This interview was originally published by “club Zy.” in Japanese. JROCK NEWS is partnering with club Zy. with the aim to popularize Japanese visual kei globally. Learn more about our partnership here.

Welcome back to the second installment of HAKUEI and Aoi (the GazettE) interview, conducted at the successful nico radio live broadcast “Izakaya HAKUEI” on January 28. If you haven’t caught the first part of the interview, we suggest you head back and see what the two had to say about drinking habits and visual kei rivalry.

Now let’s dive in again and break into the izakaya to see what HAKUEI and Aoi end up chatting about, in the relaxed and cheerful atmosphere.

“In a band, doing your best is something to take seriously” —Aoi

HAKUEI, you really have a lot of talking points. Aoi would probably talk about fishing or something like that…

HAKUEI! Fishing! [Laughing hard]

Aoi: I haven’t been fishing recently [bitter laugh].

HAKUEI, don’t tell us you even have a story about fishing…

HAKUEI: Actually, I went fishing when I was young. I grew up in the countryside after all. I used to catch bitterling and crucian carp. Sometimes, I used goldfish I won at festivals to catch catfish. I even released one in the swimming pool at my school, but I eventually forgot about it. When I went back before its opening the next year, it was still there [laughs].

I guess it’s a nice story… Or maybe not? [Bitter laughs] Aoi, what kind of fish did you use to catch?

Aoi: Bass. Sea bass, yes.

HAKUEI: Sea bass, nice! Ah, when I mean “nice”, I mean “delicious”. It’s really a tasty fish.

Do you cook the fish you catch, Aoi?

Aoi: I don’t.

HAKUEI: You don’t eat them? But the sea bass caught in the Tokyo Bay area are pretty valuable… Give me some next time you catch them! [Laughs] I’ll eat them.

Aoi: I’ll let you know.

But do you know how to filet a fish, HAKUEI?


Really, there is nothing you can’t do!

Aoi: I can’t filet big fish.

HAKUEI: I enjoy cooking, actually.

Aoi: Not me… I feel the time spent preparing everything is such a waste.

HAKUEI: Ah, it’s the opposite. I want to eat quickly so instead of going out for a meal, I just store the food in my fridge, get what I need and heat it in the microwave, it’s much quicker.

By the way, do you have a specialty, something you can cook well?

HAKUEI: Hamburger steak, I guess. Basically, I try not to eat a lot of sugar so I use low sugar bread to make breadcrumbs for the recipe. I make a batch of steaks and then freeze them, so when I want to eat it, I just grab one and fry it up.

That’s very sensible.

HAKUEI: My personal gym trainer gave me a lot of advice.

Naturally, I guess you exercise HAKUEI?

HAKUEI: I do, yes.

Aoi: I do… not [bitter laughs].

HAKUEI: I’m a singer, so it’s understandable, exercising I mean. A “Let’s do something just in case”, kind of thing.

I guess everyone has their own way of staying in shape.

HAKUEI: Definitely! If I neglect myself, I wouldn’t be in good enough condition for concerts. The day before a show, I eat nothing for dinner! I feel better that way. I can rest better when I sleep on an empty stomach.

Aoi: Our [guitarist] Uruha said the same thing.

HAKUEI: When you eat something at night, your stomach keeps working because of digestion, right? So you can’t rest properly.

Aoi: Listening to you makes me want to try this from tomorrow [bitter laughs].

Alright, now is there something you want to ask Aoi, HAKUEI?

HAKUEI: No. I don’t mean anything weird, but in my mind, Aoi is a mysterious young boy. I like how elusive he is. How can I say… I feel we can drink and chat no matter the age difference because of this.

What kind of people could properly illustrate the word “elusive”?

HAKUEI: First, someone who has a manly spirit.

Aoi: I have one? Thank you!

HAKUEI: Then, the “rock’n’roll older brother” standard. They drink alcohol, have a high sense of morals, and are passionate people. I sound like an old fart when I say that but anyway [bitter laughs]. Nowadays I’m producing The Brow Beat, and Ryuji Sato is that kind of person. He’s only 25 years old, but he’s already that “rock’n’roll older brother”.

HAKUEI and Ryuji from The Brow Beat.

HAKUEI, are you perhaps looking for someone different than you? Of course, you are what you call a rock’n’roll older brother, but you seem smarter than that to me.

Aoi: Oh yes, he’s really smart!

HAKUEI: I’m not sure, but connecting with people even through casual conversations is a nice sensation.

Aoi: Every time we talk while drinking, I never remember what we talked about.

HAKUEI: Me neither, but maybe it’s because we’re drunk?

Aoi: Yeah, pretty drunk [laughs]!

Somehow, you’re getting drunk in a good feeling way.

HAKUEI: By the way, the GazettE got very popular before I even noticed. Everyone around me says you guys are very cool during shows. If you ask “Are there any cool bands recently?”, people would say “the GazettE!”. Actually, I watched your show on TV or something, you were awesome!

Aoi: Thanks a lot!

HAKUEI: Yes, really cool. In many different ways. It wasn’t a really serious chat before, but can I ask you something? As a band member, what do you give the most importance to?

Aoi: Hm… Probably the way I present myself I guess? Also doing my best during each performance. On tour as well, of course. I mean, that’s obvious though. People come especially to see us, right? I do it for them.

When you play shows two days in a row, you don’t use the first day to test the waters?

Aoi: Exactly. Each time I give it my all, my neck starts hurting, but it doesn’t matter. As expected, it’s no good if you don’t give it everything you’ve got.

HAKUEI: Do you have a preference for your setlists?

