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I wanted to translate this interview the moment I knew about it since I hoped he finally explained what happened and he didn't disappoint me. The interview is all about Hizumi's illness and hiatus.
Also I think I should start giving proper credit to the journalists who did the interviews not just the magazines, but it is going to be such a pain to go through all the translations I did.

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.

HIZUMI’s interview for ROCK AND READ vol. 034

text: You Masuda
translation: notafanboy

HIZUMI D’espairsRay
Born March 2. Blood type B. The vocalist of D’espairsRay, that formed on September 9, 1999. The other band members are Karyu (guitar), ZERO (bass) and TSUKASA (drums). After the tour final at Yokohama BLITZ on December 30 the band put their activities on hold for indefinite period of time in order to let HIZUMI recover from the vocal cords condition he has been suffering from for the past two years. On March 30 D’espairsRay release a Yokohama BLITZ live DVD and a “core compilation” album.

In the end of the last year D’espairsRay halted their activities for indefinite period of time so that HIZUMI can concentrate on recovering from the vocal cords illness. We talked to him about everything, from the progress of his illness to what is going to happen from now on. Even though at the last live he made an optimistic promise to do everything to make his comeback closer even by a second, frankly even he himself does not know when it is going to happen. However, he does not want manias (a common nickname for D’espairsRay fans) to be pessimistic. In this interview he promises to come back stronger than he ever used to be.

I will certainly come back stronger than before. That’s why I want everyone to smile while waiting for me.

Q: It’s been a long time. I think it would sound forced, if I asked you now: “How have you been lately?”
H: Yeah (laughs).
Q: So without any weird introductions I am going to ask you right away. D’espairsRay is officially on hiatus now, am I right?
H: Yes. Though, if possible, I personally wanted to avoid using the word “hiatus”.
Q: First of all, I must ask you how it happened. The official statement on D’espairsRay website says that you are taking a break in order to let you “concentrate on recovery of your vocal cords”. Does it mean that the throat condition, from which you suffered for a while now, finally reached its worst?
H: Yes. I have been having problems with my voice for about two years. The truth is two years ago around this time I was admitted to a hospital with influenza, it is something I have never talked about before, and that’s when problems with my voice started. It happened right in between the fanclub lives* and the start of the tour… It was also the reason why Sendai live** was postponed. I was so reckless back then. Since then my condition got worse gradually.

(* As a part of PHYCHEDELIC PARADE tour, D’espairsRay played the fanclub only lives in March 2009.
** Sendai live – was scheduled for April 2, 2009, at Sendai JUNK BOX.)

