Magazine: Rock&Read 044
Release Date: October 2012
Type of Interview: Personal Interview
Note: Coverpic is from Japan-discoveries, yo-ka pic from jrokku.net - just to let you know what the mag and shoot are looking like (^.-) // This is a requested translation and as always: English is neither my mother language nor am I a professional translator. Just have fun reading it and get to know what yo-ka is telling us in his first Rock and Read interview!
And also as always: please no reposting. Or at least put a link to this post. Thank you!
- This isthe first time you appear in this magazine. Please tell us something aboutyourself. Where are you from?
I was born in a small village at the countryside in Fukushima. My family is myparents, my two years older brother and my grandmother. I was the second oldestson.
- What kindof parents were yours?
Since my father didn’t talk a lot, he had a vague and scary image. But to tellthe truth, he didn’t scold me. The one who did was my mother. Shouldn‘t a son clingto his mother? For me this was what my ideal was. When I turned around 20 yearsold I started to understand the feelings of my father little by little. Intruth he was a person who got embarrassed easily. At that time I came to thinkthat a family is something pretty good.
- Whatabout your mother?
Her looksas well as her character was strict (laughs). My mother also had a job when Iwas a child and wasn’t really at home, so there were times when I felt lonelybut after time passed I went out into the world and when I stumbled regardinghuman relations this gave me advices from the point of view of people who are havinga job. The world of music and bands is special, so I’m thankful for this pointof view of “normal working people”.
- Whatabout your brother?
Back thenwe were fighting all the time. I got focused on the path of music but he wanteda completely different life. The older brother is the serious one, the youngerbrother is the wild one. Because the younger one is so wild, he had to choosethe serious part, that’s what he thought. He was an older brother who actednice towards the feelings of the younger brother. After becoming adults wetalked a lot.
- What kindof children were you?
I was quiteclumsy/awkward after being born and until I was 1 or 2 years old. Even bylooking at photos I think “My brother is so cute but I, the younger brother,look kind of awkward.” I wasn’t cute (laughs)
- (laughs)What did you usually do in your childhood?
I hadspecial classes in drawing and went swimming on a regular basis. But I didn’tcontinue those things for a long time.
- Where yougood in music already back then as child?
I ratherhated music. I couldn’t even play the flute. And even now I still don’t knowwhich sound it makes when I put my finger where.
- What was yourfavorite school subject?
I hatedstudying. I couldn’t remember Hiragana in elementary school. I wrote it thewrong way round. mirror-inverted. Even though the correct example was rightnext to it I could write it only the wrong way round (laughs). I remember onetime my teacher at elementary school got angry at me, took the plastic stickthat he brought and banged it on my table shouting at me: “Why don’t you writeit [the correct way]?!”
- A painfulmemory, isn’t it?
It is. ButI wonder what I actually learned. I was a kid that couldn’t do anything, sowhen I was six years old I had only Cs on my school report. By time and age Igot smarter bit by bit (laughs)
- You werea slow starter!
I’m someonewho makes steady progress.
- You saidyou wrote everything the wrong way round. Your parents both worked, so theydidn’t have lots of time for you. Did you have the feeling that you need todraw your parents’ attention to you?
No… It wassimply a matter of intelligence (laughs). My school was a Christian privateschool. Maybe it was also a bit different to public schools. When I enteredschool there were about 40 pupils in my year. When I graduated we were 26pupils. Also, I wasn’t an outgoing person at all and really bad at speaking infront of people. I backed out and was rather a person who thought about thingswithout speaking. Really, I did that a lot.
- So youwere in your own world until your 6th year of school?
I didn’tlike school a lot and was so interested in Superheros. That’s why I thought Iwanted to become Kamen Rider [Japanese Superhero]. I still like him, even now.These things exist, don’t you think? Things people don’t have, likeintelligence… They can’t get used to it all of a sudden (laughs) People grow bycollecting the things they gain from relationships with other people. That’swhat human beings do.
- When didyour dream of becoming Kamen Rider change?
My dream ofbecoming a hero changed around the time when I was in 4th year ofelementary school [about 10 years old]. My parents like music/singing, so Istarted to sing a lot. I have always been close to music. That’s why I came to thinkthat I also want to sing songs.
- What kindof music did you listen to back then?
My motherliked popular, folksy songs. My father liked them too as well as Jazz. Ilistened to artists like Murashita Kouzou (村下孝藏) and Anzenchitai(安全地帯).
- What agood style.
