The day before LUNA SEA’s concert in Bochum (Germany) we got the chance to interview their guitarist SUGIZO and talk about music, LUNA SEA and his future plans. Even though the band had a very tight schedule and had just arrived in Germany few hours ago, he took his time to reply to our questions wholeheartedly. We hope you’ll enjoy reading!
Xplosion: This is the first time you’re touring with LUNA SEA outside of Asia. How did you find out you have so many fans overseas in the first place?
SUGIZO: I already knew the Japanese music situation for the past years. The last four or five years, I played in so many countries and I really thought “Wow, so many people are waiting for us!” Music can be beyond any borders, any religion and any race. It’s a beautiful thing. And yes, so I really thought LUNA SEA should play in many countries, because so many fans are waiting for us.
Xplosion: Most of LUNA SEA’s fans here found out about the band through the internet and with the Re:Boot of LUNA SEA, you became more active online. Do you think the Internet helps gapping the bridge between the band and the fans?
SUGIZO: It’s a beautiful thing! Of course, 10 years ago, we didn’t have this possibility. We didn’t have this stuff like MySpace, Facebook, all this stuff you have to keep our relationships. It’s a beautiful thing. Yes, we can be beyond anything by internet, it’s a very good situation. But of course, internet is also very dangerous for us and sometimes it’s very risky. I think, we should know more about our responsibility for each other. Sometimes, the approach of too selfish persons is not good. Of course there are so kind persons, too. Yes, we need more responsibility. We are free. But i think, “free” is “responsibility”. It’s very important for the situation in the internet.
Xplosion: What do you expect the fans to be like in Europe and America? Is there anything you did to prepare yourself for your new audience?
SUGIZO: For me, all countries, races and people are the same. We are human, you know, we are one. My feeling has been like that from very long time ago. Of course, English is very important, but most important are the feelings of the music or touching the hearts. For example, very long time ago, when I played in Osaka again, their feeling was very different from the people in Tokyo. The language is the same, but the intonation is very different. So when we played there, the feeling was very fresh for us. “Oh, all people speak Kansai dialect! This is so interesting!” This feeling is very close to now.
Here, everyone can speak German and English. But in Asia, for example in Taiwan, almost all people can speak only Mandarin. Of course every country has its own culture. And every country has its own different emotion, but we are together. This feeling is so hard to describe. Yes, we are together, but we are different. And the difference is beautiful.
Xplosion: How would you describe your music to people who don’t know LUNA SEA yet?
SUGIZO: I think, our music is very original. It’s very different from all other Japanese rock musicians’. we also get influenced from European and American artists, and before us, many Japanese musicians wanted to sound like European or American musicians. But of us it was different. We wanted to make our own style, our own music. Of course I really love American and European music, but we really wanted to make our own and I think, LUNA SEA’s music is very original.
Every music is our bed and we wanted to plant all musical elements in it, American and European music, Hard Rock, Punk, New Wave, Jazz. We wanted to plant all of them and make new experiments. I think, LUNA SEA’s music is very original, but now this style is Japanese standard music and getting very famous. I want to tell all people who LUNA SEA is.
Xplosion: So what kind of music fans would you like to reach out to overseas?
SUGIZO: I think, LUNA SEA’s music has so many elements. For Punk fans, for Pop fans or Metal fans. I hope all kinds of fans get a very good feeling from our sound. I really hope so.
Xplosion: In a recent interview you said that you plan to do a bigger world tour with LUNA SEA. Are there also plans for oversea activities with LUNA SEA member’s solo projects or bands like X JAPAN or Juno Reactor?
SUGIZO: I hope so, I really want to. Juno Reactor’s boss called Ben told us that maybe in April, Juno Reactor might have a tour in Europe, but i’m not sure. And of course with X JAPAN and my solo projects, I really want to play here and meet all European fans, but sorry, I’m not sure of any schedules. I think I’m also too busy. Too many projects. I don’t know why, but it’s my natural way.
Xplosion: On this interview you also mentioned a hanew song. Will we be able to hear any tomorrow (at the concert in Bochum)?
SUGIZO: We are just making them now. Actually, we didn’t have time to finish them for Europe. I think, maybe we can play our new stuff in Tokyo, but I’m not sure.
