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How does saying that they joined Johnny's make it a proper announcement?! They were lucky to come out of that alive and not even maimed ;O (Everyone probably knows it, but just in case: Johnny's Entertainment is a label that produces boys-bands such as, for example, Arashi, KAT-TUN, NEWS etc.)

Same as before:
I will appreciate any help if there are any mistakes or something needs to be corrected ;)
Please do not repost it anywhere. I prefer to keep the translations to my own dark little corner and be responsible for my mistakes and the words I choose.

text: Reiko Arakawa
translation: notafanboy

Previous chapters:



Q: What was a secret CD?

K: It was a song we later released as [MaVERiCK], we first released it secretly hiding our band’s name…

Q: Ah, now I remember it.

K: Maybe because we played so many lives at the time, we lost the confidence in our music.

Q:  I beg your pardon?

K: We began to doubt if people actually listened to our music… that’s why we secretly released the record as an experiment. Was it sold only at Like an Edison?

Z: Yeah.

K: We had it sold only at Like an Edison and we also played a secret live.

Z: The tickets were distributed among the people who purchased the CD.

H: At the live houses during the pause, when the bands change, there is always background music playing, right? We often went to the lives and brought a CD with us, we had it played and watched audience’s reaction before going home (laughs). We always left once someone said: “Isn’t that D’espairsRay?”

Q: I did some research and it seems that this time you changed the way you wrote the song, Karyu.

K: Yes, I put emphasis on a melody.

Q: It was a big change for you, wasn’t it?

K: I think if we didn’t regain our self-confidence with this song, we would disband. Was it our second crisis?

H: Yeah.

K: Yeah, it was our second disbanding crisis.

Z: We decided that if [MaVERiCK] didn’t sell, we would disband.

Q: When was the first disbanding crisis?

K: I don’t remember.

Q: One thing for sure, you decided to disband if the song was not well received.

K: Yes. We decided that there would be no meaning in continuing the band if after a day of playing the song at Like an Edison store no one would get interested and ask what song was it.

Q: And even though you played a secret live under the name of Itanji (T.N. “itanji” means “maverick”, I am keeping it Japanese and do no translate it to separate the name of the band from the single released later) at LIVE STATION, you also played as D’espairsRay at Shibuya ON AIR WEST on January 25.

H: It was a camouflage.

Q: What do you mean?

H: In short at the time we did the promotion of two kinds, one for D’espairsRay and one for Itanji. If we did nothing as D’espairsRay, people would figure it out, right?

Q: I see.

H: That’s why we kept playing lives as D’espairsRay and at the same time moved forward with Itanji.

Q: I think the project was a success.

K: Quite so. We regained our self-confidence.

Q: As a result you overcame the disbanding crisis.

K: That was when the band changed suddenly.

Q: You also played at Liquidroom that year.

K: And we joined Sweet Child (T.N. a record label).

Z: Yeah, until the live at Liquidroom on April 27 we were on our own, but starting from Takadanobaba AREA live on May 23 we were with Sweet Child.

Q: Were you uneasy about joining the label?

H: We were worried that we might not be able to do things we wanted to. There is that sort of image about music labels, but despite our uneasiness surprisingly we could do what we wanted to.

Q: The number of lives you played didn’t decrease after you joined the label either.

H: No, we toured a lot in 2003.

K: Probably the management took care not to destroy our style.

Q: In the end was joining the label a big event for you?

K: It was.

Q: What was it that changed the most?

K: … maybe our life style?

Everyone: (laughs).

H: We didn’t have to work part time anymore.

Q: In a way it was a dream come true. But it didn’t mean that now that you had a lot of free time you wrote a lot of songs, right?

K: No, I felt as if I was driven to grow up and become an adult. I had to comply, even though I didn’t really want to…

Q: What about the other bands that were on the same label?

H: Well… I don’t remember if anyone told us anything about the label that much. Well, I can say that nobody told that it would be tough to work with them.

K: Speaking of the lives, for example, until then we did everything by ourselves and working hard we could do it the way we pleased, but now because we had to think about the production cost we couldn’t do the way we wanted at all. We realized that difference, once we tried to propose something we would get the reply: “Well, maybe not…” There were complications like that too.

Q: Naturally it was difficult. What about you, Zero?

Z: Well… I thought: “Surprisingly they don’t really do anything for us” (laughs).

K: Yeah.

H: Do you think they left us on our own too much?