Q: So was it a simple influenza in the beginning?
H: That’s what I thought. However, even though I recovered from influenza, the cough didn’t go away. No matter what the throat inflammation couldn’t be suppressed and at the time I was diagnosed with a whooping cough. So coughing constantly and taking anti-inflammatory medicine I went on singing…
Q: Did the doctors actually forbid you to sing?
H: I was told that I must not sing. But the real problem was that I could not say it.
Q: That’s true, it was probably difficult to take it seriously. Everyone knows that something like a whooping cough would stop after a hundred days (T.N. Whooping cough is literally called “one hundred days cough” in Japanese).
H: Yeah. Actually that was exactly how lightly I thought of it. But as a result the cough became a sort of a habit. One hundred days and then two years, it didn’t stop until very recently. I finally had a precise examination and we figured out the exact reason, and now I stopped coughing. But I had been suffering from it all this time.
Q: Did you have no option of taking rest earlier?
H: I myself didn’t want us to stop. If I really think about the reason it happened this way, it is that simple. But as a result things got dragged on. Actually I took anti-inflammatory medicine and as I began to use it daily, I gradually started to take stronger medications and increase the dosage… And the side effects I didn’t even think about affected my whole body. It is really scary, but I even took medicine that was bad for my heart. But that happened simply because I thought that as long as I took medicine the cough would stop. I took medication daily as some sort of a preventive measure. I had a kind of an obsession that if I didn’t take medicine I might not be able to sing during the next live.
Q: Was the fact that you stopped coughing lately the result of solving the problem that fundamentally caused it?
H: Frankly speaking, out of several illnesses I suffer from that one has been cured. In the end until recently I had only consulted doctors about my throat. So when I had a thorough medical check of the rest of my body like cardio-pulmonary functions, the main reason was finally identified and then the problem of the cough was solved. In the end it was an allergy and I actually got it long ago because of pollen. Once I was taking asthma medicine, but the cough just would not stop at all so I thought: “Could it be an allergy?” I tried taking a pollinosis drug I had at home and the cough stopped immediately. I discussed it with my doctor and he said that the reason for the cough could be that it was due to an allergy. In the end as soon as I started taking allergy medication the cough stopped completely.
Q: So in the end it was not the whooping cough?
H: I don’t know. Maybe because of how long it lasted the cough turned asthmatic, the condition changed in many different ways. However, I have never had a predisposition to coughing because of an allergy. The condition was very much like a cough caused by asthma or at some point it became like that. Because the cough would not stop, my trachea gradually got narrower and I could not sing. When during the lives my voice suddenly got cut off, it happened exactly because of that. That’s why now in order to recover, I do things like inhaling medication that helps the trachea to expand.
Q: Somehow it seems like a usual cycle. The moment one starts to rely on medication things gradually escalate and in order to suppress the side effects one has to take other drugs.
H: Exactly. Like there was no progress and as I increased the dosage the illness might have developed in a completely different direction. As a result the only option I had to consider was to stop taking the medicine altogether and break the cycle. For example, if we were to play even one live, I’d have to sort of calculate back and adjust to it and even if I am told not to worry about it, my personality is such that I will. In the end we stopped playing and I am taking allergy medication and not very strong anti-inflammatory drugs.
Q: So now you rest while taking the smallest necessary amount of drugs. Was there no other way?
H: It is hard to explain the situation. Plus as I said earlier, I suffer from more than one illness. The cough was cured, but because my trachea contracted, my voice gets stiffed and aside from that I also have problems with some muscles of my vocal chords not working properly. One part of the vocal chords works properly, but another part withered away and as a result it does not constrict at all. Because of that my voice disappears sometimes and I cannot sing. Now I am going through a rehabilitation to restore it and re-build the muscles of my vocal chords.
Q: Was it a side effect of the drugs you took?
H: More like when one part of the body gets ill, the other parts cover up for it, right? It happens naturally that one does not use parts of the body that hurt. As a result the balance goes haywire. It became necessary for us to stop playing music so I could return back to normal.
Q: How much time will you need to recover? Or do you not know that yourself, Hizumi?
H: That’s one thing I do not know. Maybe I’ll recover right away, maybe it will take me months or even years. Maybe it will become a condition I will always have to deal with. I really do not know that yet.
Q: However, it must have been hard for you to deal with the illness for the past two years. I don’t think it would be possible for you not to feel depressed.
H: Yeah, I got depressed. Actually when we had to go on tour… especially when we toured overseas, it was really painful. Even though we played live it was painful. Every time the concert was over I immediately went back to our tour bus and shut myself away from everyone, because the only thing I thought about was that I had to let my throat rest. So I spent those days quietly without making any racket.
Q: It might seem like I am asking to confirm things once again, but when did you decide to temporarily stop playing music?
H: I guess at the end of the last spring. The truth is I was not the one who suggested it, somehow I could not bring myself to say it. Because then it would not be only my problem anymore, right? Of course, it would get other band members involved too… I thought that there was no way I could suggest a break. But in the end the guys were the ones who said: “You know let’s take a break after all”.
Q: Rather than thoughtfulness, could it be that the reason you could not suggest the break was…
H: Probably stubbornness. I honestly thought that no matter what I didn’t want to say those words. But on the other hand I think the other three talked about it between themselves. After all it was not only about me, the other guys were in the same situation. We could not play the lives the way we wanted to. We actually gradually became unable to play the kind of the lives we aimed for. It was the same with recording, it started to take us really long time.
Q: Regarding the recording I think even if it takes time it can be done and you can even rely on technology. But even if you deceive yourself and record music, you have to acknowledge beforehand that you have to avoid playing live…
H: Yes, that’s true. Actually there were many times when I wanted to sing in a certain way, but because I could not do it I had no other choice but to do it differently. Well, using medicine to suppress the illness to a certain extent I could somehow find a compromise. Of course, I could not sing with 100% of my power, but what I lacked I managed to compensate with my fighting spirit I guess. That’s why… I guess it was not like we were not a little too slow making the decision.
Q: How did you feel when the other band members said: “Let’s take a break”?
H: Honestly, I felt relieved. It made me feel a lot better.
Q: But I think when you decided to stop your band’s activities, you must have felt fear like: “What if we are going to loose something important?”

