girugamesh “MONSTER” Interview

Interview

by Leela McMullen, Chika Yoshizawa, posted May 13, 2014

ROKKYUU extend our gratitude to Sarah.C for her assistance.

English日本語


A detailed interview with girugamesh who have accumulated plenty of experience overseas on the path to this, their 10th anniversary. The topics of discussion range from the band’s latest album release to their memories and stories from overseas as well as their hopes and expectations for the upcoming tour. The group even shared some juicy scoops, too, from Яyo and his big brother Nii’s sibling stories to some never-before-heard revelations from Satoshi and ShuU!

69: In place of a self-introduction, could you give the name and part of the person next to you and tell us what color you think best represents them and why?
Satoshi: Next to me is our bassist, ShuU, who is 30 years old—or will be. [Laughs] A color… What color could he be? [Stares at ShuU.] Mouse-colored! [All laugh] The clothes he’s wearing right now are mouse-colored, so… [Laughs]

69: Isn’t there a color you think best fits his personality?
[Satoshi stares at ShuU again.]
Яyo: That’s not something you need to stare at him for, right? [Laughs]
Nii: You should feel it!
Satoshi: Purple, then. I feel it’s a manly color. [Laughs] This is hard! [Laughs]
ShuU: Next to me is drummer, Яyo, who is our guitarist Nii’s little brother. His color is leopard-print.
Яyo: Oh, because I wore a leopard-print costume, right?
ShuU: Яyo wears a lot of active and sporty clothes like leopard-print sneakers. I feel like he has a lot of those sorts of clothes.
Яyo: Ok, beside me is our guitarist, Nii. He’s my big brother. If I were to attribute a color to him, it would be blue. He really loves blue. It seems that his eyes have a habit of wandering to blue things, so with that image, it’s blue.

69: Do you have a lot of blue clothes, then?
Nii: Not at all! [All laugh.] They’re mostly brown and such.
Яyo: He has a lot of small (blue) things.
Satoshi: His wallet is also blue.
Nii: Yeah. My wallet is blue, too. So, last is our vocalist, Satoshi-kun. He’s yellow. He’s always really energetic and enlivening everyone around so I think he’s a man who flashes brightly in yellow. I think that comes across in lives, too.

69: Your recent release and tour have the theme of MONSTER but what would you say is the “monster” part of each of you?
Satoshi: I think I’m a MONSTER about food. If a restaurant puts out awful food I’ll just go ahead and say in a pretty loud voice, “This is awful!”
Nii: That’s so rude. [All laugh]

69: So rather than saying it with your expression, you’ll say it out loud.
Satoshi: Oh, my expression says it, too. [Laughs] I really love to eat so I’m a bit picky about it.

69: What’s your favorite food?
Satoshi: It’s ramen.
ShuU: Recently—it’s not exactly MONSTER level… but if someone just mentions a suggestion, I’ll come up with about 10 branches worth of ideas. There was a time I didn’t come up with anything but recently I’ve started to do so again. If someone just absentmindedly says “What if we tried something like this?” I’ll respond, “If we did so then wouldn’t ‘this’ and ‘that’ tie in nicely?” Of course, not everything can come to fruition but all these ideas just come to mind.

69: Is this something that happens with music? Or is it applicable to other things, too?
ShuU: Usually it’s music-related. Tying music to other things… It’s easy to come up with things which relate to fashion or magazines.
Яyo: I wonder what kind of MONSTER I am? Maybe a dedicated MONSTER. Recently, we’ve been just going ahead and recording all of our music by ourselves. Even the engineering aspects, etc., we just earnestly do it all ourselves and complete it without relying on outside help. No matter how busy we are, we are the kind of dedicated MONSTERs who will do all of the work for our products by ourselves.
Nii: Mine is not related to music but there was something that made me think ShuU is a real MONSTER. We’re childhood friends so we’ve never fought or anything but when he got angry at me he really hit me [Laughs] and I thought, “This guy is a MONSTER!” [All laugh] I was super scared. I’d never seen this guy get angry before.
Satoshi: Seeing as he’s usually quite gentle…
Nii: I realized that when he’s truly angry, he’ll really hit you. [All laugh]
Яyo: [To Nii:] So what MOSTER are you?
Satoshi: [To Nii:] You’re the one they’re asking about. [Laughs]
Nii: I’ve got nothing… but if we’re talking about MONSTERs, it’s ShuU. He’s scary. [Laughs]
Satoshi: He was like Bison. He just plunged right in there.

