Third in the A9 personal interview series is Tora on guitar. Even though Show (vo) said that Tora is a romanticist, through talking to him on various topics we were able to see the realist side of him which looks at the band objectively and completely accepts their current reality. For A9 to make even more great progress, he keeps trying new things and steadily moves forward. Moreover, when talking about the topic which came up on previous interview, the truth finally came out (?!)
We grew up and managed a comeback
Q: The group interview in which you were absent ended up becoming a trial for you(laughs)
Tora: I'm really sorry!
Q: It's alright (laughs). Show-san said, "Tora-kun might look rough but he's actually a romanticist".
Tora: I wonder. I myself don't know (laughs). But, I'm a realist.
Q: There is also info that since your third Shibuya performance, you had already perfected the constant smile you had in live performances (laughs).
Tora: Ahaha (laughs). I wanted (the audience) to enjoy (our shows) so I thought I should show that I'm enjoying it too. Imagine going to Di*neyland and see a sullent person (the cast), it won't feel good. I'm also like that.
Q: I can understand.
Tora: Quite a lot (of fans) watch our expression. I'm aiming to be like the guy in Jun*le Cruise. In reality, it's quite difficult to perform while looking at the audience. Because it's not like we particularly practice for that. But rather than forcing myself to smile, I'm enjoying it. Sometimes I enjoy it too much I forget about my performance. Like, ah, this is bad (laughs).
Q: (laughs) According to your mail interview, 'ginga no oto' was recorded mainly in in-home studio. Is this only for this work?
Tora: In last 1-2 years, I mostly recorded my parts at home.
Q: Was there a trigger for it?
Tora: Not really. Lately equipments had progressed so much, there is no big difference between recording at home and at studio anymore. So I thought, in that case I can record at home relaxedly, it's easier for me. I take a lot of time (recording) so (at home) there is no stress of having to finish things quickly. My biggest reason (for recording at home) is that there is no limit.
Q: But on the other hand, there is a problem of not being able to finish things.
Tora: That's right. I don't know when I should finish. But, rather than the timing to finish, for me it's more difficult to start (laughs). Since there is no fixed time, I just thought, ok lets's start. Once I start I can get incredibly focused into it, but it's difficult for me to start it.
Q: In this mini album, did you find an advantage of recording at home?
Tora: I could get detailed with the phrases. I could make the details as I wanted.
Q: I think fans are curious since you're the only one in A9 who's not in any social media. Tell us what you felt about your performance on August 23rd.
Tora: It was white.
Q: Indeed (laughs).
Tora: Since it had been a year (since last performance) at first I was like, will I have enough stamina to perform 20 songs? But like riding a bicycle, unexpectedly my body remembered. Although, we practiced a lot too. But I'm glad that we were able to come without any difficulties. Moreover, even though this past one year we were on hiatus in public, individually we had our own projects, we met once a week, and we did things in the studio, so rather than becoming dull after a year, I'm glad that we could come back while already having grown up instead.
Q: How did you feel the moment the curtains fell after the opening "PRAY" and you were able to see the audience?
Tora: Like, ooh, there are so many people. I'm glad that everyone were waiting for us.
Q: Did you feel like you've completely come back with the live performance?
Tora: To be honest, I won't know until we've finished touring once. We also have Asia tour this year, and once everything is over, I would reflect on it.
Q: How did you feel when performing your new songs for the first time?
Tora: It was difficult.
Q: In proportion to your growth.
Tora: That's right. Since we had a lot of time to compose songs, the phrases became more detailed, so it was difficult to perform live.
Q: The solo sessions were a major point of the performance. What do you think of it?
Tora: Saga-kun wanted to incorporate solo sessions in the performance, and I couldn't decide on one until last minute. My solo part was finally done just two days before the performance. But I thought, it would be boring just to do this. So I also made the background video by myself. I made one for Show's DJ session, so I thought I ended up making one for me too.
Q: The big kanji of 'tora' written in painting brush-style made quite an impact.
Tora: That style kind of represents me, and I thought I should not make it stylish (laughs).
Q: What is the most memorable moment, the moment that made biggest impact on you on that day?
Tora: When everyone sang 'subete e' together. It's the first time for us to have the audience sing together, with the lyrics in the backdrop, so I'm glad. On the other hand, I'm not sure how the audience viewed songs like "Phoenix". We recorded it quite a while ago and it's been some time since the it was uploaded on Youtube (March 2015), and we performed it for the first time that day. But it didn't feel like performing it for the first time. When it was added to the setlist, mysteriously it felt like we had always been performing it.
Q: I think 'Phoenix' really reflects A9's current sound and energy, and is a perfect choice as the first song. Which song did you enjoy the most?