I think our relationship with the fans is not the kind that is going to suffer from something like us taking a break. I believe that. Maybe I just want to believe that.

H: Of course, if we take a break it is going to affect us somehow. But anyway more than anything we think about what kind of lives we want to play. In order to do that the only thing we can do right now is to stop. Honestly, considering the relationship between our band and the fans I feel that we are going to be fine. I believe that our relationship is not the kind that is going to suffer from something like us taking a break. Maybe I just want to believe that.
Q: I am going to turn the conversation back to the beginning. Because you cannot avoid using the word “hiatus”, the situation starts to look unnecessarily grave. I think there is nothing unusual about a band doing nothing for about a year.
H: Yeah. Actually it happened in our case too that we didn’t release anything for a long period of time. Well, even now it does not necessarily mean that we are going to do nothing. We cannot record and play live for a while, but we can write songs as much as we want.
Q: Aren’t there a lot of musicians overseas who say: “We are in the process of writing new songs,” for two or three years?
H: That’s true (laughs). However, at the same time without being concerned about writing new song I think it is necessary for me to completely distance myself from the band. There is a psychological problem too after all. I think it is something only vocalists would understand, but as long as there is something “next” decided I cannot stop thinking about it. Even if it is just one live six months later or a year later I cannot stop thinking about it: “What am I going to do?” Well, I think those feelings are necessary too, but I spent past eleven years and especially these last two years constantly thinking: “What am I going to do?” In the end as long as we keep playing music I am going to think about it. It might be a strange thing to say, but isn’t now the only opportunity I have to clear my head?
Q: I understand that my question is going to sound imprudent, but when you could not sing the way you wanted to, did it ever cross your mind to quit it altogether?
H: It did. I thought about it many times for the past two years. I felt very conflicted, for example, during the recording, about the difference between the best quality of the singing I wanted to achieve and what I could actually do. Where do I compromise? It is about my pride as a singer. However, you know in the end I thought it was going to get better somehow. No matter how bad my condition got before, I had always managed to recover so I thought it was going to be just a temporary thing. But still it became something that lasted for years so I was probably wrong there.
Q: When a thought of quitting the band crossed your mind, what kind of a different life did you think about?
H: A different life?... The moment I start thinking about it, I am going to end up doubting: “What can I do?” and that’s when it ends. The thing is I have never done anything but sung in a band. What else can I do? That’s why when I think about it, it is something like: “Will I play guitar?” or “If I just shout instead of singing then I should be fine” (laughs). Well, I have never seriously thought about it. Instead of thinking about looking for another job, I have thought a lot more often if it was possible that I would always have to deal with this condition. For example, if it is going to happen that way then even if we have to change the style of our music I still want to sing. In a way singing gives me a sense of purpose.
Q: In regards to what it gives you the sense of purpose?
H: My audience. There were fans who wrote in the letters that our music changed their lives and it made me think that I must work harder.
Q: Did being told things like that give you courage to finally take a rest? Or did it make you put off the decision for longer…
H: Yeah, I think there was that too.
Q: Maybe exactly because it is now that you can take a break. The band that existed only for three or four years cannot have such a strong relationship of mutual trust with their fans.
H: That’s true. Thinking about it turning ten years was a really huge thing for us after all. We continued playing music together for ten years and somehow it turned into a self-confidence. Though our 9th anniversary* was a big thing for us too (laughs). If you say the words “ten years”, they have completely different power, don’t you think?

(*Because D’espairsRay formed on September 9, 1999, the date that consists of a large number of 9’s, they often use [9] as a keyword. Despite ten years long history D’espairsRay has released only four albums – Coll:set, MIRROR, REDEEMER and MONSTERS.)

