Interviewer: Hirotake Kawamoto
They aren’t only about outrageous make up and eccentric hair, but to the common people that existence is X, who have released their first and last indies full album, ‘Vanishing Vision’. Their colorful performance contradicts the sound heard on TV, and their melody line is heavy and constructs a world of a beautiful and sophisticated slash music.
Side A – Track 1 – Dear Loser
TAIJI: It has the feeling of an opening number that introduces the radical sound of the album from here on out. It’s an instrumental that has a feeling of grandeur. It’s as if it gradually attacks you.
YOSHIKI: It has the feeling similar to if you imagined a wind blowing violently over a magnificent field. Perhaps I should say that we were born from that place?
TAIJI: When we went to Madarao for lodging, the scenery that I saw there gave me the same impression.
YOSHIKI: According to the sampling, human voice increases a threat to it, so the way it is has a good feeling to it.
Side A – Track 2 – Vanishing Love
YOSHIKI: Though I have jealousy, I pretend to be tough without showing it. But even so, in the end, my true intentions bursts out, and it’s a song that represents something similar to the weakness of humans. As for the composition, the beginning is a power metal type of sound, then from the middle of the song, you can hear very nice and clear twin guitars, the melody also suddenly becomes magnificent. It has this kind of development. I think it’s a pretty catchy song.
TOSHI: The lyrics are split about half Japanese and half English, but when you look at the translated English part, the content is quite interesting. So, it’s not only merely just charming singing.
HIDE: The guitar solo also begins with twin guitars, then it’s the solo, and then goes back to twin guitars again. It’s this kind of composition but it’s not just playing with speed, there’s an important stress on the melody.
PATA: More than speed, the melody is given importance. It’s a rather pretty twin lead isn’t it?
TAIJI: So far, the song has a lot of fast playing, but as for this song, the twin guitars two part melody and the midway of the vocals melody, I was able to put in a back sound phrase. It kind of has that feeling in it.
YOSHIKI: Though I may not understand it, since the song is packed with complicated exceptionally fast parts, I was really surprised when I listened carefully.
Side A – Track 3 – Phantom Of Guilt
TAIJI: This song has a danceable mood. A 16 beat rhythm was put in, so it has a fusion like feeling.
TOSHI: The lyric contents are about a world of conflict of the human spirit.
TAIJI: As for people who don’t know anything about X, if you listen to this song, I think you will probably blink in confusion.
HIDE: It seems that as much as possible we try not to play stereotypical heavy metal.
TAIJI: But after all, that is the sound of X.
YOSHIKI: As for this song, in the end, we can say with confidence that it’s recognizable as X without even trying (laugh).
Side A – Track 4 – Sadistic Desire
HIDE: This song was based on a song that I had written during the time I was in Yokosuka Saver Tiger. At that time, I didn’t really have a clear idea of the lyrics or melody but at the time when we were deciding what songs to put in the album, I had an idea for the song so it was expected that I try it out.
PATA: You can hear a pop feeling, but it’s quite complicated to play.
YOSHIKI: I wrote the words under the influence of a movie called “Blue Velvet”. To explain in a phrase, you can call it “cruel sex”. You can’t be satisfied with just normal sex, while loving the wounds inflicted on their body. It’s a love like this. And then, in the end, after killing your lover, as expected, as much as tears come forth, you try to hide the sadness.
TAIJI: For this song, it was really unusual to play bass using my fingers. Something resembling a bass solo was put in, and the bass tones sound cool without being defeated by the song’s melody.
TOSHI: I became the main character in the song’s lyrics, so I tried to sing with a charismatic feeling.
Side B – Track 1 – Give Me The Pleasure
TAIJI: For this song, I just so happened to see on the news an incident about a murder case, so this was created from that motif. It completely became a fusion like instrumental number.
YOSHIKI: Although we say it’s an instrumental, we’ve added a narration in it.
TAIJI: The song gives you the image of a tragic scene from a murder incident.
YOSHIKI: As for the narration, it’s about something like mental pleasure and somehow I had written quite emotional words.
