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.

We’re back again with the second part of the amusing and refreshing talk that has HAKUEI and Kiryuin Shou (Golden Bomber) in the center of attention!

Last time, we discovered the story behind HAKUEI and Kiryuin Shou’s first encounter, along with other interesting stories that were brought about due to alcohol consumption. This time, we’re following up on their drinking habits, but take a more mature approach as the two eventually share the troubles they went through after throat surgery.

“Kirishou does the things that I cannot do so easily, which is really amazing.” —HAKUEI

So another thing you both have in common is that you’re both vocalists. Obviously, your styles are different but are there elements that are similar? Like voice maintenance and such?

Kiryuin Shou: I’ve been taught a lot about that kind of thing. HAKUEI actually puts a great deal of care into maintaining his throat condition and he taught me a lot about it. For example, what types of food to eat, as well as training methods.

What kind of effect did they have on you?

Kiryuin Shou: Well, I started cutting back on food as HAKUEI suggested, and I actually lost a lot of weight quite quickly. Even the fans noticed. “Kiryuin, did you lose weight?”

Wait don’t tell me, you cut down your carbohydrate intake?

Kiryuin Shou: Yep, yep!

On the contrary, from your point of view HAKUEI, what aspect of Kirishou (Kiryuin Shou) has proven to be helpful?

HAKUEI: He is incredibly analytical when it comes to writing songs. He wrote a song for the 20th anniversary of my solo career, and it was so well put together, I was really impressed.

I’m the type who writes a song based on the impression I get from a melody, or alternatively if I’m together with the members, I would discuss with them to see what direction to follow.

When it comes to live performances, Golden Bomber has a carefully written script that they follow but I never have that kind of plan. I just go with the flow of whatever the feeling that day on stage is.

That’s also pretty amazing…

Kiryuin Shou: If I have the chance, I think I would like to try that too…

HAKUEI: If I have to think about it, it’s a problem. I don’t think planning suits me very well.

The way you do live shows is also at polar opposites, right?

HAKUEI: That’s exactly the reason why I understand how awesome he is. The things I’m unable to do, he does it so effortlessly. Kirishou also underwent throat surgery, a year later I also had the same symptoms and underwent surgery. In the past, we talked a lot about our throat condition and we noticed we had the same symptoms, so he recommended his doctor to me. When I met the doctor, he said: “The procedure is of course important, but taking proper care of your throat afterward is just as important. In this aspect, Kirishou has been doing an incredible job!”.

Kiryuin Shou: I took it too seriously, I guess [bitter laughs]? I was forbidden to use my voice for two weeks and had to use a nebulizer every day.

HAKUEI: Mixing the medicine for this nebulizer was pretty bothersome. You have to clean it after each use too. It was a liquid medicine that you had to keep refrigerated.

Kiryuin Shou: Since I had been through it myself, I sent HAKUEI several messages about the experience before his surgery.

HAKUEI: I felt insecure, so it was really reassuring.

This episode is the proof of how meticulous Kirishou is.

Kiryuin Shou: I think I’m the kind of person who takes things seriously. Some people who had the same surgery were impatient and went drinking right away, but if you do that, recovery takes even longer. If I had done the same, I would have regretted it without a doubt. Even after I fully recovered and when I didn’t feel so good during shows, all I thought was “I shouldn’t have been drinking the other day”, you know what I mean? I was told to be careful for a certain time after the surgery, but I continued the treatment for three days longer than recommended.

HAKUEI: I did the same, I did it longer than advised.

Kiryuin Shou: But not talking is quite a challenge. And not doing shows for two weeks isn’t an easy task either.

HAKUEI: While I was recovering, whenever I took a taxi, I would write the destination on a little whiteboard.

You couldn’t even say such a few words as your destination?

Kiryuin Shou: Actually, even saying “Yes!” was no good.

This sounds really strict, doesn’t it?

Kiryuin Shou: But sometimes, short words would escape unintentionally.

HAKUEI: I remember when an “Ouch!” escaped my throat after I stubbed my toe one day. When I received a particularly crowded schedule, I uttered “Seriously!” [bitter laughs]. But this happened only twice.

Kiryuin Shou: Sometimes HAKUEI and I talk about our singing style. HAKUEI uses a strong accent when he sings, so I wonder if his vocal cords are strong as well. I sincerely believe HAKUEI’s singing is made for visual kei, so I always wanted to ask him many things about it whenever I can.

It seems you have some serious conversations when you hang out together, but how about casual outings, like karaoke or something else?

