KYO's GiGS OCT 08 interview
-After overcoming many oversea tours, I think you're changes have definitely started to show up. Before, it seemed like you were trying to hold in your feelings from coming out but since last year, those feelings seem to have started to go outwards.
K: No, I think that hasn't changed much at all. My conscious isn't even focused on trying to convey these pains. I just do whatever I want so it's up to the people to come watch or listen. I think I'm more into the atmosphere now than a couple years ago. I don't think on stage as much as I used to and I just try to be myself, taking in the atmosphere of that place at that time and describe that with my voice. To me that's fun, and to get completely synchronized is challenging for me.
-When you challenge for these kind of shows, i think the reactions of oversea fans and people from places that have never seen you guys can become a motivation.
K: No, I'm just doing it from myself. It depends on the places, whether it's Japan or overseas, but when people come and watch, I just want them to feel something from that, and if they don't it doesn't matter. It all just matters on how each person reacts to certain thing so it's no use try to explain to each person what they should feel. So I just let the fans be. But, I think the conditions in oversea tours are better than japan's.
-REALLY?! I heard that life on the road overseas is much more difficult than in Japan.
K: If you look at Japan's as a standard, maybe it is hard, but over there it's normal. So I think it's stupid to say it's "difficult". I hate how the Japanese think that 20 shows in one month is a lot. Saying that is hard is weak. If you go to different countries, people don't have money to buy instruments and their equipment is beat up. But, still there are bands that scream, and if you look down there's a lot of people watching. I'm think those bands are much more great(sugoi). Knowing that, I don't want to say that touring in a bus with a bed for each of us or performing 20 shows in a month is hard. I don't even want to depend on that. That connects to a weakness and makes a hole in your heart. That's why on a day where there are no shows during a tour, I don't go out to look around, so I just stayed on the bus. I there to make a appearance on the stage and I just want to concentrate on that 100%. Other than that, I don't really care. As long as I can take a back/shower(laughs).
-So, it's how much you can polish yourself. When you are able to bring yourself through that, do you feel like you have achieved something?
K: Not a achievement but a goal of not losing to yourself. Well, it's kind of weird to set up a goal. When I'm in a more difficult position, I'm able to perform better. The more difficult, more of a bad mood I'm in, it's a better show. I just want that "Today I was able to perform well in the show" feeling. That's the only reason why I push myself in a difficult position.
- So the explosion of your anger and negativeness is the description of yourself on stage.
K: That's all I've hot. If I had something else I'm good at, I wouldn't do this much to myself. I can put 100% into this because this is all I have. I don't want to do something incomplete and regret either. In the past I was way too easy on myself. I hate how I used to be and if I can I want to delete that from my past. So I don't want that to build up anymore. Whatever I'm able to do, I do. And, if I have something I left undone or one thing is on my mind, my heart starts to hurt. Recently, I get these pains a lot. During recording, I get annoyed by a 1/8 sound gap and want to rerecord. The other members don't even know what I'm talking about, but to me, this causes a pain to my heart.(btw when he says heart, he literally means heart. its not the emotional, feeling heart)
-When you do that(rerecord if its off timing), do you think of yourself as a professional?
K: No, that's not a professional. Say you have a artist you really like, and that person wants to get hyped up for the show. When you watch those kind of people on stage, you don't really get anything from them. It only seems "eh", when people sing sad songs professionally. The concert begins from the rehersal, not the actual show. If you go deeper, it starts from how you live. Including all that, nothing with lies and regret, I want to fill myself up with that.
-When you push yourself into a difficult position, for example the pain described in your lyrics, does a different feeling come up than what you intended when you wrote the song?
K: I don't think the pain I mainly wrote about will never change. But when I'm able to get more into a song, new things are born or I get into a different world sometimes. That's when the lyrics or melody changes during shows. When I stand on stage, I feel that I'm losing unwanted things. I am challenging myself to only be able to represent myself with my body.
-I was informing that you guys are working on the album, but in the means of getting into songs, are shows and studio work different?
