The Japanese rock scene is full of different themes and characters that fill our ears with the kind of music that is both mentally and visually stimulating. In the run up to their performance at Japan Night at the O2 in London, VAMPS invited MCM Buzz to hold an interview with them.
It was an extremely hot and humid day, but with bright smiles and lots of laughs before the interview within the very swanky and rock-a-licious offices at Universal Music, both Hyde and Kaz were pretty excited and very happy to hear some of our readers questions, and answered them with a lot of enthusiasm. So check out what VAMPS had to say below.
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Could you please explain who and what VAMPS stands for?
HYDE: VAMPS are not human, as you might know, so we have taken inspiration from vampires.
Japanese rock music has grown overseas at a fast pace. But do you feel that J-rock has reached its peak?
HYDE: The J-rock movement has only begun to promote overseas, so there is a huge area to keep growing further, and with new people and bands entering the system there is even more growth.
KAZ: I agree, I feel there will be more bands that will travel overseas, and with that the fans who left the Japanese music scene might come back to it once again, as soon as there is more activity.
Where do you feel your position is within the movement of J-rock? What do you feel you have contributed towards its growth?
HYDE: I feel we are only at the beginning as well and that this new adventure of touring with a new album is helping the growth of Japanese music. When we reach a point when we can do what we do in Japan, such as special events and live promotions, then that’s when it will become a challenge for us.
KAZ: I feel the same as Hyde, in the fact that we are just starting out, we are working as a team with other artists who are promoting overseas to get our work out there, and hope to go on from there.
You have stated that your new album “Bloodsuckers” is one of your best to date. What is it that makes you feel so passionate about this album?
HYDE: Our basis of a good album is judged on how it plays live, so when we play a live show for our fans we look at what pleases our audience and what songs get the audience pumped. But for this album, even if we thought there was a song that was good live, we always found a better song for the album. This is why we spent so long in creating the album, making it to our highest standard. This is why we think Bloodsuckers is the best yet.
Could you tell me a little bit more about the songs that are on the “Bloodsuckers” album? Which ones are your favourites?
HYDE: Yes, ‘Vampires Love’ is my choice as we shot the music video for it in London, and it’s a very humble song for me.
KAZ: I like all the songs on the album, but if I have to choose I think I’d go for ‘Zero’ as it’s very different from our usual songs, a new fresh and novel song to play. ‘Evil’ is my second choice for its aggressive and attacking sound, it sounds pretty harsh.
You have recently been promoting overseas. Is there any difference in performing in Europe, USA, and Asia? Do you have to perform differently at all?
HYDE: For me it’s not a case of Asia, Europe or USA. It’s more like Japan and not Japan. Because we haven’t played many live performances outside of Japan, I feel it’s important we show an image of VAMPS that our Japanese fans see and to express what VAMPS stands for.
KAZ: I am always so surprised at how well the overseas fans know our songs and our lyrics, and I’m happy that they know our songs and want to sing along to them when we perform. It’s very nice and humbling to hear fans making the effort. Though one thing I notice is that when we are overseas, the English parts of our songs are sung the loudest.
You have used a lot of English throughout your recent release. Do you have any troubles when trying to perform in English?
HYDE: I have always listened to English spoken music when growing up, and when I listen to it I learn and understand parts of it. But when I am performing in English I obviously need to understand it fully, so I practice hard for my performance.
Many idols receive gifts from fans. What is the most memorable item ever given to you by a fan?
HYDE: I received a music box that was signed by David Sylvian, as I am a big fan of his. The story behind it was that a fan of mine randomly bumped into him on a bullet train in Japan, and only had this item at hand so asked him to sign it so they could give it to me as a present. It was pretty cool.
KAZ: Hyde was so fast in answering! Um… fans keep giving me frog plushies and figurines after I said I was a fan of a specific character frog. I have so many now that I have no room for more, so I am thinking of opening up a frog shop!
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A big thank you to HYDE and KAZ of VAMPS, and to Miyuki and the Universal Music team. VAMPS new album “Bloodsuckers” is available via iTunes on their the Official VAMPS website. From the album, check out the track “World’s End” below!
Photo credit to Kei Sung