【face-to-face / interview】VAMPS

VAMPS’ upcoming album is scheduled to be released in Europe within Autumn via Spinefarm Records / Universal Music, titled « Sex Blood Rock ‘n Roll », the CD will include re-recorded and remixed songs from their two previous albums along with English translated lyrics. For the occasion, VerdamMnis met the band in the studios of l’Olympia, Paris (FR) right before their coming on stage.

Vamps

How was it different as a musician to re-work old songs of yours compared to create one from scratch ?
Hyde : Hum… The approach of music was definitely different. Even though creating a song from scratch seems to be a harder exercice, re-working old ones is nevertheless simple. As for as I am concerned, it was a pretty good challenge. With this best-of, we wanted to improve our sound, to make it better, make it more intense, and of course, more in line with the tastes and aspirations of an international audience that we covet so much. As a musician, it was a pretty interesting exercice.

How hard was it for you to re-write the lyrics of the songs in a foreign language while trying to keep their original spirits ?
Hyde : Hum… The sounds and tones of both versions of each song is quite the same. I have been working with a translator who helped me go though the end of the job. He helped me complete it successfully by giving me, for each song, a list of English words with similar soundings to the original words, the Japanese ones, and I chose the ones that fit the most, that fit myself and what I had in mind. It was probably the most difficult part of the best-of. We tried our best to keep the original spirit, stories, sounding and atmosphere of each song.

What inspires your lyrics ? What are your favorite subjects to write about ?
Hyde : As for as the lyrics go, I do not think I have any particular favorite subject to write about. Each song is part of a special and different approach. Inspiration pops into my mind as I am writing music. It is simply the result of a spontaneous process. I have always many things to say but those things come right in the moment of the writing. Music itself inspires the lyrics.

Western people who have an interest in Japanese singing bands usually think that it is a pity that thoses artists tend to give-up on Japanese language for the benefit of English since, to a certain extend, the music loses its added-value, appreciation, impact and sincerity. Aren’t you afraid to disappoint your fans by singing your lyrics in English ?
Hyde : Hum… It is a pretty difficult question to answer. We know that our most passionate fans want to listen to Japanese singing lyrics. However, we are really looking forward to exporting our music and it seems to me that Japanese language represents a brake on reaching this goal. In terms of market, it is a niche. Japanese language even represents a specific musical genre. I do not know why exactly, but it is a reality. Our Japanese singing songs will exist forever, and we will keep on creating others. But that being said, we are now focusing on reaching a larger, international, public. To go beyond this barrier, English is a necessity.

The visual aspect of the band seems to be important for you. How important is it ?
Hyde : I am going to bitch-talk and I am sorry for that ( laughs ). I think the visual aspect of a band, its image, is definitely a part of its identity. Those musicians who let themselves drift physically or are simply common are, for me, less interesting than those who develop a visual universe around their music. They are less complete and utter. It is possible to make good and beautiful music and be ugly and fat, oops… ( laughs ) but it attracts me less than a band who play the game to the fullest and distinguish themselves by working hard their visual side.

You seem to have a special interest in vampires. What do you like best about them ?
Hyde : I must admit that I identify with them and their way of living. I tend to consider myself a vampire. I do not dring blood, I reassure you but I drink a lot of wine… daily ( laughs ). Vampires represent, as for me, the quintessence of the romantic hero. I love girls, women. They inspire me. I go to bed in the morning and live at night. Vampires are beautiful, mysterious and elegant.

Let’s play a little game. Tell me what images, ideas or points-of-view you have in mind when I say the three following words : Sex ? Blood ? Rock N Roll ?
Hyde : Ah ! yes, OK. Hum. Sex ? This word makes me think of a live-performance, the sensations it makes you feel when playing music on stage in front of people who love you and appreciate what you are offering them. It is intense. It is an experience like no other. Blood ? Wine and more generally, alcohol. My regeneration source. Rock N Roll ? The word speaks for itself. It represents music and all the possibilities it provides. My hobby, my reason to be.

What have you found with Vamps that you haven’t with your other projects ?
Hyde : With Vamps, I am able to elaborate esthetics, a more completed visual aspect, that I control myself. The frivolity of the music as well as its heavier and more Rock N Roll side. With Vamps, I have a blast and I am totally free, artistically-speaking.
K.A.Z : Yes, the frivolity of the music as well as the entertainement side of it.

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