Month: February 2018

Aiko Moriyama – Tokyo banka

Tokyo Elegy

Can I return to meet you before the festival?
The short distance to return is far in my heart
It’s how I am today, and my grandfather
Holding my shoulder, he won’t let me
Haa, hey, the red sky
Wiping away my tears
Tokyo Elegy

The sunset in the gradation of an ink painting is a little despairing
The railway train’s steam whistle shrieks
Someday I’ll do it, I tell you
Fallen leaves of a dream piled up in my chest
Haa, hey, beloved
Just a drop of sake
Tokyo Elegy

The dried flowers of a white gourd
When will they bloom, quivering in the rain?
Supporting a dream, going alone
My willpower is the milestone of tomorrow
Haa, hey, isn’t it painful?
Shall I gather my defeats?
Tokyo Elegy

A – Elementa Alchemica

The four elements that govern the world. Namely: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind. It has been said that a spirit from ancient times dwells in each of them.
When all of those are gathered into one, it seems the door to a new world will be opened… Do You have the courage to open that door…?
Splendid. Tonight, we shall hold a banquet and gather those four souls… should something happen, you must please confirm it with your eyes, and with your ears.
Well then…

 

From that distant day when the land was born
A wandering traveler has been seeking light

To gain something is to be faulty
And though the world expands too much
It wouldn’t be scary at all
If I were together with you

In the billions of hours of the stars in the sky
Are young folk who fell into this era
At the end of perpetual despair and rapture
We’ll finally reach Los paradiso

In the trace of cities that flourish and perish over again
A journey with no map predicted by the Arcana

Though I will sacrifice something
Because there are things I want to hold in my hands
That will be our future
If I am together with you

Lives disappear before long, like a torch burning out
Strong ephemeral folk are burdened by it
Believing in each other and being betrayed, nevertheless loving
We’ll finally reach Los paradiso

In the billions of hours of the stars in the sky
Are young folk who fell into this era
At the time when this neverending journey is over
We’ll finally reach Los paradiso

 

Falling in deep water
Drifting just the two of us
I exchanged what I held in my hands
For the loneliness of living through a millennium

For this love
To this love
By this love
Like playing an instrument, the eternal, endless serenade
Melts into the water in a deep forest
Two of us shall come together as one
Innocent lovers

Hey, is it okay now?
Hey, it’s okay
The sun, the moon
I don’t need either one
Are you smiling beside me?

For this love
To this love
By this love
Like making an offering, a life that should have lasted eternally
Throws off chains that ought to be destroyed
Two of us shall come together as one
Innocent lovers

Only you
I want to always be smiling at your side
With a transparent blue heart

Time flows, cities are covered in sand
And nobody was left there anymore
In the innermost depths of a forgotten forest
Even now we continue dreaming
Innocent lovers

 

Flickering black shadows cast by a bonfire
The colour of lust
A dictator drowns out the war cry and laughs
Burning to death
God, why is it that people quarrel?
Won’t they someday extend their hands?

Nothing’s real BUT LOVE
Who’s the liar? Who’s the liar?
Until the devil is close by
BUT LOVE
Though my body was taken
I clutched your hand so my heart can’t be taken too
Nothing’s real BUT LOVE
Who’s the Bastard? Who’s the Bastard?
The sun won’t speak of it
BUT LOVE
Only love will save the world, only love will destroy the world
We drink down the Cantarella(*1)

Lovers flee, creeping madness enshrouds a city
They took refuge as their homes burned
Pitiful lambs cry
In the attic
God, why is it that people are different?
Are they torn apart by skin colour?

Nothing’s real BUT LOVE
Who’s the liar? Who’s the liar?
I see a nightmare now
BUT LOVE
Though my body is burning up
Seal it with one more kiss so our hearts will someday be joined(*2)
Nothing’s real BUT LOVE
Who’s the Bastard? Who’s the Bastard?
Just like Sodom and Gomorrah(*3)
BUT LOVE
Due to love the world is mad, due to love the word turns
We can hear the Campanella(*4)

Before long, my eyes
Before long, my hands
Everything will burn
And still, you cried
‘Don’t you want to forgive people?’

