interview by Case
translation by Miisha, Mako
Here's a band that's on par with any European or US mainstream dark rock production. D'espairs Ray mixes gothic with nu-metal, adding maddeningly great refrains, riffs and looks in the mix. With the help of the german Gan-shin crowd, we had the chance to ask the members around. If you're a Zero fan, you'll be disappointed, we sorely miss his answers ourselves. Otherwise - this is the new heat.
THE DOSE: You went on yet another US tour in February. How was the tour and where did you play this time? Any interesting memories to share?
KARYU: It was the best! Really exciting and interesting. Hav we came up with any melodies? It felt so good I forgot.
HIZUMI: We played the best songs from our albums.
TSUKASA: I enjoyed it very much. SliNG SHOT was frightening but it was really interesting.
THE DOSE: Do you see any difference between the audience in Europe, US and Japan?
KARYU: They drive differently.
HIZUMI: It's the same.
TSUKASA: Foreign fans have more freedom so they act more violently.
THE DOSE: You played together with the Genitorturers and several other local bands during your US tours. How did you get along with them? Did you choose the bands or was it the local tour organizer's choice?
KARYU: The organizer chose them but everybody got along pretty well and they were the first foreign friends we made.
HIZUMI: We gained lots of motivation and experience from the local bands and the friends we met.
TSUKASA: I enjoyed it very much.
THE DOSE: Many bands in the visual kei scene, that played harder music in their early days got softer and softer after they got popular, writing more ballads and catchy, radio-friendly rock songs, slowly leaving the aggression and screaming vocals behind. However, even though your music style changed, it stayed as aggressive as ever, making your fans very happy. Will you keep on walking this musical path, and what do you think about the musicians who change their style to get more popular?
HIZUMI: We will play music as we think we should. We don't intend to meet the expectations of the audience.
TSUKASA: I think it doesn't really matter what kind of a band you are but you have to give your best showing your way of thinking. We created the style we have now with our way of thinking. Personally, although there is a soft side, I like hard ROCK better.
THE DOSE: Your latest single ‘kogoeru yoru ni saita hana' came out early April. Could you tell us about the songs the single? Who wrote them and what are they about?
KARYU: HIZUMI made the lyrics and I composed the music. The words are quite easy to catch so when hearing the music please think about the others feelings and how they would interpret it.
THE DOSE: Which bands were your first big influences that made you decide to become musicians yourselves? And how did you interest turn towards visual kei? Do you feel that it is the best way of expressing your feelings and thoughts to the audience?
KARYU: My father played the guitar so he had really a great influence on me. When we make this band at first we didn't even know there is a word for it: visual-kei but our friends like DEBITTO BOY so because of them we started using those kinds of make-up. Although we are categorised as visual-kei genre but even now we don't know what really it is. We may not know what this genre is but make-up is one of the ways we express ourselves.
HIZUMI: The look/appearance of the world we want to express is the closest to visual kei.
TSUKASA: It's still the same today.
THE DOSE: Your PVs are always extremely well-made. Do you choose the directors and the concept or is it the management's task?
KARYU: After we came up with the image of the music and the band we entrust it to the supervisors. They haven't met with our expectations so now on we thought we would do the supervising part as well.
HIZUMI: We do everything by ourselves. We don't entrust anybody else with our work.
TSUKASA: We think out the idea then give the tangible material to the supervisors.
THE DOSE: If you could ask any movie director to make a PV for you, who would you choose?
KARYU: I'd like to work with KEN NIKAI. Outside Japan there are several people I'd like to work wit but I don't know their names. But Whom I know is TIM BURTON. He makes videos that were really close to my preference.
HIZUMI: There are several with whom we'd like to make it.
TSUKASA: Hayao Miyazaki (laughs).
THE DOSE: Who designs your costumes? Who comes up with the basic concept for your image and is there any fashion designer that you would like to work with?
