Please read PART 1! This is the last 4 pages of the interview.
Keiyuu: Visual kei is different from things like punk or soul; it isn’t a word that expresses a musical genre.
Chisato: It might be a little extreme to say of visual kei, but – my band included – I have a feeling there are a lot of bands with inconsistent musical direction [among songs].
Subaru: Even so, there are a lot of songs where the tune changes fickly within the song [itself].
Keiyuu: A lot, a lot.
Chisato: Having born a [new] category that doesn’t exist overseas, that’s probably the case. So there’s probably an overseas influence. In the ‘80s overseas hard [rock] bands wore a lot of makeup, too, but around the ‘90s the makeup suddenly disappeared. Around that time [bands like] Seattle-style [grunge] Nirvana came out in America, bands with teased hair and makeup became extinct and were treated like an endangered species.
Keiyuu: For me, I think there’s a part… that was fascinated by the gap in appearances. My home was in the countryside, so I didn’t really get my hands on informational magazines or CDs. During that time, I didn’t know [about] visual kei yet and I saw the jacket of PENICILLIN’s “Blue Moon,” and thought, “Oh, it’s a girl group.” But among the friends I had in music around me, that CD was revered.
“Here and there, there are differences between the present and the past.”
Chisato: Since there wasn’t anything like YouTube like there is now, there were a lot of CDs which we knew nothing about the contents.
Keiyuu: So, after seeing the jacket I listened to the music, and I was surprised.
Keiyuu: I think it depends on the person on whether a not people can agree with men in showy makeup, but in the end isn’t it about whether or not you can enjoy the gap between appearance and music?
Keiyuu: PENICILLIN was on TV a lot, right?
Chisato: Since we were on variety shows in the ‘90s, too, and not just music programs, I think even regular people knew visual kei musicians relatively well.
Keiyuu: Now there’re none at all.
Chisato: It’s become relatively exclusive. So there might be a big shock that comes with realizing [that visual kei musicians exist].
Subaru: I’m sure there is.
Chisato: But conversely, there are more people with a visual kei appearance in the world. In the past hosts and visual kei musicians were completely different creatures, but.
Subaru: Now they’re alike!
Keiyuu: There are a lot of people who you can’t tell which they are (laugh).
Subaru: There’s also the word “V-host-kei.”
Chisato: Then, the ways you participate at lives has changed, I think. It seems there’s a dispute among people from the hard-rock era as to whether tesensuu and such are good or bad. Has saki and such increased [in popularity] since your time, Keiyuu?
Keiyuu: It has. When we started Kra, the culture of “saku” had just started into a fad.
Chisato: When you noticed that, were you doing it?
Keiyuu: The attendees started doing it arbitrarily, and we were like, “The heck is that?”
Chisato: So the members didn’t show it to them?
Keiyuu: We didn’t do it. It really was a fan fad.
Chisato: There’s also head-banging with hands, yeah?
Keiyuu: The girls who can’t head-bang do it with their hands.
Chisato: Why can’t they head-bang? I think – you came to the live, you head-bang – don’t omit that part (laugh).
Keiyuu: If they’ve done up their hair and such, it’ll wreck it so they can’t head-bang.
Subaru: Lately there’s a tide [of opinion] that you have to do the furi. There are girls who say “It’s hard to go to lives because I can’t do the furi,” and if we look at it ourselves we don’t see the correlation; since we want them to come to the lives and have fun anyway, letting that be the reason [not to come] is oppressive.
Chisato: Is the furi different for each song?
Subaru: It is. Not for every song, but.
Chisato: For Kra, too?
Keiyuu: Yes. We didn’t really like furi in the beginning so we didn’t do it, but we gradually started to.
Chisato: That – the people who do it and the attendees are amazing. Do you all practice?
Subaru: I think we do. I was bad at it at first, too, but I heard that, “if you do it you’ll make the attendees happy,” so I started.
“Visual kei is different from things like punk or soul; it isn’t a word that expresses a musical genre.”
