【face-to-face / interview】MUCC
For years fans all over Europe have been waiting for MUCC’s return. For the French, the wait has finally ended on June 19th and June 20th ! Excitement might have grown stronger from it, fans together with Japanese rock legend MUCC set Paris on fire on both dates ! Before the first show, we met singer Tatsuro and drummer Satochi to talk about the European tour, Japan’s situation post-Fukushima and the band’s upcoming plans.
Tonight, you will give the third show of the European tour. How’s it going since it kicked-off and what are you most looking forward to about it ?
Tatsuro : The first two shows of this European tour were held in Moscow and London. The performances went quite well but there were so many troubles surrounding them : the set-up of the stage, the soundcheck, the rehearsals. There were many, many technical issues. But well… I think it’s pretty normal to encounter such things at the beginging of the tour, I hope we won’t get any problem from now on. It has to be better ! Things always get better with time and experience. I’m looking forward to having a perfect show tonight. French crowd is said to be amazing. I think it’s gonna be a great !
Do you have any funny story or uncommun story to share with me yet ?
Tatsuro : Yesterday, we had the shortest rehearsals of MUCC’s history (laughs) ! I can assure you, no matter how long you have been in this business, if you want to perform a good show, you can’t get away with non-proper rehearsals. We had so many technical problems, I just can’t list them. There has been too many of them (laughs).
Tomorrow, you’ll play at Divan du Monde (Paris) again. When you play in the same city, in the same venue twice in a row — or more, how do you guys manage to make them a different experience from each other for the fans ?
Tatsuro : We never think about making shows a different experience for the fans. Live-peformances come from our hearts. They come from our inner selves. They aren’t calculated, they aren’t controlled. They are authentic. They can’t be forced nor predicted. Each show is always different from the previous one. No matter where and when we play, it’s always different. Well, as far as I’m concerned, it always feels very different. I hope it’s the same for the fans. We just focus on having a good time, a good sharing experience. We’ve never felt the same on stage twice. Actually, this is what makes it so interesting. We never know what’s going to happen.
Being on tour, everything is in constant motion. How do you manage to make yourself feel at home on the road ? How do you find stability ?
Satochi : We don’t really care about it. When we are on tour, we are not looking forward to finding stability. We just focus on the music and the fans. We just want to share something special with them, a connexion through our music. Other things than that don’t really matter.
Tatsuro : We can’t find stability when touring. It’s impossible to feel at home on the road (laughs). We just live in the moment with its pros and cons. When I get home, I feel great because home can never be found anywhere else. Home is a very special place, there’s no other like it. My happiness is at its peak when I get back to my house (laughs). It’s even hard to describe that feeling.
What do you like best and least about touring overseas ?
Satochi : What I like best is playing the music on stage and sharing a special moment with our fans. What I hate the most is the weakness of my mentality. I don’t have a strong mind. If I have three shows in a row, I get nervous and doubt my ablities. When touring, I get easily stressed-out. I always questioned myself : « Am I going to manage it ? Am I not ? ». My mind gets easily cluttered and overwhelmed by negative emotions. But foreign beer is always excellent, that is why I drink some once a show is done, especially when I know there’s another one to perform the day after (laughs).
Tatsuro : I agree with you.
Fans all over Europe have waited for you to come back. Last time you visited us, was in 2011, right before the nuclear disaster of March. Was it one of the reasons of your absence ?
Tatsuro : Not really. It wasn’t the reason we didn’t come back sooner. We just couldn’t manage it. Though we wanted to, timing wasn’t perfect. We had so much to do in Japan at the time. We wish it happened sooner but we couldn’t make it. We are really happy to be here today, I hope fans don’t hold it against us. As for the Fukushima event, it was very particular to every Japanese, in the wrong way of particular. We never experienced such kind of things before. Our generation, and the ones after, thought that those tragic events only happen on the media. As for me, it was entering into unknown. But out of very negative, we experienced such postive. People were showing their best. They were there, helping friends, family, neighbors and in some cases strangers. How the Japanese coped with Fukushima disaster was really amazing. Human nature can be something beautiful !