Yes, right?Because I listened to them as a child, I still like them and listen to them.
- When youwere in your room, thinking about everything, was singing your way of freeingyourself?
Back then Idid want to sing but that I want to sing in a band started when in middle schooltimes I got to listen to a song by PIERROT at a music program. Actually, untilElementary school I was on a private school with not many people. In middleschool there were 5 different classes in one year of that public school. Eventhough I felt a small panic in groups of many people I went there andexperienced bullying. It was a group of three girls. I was small and until thattime I had always been at a private school, so right from elementary school Ididn’t know any kids I was close with. They always said “There’s this guy Idon’t know” and looked at me.
- I see.
I heardthis afterwards but the girls seemed to think of me as cute. But back then Ididn’t know this strong way of expressing feelings, so I told my mother that Idon’t want to go to school and didn’t do it anymore.
- Theyexpressed their feelings too much. They were so interested that it turned outas bullying for you.
Thinkingback now there were also things that weren’t bullying. It was also that Ididn’t know what to do with my life and I was downhearted.
- And thenyou met PIERROT.
Yes. I sawPIERROT and came to know about the existence of bands. I went to shops andsearched for CDs and came to listen to music of various bands.
- And thenyou basically came to like songs.
Yes, whilelistening to these songs I properly came to see the path I wanted to walk andgained self-confidence. It made me think that I wanted to review everythingabout the people who were bullying me.
- So thepain became your „power spring“.
Yes. Beforechanging my surrounding I thought I have to change myself first and started myfirst band when I was in my first year of middle school [around 13 years old].Since that time all I’m thinking about is music. In my third year of middleschool I stood on stage for the first time – as copy band of LUNA SEA. Mysinging was so bad but still, it was so much fun. It was a good feeling and itmade me think that for me there isn’t anything else anymore. That there is noother path than singing for me. That’s what I decided in 3rd year ofmiddle school and it has been like this until now.
- I’d liketo hear something about the present. You titled the live on August 28th “Judgement day”. And you said “It’s not like everyone can continue tobelieve in something just like that. So have the strength to believe!“ and youstarted to call your fans „Gumin“ [common people]. It’s not difficult tobelieve in something for a short time but if you don’t have the strong will tocontinue to believe than you get easily broken. And because you could continueto believe in himself you are able to say those words and those words areconnecting you [to the fans] now.
That’sright. I wanted to change. I don’t know what I would do now if I didn’t makemusic but when I didn’t want to go to school anymore and I was bullied Ithought that it can’t just stay like this. I wanted to change something. Backthen I was just a kid and thought about how I could change all this. I wantedto believe in my own possibilities. At that time I came across music and bandsand chose my life. Especially, I wanted to believe in myself. The reason why Iheld back was because I didn’t have trust in myself. That’s why I couldn’t doanything. But it made me think: “Isn’t that sad?” We all have the same kind oflife and isn’t it a waste to live it without believing in ourselves? If we feellike we’re bad at something than usually it’s our own choice [if we are ornot]. I also don’t like being told what I have to do. Rather than being torninto something I want to pull other people into it.
- In the 3rdyear of middle school you decided on your path of being in a band. Whathappened afterwards?
This wasreally painful. When in high school I said that I’m a vocalist in a band I was oftenmade fun of, being told „You’re not even playing an instrument!“ (laughs) Ihated that, so I took the guitar I bought in my 2nd year of middleschool and started composing.
- Where didyou learn playing the guitar?
I didn’tplay at all and after buying it, it became decoration of my room. I didn’t knowanything about chords. But I got angry whenever they told me I can’t even playan instrument, so at that time I just pushed down the strings and createdsongs.
- It was byinstinct!
It reallywas. I played chords and created nice accords but I didn’t know what kind ofsounds those were. Now I do know but my way of composing songs in generalhasn’t really changed until now.
- It’sdefinitely faster if you remember it by just practicing with your own hands.
Yes. And bythat my band could play its own original songs by the time I was in my 2ndyear of high school. I think that was the basis.
- If youlook back at the time you were an introverted kid… you changed a lot. Bycreating original songs you had to show your inner self. Isn’t that what lyricsare about?
I’mprobably a person that shows what’s hidden inside me. When I started makingmusic I started to get more self-confident. At that time I realized that I’mfine the way I am. I didn’t follow anyone’s opinions and also didn’t behavelike the popular people. Thinking that way my point of view got wider and I wasable to say the things I wanted to say.
- Where didyour path lead you after you’ve graduated from high school?
