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「１０月１日に " Jade " 配信」と書かれていますが…。
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● X JAPAN invades America
After so many years of just focusing on your native
It was always our dream to come here, it wasn’t like one day we just decided to come here, we’ve always been thinking about this. We lived in
A long time ago, people from Sony came to us – at that time we were just called ‘X’ – they wanted to have us debut in the
Being in such a huge band in Japan, is there an element that you can appreciate about revisiting breaking into a new market, or playing to fans that are unfamiliar with your music?
It’s a challenge, but we feel really luck to be doing this all over again – it’s not exactly the same as when we first started in Japan, but it is kind of like doing it all over again. We love breaking into a new market, it’s so exciting. It’s kind of like … it’s not so easy to maintain who you are, then where you are, in Japan, you always have to keep moving forward. Now we have America, Europe, Southeast Asia to break into – we are so lucky to have this kind of opportunity and we will enjoy every single moment, every single success or happiness or failure – everything we will enjoy.
When we first started in Japan, people asked “who are they, what are they?” So, we say, “we are musicians, I play drums, I play piano,” – what are you talking about, you play drums and piano, what do you mean? So, it’s the same thing again here in America. Of course now in Japan, you say ‘Yoshiki’ or “X Japan,” and even if you’re 18 or 80, people say, ‘oh, yes, I know who they are, I saw you play for the Emperor of Japan, or whatever. But, a long time ago when we were first starting, people had no idea who we were, so we are doing the same thing again.
Had you guys written a lot in English before, or was this mostly for an American push?
Personally, I have been writing a lot of songs in English the past 7 or 8 years, so it comes naturally. I dream in English, when I had anesthesia [for neck surgery] I was talking in English, when I talk in my sleep, I talk in English, so it’s natural for me now.
30,000.000 albums sold, and being able to regularly sell-out your local 55,000 capacity venue. What is there left to prove or accomplish? What is your biggest driving force now?
You can’t measure your happiness or your satisfaction by numbers, so 50,000 audience or 10,000 or even 100,000, either you’re happy or you’re unhappy. We’re very happy with our success in Japan, but we want to go outside. Our driving force is to try and break down the boundary with our music. There is still an invisible boundary, an invisible wall between East and West, so I would like to break down that wall.
What have you noticed about playing in the States that’s different from Japan? I know set times are usually shorter here. Are you guys having to modify your usual set, and stage show for a US tour?
Well, we are headlining this U.S. tour, but as we are not doing a huge, stadium show – yet – we have a limited time to perform. But it’s going to be a little harder, the set, than the Japanese version I guess. Our U.S. show will be more about back to basics, more music driven, not a lighting or production driven concert.
X Japan took a break(-up) in ’97. What changed in the years between then and when you guys decided to regroup? Was X Japan missed by you a lot?
Yes, yes, we just took everything for granted, we didn’t know how…I realized after this reunion just how good our vocalist, Toshi, sounds. We grew up together, we were always together, so I just took him for granted, not only Toshi, but all of the members of X Japan. I missed X Japan a lot, but during those almost ten years, I didn’t want to say the name of the band. Also, we lost Hide [X Japan's guitarist who died in 1998] after the band broke up, so I couldn’t even want to think about the X Japan, every time I thought about X Japan, it made me so sad. So, I buried X Japan six feet into the ground, even deeper than that, I put the thought of X Japan into the grave, and tried not to even visit that cemetery. But, for some reason, my mind always stayed in that cemetery, and finally, we resurrected X Japan from the fucking ground.
I heard there was a studio you wanted to track some drums in, but it was booked, so you bought it. If so, that totally rules. How did this all come about?
I was in Los Angeles and everybody was talking about this studio, that it had the best drum-sounding room and I tried to book it. Metallica had booked this studio for almost a year straight [for their "Black" album], so I asked, ‘how about after Metallica,’ but I was told there was a list of bands already who had already booked the studio. So I asked ‘how can I get in?’ and I was told ‘buy the studio’ and I said, ‘OK, I’ll buy it’ and I bought it.
When does the new album come out? Is there a title yet, and who is releasing it?
The band’s new album will be out in 2011, no title yet, haven’t announced the North American label yet. The first single, “Jade” will be available starting October 1.
You also went back and converted some of your back-catalogue to English as well, correct? How was this process? Were there some parts that just had to be re-structured, lyrically?
Yes, for some reason, I could not just translate Japanese to English. It depended on the songs, but I had to almost rewrite the lyrics entirely, but keep the same message. English have more words than Japanese, for some reason.
What are you most excited to see on your first American tour?
I don’t know…we feel like we are going to into something unknown, something we’ve never experienced. We are just confident that we can nail you, in a good way.
I know you are a classically trained musician as well. Besides drums, what instrument do you find most lends itself to creating the paths you hear for songs, and why?
Ninety percent of the time when I write songs, I don’t use anything, just a pen to write the music notes. I use very old-style methods. I create everything in my head, and just write, that’s what I do. Every single drum I play, it’s written out note for note. Sometimes I’ll use the piano or the guitar, but 90% of the time, I just write, the drums, the guitars, the bass.
Do you structure a lot of your songs this way first, and then just crank up the drive and volume on them?
So, these days, I use the computers as well, so then I come to the studio and start programming everything and do my changes there. Usually, my imagination is a much better place, recording is a process of compromising.
You also recorded a solo album of classical music with Beatles producer George Martin. Were you a big Beatles fan? Were you prodding him for stories for the whole session?
I’m a pretty big Beatles fan, but I tried to concentrate on what we were doing during the recording, so I didn’t ask him anything.
How has the aggressive music scene in Japan changed over the last 20+ years you have been making music?
It’s like a circle, rock’s been gone then coming back. I always feel that good music survives, regardless of genre. Seems like there is less excitement these days. People might be being too realistic, including artists, they should be more ambitious. I run a business as well, but people think too much about business these days. People and labels have become too tame.
So, is X Japan your retirement band, or do you see yourself in a post X Japan life someday? I know you dabble with a vineyard that you own, and have composed several “less rock” pieces, even for members of your own Government. What do you still have to do and see that inspires you?
Everything inspires me every day, every single moment. We are doing this North American tour, we will release our new album, we have plans for next year, but I don’t think about that far ahead, so I don’t know if X Japan will be our last band.
Any final thoughts to the kids of America before you come rock their faces off?
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