Profile: The vocalist of Kra, which formed in 2001. Beginning activities with a concept of “fantasy and fairytale pop,” their major debut came in 2006. Contrary to their flashy and cute looks, their high performance skill and Keiyuu’s wicked emcees garner popularity. They covered Asami Kobayashi’s hit song, “Amaoto wa Chopin no Shirabe,” and their fan base expanded. In 2011 they faced their 10th anniversary.
Kra “Joker’s KINGDOM”
Peace&Smile music (On sale February 2013)
Chisato: You wanna dance with everyone?
Subaru: It’s like that.
Chisato: It’s like JULIANA raving (laugh).
Subaru: I think everyone wants to remember it. They remember it, and they want to dance to that song.
“Across the generations, to a new era”
Chisato: Do you have platform on stage?
Subaru: I do, I do.
Keiyuu: In my case, I’m short so if I don’t have a platform the attendees in the back are like, “Really? We can’t see,” and I get booed.
Chisato: I wonder if that’s also linked to good service.
Keiyuu: I mean, if I don’t have it I won’t convey anything I’m doing (laugh).
Subaru: In the beginning we didn’t have much money and didn’t have a platform, but when we had a one-man our staff made one for us.
Chisato: We don’t have one, but when we played with DIR EN GREY Kyo-kun got on one and the first thing I probably thought was, “The hell is that?” Around that time we played with Acid Black Cherry, and when HAKUEI was asked if we would have a platform, he fretted, “I have no idea what to do” (laugh).
Keiyuu: Who used it first?
Chisato: I wonder; it was probably DIR EN GREY or PIERROT. I don’t have the impression that bands around the same time period as us like La’cryma Christi uses them.
Keiyuu: It’s fun to put your feet up on them.
Chisato: When I naively asked Aoi-kun from Ayabieru a while back, “Why do you have a platform?” he said, “Because I want them to see the furi,” and I thought, is that so. Maybe the reason behind using them has changed since the time I first saw them.
Subaru: When I first started, I thought it was pretty nice that the semi-popular bands brought their own platforms to their lives.
Chisato: Is the platform the vocalist’s equipment?
Subaru: Right now, it’s written on my equipment list.
Chisato: That’s nice; I want one too.
Keiyuu: My guitarist and bassist say they want platforms too.
Chisato: Overseas bands like Linkin Park and Good Charlotte have a platform each for each person in the front to stand on, but only the visual kei scene has that fortification for the vocalist alone.
Keiyuu: That may be true.
Chisato: PIERROT and Janne Da Arc [and the bands] from after our time came, and about 2 or 3 years later there was a brief period in which the scene’s liveliness disappeared. The so-called Visual Kei Ice Age.
Keiyuu: There was that.
Chisato: I thought it was just going to rust like that, but then you guys came along bam bam bam….. and rallied it back for us.
Keiyuu: When Kra started it was at that period, and even while people were saying, “the boom’s over; it’s rough,” we went on somehow.
Chisato: Thanks to that, PENICILLIN thought, too, “There’s more and more that can be done in this scene,” and we’re grateful.
Keiyuu: It was nothing! Because, I’m here because PENICILLIN was there.
“From the moment I encountered DIR EN GREY, I’ve thought, ’I want to put on a huge performance like these guys.’”
Profile: The vocalist of Royz, which has accomplished rapid growth since its activity began in September 2009 in Osaka, so much so that they can be called “the standard of the new generation of visual kei.” Their music – which adopts good, ubiquitous melodies and contemporary digital arrangements – and live performances overflowing with youthfulness fascinates fans. Having completed their first hall live in April 2013, Nihon Seinenkan 2DAYS, now, they are a band of youth with more and more passion.
B.P.RECORDS (On Sale July 2013)
Subaru: The ones who should be grateful are us!
Chisato: There are differences from the era of CDs and the era of albums, but I want us to all get along. If we can smash down the different walls.
Keiyuu: First the generational wall! Let’s have a tour with our three bands! Our talks will definitely be interesting!
Subaru: Even after the lives would be fun!
Chisato: Even with different periods, visual kei has endured and lived on, so I absolutely think it won’t go away now. We should enliven the scene together.
Subaru: I’d be grateful even just doing that.
Keiyuu: Please let us join and follow you everywhere (laugh).