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What have I gotten myself into?... Don't answer, it was a rhetorical question.

At the anniversary live "Closer to Ideal -Brand New Scene-" on October 1 D'espairsRay had a pamphlet sold

Most of the pamphlet consists of the interviews: a main interview with the whole band, year by year, personal interviews, questionnaires, a band's timeline and a discography. My estimate is that it is going to be... about 200 pages in Word total, posted chapter by chapter since livejournal has a limit on the length of the entries. And obviously over a long period of time. So brace yourself, guys, or run while you can >;D

They talk while looking at the timeline, I'll update it as I post the corresponding chapters.

text: Reiko Arakawa
translation: notafanboy


D'espairsRay 10th anniversary special talk I

Looking back,1999-2009.


Q: Let’s start with the band’s formation on September 9, 1999. How long did the preparations take?

Z: Three months.

H: If I remember correctly we came to Tokyo around the middle of June, right?

T: June 16.

H: We decided the band’s name on September 9.

Q: What events led to the formation of the band?

K: When my band broke up I thought that I have to look for the members of a new band and at the time Zero was an acquaintance of our drummer. I hadn’t really talked to him until then and he often bullied me at the parties.

Z: (laughs).

K: Then before we noticed we became friends and started coming over to each other’s places and talked about making a band together and that’s how it began. The band was not called D’espairsRay yet. After that we looked for other members but we could not find anyone… then suddenly I remembered about Hizumi and Tsukasa. They came to our live in Akita or somewhere around there because they were friends with a band we played with that day. We exchanged numbers then and, when their faces popped up in my head, I called Hizumi and their band was about to break up too, right?

H: When you called the first time, the band was fine, but after your call everything went downhill (laughs).

Q: Hizumi, were you in the same band with Tsukasa?

H: Yes.

Q: Since you did not work well together with your guitarist and bassist, were the two of you thinking about doing something else together?

H: No… I don’t think that was the case.

T: No.

H: Tsukasa was invited to join another band… but when Karyu called and our band broke up, we decided to go to Tokyo.

K: I hadn’t heard them play before that so I asked Hizumi to send me their demo tape. Anyway I wanted to listen to them first… and when I listened to the record I was shocked.

Q: What kind of a shock was it?

K: Should I say it was about their songwriting skills? I did not pay much attention to the performance, but their songs were much better than what I had so I decided to invite them. I called Hizumi again and he said “Should I come to Tokyo?” and “Let’s meet once”. Then Tsukasa tagged along with him.

Q: Did he?

H: Because Karyu said that they did not have a drummer.

K: I said that we wanted a drummer too.

H: So I asked Tsukasa if he would like to come with me.

K: No, he just tagged along.

Everyone: (laughs).

T: No, I did not. Well, our band broke up and then there was the matter of the next one too.

Q: Did you keep looking for opportunities?

T: Yes.

K: When we met, we thought that the four of us might work well together, but Tsukasa probably did not have a good feeling about it and he threw a tantrum in the beginning (laughs).

Everyone: (laughs).

T: I had to think about my family, at the time I was working at a company so it was a difficult decision.

Q: Did you feel more inclined towards working at your hometown?

T: Yes, it was like that when I joined the company.

Q: Then when the two of you came over to Tokyo and everyone went to a studio, did you have a good feeling about playing together?

K: Yeah. In the beginning everyone thought that the others were skilled and reliable and no one had any complaints.

Q: When did you begin the preparations? Was it July or August?

K: I do not remember.

Z: We just fooled around in the beginning.

Everyone: (laughs).

K: Yeah.

Z: We went out drinking and to karaoke places.

T: Yeah, for about a month.

Z: We thought about what to do next (laughs). We formed a band – cool, but what to do next?

H: When did we start?

K: Did we actually fool around?

Z: Well, we did some band-related stuff.

H: We wrote songs…

Z: Because we had no original songs.

H: Yeah.

Z: So while Karyu and Tsukasa wrote songs…. we went out drinking in the evening (laughs).

K: Yeah, we went out drinking for about a month to get to know each other.

Q: You went out for a whole month straight?

Z: We wrote music and went drinking.

Q: So you began writing music as soon as you met, didn’t you?

H: I don’t think we were in a rush.

Q: Who suggested the name of the band?

K: All of us…

H: All four of us contributed to it…

K: In the beginning I said that I wanted a name that would start with “D”. My previous band also had a name starting with “D”, so I guess… from there we chose a name?

Z: Yeah, like: “What words start with “D”?”

Q: I suppose at the time you talked about what kind of a band you wanted to do.

K: Zero and I talked a lot about it, but, well, all we talked about was something that would require a lot of money and was very difficult to do.

Z: We kept thinking about playing one-man shows all the time.