KARYU: Yukari Ooba and Yasutaka Nakamura designs our costumes. We think about our own image then together we discuss and make it. I don't really know the stylists. I like the costumes these two makes.
HIZUMI: We take both the stylist and the band members opinions into consideration.
THE DOSE: Most other bands in the visual scene release new material quite often, sometimes almost every two or three months, while you seem to work a lot longer on your songs. How long does it usually take to write and record a new song? What is your working method? Music or lyrics come first?
KARYU: Yes, there are several songs in a short time but when we make one first come the feelings. And if there are no feelings at first we take it slow to find it. We don't let the surroundings to affect us.
HIZUMI: We make the tunes and then the lyrics. The longevity of making a new song differs from one to the other so I can't really tell.
TSUKASA: Personally I make the music sometimes slowly sometimes fast then while the preprocessor is working, which takes a long time, we concentrate on good thoughts.
THE DOSE: For years you were only releasing singles and mini-albums, before Coll:set came out last year. Do you have any plans regarding the release of your next full-length album?
KARYU: We thought about releasing one before next year.
HIZUMI: I can't tell you that.
THE DOSE: Most of your early releases are unfortunately impossible to get by now. Are there any plans of re-releasing them in some way or maybe re-recoring some of the songs?
KARYU: Not now. Maybe we re-release them someday if there will be people who are so interested in them.
HIZUMI: No, not yet.
THE DOSE: Coll:set ended with two excellent remixes. Who made them and can we expect similar projects in the future?
KARYU: KAZUTOSHI YOKOYAMA made it. He brought really interesting ideas and music and he motivated us pretty much. I'd like to make a CD together with him.
TSUKASA: Kazutoshi Yokoyama made it. He has a good taste.
THE DOSE: Someone who listens to your music for the first time would probably describe it as a mixture of gothic-rock and nu-metal. Do you think of that as a fitting description? And what are your main musical influences?
KARYU: I don't listen to metal so I don't really know but it's really interesting that there are people who think it is.
HIZUMI: There are several people who thinks that even though the think differently. But it doesn't matter to us.
TSUKASA: It's both. I think D'espairs Ray's style is individualistic.
THE DOSE: What are your music listening preferences? Do you prefer rock or electronic music or other genres?
KARYU: I really like the music of the movies. I'm alway amazed how wonderful they could express emotions. And there is the old rock music and the so-called industrial thay I like as well.
TSUKASA: I like everything.
THE DOSE: What was the last really good album that you have bought or the last concert you went to see?
KARYU: I receive lots of CDs but lately haven't got any. I've been to the latest KORN concert and in my opinion both their music and style is pretty good. This was the best in several years.
HIZUMI: D'espairsRays Coll:set.
TSUKASA: GREEN DAY
THE DOSE: Who came up with the band's name and what is the meaning behind it?
KARYU: We decided it together with everyone. The meaning is told on the murderDay DVD in full length.
HIZUMI: The band members decided together. The logo seemed really powerful after seeing it. We already explained the meaning in murder-Day.
TSUKASA: Everybody. I didn't think about the meaning. Everyones thoughts.
THE DOSE: How is your relationship with your fans? What do they mean to you and do you inspire you in any way?
KARYU: I don't have a lover or family yet so I feel really bonded with them. For D'espairs Ray I think fans are the cooperative body that fate let us meet. In those letters which we recieved from the fans, we can really forget ourselves and remember with their eyes.
HIZUMI: Fans are MANIA. MANIA is D'espairs Ray.
TSUKASA: Fans are MANIA.
THE DOSE: Do you prefer working in the studio or playing live?
KARYU: I like both but I really enjoy being together on a live.
HIZUMI: We prefer playing live.
TSUKASA: I like both.
THE DOSE: How much time do you usually spend in the make-up room before a concert or photoshoot?
KARYU: One to two hours.
HIZUMI: That differs from day to day.
