Interview with FEST VAINQUEUR at Blue Planet Japan Vol.1

Interview

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

How did SINCREA reform with a heavier sound and fancier name? Just what differences are there between performing in Osaka, Tokyo, and Finland? Does Tomo find musical inspiration while on the toilet? First and foremost, what do the words “Blue Planet Japan” mean to FEST VAINQUEUR? Find out in this interview ROKKYUU conducted at Blue Planet Japan We Are the One Vol.1

69: Please introduce the person beside you and tell us their name, part, and one word that describes them.
Kazi: Our vocalist, Hal seems very placid but he’s more passionate than anyone when he gets onstage.
Hal: Our guitarist, Tomo is the most level-headed, shrewd member.
Tomo: Shrewd?
Hal: Shrewd.
Tomo: Our bassist Hiro is very calm but he’s the most passionate about food.
Hiro: Our drummer Kazi sometimes turns into a gorilla onstage.
Tomo: His voice comes out in a roar.
69: I see, so it’s about the sound effect.
Kazi: I scream a lot.

69: FEST VAINQUEUR is a very new band, but how long have the four of you worked together?
Tomo: Originally we were a band called SINCREA with the same four members. That band was around for about five years before we broke up and then we reformed like this. But actually the drummer and I went to the same middle school. [English] Junior high school.
Kazi: [English] Junior high! Junior high school! [Japanese] In Osaka.
Tomo: In fact, the bassist and vocalist attended another junior high school together.

69: What brought you back together in this new form?
Tomo: At first, Hal and I began performing as a unit together but when we needed support drums and bass, we were able to ask the former members to fill in for us. Once again we performed with the original four members. Of course, it was very nostalgic but more importantly, it was like “I want to work as these four, after all.” That was the most obvious choice.

69: Why the change in style?
Tomo: Our old band was more of a pop feel but we all agreed that we wanted to push a harder sound as in fact we all like that sort of music, so we decided to go for harder music.

69: For example, what bands do you like?
Kazi: Actually, I like loud overseas bands like Slipknot. Those sorts of loud, new metal bands. I love it.
Tomo: I like Dream Theatre.
Kazi: It’s an American band. They’re really actively progressive.
Hal: Yeah, I like metal. Avenged Sevenfold etc.
Hiro: Well, I like the same music as the others, but for a change I like Story of the Year. I like many different bands, though.

69: So mostly overseas bands, then?
Kazi: Yes, but I also like Japanese bands, too. In fact there’s a huge varity among the members, we even listen to Jpop and anime songs. If we’ve got CDs playing in the car, after metal it could be Kobukuro or idol music or god knows what. Our musical taste is really just that eclectic.

69: What would you describe as the most significant difference between FEST VAINQUEUR and SINCREA?
Tomo: Definitely the sound. Well, our appearance isn’t our biggest priority, we really put sound above everything else so that’s what’s changed the most.

69: What are your favourite recorded songs so far?
Hal: My favourite song is… Hmmm, that’s hard. It’s really hard, but… uh…. “BLAZE.” The new single. I think that personally I was able to really challenge myself, shouting and screaming a lot but as for the melody it felt the most comfortable to sing. In that respect, it’s my favourite.
Tomo: If it’s out of the music so far, I’d choose “UNLIMITED.” It’s on the mini album we released when we started as FEST VAINQUEUR. The melody is really catchy and there’s a bit of rap in there which was a new challenge with FEST VAINQUEUR. I just really enjoy the song itself.
Hiro: I’m for Goukarouen. It’s one of the coupling songs on the new sing. Live, it’s a towel twirling song you can get really worked up to and I really like that.
Kazi: I also like the most recent song, “BLAZE.” The drums are very prominent. But I also really love the song “RAVE.”

69: The lyrics to “RAVE” are very interesting. Very biblical. Where did they come from?
Hal: From here. [Thumping his chest.]
Kazi: From the heart!

69: The song “Tragic The Maiden” has a very ‘period’ feel to it. Where did this song come from?
Hal: Orignally I received the melody which felt very period Brittish or French and thought it would be interesting to add in some violin etc. Then the lyrics turned out to be that sort of historical impression.