Nothing’s real BUT LOVE
Who’s the liar? Who’s the liar?
Until the devil is close by
BUT LOVE
Though my body was taken
I clutched your hand so my heart can’t be taken too
Nothing’s real BUT LOVE
Who’s the Bastard? Who’s the Bastard?
The sun won’t speak of it
BUT LOVE
Only love will save the world, only love will destroy the world
We drink down the Cantarella

 

Why is it that people can’t fly? Like this, into the free sky
It seems they’d be cut off from life if their chains were removed
Euphoria, you were there
And I was embraced
I knew nothing else
Alegría, because pain is something I desire
Its existence changes a moment into eternity(*5)

If you, wanting to live eternally, are alive
If not, I want to vanish from the meaningless present at once
Elementa, if we could exchange fleeting words
I needed nothing else
Alchemica, guided by those tears
Existence changes a moment into eternity

forever I fly in the blue sky
forever I will be into your heart
An undying light is being engulfed
Let’s return, beyond the sky, to a world with no sorrow
So we won’t be separated again,
I’ll bind my broken wing to one of yours

If we could have been reborn
I would search for you time after time
Even if we were something inhuman
Surely I would find you
Euphoria, to live is to dream
To die is to wake
Alegría, when I open that door
My new journey will begin

forever I fly in the blue sky
forever I will be into your heart
The dazzling light was torn apart to white
Let’s return, beyond the sky, to a world without strife
So that I’d never again wake from my bad dreams
I loved just one person, you

forever I fly in the blue sky
forever I will be into your heart
An undying light is being engulfed
Let’s return, beyond the sky, to a world with no sorrow
So we won’t be separated again,
I’ll bind my broken wing to one of yours

…fin

~
Notes:

*1 毒薬 (dokuyaku; poison) is the word written, but カンタレラ (Cantarella) is sung.
*2 刻印 (kokuin; carved seal) is the word written, but キス (kiss) is sung.
*3 Sodom and Gomorrah is a Biblical reference, two cities that God burned down.
*4 祝福 (shukufuku; blessing) is the word written, but カンパネラ (Campanella) is sung. I’m not sure about the connection with this one. Campanella can be music, a philosopher? I did find out that there’s a game/manga/anime called Shukufuku no Campanella though.
*5 存在 (sonzai; existence) is the word written, but もの (mono; ‘person’/’thing’) is sung. I went for “existence” in the translation, but another possible translation for this line is “One who changes a moment into eternity”

A – Shiroi akuma~Phantom of the Snow~

White Devil~Phantom of the Snow~

Ordinary words that we exchanged
And even our vows, all vanished

Though I believe, and believe, your shadow grows distant
I heard the sound of a glass heart being smashed

Alone upon the vast silver land, freezing, I stand still
And I dream of you being held by someone who isn’t me

Freeze my love…

A closed-off sky, as though warped
Time that can’t be rewound

It won’t reach, it won’t reach, even God’s kiss
A voice of absolute zero, even if I can’t breathe

That time I knelt in front of utmost sorrow
You tell a lie so I can dream once again

Alone upon the silver land, freezing, I stand still
And I dream of you being held by someone who isn’t me

Erase everything for me already
The past, the future, and the present
All the things I loved about you
I’ll dye it white

Freeze my love…

A – Ship”FRIEND OF MINE”

The hand of an old clock
urges us to embark on our journey
So it’s time for us to go now

No matter how much
the waves of contradiction rise before us
We won’t be afraid

The Truth of society that seems to be taken in
We push our way through with trembling oars
On this ship with provisions of all our hopes
We’ll start moving

Anywhere at all…

We decided to spread our spacious sails
So we can go far, far away
Time is over
Aiming for a warm place that seems to dry tears instantly
With a speed your Goodbye won’t reach
We’ll seize the wind and take off
The Ship “FRIEND OF MINE”

A country that doesn’t know TV
Projects its incessant screams
We’re at our wits’ end

If there are any painful things
Will we believe and not speak of them?
Because we’re watching over someone who can be seen
Let’s try to begin

Anywhere at all…

We resolved to carry our wings
So we can endure the sad storms
Starting over
When you’re used to a heart strong enough to guard your tears
We shall go! To the sky that’s nothing but blue
We can be free someday
The Ship “FRIEND OF MINE”

I promise you

We decided to spread our spacious sails
So we can go far, far away
Time is over
Aiming for a warm place that seems to dry tears instantly

Lalala… We lifted the shapeless anchor and moved forward
Lalala… In search of a nameless sea
We shall go! To a world without strife
We can be one someday
The Ship “FRIEND OF MINE”

The Ship “FRIEND OF MINE”

A – NU WORLD

I shut my ears to the voice of a fallen angel
Who predicts a broken world
The future drawn in the depths of my heart
Can’t be chosen by Tarot or dice