69: Now then, could you each please introduce a song you would like to recommend from MONSTER?
Satoshi:VOLTAGE” is a song crammed with all of girugamesh’s rage and the lyrics say “Don’t mess with me!” to people who piss you off. When we perform it live, I imagine the faces of people who piss me off in each face staring at me from the audience and explode with the thought “Don’t mess with me!” at those people in order to help expel all of the stress and the distasteful portions of everyone’s days. It’s a song like, “Let’s all blow our rage apart at lives!” Like, “Let’s all shout together!”
ShuU: I recommend “Another way.” There’s a phrase I like in the lyrics… It was when I was driving the car. It was before recording when I hadn’t been doing much. I was in a pretty naïve place when the lyrics “Even if you can’t fly through the sky it’s ok to walk” came up and I thought, “Shit, this could really make you cry!” [Laughs] I was just driving alone at night and I thought, “Aren’t these great lyrics?” girugamesh is a band that began from zero. When we had no idea what was the right or wrong way to do things, we all just worked our way up from zero through trial and error. I think we took some detours and made a lot of mistakes but it’s ok if you just walk one step after another. It made me feel we could still do our best so it’s a song I both recommend and like.

69: Was this a song you had from before or after the recent hiatus?
ShuU: It existed from before in the demo stage but it didn’t have lyrics yet. Before recording, I was listening to the demo version with lyrics while driving and I thought it was a great song with great lyrics.
Яyo: My recommendation is the lead song from MONSTER. I like “Drain.” I can’t say much about the lyrics, myself, but the music retains girugamesh’s style thus far while implementing weaponry from the metalcore genre and utilizing dubstep components. I think that musically, it became a very evolved lead song. Yet, it’s a song I am confident of and the girugamesh of it really comes across strongly. I devoted the most of myself to it.

69: Incidentally, which song took the most time?
Яyo: I think that must be both “Drain” and “INCOMPLETE.”
Nii: Sorry, but I also want to recommend “Drain.” [All laugh] While we were on hiatus, this was written whilst constantly grasping for a view of the next song. When, at last, this song was completed, all that had felt gloomy and obscured became clear at once. We all high-fived for the first time in a while. Яyo and I wrote it together but the feeling of relief at that moment when we yelled “This is it!” is unforgettable. It’s a song that will increase the energy at lives, too. It’s a song full of emotion.

69: Thank you! Well then, next up is the new album, LIVE BEST which you released on March 26. There are 18 songs which almost add up to listening to a whole show! Could you introduce the album?
Satoshi: It’s not a compilation of live-recorded songs but, rather, when we talked about making a normal “Best” album, we thought that the usual kind of “Best” album where you gather together all the singles was boring so we chose the songs we often perform live out of our last five albums and gathered them in one album. We also remixed the sound so it’s an album that has evolved into the current girugamesh sound.