69: So speaking of French, is it correct to say that the name FEST VAINQUEUR comes from France?
Hiro: It’s a mix of French and German.
Tomo: Fest means “party” in German and VAINQUEUR means “conqueror.” Well, “party” or in this case “a live” so we chose it with the meaning “Conquering the live” or “Enjoying the live.”
69: By the way, you’re all from Osaka, correct?
Kazi: [English] Yes!
69: How do you find that lives in Osaka are different from lives in Tokyo?
Tomo: In short, in our base of Osaka, the fans get really fired up. It’s not that people in Tokyo don’t fire up, but the chaos in Osaka is really full on.
Kazi: They’re really energetic!
Hiro: From the first song they’re already on a high. With Tokyo it’s a steady incline.
Kazi: But I have the image that Tokyo fans are nicer. With Osaka it’s like a battle.
69: It seems a little like in baseball when the home team plays.
All: Yes, that’s how it is.

69: What usually inspires your compositions?
Tomo: Hmmm, musical inspiration just hits me out of nowhere. I could be on the toilet or in the bath or taking a walk. Surprisingly, I’m not the type to make music while holding a guitar and working on it. Honestly it’s when I’m in the bath or on the toilet-well, actually not then-but when I’m in the bath, relaxed and calm, that’s when music comes to me. It’s not normal for music to rain down out of nowhere when doing nothing, though. I’ve gotta be listening to different music etc. and after digesting all that, that’s when something new is born.
Kazi: I’m a lot like that, too. I’m really into listening to lots of music for inspiration and now it’s especially easy to hear different music so I listen to all sorts but I also have no idea when the melodies etc. are going to pop out of nowhere so I’m always preparing myself for the possibility so I can quickly hash it out when the inspiration comes and record it on my phone or something. That’s where we get into the song writing process.

69: Do you write songs one by one or all together?
Kazi: There are times when one of us will bring in something to start with but generally, we all work on our music together.

69: There’s a fair bit of English throughout your lyrics. Have any of you ever been overseas?
Tomo: Yes, we all went together back when we were still SINCREA. Just once to Finland where we performed.

69: What do you think of when you envision “overseas?”
Tomo: The audience are really into it.
Hiro: Wildly enthusiastic.
Tomo: Yeah, there’s this wildly enthusiastic image. They seem really passionate about music.
Kazi: Even more than Osaka.
69: So more like Osaka than Tokyo.
Kazi: But Finland is way more powerful than Osaka.

69: Back to Japan… Today is the special live for the Blue Planet Japan charity project. What can we expect from FEST VAINQUEUR for this special live?
Hal: Today is a charity project for to those who were harmed by the Eastern Japan Earthquake. It’s obvious that we want to express that in our performance but we also want to touch on the response to that Earthquake. However, it will be different to our usual lives. We want to do something we wouldn’t normally do so we hope it will convey all of those feelings.
Kazi: Bravery, the hopes that people are holding onto, and those sorts of feelings are what I hope we can achieve.

69: What do the words “Blue Planet Japan” mean to you?
Kazi: Hmm in our own words, I think it’s really about harmony, about the Earth being peaceful. So after this Earthquake we want to remind people that the Earth is a harmonious place. There’s a dove on the banner for the concert and we’re really taking those things into consideration.
Hiro: We really felt like being involved with this Blue Planet Japan, we could put something into this song as artists and gathering together those artists who have the same idea, the same passion, I think we’ve made a great team.

69: In either English or Japanese, could you please share a message with ROKKYUU’s readers?
Kazi: We’ve just started and from here on out we’ll be evolving further and further, starting from Osaka and then working outwards through Japan and through the world, we hope to become bigger as a band and help people smile and become cheerful. I think we’ve got the power to do that, so we’ll work hard. Please keep us in your thoughts.
Hiro: My thoughts are similar. Right now we’re focusing on Osaka but I really want to widen our field further, worldwide, and evolve our music, too to make a new FEST VAINQUEUR every time.
Tomo: I love you.
Hal: We’re incorporating world music and Japanese music into our sound and as was just said, moving on to challenge many new things. I hope this unique music that is FEST VAINQUEUR can reach all of you through our efforts. I want to pass our music onto you.

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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