K: Yeah.

H: You talked about things like putting a wire net in front of the stage. Like: “How are we going to put such a huge wire net?” (laughs). “Where are we going to get it?” or “Where are we going to get money for it?”

K: I sorta thought: “If we try, we can do it” (laughs). (T.N. Karyu quotes Uesugi Harunori's, 1751-1822, famous saying that goes along the lines of "If you try you can do it, if you won't try you'll never achieve anything, everything impossible is what people never tried to accomplish".)

Everyone: (laughs).

H: I told you to stop saying nonsense.

K: We also thought that we could make certain things ourselves.

Z: I had a job that involved welding, so if it was metal, I thought I could make it myself.

Everyone: (laughs).

H: “If it was metal,” (laughs) that’s pretty cool.

Q: It must have been the time, when you were filled with hopes about your future.

Z: … yes.

Everyone: (laughs).

H: You do not sound very convincing (laughs).

K: But I think that a lot of things were still in disarray during this year.

Q: Well, it was probably a necessary period for you to get to know each other. Do you remember your first live?

H: I don’t really remember it. It felt like it was over very fast.

K: I remember the live at RATTAN (in Maebashi city) very clearly.

H: I remember RATTAN live very well too. That day Zero shaved off his eyebrows.

Z: (laughs).

H: I remember the day you shaved off your eyebrows clearly.

Q: Why did you do it?

Z: I did not have a razor, but I shaved a “T” letter and then one side was completely gone (laughs).

H: So we said: “Shave it off!”

K: We told him to shave it all off.

Q: So that’s why you remember it.

H: Yeah.

Z: But I remember the live at AREA.

Q: The very first one?

Z: Yes. The performance was over in a blink of an eye, but despite that I felt so tired. Until then I hadn’t been in a band that played aggressive music, I wanted to, but it was the first time I stood on the stage. That’s why I felt that it was over in a split second and I was so exhausted. Rather than feeling that we achieved something, I felt wiped out.

K: It did not feel as an achievement.

Q: No? (laughs)

K: I did not understand myself. Each band member also has their own personality and standing, right? I feel that we played that day without understanding any of it.

Q: Were the bands you played with that day completely different from you? Or were they similar?

Z: They weren’t similar to us, right? The bassist from Karyu’s previous band was there too.

Q: What about you, Tsukasa? What were your feelings during the first live?

T: I have only hazy memories of the day, but I played without knowing the limits of my strength and it felt like a mad dash that was over in a blink of an eye.

Q: Speaking of your strength limits, you did not play such aggressive music before, right?

T: The previous band was not that aggressive. In this case from the very beginning we had three musicians moving at the front of the stage. I am not sure… if I enjoyed playing that day, it was over very fast.

Q: You played live for the first time in September and later that year you worked hard and also played lives in October, November and December. How many songs did you have at the time?

T: I have an impression we had very few songs.

Everyone: (laughs).

K: Yeah.

H: In the beginning we did not have enough songs to play for more than half an hour. During our first live did we play 5 songs? Or was it 6? I think it was around that number.

Q: Did you record songs at the time?

Z: We did.

H: We distributed a demo tape [Ao] for free.

Q: What kind of a song was [Ao] for D’espairsRay?

Z: Wasn’t it the song we started with? It was the very first song we wrote. Or rather Karyu had it from the time of his previous band.

K: I wrote it when I was still in my previous band, but I don’t think I played it with that band.

Z: Rather that reflecting our band’s direction, it is probably better to say that the song showed how we fumbled for what to do.

Q: Demo tapes are such a nostalgic technique.

K: Yeah.

Q: Do you still have the tape?

K: I don’t.

Z: I have the song recorded on an MD.

Q: Do you think someone still has the original tape?

Z: Probably not.

Q: How many copies did you make?

H: Was it around one hundred? It is approximate because we recorded those tapes by ourselves (laughs).

T: We dubbed the tapes on a tape recorder.

Z: Then we made photocopies of the cover, cut them with scissors and put in the cassette cases.

H: We printed the covers out (laughs).

T: I think we dubbed the tapes.

Q: It was important for you, wasn’t it?

H: It was completely handmade (laughs).

K: Around the time playing lives required money. We paid to play lives… because we did not have an audience. Ah~, it was so tough.

Everyone: (laughs).

Q: You did not have fans yet, did you?

H: No.

K: Having rehearsals required money, for example, we had to buy strings or other things that wore out. It was a vicious circle. Or maybe more like a loosing spiral.

Everyone: (laughs).

K: We worked hard to get out of there.

Q: Every band must overcome the same difficulties.

K: Yeah.

H: AREA’s quota was really high.

Everyone: (laughs).

H: We could not get past it for a while.

Q: When did you get past it? Next year?

