Monday, 19 October 2015

A9 Rock and Read 60 Show Interview (Part 2 of 4)

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

"For our live performance in August, let's go by that name". Rather than a comeback, I think this would be more like a restart day for us.

Q: By the by, when I have Alice Nine's report or live performance on my schedule, I've always written your name as A9 on my schedule book. But it didn't occur to me that it sounds like U2 (laughs).
Show: Hahahaha!  It's just that, since we changed our names a couple of times, people might be like, "Again?" (laughs). We want to cherish our name as much as possible. But still, Alice Nine is Alice Nine. Among our fans, there are those who write our name as A9 now, and there are also those who still write our name as Alice 9 (in kanji), and that's also fine with us. In the end, if our songs can create positive feelings in people, then it means we have done our part. That's why personally, I don't really mind about how our fans call us or read our name. However, as Alice Nine the activities that we have been doing for 10 years stopped for the time being, and so for the sake of the people who are still waiting for us despite that, all members agree that we would come back to the stage as Alice Nine. 

Q: Before you announced your live performance, other than announcing the release of your upcoming EP 'ginga no oto', there was barely any information available. Even so, I think the voice of your fans were still reaching you and the others.
Show: It made me think, social media is really convenient. Even the voices from abroad could reach me directly. But, since we were doing projects like crowd funding, we also received voices of concern. But even that is something that I thought thoroughly in order to create a good relationship with everyone. We believe that if we convey things properly, everyone would understand... Anyway I'm happy that we received a lot of feedbacks.

Q: Regarding that crowd funding. The details can be found in your official website, but what made you think of releasing a material in this way?
Show: It started during our Asia tour last year... and before that we also went to a couple of places in Asia with MUCC. Several years ago we (got invitation) to Europe or some other place, but we didn't want to be thought as just a part of Japanese culture boom so we didn't go. But 2 years ago, we came to know that the people who still like Japanese bands even after that boom faded away were actually the same as our fans in Japan. Since it's difficult for them to get information and stuffs, sometimes they envy Japanese fans who are in an environment where they can support the band directly. I also received things like, I want to support you but there's nothing I can do from here. Of course, we're happy just by knowing that they listen to our music. But in reality, it's impossible for us to do something like in-store event all around the world (laughs). That's why we thought, wouldn't it be great if we can do something for the people who really support us. If we make it into a digital release, we will be able to reach our overseas fans, and our fans in Japan can also get the same, fair treatment. And when we decided to make it into an investment-like thing, like, we only use the money to make songs, wouldn't there be some misunderstanding? That's what we thought. It's true that when it's involving money, I guess it's inevitable that there's an unpleasant feeling to it. But, as artists I think the most important thing is to be confident and throw away our guilty conscience. In this way, we wanted people to feel that everyone around the world who like and support Alice Nine are all equal. That is our main reason.

Q: Ah, I see
Show: Another main reason is that we resigned from our company since we wanted to move forward in a new environment, so I think if we don't make a new environment by ourselves then there will be no persuasiveness to it. I'm actually a gamer, and in Europe or US, it has become a norm for people to develop games through crowd funding. It had become so widespread that it's not even a gossip material anymore. But on the contrary, there aren't that many people who use crowd funding for music in Japan. And if anything, Japanese people aren't really good with this kind of system. But if we succeed, I think we will be able to change something. For example, when we were just a live band, there were many seniors and fellow bands whose performance were really good, but as they didn't have the money to release a CD, they couldn't. And we feel that it would be good if this system can spread a little more. Even though it might not be enough to cover everything, I think just by getting part of it covered through crowd funding can make a difference.

Q: You can't release a CD unless you're signed to a big label or company. You want to break away from that scheme, don't you? But in Japan, the people's mentality is that somehow they can't be unsentimental about money and they mind about their appearance. Among them, there might be people who are like, "Eh? So you have problems with money?" (laughs).
Show: Yes (laughs). We end up being viewed like, "They start collecting money now". But, little by little we deliver our thoughts and feelings to the people who invested in us... We've also started doing it, but I think the real worth will be judged when the EP itself is out. Fans would be able to objectively, calmly judge what comes out of it (the crowd funding), and what's left. I think that is the most important thing. That's why, for now, we can only do our best.

Q: So first you make people who have expectations and believe in Alice Nine unconditionally to invest in you. And to put it simply, it then became the basis for it. But concerning the result, doesn't it look like it has exceeded the goal with a large margin?
Show:  We didn't think that we would get that much. To be honest, it's not like we can just waste the money once it reaches our fund goal (laughs). In reality, I think there aren't any band who make an EP with this much budget. But we have the responsibility in collecting it, so we, the members are seriously discussing about how to return this investment prudently. 

Q: Even though you have a surplus for making your EP, I think as long as it's reflected in the final product nobody would complain. If the money doesn't go into someone's pocket, that is (laughs).
Show: We will definitely not do that!

As expected, I think we're going back to our roots. We did it like when we composed songs together in high school.

Q: Since you put even amount of money in your official site, I think it really shows your sincerity. And now, regarding the music itself. At present (the interview was conducted in mid-May), I got the chance to listen to the provisional version of 'Phoenix' and 'Ryuuseigun'. How about the other songs?
Show: They're in progress (laughs). Really, we're reaching the best part of it. First, the song 'Phoenix' is the first song we release, which has a fresh start feeling to it. It's the lead track of this EP, and also we made a MV for it.

Q: Since the sale will be limited to your live venues, I think we should look forward to the other songs when the EP is completed. But, regarding the 2 songs that I got the chance to listen to, I get the impression that both of them are powerful..
Show: I'm glad (laughs). I'm happy that you think that way. In the past few years we used to compose songs with a producer, and now we went back to doing things by ourselves. If you say that there's less power because of it... But as expected, you won't say things like that in an interview, will you? (laughs).

Q: No, if I feel it, I will say it frankly (laughs). But really, they are powerful and have a positive vibe. There are things that you have learned from various producers such as Okano Hajime-san and Hiraide Satoru-san, and on top of that, there are also original things that you want to try. In the 2 songs that I have listened to, at least, both aren't songs that pursue something new but rather, they're close to the core of the band. Is it alright if I interpret it this way?
Show: I think so. I think we're going back to our roots. And now, among the things that we've used until now, we could find the ones that shine more than others. Rather than pursuing new things and be like, "We've come up with good stuffs, haven't we?", it's like we levelled up the things that we had done until now, and challenged ourselves as to what we can do now. And also, earlier someone would make a demo song and then the others would copy the demo and put arrangements and so forth, and that's how we used to make songs. But this time, all of us took the initiatives. Or like, we stopped relying on someone but rather, we now compose our songs together as a band. It's a method that is really worth doing, and we earned much from it.

Q: For example, even if the credit of the song making only goes to one person, everyone's ideas are definitely reflected on the song
Show: Yes. It's like going back to our high school times.

Q: Has it become more childish now? (laughs)
Show: In a way, that may be the case (laughs). So first, on the sofa at Hiroto's house we would talk about the construction of the song, and then it would expand from there, like what if the drums is like this, etc... Somehow, it feels different from the song-composing which starts from formal meetings. Earlier, we would sit at a meeting room in a row, with the director from the record label and the staff, and then they would play the demo songs in turn, like "Ok, this is Tora's demo no.1" and then, "So, who thinks this song is good?" It was something like that (laughs).

Translated by Val. Original interview scans from 幻想.

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