Monday, 12 March 2012

Rock and Read vol. 038 Reno [Vivid] Interview Part 2

Here's the second half of Reno's interview with Rock and Read. I hope you enjoy!

What kind of band were you playing in at the time?
After high school was over I joined a band when I was nineteen. It was me and the vocalist playing Visual Kei together. I didn’t know a lot about Visual Kei at the time, but I was interested in it. Rock was the main style I could play, like really fast playing and that seemed to be a feature of Visual Kei, so I knew this definitely wasn’t pop music. To begin with, I didn’t fit the pattern (laugh). I thought that every part of the music had to be Visual Kei. So we started playing in that style. Next we wanted a drummer and bassist. I was working part time in a games centre when this guy with pink hair came in. I recognised him from setting up and carrying cases and equipment in live houses. I thought to myself “I have no choice but to talk to him” (laugh).This was how I first met Ko-ki. I asked him if he plays drums really casually and out of the blue (laugh). I invited him out to eat when I was finished work. I told him we wanted to write our own music and showed him the type of sound we were going for . He loved it and wanted to join us ( laugh). We found a bassist and keyboard player soon after but we broke up after about a year and a half.

Why as that?
We were playing seriously but we couldn’t fill Rokumeikan, which holds 80 people, when we played a one man live there.  I thought to myself and realised that this wasn’t where I wanted to be after a year and a half of playing. I wanted to play in a band that’d make me famous by the time I’m 25. So I thought about it and came to the conclusion that we should disband. I played guitar as support for bands for a while and I thought that I wouldn’t play Visual Kei anymore . I thought it was harder for Visual Kei bands stood out more and expressed themselves. But then I heard that IV and Ko-ki had formed a new band. At first I was sceptical about it because I didn’t have the enthusiasm they had and all three of them – IV, Ko-ki and Ryouga -  lived together. But I eventually came around to the idea. They’re all amazing guys who seemed to be willing to take risks. So once again I took the challenge of a Visual Kei band. That’s how Vivid began to take shape.

You must’ve gotten a lot of satisfaction out of playing lives for 80 people with fans really enjoying the music.
Yeah. Sure, having girls scream for you onstage is just part of it, but for the most part it was improving on guitar. Around that time I’d come home and just practice guitar. I’d completely forget about going out with friends (laugh). Some guys in other bands who we played lives with were a lot better than me on guitar and I couldn’t stand it.  I said out loud that they were really good, but I thought to myself that I could do better. So I kept practicing without fail.

How apathetic.
But then I started forgetting to go out with other people. If I had the chance, I’d normally go out. But say I thought I had too much fun one day, the next day I’d make up for it by staying up all night and practicing for ten hours. I started to feel that music was starting to take over my life completely, but now I think I’ve found a balance.

That’s a good way to think of it. So after this, so you think that Vivid’s music was coming together more smoothly?
We made our major debut after two years [1], all our oneman shows sell out completely and we’re getting ready to play Budoukan [2]. Looking at it all, I can’t help but feel so much. I think we’re doing really well. Each of us has his own insecurities, but by combining our strength we were able to lead each other . Each member has their moments when they need motivation or when they’re feeling depressed. We’ve been together for two years so we’re able to talk to each other easily, and that helps us get through our ups and downs.

In times of crisis, what do you all do to get past it?
There are a lot of times when one of us feels they don’t have that much self confidence. When those times happen, we have to all get together and think for an instant “wow, we’re a really great band!” That’s what helps us get through it. For example, if we’re playing an event [3] with our label mates, of course competitiveness over popularity is going to happen and everyone will get really competitive. But all of us hate competition. Competition over practicing, over who writes the best songs, it all gets a bit too much. One person shifts the blame and everyone thinks we ‘re all like that. If we create a bubble to stop thinking like that, we can overcome it.

You all sound so positive. So how did it feel to go major in January 2010?
 Vivid was formed in March 2009 and by November we were playing  oneman in Shibuya O-WEST. Immediately after our manager brought us into the office and told us we definitely had to go major. When we heard we weren’t completely over the moon or ecstatic. We were all very calm about the idea. We thought that going major meant writing more poppy songs instead of rock songs and ballads.

