Interview with BLACK LINE

interview - 11.11.2012 00:01

BLACK LINE talked to us about their formation, their upcoming European tour, their knowledge of the countries they will visit and more.

Although not even a year has passed since the start of live activities for BLACK LINE, the band has already attracted attention not only domestically but also overseas. This is not only due to the fact that many know two of the members from their previous band, Dio, but BLACK LINE’s musicality has much to offer to listeners from all over the world. The band sat down with us to talk about the background of their formation, their upcoming release as well as the European tour, which will span over two weeks with twelve shows in seven countries.

This is our first interview with BLACK LINE. Could you please tell us a bit about your concept?

Yudai: It’s BLACK LINE— as in a borderline that cannot be touched by anyone.

Mikaru: There is a meaning in “line” that is bloodline or lineage, and there is also a meaning as in a route of a ship or an airplane. These two meanings together with “black” make a “black lineage”, one with darkness to it. And in regards to the route meaning, it is like a line cleaving through the pitch-black world of darkness.

Syu: Like a line cleaving the darkness, striving towards light.

Do you put this kind of concept into your songs?

Syu: The fusion of a dark sound and attractive, catchy melody lines and lyrics that can cheer listeners up are our characteristic concept.
 
Could you tell our readers who do not understand Japanese some of the themes than run in your lyrics?

Mikaru: SHOW TIME is the song that we wrote first when we started BLACK LINE, and so it includes the meaning that this is the start of the show for BLACK LINE. The content of the lyrics is very optimistic, and it is a positive song for everyone. The second song, GLAD EYE, is a scene from an erotic adult night. The last song, DEEP INSIDE, is a vampire song.

Syu and Mikaru, you played together in your previous band, Dio. How did you meet Yudai and Jun? Could you tell us the background of your formation please?

Syu: After Dio split up, I got a passionate love call from him (points to Mikaru), and I responded to his enthusiasm so we decided to do a band together. We started looking for a guitarist and a bassist that could respond to our hot feelings. We met dozens of band men, went to studios and tried playing together, and among them we met Yudai, with his very good sense in song-writing, and the cute mood-maker, Jun.

Yudai: Syu called me like crazy every day and every night for three days asking me to play with him, so since he was asking like that, I went to the studio. And he didn’t remember my face (laughs).

Syu: True story, although we had supposedly met before. The first time when we met in the studio he was already inside, but I just completely ignored him.

Jun: I was also in the studio at the time, and this person just completely ignored me. Although I was wearing pretty noticeable clothes, Syu just neglected me.

Yudai: Yes, when I went into the studio the first time, Jun was there. In the furthest seats of the studio there was a blond guy in leopard-print clothes, and on the opposite side there was me eating McDonalds, and with this awkward distance between us, we just stayed there silently while time passed. “That must be him! That must be him!” (laughs)

Jun: After the three of us united, with a bit of a delay, five or ten minutes later, he (Mikaru) slowly arrived. “So that’s Mikaru!” I thought.

Syu: This was our first encounter.

Yudai: “So that (Mikaru) is what a Japanese vampire is!” “So that (Syu) is what a Japanese Syumurai is!” “So there are such cute Japanese people (Jun)!” I thought (laughs).

Syu: It was a very memorable encounter.

Yudai: Although it seems like I didn’t really stay in your memory (laughs).

After the disbanding of Dio, there was an announcement of the formation of DIGRAS. What happened to that project?

Mikaru: We were going to go with DIGRAS, but then we ate the other members.

Syu: They were tasty....

Mikaru: So it disappeared.

Yudai: Because they’re vampires. They just eat people.

Syu: They had a slightly sour taste, but they were tasty. When we were full, we thought that we should start looking for members, and this was when we arrived to the formation of BLACK LINE.

Yudai: We are Japanese ghosts.

Syu, was there a particular reason why you changed your name when forming BLACK LINE?

