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The second part in the series of personal interviews from Closer To Ideal -Brand New Scene- 10th anniversary pamphlet: Karyu x Taka-chan, his old friend and a former vocalist of Karyu's first band.
The band they talk about must be Dieur Mind and Karyu was not even Karyu yet back then, but YOSHITAKA. They never explicitly say the name of the band etc., but it does not take too much time/effort/researcher skills to find that out.

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

D’espairsRay 10th anniversary Special Talk II
Someone I want to meet now.

Karyu×Taka-chan(a friend)
The first time I heard him talk in depth about what happened was when I read that interview in a magazine. I cried.

Q: We have invited Taka-chan as Karyu’s partner for an interview today. How did the two of you come to know each other?
T: We played in a band together. I was a vocalist.
Q: When was it?
K: Around 1997-1998 I guess. It was my previous band before I formed D’espairsRay.
Q: Where was your band based?
K: Different places… around Tokyo.
T: For example, Shibuya CYCLONE.
K: We also often played at Kumagaya VOGUE.
Q: So that means you played in a band together a little less than two years, right? How did the two of you meet?
K: I entered a college and moved into a dormitory. I became friends with a bassist and we decided to make a band together and Taka-chan was his acquaintance… ah, no, you lived in the same dorm, right?
T: Yes, we all lived there.
K: Ah, I see, we were all the same.
T: Wait, who invited our drummer?
K: Probably our bassist.
T: I was invited to join by our drummer and I have a feeling that the bassist guy and Karyu joined the band together.
Q: What kind of music did you play at the time?
K: I guess it was more pop than music D’espairsRay plays right now.
Q: Could it be that you don’t really want to touch on the subject of that band?
K: Yeah, we better not to… right? (laughs)
T: Well, it does not concern me at all anymore so there is no harm for me (laughs).
Q: Who wrote the songs at the time?
T: Karyu wrote pretty much all our songs…
K: The drummer also wrote some.
Q: Did you write only catchy pop-rock songs?
T: It was easier for us to go in that direction, because my voice is pretty high. Karyu probably wanted to make darker music.
K: Not necessarily.
T: I think Karyu in general likes melodious music and personally so do I.
Q: At the time was there a band you wanted to be like?
K: I don’t think we talked about it. We all liked different kind of bands and we didn’t really discuss things like: “This is what I want us to be like.”
Q: Well, since it was a music college to begin with, everyone must have entered it because they wanted to be musicians.
K: Yeah, but we all quit the college right away (laughs).
Q: Really?
K: I often didn’t go to classes. I think I quit after half a year.
Q: Why did you quit?
T: I suppose we all felt that we rather wanted to play live.
K: Yeah. Like going to school and practice there all the time was not what I wanted to do.
Q: Did you feel that practicing for real performances was better?
K: Yeah, and I guess everyone felt the same.
Q: Taka-chan, if you look back what kind of a person Karyu was at the time?
T: Well~ he wanted to be successful, whatever it took.
K: (laughs).
T: Well, I guess he was prepared to do anything to achieve that. I thought that he was a kind of a person who tried different things as a musician.
Q: Were his feelings of wanting to leave a trace in the music scene and convey something to his listeners strong?
T: Yeah, he always wanted to do something different from everyone else when playing live.
K: Well said.
T: Thank you (laughs).
Q: He was an ambitious person who had high goals, wasn’t he?
T: I think he probably was the most ambitious among us in the band.
K: I am portrayed here as an ambitious guy, but the situation was completely different and I was really in a hurry. I kept thinking that if I didn’t manage to make playing in a band my job, I would have to go back home and what would happen with my life then?
Q: Then what kind of a person was Taka-chan from your point of view, Karyu?
K: I guess just like Zero now, he was someone I could always ask for an advice. Whenever I was working on a song, I went to Taka-chan’s home right away and gave it to him to listen to and asked for his advice about what I should do about this or that part of the song.
Q: I would like to hear your memories of the time together back then.
T: Let’s see~ I think we listened to music every day before falling asleep. I also often stayed over at Karyu’s place and he always scrawled songs in his notebook using a code (laughs).
K: (laughs).
