jrock news

-ayabie- ~ interview

We got a chance to sit down with two members of -ayabie-, Takehito and Yumehito, at the Chicago date of their recent tour in America.

This is your first time playing in America, but you’ve been to Europe before. How does the USA compare to Europe?

Yumehito: We’re happy because there are more sushi restaurants in America! (laughs) We ate sushi for lunch yesterday.

Did you have any expectations for this tour?

Takehito: We expected the fan reaction here in America to be a little different from Europe during our performance.

Have you had a chance to do anything other than lives during this tour?

Yumehito: Fortunately, we had some time in Berlin and New York City. in NYC we walked around Central park, to Broadway, and saw the World Trade Center. It was quite beautiful day in NYC.

In Berlin, we also had off. All five members did something different. Intetsu, our bassist, and Aoi, our vocalist, rented bikes and did sight-seeing on bikes, quite unusual for a rock band, but they enjoyed it.

Takehito: I didn’t actually go anywhere! I was so tired so I rested in the hotel room.

Yumehito: Kenzo, our drummer, and I, we hung out with the vocalist of a band from Germany. We went a few places with him in Berlin.

There’s a website called Groove Tickets that sells tickets to live and club events. The Ayabie live in LA was ranked in the top ten on this website. Did you know that?

Both: No, we didn’t.

How do you feel about it?

It’s a big surprise. Since this is our first time in USA, that we became a big success is a big surprise and we’re very glad!

Why did Ayabie decide to start playing overseas?

Takehito: Ayabie formed in 04, we started playing overseas in 05. Very rare for such a young band. The reason is, three years ago, European cities started getting really interested in Japanese vk bands and brought them. And we heard the European music and were influenced by it. Since we were influenced by European music, and European people were interested in Japanese music…the timing was perfect for us, they wanted us and we wanted to see what was going on. It was the same timing, and that’s why we started performing overseas.

What are the best and worst things about playing overseas?

(a siren can be heard in the street)

Yumehito: The worst is that it’s noisy! (everyone laughs)

The worst is that, everything is a new environment, so occasionally unexpected things can happen and that can be hard to overcome sometimes. Something, like the sound system, or the security, is bad! However, after overcoming such uncontrollable issues, and completing our performances, there is such a satisfaction. And also meeting new fans and new people.

More and more Japanese bands are coming to America, and since the audience here is different from Japan, a lot of opportunities come up for bands to tour together that don’t usually tour together. If you could go on tour with any other band, who would it be, and why?

Yumehito: X Japan! X Japan or Luna Sea.

(laughs) How do you feel about the X Japan reunion?

Takehito & Yumehito: (exchange a look) Hmmm…(everyone laughs) Overjoyed! We’re very happy! We’re big fans!

What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a musician?

Yumehito: Manga artist.

Takehito: Business man.

Oh no!

Takehito & Yumehito: (in English) Oh no! (everyone laughs)

What is visual Kei to you?

Takehito: Well, the interesting part of being visual kei is, visual kei is a whole media. Of course music is important, but besides the music itself, visual kei has more ways to present itself–visually, the costume, the atmosphere. The whole thing is important, that’s why we like visual kei.

VK is a kind of unity between musicians and the fans, right?

Yumehito: Yes, that’s true. For example with the movements we use during performances. It’s more fun than regular JPop.

Is there someone in the band who writes most of the music and lyrics now, or do you all contribute? Takehito: All five of us can write music. However, after Yumehito joined the band, he is composing more music. Since we started, Aoi writes all of the lyrics.

For you personally, is there a certain atmosphere that you need to have in order to write your music?

Takehito: No, not really. So, Aoi will write lyrics, and Yumehito usually will write music. Then, all of the members come together to discuss the music and make the arrangements.

Where do you see Ayabie five years from now?

Yumehito: Of course, we will be older!

And there will be more fans, and bigger venues, like Tokyo Dome. Also a tighter and warmer relationship with our fans. We hope!

If you could be any kind of dessert or sweet, what would you be?

(everyone laughs)

Yumehito: Haichu!

Takehito: Koala March!

[ed note: Haichu is a soft chewy Japanese candy and Koala March is a small crisp cookie with a sweet filling inside.]

Koala March? Oishii!!(delicious)

Takehito & Yumehito: Oishii!

Final question: do you have a message for our readers?

Yumehito: From now we will really try to grow, and be a good band, and communicate with our fans. Please continue supporting us and our music!

interview by Melony; translation by Hiroko Saito

Thank you to Electric Orchid Productions for arranging this interview, and -ayabie- for taking the time to answer our questions