69: Now, let’s hear about the DVD MUSIC CLIP included in the limited edition of the album. What is your favorite MV?
Satoshi: I don’t know if I should call it my favorite but the one I feel most emotional about is “crying rain. There is a scene I’m drenched in rain and it was quite cold on the day we were shooting the clip. I was singing with all my heart under the cold rain sprinkled by the staff but the director got into an argument with the staff so we ended up taking the same scene over and over. I was so drenched that I caught a cold in the end. It’s such an unfortunate memory that I still remember it very clearly. [Laughs]
ShuU: My favorite is the last MV, “evolution. It wasn’t originally released as a single so we never had a video but we did the shooting just for the release of LIVE BEST this time. It’s one of the best numbers to excite the crowd at a live both overseas and in Japan so we really wanted to make a video. I’m glad to have been able to make this clip.
Яyo: My favorite is the first MV, “Owari to Mirai.” This is the very first song that girugamesh shot a music video for. It came out really nicely even though it was our first time, so I was really impressed with it.
Nii: My favorite is “volcano.” When we did the shooting…
Яyo:volcano” is not in it.
Nii: What? It’s not? Sorry… [All laugh] Okay, “Kowareteiku Sekai,” then. That was also a very difficult shooting. The location was in the mountains so the weather would change very often. It was sunny at first but a sudden rain came and then it became really foggy. We had to wait in the car for five hours until the rain calmed down and the shooting didn’t finish until the next morning. It was tough but we got a quite a nice scene of imagery out of it which is why I really like it.
 
69: When you watch the MV yourself, does it remind you of the tough times during the shooting?
All: Ahhhh, it so does.
Satoshi: Basically, the older MVs were taken at tough locations. It was either too hot or too cold and too easily affected by the weather.

69: So there were a lot of outdoor shootings?
Яyo: No, not really. [Looking at the MV titles] This was outdoors and… outdoors, outdoors, indoors, at a live… This was outdoors, and this one, too… Alright, they’re almost all outdoors. [All laugh]
Nii: Maybe we just like to do it outdoors.
Satoshi: I guess all the ideas for the MVs that we come up with were outdoors.
Яyo: Reflecting the images of lyrics and all.
 
69: We’ll just conclude that you’re more of an outdoorsy band. [Laughs] Now, you all seem to like western music a lot. Have you watched any western bands perform either in Japan or overseas? If so, please share some of those experiences with us.
Яyo: I’ve seen Linkin Park live. When was their Makuhari live? Last year? Two years ago? Maybe 2012? I always make sure to go to Linkin Park’s lives whenever they visit Japan. I went to the one at Saitama Super Arena. They’re so undeniably cool. The most recent one I bought a ticket for and went to was “SCREAM OUT FEST” at Shinkiba Studio COAST where a lot of American core metal bands participated. It was really fun!
Nii: I like this band called “Story of the Year” and they’re actually the very first western band that I ever liked this much so when they came to Japan to play at Shibuya AX, I was so happy and impressed that I couldn’t hold back my tears during their show. I was even more excited for the fact they finally came to Japan to perform. When we go to Europe this time, I want the audience to feel the same way, too. I want them to feel like, ‘They’re FINALLY here!’ [Laughs]
ShuU: KOЯN and Marilyn Manson came to Japan about eight years ago. I really like KOЯN’s bassist, Fieldy, so when I got to listen to his sound live, I was so touched that I still remember it clearly. I was also surprised to see that Marilyn Manson looked a little older than I expected… [All laugh] He was a bit on the chubbier side and looked different from the image I had of him but it was still so exciting to see the musician I’d been listening to for such a long time right in front of my eyes.

69: Incidentally, is there a bassist who has particularly influenced you, ShuU?
ShuU: Sound-wise, it would have to be Fieldy from the early days.

69: Thank you. Now how about you, Satoshi?
Satoshi: Two years ago, I went to Summer Sonic when Green Day were here but what touched me the most… The non-Japanese artists there called out “Tokyo” for the most part but it wasn’t Tokyo at all. It was Makuhari Messe in Chiba. [All laugh] I thought, “They’re all saying Tokyo but that’s not right…” but then Billy said “Chiba!” So… I actually cried at that. [All laugh]
Nii: That’s what got you?
Satoshi: Like, “You really get it!”