I’ll spread my wings, cut apart the tied-up freedom and escape

Thunder that resounds far away
Light that scorches the vast land
I’ll aim for the storm so I can be stronger from today on
As my heart is guided, GO WAY
If I stop I have no choice but to fall
I’ll walk this nameless road without care
Even if I’m injured I’ll surely struggle to the end of my journey
NU WORLD

The dream of a prophet
Was erased by a whirlpool of incessant desires
Now for sure, I’ve shaken free from
The memory of a spiral that lasts infinitely

I hold up my map without a form that began to change

Piercing the closed-in clouds
The sun melts everything
My tears will be more than the amount of storms from today on
In order for tomorrow to diminish, GO AWAY
Without looking back at the farthest end
I’ll awaken my strength to leap in
When you step forward to show your figure at a distant point
NU WORLD

Thunder that resounds far away
Light that scorches the vast land
I’ll aim for the storm so I can be stronger from today on
As my heart is guided, GO WAY
When I can shine more than anyone
My body will cross the nameless empty sky
Even if I’m injured I’ll surely struggle to the end of my journey
NU WORLD

Fly so high
Across the universe yeah
We get place to shine in brand new world

A – Abyss

Shall we go to the dark ocean floor?
A paradise that nobody knows yet

Shall we go to the deep ocean floor?
Already worn down by running away

If you are here
Nothing is scary

To inside the darkness where light doesn’t shine
While tangled together, we sink
Being embraced by our motherly world
Deepest Love
Deepest Love
Eternity will soon be there

Angels who overflowed from the earth’s surface
Where should they go?

Quarreling people
Don’t want to see anything

I’m just too weak, too gentle
To survive upon the crazy earth
Though even if the world were destroyed
Deepest Love
Deepest Love
I won’t arrive here

To inside the darkness where light doesn’t shine
While tangled together, we sink
Unawares, time loses its meaning
My hand…
Your hand…
To one…

To inside the colours of everything that is born
While melting together, we sink
Laughing together in our motherly world
Deepest Love
Deepest Love
Eternity will soon be there

A – Rhapsody in Black

Rhapsody in Black

When I close my eyes I can see only you
This magnificence, a world of blindness
Memories that won’t fade, like a pretty dream
Though I wished to secure them with the hands of eternity

An illusion of you, breaking
Fate closes in
My field of vision goes to darkness
Break my heart

To measure the amount I was loved, it’ll fade away
And it seems I’ll lose my important person again
Utmost sorrow gives a resounding death cry
Rhapsody in Black

We can’t separate, we won’t separate, I need nobody but you
The rose-coloured future we thus vowed to each other
Forgive me. I can’t forgive you. Liar. It’s not a lie.
We’re out of sync somewhere, a puzzle that needs no handwork anymore

Your voice, getting hoarse
Polluted with emptiness
Your field of vision makes a sound
Break my heart

A crumbling ark tears our hands apart
And it seems I’ll lose my important person again
Though I search and search, screaming for help I can’t find
Rhapsody in Black

Swinging my arms free
Why were you laughing?
My field of vision is burning out
Feel the dark

I have loved, now I can love nothing but loneliness
I want to secretly throw everything away and disappear
While I knew this was my last moment, I listened when bodies piled up
Rhapsody in Black

A – Haiiro no tenshi

Grey Angels

Grey angels don’t know where to return to
The world cries and laughs in the space between sky and asphalt

As much as all the people are living
There’s something they do not have
Even a staircase going up to the sky
They don’t realize

Searching for fragments of lost wings
And chasing someone’s back even today
I can’t carry it all alone
For the sake of sharing the grief
I float in a blank city

Though I think it’s so painful to fall in love and hurt someone
Why can’t we become one?
An incomplete body

The words that escape from my lips
Though it’s fine to just exchange them
I want to, so much I’ll break
At any time

Quarrels, wounds, screams, breaking
And yet I still keep believing
I’m patched together but I weave words
And played them to the sky I can’t return to
Seven billion distorted melodies

We who are neither black nor white
Can be struck by strength, weakness, or anything, and still laugh
Grey angels

Searching for fragments of lost wings
And chasing someone’s back even today
I can’t carry it all alone
For the sake of sharing the grief
I float in a blank city

A heart and a heart smashed together will make a sound
It plays like creaking, a beautifully distorted melody

A – Night of the Knights

I couldn’t protect you, because I was weak myself
Nobody will disappear again
Souls of the dead, burdened with sin and retribution
Before they carry away your heart

No one kills my soul
Without sword of your heart
Love will find where love is
God only knows