T: Then he showed me his notes and asked: “Look, it is going to be like this.” We also watched live videos and discussed the performances…
K: I always wrote songs in the notebook. I had a recorder, but I never used it back then and always wrote down my music in a notebook.
T: Yeah, exactly, you always wrote notes in a tight scrawl.
K: But I could never remember an image of a song I had in my head when I wrote it (laughs), because I always wrote them down using the code, not music.
Q: But what was the reason you wanted to talk to Taka-chan today after more than ten years since you played together?
K: Because he knows everything. We have known each other for over ten years now and he is my oldest friend since I moved to Tokyo.
Q: Did you keep in touch even after your band broke up?
T: Once in a while. From time to time I also go to D’espairsRay lives.
K: Taka-chan also comes over to my place from time to time.
Q: Aren’t there people who never meet again once their band breaks up?
T: Yeah… but strangely it wasn’t our case. I also went to the very first D’espairsRay live at AREA and I became their fan.
K: (laughs).
T: It is true (laughs). I became acquainted with the other D’espairsRay members and got an invitation to a live and I thought that they were good and they would become a cool band. Karyu always sends me their records and I often sing their songs karaoke (laughs).
K: (laughs).
T: Well, from time to time we also contact each other and talk about a lot of different stuff.
Q: It seems that you are getting along really well.
K: Yeah, it is quite unusual. I can count by fingers people with whom I have been friends for such a long time.
Q: Taka-chan, did you quit music after the band you played in together with Karyu broke up?
T: Yeah, I really wanted to continue, but an opportunity never presented itself so I just kept working.
K: But you are going to participate in Song Star.
T: (laughs).
K: Song Star is a TV program. Taka-chan passed their audition.
Q: Really?!
K: That’s why we might see him on TV soon (laughs).
T: I guess I haven’t completely given up on my dream (laughs).
Q: You haven’t completely abandoned your dream to sing and you kept it in your heart.
T: Yeah, I love singing after all.
K: Taka-chan’s voice is so good I had goose bumps the first time I heard him sing karaoke.
Q: Do you sing and accompany yourself?
T: No, I can’t sing if I play (laughs).
Q: Then Karyu should accompany you!
K: Should we make a duet? (laughs)
T: Ah, but we played a duet once on the street.
K: Right! We played in front of a train station.
T: We looked so~ plain (laughs).
K: The idea suddenly occurred to us and we decided to go there and play. You are right, it happened, I completely forgot.
Q: It was when the two of you were still in a band together, right?
K: Yes, we played a street live back then.
T: We were in our own world of self-satisfaction (laughs).
Q: Taka-chan, you have known Karyu for a very long time, is there anything that you think changed about him?
T: I have been seeing D’espairsRay play live since the time they still played at small venues like Takadanobaba AREA or Kumagaya VOGUE, but ever since they got big… I saw them play live with several other bands at NHK Hall and I thought that a big stage looked so beautiful. Small live houses are good in their own way, but I think playing at the big venues suits them better.
Q: Yeah, Karyu makes small live houses look even smaller.
K: Because they are too small for me (laughs).
T: But when I saw them play there, I really… felt like I was about to cry. I am purely just a fan of D’espairsRay now (laughs). I am very happy, when I hear their songs being played at a music store in my home town. I feel like a parent and think: “Ah, so there are people who listen to their music here too” (laughs).
Q: What kind of things do you usually talk with Karyu about?
T: In general I am the one who usually calls and I ask him about things like when they are going to play live. Well, since I secretly read the magazines I usually know about it (laughs) and, when I want to go see them play, I call him. Also I ask him about things like how he is doing lately.
Q: You talk a lot about everyday things, don’t you? Then how about a topic that is often discussed, do the two of you also like the same type of girls?
K: There are times when… we do agree on the girls we like (laughs).
T: It happened (laughs). We probably have pretty similar tastes, right?
Q: Usually I suppose, when people get along so well, it is because they have similar views. Before the interview you talked about video games, do you have similar tastes when it comes to them too?
K: I don’t play video games that much, but lately after a long break I got hooked on Dragon Quest again.
Q: By the way what is your level right now?
K: 99.