K: There's a world in each song that you look into right? I think about how I can shape that, bring it to the closest of my image in my mind and how I can put my feelings into it. On top of that, something that no one else has done. When I am facing a new song in the studio, this is how I think. When I write new songs, I think about how they would turn out if we performed them in front of audiences, so you can only probably understand about 60-70% of the song on the CD. But then we make songs on the CD that can't be recreated on the stage. In that way, shows and recordings are different.
- The new song "GLASS SKIN" has already been performed live right? After you've performed it, were you able to see a more clear color of the song?
K: Every time we perform it, I understand it better.
-I think that color isn't just one color, but many differ colors and tones. I think the emotions are all heading to one place.
K: You might be right. Ever since "DOZING GREEN". The pain hasn't changed, but the how it comes to me is very different, and that changed the color and my expressions. I think the way the song is changes too.
- Is it from the experience that you've had in the past few years?
K: Yea. My songs and lyrics doesn't mean music, but it's coming from what I naturally feel. If I can become a better person, my expressions changes. After each experience my thoughts cement more and more or more flexible. I think that's the biggest change inside me.
-Seems like you haven't done much communication on the road over there with other people. During that, I'm guessing that you were able to think a lot and polish yourself naturally.
K: yea. But, not only overseas. I think a lot even if I'm in Japan. I sometimes hate how nice the conditions of the tour can be in Japan.I think May's tour had a tighter schedule than before but i think it can be harder. But I'm guessing there aren't that many people that understands me...(laughs)But I never bend my thoughts and think that I'm just being myself. Things like that gives me ideas for lyrics. Everything from my everyday life to my smallest thoughts comes out as lyrics.
-The second songs is "undecided" which was also played in some shows. There was a time when you guys wrote very aggressive songs but do you guys actually like more quiet, melodious songs?
K: No, I actually don't like them that much(laughs). No, really. Its just, theres some songs that I really like. The second song was actually going to be a different accoustic song. And a live version of that. But there weren't any good takes on it so we asked if we can do "undecided". And we really had trouble choosing what to do for the unplugged song but I wanted to try a aggressive song. So I chose "ASOM". But then I couldn't make it to the piano recording so I didn't know where the first verse started and ended. I thought it was pretty interesting. And I wanted to give it my best shot at it and that's how it ended up.
-"ASOM" sounds like its gonna possess you.
K: But I really like it. The image the song originally had really went together with the image and atmosphere the piano track had so I thought this could work. I finished the recording of these 3 songs in one day.
-You really need to be into these songs in order to sing these. But after listening to the first to songs, it sounds like you not liking slow songs sounds like a lie. And you've said before that you don't consider yourself as a vocalist but I think that's a lie too.
K: No, it's not(laughs). I consider myself a voice-craftsman more than a singer. I can't really explain but I don't think of myself as a singer. A person who makes something with the voice. But in shows, I also use my body so I guess that's not it.
-I was just awed.
K: Oh, I see. You know how people have some kind of habit when they sings? I've been trying to kill that since "Dozing Green" so I have a lot of fun. Actually it was really hard for me to set that rule while I was singing. But when I was able to overcome that, I was able to ask myself, "What kind of new world is this?". I didn't write another melodious song to make a part 2 of "DG". This may sound weird, but I think "GLASS SKIN" doesn't really have a catch. It's not like the chorus really hits on you and it's really hard to tell if it's actually there or not. But that's whats good about it. We've never had this smooth sound, and I thought it was really cool. I wanted it to be a song where you can listen to it over and over. I've been in that mode since "DG". "DG" also doesn't have a chorus that just comes at you. You know, anyone can make a song like "OK heres the chorus, listen to it." I don't mind listening to it, but making it on my own...it's no fun.
-Does the album have the new approach?
K: Some of it yes. Some of it I did it on purpose. We've really emphasized that we wanted to make songs that doesn't exist anywhere. It's hard to say "it sounds like...". I'm guessing theres a lot of people imagining how the album might sound based on "DG" and "GS". We'll go past satisfying you and take you to a further level. At this point, we have something that brings this much confidence.
- Do you aim for a different place for your emotions in the lyrics?
