Read Part 1 here
Second installment for this team interview. Technical terms getting more and more obscure as they level-up! Special thanks to chowcheesepie my music techie student for helping me out with all the technicalities andlady_sb again for proofreading (^-^)/
-- When listening to the GazettE’s first mini album “COCKAYNE SOUP”, it was already making use of the characteristics of the 2 different guitars.
A: But, in “Haru ni chirikeri, mi wa kareru de gozaimasu”, Uruha’s guitar approach was used.
A: Not just in “Haru ni chirikeri, mi wa kareru de gozaimasu”, during that time it was still the period when I was relying on Uruha (laughs)
-- Is that so? If that’s the case, it can be said that it was due to Uruha’s approach during the beginning period, that the GazettE’s twin guitar style’s basic was formed.
A: During that period, the impact from Uruha on me, as expected, was big. Moreover, because during that time I did not contribute any compositions at all. The starting days of the GazettE, with Ruki and Uruha as the composers, we became such a band. In terms of music, the two of them took responsibility.
-- After becoming like this, in the earlier compositions, if it happens that you gave a composition where it can be seen that one’s personal style is focused on…?
U: What will happen hmm? At that time, because we were all about how well it would sell there wasn’t really anything like “this is style!” said. Each time we put out a piece of work, every time it was a 180-degree change. As expected we were kind of in a maze weren’t we (laugh). Therefore even coming up with one song was difficult huh.
A: In the beginning it was like that. I never said anything like “this song!!” either. The time when I started to show my own colour* was around the time during MADARA (5th mini-album)?
*T/N: as in style, type… kind of expression.
U: But during lives, Aoi started to show his own expressions from the beginning, right? Because you were carrying your own character. You sometimes did those shouts too right?
A: Yep. Speaking of that, it’s because I didn’t really play the guitar during the lives in the beginning (laugh)
U: Eh, is that so?!
A: Yeah. Not playing my phrases, and just beating (the string) on the guitar to ring out notes like “Jaan!*” Then Uruha got angry at me didn’t you (laugh). He went, “Why didn’t you play your guitar? During this part if you didn’t play your guitar it’ll be really inept!” (laugh) I said, “SORRY. I’ll play I’ll play! From the next time onwards I’ll play!” or something like that (laugh). Don’t you remember?
U: I don’t remember (laugh). But, after getting scolded by me you came to play properly?
A: To have made Uruha angry, I thought, “that’s certainly true isn’t it (that I didn’t play)” and from then onwards I started to play (laugh).
*T/N: Original Japanese phrase is 白玉を鳴らす --白玉 as a technical term to mean “musical notes”. If my translation wasn’t clear, it is when they just hit the guitar and let the notes run, happens especially often after a song during lives.
-- Such times were present too huh (laugh). From the view of the band, with your second album “Akuyuukai” did you have the impression that the basis (of your sound) was finally, properly, established?
A: From then onwards we started to make use of heavy unison riffs. Certainly, from then onwards we also started to include down tuning, right, if I remember correctly?
U: Yup. Although it was out of a sudden (laugh). “Ray” in the beginning was made with regular tuning but, we wanted to make it heavy whenever possible, and we started to talk about things like, “down tuning will be better huh…” and just right before the recording we quickly dropped the tuning by 1 step (laugh).
-- So, the concept wasn’t due to creating songs by making use of down tuning, but more the result of wanting to make the sound heavy?
A: Yeah. Not because of “having style (of our own)”, but wanting to make our sound that way.
-- You can say it was a simplistic idea huh.
U: Too simplistic, that we were instead like idiots (laugh)
U: But, I think “Ray” would be better if we didn't drop the tuning. Because the peak point of Ruki’s vocal range was lacking, as the members all know the regular tuning version (for compairson). With that (regular tuning) Ruki's voice would come out smoothly. I think it became a plus point, however, that with this matter we also understood it doesn’t mean that everything and anything if it’s low is good.
A: Although there wasn’t any objection to adopt down tuning, during live we were troubled. Because during that time, we didn’t really carry our own guitars. What did we do during that time?
