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Toshiya BURRN! Interview 1/2-3?


“It’s like a mirage, when I get close to it  the person I want to be gets away”

In the past 20 years, while pursuing music as a goal persistently, there were also adverse effects from the down tuning to get sound pressure and heaviness. He also has dealt with the difficulties of his position as bassist with an innovative playing method. However, we talk about  even now he is like “I’m not doing 100% things that I want to do” or “Maybe I should have done more things because there are many”.

Text: You Masuda

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Dir en grey BURRN! interviews - Die (3/5)


  • If I understand well, Die said that he came into the ANDROGYNOS lives thinking: “We can’t be defeated”, but he was nervous about it. However, it turned out that both Dir en grey and Pierrot were friendly and it was easy to play together. 
  • In his first band(s), Die really had a survival instinct, where all other bands had to be beaten because you wanted to survive the pop interest. He thinks that each member of Dir en grey probably came to the formation with this kind of attitude too from their previous experiences at that time. However, they are not a “versus band” much anymore. 
  • When asked who he would like to make a joint festival or event with, his answer really involved worldwide bands, definitely. He liked the experience of KoRn’s Family Values tour and being able to play alongside Deftones as well. He says that there are so many bands to discover out there, so he would want to gather his own list of co-headlining bands from abroad. 
  • The interviewer and him discussed how Dir en grey really shocked everybody with their major debut single, basically barging into the music stations with their shocking visuals and their first(?) single, - 残-ZAN-. But somehow, even with their mentality of “We’ve done this, so let us be and continue doing what we want”, their popularity only rose from that moment. Die says that they essentially might have just been lucky and that it was a right moment when music fans out there were unconsciously looking for something like what Dir en grey offered. 
  • From what he remembers of their first couple of lives, it was them playing the same song for 30-40 minutes, sometimes during 3 hours even. They would try to do “call and response” songs. 
  • Apparently it is a “legend” that they played their first Budokan show while they had not even released their first major debut album. But Die says that it was bad for the fans, because they could not see much anyway, since that venue is huge. 
  • Die recalls that, if I understand correctly, things started becoming a bit dull or too routinely for him around 2004-2005, and that this thankfully changed with their first attempts overseas, with the introduction of Withering to death. He remembers having the candid thought that there were already hundreds of fans already waiting for them at their festival stage, but they learned very quickly that the fans there actually did not know who they were, it was not clear to them that they were Japanese, they knew none of the songs, etc. Of course though, there were some rare true Dir en grey fans withint the crowd too. They, or he, at least, thought that they had conquered the world already, but there was so much to work on still, in reality. 
  • He doesn’t like touring overseas that much, considering that their space on the tour bus is very narrow and that the food they eat is basically pizzas piled on the bus table, and them being asked to eat that because the show just finished and they have to travel to the next location now, so there is no time to actually go out and eat somewhere, most of the time. However, he knows that the fans who show up to their concerts overseas are those who are very grateful toward them, so it makes him happy to tour overseas, in that sense. He did mention the monitor-man and equipment disaster they face whenever they have to tour abroad, which is a headache compared to Japan where everything is neat. 
  • There is a sentence that I tried to dissect as much as possible, but it seems like he was saying that if you sleep near Kyo’s bed, you would be disturbed by snoring? Or Kyo complains about it? Not sure who he was quoting when he says: “I can’t sleep because the snoring is too much.” hahah. 
  • For him, it really sounds like the Berlin lives were a turning point, a sort of way to shape the next 10 years of Dir en grey. 
  • He is OK with how Dir en grey was labeled a metal band in the west, and apparently this label plus the fact that real fans got time to make other people listen to their songs properly in between helped make their comeback in 2009 approx. better. 
  • When they do songs that are even medium tempo for Japan but overseas, the western fans find that there is basically no tempo at all in comparison. So, in festivals, they would see the audience get restless and start throwing things at them… He even recalls an object flying by and hitting something, like the sound of a shuriken. 
  • About why they decided to revisit each past album in tours, it was a mix of having done the GAUZE tour in 2014 and just generally their 20th anniversary. 
  • The longer back you have to go for an album, the harder it is for Die to get into it. For the FROM DEPRESSION TO ____ [mode of ] tours, this is why they decided to play the old songs but as the Dir en grey of now. It was a conscious choice for him not to use the old makeup and costume from those times. 
  • One of their techs in the UK SONISPHERE festival was Slayer’s vocalist’ brother, who ended up doing his own band, for anyone who cares… 
  • The key to Dir en grey is that everyone just seems to always be headed toward the same goal somehow. 
  • He is ashamed of his use of a “major chord” only in Taiyou no Ao.
  • I am not sure if I am interpreting well, but it seems like Kyo gave them advice to “Raise your own self while listening to everyone’s sound too”. Before, apparently Die would try to compose solely by following the drum line? Not sure if this advice was also meant to encompass listening to outside bands as well. This was apparently since around DUM SPIRO SPERO’s making. 