Syu: The name denka in Dio was a name loved not only within the country but by fans from all over the world. This might be my misunderstanding, but I thought it would be a pity to bring this loved name into the new band and keep it all for myself. So I thought that I wanted to leave the name denka stay in everyone’s hearts forever, and I also wanted to start anew with fresh feelings with a new name. Mikaru just mentioned the start of our showtime, so that was my Syutime too… (laughs).

Mikaru: It turned into an old-man joke (laughs).

Yudai: And it’s also not a beginning but “the end”. (Note: “Syu” if written as a certain kanji character has the meaning of “end”).

Syu: It has the beginning and the end within it, as the eternity that you can see in front of you.

The formation of BLACK LINE was announced in March 2011, but you started your live activities in December. What preparations were you taking in the meantime?

Yudai: Mikaru was always sleeping. He was a demon who woke up from a long sleep. After the world war he fought in Dio....

Syu: He had to take approximately two years to heal the wounds he received in fighting that world war. So until the time he woke up, the three of us decided to do what we could, so we were writing songs.

Mikaru: I heard that music from inside the coffin, and it woke me up.

Yudai: We were waiting for you.

Jun: It was traumatizing.

Syu: He was incredible from the moment he woke up.

Yudai: (In English) I always waiting you.

What are the roles of each member within the band?

Syu: Basically I’m taking the role of the leader, but we’ve got quite some rascals in the band (laughs), so I feel the responsibility to organize this individualistic gang. Thus, I am in charge of such overarching activities. Yudai is the main composer, so he is in charge of the musical parts of our activities. He’s, like, overflowing with new ideas, and he makes more and more songs all the time.

Yudai: I just woke up from 4000 years of sleep, so the ideas just won’t stop.

Syu: Mikaru creates the essential design, which expresses the world view of BLACK LINE, and paints his interpretations of it. He did all of the designs for our first single, LEGNA, as well. He does a faithful reproduction of our musicality. And our bassist, Jun…when we all come together on an important day and there is someone who has slept in and comes late, he has the important mission of calling them to wake them up.

Jun: I’m everyone’s girlfriend.

Yudai: He’s a catgirl. Our poster girl.

Jun: I like to take care of people.

Mikaru: He’s loved by the three of us (laughs).

You are going on tour in Europe and other countries. Could you tell us why you chose the tour title HELLO WORLD BLACKERS?

Yudai: As the title suggests, it seems like there are people all over the world who want to meet the awakened us, so we should go see them.

Syu: It carries the meaning that the Blackers from all over the world are the same. We’re all one big circle.

Jun: (Using the lyrics of the song Aitakute Aitakute by Nishino Kana) “I want to meet you so much I’m trembling”. It transmits these feelings.

Yudai: I’m looking forward to it!

Jun: I want everyone to become more and more emotional and to call my name.

Yudai: “Jun! Jun!”

Mikaru: I want us to be seen in a sexy way.

What are your goals for this first tour?

Yudai: Well we woke up for the first time since a while, so in order to be able to give our best, we would like to go and receive some energy from everyone from all over the world.

Jun: Receiving energy from everyone all over the world, we, too, would be able to move a level up. It would be great if in this loop there was a future for BLACK LINE all over the world.

Syu: We’re heading towards the milestone of one year since the beginning of our activities, and at this point we would like to cross the borders and spread our existence and our music. The feelings we are investing into this tour are very strong.

Mikaru: We don’t want to stop in Japan. We want to go at least once to another place. We are starting with Europe this time, and there are some countries where we aren’t going to this time. Next time we would like to go to more different places, not only in Europe but, for example, North America….

BLACK LINE: Yes, we want to go! To South Africa, to Australia, everywhere….

Syu: We would like to avoid the misunderstanding that HELLO WORLD BLACKERS is not only limited to the European Blackers.

Yudai: It’s like chapter one.

Syu: A prologue that we are sending to people all over the world.

Mikaru and Syu have been overseas before. How do you feel about returning in a different shape?

Syu: With a new band in BLACK LINE, I was facing activities with a change in attitude, and I did not think at all at first that there would be a chance for this new band to go overseas. To be honest, I was quite surprised first. However, since it is a rare chance and there are people waiting for our activities in this new band, I am looking forward very much to meeting these people once again.

