New DVD Review
New TV Review
Search DVJ 2.0
"I got time to listen to music the way I was when I was a teenager. So feeling that way really helped with recording this new album."
At Otakon 2004, super rock group L'Arc~en~Ciel held a special press confrence after their oustanding performance at Otakon. Senior Music Reviewer Daniel Womack attended the press confrence and got to talk with the band about their debut performance in the US.
The following is a transcript of the interview provided by TOFU records. All photos taken by Junichi Takahashi
was your US debut performance at Otakon?
Was performing here different than in Japan?
got to Baltimore, went to all
tourist sites first and did the show after I had learned
Baltimore. I probably
know Baltimore the best out
of all of you. Because of
that, I felt very relaxed and it didn’t' make any difference if it's
Japan or the US.
thought it was an extension of Japanese tour and I also felt very
was the first time that I played in America.
The audiences were so warm and they made us feel very welcome
and I really had a good time.
really had a good
has one of the largest fan followings for a Japanese band outside
Japan. Are you guys aware
of your popularity outside of Japan?
We didn't know that.
Same for everybody, we really didn't know that we're so popular
your first album in several years.
How did the time in between help you focus on what you wanted
to do with this recording?
I got much
time off from the band, I almost felt like a teenager again.
I got time to listen to music the way I was when I was a
teenager. So feeling that
way really helped with recording this new album.
recording process felt very fresh because we got time in between
we hadn't played together in a while, you look at your band members
with new eyes. I
thought like, “Wow, this guy plays great guitar!” or “They’re
really professional musicians”, which you kind of forget after being
together for a long time. And everybody’s chorus ability is a lot
better than before so the chorus of L’Arc-en-Ciel is a lot better
This recording was so much fun to do and I also felt very fresh
coming back together again.
Who are your
musical influences and some of your current favorite musicians?
are so many…Last year I listened to Linkin Park a lot.
This year, Limp Bizkit. I just love music so I listen to
all kinds of music.
for your North American fans?
I’m sure there are a lot of people who don’t know our music yet.
So we hope that they’ll get to know our music.
motivates your performance on stage?
pray…I pray to Buddha (jokingly).
Please describe each of
your involvement in song writing process?
each of you try to
bring all of the song that each of us wrote into rehearsal studio. We
the songs and each of band
members starts writing each part.
To many bands,
breaking into the U.S. market is considered a major success. What are
your feelings regarding having released your music in the U.S.?"
are other Japanese
that try to break into
American market. But they
release an album and go home. I don’t
feel that is a success. So
we have to continue working hard to be an actual success in this
long as we sing our lyrics in Japanese I find it may be difficult to
really break into America. Our
musical activities will always be based in Japan but if we could come
to America and have a good time, I'm up for that.
success of the Otakon performance,
would you like to or are you already planning for your future US
hyde: I was
so happy that music
crosses the border. We
were all one at the Arena yesterday.
doing that, I'd be very happy.
keeps you guys coming back to make the great music that you do?
the fact that we have great time together.
a good time is obviously very important but each and every one of us
has good musical tastes
I feel very lucky to be part of this band.
almost like destiny.
think our musical tastes are similar in a sense but they're also
bit different. I think
those differences can bring something new
when the four
of us come together
and I guess that helps us make the music that we make.
concert at an anime convention, your
anime music themes were extremely well received at the concert.
What position do you think anime fans have in L’Arc-en-Ciel fan as a
Japan a lot of elementary school kids watch anime.
So it's just a window for them to listen to rock music and
they're exposed to our music
at a young age.
were your expectations
and feelings prior to the show?
before the concert we were really busy.
the night before I left Japan,
got on a plane and before I knew it, I
was in Baltimore. So
I really didn't have too much time to think about it. Now
I’m short of one
pair of underpants.
thought that every single person
would be a cosplayer
and that they'd be at our concert but it wasn't every person.
had no idea what to expect. Performance-wise,
I knew that we wanted
to do the show that we always do. During
the shows in Japan I always tell a lot of dirty
jokes. But I refrained from that at this concert.
didn't really think about too much.
I just thought
that if we tried to do the best show we could do, things would go
was the one most
moment that you had in Baltimore?
I had a lot of
great experiences here but the most memorable one is definitely the
used to playing
shows in front of Japanese audiences
but the (US performance) felt different.
at the US audience
a lot of faces that were smiling was
a concert for the first
time in America and so many fans came all the way to see us…that
was such a precious experience.
Just listening to the crowd before going on stage, it seemed
like crowed was really into it and wild.
Once I came out,
audience was still
loud and wild and they
were really close.
In Japan, because the restrictions were so severe, people in
the first row are 6 meters away and they
could never come up or show would get stopped.
I almost felt like
playing in a tiny club because everybody was so into it and upfront.
It was like a small club but at the same time,
there were massive
fireworks going on. So
that was my feeling and I want to do
concert in America where restrictions aren't
as severe as Japan.
In America, the
theme song for the animation “FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST”(“READY STEADY
GO”) is very popular, but what’s the song off the “SMILE” that
has most significant meaning to you?
write the songs
but in the end it's hyde who actually sing the lyrics so I wonder what
are many songs that are significant to me as every song we write
brings moments and emotions to mind. But if I had to pick one song off the album, it would bethe
one called “Forever-Eien”.
would say, all songs.
I’m always committed to do a performance that makes our
singer comfortable singing.
If you could
any one wish come true in the music industry, what would that be?
want to use Michael Jackson as a warm-up speaker (before our show).
that he likes Linkin Park. Would
you want to make a promotion video with original animation like they
We had a plan but only
ken and I were up for it…
asked a lot about “SMILE” today, but do you think American
audience likes your old songs such as “DRIVER’S HIGH”, which you
released in the late 90s?
What was the
funniest moment in Baltimore?
went to the Baltimore Aquarium and my manager took pictures of every
single fish there, which was funny. He was giving the fishes very caring eyes.
I wanted to tell him,
“You should look
at ME like that!”.
American fan came up to me asking for autograph.
He gave me our artist photo and three of the members 's
autographs were already there. But
where my picture was, there was ken’s autograph so he probably
didn’t know the difference between ken and I.
I signed above
ken’s autograph and he kept looking at the picture and then my face,
picture and my face…that was funny.
I came back to the hotel last night, someone knocked on the door. There
were group of American
fans there and they
asked me “Why don’t you join us to drink?
I said “I' sorry, I'm very tired”
and closed the door.
came back with even
more people and this
time they asked for autographs. They
please?” and looked very apologetic.
Although I was very tired, I thought they were adorable.
When you go out to eat in America, the portion
of food are so massive. I think it’s kind of funny.
©All information protected by DVD Vision Japan copyright unless otherwise noted.