TAIJI: It’s all slap bass, the drums have an ethnic music sound, and it’s in 16 beat, so it’s possible to say that it’s really revolutionary.
HIDE: As for the guitar, considering it’s X, it’s really rare that we use the minor 7th chords.
YOSHIKI: Also for drums, we tried to use various percussion instruments like the timbales and cow bell.
Side B – Track 2 – I’ll Kill You
YOSHIKI: As you know, this song is our first single. At the time the recording equipment was bad, and the song itself was not perfect, but we had tried it in one take. Actually, this is a love song. The song’s contents, doesn’t mean, “to kill people”, it’s more similar to “we’re married and I want to kill you”. The single didn’t have a leaflet but, this time there will be a leaflet inside. Also, because the tempo is fast, you can’t really play with a normal mindset, you have to play as if you’re angry. I think it leaves a feeling of anger (laugh).
TAIJI: It was really hard to put in the bass-lines, and it was hardly possible unless I felt angry.
HIDE: Even if you were angry I still felt like it was futile (laugh). Anyway, I really don’t want to do it again.
TOSHI: Everyone says they were angry, but I wasn’t like that (laugh).
YOSHIKI: Anyway, you don’t need to worry about trivial things, I want you to listen to the mood.
Side B – Track 3 – Alive
YOSHIKI: It’s a ballad close to 9 minutes. However, the pattern of development, the general composition is changed. The lyrical contents plunges you into the reality of life and death within a dream, whether you live or die, and then incidentally when you wake up, there is blood flowing from your body and having awareness of being alive. It’s a song about human life.
TAIJI: This one song contains various rhythms.
HIDE: In comparison with the solos of the other songs, in this song, the playing is very melodic so it’s as if it’s singing. A crying guitar.
TOSHI: It’s a ballad, but the lyrics are not like the normal world of ballads, so it was hard to sing in a way to enter into that world.
YOSHIKI: For the piano, I used an arranged phrase from Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’. From halfway through the 2nd verse, I played the piano as if I was possessed, almost as if I was smashing a silver plate. For drums, I’m not used to playing at a slow tempo, so it was quite difficult, but it was complex and filled in the music. There’s a feeling that I can’t overdo it in this song.
TAIJI: It’s quite a masterpiece right.
Side B – Track 4 – Kurenai
YosHIKI: Though outwardly it’s a love song, actually, it expresses the significance of the struggle of the heart. The tune is speedy and carries the melody of crying with all of one’s strength.
TOSHI: I don’t really know why but it reminds me of the spirit of the Japanese.
TAIJI: The composition has a very western sound attached to it, but you can say that the song’s melody has something that Japanese people will like.
HIDE: Before I joined X, this was my favorite song by them, but I didn’t understand why we didn’t play this song when I joined. So I kept nagging, “let’s do it, let’s do it” (laugh).
YOSHIKI: Probably because back then the arrangement was simple.
TAIJI: So everyone helped to redo the arrangement, and its called the song that represents X.
HIDE: It’s fast, but I feel that the rhythm is really tight.
YOSHIKI: Playing it is really complex, so likewise I have to be careful not to lose the rhythm.
HIDE: For the guitar.. basically, as two people you don’t play the same. So, Pata and I have to stress the melody, we can’t just run wild or do as we like.
PATA: The cutting is particularly difficult to play. I have to put everything I have into it.
YOSHIKI: The appendix of the vinyl record and the recording take is the same but, for the vinyl record, first there is a cut for the intro guitar arpeggio. Then, the vocals became a mixed version of Japanese and English. The balance of the mix and the low tones communicate strongly.
TAIJI: The song was born by all the member’s ideas and opinions, and everyone put their everything into it, so we choose it for the vinyl record.
Side B – Track 5 – Unfinished
YOSHIKI: Originally this album was made up until Track 4, but then I decided that I wanted an ending theme song. So just before recording, I was doing this and that in the studio when I came up with this song. As it says in the title, the song is unfinished. The ending finishes suddenly but, that was done consciously. Of course we are a power metal/slash style band, and we’re not supposed to do this type of music, but when I listen to all the songs, I don’t feel uneasy at all, and I think that as expected, everything I put in here was good.