U: I don’t remember (laugh). But, if we played “Ray” during lives, it did become 2 guitars didn’t it. With that, when we drop tune by 1 step, we played only songs that were in that tuning?
A: Aah, it was shabby huh (laugh)
U: During that time, our lives were mostly not that long, most probably we were able to cope because of it (laugh). Also, when we did the recording for “Akuyuukai” we got to know of the fun with regards to the curveball effect*. “Wife” started out having a live-ish kind of feeling, but we quickly substituted it with the recording type of sound. To think about filling in song by song was also fun. How about doing it this way - moving from “Ray” to where “Wife” is, as if we kept it on loop going through them over and over, we had a conversation like this. From there, we got hit (inspired) and snapped out and kind of fixed “Wife” up. We did it with that kind of pace during that stage.
*T/N: basically means the element of surprise, through sudden differences in the tempo/motion. In Japanese it’s変化球を混ぜる – to literally match the English idiom expression of “to throw a curveball” E.g. Sugizo’s VOICE from 2:38… note this effect at around 2:54.
-- In the early days of the GazettE you guys made a variety of songs, how did you perceive this matter to be?
A: I wonder? For me, although I was just following, I gave my all. Anyway, because almost everything was new to me, the sense of trying a variety of music was not there or something. That’s how it felt like.
U: While in terms of the melody it was comparatively wide (in variety), if you’re talking about the guitars, it wasn’t as wide to be able to say we did a variety of things. To say we tried a variety of things, definitely it would be more of what we are doing at present. In the old days, for example, even if we did a distortion, by then because we still didn’t have the knowledge, we couldn’t cope with doing it nicely from time to time. While on our side we did it with different types of feel, from the view of the audience apparently there wasn’t such a difference.
-- However, because there weren’t any such mushy distortions done in the songs during the beginning, I got the impression that with each song respectively one is able to sense the gain from the union of the guitars.
A: Although Uruha from that time onwards subconsciously was doing it carefully, at any rate I didn’t have equipment that was able to be used for recording. Because of this when I listen to it (the earlier songs) now, I think it’s a little strained.
U: Although we conscientiously chose tones to match our songs, in terms of coherence the guitar’s sound was kinda thin, such things were present huh.
A: Yeah (bitter laugh)
U: During then, we realized this. I thought, “why, is it we can only hear this “shaa shaa” sound?” But, we didn’t know how to improve on this. We were at the “If we up the bass on our amp will it (the sound) turn deeper?” kind of level (laugh).
-- In terms of both creating the guitar’s sound as well as the building up of the recording, you started to realise one’s self. During the early days, in what manner did you decide on the matter of guitar solos?
U: During that time, because Aoi didn’t really say he wanted to play solos. Thus the conclusion was that generally I was the one who was going to play the solos.
A: In the beginning I didn’t think of wanting to play solos, although I didn’t really know what the reason behind this was. Until then, because the bands I played in all had a different type of musical sound. Moreover, what kind of solo should I play would be ok, I didn’t really know. But, it was a natural feeling. Not that it was because I thought over it and decided not to play guitar solos. It was more of like, “even if I don’t play solo’s it’s okay right?” kind of feeling.
-- With this, things gradually changed. While playing in the GazettE, from the position of being the guitarist, was there any setback you had to challenge?
U: There was. In terms of type*, because I’m usually the type to do it over and over again. Even now I’m still as such (laugh). Well, there were such periods as well. “I’m starting to see the limits of being a guitarist huh~” kinda thoughts, these were often present. Thinking “why is it that I can’t play this” or something, I sometimes felt overwhelmed.
*T/N: he means the manner of handling obstacles
-- But with each time you got over it.
U: Yeah. However, if there was something I could overcome, there must be something else that will be difficult for me to overcome. There were also times where challenges were difficult. In this light, fear was common. Although it’s good if it can be overcome, when you can’t get over it, the damage was huge too. That will most probably continue like this forever. Although whether to not have this (fear) is good, or having it is good, I don’t know. I do think that when you have tasted this frustration, it’s the evidence that you’ve been provoked by the music and the guitar. However, I also think that during times when you have such (frustration), you are also not mature.
to be continued...Part 03