Gazing into Death DEATHGAZE Bliss Out Mind Tour, Tokyo Interview
Following their tour gig at Shinjuku Loft, ROKKYUU met with DEATHGAZE to glean their thoughts on performing in Tokyo, their current tour, and a few secrets such as the REAL reason they chose the Final Fantasy boss Deathgaze for their bandname...
69: Let’s start with the introductions. Could you each state your name, part and a secret about the member next to you?
Ai: A secret! Spilling our secrets… I’m the vocalist, Ai. Should I go left, or right?
Takaki: I don’t have any, do I?
Ai: [to Takaki] Oh, I’ve got one. He’s always playing guitar. Right? In the car…
Takaki: That’s true.
Ai: In the hotel rooms…
Takaki: That’s because I’m no good.
69: So in other words you practice relentlessly?
Takaki: I don’t really practice.
69: Well, it’s your turn now.
Takaki: I’m the guitarist, Takaki. As for Kousuke… He’s… Well…
Kousuke: A great guy, right?
Takaki: He seems very brattish… He seems like a bad guy
Takaki: But he’s actually a really good bloke.
Kousuke: Oi! What’s all this?
Takaki: He’s kind! He really loves animals.
69: Is that so? You love animals?
Kousuke: It is.
69: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Kousuke: Hmm… Well, both.
69: That’s the way.
Kousuke: I’m the bassist, Kousuke. Hmmm, Naoki’s secret… Naoki’s secret… Man there’s a lot I can’t say.
Ai: Just how secret are we going here?
Kousuke: Okay, well during concerts, if our eyes meet during a live, he’ll kick the two-bass.
Naoki: It’s true. With all my heart.
69: [to Naoki] Well then, it’s your turn.
Naoki: I’m the drummer, Naoki. Ai’s secret is that during recording if… Well if we go to Ai’s place, he makes tasty ice coffee. [Laughter and agreement] It’s really good!
69: Is that so? What’s the secret of this delicious ice coffee?
Ai: It’s love.
69: How was today’s live?
Ai: Honestly, it was a lot of fun. After all, Shinjuku Loft is legendary.
69: This is your second time here?
Ai: That’s right. As far as live houses go, it feels as if you can’t not play here.
69: So today was a successful fulfilment of that requirement then?
Ai: What do you guys think?
Kousuke: It was good, but more than that…
Takaki: Something was different here. This place has something special.
69: What imagery is foremost in your minds now?
Kousuke: Right from the beginning it seemed like the fans were really passionate for some reason.
69: Today was the Tokyo leg of the Bliss Out Mind tour. Could you explain the meaning of that title?
Ai: (chuckles) Uh, Bliss Out Mind… Actually there isn’t really a meaning. Well, maybe the grammar is strange or something but it sounded cool.
69: So, the sound of the words as usual?
Ai: Well there’s the sound of it, and it feels like what we want to say should be conveyed. According to what it means to me, it’s like… Wait, what was Bliss Out again? [laughs]
Takaki: Street clothes…
Ai: Right, street clothes etc. We wanted to perform with that at the heart of it, to bust out with that sort of passion.
69: I see. So, on the subject of titles, your song titles tend to be rather dark but the lyrics are often soft and quiet. Where do these dark titles come from?
Ai: I wonder… Are they really that dark? Well usually the title is inspired by the music. Songs that are very heavy naturally turn out dark or fearsome or uncomfortable and we have a lot of those, I guess.
69: So the heavier the darker.
Ai: Right. Comparatively.
69: So you have some songs completely in English. Is it a matter of being unable to express what you want to in Japanese? Or did you simply lose to the coolness of English?
Ai: Ah…. That’s right! Although, first of all, when it comes to writing songs it doesn’t matter what language it’s in. Japanese, English, Korean… It’s about using what best suits the music. Of course, the sound of English is cool but on the other hand, it doesn’t matter if the meaning is conveyed or not. “Coolness” is the priority and then by stringing it all together the meaning will come around.
69: Have you ever used Korean?
Ai: I’ve never used Korean!
69: Is that on the menu?
Ai: If I felt like Korean was the best method, then yes.
69: On that note… Concerning the song called “Fuck Me” – You’re aware of the meaning, I presume?
[In this case Ai’s interpretation is the “Awww fuck me” of exasperation, not the sexual context.]
69: Do you think the fans are as enlightened?
Ai: Ah, I think the interpretation of the Japanese fans is a little different. It comes across as more of a parody, I think, so they tend to take it lightly and not react drastically.
69: Do you smirk to yourself while singing it then?
Ai: No, no.
69: Business as usual.
Ai: That’s right.
69: All right, so moving on to the album The Continuation. Why did you choose to include those particular older songs?
Ai: Well when we decided to do the retakes, those were the songs that cropped up.
69: Songs with parts that you wanted to fix etc.