Xplosion: Are you planing to make a new album of these new songs?
SUGIZO: We hope so! We already have so many songs. So many demo tracks, almost 15. But of course, they are just demo and we need to play more seriously. Of course we want to make our new stuff, but sorry, I’m not sure, because currently LUNA SEA’s situation is too unstable.
Xplosion: May we hope for a worldwide release, too?
SUGIZO: I think so, I hope so! If fans of any country want our new stuff, of course I want! The important thing are the record companies. For example, there are very stupid things. Our old music, almost all of our music, is owned by Universal (Music). They have our music. Of course we really want to release our old stuff, but maybe American Universal doesn’t want to do that now. They disagreed. This record company’s program is very big. Our new record company is almost as big as Universal and yes, we really want to release worldwide.
Xplosion: LUNA SEA is often mentioned as one of the founders of Jrock and Visual Kei and you influenced a lot of younger bands. What musicians are you influenced by and look up to?
SUGIZO: First, it’s a big honour for us. I really like so many young Japanese bands. Some artists are great, some artists… not so great. (laughing) But yes, I really get a big influence from them. For example, of course you know Dir en Grey, I really like their music. And you know GazettE and SID. They are getting very famous in Japan. It’s a very good thing for our music scene. I think that now Japanese music is getting more power. And yes, over the time, I got a big influence from them.
Xplosion: Even though you are very busy, do you still have time to go to concerts? Which is the last one you went to?
SUGIZO: Last week I went to a Japanese Jazz Club. Usually I really like Jazz music more than Rock. So many times I went to the Japanese “Blue Note” Tokyo. Last week I saw a very, very beautiful Funk-Jazz band called “Incognito”. Incognito is one of our biggest 90’s Jazz acts. Yes, I saw them, so beautiful. Just rock, just Jazz-Funk-Soul-music. Usually, I really love any Jazz artists and I get a very big influence from them, too.
Xplosion: Not only LUNA SEA, but also other old bands like X JAPAN, Seikima II and Dead End from the 80’s and 90’s came back recently. What do you think caused that trend?
SUGIZO: Maybe Japan’s music scene needs us. Because LUNA SEA, X JAPAN and of course others like Seikima II, we can play true sound. We still have a strong power and speed. And we are 40’s. I think our generation is very important for the Japanese music scene just now. Because we must play again and we should lead the Japanese young musicians. We need a guide, for the young Japanese bands. Because we should play again, we can do it now. Of course, we know so many countries’ fans are waiting for us. Yes, we should play for them.
It’s a very important thing for music and our culture, our relationship. We can be beyond any borders, in a way more than any politician. Especially, like how, we have so many problems with relationships in China and Japan, Korea, Russia. So many problems for just the politicians. For just the nationalists. But musicians or music fans don’t care about that. We don’t need fighting, we don’t want any problems. We just want unity once more. We need to unite more, because this opportunity is very important for the relationships of each county. I think so.
Xplosion: Was becoming a full-time musician always your dream or did you have other plans when you were younger?
SUGIZO: When I was a child I really hated music! Because I had to play violin from when I was 3. I really really hated that. When I was 8 or 9 years old, I began to like music, but at first, music sounded like torture to me. Of course, when I grew up and as a teenager, I really wanted to make music. To be a rockstar. Yes, of one point of view, my dream came true. But from an other point of view, it did not yet. I need to do more.
Xplosion: Last question. If you weren’t a musician, what else would you probably do now?
SUGIZO: Hmm, this is so difficult! Maybe…I think I really need to create something. Art, film, painting, I don’t know, but I think I really need it. Any creativity. I don’t know, I can not imagine. (laughing)
In my free-time, I’m drawing, but for a very long time I haven’t. Of course I want to do that, painting and sculpture, I really want to do that. And I really want to cook. I can’t do that, I have no skill for it. But I really want to learn how to cook. I think cooking is very creative. But I’m just music centred. (laughing)
Xplosion: Thank you very much for taking your time, even though you have such a tight schedule.
SUGIZO: Thank you, this is my very big pleasure. I really want to touch your hearts again, touch them more and I really want a stronger relationship to the European fans. It’s our big pleasure. Thank you very much!
Interview and Editing by: Asuka