Mikaru: Since it’s the fifth time for me, I don’t feel like I am going to a faraway place anymore. It takes the same time to go to Europe as to go by car to a far corner of Japan. So the world is smaller than you might think. It just feels like “I’m back”. I have confidence in the sound of this new band, and I am sure that people who came to our lives before would like it. So I am just looking forward to it.

For Yudai and Jun it’s the first time overseas. What are your expectations and how are you preparing yourself for the trip?

Yudai: I like lots of foreign bands, so I am genuinely looking forward to it.

Which bands for example?

Yudai: I like a lot, for example, Story of the Year and Linkin Park. It is such a thrilling thing to go overseas in a Japanese band which is itself influenced by overseas music.

Jun: Well, I’ve heard that there are many cute girls, so I that’s something I have some expectations for (laughs). I’m burning.

Yudai: And we just called him our poster girl (laughs).

Syu: Where are you burning?

Jun: I’m horny.

Syu: And are you preparing yourself somehow?

Jun: I drink protein every day, bringing my body to a better condition.

Syu: Just protein? There are more things you have to drink, right?

Jun: Viagra?

Syu: Oh!

BLACK LINE: (laughs)

Jun: But I watch travel programs on TV about Europe, like “we’ll travel to such places”, and when I watch these, my attention is drawn to the sceneries. So aside from band activities, I’d like to be able to enjoy such things as well.

Mikaru: The city streets are very beautiful.

Yudai: There is another peculiarity about Jun, a weapon that can appeal to people overseas. An ultimate weapon the three of us do not have: (in English) he has world-wide big hip.

Syu: It is a challenge for the Blacker all over the world.

Yudai: In a way it’s BLACK LINE’s greatest weapon.

Syu: Will his hips survive until the end of the tour?

BLACK LINE: (laughs)

Yudai: He transcends gender. He transcends both borders and gender.

Jun: I can love any kind of humans.

Yudai: He is like Buddha Jun.

Jun: In any case, if I do a stage-dive, catch me from my ass first.

Syu: He has a bigger ass than you’d expect, so those who catch him, please be careful not to be injured.

Jun: You have to be prepared.

While you are on tour, your second single, BEAUTY & THE DEVIL will be released. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Yudai: These are all new songs. It’s a second single created with vengeance, so it has speedy, heavy songs that come from this “dreadful!” sort of feeling of despair and anger; but also from gentleness that is born within, there are expressions of sudden warm feelings, so it is quite different from the first release. You will be able to see a new world of BLACK LINE.

Syu: While having not much time, we pushed ourselves and in creating these songs we were able to see something new. These are songs that no one apart from the members has heard yet, so we would like you to have some expectations for them.

Jun: It feels like we evolved.

You haven’t played these songs live yet?

BLACK LINE: No, not a single one of them yet. Please look forward to them.

We would like to test your knowledge of countries overseas a bit. Please tell us a fact or a thought that comes to your mind that is related to each country you are going to visit on tour.

Mikaru: The Netherlands is Marijuana.

BLACK LINE: You can’t say that! (laughs)

Yudai: Neo-Holland has Nether Gundam and Neo-Russia has Bolt Gundam.

Syu: Jean Reno was born in Casablanca, wasn’t he? Morocco has a strong image of being a country of people who have deep traditions and culture.

Jun: See you in Casablanca!

BLACK LINE: It’s on the African continent; it’s very interesting. It’s like we’ve crossed a continental border before noticing. It’s a place we’ve never been to.

Syu: It’s uncharted territory for us, but if we look on Facebook or Twitter, it seems like the fans from Morocco are waiting for us, so….

Yudai: We would like to go there to let them listen to our Japanese heavy rock.

Syu: So please wait for us and look forward to it.

Jun: Next is France, I like French movies. For example, “Taxi"—I’ve seen the four of them. I like the film, but also the city streets that are shown there are nice, and the people seem more emotional than Japanese. There’s this image of…”oh! soir!” (the band tries speaking French). I would like to be touched by these warm hearts.