So again, a lot of bullet points, but really, no question for him on DECAYS or anything more personal? 

And I do not know if it is just my toriko mind, but aren’t the most interesting bits when both Kaoru and Die talk about Kyo-related stuff hah? It looks like Kyo had a big impact in various settings, for them to keep bringing him up unprovoked in their own interview hah. 

Dir en grey BURRN! interviews - 薫 (2/5)


The questions were really not as interesting this time, as if Kaoru had no special aspects worth digging into compared to Kyo… I am a “toriko” myself, but come on, the others deserve the same attention too. 

The interviewer and him mostly went through each album, commenting on them:

  • GAUZE - reflects what they were able to do back then, or what they thought was OK to release, so overall Kaoru has a somewhat disappointed outlook on this album. 
  • MACABRE - From this album, it was really when he feels that they began composing complex songs that gave a mental vision of a scenery. With Deity too (?), he reveals that Kyo started singing on his own, whereas he used to follow a prerecorded melody before that album. 
  • He is the one who delays song releases hahah. Apparently he is difficult to satisfy, always wondering if each member could not do this or that more. 
  • VULGAR - Not necessarily from Kaoru himself, but the interviewer highlighted how everything starting with this album was black, and it took mostly up to DUM SPIRO SPERO to get a somewhat vivid colour: green. And the atmosphere became very dark in the songs from that point onward too. 
  • Withering to death. - Their America debut…
  • THE MARROW OF A BONE - It became their worldwide debut. Most of the songs were written while on tour bus, listening to Deftones and KoRn, and due to the environment where he could not do arrangements, he focused on the live feeling, which is why you have guitar riffs that are more metal, more ‘catchy’, more repeated and raw. However, like Kyo, he says that fans did not appreciate this album much. 
  • UROBOROS - With this album, they really worked with the mindset of trying to make the utmost best album. Starting with Conceived Sorrow is nice because it does not reveal the album’s content much yet, says Kaoru. 
  • DUM SPIRO SPERO - They were trying to make a good next step after UROBOROS, so he finds that it ended up as delving deeper into the worldview of UROBOROS. An earthquake happened during the album composition, which gave it a dark and closed off feeling, like being safe only inside, or on the contrary, finding that you are not safe even in places you thought were OK. 
  • As I think was mentioned in previous interviews, Kaoru sometimes records a melody by mouth when he thinks of it, then he adds an instrument to it. 
  • Not much changed in regards to recording in 20 years. The only major change was, as mentioned, when Kyo started doing his own melodies instead of following the pre-established keyboard ones. 
  • Kaoru says that he is not inspired by any real band or song. Back then, people around him got him to listen to some things, either classics or trending new genres, just so that he would get an idea of what is out there, but even then he would not use anything in particular as an inspiration. 
  • He said that he did not really want to start a side or solo band, only if there was enough free time to do so, which would probably be when Dir en grey stops, which he will not do. But even then, he completely misunderstood the question and went on to talk about how he would not see himself doing songs alone, when he has always been doing it with five people. Clearly he has not given this thought much reflection time since he has not realised yet that he could recruit four other musicians to work with him, like Kyo did for sukekiyo…
  • They talked about “killer tunes” and how Dir en grey is consistent with writing awesome songs, so they are not stuck with using the same old hit for the end of a live. 
  • December BEST ALBUM - When asked about the upcoming “BEST ALBUM” and whether it would be remixes or remasters, it seems like he answered that all remasters were completed, but it was unsure if there would not be a few remixes since he can’t help but think “What if this or that was done, for this song?” He said it will be interesting to get the fans’ opinions for this release, and thinks they could sometimes incorporate fan opinion more into their work, from what I gather. 