Everyone: (laughs)

Q: Like even if you said something no one would listen?

Z: No, I think we felt that way simply because after all until then we were on our own and did as we pleased when it came to the sales and expenses. For example, we wanted to have some goods sold, but it wouldn’t be profitable. As Karyu said earlier in the world of the grown-ups just barely scraping by is not going to work. That’s why we came to feel that the management wasn’t doing anything for us.

H: Speaking of joining the label overall, the number of people involved with the band increases, right? Of course, those people get salaries and the band has to earn money for that. That’s how the real world is, but it was difficult for us. When we were on our own, we were the only ones who had to persevere and getting advertisements out we would somehow get things done.

K: If I think about it now, the quality of the music got better. We got the professional roadies, we could record properly in the studio and we got the producers who worked with us.

H: Well, not only that, there are a lot of different things.

Q: It requires experience. If you didn’t like that you’d be told to make your own label.

H: If that happened we would understand their hardships too for sure. I think we would notice like: “Ah, so that’s how it works”.

Q: Were you able to record [MaVERiCK] properly in the studio?

K: Wasn’t it the first time we did it?

H: It was the first time that we made a proper recording while still being on our own. We recorded it at Bazooka Studio. At the time we heard rumors that good engineers were working there so we asked for a favor.

Q: Then the first live you played after joining the label was [Mania’s clandestine meeting in the cellar], right?

K: Back then we already had the feelings of friendship or should I say bonds with our fans so we wanted to tell them that nothing was going to change just because we joined the label.

Q: Were the fans worried that you would change?

T: They were. We announced at the live that we had signed to the label.

H: I remember we said that we had joined Johnny's Entertainment (laughs).

T: The fans response was very negative, they screamed so loud. Well, they expected that we would join the label sooner or later, but we thought that unless we announce it properly the fans would get more worried.

Q: From the listeners’ and bands’ perspective the number of people involved in the production increases with signing up to the label so there is a chance that music is going to change too.

K: Speaking of it, we were actually told to write more melodious songs and after thinking about it, the song we wrote was [Garnet].

H: We did the exact opposite of what we were told to do.

Everyone: (laughs).

H: It was not melodious at all.

K: We kept arguing: “No, it is melodious! There is a melody in the rhythm. Isn’t that kind of catchiness important?”

H: But wasn’t it the first time the shouting part had a melody to it?

Q: When I heard [Garnet] for the first time, I thought that it was your declaration of intentions.

K: Even when I listen to the song now, I think it is very powerful.

Q: But when the number of people involved in the production increases, the number of opinions increases too and unavoidably one gets swayed.

H: It is important to listen to the opinions of the others, but it’s up to us how much we allow them to influence us.

Q: Did you record [Garnet] in a different studio again?

K: Yes, and it was a really good one!

H: It was not just a good studio, it was the kind of a studio we don’t use even now (laughs).

K: It was as if we suddenly went from a level 10 to a level 100! We suddenly got an opportunity to record in the studio used by the top artists.

H: It was awesome from the moment we walked in. Even when we went to take pictures, we had a bus rented for us and a lot of people from the office were there (laughs).

K: We wondered if so many people were really necessary (laughs).

H: There were a lot of onigiri and sandwiches prepared for us too! We were so impressed: “So that’s what being on the label is like!” We probably used too much money in the beginning.

Everyone: (laughs)

K: We thought: “Amazing! So that’s how it works?”

H: And “We even get to use a bus to get us to the location?”

Q: You must have been very surprised.

H: We were.

K: Maybe that was the label’s strategy (laughs).

Q: But you probably learned a lot once you signed up to the label.

H: We had to grow up and mature.

K: Yeah, on a personal level.

Q: In November you released the rebellious single [Garnet] and filmed your first PV. It was a really good video.

K: But it is so embarrassing (laughs).

Q: Why?

K: Somehow the concept was rather shaky (laughs).

T: There were a lot of people who performed with us. All of us acted.

Z: Thinking about it… The day before the filming I shaved my head.

K: Did you get your first dreds done?

Z: Yes. That’s why the roots hurt.

H: Right, when you shook your head (laughs).

Q: You had a quite drastic change of hairstyle.

H: Zero insisted on it.

K: It was crazy, it cost like 100000 yen and the management complained about it (laughs).

Z: But I told them that I really wanted to get it done!

Q: I think even when it came to the looks you became more sophisticated.

K: Yeah, the sound too.