Basically Ithought I wanted to study songs. I went to a college outside of my prefecturebut realized that songs aren’t something you can study. That’s why I quit afternine months. I returned back to my home but for a while I did just randomthings and thought that this is useless, so I went to Tokyo.
- Weren’t yourparents surprised by that?
About that…In school my mother wanted to become an idol singer and went to contests and TVshows but she didn’t really made it, so she told me: “Do whatever you want, soyou won’t regret anything!” My father didn’t really say anything. I think theystill would say that I can come back whenever I want. I was shy, so I didn’treally talk a lot to other people but when I left my parents’ house by the ageof 20 there were indeed talks about me coming back sometimes. My father is achef, so he made me different dishes. Seems like he didn’t think the band-thingwould work out (laughs).
- As cook,is your father self-employed? Shouldn’t he especially because of that believein you?
Yes. Hedidn’t say anything but because they are my family, they believed in me.
- Did youhave relatives in Tokyo?
I did not.I also didn’t have decided anything regarding my band. I just thought that firstof all I should go there and also had decided for the place where I wanted tolive. When I was having my part time job at a kombini I was asked by someone Iknew from my home back then: “I will have a session band at a live, don’t youplay the guitar?”. That’s how I held my first live in Tokyo. But since I wasn’tconnected to anything anymore it was useless. I found a guitarist and bassistat a site where you could search for bandmates. We didn’t have a drummer but wethree held a live together. That was my first band I had in Tokyo. I started toget some connections little by little and then I met Yuu.
- Andlittle by little you became DIAURA.
Yes. Just,the music I wanted to make in the beginning in Tokyo… I didn’t growl liketoday. I wanted to sing beautiful, sad songs. But we didn’t gain any popularityand I felt like we’ve reached our limit, so we disbanded after 9 months. Iwondered how it would be the best way [to be active as band, to make music] andat that time I heard that Kei has started a new band. Before we met, Kei hadmet up with already more than 10 vocals and it seems like he thought that if Iwas useless as well he would return to his home in Aomori. When Kei let melisten to his songs the first time I really thought that they are so cool. Whenwe added lyrics and a melody to the song in the studio we were so shy. I dothink that this was a meeting by fate. We started this band called “Valluna” andalso had member changes. Valluna disbanded and what was born out of that wasDIAURA.
- Whatmeaning has the bandname DIAURA?
The meaningcomes from “dictatorial” and “aura”. There are so many bands that form anddisappear, don’t you think so? When my former band disbanded, I thought thatmaybe for me I’m just one of those members from those bands. But I didn’t wantthat, so we chose an extreme name. We are the ones that dictate this scene.
-“Dictatorship” and “common people”, those powerful words were born out of this.
But thatwasn’t even what we were aiming at… Actually, when I thought about the band nameDIAURA it didn’t have such a meaning.
To tell thetruth, we created the meaning afterwards. First we just thought that we wantedto have a band name that starts with “D”, because it sounds strong (laughs).But one time our label boss asked us “What’s the meaning of this band name?”and we grabbed a dictionary and did some research.
- Hahaha.Is it okay to publish this?
It’s fine(laughs). But we wanted a band name that can lead us. In the beginning we didn’tdecide for a direction of this band. All we thought about was the fact that wewanted to write good songs. But when many problems came up and my heart gotweak I took a look at our band name once again. And that’s how the “DICTATOR”of our mini album [1st mini album, August 2011] was created. After we’vecreated that many things changed. It’s a band name we decided for in an honestway but it had to be one that can drag people along.
- So thedirection and songs were decided.
Yes. But wedidn’t think that our songs would fit in this time. We wondered if they sold ifwe created those kind of songs. We also had to think about how to make thenumbers of fans grow but the beginning really was just me wanting to sing. Therewere also times when I lived just for myself. I didn’t plan on changing myselffor others.
- Becausesongs are also the place to be for oneself, aren’t they? While continuing withmusic you talked about putting effort into it. What was your biggest failure?
To tell thetruth, I thought about quitting only once. Right after forming DIAURA with Keiwe were told by the people who were supporting our former band: “Your looks andmusic have changed, so I can’t accept this.” In our former band as well as nowKei and I were the ones who composed the songs, so the essence hasn’t changedand we didn’t want to give up on our music. Even though Kei and I made thepromise that this would be our last band and we started all over with it again,we were told off. When this happened within a short period of time we worriedabout how people saw our music that we’ve created until that time. Isn’t itlike this that whenever you create a song you write about extraordinary thingsand bring it to life? So they couldn’t accept it anymore only because we’ve changedour look and name? Maybe those people who create these things are selfish butwhen they showed us this reality that they can’t see the essence of us anymoreI really lost my self-confidence in this and fell into this hole where Ithought I can’t continue anymore.
