Alice Nine will make their complete comeback with "Alice Nine 11th Anniversary Live [Re:birth ~hishou~]". They have also announced the release 'ginga no oto' which will be sold only at their live venues, and embark on a nation-wide tour.
Calling themselves A9 now, they're undergoing preparations for their new journey.
"Instead of depending on our current environment, we should grow in an environment where we take the responsibilities ourselves." That was the answer we arrived with in order to stimulate our growth.
Q: On August 23rd, 2014 you went independent from the company which had managed you for 10 years. In order to prepare for your new chapter, you ceased public activities. What did you do in that period?
Show: When we went on anniversary tour, since we've been around for 10 years, we often talked among ourselves, "Let's do our best for the next 10 years".
After 10 years, when thinking about our 20th year, as we talked about our visions, like "What should we do then?", we thought, "Maybe we have to grow and strengthen our mentality". "Instead of depending on our current environment, we should grow in an environment where we take the responsibilities ourselves." That was the answer we arrived with in order to stimulate our growth. And that's why we quit the company who had managed us for 10 years, and decided to go independent and take charge of everything by ourselves. And in order to set up our new environment we had a period of inactivity. By taking a long time out, we talked about "What is alice nine?" and "What do you want alice nine to be?" among ourselves. That's how it started.
The decision to go inactive in public was made so that we could think about ourselves more objectively. It wasn't made out of negative feelings at all. Rather, it was a decision that was made with optimism in mind, and in the end I think it was the best choice.
Q: Since you had been going with full speed since your inception, I guess you didn't have the time to look at yourselves objectively.
Hiroto: That's right. After we ceased our public activities, we had meeting every week, spending 3-4 hours talking about various things. We're still do it even now. Before that, even if we met almost everyday and talked about the various 'homework' that we should tackle, we had never really got the chance to talk about the band itself. Or rather, we thought that's how things are. By taking control of the time we had, we were able to talk about many more things.
As we had been going continuously since our teenage years, I think it was a good pit stop to keep going from now on.
Q: So, did taking a time out become a big stimulus for your band's growth?
Hiroto: Actually we wanted to keep going and not taking a break, but as we had to make a lot of preparations and set up our new environment, we had no other choice but to cease our activities for the time being. In that case, we wanted to spend as much time as possible to make our preparations. As a result, we could make time to think about the band and also about ourselves individually. And now we thought, "I'm glad we had a time out". Even though internally we didn't have a time out at all (laughs).
Q: But since you stopped even your live performances, didn't you feel impatient?
Hiroto: We're not feeling impatient even now. Had we decided about it before we gave our 10th anniversary live performance, we might've felt it, though. We arrived on that decision during our anniversary tour, talking among ourselves, aligning our thoughts, and decided that all 5 of us would share the responsibilities of our resolve. And that's why, I think we didn't have excessive feeling of insecurity.
Q: In the end, it was a good thing that you bore your resolve.
Hiroto: It's difficult to make the 5 of us, who have differently strong personalities, to share the same thoughts and feelings. But, it was a good thing that we could reach the same thoughts quite quickly.
It was the worst kind of lifestyle. I would wake up at night and order pizza last order delivery as my 'breakfast', and then stay up whole night.
Q: What did you do during this period, Saga-san?
Saga: Soon after we stopped our activities we had a period with a lot of spare time, and so my day and night cycle got turned 180 degrees.
Q: (looks like you had) quite relaxing days.
Saga: I'm the most energetic when I have an employee-like lifestyle, but night time is the best time for me to think. When I thought about many things, I started to get worried about my own lifestyle cycle. But, as I composed alice nine songs late at night, I got more time to think about our future development, what kind of melody to portray, all sorts of stuffs. When I think about it now, I think it's a good thing that we took a time off rather than continuing as we were.
Q: Are you still a night owl now, Saga-san?
Saga: Now, our regular meeting time is set during the daytime, so I'm back to my old lifestyle.
Q: But wasn't it good being a night owl?
Saga: But, it was the worst kind of lifestyle. I would wake up at night and order pizza last order delivery as my 'breakfast', then stay up the whole night. It was like that everyday. But since I was able to sort out a lot of things because of that, if you say it's good then it's good.
Q: When you think about stuffs at night, won't you go off on a tangent?
Saga: In my case, as I think about the band and the things I want to do, I remove unnecessary things off my mind. And by doing that, I could see that only important things are left. And those are the things I want to do. And then I would propose them on our meetings.
I felt that I have the need for music and drums playing as much as I need food and sleep.
Q: How did you spend your time, Nao-san?
Nao: Even now I'm still a night owl (laughs). And that's why if we have meeting during the day, usually I come while having staying up whole night.
Q: This interview is also done during the day. Did you not sleep?
Nao: Today I slept for around 2 hours. As always, I did stuffs with my equipments until morning...
In the end, by having a time off, I could think, "How should I face the band from now on," or "How should I face the drums itself". And because of that I could concentrate my energy on learning about the drums, recording equipments, and as well as things related to recording. And just like I eat something when I'm hungry, I came to feel that I have the need for music and drums playing as much as I need food and sleep.
Unexpectedly I had so much things to do that I feel I didn't have that much free time to think about stuffs.
Q: What about you, Tora-san?
Tora: I didn't feel that I had much free time to think. Actually we had our activities as Alice Nine until November last year. Usually, we would go on a tour around December, and because we didn't have that I felt that we had a bit of free time. But we had been having meetings and productions for our next development since January, and also I started my project with Show around December, so unexpectedly I had so much things to do that I feel I didn't have that much free time to think about stuffs.