T: That’s the maximum level! (laughs)
Q: I would like to turn the conversation a little back. I think D’espairsRay sound changed over the years. You, Taka-chan, have been listening to them all this time. How do you feel about it?
T: Well, in the beginning they played darker music, but I think as they gained popularity gradually things Karyu wanted to do came forward. We played together for two years and a half and as I mentioned earlier he has always had melodious side to his music too. So I think the music they play now is that side of his talent naturally coming forward.
Q: What do you think of his guitarist skills?
T: I think he is really good!
K: Thank you (laughs).
T: I don’t really understand it well to say how his skills changed in comparison with the past, but I enjoy the music he plays.
K: I am happy to hear that.
Q: What live left the most impression on you? I guess it was the NHK Hall live, right?
T: Well, if I think about it I can remember pretty much all the lives I went to, but my eyes really really filled with tears during the NHK Hall one. They became a band that could play at that kind of venues! They played together with other bands, but it was amazing.
Q: It was moving to see them play at such a big venue.
T: I was moved! Also during that live Karyu used a theremin, I was impressed (laughs).
K: That’s because I like to use interesting sounds I find (laughs).
Q: From your point of view, Karyu, has Taka-chan changed?
K: No, he hasn’t (laughs).
T: Now that you mention it, I haven’t changed. I guess I really haven’t changed much.
K: His feelings towards music haven’t changed, he is still pure and he does not imitate others.
T: Because I don’t really change, it is like every time we meet we pick up where we left.
Q: Ah, your friendship is of a kind that does not feel the passage of time. When you have so much in common about things you like, even when you meet after a long time it feels like no time passed at all.
T: It really feels that way.
Q: When was the last time you met?
T: I went to a live at Kumagaya the other day thinking that Karyu had a pass arranged for me, but he hadn’t! I was late myself and then I called their manager Karyu introduced me to before and in the end we met in a dressing room (laughs). Did we talk a little then?
K: (laughs) It was during our last tour this year, right?
Q: D’espairsRay fans are very fervent during the lives. Do you get intimidated by them?
T: I do get intimidated. That’s why I always stand rocking to the music in the very back of the hall (laughs). Other times I also got invited to Yokohama BLITZ live, or rather than getting an invitation I went myself.
Q: Call Taka-chan! (laughs)
K: I do call him (laughs).
Q: I have a feeling, Karyu, that you are a type of a guy who answers the phone if someone calls, but rarely calls himself.
K: Yeah, I am like that with everyone. That’s why… I have very few friends. It can’t be helped (bitter laugh).
Q: But I think you two have very good relationship and even though you follow different paths you have a common passion for music.
K: Taka-chan is aiming to make it too. If he passes that TV audition, he suddenly might…
Q: He might suddenly have his big break?
K: Exactly! He might suddenly get into Oricon Top 10 chart.
T: (laughs) Well, I have a normal job, but I still have that dream so I am working hard for it. Also from time to time I read the magazines that print Karyu’s interviews and every time I think that I am going to work hard too.
K: (laughs).
T: Ah, but the very first time I read his interview I thought that he put on airs (laughs).
K: (laughs) You are probably right and I did put on airs.
T: But right now you look natural in the interviews.
Q: Well, the image is important.
K: There is that, also when we only started D’espairsRay, I was very depressed, so I probably put on airs. I was always in a dark mood back then.
Q: There are also times when one is scared of exposing themselves.
K: It was also right after my previous band broke up.
T: I learned about it from a magazine. I read an interview where Karyu said that our band’s break-up hurt him deeply… As far as I remember it was several years after D’espairsRay was formed and they looked back at what had happened during those years. That’s when I realized what happened. I learned from the magazine interview that, when our band broke up, Karyu hid his feelings from us.
Q: Why didn’t you tell them how you felt?
K: I thought… that maybe it was just me. I thought that after the break-up the other three would form a new band together without me.
T: I thought the same, when the talk about breaking up came up, that the other three wanted to play in a band without me (bitter laughs).
Q: You both thought the same thing!
T: I wonder why. I don’t get it.
Q: You all became suspicious of each other, didn’t you? And you decided that was the case.
K: The reason for the break up itself had nothing to do with the two of us and we didn’t discuss the details too.