Q: There must have been a lot of problems, but from an outsider’s viewpoint it looked as if you became more skillful.

K: Yes, we were often told that. For example, when we played the lives the guys from the other bands told us: “Lately you, guys, are really good”. But from our point of view it was the exact opposite. We came to fear the future.

Q: You were imagining things (laughs).

K: That’s true. At the time, for example, we didn’t want to do interviews at all. It is a shame, I wish I could apologize to the journalists who came to talk to us back then.

Q: Were you the only one who felt that way, Karyu?

K: I think all four of us were depressed back then.

H: I don’t really remember.

Q: You ended the year playing the lives at AKARENGE and Takadanobaba AREA. Did you move from one live house to another?

H: First we played at AKARENGE and then we went over to AREA.

K: I remember AREA live.

Z: Were we the last band to play?

H: No, we were asked to do the countdown, but we said it wasn’t our thing and refused, so we must have been the band before the last to play.

Z: Ah, right, or the one before that.

T: We also got on the stage without any instruments and did a sort of a session thing.

Z: Yeah, that right.

Q: You had joined the label in 2003 and things had started to look up for you and yet you were depressed. It seems that it was a tough year for you.

K: Yes, it was.


( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 22nd, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
thank you so much for this~ (I haven't thanked you early, sorry about that ;~;)
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Jan. 22nd, 2010 01:40 pm (UTC)
*totally impressed*

Thank you so much <3
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Jan. 22nd, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
That Itanji project, I don't know which way I should put it, funny, weird or thoughtful? At the same time the disbanding story behind Maverick is somewhat scary though.

But there is one thing that I know for sure, after reading this I love the guys even more *wipes tears*

Thank you so much ;_;
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
Personally I think Maverick story is rather scary. It seems to me that it was a very desperate move... and it was also a close call .__.;
You're welcome ;)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Jan. 22nd, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
*shocked* O.O
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
Surprising stuff, huh? ;)
Jan. 22nd, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
interesting... Maverick was actually the first song by them that i heard, and it got me into the band :] nice to know the back story behind it now, makes the song even more special to me
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
I don't think it was ever easy for them and at the same time they are not the types to compromise and look for the shortcuts. One thing I really respect them for is that these guys have guts. For all their silliness and social awkwardness, they are really strong.

You're welcome ;)
Jan. 22nd, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
thank you! ^^
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Jan. 22nd, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you for translating *-*
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
Bad joke could have gotten them in trouble. If I was there in the audience I'd probably throw something at them xD
You're welcome ;)
Jan. 22nd, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! <3
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
wow, so many people above didn't know about the Maverick era depression? They mentioned it for a hundred times, really.

Despite the fact that overall this year was so-so for them I laughed like crazy in some parts.
We kept arguing: “No, it is melodious! There is a melody in the rhythm. Isn’t that kind of catchiness important?” god, hahaha. of course, garnet is ~catchy and melodious~ song 8D

as always, thank you for translating!
Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
ahaha but they got their way with Garnet and that's all that matters, all ridiculous arguments they had to come up with aside.
You're welcome ;)
Jan. 24th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
you cannot imagine how much I love you for doing this. and with every translated part I feel more sympathetic for karyu.

(btw...you live in japan, right? are there any instore events with dray in tokyo in february? I´ll force a friend of mine to go and get me an autograph if there is xD)
Jan. 24th, 2010 08:17 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)

I'd say your chances of that happening are close to none. So far there are no instores planned (they always announce them on the OHP) and I am sure there won't be any until they release something. Usually those events are tied to a release of a new CD/DVD and tickets are given for free to those people who buy that release from a store hosting the event. Also the rules are pretty strict and they say specifically what kind of event it is going to be and one can't get more. So, for example, if it is a handshake event you won't get anything signed, out of 6 instores I have been to during the past two years and a half, only one was signing, they just rarely do it.
(no subject) - atypeofdiety - Jan. 24th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 24th, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC)
Ah thank you so much! I've been waiting so impatiently for the next part haha. I love reading such an in-depth interview, it's like discovering them all over again. And they seem pretty open and frank too which is nice :)
Jan. 24th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, I am glad you enjoyed reading it as much as I did ;)
Jan. 25th, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)
Wow, I am so glad I got to read this! Absolutely great. Thank you so, so much taking the time to do this! :D
Jan. 25th, 2010 12:42 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, I am glad people enjoy reading the interview ;)
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( 38 comments — Leave a comment )

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