Q: True. Moreover, when it comes to the band’s “denseness” D’espairsRay has something very unique about it. In comparison to other bands that have been around for ten years, you have fewer albums and it is not like you toured more than anybody else. And yet you make a very solid impression.
H: I see. But don’t we get to have a solid image as a band because we gain weight as we keep going, releasing one record after another, playing one live after another? For example, there are quite a few bands that release a series of singles in a span of three months, right? I don’t think it is bad as a marketing strategy, but it does not suit us at all. Anyway we want to take our time making a good record. I think we probably spend the same amount of energy on one single and one album (laughs). That’s why even though we have recorded very few albums we have a feeling that we have done a lot (laughs).
Q: Strangely you somehow convinced me (laughs). Well then, the thing everyone is concerned the most about is when you are going to restart band’s activities. At present have you really not decided anything regarding it?
H: No, nothing at all. Stopping playing music in the situation like this is scary, true, but at the moment I have no intentions of continuing singing half-assed. For example, if I recover to 70% of my abilities and we decide to return, I don’t think we will be able to satisfy our fans, who will come to see us live. I think we must show them ourselves twice as strong as we have ever been in the past. If I have to say one thing on my mind, that’s it. I think it would be very rude to do a half-hearted performance in front of people who stayed with us despite the hiatus. Rather I want to stand before them and say: “I came back stronger than I’ve ever been!”
Q: Another thing that fans are worried about is what the other three band members are going to do during this period. For example, are they free to do other extra activities unrelated to D’espairsRay?
H: Of course, it is totally OK with me. However, I want them to keep the possibilities open for D’espairsRay to come back any moment. For example, I am not so sure I’d like it, if we decided to come back as D’espairsRay, but they could not do it because they play as someone’s support musicians (laughs). I myself am not going to just rest, I will exercise to strengthen my heart and lungs or write the kind of lyrics I have never written before for other people. Once I have recovered to a certain degree I want to try singing quiet songs a little on my own as I continue the rehabilitation. Because I am going to work on improving myself, I think it’d be great if in the same way by doing something else the other band members learned new things they had never had a chance of leaning while playing in D’espairsRay and, when we decide to restart our activities as a band, they came back. Actually I talked to them about it, because I thought it’d be good if we all shared the same feelings. We will certainly come back as an “upgraded version” of D’espairsRay.
Q: I trust you. How do you picture your future? What is the next stage you have to reach as a band?
H: I can more or less see it, certain things like: “We absolutely must reach this level”. I also aim to find a new me. As the first step to show that in a simple way I cut my hair short. I kept it long for a long time, but because I wanted to do something that would be connected with what comes next, I changed my image completely before the live at Yokohama BLITZ* last year. I wanted to use it as a hint of sorts to show what is going to happen next during the hiatus even if we do nothing as a band.

(*D’espairsRay World Tour 2010 “Human-Clad Monsters” Final at Yokohama BLITZ, December 30, 2010)

Still I want to sing. In a way singing gives me a sense of purpose. I want everyone to keep fighting everyday, because I am fighting too.

Q: Unfortunately I could not go to your live at Yokohama BLITZ, but I heard from people who were there that they were impressed how there was no pathos about your performance at all.
H: Yeah, we absolutely didn’t want to play the live in that kind of an atmosphere. For example, if someone cried there, I absolutely didn’t want them to cry because they were sad. With the same spirit I also talked to the audience during the MC. Afterwards our guests asked us: “Are you really going on hiatus after this?” (laughs)
Q: I see, so the live was very positive. But it would be weird if you yourselves were solemn in a situation like this.
H: Yeah, that’s why I want everyone to smile while they wait for us.
Q: Do you have any musical aspirations like: “Next I want to challenge myself and make this kind of music”?
H: Regarding the specific musical direction we take, it depends on the other band members and how they envision it… Personally lately I want to try and experience the music I have not had any interest in before. I want to do it deliberately. I want to listen to music I would have never listened to if I hadn’t sung in a band myself, I want to go and see musicians perform. It does not mean that I want us to play that kind of music too. In any genre there are people who immerse themselves in it, right? So that means any genre has something cool about it and I want to know more about it. Even though we halted D’espairsRay activities, this way I will keep working even if nobody sees it. Some people, when they saw the word “hiatus”, probably thought: “It actually means “disbanding”, right?” But there is absolutely no need to read too much into it (laughs).
Q: Even though you cannot say exactly when it is going to happen, you can make a firm promise that you will come back, is that right?
H: Yes. D’espairsRay is very important for me after all… A friend of mine, who used to play in a very successful band and now has a solo career, once told me: “It is best to keep the first band you became serious about going no matter what”. According to him it seems that after all once you disband even if you form another band, it will never be as precious to you as that very first one. That’s why he said: “No matter what it is better to keep going”. It is something only people who went through the experience of disbanding understand. Moreover once the band disbands it is too late, right? I feel it keenly too and I am glad he told me that.
Q: What would you like your fans to do in your absence? I am sure they are going to cheat on you, but it is prohibited? (laughs)
H: No, I think it is good to listen to a lot of different music. I’d like them to listen to music and go to a lot of lives. We are not confining anyone (laughs). However, we all have different social positions and different jobs, but I want everyone to keep fighting everyday, because I am fighting too.