TAIJI: For the next album we make, please look forward to picking up our new songs.
–What is the meaning of the album title ‘Vanishing Vision’?
YOSHIKI: Well, it has the meaning of ‘Vanishing Vision (title is in English and Yoshiki translated it into Japanese here)’ but, in other words, up to now our “Oh my God! Shameless!” image will disappear, and be seen with a fresh start is the kind of meaning we were trying to express.
–Whose idea is this frightful jacket [cover of the CD]?
YOSHIKI: This image comes from the impression of ‘Sadistic Desire’s impression. All the members had thought very carefully about this motif for the jacket. The illustration was drawn by Karou Nishiguchi who drew the front cover of the volume for Blackjack and History of Tsubaki Mizomasa.
–What kind of feelings progressed as you did recording?
YOSHIKI: Generally speaking, I felt completely tangled up (laugh). In the very beginning, we recorded the piano, which had exceeded the scheduled time we had for it, so when we got to record the drums, it took up one day of the scheduled 4 days we had left. Even though we covered up until the bass with one take, even so, there might still be some songs that I wasn’t too pleased with and should be redone.
TAIJI: I really liked that bass take! (laugh)
YOSHIKI: Nevertheless, one way or another we finished the rhythm track, and after I think the guitars really gave it their best, so they really showed that they went for it all the way (laugh).
HIDE: I somewhat became ablaze with energy.
YOSHIKI: Furthermore, during the interval we had for the vocals to be put in, finally in the end, Toshi lost his voice.
–As expected, your main point is that recording your first full LP was full of hardships?
YOSHIKI: To be frank, I hate recording (laugh).
–From when was the schedule for the LP?
YOSHIKI: From about the time that they announced the video, last year in summer, but because there were problems with our songs and the standard of our performances; how should I put it… we weren’t ready to record. Well, in relation to this latest recording, I think that in its own way it shows its merit.
–Overall, what kind of album can you call it?
YOSHIKI: In a way, it’s the way of life of humans, their feelings, sentiments… I think it’s an album that encompasses the human emotions of joy, anger, grief, and comfort. You can say that the drum’s characteristics are similar to what’s created for a movie.
HIDE: I want everyone to listen while reading the lyrics carefully and not just listen half-heartedly. After you’ve finished listening, if we’ve made your body become heavy, I would be happy.
PATA: From fast songs, to songs similar to a dance, you can say there’s a lot of variety in this album, but when you’ve stuck through listening to it all, you realize all the songs are works of X.
TOSHI: Overall, each piece of music has drama. You’ll shed tears and your heart will beat loudly in your chest.
TAIJI: One word. Dramatic.
–It’s truly a perfect representation of human emotions.
YOSHIKI: There’s a lot of aspects until we can give a great musical performance, and however much you comprehend the musical composition, but, even so, each individual member produced music packed with all their emotions put into it. Each note has an emotional attachment, so if you can feel any of that, I’m happy.
–By the way, recently, the rumor is that you are going to make your major debut, but how true is it?
YOSHIKI: Certainly, there are some negotiations being put forward and various talks about going major but I can’t clearly say whether or not we are because we don’t yet know either. As for us, we have the feeling of “let nature take its course!”. At any rate, we will continue as we always do and not change ourselves for the sake of going major.
–Whether you do or not, it seems that for your next step you aren’t thinking about going major?
YOSHIKI: No, that is just not something to be bothered about. I’m saying that, more than going major, if the band’s opinions aren’t met then the next step is to continue doing indies most likely. In this point in time, whether going major seems attractive or not is something I don’t know yet. Going major or staying indies, we just want to grow so we are constantly looking to go to the next level, but the seal of being major isn’t always the way to go.
–Let’s say that the negotiations go smoothly, at the earliest, when would you make your major debut?
YOSHIKI: At the earliest, around the beginning of next year probably. At the latest maybe the end of next year, but well I’m not really that anxious.
–At the present time, about what’s the possibility, percentage wise [of going major]?
YOSHIKI: About 80% I suppose (laugh).