start in a band. I am very happy about the fact that I can see them on stage together again.
Have you met any LUNA SEA members?
KAI: Yes, we’ve met them at radio shows and such.
Who did you meet?
KAI: Their bassist, J, and support guitarist, INORAN, and also RYUICHI sends us flowers often when we have concerts. We have also met SHINYA because he worked with Miyavi once. I haven’t met SUGIZO yet. Next time if there’s a chance I would definitely like to meet him.
Are there any questions that you would like to be asked, but have never been asked in an interview?
KAI: A question I would like to be asked? What a question… *laugh*
Isn’t that a good question? *laugh*
KAI: Like, a question I would like to answer? Hmm… well generally I don’t reject any questions, so you can ask anything *laugh*
Is there something you would like to share with us?
KAI: Things I would like people to know I’ve probably already expressed somewhere. So I guess there’s really nothing left. *laugh*
KAI: Nothing in particular… For example, any information regarding the band would be announced officially, and when we are being interviewed, everyone including myself, we would say however we really feel. There are several places for us to speak our minds, such as on our diaries (on the official website), so we do say whatever we want to say.
You seem to be quite good at cooking.
KAI: I like cooking. Whether or not it tastes good, I like working in the kitchen… I used to work at a restaurant, and I enjoyed cooking there, so I like cooking a lot. I like to do creative cooking, adding different things thinking that they’ll probably go together.
Do you still have time to cook, with your busy schedule?
KAI: At home, sure… I do have some time to cook.
In your profile it says that you don’t drink. Is there a reason why?
KAI: Oh that… I don’t dislike drinking. In fact I sort of started liking it again, and sometimes I drink at home too. But when we drink together, we have so much fun that I tend to over-drink, I would feel the need to release… hmm how should I put it…
MANAGER: Just say you behave badly when you drink!
KAI: That’s not true! I don’t behave badly when I am drunk. But when I get drunk, it’s more like, *he gestures, his hand traveling upwards before suddenly “crashing” downwards*
Do you start crying?
KAI: No, but tension-wise, I start to feel low. So there was a period that I really didn’t like that about myself, so I decided to stop drinking. It’s been about two years. Recently I started drinking again, though.
Then you probably need to update your profile.
KAI: *Laugh* Yes.
What alcohol do you like?
KAI: Hmm… I like beer, and there’s one from Okinawa called Awamori, I like how it tastes.
What world or Japanese issues are very important to you or the band? Do you use your music to convey a message in regards to those issues?
KAI: Well, I think most of our messages are in the music. Since RUKI is the only one that writes the lyrics, all the messages are directly from him and indirectly from us, since most of the time the five of us think alike. If there is anything we think is troubling, RUKI would put it in the lyrics.
What are your wishes for the future, both personally and as a band?
KAI: Personally… I would like to live happily. *laugh* It sounds easy, but happiness, it’s hard to attain.
How do you plan on attaining that happiness?
KAI: There are many ways. For me, I would like to one day own a big house. *laugh* It’s quite a humble wish. For the band, as I’ve mentioned earlier, we would like to see how far we can go, and would like to reach as many people as possible with our music. We would like to go to all sorts of places.
We hope you enjoyed this interview. KAI wrote Jrock Revolution a message, a part of which appears below.
Watch out for a future contest when you could win KAI‘s message!
KAI appears courtesy of PSCOMPANY, Ltd.
Interview by Kuri
Translation and Transcription by Christina Fang
Additional questions contributed by Raz and Michelle Friendlander