A night when despair rules over the darkness
I vow to become stronger than anyone
Too late? or not too late?
For instance it doesn’t matter if I sacrifice all my life
For the sake of just one thing I believe in
To be, or not to be
Therefore, KISS
Though my body may break
If you are the only one smiling in the world

People who kept praying without knowing even shame
They’ll be left behind in this world

No one kills my soul
Without sword of your heart
Love will find where love is
God only knows

The passing days are the blink of God
A future projected onto the water’s surface
Too late? or not too late?
It’s okay to make enemies with the world
For the sake of the one thing I believe in with all my might
To be, or not to be
Therefore, KISS
Even time will end someday
Because I’m living within your heart

As much as I look up at the sky of my cold prison
The walls are towering far above

A night when despair rules over the darkness
I vow to become stronger than anyone
Too late? or not too late?
For instance it doesn’t matter if I sacrifice all my life
For the sake of just one thing I believe in
To be, or not to be
Therefore, KISS
Though my body may break
If you are the only one smiling in the world

Gara & Mao Interview

2007 Fool’s Mate N.303; Gara (Merry) & Mao (SID) Interview

A Dream Encounter

Monopolizing the dialogue! Two great new-generation vocalists finally make first contact!!
While being encouraged by their predecessors, and establishing their own originality for themselves, here’s Merry and SID, representatives of a new generation of earnestly creating high quality musical compositions.
Will they open up about their striding stances and the support they got as kids with musicianship that differs from the simple approach to the scene?
A first talk session commemorating statements from these two like “Unrelated to genre”, and “It doesn’t matter how we’re seen by people around us.” Of course this is a music conversation where they show true character, down to their tastes in fashion and food, in a 90-minute match.
A special talk that you can only read in Fool’s Mate!

―First of all, please tell us about how you two first came to know about each other’s existence.
Mao: Before SID began, I was listening to various albums and Merry was amongst them. I was thinking, “Ahhh, this is cool!” when it was on a free distribution album at a shop.
Gara: How I knew about SID was because Tatsurou (MUCC) invited me as usual, “There’s a really cool band, let’s go together.” That was certainly a little before SID’s oneman at Quattro… afterward, I listened to the CD “Renai” for the first time.

―And when you actually got to know each other?
Mao: When we were both performing bands at Beauti-Fool’s Fest 04 live.
Gara: At that time we just exchanged greetings.

―What kind of first impressions did you have?
Gara: Looking at things like the lyrics, I was thinking about how it seemed like I was meeting the same vocalist, but I was acquainted with the bassist, Aki-kun, before that. At that time I had a bright impression of Aki-kun, thinking “Is everyone in SID like this?” But I was wrong. (laughs)When I actually saw them live, I knew they were a band with a strong atmosphere. Because up until then we hadn’t chatted much.
Mao: I couldn’t speak at all when we first met.

―What was your impression when you met Gara?
Mao: I kinda felt like “Waah! It’s Merry! The real thing!” (laughs) When I was searching for and listening to various bands’ albums I thought “ohhh!” so I was a little nervous.

―Mao-kun you said “I like Merry” before, didn’t you?
Mao: I’ve said it quite a while ago.
Gara: Thank you very much. (bashful)
Mao: One way or another I’d say it in Fool’s Mate too. (laughs)
Gara: Ahh, I see! (laughs)

―One way or another you finally did. (laughs) This time for a dialogue with the vocalists of two unconventional bands within the scene, I think I’ll ask questions from various angles. First of all please tell us about why you chose to be vocalists.
Mao: I’ve gone to karaoke with my friends, and being told “You sing really well” made me feel good, so I decided to be a vocalist.

―Were there any vocalists you admired?
Mao: There were. Such as Kiyoharu-san, but, it was my chance to be attracted to the vocals of that person.
Gara: That’s something we have in common. When I thought that I also want to be in a band, it was of course vocalists that I saw. How long has it been since you’ve liked Kiyoharu-san?
Mao: Around “Ice My Life”.
Gara: Ah, me too!
Mao: Watching the PV, I thought, “Ah, no way!” After that I bought the CD.
Gara: The CD is wonderful isn’t it?
Mao: Pretty much.
Gara: Another album I like is “Feminism”, so I started to delve in from there. I thought that was a person I want to meet if I’m ever in a band.
Mao: Ahh, I understand.
Gara: And then if I say “I like Kiyoharu-san” in Fool’s Mate it’s probably okay. (laughs)
Mao: Ahh (laughs)
Gara: And I was a roadie for other bands while I was in a band, that’s how I got on the path.