Really, no questions about his crippled hand? About why he started having tattoos, whether they hold any significance for him? Why is it written “Frodo” with a bat on his neck? Whether he sees himself doing more radio appearances? Elaborate on what he thought of the band members’ evolving or non-evolving styles, and his own? So many missed opportunities with this interview, especially when you see how good Kyo’s interview was… I really hope the other members’ questions were smarter than that, and that the interviewer simply had to go for those broad questions with Kaoru since he is more or less seen as the ‘leader’ of the band. 

By the way, @thepriceofbeingaroseisloneliness is currently working on the Toshiya interview, so I will be skipping (4/5) completely. Please look forward to her translations!

Dir en grey BURRN! interviews - 京 (1/5)


Just a few very interesting bits, not up to a full translation of that 100+ page book of course: 


  • At first, when he decided to be in a band, he wanted to play guitar, but he never became a guitar player just because nobody around could teach him. (Sort of contradictory to past interviews where, if I recall correctly, he had said he would have played the bass…)
  • Kyo knew, or guessed at least, that there would be people both within the fans but also within Dir en grey members who would react to him starting sukekiyo as: “Is he leaving Dir en grey?” “Won’t that reduce the time of Dir en grey tours?” “Won’t that put too much pressure on his throat?” But he is very confident in his throat’s condition at the moment, he basically seems to find that it is doing very well even since sukekiyo’s debut. 
  • He hates reading books, especially since/most likely due to being forced to read books in front of everyone in school. From this hate, he highlights two very ironic things: 1) he hates Japanese because it is “so deep”(?) and 2) he actually hates standing in public, which he recognises makes no sense considering what he does as a career hahah. That explains the awkward VIP meet&greets in North America and Europe too…
  • As sort of known/expected, he really dislikes happy things, like happy movies. This is ultimately because he cannot relate to those stories at all, he says that he never experienced that himself so it makes no sense that there would be a happy ending where everything is just normal for the character. 
  • Very interesting perspective of Dir en grey vs. sukekiyo: Dir en grey’s poetry world view is written as toward or involving the world, whereas sukekiyo’s can be said to target ONE person. And, of course, that man (Dir en grey) vs. woman (sukekiyo) theme too. 
  • Eh, he feels that fans like DUM SPIRO SPERO and THE MARROW OF A BONE the least…?! He finds that they think the former’s world view is too dark, while THE MARROW OF A BONE is too hardcore. 
  • He is ashamed that he has to read his own lyrics during lives, from what I understand. He seems to attribute that to age, or experience?
  • The interviewer actually went ahead and dared to ask why Kyo used to cut himself during performances. He answered that with the way the band was and how he was doing “THE STALIN” back then too, they would have appeared as “fake” if he did not do something ike that. He said that it did hurt to sing while cutting his throat, because even if blood did not get expelled by his mouth, it bled elsewhere anyway. He did not seem necessarily proud of that, but did not regret it either, knowing that Dir en grey would not be what it is today without that phase. Apparently his manager at DYNAMITE TOMMY also somewhat jokingly asked him if he could do it at each show, which is a challenge he accepted…? I am not sure on that one.  
  • Again, the neverending dilemma of never being satisfied with himself or anything resurfaced. He reiterated that if he got to a point where he was satisfied, then he would have no reason to live anymore. Therefore, he must always change himself too, because he gets bored of what he sees in the mirror after just a few months, which explains why he has a different style in each tour these days. (The interviewer mentioned how Dir en grey’s visuals changed a lot in all those years of existence, but Kyo’s was the one that varied drastically and often.)
  • About MCs: apparently he used to do some years ago, but at some point he felt like that was not good for Dir en grey, and even the other members said “No, no MCs” eventually, it seems. However, there has to be a period for guitar tuning anyway, therefore he pondered what could be done during that time and that is why he ended up with INWARD SCREAM, to transition from one song’s atmosphere to the other, without breaking the moment. 