69: You’re from Chiba, aren’t you, Satoshi?
Satoshi: Yes, I’m from Chiba. All of us grew up in Chiba.
Яyo: That’s pretty touching. [Note: Billy calling out “Chiba!”]
Satoshi: Usually it’s like, “This isn’t Tokyo but… whatever.”
Яyo: Chester (Linkin Park) even said Tokyo.
Satoshi: That’s no good! I was really touched by Billy for understanding that we weren’t in Tokyo. [All laugh]

69: So you cried? [Laughs]
Satoshi: I cried. Tears rolled out at that moment. Everyone around me was at the most excited they had been all day. “Ohhh! He said Chiba!!!” [Laughs] It even became a big topic on Twitter. It’s a strong memory.

69: Now it’s your turn to play overseas so what are you most looking forward to this time in Europe?
Яyo: Just doing a live there for the first time in ages is exciting.
Nii: The lives are a given but I really liked getting on the bus afterward, drinking booze, and talking to the members about how it went and about music. I really love that time.
Яyo: I’m looking forward to seeing the quality of the bus. What kind of bus will it be? [Laughs]
Nii: I don’t think it would be any different… [Laughs]
ShuU: I’m just looking forward to going to Poland and Austria for the first time.

69: Have you looked up those countries in advance?
ShuU: I already know from here or there that Austria is basically Vienna so it seems as if music culture must flourish there and I think the view of the towns must be very beautiful. As for Poland, there’s an instrument maker stamped “Made in Poland” that I’m into so if we get some time off, I plan to go to a music store.

69: What brand is that?
ShuU: It’s Mayones.

69: Vienna is known for classical music… Do you listen to classical?
ShuU: Not at all. [All laugh] I just have this image that there’d be a lot of guys with fluffy hair floating about their necks.

69: Like Mozart?
ShuU: Yeah, just like Mozart.
Nii: Fluffy. [Laughs]

69: That stereotype is probably like saying that in Japan…
ShuU: There are Ninjas? [Laughs] Ok, then I’ll go check out that area and rearrange my thoughts on it.

69: It reminds me of that manga about classical music…
Nii: Nodame Cantabile! I loved Nodame so much I went to see an orchestra by myself. My knowledge of orchestral music is equivalent to zero so I don’t have a clue what instrument is playing what. Listening to it, I was like “Huuuuh.” Then after it finished, all the grandpas and grandmas were saying things like, “Today’s cello was a little off…” but to me it all sounded amazing. I really have no clue. [All laugh] It was a great experience, though. I had fun.
ShuU: Was there some kind of dress code?
Nii: Not for that one. I checked thoroughly, you see. “What clothes should one wear to go to the orchestra?” It seems like there’s a ranking with some where you can go rough and others where you have to dress up.

69: That’s true. Well then, to get back on track, Satoshi… What are you looking forward to this time in Europe?
Satoshi: Nördlingen in Bavaria, Germany. That’s where the anime Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) is based, so…
Яyo: Really?
Satoshi: Yeah! I really want to go and see it but it depends on if our schedule allows for it.

69: Do you like anime, then?
Satoshi: I love it.

69: What’s your favorite anime?
Satoshi: It’s “Ano hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi ha Mada Shiranai.”

69: That’s a really long title. What’s the story about?
Satoshi: The gist of it is that there are these six kids of about elementary school age called the “Chou Heiwa Busters” and one of the heroines among them dies. They’re all living their own lives later in high school but when all seems calm, that heroine child appears as a ghost and they all decide to realize the dreams they had wanted to come true back when she was alive. That’s the gist of it.
Nii: While Satoshi was explaining all of this, our manager, ShuU, and Яyo were all making rather distressed faces.
Satoshi: Shuddup! [Laughs]

69: So, you have experienced a lot of shows overseas before, not just in Japan, and have had chance to try different kinds of food from around the world. What was the best food you were able to try overseas?
Nii: Where was it? Maybe Germany… We had some kind of curry over sausages.
ShuU:  Wasn’t that in Berlin?
Nii: Maybe it was. It was sausages with mayonnaise and curry powder on the side…? You’re supposed to put that on the sausages. Whenever we were on tour, we’d stop by there for a light meal and then get on the road. I wonder if I can eat that again? [Laughs] It was delicious.
Яyo: I liked it, too. We usually didn’t have much time to stay in one place, but when we were touring in Germany, we stayed for one night and had the next day off to relax or go sightseeing. For most tours, we’re on a big tour bus so we usually have no time to enjoy it. [Laughs]
ShuU: The pizza is good.
Яyo: Yeah, the delivery pizza. [Laughs]
ShuU: We always had pizza after the lives. [All laugh]

