-I’ve already talked to the other members and they were all very different, it was interesting.
Kyo: Aah…. as expected, all different.
-Yes. Now firstly I want to ask about when the bands break finished and you started touring again. Do you remember with what kind of feeling you started the tour off with?
Kyo: Certainly I think I started with a flat feeling. I don’t really remember…… well, with just the right amount of nervousness I think.
-You weren’t eager about it??
Kyo: I think I was. Its kinda ah………. It was a long time ago. By nature I’m the type to forget things quickly, so I don’t remember. (laughs)
-Even the time when you stood in front of your fans at AX and did your first concert for a long time?
Kyo: Yeah I don’t remember. I think its cos I’m always only thinking of the future. It’s like If I have the time to look back, I want to absorb myself in moving forward toward the future. Or rather it’s a waste of time. Rather than the type who grows by looking at the past, I’d say I’m probably the type who wants to grow by looking towards the future. Of course sometimes I look back at the past and think things like “ah, it was like this. So lets do it like this” but Its like, I don’t really have time for that. Sort of like “The live today was good, now how can I top that tomorrow?”.
-So you don’t have time to reflect on the past?
Kyo: But I think that reflecting on the past is important too. On our new mini album we have 6 songs from our past. But……. For me, I want to think that rather than my past self, my present self is the best….. speaking of that… recently I watched a clip from the first time we performed Agitated Screams of Maggots. I watched it wondering about how I feel about it, and I didn’t think even a little bit that I was better back then than now. (laughs)
Kyo: So I was happy. I didn’t think things like “Ah, at that time I was more angry”, “At that time there was more energy”, ” My expression was better at that time”. I thought I might feel that way a little bit, but in fact I didn’t at all. So with that I was able to think “My present self is good, I’m not doing wrong” and also that it means there’s still no limits to myself. So with that I began to not care too much about the past.
-Certainly you’ve changed how you express yourself from that time until now.
Kyo: That’s right. At that time I used to bleed on stage and stuff.
-What is different about yourself at that time and now?
Kyo: I get the feeling that at that time I was looking toward a completely different destination. In the past of course…….. I think I let erupt easy to express feelings like sadness and anger, but nowadays I want to express things that exist at a more deeper place. Not emotions that you can see and instantly understand. I have the true feeling that I’ve stepped into that sort of place.
-So you mean you’re not thinking about your accomplishments of the past?
Kyo: Well, just doing this, if there’s a moment I think “The past me was cool”, I think its best to quit the band. For me, if I become like that I’ll think “I don’t want to stand in front of people like this!!”
-As you said in your previous interview, its that the breadth of your expression has increased is it not? And that desire is also derived from things outside of music.
Kyo: That’s right, gradually the amount of thing I want to do is increasing.
-With that, I think there are times you feel irritated with the existence of the band, and doing something with someone else etc
Kyo: The band………. since we’ve been doing it for 16 years of course it means that there have been various things. While there are times I think “no………” there are also times i think “that’s good”. Doing so, even if there’s various things, in the past there was only one reason the band continued. We could only express our selves through this band, and the breadth of that was also narrow. I think that other members feel the same way. So we also shouldn’t have noticed any gaps in us becoming one.
-In other words, its a point of agreement for you guys?
Kyo: That’s right, but as that expands, and becomes deeper, we become unable to each keep facing in the same direction. Also, what our fans and the people around us wish for in our band will come to change. This means that despite protecting the point of not compromising ourselves, but still discovering a point of agreement with everyone will continue to become difficult.
-I think normally its the reverse. Doing it for a long time, you grow older, and more harmonious, and because of this the points you are willing to compromise on increases right?
Kyo: Yeah I think there’s probably people like that in bands too. Growing older, becoming an adult, growing softer, there are certainly people who are like “I can match with anything” but, there are also people whose point of view becomes narrower like “No!, I can’t do that anymore”.
-So its scattered?
Kyo: Because of that parts of the direction in which the people who have been fans of the band for a long time, and the band itself are facing become different. Things like “I like this period of Dir en grey”. We understand that that is what they are looking for in us. But matching that isn’t us, But saying that, we don’t intend to completely bluntly refuse it. Its rather… I want them to be looking at the same things together with us. Of course, I want the same thing for the other members of the band.
