Thursday, 22 October 2015

the GazettE GiGS October 2015 Interview Chapter - 6

Chapter 5 | 6

Chapter 6 - The mad party and attack that will start again with 'DOGMA'

In previous sections, we have examined closely what kind of chemistry is there, and what kind of sounds are there in 'DOGMA', from various points of view. Then, what kind of tour will 'DOGMA' make? As the finale of this major series of interviews, through a long interview of their "live performance atmosphere", we will investigate about their feelings for their forthcoming tour.

"I don't know when it started, but somehow we started focusing on expressing our concept images." (RUKI)

"Rather than whether it's perfect or not, it's about whether it's up to a certain standard" (Uruha)

Q: Your first time performing in front of other people was most probably during your middle or high school. What do you remember of it?
RUKI: In my 3rd year of middle school we had a graduation camp, and that was the first time I played drums in front of people. Although you might think, "What, drums?" (laughs). We played 'HURT' by LUNA SEA, 'LOVE LOVE SHOW' by THE YELLOW MONKEY, and 'Bodies' by SEX PISTOLS. We chose a crazy setlist (laughs).
Aoi: But at that time, it was that kind of trend. People made crazy setlist (laughs). As for me, I was invited by my seniors and we performed at the school gymnasium. I was in my 3rd year of middle school, I guess. Although they're not the stuffs that our generation listen to, we performed around 2 songs by ZIGGY.
Kai: I think my first time was when I played accompaniment to my mom's piano on a recital which she used to do once in every 2 years. It was like, I had to match my mom's playing while playing my drums. Usually my drums teacher would play, but he said, "What if we have mother and son play together?"
RUKI: Your pedigree aura is coming out (laughs).
Kai: No, no (laughs). It was a really simple 8-beats, but I played very stiffly. I was around 2nd year of middle school.
REITA: My first time on stage is with the band I formed with Uruha. We gave a 2-bands live performance, renting a whole livehouse. We did around 8 songs, mostly LUNA SEA covers. Although I intended to headbang like crazy, when I saw the video later it was like I wasn't even moving my head... even then, the next day my neck was hurting like hell and I had a 39 degrees fever (laughs). It was October 28th, 2nd year of high school.
Uruha: You remember it well (laughs).
REITA: Because it was also the leader's birthday (laughs). 

Q: A lot of memories there. Was it also your first time on stage, Uruha-san?
Uruha: No. For me it was the bunkasai (cultural event) in my 3rd year of middle school. Our teacher played the drums, and we performed 'ROSIER' by LUNA SEA and 'innocent world' by Mr. Children.
REITA: To perform at the bunkasai, he borrowed my amp. And he never returned it... That time I was also just starting (to play guitar), and the sound of electric guitar without amp is boring isn't it? So thanks to him, I quit playing guitar (laughs). 
Aoi: But, had Uruha returned your amp, the GazettE might not exist (laughs).

Q: Your coming together was something like a miracle (laughs). When did you start establishing your own way of giving a performance?
Uruha: I think when Kai-kun joined, the GazettE way of 'fun' was established.
REITA: Well, when we started doing proper tours, we came to reflect on our past performances. Like, we shouldn't have chosen that kind of setlist, it should've been like this.
RUKI: That's because, before that we didn't decide on a setlist until the D-day (laughs). Although, we have enjoyed our live performances since the beginning. 
Uruha: Even though the performances were fun, there were times when we only had 6 people in the audience. 
Aoi: But, somehow, it's like we all had dreams. That time when we went on tour we would share rooms. And while looking at the ceiling, we would talk about things like what kind of sounds we wanted to make (laughs).
REITA: Do you want to have shared rooms again? (laughs)
Aoi: Nah, it's enough (laughs). It might have been just our youth. 
RUKI: If we sleep while huddling together now, I'm sure we wouldn't be able to sleep and talk instead (laughs).

Q: To reflect on your past performances is also an important thing, but I think at each point of time there were also other points that you discovered in order to move forward.
Aoi: Anyway in the beginning when we didn't even give one-man performances, we went to events with the mentality of catching some audience.
RUKI: There was also a time when we watched the performance of the band before us and changed our setlist right then and there so that our performance would be more intense. I think that was when we performed with Nightmare for the first time. I could feel a lot of energy from them. And if you ask me now whether we managed to steal some audience from them, maybe we didn't (laughs). But we were like, there's no way we would lose in terms of intensity!
Uruha: That time, anything was possible.
REITA: Because we wanted to stand out, we even prepared (a specific kind of) CO2 for the stage.
RUKI: Also, we dived to the stage even during SE (laughs).
REITA: To an audience of only 30 people (laughs).
Uruha: During rehearsals we were down because all the other bands were good. Then, as it was the only thing we could do at that time, if we lost at creating hype, then it would be the end of us (laughs). There was no use even if we tried to gamble in things we couldn't win at.
Aoi: We should've practiced more everyday.