69: In all the countries you toured?
ShuU: Whatever country we went to it was always pizza. [Laughs]
Яyo: We know the levels of quality by country. [All laugh]

69: So, ShuU, your favorite is the pizza?
ShuU: Well, no…
Nii: It isn’t?! [All laugh]
ShuU: My favorite is actually the paella from Spain or the sushi in the USA which was surprisingly delicious. I had sushi in New York but artists from other bands we played with ended up eating most of my sushi. [All laugh]

69: Was it nigiri? Some sushi can be quite Americanized in the USA.
ShuU: It was nigiri but it was proper sushi, and good, too. However, when we ordered sushi in the UK, there was a piece of sushi with red bell pepper on top instead of tuna.
Nii: That sure was a surprise.
ShuU: And one had yellow bell pepper on top instead of egg. I was really surprised. [All laugh]
Яyo: And it wasn’t even made with vinegar rice.
ShuU: It wasn’t. It was quite shocking. It was just bell pepper on a piece of rice but was introduced as tuna sushi when it was brought to the table.
Яyo: There was one with cucumbers on a piece of rice.
ShuU: That’s right.

69: Really? It was introduced as tuna?
ShuU: Even when I was ordering, it said tuna on the menu. Once it got to the table, it was red bell pepper.
Nii: Maybe they made it from images of sushi…
ShuU: Maybe so.

69: Could it have been vegetarian sushi?
Nii: Ah, could it?
Satoshi: Maybe you ordered wrong?
ShuU: Possibly.
Яyo: Well, we’ll need to get it right next time.
ShuU: Yeah, bell pepper sushi it is.
Яyo: Is it meant to be bell pepper or not?

69: Please do find out next time at that same restaurant. [Laughs] Satoshi, how about you?
Satoshi: When we went to Russia…
Яyo: Borscht?
Satoshi: Is it called borscht? The one with dumplings.
Яyo: Borscht.
Satoshi: That’s what it was.
Яyo: It was in a pot, right?
Satoshi: Right, it was like tomato soup with dumplings and it was real good. It was the perfect flavor for Japanese people. I think it must have been borscht.

69: Have there been any interesting incidents during overseas tours?
Nii: One too many.
Satoshi: Quite a few too many. [All laugh]

69: What is the most unforgettable incident?
Satoshi: For me, it happened in Germany when I got locked up in the restroom about an hour or two before our show.
ShuU: Ah, I remember that.
Nii: Ahhh, the legendary lockup!
Satoshi: I couldn’t get out so I was locked in the restroom for about an hour until the guards came. Three big men came to break the lock and rescue me but I was so worried because it was right before our performance. I didn’t have any makeup on and wasn’t ready at all so I felt like crying. I was getting worried sick inside, but all the other three members were just kicking it and having fun outside. [All laugh]
Nii: We were taking a video of him while he was locked up. [Laughs]
Satoshi: The clip is actually included on one of our DVDs but all I could think of at the time was that they weren’t going to be able to perform without me.
Яyo: Yeah, we were cracking up laughing.

69: At least you got a fun clip for the DVD out of the incident. [Laughs] ShuU, how about you?
ShuU: An incident… Personally, I’d have to go with the time I got lost in Germany. I’m usually not that bad with directions but I had no iPhone back then and no navigation device on me. I wasn’t using my cell phone much so I had turned it off and it didn’t have much battery left, anyway. I went out by myself to go to a coin laundry and it started raining on the way back. The streets around me looked completely different in the rain from the way over. [All laugh] All of the scenery looked different.
Яyo: Like in the movie “Silent Hill.”
ShuU: It really was like that. I was half crying and going back and forth trying to figure out which way I had come from. Then, I finally got back to the hotel.
Satoshi: That’s real scary. Scary, scary.
ShuU: Now, I have an iPhone, so I find my way with Google Maps.

