HYDE declared his commitment to “attacking the U.S. market for one last time as HYDE” and will be holding his first solo U.S. tour in May. This tour marks nearly a year since the resume of his solo activities, after more than a decade long hiatus, with the release of his single WHO’S GONNA SAVE US. Before HYDE embarks on his tour, JROCK NEWS had the chance to discuss with HYDE about his recent solo activities and all that he has achieved in under a year with already five single releases, numerous collaboration songs, and now a U.S. tour. So let’s get to know about HYDE’s past, current and future plans from here on out!
You made a comeback after a 13-year pause in solo activities. How does it feel to be performing solo after so long?
It’s an extension of VAMPS, where I was also doing what I wanted to do as well, but I now realize that I can work with any artists from around the world when I’m all on my own. It feels like I’ve gained more freedom than ever to pursue my ideal music.
The music video for WHO’S GONNA SAVE US shows you being murdered by a masked figure who is later revealed to be a “new” you. As well as, your second single AFTER LIGHT then goes on to chant “Destroy! Rebuild! Now! Now!”. What is the intention behind this?
When you build a new house, you can obviously work more freely if you’d tear down the whole thing and restart from scratch rather than just renovate it. “Destruction and regeneration” means to refresh everything and be free. Now that I’m left with only my knowledge and nothing else, I get to create with much more freedom.
It has only been a few months since you resumed solo activities and already you are diving into overseas activities. Do you have a vision for your future within the international music industry?
I don’t know if I can do big things, but I certainly can’t just finish off where I am now. I’ll do all my best to leave some lasting impact on the international scene.
You toured the U.S. before with VAMPS, but now you’re touring as a solo artist, are there any significant differences?
The traveling members are different, but it’s still a band performance, so there isn’t much difference there. Things should be more efficient than before because we have the experience. Our footwork is much better.
You recently collaborated with Yoshiki on Red Swan and ZIPANG. It feels like a long-time-coming, maybe even overdue, what finally pushed you both to collaborate? How did it feel to be working alongside Yoshiki?
X JAPAN has been watching out for a chance to attack the world market, so he [Yoshiki] probably wants to take all possible routes in the approach. Red Swan could be one of those ideas that Yoshiki came up with, but it’s a great honor for me because he is one of the representative artists of Japan. The production was nerve-wracking but also was a lot of fun, so I had a great time recording my vocals. It’s a very cool song and I can feel his thoughts behind it.
Then, I invited him to play piano on my song ZIPANG which employs Japanese sentiments in the melodies, and it gave me goosebumps because his piano sounded so beautiful. I’d love for the people in the U.S. to check it out.
We want to know how you and Yoshiki worked together. Could you tell us the process for this collaboration?
Our collaboration on Red Swan was first proposed by Yoshiki over dinner as we had the chance to meet up a few times. He’s an artist of such large caliber, so his talks are of large scale and very interesting. I can keep talking with him forever.
Is there a chance that we can see more collaborations with international artists as you did with the band Starset?
Yes, for sure. Those combinations are probably interesting to the fans, and it’s very inspiring for me as well. I can learn a lot and grow through those experiences. Starset is one of my favorite bands, so it was a great honor for me to work with them.
We’ve been in awe after seeing the music video for MAD QUALIA, where you collaborated with Capcom’s Devil May Cry 5. Can you tell us more about this project?
I received the offer for this project about a year ago, and it was so exciting because I’m a huge fan of Devil May Cry. But at the same time, I had this pressure in me to come up with a song that meets the expectation for such a popular game. It took a little longer than expected to deliver what I can be proud of, but I’m glad that people seem to like the outcome. I hope people will listen to the song while playing the game.
All your recent solo releases have a very modern-rock style, and you do well with keeping your music with the current times. Do you consciously decide to produce your music to the current trend?
Until recently I wasn’t very conscious about incorporating latest styles, but I’ve come to notice that many people are actually doing that, and since then I’ve been trying hungrily to take in new trends. It’s really inspiring.
The L’arc-en-Ciel song Honey and a cover of Duran Duran’s Ordinary World are B-side tracks for your most recent single releases, ZIPANG, and MAD QUALIA. Why were these unusual B-side songs chosen to go alongside the title track?
Doing these popular songs could provide great sparks at live shows, so I do like to do more of them if I come up with a good selection.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Do you have anything you would like to say to your U.S. fans?
I’m committed to attacking the U.S. market for one last time as HYDE. Thanks to many new connections, I’m now able to create music with a freer mind in an ideal environment.
We live in an era where you can access all kinds of music so freely. After reading this article, please look up HYDE and check out my songs and videos and see how you might like the music. If it doesn’t strike a chord in you, then I don’t mind your walking away.
It was great to get to know what HYDE has been thinking and feeling about his current activities, and with many hopefully mentions about his future ideas and plans we can safely presume this won’t be our last time we talk. We hope HYDE has a successful run on his U.S. tour and that it will become the start of many more exciting things to come.