-So you want to be looking at the same things together but..
Kyo: Growing older, there’s people who’s outlook becomes smaller, and those whose outlook becomes broader, and people’s interests also change. In the midst of these things continuing Dir en grey is truly difficult. Nevertheless, we don’t have discussions do we. Even in making this album, we never said anything like “This time let’s do it this way!” We made it while probing each other and this time, by chance, is was completed in this way. Everyone was also different in what songs from our past they chose and the arrangements of them. Completely different. If there’s a member who’s like “Lets go with a song arrangement that our fans seem like they’d like”, then there’s bound to be a member who wants to go with arrangements that are like “Who would listen to this??”. But this time by chance, it became this kind of completion.
-The result of not talking, but just probing each other.
Kyo: Yes. In the end, without much messing around, from the fans point of view they become arrangements in which they can probably feel that we have “treasured the songs”
-That was a point of understanding for the 5 of you.
Kyo: In completion, yes.
-I’ve always thought this but, even though you’re a band which, even at the best of times has trouble finding a point of understanding, you don’t have discussions, you just probe each other??
Kyo: Why do you think that is??
-Simply, if its not done in that way, then the band wouldn’t come into existence. Although normally that type of band doesn’t continue for a long time. Since it’s tiresome and all.
Kyo: But all the members of this band have different personalities, different music tastes, and different private lives. As for me, I don’t even know the other members phone numbers, or address. I don’t know anything!
Kyo: I’ve never tried to ask, or been asked. Also, all of us being different people, we’re all facing different directions. And therefore, even if we make songs without talking, it means that everyone understands the final product. I think that a band consisting of that kind of balance is very irregular. Its the same for our concerts, what each of us thinks of a concert is always different. Someone might think “Today’s live was great!” But another member will be thinking “Today’s live was the worst….”. It’s always like that. However…. When our opinions all match perfectly, its very lively, or should i say, Its wonderful. From the past we’ve always been that kind of band.
-In other words, you’re a band whose members are normally all very different, and you don’t hang out together privately, and don’t have a mutual point of agreement, but the chemistry of when you guys sometimes do match is not something half done.
Kyo: I feel like that level is increasing. It’s difficult to match those things together, but the moment when the atmosphere of the fans, and all the members etc all matches up I think its definitely stronger, and more of a real existence, than a band that decides everything by discussing with each other.
-That maybe so, but don’t you think that’s a very risky relationship??
Kyo: But isn’t it interesting that way?
-Ofcourse I can understand that, but you don’t know when the band will end, and in reality there has been the start of a break up.
Kyo: For us, we’re not a band which started from gathering a group of close friends, so its like, we’re a band that’s being done at the last minute. Of course, I think bands that are started by friends are good too. Speaking honestly, Since the past I’ve been jealous of bands who members were classmates, or people who would hang out together normally.
Kyo: I think that the visible scenery would be completely different, even doing the same band. For example, taking to the other members about my worries etc… right? I think it would probably be completely different. ……….. But I need to drive myself, so that kind of band probably doesn’t suit me as much as Dir en grey.
-You’d be too spoilt in that kinda relationship?
Kyo: I have a low level ideology, of everyone around me I think I’m the person living my daily life with the lowest thinking. I want to always hold the greediness of how do I crawl up from that, But, if the members of our band had been classmates, or close friends, then I get the feeling that i wouldn’t have such an ideology. If that were the case, the members wouldn’t really exchange words. ** We’re all different ages, and have completely different interests. I prefer this kinda band, where all different kinds of people are gathered together. We’re all able to think of each other as rivals………I think?
-But there are also bands whose members are close personally but still have intense rivalry with each other.
Kyo: Of course I can understand how there are bands like that out there too. But for me personally it wouldn’t work. My greediness would probably disappear. Inside of me. I’d become like “I hope everyone’s having fun” “Anyway, lets go get something to eat!”. Although it does seem like fun. But I think that the way Dir en grey is suits me better personally.
-Do you think the other members are also doing Dir en grey with the same thinking?
Kyo: I think so. Everyone is egotistical.
-Yes, yes, Its a very egotistical band right? So amidst that, you probably can’t do 100 percent of what you want to do right? So don’t you ever think of quitting the band and going solo?
