[Interview]Japanese Rocker HYDE Talks New Songs and Ambition Amid US Tour

HYDE, former lead singer of L’Arc~en~Ciel and VAMPS, also one of the best known Japanese rock artists has come to the United States, this time performing as a solo act. We got a chance to chat with him through email about his great plans on “invading America”. Have a read!

KKS: What’s the one thing that you most look forward to for this US tour?

HYDE: Tour bus parties!

KKS: What should we expect from the new album anti?

HYDE: It took a lot of efforts of some best talents from both America and Japan, so even if you do not buy the album, please at least watch the music videos and such!

KKS: What do you think are the differences between the rock music scene in Japan and America? And what do you think has resulted in these differences?

HYDE: Naturally, as culture and fashion change, music changes too. One difference may be that it’s light-hearted and fast-paced music that is popular in Japan, while it’s the opposite in the US most of the times, but again, this is not something that can be summarized in a nutshell.

KKS: If HYDE-san is to introduce your music to some random American person who has never heard of you, how would you approach?

HYDE: Produced by American producers, it’s the kind of music that can win over audience at American rock festivals. The tempo is intense yet melodic.

KKS: If you could play just one song of yours to someone who may potentially become your fan, which one would you pick and why is that?

HYDE: It’ll be AFTER LIGHT. Both Americans and Japanese people love it.

KKS: MAD QUALIA is the new image song for video game Devil May Cry. Could you tell us the meaning of the song title?

HYDE: I wanted to make the title an impressive one – QUALIA is a philosophy term. It means that, for example, even if two people look at the color red, they won’t be able to tell whether they are picturing the same red color.

If these two people start fighting each other, you won’t know who is correct in this case, right?

KKS: ZIPANG has a very different style from other new singles you have recently released. There are also two language versions so both Japanese listeners and English-speaking listeners can enjoy it. What ideas are you trying to deliver with ZIPANG?

HYDE: Basically the contents are the same in English and Japanese version. The idea behind this song is to urge Japanese people not to forget the brilliant ancient culture of our own, and of course, to raise the awareness of our listeners overseas as well.

KKS: You worked with American producers many times. Have you ever had trouble working with them? How does it compare to producing songs in Japan?

HYDE: Certain subtle nuances are difficult to communicate due to culture and language gaps. The way of song-making is completely different. American producers can indeed make reasonably dynamic sounds.

KKS: Could you share with us your ambition for the three headline performances of your US Tour in Cambridge, Chicago, and LA?

HYDE: With headline shows we are able to present the style we did in Japan, so the audience will enjoy the complete world view we create. We are not at home, but will still make sure the quality is high.

KKS: What is “success” to you?

HYDE: To ignite audience’s passion at American music festivals!

If you like what you read and hear, please catch HYDE at the rest of his tour! You know you want to!

  • 5/17 – Middle East downstairs, Cambridge, MA – Headline Show (Tickets)
  • 5/19 – Reggie’s Rock Club, Chicago, IL – Headline Show (Tickets)
  • 5/21 – Verizon Center, Mankato, MN (Tickets)
  • 5/22 – The District, Sioux Falls, SD (Tickets)
  • 5/24 – Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City, MO (Tickets)
  • 5/26 – 1720, Los Angeles, CA – Headline Show (Tickets)

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