Aoi: Kind of, we’re always revising it a little. So it changes day by day.

HAKUEI: You change it constantly then.

Aoi: Yes we do. When we finish a show, we gather and we decide. That’s why we get out of venues so late [bitter laughs].

HAKUEI: Is that so! Amazing! So when the flow of songs doesn’t sound good enough, you just change the setlist?

Aoi: That’s it. But we also pay attention to things which worked well, and we remember them for the next time.

HAKUEI: I don’t think this is something everyone does, at least I don’t hear of it often.

Aoi: We file every detail regarding the setlist during tours, “We did this that time” etc. So we can refer back to it.

HAKUEI: We will probably change the setlist of The Brow Beat in the future too. Ryuji said he wants to change it up. There are many experienced members so they just say “Ok, no problem”. You probably also face problems regarding changing the setlist in the GazettE, but in the end, it’s all about enjoying the show, right?

Aoi: Definitely!

HAKUEI: I think if you don’t have that feeling of wanting people to enjoy the show, you wouldn’t bother changing the setlist. That’s what I think.

Aoi: I love performing. No matter what we say, shows are everything. I also love to see the other members’ faces during the show. Those are the moments I especially like.

“If I could, running a grimy bar would be fun!” —Aoi

the GazettE is currently in the middle of production and other than the 18th anniversary live on March 10, it feels a bit lonely with so few shows.

Aoi: If we’re going to do it, we’d like to make it a long show. It’s just one so you can’t really feel the response.

HAKUEI: I understand. With only one chance, you notice things you wanted to try or do better, but it’s too late.

Aoi: Usually, we tour for around a year and a half.

HAKUEI: That long?

Aoi: Maybe, but on the other hand we don’t release many singles. We think albums are easier to create. That’s the way it has been for a few years. First we release an album, and then singles [bitter laughs]! When we think a few songs are missing during live shows, we create new singles. Our staff allows us to work that way, so we are really thankful for it.

HAKUEI: Ryuji really likes the GazettE, actually.

the GazettE 18th anniversary “Day / 6576” visuals.

Do you know Ryuji, Aoi?

HAKUEI: I introduced him to Aoi!

Aoi: Yes! We’ve been introduced.

Meeting members of a band you love is always a thrilling situation, how did Ryuji react? Was he nervous?

HAKUEI: Ryuji is the kind of person who, even if he was nervous, he wouldn’t show it [laughs].

He’s an actor after all! By the way HAKUEI, besides your own music career and producing the band The Brow Beat, you are also dealing with various things outside the music world. You are really talented.

HAKUEI: [Big laughter] I also manage a ramen shop and a cream puff shop, yes.

I guess it’s because you are a foodie?

HAKUEI: Actually no, that comes up sometimes. I never said I wanted to do such a thing, not even once. One day I was asked “Would you like to do it?”, it sounded fun, so I answered “Yes!” [laughs]. But now I am, I’ve noticed it’s quite difficult.

Of course, it’s probably not an easy task, but does it have anything in common with creating music?

HAKUEI, Yes, after all the taste of ramen is also something you create. But I am totally ignoring profit. It is a totally unprofitable venture. It’s too expensive. But we have a good score on Tabelog [Japanese food review website], the media are talking about us and we are well rated, so I’m happy.

If you could manage a shop Aoi… Just as an example [laughs], what would you do?

Aoi: A grimy bar, like a hostess bar, would be nice.

HAKUEI: Nice! Bar Aoi! [Laughs]

Aoi: Not like a bar mama, but more like a master.

HAKUEI: Awesome, I would go there for sure [laughs].

Aoi: Wouldn’t it be fun to go there for a drink? I like that kind of place where people can gather.

HAKUEI: Speaking of bars, someone asked me if I would consider managing one. Well, I don’t know… But if I did, I would like a bar where people over 30 could enjoy themselves and put on some music that they enjoy.

Please do it! [Laughs]

HAKUEI: And sometimes, I would serve special curry and things like that.

That’s wonderful! No matter what you do, you do it perfectly right?

HAKUEI: I wouldn’t say that [bitter laughs].

Alright, HAKUEI, Aoi, we started drinking while talking about your hopes for the future regarding the music scene, and I don’t really remember what happened but…

HAKUEI: Maybe it’s not something I should say, but shouldn’t it be “musician first”? In the first place, people who are creating the music industry aren’t necessarily musicians. I understand that, but I think it should be a little bit more well-balanced. I feel like the balance isn’t great right now. Because of that, many bands have a tough time.

Aoi: Me too, I think it would be interesting to see what happens if it was easier to make connections.

HAKUEI: That’s true. Wider connections, exciting projects, it would be nice if we could do more. Even if ideas are flowing, lots of problems would come to mind and it would seem too difficult to make them happen. In Japan, I strongly feel that fundamentally, agencies have full power and are just employing musicians. Isn’t it the opposite abroad? Musicians choose their agents. Well, even without going that far, if that hurdle could be a little bit shorter, I think that would be good.

Aoi: In that case, the scene could evolve and grow. If we don’t revitalize the scene, we can’t make these kinds of changes.

HAKUEI: That’s the point.

Aoi: Actually, we talked a lot about that. Pretty serious [laughs]!

That’s a good thing [laughs]. Alright, we will end it with those nice words! Thank you very much!

Many thanks for checking out the extensive interview with HAKUI and Aoi! If you enjoyed this, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram because we will share more of these types of content soon! Also, big thanks to club Zy. for allowing us to share these amazing content to a worldwide audience!

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Original article:

Interviewer: Atsushi Kaie (club Zy.)

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