Kyo: Of course I want to do some solo work. A different expression from Dir en grey. There are many things. In particular at the moment, the things I want to do are really accumulating.
-You said that previously as well didn’t you?
Kyo: But that’s not to say that I want to quit Dir en grey, or that I’m unsatisfied with it…..
-But when you make something and express yourself with other people, stress will certainly follow along right? You definitely can’t do it just the way you want to.
Kyo: That’s right.
-And there’s also the stress of relations with other people. Because of that I think that most bands end up retiring, or breaking up. To say nothing of this band, in which none of you guys are friends, and you all have a very tense relationship. But nevertheless, no one has quit, and the band has continued. Why do you think that is?
Kyo: Well…… Doing Dir en grey up until now there’s been various things. There’s been times when I’ve thought like “eeeeeeeh???” And probably times when I’ve done things that have made the other members think “eeeeeeeeeh?” . So if a member says “that’s it!” and quits, then there’s nothing we can do. If someone said that, I wouldn’t stop them, and reversely if were me who said it I wouldn’t want anyone to stop me either. But………I really like this irregularity of Dir en grey. So even now, I’ve never thought that I wanted to quit. There’s many things I want to do personally, But I don’t want to quit Dir en grey.
-How do you think the other members feel?
Kyo: hmmm well, personally, I think I have a lot of freedom in the band. So I often wonder if someone is having to put up with my freedom, or if I’m burdening some one else. I’ve thought like this before.
-Is that right?
Kyo: While I think that me being able to freely express what I want to is how Kyo of Dir en grey should be, looking from the other members points of view, they maybe thinking that its just selfishness on my part.
-But there are also bands who always support what the front-man wants to do.
Kyo: Dir en grey isn’t like that. Of course, we’re all selfish ….. of course… we all think we’re the best… But…. maybe there’s people who aren’t like that? I don’t know..
-There’s many things you want to do, and you don’t want to compromise. I think that the more people there are who think like that in the band, the more irregular the way of the bands being is, and going solo would provide a much larger degree of freedom.
Kyo: hmm yeah…….
-And, doing it with people who will do as their told would mean it would be easier for you to give form to what you want to do.
Kyo: ah but, with Dir en grey, even if I think “I want to do this!” from that it will definitely become distorted, and so its interesting! I think that is “Dir en grey”. I think the other members feel the same way. When we make a song, in the end it doesn’t turn out how anyone planned. So because of that it becomes an irregular form. But with that, everyone understands.
-Why do you think that everyone understands?
Kyo: Something you’ve created by yourself, the way you wanted to, it can only become like the way you imagined it. So if Dir en grey was like that, it would be boring. If there’s none of the irregularity I mentioned earlier.
-So in other words, making things in the exact form that you think you want to do them in is not the purpose of this band.
Kyo:no……………………but still… Dir en grey is a band of crashing what we want to do against each other.
-But doing so without talking, just probing each other. And with it certainly not going exactly as you expect it to. Don’t you think you’re in a tiresome band??
Kyo: No, talking about things one by one is more tiresome. Because we do it without talking, I think it becomes more natural. It naturally becomes something different from what i was wishing for. For example, for a song that only has an intro yet, I’ll think “I want to do it this way” and then enter a phrase, right? But something completely different from what I was wishing will be brought forth by another member. When that happens I think “This is completely different from what I desired, from now how can I change it into a form I can understand?”
-Everyone does that?
Kyo: However, there’s no conversation. So it’s interesting.
-And, when something like the mutual understanding between the five of you, as mentioned before, suddenly matches up you make a really great song, or do a really great live etc right?
Kyo: Yeah I think that’s probably right. So, even though this band is tiresome, I can’t stop. As long as we can still do that kinda thing.
-Your tour final show last year was held at Tokyo international forum right? That live was very impressive. It was like a moment where very different, egotistical people perfectly became one, or, there was a sense of unity between everyone, including the crowd. I think that of course has something to do with the band having a break. What do you think?
Kyo: No……… I can’t completely say it was because of that, but rather at that time the direction all five of us were facing naturally aligned. Probably. Of course, including the fans as well.