Tora: Songs like 'Scarlet'. I'm still not able to enjoy our new songs yet, my body isn't used to it.
Q: Maybe (you'll get used to it) after you perform them more and more
Look, we're doing this seriously
Q: You just finished the second show on your tour. How was it?
Tora: It was great. A lot of energy. Both the band and the fans were unexpectedly energetic. And I feel that there were quite a few new people here and there.
Q: You can see, can't you.
Tora: I can see when the venue is small. I get the impression that the number of guys have increased. No matter where, if you see someone who just keeps looking at the vocalist, most of them are newbies. They would look at the vocals even if they stand in the far corner. If they don't know any other members and just came to listen to the songs, I think it's obvious that their eyes would go to the vocalist.
Q: You debuted as a (video) director with the start of this tour. (He took video of the venues and and uploaded it on youtube) What made you create the videos.
Tora: It's been a while since we toured, so I wanted to show people that we're doing it. I don't like only to be seen by a few people, or more like, I want to show outside what we're doing. I want to show whatever we can show. Like, look, we're doing this seriously.
Q: Like appealing for your existence
Tora: Even if we intended to say "We've come back!" with a bang, in reality it was just like, we slowly started again. Like, there is that kind of misunderstanding among the people doing it (the band), while for people who don't know about us, we might look half-baked. They might not know why we went on hiatus, and the people who read this kind of interview is mostly our fans, so I feel the need to show outside people with something that is easier to catch. With video you can just watch easily. Now I think it's best not to put on airs. If we show this only to fan club members, we'll just end up doing the same thing. So I want to show outside people something that is easy to understand.
Q: Have you been doing video-related projects for a long time?
Tora: Not at all. I just learned the software in this one year. Since the beginning, I've had this thing of wanting to do everything by myself. I'm not the type who likes to rely on others. If it's something that I don't like, I'd ask people and tell them to do whatever they want of it. But I want to do the things I'm interested in by myself. If I delegate it to others I'll get stressed.
Q: Like music, you're very particular about the videos aren't you.
Tora: If I'm being particular about it, it'll end up costing a lot of money. It's difficult, but up to a certain point I want to do it myself.
Q: By the way, what is the reason for not being in social media?
Tora: There is no particular reason. Actually by the time this interview is out, I would've joined instagram!
Q: I see!
Tora: The reason I've never been in social media til now is because originally I didn't want people to know what I do usually. If I see the people around me (being in social media), it's too real.
Q: It's like the distance had become too close
Tora: Something like that. People always upload their food don't they (laughs). I don't understand. Actually my private life is slovenly, so even if I upload my meals, 90% of them would be food from convenience stores (laughs). That's why I thought I'm not suited for it. But I think I can do instagram.
Q: By the way, in previous interview Saga-san said that A9's backstage is dirty, and that you and Nao were the cause.
Tora: Nope, it's not me, is it?
Manager: Saga-san is also one of the culprits (laughs).
Tora: On the contrary, it's everyone other than me.
Q: Oh? The story is different (laughs)
Tora: You see, normally I don't carry anything.
Manager: Tora-san leaves canned coffee and drinks just like that.
Tora: Ah, that's right.
Tora: When reaching the venue, first thing the members do is to put their stuffs on the table, and leave them as is. Since I don't bring anything, I can't understand (their behaviour). The table would get covered in their stuffs, so I guess it would look untidy. And since the big table is covered with stuffs, everyone would just have their meals in one corner, and leave the (bento boxes) just like that. Then, the table would be fully covered in stuffs. Then the costumes would arrive and it would get even more untidy. But actually, it's not that dirty.
Q: Just that it's full with stuffs.
Tora: Yeah, I think so.
Q: I also want to ask about this topic to Hiroto-san and Show-san (laughs). And lastly, what kind of band do you want A9 to be in the future?
Tora: I want (A9) to be a band that can do anything. It'd be great if we can be the kind of band which keep increasing their strong points. To be honest, I think it's already old-fashioned if a guitarist only knows how to play guitar. I should be able to do a lot more things.
Q: Now that you've gone independent, I guess there are many more things that you have to do. Did you feel that in this one year?
Tora: Apart from being in the band, there are many band-related things that we have to do, but unexpectedly if we have the skills it's something that we can figure out by ourselves. But until now we've been relying to others too much, I felt that even the direction of the band became weird. I think, if we can do everything by ourselves, we can do and create things in our taste.
Q: Looks like you guys will create more and more new things from now on.
Tora: That's right. Maybe in the future Nao-san will also start composing songs. Nah, I don't think so (laughs).
Translated by Val. Original interview here.
Also read: Nao | Saga | Tora | Hiroto | Show