TSUKASA: It depends on the time and the place.
THE DOSE: Were you aware of the fans you had abroad before you were first invited to play in Europe or did it come as a surprise?
KARYU: There are people in Europe who like D'espairs Ray, so I thought when I saw the homepages but it surprised me that we got messages from those countries where our CD haven't been released yet.
HIZUMI: Honestly we didn't even thought that there would be so many fans. It came as a big surprise for the first time.
TSUKASA: Honestly I didn't know it. I was surprised at the lives.
THE DOSE: You seem to be quite popular in the German goth scene. Do you know anything about the European gothic and industrial music scene? Any bands you like?
KARYU: I don't really know about the gothic part baut I like The Cure and RAMMSTEIN.
HIZUMI: I think there are several cool bands.
TSUKASA: I like orchestral music and Bach.
THE DOSE: Who came up with the idea of the coupling tour with Kagerou? Did you get along well with them during the tour? Are there any other bands that you would like to jon for a similar tour?
KARYU: We got along pretty well on our first tour and now we are also friends in our private life.
HIZUMI: The idea was from both sides as equal band members. I'd like to tour with several bands.
TSUKASA: We did a splendid job at conversations. (laughs)
THE DOSE: Did you have any time to do some sightseeing while you were in Europe? What was your impression about cities, the people and the culture?
KARYU: We visited lots of famous places but I liked the atmosphere in the Germany and French cities best. I'd really like to live in a place like those in the future.
HIZUMI: We visited a cemetery while in Paris. It was really impressive and stimulating.
TSUKASA: First in Germany we visited the temples and the Statue Quarters (?). German people are good people.
THE DOSE: Your lyrics depict a world that is filled with pain and suffering. Do you see things around you to be this dark and hopeless?
KARYU: We make our music and lyrics based on the real world.
HIZUMI: We don't want it to be dark. Light and darkness always come together.
TSUKASA: After we think about it such a music comes. But, I think this isn't loosing or to be unable to win.
THE DOSE: What inspires your lyrics? Personal experiences or the world you see around you?
KARYU: We write about personal experience and emotions.
HIZUMI: Lately the personal experience part just got bigger.
THE DOSE: Hizumi, you are responsible for most of the lyrics, but Karyu also wrote some. How did it feel to sing someone else's lyrics? Can you identify with them as much as with your own ones?
HIZUMI: It's the same basically.
THE DOSE: Karyu, you write most of the music for the band. What influences you when you write a new song? Do you get inspiration from music you listen to, or from movies, the news, everyday life..?
KARYU: Everything influences the making of the music.
THE DOSE: Recently you released your first tour DVD, ‘The World Outside The Cage' documenting your World tours from last year. In Europe you played only a few concerts in huge halls, while in the US you did longer tours, playing mostly in small clubs. Which one did you prefer? What was it like to play outside Japan for the first time?
KARYU: I like both but playing in huge halls are easier. Playing outside Japan for the first time was really EXCITING. And before the concert we checked the place ourselves.
HIZUMI: Huge places are also good but small boxes burn better.
TSUKASA: It doesn't have anything to do with the size of the hall. I'm just happy to meet the fans.
THE DOSE: Are there any plans yet for a new Euro-tour? Would you like to do a longer club tour in Europe as well, similar to your US concerts... playing in more countries and in smaller venues?
KARYU: I wish we could come in the winter. We'd like to entertain lots of people in lots of places.
HIZUMI: We'd like to visit lots of places in Europe.
TSUKASA: I'd like to go and meet them.
THE DOSE: And the obligatory last question... Do you have any special message to your foreign fans? Or for your fans in Hungary?
KARYU: Dear Readers, we'd like to entertain you as soon as possible. Please look forward to it and wait for us.
HIZUMI: Next time in Europe we'd like you to experience D'espairs Ray's music first hand on our live concert.
TSUKASA: MANIA and D'espairs Ray are one by fate.