It sounds like an ideal way to go major. So what do you have planned for Vivid now?
It’s hard to say. Do we really want to be a flattering type of band? To me, we have a young, pretty boy type of image going for us. That’s good but I think we’ve failed at being a manlier band, which is where I want us to go. Are we essentially a rock band? Vivid is a band that changes direction and attacks the core of what we are as a band. We are a rock band with Shin fronting us and we will continue like that until we don’t get along with each other anymore. I want us to keep going, writing great songs.

Surely you can change your image bit by bit?
Yeah. We’re changing our stage costumes and things like that to fit the idea. We’re trying to break away from the stereotype of having the guitarist who plays on the right side of the stage showing thigh like we used to do. We don’t want to be known for that. Lately I’ve over half of the compliments I’ve been getting from fans have been about my guitar playing. In the future I hope that no matter where I stand on stage, I don’t have to show my thighs off (laugh).  I want to put reliable sounds and emotions into the music and I want to play real technical stuff too but I have to get rid of any hindrances like that that stop people from hearing that. By deciding to copy costumes and go for the androgynous look you’re focusing more on the look than the music. A typical example is during a live when you’re sweating and your hair’s a mess. I don’t want to have to bother about than when I’m concentrating on playing. I’m focusing on the essence of the music but I don’t think that’s what it’s about now. I have respect for guitarists who genuinely focus on guitar, who let out their emotions through playing and facial expression. That’s what I want to be like. From now on I want to work on playing like that.

That sounds fun. Now, to find out a little bit more about your personality, what do you do on days off?
What, apart from playing guitar?

Drinking (laugh).

What? That’s it?!
Yeah. I’m sorry, but it really is just that (laugh). I used to play videogames but I stopped a while ago. But seriously, all I do is play guitar and drink (laugh). Beer, whiskey, wine, sake… anything’s good really. When I go out drinking I always start with beer, then I switch to double whiskey on the rocks. I like red wine and I usually drink around one bottle. But I drink that at home (laugh). I stay at home alone drinking and listening to music, then when I’m in the right mood I’ll take up my guitar and play bitchin’ music when I’m drunk (laugh).  That’s what I do daily (laugh).

That’s brilliant (laugh). So, if you had a week off what would you do?
I want to go to a hot spring. I want to go to Hakone and soak in the water (laugh). If I had a week off I’d want to play guitar so of course I’d take that with me. But I don’t want a long holiday right now. Maybe if I did have one, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I always do the same things in the end; drinking and playing guitar. It’s all I know what to do (laugh).

Oh, really? (Laugh) You said today that you want to contend with the imagery towards Vivid. Given that your personal life wasn’t that quiet, do you think that’d the way to go?
Yeah. There were a lot of frustrations with the  whole drama when I transferred in high schools, but I think it was a good experience. It was a load of shit but it helped form my personality and who I am today as well as influence how I perform musically. I want someone in the general public to hear Vivid in their living room and have us inspire them into  forming a band like us. I want to work towards Vivid being that kind of band. I don’t want to change the meaning of the motto “guitar = life” at all. For me, guitar is my destiny and it will be that way throughout my life. Guitar is my life, and I want to keep pouring my love and passion into playing.

Translator's notes:

[1]Their major debut was this year with the release of , [Yume] ~mugen no kanata~ with Epic Records on 19/01/2010
[2] “TAKE OFF~ Birth to the NEW WORLD~” which took part on 07/01/2012

[3] A live event where several bands play together, usually of the same label but not always. Fans tell the person at the ticket desk which band they are going to see and at the end of the event the numbers are added up to see who has accumulated the most tickets or votes. Whoever has the most votes wins the taiban.


  1. Thank you so much for translating this <3

    And btw their major debut was in 2011 :)

  2. Thanks a lot for the 2nd part of the interview!!! ;)