Q: But the feeling of doing something different from others is important.
Aoi: I think so. We're still doing it now. It hasn't changed from that time.
RUKI: From the time we started giving one-man live performances, our way of performing might have changed.
Uruha: After we got signed to our management company, we were told to prepare our setlist in advance.
REITA: On the day before we were scheduled to have a two-men performance, we got a mail from our manager, asking for our setlist for the next day. When we replied, "We will decide it tomorrow, so it's alright", immediately we got a phone call, like "What the hell are you thinking?!" (laughs) And when we made it beforehand and had a rehearsal, we were like, "Ah, I see" (everyone laughs). It took us one year until we fully understood it (laughs).

Q: So it means that there were also cases when you decide on your setlist on the day of your performance. During these years, was there any live performance which left a definitive impression on you guys?
Uruha: We've had a couple of turning points. Lately, it was on our recent Budokan performance.
RUKI: I wonder when we started having the sense of responsibility. Maybe it was after our first Budokan performance? Although it would be like, "So you didn't have sense of responsibility until then?!" (laughs).
REITA: But we started thinking about how to make successful live performances by ourselves, once we started playing at large venues.
Aoi: Until then we had been performing at venues where our seniors from the same management company had also played before. And that's why it was convenient. However, for our first Budokan performance, it was also the first time for our company to hold something in a 10,000 seats capacity venue, so we had to work together to make it successful. In other words, until then we just went to a venue that had been prepared before and we just needed to give a performance there, but for our first Budokan performance, we had to do it under a different condition.

"It's just that we have many things that we have to check, so it would seem that we're very particular about details" (Aoi)

"We started thinking about how to make successful live performances by ourselves, once we started playing at large venues" (REITA)

"I think, the essence of this band called the GazettE is in the ability to show things that have influential power" (Kai)

Q: So what do you think is the focus of the GazettE's performances lately?
RUKI: I don't know when it started, but somehow we started focusing on expressing our concept images. And since then we've been very detailed with things.
Aoi: Yeah, we pay a lot of attention to details... Even on the day of the performance we would change the settings of the lighting. Of course, we also do a computer simulation beforehand. But we started thinking of our staging in its totality. We don't have a person to take charge of our performance, so we have to do everything by ourselves.
RUKI: Even if we're in the middle of a tour, we would watch our performance from the previous day and the next day after arriving at the venue, before we start rehearsing we would take care of things that need improvement. Then, we would have our rehearsal, and before the performance we would fix stuffs again. That's why, we just keep cramming stuffs until right before the venue is open. Then we would give our performance, and then do the same thing on the next day and so on. And by doing that, slowly we can get closer to perfection.
Uruha: Even though it's in the middle of a tour, if there is room for improvement, we will keep changing things until our final performance.
RUKI: We're also very detailed in each and every song. For example, starting from SE we would create a nuance like an intro, then A melody. If we have a month to prepare for it, I think we can aim for perfection, but that doesn't really happen in reality. Of course, we would delegate things that we can delegate to others, but our concept image is important and we won't make compensation for it. Like, lately there are promotional videos aired after live performances, aren't there? We even butt in on things like the timing for the stage blackout (laughs). It's like, whether it would give people the chill or not.

Q: I guess you're also very particular about the length of the transition between songs?
RUKI: Yeah. That's why, so that the instruments are visible, we have people put a blue backlight on our instruments. And we also have people give us cue as for the timing of the stage blackout.
Uruha: We're very particular about cues.
Kai: We often have meetings about it with our staff. So when it doesn't happen in a live performance, we would notice.
RUKI: Like, the timing until the silhouette comes out is too long, or that there's no shadow (laughs). The staff that work with us... I don't know whether they're enjoying this kind of work (laughs).
Kai: They say it's something that is worth doing, like it's unorthodox. I'm glad that we have this kind of staff.

Q: In other words, you guys are perfectionists, I guess?
RUKI: It's like, more than the audience, it's simply about us.
Uruha: Rather than whether it's perfect or not, it's more like whether it's up to a certain standard.
RUKI: Live performance is like a live version of the things recorded in our CDs, so people have a certain colours and scenes that they imagine (from the songs). But, if I say it in an extreme way, it's like, even though it's a night sky, it would be weird if suddenly there's a red light coming, wouldn't it? That kind of abstract expression would fly about.

