WING WORKS Taking Flight Interview

Interview

by Kate Havas, Laura Cooper, posted December 3, 2013

English|日本語
During his series of event lives at Takadanobaba AREA, we sat down with RYO:SUKE and the wingmen(support members) of WING WORKS to learn more about the personalities and inspiration behind “the HYBRID SHOCK MUSIC.”

69: First, please introduce yourself by name and part and a dream you’ve had recently.
RYO:SUKE: I’m vocalist RYO:SUKE. Recently I dreamed I made a certain singer really mad. [Laughs] I don’t remember what exactly made him mad but I was really depressed.
Yuchi: I’m bassist Yuchi. Recently I dreamed my friend was getting pummeled by the ex-sumo champion Akebono and I laughed about it.
Kei: I’m guitarist Kei. I dreamed I had a fight with RYO:SUKE.
RYO:SUKE: Oh?
Kei: I don’t remember why, but it was really serious…
RYO:SUKE: Really? [Laughs]
Kei: I felt like I never wanted to talk to him again and that’s when I woke up. [Laughs]
RYO:SUKE: That’s bad. [Laughs] That’s really bad. [Laughs]
Narukaze: I’m guitarist Narukaze. I dreamed I was working at a combini.
Sho: I’m Sho. I play the drums. I really haven’t had any dreams recently. What should I say? I never remember my dreams! [Laughs]
69: How did you choose your Wingmen?
RYO:SUKE: They’re members I respect and thought I wanted to work with so I called them together.

69: Have you known them all a long time?
RYO:SUKE: As far as Kei, Narukaze, and Sho; I’ve known Kei [for a long time], Sho joined me about February, and Narukaze’s been with me since June. They’re the ones I did my oneman with. Yuchi joined this fall as a regular bassist.

69: What were your first impressions of RYO:SUKE?
Yuchi: I felt he was really passionate about music and he was the kind of guy who made me want to try harder, myself.
Narukaze: I felt the same. He’s a really passionate person. I’m mainly involved with rock bands and not that familiar with visual kei but I was really astonished to find such a driven person in the scene.
Kei: I thought he was a player. .
[All laugh]
Kei: I felt he must be really popular with girls. I saw him from the audience before he was doing WING WORKS and I thought girls must really like him. What stood out the most about him was that he gave the impression of really getting around. He had the aura of a popular person. When I was watching, I was thinking that his looks are a bit cool, and the gap [between looks and personality] must be really appealing.
Yuchi: I hadn’t met him before he invited me to join and I thought he was cool. When I went to meet him, I thought he was pretty brave—I mean, he’s a bassist, right? I’m a bassist, too, but he’s become a singer and solo artist as well. He’s got a lot of guts and conviction.
RYO:SUKE: Thank you!

69: What’s the concept of WING WORKS?
RYO:SUKE: The concept is “The Hybrid Shock Music,” which takes components of various music like EDM, dubstep, metal, screamo, etc. and makes a hybrid of them. With these blended, the music fits into the V-Rock world, and WING WORKS also has a cinematic quality that could be called theatrical; creating a story with the world view and lyrics. That’s the definition of “Hybrid Shock Music” and the broad concept of WING WORKS.

69: I think we really felt your concept when we covered your oneman. Speaking of the oneman, what moment stands out as the most memorable for you?
RYO:SUKE: It has to be the last number I sang: “Silver.” It was the first song I made for WING WORKS—the first song I announced. It was the song I began this project with so one of my objectives was to have it finish the oneman at O-WEST. It’s only been a short time but it was in that moment that I really felt the path I’d chosen and the friends with me had made this project into reality.
Sho: For me, it was the all-instrumental song that the members made. It had a kind of explosive nuance and was a song that really roused the crowd.
Narukaze: The first song was “VAD†MAN” but the most memorable part was the moment on stage just before the song started. It was my first time to do a oneman at O-WEST and I remember thinking that this is what it felt like to stand here—and then in that second, the show started.
Kei: It was the first time for the Wingmen to all have a chance to talk onstage so I think the warm and fun atmosphere we have with RYO:SUKE really started to come out at that point. I think the fans understood us and there was a great atmosphere.
Yuchi: I wasn’t there but I saw the video and it really made an impression on me. I’ve played bass at a lot of places, and at some shows people don’t even break a sweat. Even though you can’t really compare gigs, at this show, I think the fans really hit up powerfully against the music and feelings. I really felt that the energy was amazing.