69: Have you ever gotten lost in Japan?
Nii: Didn’t you get lost in Osaka pretty recently? [Laughs]
ShuU: Ah! I did! I sure did! I was so lost that I gave it up and fell asleep on the street. [All laugh]
Яyo: That’s because you were drunk, right?
ShuU: Yeah. [Laughs] I was so drunk I couldn’t figure out which way the hotel was. [Laughs]

69: Яyo, do you have any incidents you want to share?
Яyo: I have one from a metal rock festival called “Wacken Open Air” held in Germany. A clip of our performance from this festival is also included in our DVD but I’m going to talk about a behind the scenes story. We use a sequencer for the parts that we don’t actually play live during our performance and it’s a very essential part of our show. 15 minutes before the performance, on the day of the event, our stupid staff… [All laugh] We didn’t bring a spare sequencer but, you know, the voltage is different in Germany, right? It’s 240V in Germany and 100V in Japan but our staff plugged it right in without converting the voltage. When the power was switched on, it was gone. [All laugh] We came all the way to Germany, traveling 13 hours from Japan, but we got our sequence killed just 15 minutes before our show. We didn’t know what to do at first but decided within the next 5 minutes to put together a list of songs we can perform without the sequencer. It was a tragic incident.

69: So you didn’t get to rehearse?
Яyo: Right. There usually aren’t rehearsals at most rock festivals but, still, it was terrible because we had prepared so much for that show. I really regretted not bringing a spare sequencer.

69: That was indeed a drastic incident.
Яyo: We were on the verge of tears already.
All: Yeah.
Nii: We were half crying.
Satoshi: We really were.

69: It won’t happen again this time, right?
Яyo: It probably won’t.
Nii: It won’t!

69: Nii, do you have any stories?
Nii: We went to a rock festival in Sweden with MUCC and when it was getting close to our turn… When we checked the clock, we still had time so we were taking our time preparing for the show. The next moment, I heard the opening music play onstage so I was like, “What? Why??” We weren’t even ready to go on and even the laptop wasn’t turned on yet. I was thinking, “Why is the music starting?” So, we turned to the interpreter and asked what we should do and we were told to just go ahead even though we were not ready at all! [All laugh] So all four of us walked onto the stage and, of course, the laptop wasn’t even on yet so we couldn’t start playing right away. After the opening music finished playing, it was complete silence. [All laugh] We hurried to get ready and finally began our performance but it was so embarrassing.

69: An incident like that must be especially hard on the vocalist, right?
Satoshi: It was. I had my back facing the audience the whole time. [Laughs]
Nii: Yeah, he had his back to the audience the whole time.
Satoshi: I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t want to face the reality.
Яyo: [Laughs]
Nii: That was tough.
Яyo: So when it comes down to mental strength, we’ve been well trained in situations like that. We can now handle anything incidents that might happen. We won’t get disheartened.

69: As expected of girugamesh. [Laughs] So Nii and Яyo, now that it’s your 10th anniversary, you suddenly revealed that you’re actually brothers. Why did you keep it a secret for so long?
Nii: In the beginning, it just didn’t seem necessary to say that we were brothers but then, as we went along doing interviews and whatnot, brotherly stories started coming up. It became kind of a pain in the ass but it was already our 7th year or so. If we were going to reveal it in our 7th year, we figured it just seemed like a better omen to do it for our 10th anniversary. Since we made it this far it seemed like it would be as good a time as any to just let it out. It’s not like it’s a big thing to either of us. Just, “Oh yeah, we’re brothers!” [Laughs] So, at last, after seeing in 10 years, we have finally been able to say it.
Яyo: We just completely missed the timing to announce it. At about our second year. We don’t really look alike so we just let it slide. Then again, our core fans really exhaust themselves looking into this and that but I think over half of them didn’t know.

