us harajuku

Kaoru's candid thoughts on the collaboration with their crucial rival

2017.02.17 Tokyo Sports Web interview, original here

Kaoru (age undisclosed), the leader of the popular visual rock band DIR EN GREY, and Joe Yokomizo (48), a senior writer for Rolling Stone Japan and popular radio DJ, held a talk event yesterday in Tokyo (02/11). With the beginning of the new year we were surprised with big news about ANDROGYNOS, the joint project with their “rival” band PIERROT, but in this interview Kaoru reveals his thoughts [on this project].

- It’s unusual for artists to hold this type of talk events.

Kaoru - Already in the past I felt that if I read an interview or listen to the talk on the radio with the artist I like, I can understand the music they make better. Some things are scary to put into words, but I felt like now is a good timing for a talk event so I tried it.

- Yet there is a chance of destroying the artist’s image through it.

Kaoru - If I did a talk even when I was younger, it probably wouldn’t go well, I thought [things like that] were pain in the butt. I think it was done at a good time. There’s this thing that I’ve been in a band for 20 years, so I have some kind of confidence about [band activities]. Normally, you can know the band better when you know what artists are thinking, if you see their shows your connection becomes deeper. With us standing on the stage being ourselves and having our originality at the concerts, it’s interesting to see how those efforts work in various ways and spread.

- What’s the meaning behind “Tora no ana / Tiger’s Hole”?

Kaoru - When I was a high school student I liked metal music quite a lot, I would lend an album to a classmate saying “this band is great!”, I was spreading things around. Because of that it got to the point when everyone was saying “If he catches you you will become a metal fan. He’s a tiger’s hole of heavy metal!” (laughing). I used that for the title. I was told by the classmate from that time “I didn’t think you will end up like that”.
(tora no ana is used in a meaning of “a place of rigorous training” - means Kaoru acted as a strict trainer in the art of metal knowledge ;))

- There was an announcement about your project ANDROGYNOS and concerts in July at Yokohama Arena, done with PIERROT.

Kaoru - Since everything was already revealed, I don’t have more to add… Well, we’re planning to “go with full power on”. Since we have the advantage of continuously playing as a band, of course there’s a feeling that we shouldn’t loose, but on the other side they (PIERROT, which stopped activities in 2006 and is restarting activities now) have this “power” of fans who were waiting all this time.

- Formerly they were considered your rivals.

Kaoru - We didn’t really have any contact, we were playing at the same venues, so they were a worrying presence. We are a totally different bands, so I’m looking forward what will happen this summer.

- In the past your respective fans gathered at Jingu Bridge and it is said it was an explosive situation.
(the famous bridge in Harajuku that used to be mecca of visual kei)

Kaoru - Yeah, it seems so. I didn’t know about it at the time. Well, from now on I want to go against their expectations in a good way. I don’t want them to say “their songs are okay, but concerts are boring”. I want be be kept being told “I can’t take my eyes away of this band”.

A very upset Yosuke, where is his bro to hug him?

I’m way tired to draw anything super proper tonight