Q: As a vocalist, how do you tackle the songs?
RUKI: For me, maybe it's only a matter of whether I can put my feelings into them. The song before, the song after, whether it will make a good flow, will it still work if I substitute it, whether we're done performing it, whether I'm done singing it. I think, that's it for me. Whether it was a good performance or a bad one, it's still the same.

Q: How about the others, who play the instruments?
Aoi: I have to perform with my presence of mind, or it will become a chaos. It's more about how everyone can make me perform our performance without taking my mind off it (laughs). Well, it's not about the other members but more about things like whether the equipments are plugged in or not, since it mostly shows. I always check that aspect strictly beforehand. Like, after reaching the venue I will first go and check it.

Q: So it's about elaborate preparations.
Aoi: Right. But, I want to perform relaxedly, so I don't do weird things.
Uruha: Even though it's different from a vocalist, for me the most important standard is whether I can feel something in the song. When I put my feelings into them, it's not like whether it's fun or not, but something different. I would have an incredible focus, and I would be able to enjoy the moment. In many ways it feels like something that is really worth doing. And I could find that kind of moment by going on tours. Although it's not like I can control it every time, I feel that it's the most important thing for me.
REITA: For me, the basic premise is that I want to go home without any trouble, and for that I don't want to feel any stress during our live performances. But it depends on whether I feel any physical pain, like when my legs aren't firm. It might become a hindrance to my play, so I always shed some sweats before our live performances... like 30 minutes of stretches and light muscle trainings. After doing that, I could feel the difference. And after it starts, it's about how I shed sweat afterwards. Unless I turn into a mess early in the performance, I won't be able to get myself in the mood. And strangely, when I'm in that condition I can draw out extra power.
Kai: Like everyone, I concentrate on my performance and put my feelings into it... but I want things to go as planned. For example, in this venue this light is off, and I don't know whether everyone knows about it or not, or maybe they're not aware of it, or forgot about it. When trouble happens, I'm like "Huh?" like I can notice everything. If I'm aware of these things, I'll be able to concentrate on the performance.
REITA: You're like a stage director (laughs).
Kai: No, it's not like that (laughs). For me, if both the members and staff are aware of the flow, it's the least stressful for me, and I can give my best concentration on the performance. That's why I always say any troubles that I find (laughs).

Q: But still there are unexpected things, aren't there?
Kai: Well, that's true. Things like equipment troubles are inevitable, aren't they? But they're not something to be angry about. But rather, how to cope with them. If there's an accident we have to make sure that everyone understands it. I want to make even unexpected things to go as planned.

Q: I see.. I think the GazettE's live performances are finely crafted shows, but it's like you're even more particular than I thought.
Kai: It's a natural thing for us so it's not something that we get worked on about. But from an outsider's perspective, it might look like that.
Aoi: As we've been around for quite long, we now have a lot of things that we have to check, so it would seem that we're very particular about details. I think every band has their own way of doing things.

Q: Now I'm even more excited about how your upcoming tour will turn out.
RUKI: Live performance is the place where the world of 'DOGMA' will be completed. There's us, and our fans, and by sharing the same perception, we'll be able to directly feel what kind of thing 'DOGMA' really is. I'm also looking forward to it. And I have a strong feeling to complete this absolute thing called 'DOGMA'.
Uruha: It has been roughly 2 years since our last release and for the GazettE, it was the longest period we've had in preparing an album. Our upcoming tour will feature this album, which has been crafted in details. I think our fans are really looking forward to it, and I believe that it will become a tour which will answer that expectation, so I hope you will be able to enjoy it without worry.
REITA: Although it's completed as an audio material, 'DOGMA' had just been born. And how it will grow will depend on the tour... Really, it's an album that came out after a lot of things happened. I don't know how it will turn out, but I have this sense of duty to make it a success.
Aoi: It's an album that we put a lot of work into making, so I think, how it will be translated in live performances is like a test for the band's skills. I want to make a performance which is convincing to everyone.
Kai: Even though the our basic way of doing things remains the same, right now the things that we feel, our skills, and also potentials are in good condition. I think, the essence of this band called the GazettE is in the ability to show things that have influential power, and so, I hope you will look forward to it.

Translated by Val. Original scans from Aoirous.

Jump to: Chapter 5 | 6

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