69: Is there a story or memory from your joint childhood you can think of to share?
Яyo: If you ask that, we could go on forever!
Satoshi: I you go there…
Nii: There’s nothing but entertainment! [All laugh]

69: Fair enough! Then… Did you ever fight with each other?
Nii: Plenty of times!
Яyo: Our relationship was at its worst when I was a rebellious middle-school student.
Nii: I was sent flying by him. My little brother. [Laughs]
Яyo: There was a time when I was a bit delinquent but my big bro is really reliable. Even though he’s dumb. [All laugh]
Satoshi: “He’s reliable even though he’s dumb.” I like that. So why is he so reliable!? [Laughs]
Яyo: It’s like there’s the type of students who say “Let’s go home and play video games” and the type who say “Let’s hit the game centers.” I went pretty far to the naughty side while my big bro usually went to someone’s house to play Smash Brothers. We’re totally different types of people so even when I went home, we couldn’t really talk. I was already in a band then. Once, when we fought over something—I had an electric drum set—we had it out with words but he couldn’t accept it and he trashed my electric drum set. That was mine. It really pissed me off, so…
Nii: He gave me one on the chin and I went down. [All laugh]

69: Did he really hit you hard enough to knock you down?
Nii: This guy really doesn’t hold back.
Яyo: Yeah.
Satoshi: [To Nii:] So weak… [All laugh]
Nii: I can’t beat him in terms of strength. [Laughs]
Яyo: Then he yelled, “Moooooom!” [All laugh]
Satoshi: What a sad excuse for a big brother. [Laughs]
Яyo: I think that was our top fight.

69: Incidentally, does the name “Nii-san” come from the word for brother, being oniisan?
Яyo: It does.
Nii: Because I’m his brother, they figured “Nii” would do.
Яyo: You’ve gotta wonder why the hell it’s based on me, though.
Nii: I just said, “Got it. That’ll do.” [All laugh]
Яyo: The kanji for his real name looks similar to the kanji for “Ni (弐).”
Nii: The “bu” (武) from “bushi” (武士).
Яyo: His name is “Takeshi” and the number (in kanji) “ni” (弐) looks pretty similar. Then there’s the fact that he’s my older brother, right?
Nii: So, “You’re pretty much just ‘Nii.’” [Яyo laughs] “Ok, so I’ll go with ‘Nii.’” [All laugh]
Яyo: He’d said he didn’t want to use Takeshi as his stage name and asked how he should change it. We all thought about it but in the spur of the moment, that’s how it turned out.

69: Well then, Satoshi and ShuU, are there any secrets you’re still keeping from your fans? Now’s your chance.
Satoshi: Uh, I have a sister by a different mother. [All laugh] It just suddenly came to light three or four years ago when my mother said, “You’ve got a half-sister with a different mother you know.” All of a sudden. [All laugh]

69: Wow. Have you met her since?
Satoshi: At the time, my little sister was in Osaka but when we went to Osaka on tour, she came to see our show. She was working in a yakiniku restaurant so after the show we had our after party there. Now we’re pretty close.

69: And before that were you an only child?
Satoshi: I was raised as an only child but after becoming an adult, this soap opera-like dramatic confession came about… [Laughs]

69: Were you able to accept it right away?
Satoshi: I figured, “As long as she’s cute, it’s fine.” [All laugh]

69: [Laughs] So ShuU, do you have anything to add?
ShuU: I think that was the maximum revelation right there. [All laugh] On a lighter note… I may look like this but I like to cook. What really made that clear to me recently was my pepper stuffing. First I put in wheat then I rub spring onion into minced meat and add it in.
Satoshi: What’s the secret ingredient?
ShuU: The secret ingredient is a pinch of garlic powder. [Laughs] That’s another side of me.

69: Do you cook more than you eat out, then?
ShuU: Yes. I think I cook more often.