―Mao-kun, do you have experience being a roadie also?
Mao: I did.
Gara: In our time, experience as a roadie was the way you start a band.
Mao: Yeah, it was good to be a roadie.
Gara: I don’t think the younger people do the roadie thing anymore. For Merry, we came to understand from looking at the existence of our senior bands, “Ahh, being in a band is like this.” But we had to make the best of it.
Mao: It was like that for me too. It was absolutely during my roadie experience that I got the know-how, wasn’t it? But I think it’s done differently than that now.
Gara: In the past there were a huge amount of things to experience from not being in an office.

―You didn’t hate being told by your senior band?
Mao: Since I liked that band. But if I wasn’t interested or it was a band I didn’t like, I’d be thinking, “What are you saying?!” Since I felt like following in that person’s footsteps I wouldn’t hate him no matter what was said to me, even if it hurt. I was happy even to be asked things like “Go buy my cigarettes.” (laughs)
Gara: I memorized a lot of things as they became familiar to me. Like “Ahh this is how to do makeup” so I was diligent about learning those things from the beginning. I think having that helped me with my own vocals and style. And things like the mindset as a vocalist… I learned various things.

―How about the themes in your lyrics?
Mao: I’m the type to seclude myself in my room with things like books and movies, I’m not influenced by those as much as I write from my own memories though.
Gara: But just from reading your lyrics, Mao-kun, you must be able to see scenery?
Mao: Yeah. But there’s places I haven’t been to… they’re fantasies.
Gara: You write from real personal experiences?
Mao: Not much… I guess. But lately those kinds of lyrics are increasing. How about you, Gara-san?
Gara: Lately I’m writing lyrics from real personal experiences too. I’ve often considered how to play around with lyrics. Even when Merry first started, I thought it’d be no good to be the same as other people, even people more skilled and more cool than myself. Therefore I was writing with the thought that anything goes. Even at lives there’ve been times when I sing without lyrics.
Mao: Is that so?
Gara: Has SID had songs like that before?
Mao: We have. I’ve heard and wrote things like that many times but since I’ve sung songs that others have wrote before, it wasn’t like I’m extremely picky about the lyrics. But when SID started, there was a wonderful reaction to the words I wrote myself… I’m weak to praise (laughs)
Gara: I’m also the type to grow with praise! (laughs)
Mao: (laughs) So, when we’ve been told things like, “I like Mao-san’s lyrics” I’m thinking, “No way, me, a poet?” (laughs) After that I plunged into it and came to love writing lyrics.
Gara: Do you usually accumulate writings you haven’t published?
Mao: Well lately I made a box for “lyrics I won’t use for the band”…
Gara: Will you someday publish it as a poetry anthology?
Mao: No, no, you don’t understand. (laughs)
Gara: Mao-kun I want to know what kind of music you listen to, but I don’t know whether it’s something you can even read in a magazine interview.
Mao: Nothing in particular. (laughs)
Gara: In any articles I read you’ll write “My hobby is sleeping.” (laughs)
Mao: It’s really sleeping. (laughs) But lately I also go shopping a little. So… I’m thinking lately I want to try fishing too.
Gara: Fishing?
Mao: Thinking about genuinely fishing, I’ve found it’s something I want to try to do. My juniors are guys who really like fishing, and when they talk about fishing, it seems really fun. So, up until now if I’ve heard a fun conversation about games I’d think “That sounds kinda boring” but just listening to their conversations about fishing seems really fun. (laughs) So I want to try it too.
Gara: Our drummer also likes fishing, and he likes to go during breaks in recording, but fishing bait is smelly isn’t it?
Mao: The meal stuff?
Gara: Yeah, yeah. He leaves that stuff in the office and it stinks. (laughs)
Mao: Ahahaha (laughs) For now I’m just going to go along and buy the gear, but it’ll be sooo fun.
Gara: It’s good if you catch something, but what will you do while waiting?
Mao: Something different. I’ll put on a vest.
Gara: (laughs) I see, I see.
Mao: I think if I do that everything will be perfectly in order.
Gara: Will you go about it the way you heard from those people?
Mao: I’ll do it when I do it. I played games for a while but it was no good to continue with it. I’d get really into it for a moment and 10 hours would pass. My eyes would hurt and I’d have to stop, soon they’d be burning but then cool down.
Gara: Our 2 guitarists like games, and I don’t like them much, but sometimes I win at Pachinko during tours and I’ve thought to buy PSP for them before. (laughs) Do you gamble at all?
Mao: I play slots. A little while ago I was addicted to it with our drummer but lately I seem to go occasionally to relax. Do you gamble?
Gara: I really like Pachinko, it’s my dream to put out my own machine.
Everyone: (laughs)
Mao: Would it be Merry’s machine?
Gara: No, my machine. (laughs)