- You feltlike being trapped in a corner, right? How did it come that you still kept onwalking?
More thanin anyone I believed in Kei. I thought that I can’t be wrong as long as I’m[creating these things] together with him. I thought about if I wanted to runaway from the feelings I had in this time when I felt weak or if I wanted to throwthem out. It was hart.
- And youthought that you don’t want to run away.
Onlythinking about how they would have laughed at us saying „As we thought, theyweren’t so great at all.” was too painful. We weren’t allowed to look back.That’s how we continued. We’ve started as DIAURA with these two members andbecause of that we were told only negative things like “This isn’t a band”. ButI thought “We will have something good come out of this!” and the painfulfeelings did push me forward. We wanted to show those people who said we wereuseless that the things we did were right. It’s important to believe in yourselfif you want to show that.
- On August28th at the live “Judgement day” the words “To keep on believing”are still in my heart.
We’vedecided our live at Liquid Room [August 28th, 2012] in the end oflast year . What we also decided for right away is the live at MeguroRock May Kan [January 22nd 2012]. The size is completely different [MeguroRock May Kan holds about 250 people, Liquid Room about 900] but we wanted tomake our decision more clear when we announced it the same time. The peoplearound us told us that it’s definitely impossible but if you’re seriouslymaking music it’s the same for bands that have just started and those who arealready selling and making music for years: It doesn’t changed that you havetrust in your own music. We thought that if that’s the case then we have faithand run, overcoming all problems. There were times when our manager also toldus: “You can do it!” We had our goals and that was the strong feeling withwhich we were active in this half of a year.
- All these“gumin” let you see such a great scenery, didn’t they?
I couldfeel my body being filled with so much joy.
- At theencore you performed “Judgment”, the song you gave out for free that day. Thelyrics say „I was aiming at the place where light was shining. Believe in thesame feeling you felt at that day!” It made me think that all your thoughts andfeelings are so deep and it made my heart move.
It wasDIAURA’s first released “shitsuyoku no seiiki” when I wrote the words “To theplace where light is shining”. I included the feeling of wanting to go back tothe days when you were innocent and carefree and used these words for it. Evenif the band becomes popular I wanted to tell the gumin that this feeling willnever change. A live at liquid was a goal the label and members were aiming atbut since we were seeing where we wanted to go next, there was no feeling ofassurance and rest. To say it frankly, liquid wasn’t sold out. Actually we stillcouldn’t do it. One day I want to have revenge because I think this isn’t howit should be.
- UnfortunatelyYuu-san couldn’t stand on stage with you. [translator’s note: Yuu paused liveactivities as of May 5th, 2012. This interview takes place aroundSeptember 2012 and the magazine was released about 2 weeks after the announcementand official departure of Yuu in October 2012]
He had tendonitisin his left arm, so he needed to rest. His posture and way of hitting the drumshad changed and he felt pain again. He went to a big hospital and it seems likeit got worse. I heard this afterwards but it seems like he kept secret from usthat he has practiced all along… Yuu has always tortured himself. Maybe thewords “We’re waiting!” ended up having the opposite effect and were driving Yuuinto a corner.
- What wasYuu-san’s condition after that?
The otherday I talked to Yuu, only the two of us, and he told me “It’s not only my arm.I can’t keep up with you anymore. I can’t hit the drums anymore.” That time Iknew Yuu for 3-4 years and so many times it was me who has brought him back butI thought that if he returns to the band without actually being able to do so,wouldn’t that make him hate the drums in general? I hated even only the thoughtof that. Personally, I risked my life and chose DIAURA, so the same way Yuu hasthe right to decide what he wants to do with his own life. But it was hard tothink that we wouldn’t be able to continue making music together.
- Thisphotoshoot took place at Shibuya BOXX where you held your first oneman live[August 30th, 2011] after Yuu-san had officially joined DIAURA. Itwould be good if the meaning of shooting here would reach Yuu-san, wouldn’t it?What are the future plans for DIAURA’s band activities?
We membershave trust in each other. We still see far ahead and continue walking. Also forthe sake of Yuu. I have this personal dream of standing on stage of NipponBudokan one day. I want to make DIAURA being the proof of my existence.