Saturday, June 1, 2013

Interview - ViSULOG HYSTERIC CIRCUS vol.07

ViSULOG PRESENTS "HYSTERIC CIRCUS Vol.7" was held at Ikebukuro EDGE in July 19, 2013.

Prior the event, a discussion took place between the representatives of each band that appeared on the stage. The six members who gathered were RYO (defspiral), Sakai Hiroaki (12012), Yoshiatsu (Crazy★shampoo), Maki (ALSDEAD), Shuutarou (GAKIDO), and Jojo (THE GALLO). At the discussion this time, where these six unique people gathered, we were able to hear many interesting and precious stories that one can't hear normally. We'd like everyone to have a look [at these] before the event.

Interview by Takaya Yamamoto
Translated by chiva

―Are you all acquainted with each other?

Shuutarou: With some I am, with some I'm not.
Sakai: Roughly...
RYO: Are we? (laugh)
Sakai: From Akihabara Internet radio.
RYO: Ah, that's right. We did pass each other by (laugh). I am sorry...

―By the way, is there someone who you don't know at all?
RYO: I only know Kaede-kun from THE GALLO, so this is the first time with Jojo-kun, right? Please, treat me well (laugh).
Jojo: Pleased to meet you.

―If you perform at an event, you get to meet a lot of bands, but how do you befriend people from other bands?
Sakai: I'm a guitarist, so I usually end up following the pattern where I start with talk about guitar equipment and from there on I flood [people] with more questions, then befriend them.

―So naturally it's easier to talk to someone who plays the same instrument?
Sakai: That's right. I'm not quite sure how and what to talk about with vocalists (laugh).
Shuutarou: For me, I just greedily talk to anyone. For example, as soon as I hear some lowbrow talk coming from the other person, I join in right away and end up mingling vigorously (laugh). Both Jojo-kun and I like accessories, so we became friends sharing such talk.
Jojo: Right. In my case, because my name is Jojo, well, I guess people who like Jojo's Bizarre Adventure know this, but everyone from JoJo's family has a star-shaped birthmark. And I have the same kind of a birthmark...
Shuutarou: Really? I'm hearing this first time (laugh).
Jojo: In any case, for me it's because of the birthmark, but (laugh) I became friends with Maki-san talking about this, right?
Maki: Yup, that's right. The moment I found that star-shaped birthmark, I went like, "Ah, Joestar family right there, let's talk to him for now." (laugh)
Jojo: We talked about JoJo all the time, right? (laugh)

―Are all of the members of ALSDEAD sociable?
Maki: They're not sociable at all... They're really bad at getting involved with other people, and even if they're approached at great lengths, they only reply and that's the end of the conversation. It's like that constantly. (laugh)
Shuutarou: It didn't feel that way though.
Maki: But when at least Shuutarou-kun approaches boldly, they are forced to talk, so it's fine. (laugh) Normally, even after they go out of their way to talk, the conversation ends after one exchange and it becomes gradually awkward...
RYO: We don't talk much either. Basically, we welcome anyone, but more often than not no one approaches us except special bold guys. (laugh)
Sakai: That's about me, isn't it? (laugh)
RYO: Speaking about 12012, Enya-kun is the like that, too.

―So you're basically the types to wait, right?
RYO: I keep thinking we are not at the age where you act so forcefully [anymore]. (laugh)

―What about you, Yoshiatsu-kun?
Yoshiatsu: In our band, we completely stick to each other and chatter. But you know, we made this game, and there are bands that we befriended during the previous tour because of it.

―What is the game called?
Yoshiatsu: It's called the "weenie warrior game," and when we play it....
Shuutarou: I heard from the other members. "Crazy★shampoo plays this really funny game." So when I went to have a look at what kind of a game it is, I went like, "I wanna do it! I wanna do it!" right away. (laugh)
Yoshiatsu: At that time, we played it together right until we went up on stage, and because we performed with that excitement, we managed to make it a really good live. (laugh)

―What kind of game is it?
Yoshiatsu: It's like the Yamanote Line game.*
* The best known drinking game in Japan. Players go around in a circle (like the titular train line) and name any stations they can think of that are on the Yamanote sen. While playing, everyone claps in rhythm, and each player has to say a station name on the correct beat. If they hesitate, repeat a station already named, say a station on the wrong train line, or can't think of anything to say, they have to drink.

―And that's how you became friends with Shuutarou-kun, right?
Shuutarou: When I asked: "Won't you do it today?"
Yoshiatsu: I said we'd already finished. (laugh)

―Do you always do it?
Yoshiatsu: Yes, we do. We also do it at the rehearsal studio; it's a game to lighten the mood of the band. Even when there is no SE and we're standing on stage when the curtain goes up, we do it right until the last minute. (laugh)

―Is it famous among the fans?
Yoshiatsu: I don't think anyone knows about it.