―Like a CR Misora Hibari?
Gara: That’s right! I’ve decided I want for myself a character Pachinko machine with reach action. Now I just have to wait for offers to come.
Mao: Gara-san, will you put one out?
Gara: Yeah. When I talk to the LCD screen, reach mode with the 100% bonus flag comes up and it’s a sure win.
Everyone: (explosive laughter)

―That’s quite a premium reach.
Gara: Since I have no hobbies aside from that. And I can’t touch fish. I’m a sushi shop son but I can’t eat raw fish at all.
Mao: Ahahaha (laughs) Well that’s no good! You can’t even eat sushi?
Gara: I can’t eat it. Moreover, there’s a meat shop next to my parents’ house and I also can’t eat meat.
Mao: Well what do you even eat?
Gara: Nothing but ramen. There are lots of types of noodles, but when I get tired of the flavour of convenience store spaghetti I can only eat half of it. This conversation is springing around, but, I usually drink sake. Are there any Western-style brands of clothing you like?
Mao: Things like Comme des Garcons.
Gara: But you’re an adult… (wry smile)

―But it’s expensive. (laughs)
Mao: It’s expensive isn’t it?
Gara: I like second-hand stores in Koenji, and I often go to flea markets.
Mao: I also like old clothes.
Gara: I like old clothes, but I’m a clean freak…
Mao: Seriously? (laughs)
Gara: But if it’s coats, sneakers, or hoodies, it’s okay…
Mao: T-shirts are no good?
Gara: T-shirts are no good, and in the past jeans were also no good. I’d think “Has someone worn this?” and get itchy.
Mao: But you wash the jeans?
Gara: That’s right!
Mao: And yet it’s automatically no good. (laughs)
Gara: When I buy jeans, I’ll wear it if it smells like my own house. If it smells like someone else’s house, I absolutely won’t wear it.
Mao: Isn’t food at other houses tasty?
Gara: I’m not good with things like that… don’t you have likes and dislikes, Mao-kun?
Mao: Of course I do. I don’t eat things that adults eat. Things like wasabi, mustard, ginger… things that make my nose reel are no good.
Gara: Well, don’t you eat stimulating things?
Mao: Just curry and 7-spices.
Gara: What about Chinese food?
Mao: I’ll eat it if it’s not extremely spicy.
Gara: You might be the opposite of me there. Spicy curry is no good, and I have a lot of likes and dislikes but I really like things like wasabi and ginger.
Mao: Eh, you’re a strange person who can’t eat sashimi but you like wasabi.
Gara: No, pure wasabi is tasty.

―I can’t really imagine something that both of you can eat. That would be something mysterious wouldn’t it?
Mao: Lately I like going to family restaurants by myself. So, I’ll order 2 side dishes. When I look at the menu there are always 2 things I want to eat so I’ll eat both myself.
Gara: What’s your favourite family restaurant…?
Mao: I like Denny’s.
Gara: It’s Royal Host for me. (laughs) But when I decide on something to eat, it’s always pork fried with ginger or Parco noodles.
Mao: Ahaha! (laughs) There are things like steak too you know.
Gara: I can’t eat anything but lean meat. Things like fried chicken, if there’s even a little bit of blood I can’t eat it. What do you eat, Mao-kun?
Mao: I’ll start with Hamburg steak. In the past I had a part-time job at Royal Host. I was always thinking like, “That’s expensive!” (laughs)
Gara: Right. (laughs) Turning the conversation back to music, but I think SID is a band for which having a good melody is important. When I listen I think your musical compositions make the best use of putting the melody first, and you’re also diligent about your concept.I just listen to music in the beginning, and the second time I look at the lyrics. Since the scenery appears when I listen while following along with the lyrics, I’m wondering things like how the lyrics are written? That’s on my mind no matter what kind of music I listen to, but SID’s songs are broad aren’t they?
Mao: That’s right. From the time SID started, we didn’t limit ourselves in terms of melodies. We didn’t think things like “We’ll stop using this song” or “They won’t get this song.” Even though the band image is related to our visuals, everyone’s interests are scattered with regards to music, so no matter what kind of song we bring up we’ll be starting from a point. Originally there were genres I disliked without having tried it, but after a certain member made songs like that, it seemed like “This is kinda cool?” so there was a wonderful balance.
Gara: I can’t put it into words but the song’s atmosphere and the imagery of the song are probably consolidated amongst the members, right? That’s a great thing. Even though there are bands with surprising appearances now, I think there are a lot of bands whose sound is a little hard to understand. We might also be included in that classification, but I strongly feel that we diligently want to make music.
Mao: There are times you won’t understand that when you’re in a band. We have times like that too. A band is what makes music, but the relative importance of that is strange, I think. And then I should say it’s like whiplash all at once. Otherwise I think it’s like something delicious floating before our eyes because we’re human. But it’s not what way now. What kind of music do you usually listen to, Gara-san?
Gara: Just things like folk songs, and popular music. I don’t listen to foreign artists because I can’t understand what they’re saying. In the past I listened to foreign artists too, but even though the songs were cool, when I looked at the printed lyrics and thought “This is what he’s singing” I felt a gap. After that I don’t listen as much. Lately I’m thinking, I like punk of course. A single song that seems to be divided into 2 parts, and has a catchy tune besides. I like Japanese punk a lot.
Mao: Me too, I’m the same way. I don’t understand foreign artists, and I always listened to punk from middle school to high school.

