Come read our interview with the sweet guys of Sugar during Onicon, after their first performance in America. Ever wonder why Shingo plays an Ibanez bass guitar? How about where Loki gets his inspiration? What do they think of each other? And what are Sugar’s goals? Read on and find out!
JRR: Nice to meet you.
JRR: First of all, thank you for a wonderful live last night. Are you ready for the Q&A tomorrow?
Shingo: Of course!
JRR: Will you please introduce yourself and the part that you play?
Loki: Vocals, Loki.
SIZNA: Guitar, SIZNA.
Shingo: Bass, Shingo.
Atsuto: Drums, Atsuto.
JRR: This is your first time in America. Are American fans very different from Japanese fans during lives?
Loki: It’s definitely very different. The response is different and the air is totally different. In essence, it’s a totally different thing.
SIZNA: The whole response is totally different within the different fan bases.
JRR: Is it more energetic? Or is it just a different kind of energy?
Shingo: Basically, pretty much the energy is different. The response is so fast when it’s something good for them, so they move their bodies and do things. It’s a totally different kind of response; it’s a really fast response for them.
JRR: Shingo, you’re the newest member of the band and I was curious as to how the rest of the band found [you].
Atsuto: I knew him. We’d been acquaintances for a while, like 4 or 5 years.
JRR: Oh, a long time.
JRR: Shingo, you play on an Ibanez sound gear. I was wondering what the model was and why do you prefer the Ibanez over other models or brands?
Atsuto: You should tell them the tale!
Shingo: SR series. It’s an SR series custom.
Shingo: The reason why I choose Ibanez is because I really have small hands. So compared to a normal standard bass, I prefer a technical bass. Even in the technical bass, I do very fast slaps and I play very fast so in situations like so, the Ibanez is more fit for my hand.
JRR: The Ibanez does have a much thinner neck.
Shingo: Yeah, it’s a thinner neck. That’s why.
JRR: It’s nice, isn’t it? (laughter)
JRR: Many people at Onicon are dressed up in Japanese fashions or cosplay, for example: Lolita. Do you think visual kei can just be a fashion or does it have to be paired with music?
SIZNA: As for me, I think it could be separate because, for us, the music exists and then there’s the costumes that exist as an entertainment form. So I personally think that it could be separate things.
Loki: In my opinion, I think it’s something that you can’t separate because, for me, the music exists and there’s the image that I have that exists. And it’s just something; it might be different for everybody else, it might be able to be separated for them, but for me it’s really tied together and you can’t separate it.
JRR: I’ve noticed in some of your blogs that you post pictures of animals. I was wondering if those were your pets.
SIZNA: The reason why I posted those pictures, where I originally am from, there’s a prefecture called Fukui and we went there and we stayed at a hotel. But there was this dog that had eyebrows that looked like it was drawn in so it was really like manly eyebrows! And then we thought it was funny so that’s why I posted it up. But it’s not actually our pets. (laughs)
JRR: Ah, I see. What is your favorite song of Sugar’s to perform?
SIZNA: For me, it’s most likely different for each member, but for me it’s the song called Berry.
Loki: Hmm… It makes me really think.
Atsuto: (in English) Me too.
JRR: Sugar has a distinctly jazzy flavor recently, where are these musical influences from?
SIZNA: It’s more like we’ve been, the genre that we came from is, there’s a lot of different things mixed in so I feel that I’m influenced by what I really like within different genres.
JRR: What are your favorite artists?
Atsuto: It’s not jazz but is that okay?
Shingo: The reason I started music was Limp Bizkit.
SIZNA: There’s a guitarist named Eric Johnson.
Loki: These kind of questions make me think because, what’s going on is music that I have listened to over the years, pretty much everything that I have listened to has been influential to me in some kind of way.
JRR: Loki, your lyrics are often very dark or sensual. I was curious where you got your inspiration.
Loki: As you said, my lyrics are dark and sensual. But it’s not that I had a daily happening, like, oh, you know, I had this bad thing happen to me and that’s why. It’s more of an everyday happening. And for example, just like SIZNA said, the song Berry. I was literally looking at a strawberry and that’s where it came up. And there’s all different kinds of song books and all these things that I see, looking up at the sky all of the sudden and just seeing, a scenery and things just come out to me. And then from there, there’s a connection that is made and from there it just starts pouring out.