K: I think things turned for the better during the first half of the year.

Z: A year later when we distributed a demo tape [RAZØR] at AREA we already got past the quota… probably. As far as I remember we played some lives, in which we could not participate unless we brought in a certain number of fans.

K: Didn’t a lot of people come to see us at Yamagata Music Showa Session?

Z: That’s because it had nothing to do with D’espairsRay fans (laughs).

H: Because people who came to see us there were the fans from our previous band (laughs). We see it often lately, something like “ex-someone”, those people are the band members who have the fans from before. But we had no fans in the beginning.

Q: That’s true.

H: That’s why I think it was so difficult for us to meet the quota limit.

Q: Now when we talk about it, aren’t you remembering how optimistic you were about the band back then?

K: We were not optimistic (laughs). Not at all…

H: It was the time of despair.

Everyone: (laughs).

K: We started the band around the time I began to slip into depression.

H: All of us were pessimistic.

K: Yeah, we were thinking negatively: “We are not going to get popular like this” and “no one is coming to see us” (laughs).

Q: When you distributed the demo tapes in 1999 and were heading towards the next year, did you think that the band was going to be successful? Or did you think that it would not work?

K: I thought that it was probably not going to work.

Q: Really?

K: Yeah. At the time I thought that the way we looked was fine, but I felt different about our musical direction.

Q: As a main composer for the band what kind of music did you want to play?

K: Back then I was not the main composer yet. Tsukasa wrote songs too and the others often thought that his songs were better than mine and decided to play them.

Q: That must have been depressing.

K: That’s why I felt that I was doing something wrong.

Q: What kind of songs did Tsukasa write?

T: If I think about it now, the difference is probably that from long ago I wrote melodious songs and Karyu wrote dark and rhythmical songs.

H: But the songs we recorded were all the songs Karyu wrote.

Everyone: (laughs).

K: That’s when it started to change and I became confident about my songs.

Z: Speaking of Karyu’s songs, he did not use an MTR or any other device like that, he just played the songs for us on the guitar and we could not understand clearly his final vision.

Q: Did Tsukasa use an MTR?

Z: Yes, he used it from the very beginning.

Q: I see, so it was easy to understand.

K: Hi-tech vs. analog, right? I lost to hi-tech.

Everyone: (laughs).

Z: Sometimes Karyu also brought songs written on paper.

T: Karyu wrote songs that would draw fans in during lives. Now he writes a lot of melodious songs, but in the past he thought it was very important to play songs we could get wild together with the fans.

Q: I’d like to listen to the free demo tape [Ao].

K: I am not so sure about it (laughs).


( 60 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
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Dec. 2nd, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so depressed when I found out it had been sold out already!

Thank you thank you thank you so much. I'm going to read it!! Itadakimasu~
Dec. 2nd, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Yeah, surprisingly it got sold out pretty fast, maybe because Zero advertised it on his ameblo xD
Now let's see if I'll see it through to the end...
(no subject) - rabu_resu - Dec. 2nd, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - notafanboy - Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Dec. 2nd, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
are you seriously translating this ENTIRE thing? O_________O
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
Yeah... at least I intend to for now and since I am pretty stubborn, chances are that I will finish it. I guess I have way too much free time that I don't know what to do with. Maybe I need other hobbies? xD
(no subject) - harmlessbondage - Dec. 3rd, 2009 02:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - notafanboy - Dec. 3rd, 2009 11:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 2nd, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ♥ Good luck on the rest of this pamphlet!

The mental image of Tsukasa throwing a tantrum is hilarious. I pictured him acting like a 5 year-old.「東京に行きたくナイヨ!!!>:'(」XD And wow, Zero doing a welding job? I never would have imagined that!
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Yeah, and Hizumi clinging to him: "Don't leave me alone with these people! T_T" I am actually 95% convinced that the main reason why Tsukasa went to Tokyo and joined D'espa was Hizumi who persuaded him because he did not want to go alone xD
Dec. 2nd, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
AHHH!!! Thank you so much!!! SO much work!!!
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Dec. 2nd, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
Most Sexcellent!
Dec. 2nd, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
i love you ;__;
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Dec. 2nd, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much dear!!:3
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Dec. 2nd, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
thank you <33
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Dec. 2nd, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
you are the best!!! thank you so much for this!!! <3<3<3
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Dec. 2nd, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
Thankyou very much 8)
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Dec. 2nd, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
wow, that's gonna be a lot of work o_O but thank you so much for translation! it was so interesting to read about their hardships at the beginning of their career)
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;) Wait, the fun with young and struggling to succeed D'espa is about begin >;3
Dec. 2nd, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you very very much for this <3
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Dec. 2nd, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the translation! :)
Dec. 3rd, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
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