―What are you fussy about when it comes to live performaces? I think your 2 bands have both extremes. Gara-kun doesn’t do MCs and performs as though he’s gone mad, and conversely Mao-kun does friendly MCs and carries himself like an intellectual.
Mao: When we performed at livehouses, I wanted to seem like a cool band to the guests way in the back, and in the past there were people who went pretty wild. But SID since SID’s style is good on both sides (Shinji & Aki) I can go wild with them like it’s a celebration. Now we’re a band with a “Stand up and sing” attitude, so there’s a part that can’t destroy that, a part that wants the limits of humanity, and I’ve gotten to feel really strongly about it.

―You make them listen more than you show them?
Mao: I think what I show is facial expressions, of course. And I think I convey something even when the people way at the back can’t really see my facial expression. Of course if my actions are big they should be big, so I do what I can, but expressions are important.
Gara: From the time Merry started, the atmosphere of the band was the most important for me. I think visuals were huge for us. I feel that we fussed over our appearance having a bigger impact than our music, and although we put out CDs, in the beginning the attitude was that lives and CDs were different, so I strongly thought ‘If they listen to the CDs will they go to lives?’ But, when I suddenly thought, ‘Well, what are we trying to convey?’ it was ‘Music of course.’ I went to see various lives, and what I would place higher was definitely the songs. After I noticed I wouldn’t be conveying it if I didn’t sing diligently, I thought more about how to bring it out. It honestly made me delighted to hear things like “That song was really good” from the people who listened. Now it’s not just atmosphere we fuss over, but things like the set and the illumination, too. I think there are things people wouldn’t notice at a live but they’ll notice on the DVD like “Ahh, that happened at this point.”

―And about the MCs?
Mao: MCs are scary.
Gara: I don’t know because I haven’t done any since starting in Merry. But in my former bands I’d talk and defeat.
Everyone: (laughs)
Gara: In Merry’s case, we solidified our concept with a bang and we wanted to test whether our songs would win or lose at lives while being an indies band? So we didn’t do MCs because of that. But… our drummer said that Merry’s lives are like explosions all night long. (wry smile) After that the drummer picked up doing the MCs instead of me, and it seemed like we could communicate with the guests. Anyway, I wanted to omit the excessive bits… Since our music is retro my idea was to have simple penmanship comments written atop a school desk.
Mao: How were the reactions to that kind of penmanship MC?
Gara: Lately the fans in the front are speaking up and reading to convey it to the fans in the back who can’t see well.
Mao: Hey~ That’s new, isn’t it? I thought nobody did that anymore? I want to take that idea from now on.
Gara: But, since I don’t talk there were a lot of misunderstandings. Things like “I’m in a good mood today” and “I’m in a bad mood today,” I think about how I’d express things like that. So to overrule that, I’m doing my best to express myself at lives. Besides, I can see that MCs bring the live to a climax and can deeply move them, and I long for that, but I don’t think I’m good at talking, myself…
Mao: So in a word, you’re changing the atmosphere, Gara-san. Although the flow of the live is good, in your case you might break it. The MCs I want to do are MCs that make a good flow have an even better flow, but afterward I get tired and don’t want to do it, so there’s a filler track. When I went to see bands I like I’m happy to hear those vocalists sing, but when they talk I have real feelings like, “Ahh, he’s genuine!”
Gara: Those are parts you can’t hear on the CD right?
Mao: But I want to get close to that too, so I generally do MCs.
Gara: Do you think about what to say beforehand?
Mao: It’s no good for me to think about it too much. In the past I used cue cards stiffly, and I would do it by reading from them. But now I don’t even write it down. I go with the rhythm of the situation. Therefore when I practice when there are no guests I don’t do MCs. I relate it to the guests.
Gara: I had a feeling the MCs were like that when I saw SID’s live before. There’s call and response with the guests. It’s not just limited to MCs, but since a live is a natural situation, I really think it’s scary.
Mao: It’s scary isn’t it?
Gara: For guests who have only been to the live one time, I don’t like for their image of us to turn negative. So even though I think we’re not really a band like that, in those situations it’s make it or break it.
Mao: That’s true.
Gara: What’s something you always do before a live performance?
Mao: I spend a little time alone. It can be just a moment, but it’s like my ritual. (laughs) What do you do?
Gara: Since our most recent tour, being backstage before the performance is like making my own world without anyone else, and I just do things like have a drink as a mild vocalist. It’s no good if I’m thinking things like “I’m a man born under the highest star!” before going on stage.
Mao: In the span of an hour before our stage opens, I often listen to the sound of people chattering in the venue and get nervous.