(from the same magazine hah.)

I have not read the other members’ interviews yet, but it will be awesome if they are just as interesting. Do note, however, that I am not fluent in Japanese, so let me know if there are any mistakes and I will correct them as soon as possible. 

Now all that is left to know is how much Kyo works out and what his program is hahah. 

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PHY Vol.11 

HQ SCAN Download [ HERE ]

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PHY Vol.11

HQ SCAN Download [ HERE ]

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PHY Vol.11

HQ SCAN Download [ HERE ]

PHY Vol. 11 - Dir en grey interviews



Here are the highlights of the five members’ interviews, from what I understood: 

  • Kyo wants to embrace (lit. hug?) his past self and tell him “You really did your best at that time”. He acknowledges that he was really angrier back then, notably during Withering to death, and while he is still angry, the expression of it has changed, become more organised. 
  • Whereas for the UNRAVELING ”rebuilds” he did not even listen to the original songs before re-recording the lyrics, this time he really wanted to ‘respect’ the songs more and try to understand his past self’s intention. 
  • Despite coming close to accepting his past self, he still feels like it committed something against his present self. 
  • For him, the goal of the BEST ALBUM is to help get new people introduced to Dir en grey and his voice. He still cannot believe that, at all the tributes and collaborative shows he performed, there were people who were only hearing his voice for the first time. 
  • For Kaoru, the goal of doing the BEST ALBUM is to give both new ears and previous fans something smoother and broader to listen to, like a stepping stone, rather than asking them to listen to ARCHE  from the get-go. He tought that those who attended the “mode of” tours had not necessarily had the opportunity to listen to the whole range of their sound. 
  • He revealed that it was Kyo’s idea to redo Fukai
  • Kaoru said that Dir en grey was a troublesome band
  • He wants Dir en grey’s next album to be something that people never heard before, that nobody understands. He believes that, doing the “mode of” tours will cause the other members to get inspired by their older sound for the next album though. 
  • Die described that he used to write songs more emotionally, thinking that he was good and he was just very excited to make sounds come out in the recording studio. However, now he thinks more and considers working in unison with Kaoru’s sound now. He still gets to have his single, special lines, but they connect and back each other’s sound more compared to before. 
  • With DECAYS, he used to be conscious about what he did, not to sound like Dir en grey, but now he does not worry anymore, as he thinks more of it like “what is a human being named Die doing at that moment”. 
  • If I understand correctly, Toshiya had some apprehension to join four other members in the band. He did not know what to be, how to be himself. He feels that it is only on stage that he can be free to express his identity
  • Like Kyo, he seems to be ashamed of the past, but he wants to confront it because that is how you make a better future. That is somewhat what the BEST ALBUM represents for him. 
  • He worried that the BEST ALBUM would be something that “had to come out”, for the same reason as all other bands do that; basically, forced by the label. However, it was necessarily different because of the fans’ input. (Somehow, he is the only one who mentions this.)
  • As for Shinya, he felt that mode of THE MARROW OF A BONE was the tour that he appreciated the most, because he had hated it so much when it was released, but now he was able to enjoy those songs. 
  • In 2012, there was a break and he used it to view his performances and decided to change himself a bit. The sound is more consistent, essentially he gave himself more stamina to deliver with the same strength for a longer period of time. 
  • Again (like in BURRN!), he talked about how he wishes that Dir en grey recorded songs like every other band, with the melody laid out first.
  • Apparently, Shinya wanted to be like YOSHIKI so much that he carried a video deck and watched X Japan’s performance before he himself went to do lives. 

I am already becoming bored with Kyo’s repeated words about him never being satisfied with himself and that he will quit and stop everything if he ever reaches a point where he is. He talks about that in almost EVERY interview…

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VESTIGE OF SCRATCHES trailer (bonus footage ver.)

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DIR EN GREY twitter 2017.11.30

2018年1月2日(火)発売BEST ALBUM『VESTIGE OF SCRATCHES』最新アーティスト写真&アートワーク解禁!

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