Interview with A(Ace) at Blue Planet Japan

Interview

by Kate Havas and Leela McMullen, posted June 28, 2011

Have you ever thought that visual kei could be so much more with just a little bit more imagination? A(Ace) have a fascinating musical outlook, not to mention a fascinating style in general. With their pirate look, the band incorporates elements of music from all over the world for a truly fresh sound, endlessly aided by the rare bonus of a rock violinist. At the Blue Planet Japan We Are the One charity event, ROKKYUU talked with them about their concept and dreams both for the future and the event itself.

69: Please introduce yourselves with your name, part and a short description of yourself.
Nimo: I’m Nimo, taking care of the vocals. I’ll drag the team along on my journey.
Mucho Gracias: I’m Muchos Gracias on guitar… I’m not scary.
Toshi: I’m Toshi on bass. I’m being dragged along by the team.
Rookie Fiddler: I’m Rookie Fiddler on violin. I bounce.

69: A(Ace) offer a little more than the usual rock sound, what might that be?
Rookie: We have our own theme. Our theme is “the world.” We’ll take the music of the world and incorporate it into our own music. The concept is to make a new type of rock.

69: How did this arrangement of musicians come about?
Rookie: Well first of all, Nimo and I… Rookie and Nimo met and Nimo suggested we form a band. We both thought that violin in rock might be fresh. Then we gathered like-minded fellows and this is how it turned out.

69: Which of your songs would you each recommend new-comers to listen to?
Nimo: Personally, I like “Koukyoushi FREEDOM i tanchou.” (“Symphonic Poem Freedom A Minor”)
69: Why that particular song?
Nimo: Why? …It’s just good. It’s really, really good. Please feel the sensation of it.
Mucho Gracias: Hmm… “NUDE.” I want you all to get naked emotionally and physically.
[Toshi laughs.]
Mucho Gracias: What, is there a problem?
Nimo: Shouldn’t be.
69: Not at all.
Toshi: “Vanilla Sky.” When we began it was our first song. I think you’ll understand our beginnings by listening.
Rookie Fiddler: I like… “Kanaria.” (Canary) The reason? Because it’s violent.
69: Do you like heavy music?
Rookie Fiddler: I do like heavy music. Even though I’m a violinist. [laughs]

69: Perhaps because you’re a violinist. Incidentally, I stumbled across your Neon Genesis Evangelion “A Cruel Angels Thesis” cover. The arrangement was quite powerful. What prompted you to make this cover? Are you fans of the anime?
Nimo: I haven’t even seen it!
Rookie Fiddler: Well we want people to easily understand our musical style so we decided to express our sound through a song that’s extremely famous in Japan. The aim is to showcase the appeal of our sound.
Nimo: In fact, this song is known worldwide. People across the world have watched it (Neon Genesis Evangelion) We chose this song so that people from overseas can enjoy it as well. Even though I haven’t seen the anime…

69: As for Ace’s debut performance, it was as the opening act at a Stylish Wave event last year. What was it like to debut at such a large event?
Nimo: It was wakuwaku dokidoki. (Japanese sound effects for excitement/nervousness.) Exciting.
69: As a brand new opening act, how did you find the crowd’s reaction?
Rookie Fiddler: I think we started well. We seemed to make an impact.

69: Continuing from that beginning, what goals do you have as a band?
Nimo: I want for people across the world to know our music. Putting words aside, I hope that we can connect internationally through sound.
Toshi: That’s how we all feel.

69: There’s a lot of correct English in your songs. Can any of you speak English?
Rookie: If it’s English, that one’s the best. [Pointing to Nimo.]
Nimo: Saying that, I can only speak [English] just a little.
69: It’s quite rare to hear such natural English as in your songs, though.
Nimo: Is it? [English] Thank you.

69: Nice pronunciation. So have you guys been overseas?
Nimo: Not yet.
Mucho Gracias: No, not yet.
Rookie Fiddler: As A(Ace), right? We want to go, though. It would be great to go as A(Ace).
Nimo: Invite us over!

69: If not as Ace, have any of you been separately?
Nimo: I’ve been
Muchos Gracias: I have.
69: Where did you go?
Nimo: I’ve been to most of Europe. England, France, Germany, Italy…
69: Travelling by train? By bus?
Nimo: It was tour type thing.
Muchos Gracias: I’ve been to Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, England…
Nimo: Eastern Europe.
Muchos Gracias: Pretty much Eastern Europe.
Toshi: Wow.

69: Is there somewhere you really want to go?
Nimo: Where are you from?
69: Personally? I’m from Australia.
Nimo: Oh, Australia! I’d love to go there.
Toshi: Australia!
Nimo: [Remembers] Ayers Rock!
69: Yes, that’s right.
Muchos Gracias: I really want to go to Mexico.
69: Interesting choice.
Toshi: I want to see the Pyramids.
69: Egypt, then.
Nimo: Oh, Egypt!
Mucho Gracias: Mountains.
Rookie Fiddler: Mountains? They’re not mountains. They’re made of rocks, right?
69: Will you go inside?
Toshi: I-I-I will.
69: You’re very brave.
Rookie Fiddler: I love Celtic music so I want to visit England, Ireland etc.

69: Today you’ll be playing alongside FEST VAINQUEUR, DaizyStripper, heidi. and Dolly for the charity event Blue Planet Japan. What’s this all about?
Nimo: Hmmm, that’s difficult. Well, we thought we might be able to lend strength and courage to those affected by the disaster through music so we gathered many bands together with the idea of making this music together.

69: What does Blue Planet Japan mean in your own words?
Muchos Gracias: Blue… Planet… Japan… Hmmm. Planet means planet right? So…
Nimo: Planet.
Muchos Gracias: Well… For one, the scale is huge.
Nimo: On a large scale… Well, I think that Japan is an important existence in the world. So we can recover by combining everyone’s strength.
69: Any more interpretations?
Toshi: [Fanning self.] Atsui. (It’s hot.)
69: I see! So Blue Planet Japan is atsui. (Passionate.)
Rookie: Yes it is!

69: What should we expect from today’s live?
Rookie: Today we’ve prepared a song we perform very rarely. It’s called “Overtura.” I hope that hearing this song will cheer people up.

69: Whether in English or Japanese, please share a message for ROKKYUU’s readers.
Nimo: Readers of ROKKYUU Magazine: Aiming for the world from Japan, we plan to export some great music, so please support us.
Muchos Gracias: Someday I want to come to your countries, perform concerts and eat your food. Gracias.
Toshi: Someday we’ll come to your country so please look forward to that day.
Rookie Fiddler: Firstly, in order to understand our music, please listen to “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis.” You’ll definitely enjoy it and I hope you’ll then listen to our original music, too.

Kate Havas first became interested in Japanese fashion and culture in college when manga, anime, and visual kei were just beginning to make their way to America. An art and English major with a love of clothes, Kate signed onto ROKKYUU in order cover fashion and report on Tokyo trends, but was quickly also recruited to the music side of things and has been having an adventure expanding her knowledge of all things VK since. Follow her on twitter at keito_kate!

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

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