Yudai: And there’s Pleymo! I like them.

Jun: Next is Germany. Sausage?

Syu: Well but he (points at Jun) also has a special sausage.

Yudai: Japanese sausage vs. German sausage: a confrontation that crosses generations (laughs).

Syu: I felt like the German fans of J-rock understood the ways Japanese fans behave at gigs very well. So sometimes during a live I get an illusion that I’m back in Japan. I have an impression that they understand Japan so well. And there’s also Kai Hansen.

Yudai: German metal.

Jun: Finland is the country with the best treatment of citizens in the world. So I think that in a country where citizens are treated well, probably everyone is really good. I’ve heard that a woman who cannot work but has become pregnant gets 80% support (by the government). I’m envious to the point that I’d almost want to migrate there.

BLACK LINE: Wow, impressive. Well done, king of Wikipedia.

Syu: I have an image that there are many Japanese living there. We had a Japanese translator when we went there.

Mikaru: And you can eat reindeer meat.

Syu: I like Sonata Arctica. Also, the living standard level is high. You can feel this even from just looking at the streets.

Yudai: What I can tell you about Finland…(looks at Wikipedia from his smartphone).

Jun: Don’t just look it up! (laughs)

Yudai: In 1917, during the Russian Revolution….

BLACK LINE: That’s unfair. You can’t do that (laughs).

Yudai: Poland. There was a match with Japan in Poland the other day.

BLACK LINE: The Warsaw Pact.

Syu: This is also from experience, but the warmth of the crowd is incredible. Even though the place where we played wasn’t too big, the fans…they were of the type where if they catch you, they aren’t likely to let go. There were professional wrestlers there—diving in, going forwards, and getting caught by other people so they couldn’t get through to the stage, while others pressed on like “A bit more! A bit more!” Everyone is very emotional and you could feel their passion.

Yudai: The Netherlands. Windmills!

Mikaru: It was peaceful. The city was very quiet.

Jun: I live in Tokyo, but I actually like quieter places. You can calm down.

Yudai: Their dial code is 31.

BLACK LINE: Stop looking things up! (laughs)

Jun: Russia is 007. “From Russia with Love”.

BLACK LINE: Zangief (A Character from Street Fighter)! Bolt Gundam.

Syu: In Moscow you will probably be able to watch Mikaru’s Cossack dance, so please look forward to it.

BLACK LINE: But it’s cold. And there’s vodka! We can drink hot alcohol. We can probably die from it though.

Jun: It’s supposed to be cold, but that’s why you should heat us up with your warmth.

Syu:…And you’ll probably be able to hear his cold jokes that transcend the coldness.

Jun: I am looking forward to the food from all the countries.

At last, could you please give our readers a message before your tour?

Jun: I said this on the video on our official website already, but I don’t speak English or any other country’s languages. Even if my words don’t come through, there is something that can be transmitted through music. So during lives, please transmit something to me as well with your emotions. We will liven up the venue to the utmost, so I am asking for your support.

Mikaru: It’s been three years since I met you all, but despite that, there are people who are waiting, people who are looking forward to this tour, and it makes me very happy. We are touring with this new band, BLACK LINE, and I think that we will bring to you an even better show than last time. So I want you to lose your breath, to an extent of almost fainting, and be touched by us. Please wait for us!

Syu: Dear readers of JaME, we cannot wait to be able to meet you. In the three weeks and 12 performances, it is a rather tight schedule, but we promise to make all of the dates great shows. I love you.

Yudai: The four of us are starting our journey into an unknown world. What will you think when you feel the emotional rock that was given birth to by the Japanese nature? Feeling this, we will evolve and you will evolve, and it would be great if we could create a BLACK LINE empire from now on all over the world. We love you. We are waiting for you.


JaME would like to thank BLACK LINE and Torpedo Productions for the opportunity to conduct this interview.
Special thanks to Chiyomi, Nathalie and Vanessa.
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