JRR: Atsuto, until recently you tended to wear things that covered your face or your head. I was wondering what brought on your recent style change where you now show your face.
Atsuto: In the beginning, for the media and stuff, I had my face covered, and then there were more lives and more media coverage and then as time passed by, I still covered my face. But looking at SIZNA, his face keeps on changing. And then I felt, "Oh man, this is not good!" So then, then I figured, oh, maybe I should show my face.
JRR: I’m glad you decided to start showing your face!
JRR: What are your most embarrassing or funny moments while on stage?
Atsuto: SIZNA’s always funny.
SIZNA: There’s a lot of embarrassing moments for me. You know, messing up a riff, falling, and because of troubles like sometimes my guitar string just breaking… And I feel that the troubles that happen are my fault so it’s embarrassing for me.
Loki: Sometimes things happen, and it’s an embarrassing moment for me. But, for me it’s not that I listen to my music and remember the lyrics, it’s just really engraved inside me so it just comes pouring out. But sometimes there’s days that I start singing a melody and I should keep on going but there’s times that I totally forget it and then there’s moments where I start just humming. And there are moments where I do change lyrics at shows and things but there are a couple of moments sometimes that I totally forget and then I just start humming and it’s just really embarrassing for me.
Shingo: I have a funny moment that happened. Sometimes when SIZNA has a guitar solo, I come together with him and then all of a sudden, we put our heads together and there was a moment that when of SIZNA’s pins in his hair came onto my hair perfectly and it was just a really funny moment. It just kind of transferred from his head to mine.
JRR: If you were not in a band, what would you be doing now?
Shingo: I can easily say that I would have been an account[ant], I would have been a CEO, I would have started a company.
JRR: You would have been very rich.
Shingo: I don’t have that much money now but I have a lot of ideas! (laughs)
Loki: I would have most likely become a silver accessory designer.
JRR: Ah, do you design any of your accessories now?
Loki: Right now, the things that I’m wearing are not something I designed. But, eventually, I want to do it.
SIZNA: I would have most likely been helping my father’s work. My father does bridal videography. I would have most likely been doing edits and things like that for him.
Atsuto: If I wasn’t in a band and if I gave up on drums too… I would most likely be dead.
JRR: What’s your next goal for Sugar?
SIZNA: Make a cooler CD.
JRR: But the ones you have now are very cool!
JRR: Can you describe each band member in one word?
SIZNA: Big (Loki). Stupid (Atsuto)!
Atsuto: You’re just saying whatever’s coming to your mind aren’t you?
Loki: One word? It’s really hard for me to describe… Mood-maker (Shingo). Selfish (Atsuto). (group laughter) Crazy (SIZNA).
Shingo: Snake (Loki), rooster(SIZNA), a little chicky bird(Atsuto).
JRR: They’re all animals!
Shingo: They’re really kind of like animals and there’s a lot of in-store events and talk stuff and then I thought it would have been funny if I said that. (laughs)
JRR: May I have a message from you for all of your fans at JrockRevolution.com, please.
Loki: It was finally our first international live and not just in America, but we want to do it worldwide so we just want you to follow us and cheer us on.
SIZNA: For me, it’s actually my first time being out of the country so I had a lot of culture shock. But, you know, if I go to other countries, too, I’m sure there are a lot of different culture shocks. But we want to become worldwide and do more lives in different places.
Atsuto: It’s actually my first time being out of the country and my first time on a plane and coming to America and suddenly an American guy is like, "Atsuto, I love you!" and it’s just like… shocking to me but it was a lot of fun.
Shingo: You know, being a musician and coming to America, it was one of my goals. And being able to see that there was a big audience here and then, even if it’s a little thing like just knowing our names or something like that, we just want to keep making Sugar bigger and bigger and carrying on.
JRR: Thank you all very much.
Sugar: Arigatou gozaimasu!
Interview by: Kara
Edited by: Ali