―But when you’re on stage, Mao-kun, you don’t show that you have that feeling of mental strain.
Mao: But it’s not really mental strain so I don’t call it mental strain. But now when I stand on a big stage for the first time I’m really stiff. (laughs) I don’t even keep cigarettes in my pocket and I’ll be stylishly reaching into my pockets on stage as if a cigarette will come flying out into my hand. (laughs)
Gara: Hahaha! A long time ago, I had so much mental strain that I threw up. (laughs)
Mao: While performing?
Gara: Yeah, I was running across the stage and I felt free at that time. Partway through the last song I was thinking ‘Something’s wrong’ and I went backstage by myself, and I could see on the monitor that everyone is wondering how I was.
Mao: Ahahaha! (explosive laughter)
Gara: I drank some ink, so I really didn’t feel good.
Mao: Ink, that sounds good. I want to try that too. (laughs)
Gara: No, it’s gross. Because it smells like a cleaning cloth from primary school.
Mao: Eh, that’s harsh… but, the impact is that it’s ink.

―Well, for the end, is there anything you’re currently dissatisfied with about you’re seen?
Mao: No matter how I’m seen, it’s okay if it’s “like” or “dislike”. But not for “How do you feel about listening to SID?”, then either “I love SID” or “I hate SID” are fine. I think there are only a few people who know us to that extent. Therefore when it comes to how we’re seen, I’m happy if we’re remembered as a band. “Visual Kei is like this, so the contents are like that” isn’t something worth worrying about, so if someone likes or dislikes us based on only our visuals, that’s fine. I think people who judge ‘dislike’ or ‘like’ based on a photograph have strong feelings, and I think there are bands that like that a lot. I think there’s zero possibility that SID will become like that. But, the people who think, “Either is fine” will always think like that, so it’s surely because of that that I want to make something that can be seen as distinct.

Gara: From the time we started to use the band name “Merry” we had self-confidence no matter what, so it makes no difference that we’re called “Visual Kei”. Recently I’ve been told about various overseas things like “Ska/Punk Rock heroes” and “Metal” but I don’t fuss over genres. There are people who’ll dislike us based on only appearance, and if they listen to our music someday, there’ll be an instant where they think, “Who’s this?” “That’s Merry!” “Eh?” so that’s our victory. We don’t stick to genre, so it’s not that we’re called that by someone. Our stance is to portray ourselves as though we know that we’re cool. Therefore, even though there are pros and cons of mixing various genres, isn’t that part of who we are? I just think about that.

―I see. I hope for continued activity from you both, as new generation bands with your own firm stances on musicianship.
Gara: No matter what we say, what we’ll do is make music.
Mao: Yeah.

―I think you’ll want to be good role models for your junior bands.
Gara: That’d be nice, right?
Mao: When there are people who keep saying “I want to be Mao” that’s scary. (laughs)

―You’re over-blessed as musicians!
Gara: I get encouraged from that, I feel like “I can keep it up more!”
Mao: We’ll have good relationships with each other.

―As the party draws to an end, isn’t there anything you want to ask?
Mao: Um… your phone number…
Gara: Absolutely. (laughs) But, can I give it to you when we go?
Mao: Of course! (laughs)