-Your current release is the same as well. There’s a strong sense of unity in the band, Is that a mode you’ve entered into now?
Kyo: no….. well.. we haven’t changed that much. In fact, in regards to many things we’ve been flat. We’ve decided on festivals in Europe but haven’t thought about them at all. We’ve started not thinking “Since we’re doing a live over seas, let’s do it in this way..” Since If we just do it naturally, it can become something irregular in our own way, so its like its okay if we don’t think about it. In the first place, thinking is unnatural. But I wonder what the other members think…….
Kyo: Well anyway, I think they know that we have to finished this album’s tour. And, after that… I don’t know…. what everyone is thinking at the moment. Reversely, I’m not concerned. Since when we have our next discussion and make our ——————Year/years long plan they will say them then. Until that time, I don’t know what everyone else is thinking. There maybe people who want to do some more touring, and also people who think its enough. So I know as little as our fans do.
-So there’s no birds eye view of that band’s current situation, things like the unity of the band, or whether you’re all facing the same direction.
Kyo: That’s right, even if I could see like that, I wouldn’t know what to say, apart from ‘is that so..’
-Even listening to other members talk, I think you guys have done well managing to continue for this long without breaking up.
Kyo: That’s really true isn’t it. If i think about it.. 16 years….
-Why do think this band hasn’t stopped, but continued??
Kyo: Maybe because, we are five selfish people, but in the end we think about each other. It’s like, because without out talking we all understand that even though we’re like “I wanna do this” “I wanna do that” If we become a band that’s just always like that, then what would happen?? In other words, its because we have the feeling of forgiving each other. Because we have that as our foundation we have been able to continue up till now without talking. I think that’s the biggest thing maybe.
-So that applies to you too?
Kyo: Yes I think so. Of course there’s things I don’t understand, like there’s lots of times I think “What the hell???” But finally I’m able to think “Well, I guess its okay, I’ll probably understand it sometime” or “Of course we’ve been doing this together for over 10 years so there’s bound to be various things like this” After all, I understand that I’m the person in the band with the most freedom, and that the other members continue to support me without saying anything about it.
-So you can feel that thought of theirs?
Kyo: Because well……… we’re like family, of course. You don’t talk to your parents or your siblings that much do you? I feel like its close to that. Like even if various things happen, you think “well, its okay”.
-This is what I think from listening to you guys but, your guys relationship seems like something like “endurance”.
Kyo: ……….hahahaha. Maybe that’s true.
-Kinda like you’re all in a sauna, and you want to leave, but everyone is persevering together. (laughs) When with you all persevering like that, You can make really great unfamiliar things. So, you’re all stretching your willpower.
Kyo: No matter how much I think I’m the best I can appreciate things about the other members, so I can do it. If I thought “He sucks” Then I’d probably leave the sauna. Even saying this and that, I think we appreciate each other….
-If you guys weren’t like that then you couldn’t do lives like the one at Tokyo International Forum, or make songs like yours. In the end, I think you guys all hold the feeling of wanting to continue Dir en grey.
Kyo: Of course, I want to continue Dir en grey, and I feel like in this new mini album new wings have opened for us. I’m also looking forward to seeing what the current Dir en grey will produce. And further.. well, I don’t think there’s many bands out there with our type of relationship, so I want to treasure that.
-Of course……… You love this band don’t you?
Kyo: Is that right? I guess I probably love it? I don’t even know personally (laughs)
-Talking about the band like this, I feel like I’m talking to a genuine bandman.
Kyo: aahh, well… I’ve been one for a long time.
-I thought so talking with the other members too. And also, it goes without saying, but you’re all bandmen and you all love your band.
Kyo: What were the other members like?
-What everyone had in common, was strong feelings towards the band.
Kyo: Like they’re treasuring it?
-But, they they also had feelings of wanting to treasure themselves, and the band being tiresome, and they’re struggling with that.
-But I also thought that everyone is very proud of this band.
Kyo: So… We’re a very complex band, truly. (laughs)
**I don’t quite understand this in this context.. the original sentence is だったら、メンバー同士あんまり言葉も交わさない。
I’ve been studying Japanese for 7 years but I’ve only just started translating so some parts may have weird English.^^;
I will be translating Kaoru’s interview next^^