69: You’re in the middle of three days of event lives now, is there a theme for these shows?
RYO:SUKE: Basically, I’d never done continuous shows as WING WORKS, so the first thing was that I thought I wanted to try it. Gigs are what rock bands are about and I’m really particular about how we’ll develop with the live atmosphere and being on stage. I thought that by doing these continuous shows, we could find something [out about our performance]. There aren’t many chances to do three days of shows in a row and I really want us to develop our important points by facing that, so that was why I directly developed this plan.
69: What song would you recommend to first time listeners?
RYO:SUKE: I think “VAD†MAN.” It has everything from the theme I just mentioned and, in shows, I think it’s the song where we let out the most energy.

69: Do the rest of you have a particular favorite?
Sho: I choose “Megido.” The rhythm I play is one that I like. It’s really heavy and I feel it fits me perfectly, so I like the song.
Narukaze: If it’s in a live, “ILLUMINA✡LUMINALION” is really fun. It’s fun to both play and watch.
Kei:Mr.FANTASIX.” It’s WING WORKS-like in the way that it’s a song people don’t usually play at a live house. It’s club music. Even though there’s not much guitar play in it, when we’re live, Narukaze and I put our original guitar lines into it and it’s really lovely.
Yuchi: I choose “VAD†MAN,” too. It’s really manly and heats up the stage, and I think it condenses not just what is good about RYO:SUKE but what’s appealing out WING WORKS, too.

69: You also have a winter release coming up. Can you tell us about it?
RYO:SUKE: The title is Fushicho-FENNIX- and it’s the continuation of the story from the previous releases Silver and VAD†MAN. When I first thought of starting WING WORKS, the first thing I wanted to express was these three songs and, finally, I’ve got them together. Since it’s the final volume of the three songs, it’s also the beginning of what I will do next so the song has that meaning as well. Since I came to start WING WORKS, I’m showing more of my particular tastes in the enjoyment of rock and the heat of the music than ever before. I want my fans to get even more passionate and become one with the song.

69: The concept you’re working with is a “hybrid.” What artists have influenced you, or who do you respect?
RYO:SUKE: There are a lot, but as an artist, the first would be Marilyn Manson and also Lady Gaga. As an artist myself, I really respect artists who bring that kind of extreme and avant-garde attitude to the mainstream market. It makes me really excited to see performers like Lady Gaga with her craftsmanship and Marilyn Manson with his horror and S&M, who took this extreme subculture and made it to the Billboard charts. Currently, I don’t think there are many artists doing that and it’s boring. I want WING WORKS to do that for Japan. My dream is to be a representative (of that kind of entertainment) for Japan and to go into the global scene.

69: At the oneman, we saw not just musical influences, but influences of all kinds. For example, philosophy and literature. Are there any great thinkers you admire?
RYO:SUKE: Leonardo DaVinci. I feel he made a hybrid of art and science. After all, the renaissance was when—even though people believed in the righteousness of Christianity—they began to define the world from a scientific perspective. I think that connects to us even in the modern world, though of course science and art have progressed since then. I want to apply the same nuance DaVinci applied to “art and science” to “art and music.” Christ, as well. Until he was born, there was only the Jewish tradition and he went against that, and though I’m not Christian, I am really interested in his philosophy—how he said that even though from when we are born we are polluted (by sin), we are amazingly blessed by God. I think that’s rock. I want to take that kind of stance in life. The people who are remembered by history can be called “rock” and I want to express myself in my own way like they did.