( 126 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 17th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this, I will read the whole thing tonight 8D I've been waiting for this issue intently

Hope things are going okay over there with you as well <3
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. Personally I am glad he explained things though it must have been difficult to talk about it.

Thank you, I am fine, we are safe here in Nagoya ;)
Mar. 17th, 2011 01:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks <3
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Mar. 17th, 2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you for translating. C:
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:54 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Thank you, I am fine. It is safe around here, we felt only a couple of earthquakes.
Mar. 17th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for translating this, I was hoping that he would bring up his health issue and he did. It feels good to know what exactly happened and his thoughts about it!
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;) I am glad he explained things. I was so worried too, it is hard not to know what is going on.
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)
thank you <3
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;) I know, I am glad he explained what happened.
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)
thank you very much for translating!
tho it was hard to read. i bet it's hard to be a musician if you don't enjoy 100% during lives. ü--ü
i really really really hope they are coming back stronger than ever!
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Personally I am glad he explained everything. It is hard not to know what is going on, I have been so worried too. I believe he can overcome it.
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks a lot for translating!!
Really interesting to read...I always wondered and worried about the condition he actually had and now it's good to know it.
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
I know, I have been so worried about what is going on with him too. It is good to know.
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
WOOOOW, thank you so so much! I'm kinda... moved O___O
Mar. 17th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Me too, it must have been hard for him to talk about his problems.
(no subject) - melfiatko - Mar. 17th, 2011 03:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - notafanboy - Mar. 17th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - melfiatko - Mar. 17th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 17th, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much dear!!<3<3<3
I'm going read it in a few minutes =))
I'm so curious for it!I'm also curious to see the photos...
How he looks like?
Mar. 17th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, I hope you enjoy it ;)
He looks good, but I am afraid you will have to ask someone else to see the photos.
(no subject) - lovehizumi - Mar. 17th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - notafanboy - Mar. 17th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 17th, 2011 03:11 pm (UTC)
This is MUCH more than I expected. I can't imagine how hard this must be for Hizumi to talk about, since it already took me much effort just to read. This might be the least entertaining D'espa interview I've ever read. I sure want to hear something more than just positive words, but on the other hand to know what he and the band have been through is really painful. I'm proud to be a Hizumi mania, I really am.

And thank you so much for translating!!! what could I do without you~ ;__;
Mar. 17th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
This is definitely the least funny interview, but I am glad he explained things even if it was hard for him. It is hard not to know what is going on. Now more than ever I am sure that if anyone can do it it is him. I am sure he will overcome it and come back stronger than ever! I am proud to be a fan of D'espairsRay too.
You're welcome! ;)
(no subject) - rabu_resu - Mar. 17th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - notafanboy - Mar. 17th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 17th, 2011 03:32 pm (UTC)
thank you for translating~!!
Mar. 17th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Mar. 17th, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
awesome, thank you so much!!
Mar. 18th, 2011 02:52 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
Mar. 17th, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you soo much for this <3.
Parts when he was talking bout singing brought tears in my eyes.
Mar. 19th, 2011 03:46 am (UTC)
You're welcome ;)
My heart ached when I read it too, I hope he will recover soon.
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