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Dir en grey Interview

A Conversation With Guitarist Kaoru

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Dir en grey
Warcon Records
Dir en grey’s latest release is The Marrow Of A Bone. The Japanese band has attracted legions of American fans with their passionate brand of heavy music and their electric live shows. They are in the midst of the Inward Scream Tour, their first U.S. headlining trek after spending last summer on the Family Values Tour. The band’s lyrics are almost all in their native Japanese, and their music is heavy, yet very emotional and sometimes very melodic.

My interview with guitarist Kaoru was one of the most unique I’ve done. The band speaks little or no English, and have a translator traveling with them to help them communicate with local crews, journalists, and of course their fans. I asked the questions to the translator, who asked Kaoru, who answered the translator, who then told me his answers. We talked about the tour, the new album, what his favorite thing about the U.S., is, and much more.

Chad Bowar: How has the band’s sound evolved from Withering To Death to The Marrow Of A Bone?
Kaoru: There hasn’t been a change in general, but the new album is deeper, but at the same time clearer, compared to before. There are a couple of songs that we wrote in the U.S. last summer when we were on the Family Values tour.

How did you decide on the CD title?
It fits in with the whole album, and at the same time the title fits with the concept of the band right now. That’s why we chose that title.

How are you enjoying your first U.S. headlining tour?
It’s the first time we are headlining in the U.S. There were some difficulties and troubles in the beginning, but we are getting great response and people are enjoying themselves at the concerts. For us it has been a great tour so far.

What are your upcoming tour plans?
We won’t have a break at all. After we finish the American tour we are going back to Japan for a two month tour to support the album. We’ve received a couple of offers, but we’re still planning on what to do after that.

Now that you’ve spent some time in the U.S., what are your favorite and least favorite things about our country?
The thing I like the best about America is that the people are so friendly and warm towards us. I can only speak Japanese, but people still try to talk to me and try to communicate and find a common language. The fact that Americans are so friendly is the thing I like the most. My least favorite thing is the food.

Are there any countries where you haven’t toured yet that you would like to go to and play shows in?
We’ve never played in Australia before. That would be a great place to go in the future.

How did you get started in music?
I started guitar because I was inspired by a guitarist I saw playing when I was younger. It inspired me to want to play the guitar. I started playing in school, and then began playing in bands outside of school.

What is your all time favorite metal album?
I’m not very familiar with that many metal bands, so I don’t really have a favorite.

How is the metal and heavy music scene in Japan?
The metal scene in Japan is almost non-existent. It’s very bad. There are very few bands. There are some underground bands, but they are so tiny that they don’t get much attention.

Has the band received any pressure from management or your record company to sing more songs in English?
Not at all. There hasn’t been any pressure from the record company at all to record songs in English. What we are doing now seems to be fine.

How has the band managed to stay together for a decade with no personnel changes?
The main reason is why we’re still together with the same lineup since the formation of the band is because we are not too close, and not too distant. We are five people who come together simply to make music. We barely know what everybody does with their free time outside of the band. We don’t know much about each other’s private lives. When we meet it’s all about the band, it’s all about the music. It’s all we talk about. We put it all into the music, and that’s what’s kept us together for ten years.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?
Just like any other human being, I either sleep, eat or drink!

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