K: Some songs, I've written based on how it sounds and some go even deeper than "DG" or "GS"
- The better you get, the more higher the hurdle gets to get into these songs?
-Do you have any goals built from how much you've grown?
K: No. The closer I get to the image of myself I want to be, the further I want to go. So I'm basically chasing myself eternally. But I do see where I want to go. It just keeps moving. I think it's "how far I can go with this body". It's easy to just make things from looking at examples or relying on things. But it's to start with a blank sheet of paper. My goal is to keep on doing that and making more amazing things. More like what I want than a goal.
-You might end up becoming more flexible.
K: The more I push myself I question myself, "What is strength?"Overcoming what you think it the hardest thing in your life, I think, is the strongest thing. I think that thought is making up the core in me. And for a long time, if something really annoying happened, I really hated it. That's where it ended. If you can forgive that, it's really hard but, if you were able to forgive that, that would be really strong. I want that strength. "GS"'s lyrics looks like a love song but it's nothing like that. It actually about environmental problems. I didn't want to write what right or wrong...well it's kind of hard to get that but.
-There's a message beyond the lyrics?
K:Yea. I wanted to tell that i want to make a change, that something crazy is happening. I'm not trying to make society a good place but there's standards for certain things right? I'm not set up to the standards so maybe that's why I'm mad everyday. I want to lose that. I ask if anything is going to happen if I sacrifice myself. That's where my anger comes from sometimes. That's that difference before "DG" and now. Exploding with angers a easy thing to do. But I'm trying to obtain strength from taking in things. That's the me nowadays.
TRANSLATED BY: knosuke
Interview with Kaoru in Rockoon! 2008.10.08.
“That’s why we wore leather jackets in studio even in the summer…”
The single GLASS SKIN just came out in Japan and the first reaction was a storm of excitement. Especially since the title song is a ballad. Nobody expected Dir en grey to come out with a ballad this time, nonetheless it’s very nice that Dir en grey can still surprise their fanbase with something new. Kaoru, the head of the band, gave us a little insight to other news.
R: Are you (the band) satisfied with the new material?
K: Our new album is almost ready, it just needs some fine touch up, and all I can say is I think we have given our best and made a complete work this time.
R: When does Dir en grey plan to come back to Europe?
K: We’ll see each other next year.
R: Did you guys plan something special for the shows?
K: I hope that we’ll be able to express various aspects of UROBOROS.
R: This is going to be the band’s first release that comes out simultaneously all over the world. Is this meant to be a sign left behind for the future, saying we made it in the international Rock community?
K: To tell the truth I didn’t think about it this way, but nevertheless I think it’s something hilarious! When I first began playing the guitar I never thought I’m going to come this far. We never had this as a goal in mind, but I think it’s going to inspire us to give our best in the future.
R: Do you mix Japanese and English lyrics again or are all lyrics in Japanese?
K: About 80% of the lyrics are in Japanese, the rest is in English. Also, the album version of DOZING GREEN and GLASS SKIN comes with English chorus. You will get a new idea of understanding both songs when compared to the Japanese versions.
R: Is there any interesting story from the studio?
K: Our tone mixer/engineer Koni-young (alias Yasushi Konishi) likes to work in a very cold studio; he uses the air conditioning system to achieve that. That’s why we wore leather jackets in studio even in the summer.
R: What kinds of themes and ideas are getting expressed on the new album?
K: From the musical point of view this album is recognizably harder, heavier, and also crazier than our previous work. It gives you a certain drive and leaves you to rest only a few times. Even so there are beautiful melodies to be discovered, and I must say that although this album is heavier in sound, it’s also very pleasant to listen to. The whole thing is about “the past, the present, and the future of Dir en grey.” This is a somewhat dark but very much approachable work.
R: What kind of meaning does the “UROBOROS” – the mythic “world snake” that devours its own tail – carry for you guys?
K: We chose this particular name after we have collected several suitable ones for the album. All in all we were looking for something that carries a godly atmosphere. The theme “infinity” made us very interested and excited.
Translated by: in_monochrome