―Since the topic of the "weenie warrior game" came up, is there anything that has become popular in your bands?
Shuutarou: There is, but it can't be compared to the "weenie warrior." (laugh)

―Just now, Sakai-san said that he starts with guitar equipment talk, but how do vocalists befriend others?
Maki: I guess it's talk about manga, games, or hobbies, right? I don't really talk about who my favourite vocalists are. In the past I searched for people who could talk about things like, "Ah, the shouts here in this metal band are awesome," but there weren't too many people who could understand that, and so gradually I changed the main topic to games... (laugh)

―At what occasion do you make conversation?
Maki: The way I do it is if there are people who play games that seem like I might like, then in a barely audible tone as if to myself, I say something like: "Ah, that's that, right?" and then join from there on. (laugh)

―(laugh) What about you, Jojo-san?
Jojo: I'm also the type who does't really start [the conversation] himself, but when I'm allowed to watch a rehearsal, if I think, "this guy is cool," naturally I end up wanting to talk to them.

―So you approach to the person you are interested, right?
Jojo: I start myself.

―And you, Yoshiatsu?
Yoshiatsu: I totally can't. In a chance encounter, I'm not able to do more than a very polite greeting, so at that time I only go as far as to show my interest a little bit. (laugh) That's why when someone talks to me, I'm really happy.
RYO: I don't really talk to people first either, but I get asked about equipment often. But getting to the exchange of contact information just from [that little interaction] is more difficult than asking a girl. (laugh) It's unpleasant if they think, "Why is he asking?" and even if I try hard and ask, it mostly feels like it'll end right there. And most of the time it does around the time when I send a message like, "Please, treat me well next time too." (laugh)
Shuutarou: Sometimes, even if they say, "Let's swap [information afterwards]," they've already gone home before I've noticed.
Jojo: And it feels somehow embarrassing to send a message on Ameba or Twitter specifically after we get home, right? (laugh)
RYO: If there's an after party or something, it's probably something different, but lately there aren't many people who really go as far as throwing an afterparty, right? But when I'm told, "Let's go drinking," I feel like I'll definitely make time.
Maki: I often get asked to go drinking, and I answer, "Let's go," but I can't really drink much.... That's why not being able to drink is difficult. (laugh)

―But do you go if you're invited?
Maki: I do. But still, if you try to look at it from the viewpoint of the person who is drinking, wouldn't it boring if I'm not drinking myself. I drink to a certain degree, but there are times when I feel a difference in enthusiasm from the people who are drinking and I take that into a consideration a lot.

―We talked about afterparties just now; are there not that many lately?
Sakai: There aren't. When an event ends, everyone gets out right away; it wasn't like that in the past, was it?
RYO: We usually do them. Even if we're not invited, we go drinking just as a band.

―There aren't any afterparties even during coupling tours?
Shuutarou: Even if we have them, it's only after the final live. Compared to the past, I feel like the number of bandmen who don't drink has increased.
RYO: That might be right.

―I would like to ask about music too. What was the motive for starting with music for everyone?
Sakai: I got a guitar and formed a band at the same time - I put together a band with a classmate from my hometown. The motive was that I started getting interested in the music that was popular at that time, and so I started somewhere along the lines of, "Well, can't I do this myself?" It was a rural area, so there was nothing else to do but be in a band. (laugh)

―Why guitar?
Sakai: Somehow, the looks... (laugh) Around that time people who had guitars looked cool. Then I performed at my school festival, got caught up in the moment, and from then on I got addicted to it. (laugh)

―At that time it wasn't visual kei, was it?
Sakai: That's right. But when I started a band, I had the impression that everyone normally wears make-up. That's why I thought it was natural to wear makeup and it wasn't particularly because it was visual kei or anything. I think that perhaps there was no word like visual kei yet...

―How about you, Maki-san?
Maki: For me it was similar, but in my case I listened a lot to overseas metal because of my older brother's influence, and in the first year of middle school I put a band together with my friend. That band was an Iron Maiden cover band. With that band I performed at the middle school festival, but no one was into it. (laugh) Only the teachers got excited... But it wasn't like I wanted to be popular; my only motive was the desire to play metal, so it was different from wanting to be popular. At the time I had this huge prejudice that Japanese music being bad, so when I think of it now I was an unfriendly brat.

―You've liked metal for a long time, right?
Maki: That's right. That continued until around when I was in my third year of high school, but from that point on I realized other music is good too, and [my interest] has become wider at last.

―Why did you become a vocalist?
Maki: Because not many singers were around, but also metal singers have really high voices. And so when I tried to imitate such a voice, it came out high. (laugh)

―How did you become interested in visual kei?
Maki: At first I hated things like makeup, but when I was told that Ozzy was doing it too, I thought, "Yeah, that's true." When I looked at it calmly I thought it was cool.