69: This is a change of subject but you did a cover for V-anime Rocks. You covered Revolutionary Girl Utena’s “Rinbu Revolution.” What made you choose that?
RYO:SUKE: Simply, I wanted to do something that fit with the currently trendy theme of “cool japan,” and when evaluating, I thought, Revolutionary Girl Utena says a lot about Japan. It’s also gothic, and it’s got a lot of the image of European world as well. I love that world view and the music from Japanese theater—like the works of Terayama Shuji and Tenjou Sajiki—and that kind of music hitting on European music creates a very mysterious coupling. It really influenced me a lot. So, when it came time to choose an anime cover, I thought Utena would be very WING WORKS-like.
69: We’re an international magazine, have any of you ever been abroad or performed in another country?
Sho: I went to a lot of places with my old band, UnsraW. We toured Europe twice and went to three or four places in Germany, France, Belgium, England, and Russia. Poland, too. We went to so many places, I feel like I can’t remember them all.

69: How was it in Europe?
Sho: Really fun. Their way of showing excitement is very different to Japan, so I enjoyed it.
Yuchi: I’ve been to other Asian countries. I played support at shows in Taiwan and Korea. They’re really passionate. Before the show when you’re just doing guitar check? Even for that, they got excited.

69: Yeah, it gets like that overseas.
Yuchi: They get really crazy. Some fans even followed us back to our hotel after the show. I was really shocked by their passion.

69: If you could do a show anywhere—on any kind of stage—where would you perform?
Kei: I want to perform at Madison Square Garden. The artists who have stood on that stage are very cool. I’ve never really been abroad so if I’m thinking of what’s overseas, Madison Square comes to mind. It’s a rock dream.
RYO:SUKE: Right now, I think I’d want to perform at La Sagrada Familia in Spain and set up a stage in front where they have the light-up at night.
Sho: Personally, I’ve been to New York on vacation and there’s a place I saw there… I forget the name. I only saw it once but I want to perform there.
69: What kind of place was it?
Sho: It was kind of like an opera house inside and pretty wide. I was there to see Zakk Wylde’s band Black Label Society but on TV I think I saw that VAMPS played there, too—or, at least, the place we were lining up looked like it. I don’t know if it would suit us but I’d like to play there.
Narukaze: I want to perform in America, too. A lot of my favorite musicians are American so I want to see the place that raised them and breathe the same air. I definitely want to try to perform in America.
Yuchi: I’d go to the UK. I love British rock, so, something like Reading Festival. Even when I search my favorite acts on YouTube, Reading Festival is what comes up the most so I want to perform there.

69: Last, please give a message to our readers.
RYO:SUKE: WING WORKS is a  V-Rock band but we’re aiming to go abroad. We’ll definitely come to your country and we need your support and voices. Right now, I can get your opinions through the internet so if you tell me you want WING WORKS to come, there’s a higher possibility of making that happen. I want us to rock out together.
Sho: If WING gets a chance to go abroad, I want to go. I think we’d have a great time.
Narukaze: I really want to go abroad as WING WORKS’ guitarist so I’d be really happy if we get requests from different places.
Kei: I don’t even have a passport…
[All laugh]
Kei: Okay, first I’ll get one, and we’ll go after I do. [Laughs]
Yuchi: It’s great to do shows in Japan, too, but we rarely get a chance to go abroad so it would be really inspiring. I’d be really happy if we could do that.

69: Thank you very much!

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!

Laura Cooper started photographing rock and jazz bands at university. While completing a degree in English Literature, she was literary co-editor of the York University arts magazine and held poetry soirees with comedy jazz bands. Laura wrote for the now defunct UK Goth magazine Meltdown, as well as edited for an occult/spiritual website while she lived in York and London. She disappeared into the mountainous depths of Japan in 2006 and is now based in Tokyo, capturing rock bands in action.

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