The disaster is far from being over. How is Japan facing the recovering process ? What is its current situation post-Fukushima ?
Tatsuro : We don’t know if this disaster’s damage will ever be fixed. We hear from the media that the situation is slowly getting better. But can we trust it ? Can we trust the newspapers ? Can we trust the TV and the politicans ? Nobody knows what’s really happening. Nobody knows the extent of the damage done. We can only be sure, the damage is greater than what it is said to be. But, people went on with their lives, it isn’t in their heads anymore. There are scars but people have their own problems with their every day lives. Now that it’s been 4 years since the disaster occured, there’s no big change in the country.
Last year, you released your 12th studio-album, The End of the World. Its concept was based on the idea to live in the moment and enjoy life while you can. Was it influenced by the disaster of 2011 ? This concept is, I guess, also to be found under the title of the tour, « Fuck The Past, Fuck The Future ». Am I right ?
Tatsuro : Right on ! Your analysis is correct. This is exactly what we want to convey with the title of the tour. When the disaster happened, many Japanese artists put their two cents and took part of the event through their art. What’s going on in the lives of artists are not seperated from what they live in their every day lives. The idea of now-is-only-there-is is born from this tragic event. Living in the moment, in the present time, is what we have been taught from Fukushima. We cannot change things that have already happened, and obsessing over them is a waste of time and energy. We cannot predict the future, so worrying about it does nothing to help you either. Instead, focus on now, be in the moment.
You guys had the time to play the album on stage for a while. With insight, what do you like best about this album and what songs do you like to play best ?
Tatsuro : Hum… I love the disc, as a whole.
Satochi : I love playing « The End of the World ».
Are you happy with the feedback ? Do you sometimes read the fans’ reactions on the Internet ?
Tatsuro : We do check the feedback. Their opinions are important. But we’re not very skilled at English so we can’t read so much about what overseas’ fans think about what we do.
What is the band greatest strength and biggest weakness, as a whole ?
Tatsuro : The friendship ! The bound we’ve developed through years. Time and distance do nothing to diminish it, quite the contrary. When there’s an emergency, we always stick together, we always help one another. But on the other hand, when there’s no emergency, we distance ourselves from each other (laughs). We need emergency situations to get together. This is what has been saving the band and makes it last. MUCC’s been around for 2 decades and that’s how we’ve managed to stick together for so long.
What do you like best about each other, work-wise ?
Tatsuro : Satochi is very serious when work is involved. He always gives 100% of himself. He’s probably the most sensitive. Everytime, he makes his best effort, which I love. He’s passionate about what he does. It’s definitely a plus for the band.
Satochi : What I like best about Tatsuro is his creative mind. He’s a man of vision. He never runs out of ideas. He has so many connexions with very different people. Those relations may have an impact on him somehow and therefore on the band too.
You announced the release of a new mini album on June 24th titled ”T.R.E.N.D.Y. -Paradise from 1997-”. What does that title stand for ? Can you tell us more about its content ?
Satochi : (laughs) Yes, the title is kind of complex.
Tatsuro : 1997 stands for the year of MUCC’s birth. At the time, we were teenagers trying to break into the music business. We observed what kind of music was selling, how the business was running, how society was functioning and so on. We were kind of copying the music we were listening to. But every since we got together, we developed continuously our sound. We started with no real trademark. We quickly took advantage of our musical heritage to build our own identity. With insight, as grown men, we figured out we went through many trends. Basically, the title is a mix of what was inside of us, our will to break in, and what was trendy at the time. It produced an offset, cheesy title which we like very much. I like the gap between the kitsch title and the content of the disc. We also wanted a mini-album and not a full LP because it generally only lasts 30 to 40 minutes which is perfect for festival set-timing. We want to bring this mini-album to the summer festivals.
Thank you both for your time.
Tatsuro : Thank you.
Satochi : Thanks.