Ai: Exactly. Also, songs that could be improved by re-recording.
69: Ai, you recently picked up the guitar again and contributed to the music of sorrow. Was that a spontaneous choice, or something you’ve considered for some time?
Ai: Well if the chance presented itself, I wanted to. When I considered what we could do to make more unique music that only we could produce, that was the solution I came across.
69: DEATHGAZE is a Nagoya-kei band. When you tour through Tokyo, do you feel warmly welcomed?
Naoki: [English] Yes. I am.
Takaki: [English] Yes I am.
Ai: “I am” is a little off.
Takaki: [English] Yes I do.
69: Yes I do. Well that’s good. Do you think you could explain to the overseas contingent what “Nagoya-kei” is? How do you define Nagoya-kei?
Ai: Just what is Nagoya-kei…?
Kousuke & Takaki: No idea.
Ai: Image-wise, in the 90s, there was a sort of visual-kei movement in Nagoya and bands with a similar style came about and that’s the style that’s now called “Nagoya-kei” but it’s a bit ambiguous.
69: So you wouldn’t really consider yourselves to be a Nagoya-kei band, then?
Ai: That’s right. Not at all. We’re not fussed about how we’re categorized.
69: Gotcha. So this album (Bliss Out) was released while you were touring with Lynch.. Why did you choose that particular timing?
Kousuke: Well originally we had decided on the release date and then the tour with Lynch came up afterwards. It was a coincidence.
69: Well now you’re touring again. Do you have any stories to share from the current tour?
Ai: Interesting… You know, I feel like a lot has happened, but…
69: Nothing comes to mind?
Takaki: We had a puncture.
Ai: [English] Tire?
Takaki: [English] Tire burst.
69: Wow. While you were on the move?
Kousuke: Of course.
69: Aside from that, has the tour been proceeding well?
Ai: Yeah, it has.
69: Are there any goals you’ve set for yourselves to reach by the tour final?
Naoki: I think we each have separate goals.
69: What might yours be?
Naoki: Hmmm, well personally what I most want is – every time I do a drum solo. I mean, it’s my job but I want to raise expectations of myself and…
Naoki: That’s right. And I basically want to improve the way I play each song.
69: That’s a good goal. Does anyone else have a goal in mind?
Ai: Well this time we’ve been touring with our P.A. and staff and after each live we’re able to discuss what needs changing or improving. We want to make a special sound and atmosphere that only we, DEATHGAZE, can.
69: Well, this is a bit of a change in topic, but we heard that the name DEATHGAZE was derived from a Final Fantasy boss and we wondered, why that particular boss? There are many different bosses, but why that one, DEATHGAZE?
Ai: Do you know what a walkthrough is? A book that guides you through the game. Well, when we flipped through and said “Stop!” we landed on DEATHGAZE.
69: No way!
Ai: Well, rather than “That’ll do”…
69: It does sound cool.
Ai: Yeah, well, we started from there and later when we found out what it meant, “That which shows you death,” it seemed pretty fitting.
69: If you were able to become a Final Fantasy character, who would you each choose?
69: Which game are they from?
Ai: I’m four, too. Yang. [Laughing at his choice.]
Kousuke: I’d be Zidane. The hero of 9.
Ai: Really? That’s unexpected!
Kousuke: He’s a really good guy.
Ai: I see, I see!
69: Your face is a little similar.
Kousuke: Huh? Oh, to Zidane?
Kousuke: Really? Hohohoho.
Naoki: Then I’ll… become a bomb and self destruct.
Takaki: You’re the enemy!
69: That works, too.
Ai: I like it, I like it.
69: Well winding things up now, what song would you recommend for someone listening to DEATHGAZE for the first time?
Ai: Our own songs, right?
69: Right. Something that says “This is DEATHGAZE.”
Kousuke: Wouldn’t it be “Yami ni ame”? … “yami ni ame, fuhai shita sekai”. When DEATHGAZE was formed–actually before I joined–that was always the billboard song. Looking at it objectively, that’s the DEATHGAZE image.
69: Got it. So people overseas, please give it a listen, ok?
69: Lastly, could you spare a message for the fans overseas and for those who will become fans from now on?
Takaki: We’ve got a violence that other bands don’t have so bare your necks and prepare yourselves.
Ai: Haha! You really said it.
Takaki: Yeah, they’ll get it. It’s like… [English] No doctor after.
Kousuke: Someday we’ll come over there so hang on.
Naoki: Music or lives, either way I think something passionate will come across so… bare your necks and prepare yourselves.
Ai: Please come to Japan.
69: Nice one.
Ai: You’re too far away.
69: Are you afraid of planes?
Ai: No, I want to fly but I have this image that overseas is really far…
69: Well that’s true.
Ai: Forgive me.
69: No need. Thank you for your time today.