T: That’s why the first time I heard Karyu talk about what happened back then was when I read that interview years later. It made me cry.
K: (laughs) What did I say?
T: You said that… from your point of view it seemed like you were betrayed by others… And it made me realize: “So that’s how it was? Did we do something bad?”
K: You were not the one who betrayed me.
Q: I see, there were things like that in the past too. Maybe it made Karyu a little distrustful of other people?
T: It must have. That’s why, when I read that interview, it made me regret what happened.
K: All I could see was what was ahead of me and then suddenly everything fell apart. I felt like my dream was crushed…
T: It also happened so fast.
K: Yeah, the break-up was sudden.
Q: I see, so it fell apart very suddenly.
T: Yeah, it was really sudden.
K: It seemed like it was only the two of us who were like: “Let’s do our best!” until the very end.
Q: If you knew of each others’ feelings at the time maybe you would decide to find a new bassist and a drummer and play together again.
K: It was not a kind of a situation we would want to talk about that. Things got pretty rough between us.
T: Yeah, things got foul.
Q: I see. And now Taka-chan, who went through such stormy days together with Karyu, is warmly watching over D’espairsRay.
K: Yeah.
T: I think warmly of you (laughs).
K: I, in turn, watch over you too.
Q: Maybe Taka-chan will suddenly become a star.
K: (laughs) It is OK as a hobby too, but I think it would be nice to do something together… Once, when I was working on “MIRROR”, he stayed over at my place and I asked him to sing a new song, but he didn’t.
T: (laughs).
K: So Taka-chan was the first to listen to the “MIRROR” demo, even before D’espairsRay members.
T: Really?
K: Yes, you heard it before them.
Q: What song was that?
K: “MIRROR” from the album “MIRROR”.
Q: The members of D’espairsRay might have gotten jealous.
T: When I heard the recorded song, I thought: “Ah, that’s how that song turned out!”
K: I thought that it’d be cool if I had the vocals recorded properly for the songs instead of my lame singing, when I handed the demo tapes to the guys. I thought I’d surprise them.
Q: But in truth you say half jokingly and half seriously about wanting to do something together, don’t you?
K: I don’t usually fool around like that, but from time to time I make our manager sing songs that I think are not something I would do play with D’espairsRay.
T: You do? (laughs)
Q: Then the two of you could play as an opening act for D’espairsRay.
T: But in truth Karyu has always been writing songs. Honestly, I don’t have any other image of him… He creates songs all the time and writes them down in his notebook.
Q: He has always fully devoted himself to writing music.
T: Yeah. But earlier, when we talked about games, it suddenly turned out that he was level 99. How should I say it… When it comes to games too, he always targets the main boss! I have an impression that he always does that.
K: That’s because I always have dreams and aspire to the high goals (laughs).
Q: Rather than following simple paths and gaining experience, he is a type to… search for a road he can go skipping three steps at a time.
T: I think so too.
K: That’s true.
Q: I am sure the two of you will continue being friends for a long time, but what if you were to say something like: “This is what I would like you to be from now on,” to Taka-chan, what would it be?
K: Please stay the way you are, someone I can always ask for an advice, when something troubles me, a friend who always comforts me. I have always been telling you to move closer to where I live.
T: I would very much love to do that, but there are also circumstances that do not allow me to.
Q: Taka-chan is a very reliable guy, isn’t he?
K: He is!
T: Because I always smile.
K: He has always been diligent. Speaking of it, he was even strict. He was always a person to get angry fast and say straight away: “Isn’t it better to do things this way?”
T: But at the time I was not flexible at all. I had no confidence as a vocalist and there were a lot of things I thought the others should do. I got angry at them, when they were late: “You don’t really want to do this, right?” (laughs) But at the time Karyu was really the only one I could talk too.
K: That’s why we get along even now, because we have the same motives.
T: Yeah.
Q: Then do you have anything you expect from Karyu from now on, Taka-chan?
T: I would like the same that he wouldn’t change and stayed the way he is now. But I don’t think that’s enough in the show business, so I wish him to stay the way he is and keep playing music he loves and wants to play and that people around him accept it. I want him to do things naturally and I hope that those around him will naturally accept him, I think that’s the best. So I hope he will keep playing music he loves.

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