―How about you, RYO-san?
RYO: I have two older brothers, and they naturally had a big influence on me, and also I come from this place in Hyogo Prefecture, Akashi City, which is the countryside, so you could really only be in a biker gang or in a band. (laugh) At that time artists like BOOWY were popular, and Hotei-san and X's appearances were amazing. In the beginning I was a guitarist, but when I started a band we didn't have anyone on bass, so I became a bassist. And I was very blessed when it came to circumstances; I was surrounded by several senior bands that were aiming to become pro. So, I began roadying as soon as I entered high school and went around national tours during summer break.

―Was X's arrival as big a thing as I thought?
RYO: Yes, it was. Around that time many omnibuses of Japanese heavy metal came out, but X was different and had an impact.

―And you, Shuutarou-kun?
Shuutarou: I wanted to become a baseball player, so I was always playing baseball. Now I'm 175 cm tall, but in the third year of middle school I was only 149 cm, so when I entered high school I hated having my hair closely cropped and I doubted I could play baseball at that height. Even when you look at Koshien*, everyone is around 180 cm, right? So I thought it was impossible and suppressed my dream in my third year of middle school. When I did, Dad whipped out an acoustic guitar all of a sudden. "Shuutarou, music has nothing to do with your body type. Only those who practice can win." I was moved by his words and went all "I will do guitar!" From then on it has always been guitar. My parents banned me from playing guitar solos and said I have to start from [simple] chords. So I played "Shiki no Uta"** and such all the time and until my siblings or other people could recognize the song, I couldn't buy an electric guitar. That's why I practiced desperately until they recognized it and I bought that electric guitar. But I am left-handed and there weren't many such guitars [in general], so it was quite difficult.
RYO: Dad's influence, that's sort of nice. He surely must understand.
Shuutarou: The neck of the accoustic guitar was really warped. (laughs) From there on, IShuutarou: The neck of the accoustic guitar was really warped. (laughs) From there on, I put together a band, and together with Maki, we ran towards Western music, feeling like "Japanese music is not good." (laugh)
dium was built to host the national high school baseball tournaments, and opened on August 1, 1924. In this case Koshien stands for Natioanl High School Baseball League.
**A famous Japanese song by Araki Toyohisa.

―There are times like that, aren't there? When did you stat singing?
Shuutarou: Since Gakido. Until then I was told I have to do "all parts," and I did them all briefly, except vocals, so from Gakido onwards...

―And you, Jojo-san?
Jojo: It's similar for me, but I played soccer instead of baseball. But it was deep in the countryside and the team was bad, so that's also why when we played a match against a city team, the city kids were all huge, and we never won. Secretly, I wished to go study abroad in UK [for soccer], but I thought it was impossible and I quit. I saw my senpai was doing a band and thought bands are cool, but I couldn't buy an instrument or anything and I wondered what I should do then, and went like, "It's okay if I sing, isn't it?" Afterwards, I started with music, but I ended up venturing into punk, not metal. I cut my hair short and dyed it flashy colors and thought the coolest hairstyle was the mohawk. But it wasn't like I was popular with a mohawk either; in Japan even if you have a mohawk, you're simply an outlaw and I ended up thinking, "That's not right. Well, should I do makeup?"
Shuutarou: Didn't punk and visual kei clashed during your high school years?
Jojo: They might have. At first I thought, "Why are they using make-up?" and I thought that everything except punk was shit. That's exactly why I thought I was invincible, but... I wasn't [after all]... (laugh)

―What about you, Yoshiatsu-kun?
Yoshiatsu: I probably wanted to be popular. (laugh) From middle school until I entered high school I was planning on being a band, but I didn't have any instrument. And I thought about if there was any way to only practice, and because there was a drum kit in brass band, I joined the club and practiced drums. Then my senpai, who was in a band, told me: "You can play drums, right?" and I was invited to join; at first we covered SUM41 or catchy stuff. But I borrowed a DIR EN GREY's CD from a friend and when I watched a live video, [Kyo] drew blood during the live, and I was so shocked I thought, "Just what is this man!? I want to be like that too." So I [turned to] visual kei.

―When did you change to vocals?
Yoshiatsu: I played drums during my three years of high school, but when I graduated I became a guitarist because my senpai's band lost theirs. But, that band's vocalist gradually stopped coming, so I was like, "Then, I'll be a vocalist," and it's lasted until now. (laugh)

―The event HYSTERIC CIRCUS vol.7, where these six bands are going to gather, will be held on July 19th. If you have any words of enthusiasm for the event, please share.
Shuutarou: I want to let everyone see "weenie warrior!"
RYO: Ah, but we are definitely not going to participate. (laugh). Depending on the live house, the stage and the backstage are separate and there are no screens in the green room, and many times we can't watch bands we play with. So when we get together prior to the event, it's nice that we can mingle and talk like this, right? The music we make is different, but I think it would be great if we could create an event where everyone can have fun until the end and doesn't leave immediately after the band they came to see, to just sit and talk in the lobby.