69: Satoshi, you seem pretty strict on cooking. Have you ever tasted ShuU’s?
Satoshi: I haven’t…? I like cooking, too, though, so when I eat out and the food sucks I make it myself after I go home in order to repair the taste in my mouth.
Яyo: You’re a real piece of work. [Laughs]
Nii: Since he so often says himself how good he is at cooking, we three (Satoshi, Яyo, and I) pitched in for ingredients, told him to make us something, and handed over the money. He made us curry udon and… it was good. [Laughs]
Яyo: When we said, “You must have had your mommy make this,” she was right there and said, “My boy made it by himself!” I couldn’t believe it.

69: Thanks for those revelations, guys. Now, to finish up, it’s your 10th anniversary so please share a promise with your fans to accomplish something you want to be able to do in ten years’ time.
Satoshi: I’m starting to feel pretty old. [Laughs] My lower back hurts often and all sorts of issues have started coming up so in ten years, I want to be able to perform at the same level. I think that putting on hot shows is the most vital form for any bandman so I’ll put some work into self-maintenance with that goal in mind.
ShuU: Recently, I’ve had too many opportunities to drink so in order to keep my weight in check and not become a “fat bassist,” my promise is the same as Satoshi’s…
Satoshi: Not losing to age. [Laughs]
ShuU: Yeah, I want to maintain those areas and keep a cool style.
Яyo: I think I’ll be able to speak English.

69: Are you studying English now?
Яyo: I’ve tried this and that but it’s pretty hard by yourself. The best thing is to put it into practice, I think. I’d love to be able to go overseas frequently and do even longer tours so that I can saturate myself in English.
Nii: As for me, in 10 years, or even 20… I just want to have a healthy body until the day I die.

69: How will you go about achieving that?
Nii: What shall I do? But… I want to drink… I don’t think I need to worry about changing my diet, though…
Яyo: I think you do. You drink ten cans in a day. How many years has that been going on for?
Nii: A lot. [Laughs]
Satoshi: I think it’s going to hit you sooner or later if you keep up your current diet. You don’t even go out unless it has to do with the band.
Nii: I go for walks. Weight and muscle training are out of the question, though.
ShuU: You refuse to do any work that might develop muscles, either. [All laugh]
Яyo: Even though we’re brothers, we have totally different body types. I’m pretty muscular…

69: [To Nii:] How about dancing?
Яyo: Oh, you’re good at dancing!
Satoshi: Try dancing, you! YOU should dance!
Nii: Dance, huh? It’s pretty cool…
Яyo: You should go with “I’ll be able to dance” (for your promise).

69: How about, “In ten years’ time, I’ll dance at lives”?
Nii: …Breakdance?
Satoshi: Why limit it to breakdance? [Laughs]
Nii: Cause it’s cool! I’ll go and attain a couple of special skills. Until that day, I can’t say what, though. [All laugh] I’ll work hard so that in ten years’ time, I’ll have one or two special skills of which I can say, “I became able to do this!” [Laughs]
Satoshi: It’s gonna take you ten years to do that!? [Laughs]
Nii: Yeah, I plan to achieve it over that span.

69: By then, you should be quite the specialist. That’s the end of our interview. Thank you all very much!

Leela McMullen is a strong believer in the philosophy "no music, no life." Having traversed the range of Japanese fandoms, she found her home at last in visual kei and has made it her mission to share what she loves most with the world. Leela completed her B.A. in Japanese language from Griffith University in Gold Coast Australia. She now lives and works in Japan, striving to bring you the goods, hot from the scene. Follow her on twitter for juicy hints of upcoming articles if you've got a bit of Japanese language under your belt! http://twitter.com/#!/LeelaInTokyo

Chika has been interested in visual kei music since VK bands first began holding free lives the Hokoten area in Harajuku. She was too young to go watch them back then in the early 90s, but the scenes on TV caught her eye. Since then, she has loved the passion of VK music and, of course, music in general. She majored in English literature in Japan and learned to speak English in the UK. After graduating from university, she has worked for both American and Japanese companies in IT and as a translator and continues various translations today.

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