Moi dix Mois live-DVD titled “Dixanadu ~ Fated ‘Raison d’Être’ ~ Tour” was released last year in Japan and is now available in Europe via Trisol Records. To celebrate this release, I was offered an exclusive interview with the leader and guitarist of the band, Mana Sama.
Does the European version of the DVD differ from the Japanese one ?
Mana : The European version includes English translated subtitles on the documentary footage and a booklet with photos from the European lives. The first-pressed edition contains a photo with my signature on it.
Why did you decide to record it in France again ?
Mana : I decided to do it in France because it was the last day of the tour. Parisian fans are fervent, exuberant, they are great. It turned out to be the best live of the final tour.
Are you currently working on new materials for Moi dix Mois ?
Mana : We have a couple of new unreleased songs that we have been playing in Japan. Currently, Moi dix Mois is going into preproduction for an album.
What can fans expect of it ?
Mana : At the moment, I cannot tell you much about it other than it will be a reflection of who I am. In other words, this new album will be dark and classical-sounding oriented.
Your musical approach seems to have changed these past few years, doesn’t it ?
Mana : I think my music is always evolving. But I think the bedrock I have at all times, which is the theme of having a fusion between something fierce and beautiful, has not changed.
Do you still regard Moi dix Mois as your solo-project ?
If so, will you keep the same line-up for the next record ?
Mana : It is basically a solo project, but the current members have really high potential (powerful skills and abilities). They are very important to express my music. Depending on the sound I want to create, there is a possibility of adding in new members in the future.
As for the concept of the albums, how do you share your ideas with the others ?
Mana : I explain the theme of the song to the members and ask each of them to reflect it into their musical performance. Especially for Seth, the vocalist, I convey the song’s world-view even more and advise him on the song’s expression.
The lyrics of your albums always deal with despair, loneliness and darkness in general.
Where do your texts come from ?
Mana : I like beautiful yet painful melodies that lie within sadness and suffering. Maybe the texts turn out this way because they are written after the music is composed ?!
What emotion is the most inspiring to you ?
Mana : When I listen to Bach’s beautiful counterpoint songs, the entanglement of their sound is unique. My feelings are, then, enormously heightened.
Leaders are said to be loners. What’s your opinion about it ?
Mana : I don’t regard myself as a loner, I am — therefore, not really concerned about it. However, I think being a leader is a difficult position in the sense that you must carry on all the responsibilities, but I will continue to take on the leadership role, no matter what it takes.
Are the look and attitude you give yourself a way to overcome timidity ?
Does the character you created allow you to express yourself more freely ?
Mana : I am not the type of person that is able to open up freely to everyone right away. But I am not sure whether it means that I am shy.
Is the project of opening Moi-même-Moitié shop in Europe going to achieve its goal soon ?
Mana : Currently Harajuku, a shop located in Paris, is handling some Moi-meme-Moitie products. I do have a wish to open a real Moi-meme-Moitie shop in the near future though.
How far are you involved in the creation process of the covers and visual designs ?
Mana : Based on the feelings that emanate from the songs, I draw the approximative basics of a sketch and — along with it, I give detailed instructions to the designer.
The logo of the band is a decagon with numbers and symbolism. Is there any hidden meaning ?
Mana : It originates from 10 in “dix” of Moi dix Mois. This was the starting point of my decision to have a decagon as the logo of the band. I planned this design with the graphic designer and decided on the current one. If you disassemble the number 10, it’s 1 and 0. 1 is the beginning of everything. 0 signifies eternity.
You recently produced solo artist Kanon Wakeshima. Can you introduce her to us ?
Why didn’t you sign her on Midi:Nette ?
Mana : Originally, this was a request from Sony Record, and Kanon Wakeshima was already committed to them ever since she auditioned for them. At the time, Sony Record asked me if I wanted to produce an artist. It happened when my interest in producing was starting to emerge. They showed me the recording footage of Sony Record’s audition, and among the selected people, there was Kanon Wakeshima. I felt a possibility do something interesting with her seeing her sing while she played on the cello. This is how we decided to produce her. Kanon Wakeshima is the first female artist I ever produced. I was happy about the live that was held at FNAC on February in Champs d’Elysees of Paris. It was a huge success.
What was your role exactly in the making of her debut album ?
Mana : I took part in the producing process in its entirety : I composed, arranged, and did an overall supervising on artworks and everything related to visuals.
How was the working process with her ?
Mana : As far as the recording process is concerned, it was her very first experience, but it wasn’t a problem since she has been studying classical music since the age of 3. She has good ears for music so it went smoothly.
What do you take out from this collaboration ?
Mana : This was the first time for me to produce a female cellist, and as a matter of fact, many things were done for the first time. It went fine as far as those things go. It was very refreshing and fun too. I wrote many songs I would not write for Moi dix Mois, and therefore was I able to open up new elements within myself. Regarding producing Kanon Wakeshima, my workload was heavy, and the hardest part was trying to manage time for my own project. After Kanon Wakeshima’s album was released on February, my work with her was finished. I can now focus on my own project. I will continue to write songs for her though. I think I will be able to maintain balance between the two.
Do you have any more collaborations planned soon, European artists ?
Mana : In the future, I would like to take on challenges with different possibilities. If I find someone interesting, I would like to try producing again. I am also quite interested in European artists, yes.
What are your plans for 2009 ?
Mana : On July, together with former MALICE MIZER member, KOZI, we are going to embark on a coupling tour in Tokyo and Osaka. After that, I will get back to production for the new album for Moi dix Mois. Once the album is out, a European tour will take place for sure.