Kiryuin Shou: Some bars we went to had a karaoke device by chance, but we never thought “Let’s go to karaoke!”. Well, if I’m in the mood I would sing I guess… Generally, someone who wants to liven things up usually puts on one of my songs, and in the same way, I would sing one of my songs to get things going as well.

HAKUEI: Now that you mention it, I think there was a day when we were really drunk and we went to a karaoke. We put “Memeshikute” on and the song started exactly when the employee came into the room.

Kiryuin Shou: Ah, yes I remember! When I was singing!

HAKUEI: Usually, these kinds of things would spread publicly on social media, right? So to avoid that I was going to say “Please don’t share this on social media”, however, Kirishou told him “If you want to write about it, go for it!” [laughs].

Kiryuin Shou: Ah, that’s not quite the way I said it [laughs]. I thought maybe he’d figure it out really quickly and it’d be kind of weird if I stopped singing here. We obviously looked like guys who played in a band so I had no intention to hide our identities. I thought we should put our cards on the table to this employee [laughs]. And then I said “Write that on social media!”. I thought this way, it would be more difficult for him to spread the information instead of asking him to not do it.

HAKUEI: Well, if we find it online, we’ll know it was him [laughs].

I guess he was very surprised.

Kiryuin Shou: He was laughing [laughs].

“When it comes to talented artists, I just want to attend and enjoy the show, I don’t really want to share the stage with them.” —Kiryuin Shou

A lot of personal stories have come out of today’s discussion, but has there ever been a time when you thought about doing something together, just the two of you?

HAKUEI: Once, we participated in the same event and we performed a song together. I think it was “Linda Linda” by THE BLUE HEARTS.

Kiryuin Shou: We purposely chose a non-visual kei song.

HAKUEI: Yeah, but everyone was on fire! “Definitely, this is the power of this song, amazing!” was all I could think.

You have good taste! Other than live shows, have you ever thought about collaborating?

HAKUEI: No, not really.

Kiryuin Shou: Indeed, we haven’t. Personally, there are a lot of artists that I respect, and I want to keep them separate from myself [bitter laughs]. When it comes to talented artists, I just want to attend and enjoy the show, I don’t really want to share the stage with them. Of course if I received that kind of offer, I would thankfully accept, but basically, my self-esteem is quite low… I’m not a big fan of myself.

On the contrary, I always thought that collaborating with an artist who is totally different to me could be interesting [bitter laughs]. For example, if I could share the stage with a male idol artist who can’t say bad words and has to maintain a clean image, I would do my best to be as vulgar and indecent as possible [laughs]. I don’t mean to be hated by the audience, I’m just guided by the desire to ruin the atmosphere and leave a strong impact.

HAKUEI: That’s actually really interesting.

HAKUEI, I feel that you are the kind of person who would collaborate with someone if you genuinely think it sounds promising, am I wrong?

HAKUEI: Well, I’m not invited to events often to be honest [bitter laughs]. But if I had been invited, I would consider the offer with a positive attitude.

But wouldn’t your hazard detecting ability activate in that case?

HAKUEI: No, in that case I would just jump in without thinking. I like to perform in front of people who don’t really know me. So I especially like performing abroad or during anime-related events. Once, I even performed in Bahrain, a Middle Eastern country.

This is impressive! Going to Middle Eastern countries is a rare opportunity.

HAKUEI: It was amazing. We performed on the track-side stage of the Formula 1 circuit, but it seems they had never really welcomed any rock bands until that time. Eminem, Michael Jackson, and Eric Clapton had performed on that stage though. A lot of people came to see us, and just before we began the show, a famous host from Bahrain introduced us and stirred up the audience. He was like “Let’s start!”, so we appeared on stage, and everyone looked puzzled [bitter laughs].

You mean it had no impact on them [laughs].

HAKUEI: Everyone had beards and wore white clothes, all of them. At this moment I was like “Huh?” and I admit I felt anxious, but actually, they probably didn’t know how they should react. Maybe they thought I looked angry or something like that. When I noticed that, I yelled “Say yeah!”, which is something I never did before, and they replied “Yeah!”, so I thought “That’s it!” [laughs].

After that, I waved my hand from left to right during the ballad, something I usually would never do, and they imitated me. When we were performing the last song—quite a violent one—everyone went crazy!

Kiryuin Shou: What an amazing experience!

HAKUEI: Up to this point, the staff at the event had been cold and unfriendly, but after the performance, everyone rushed to us asking for autographs or to take pictures with us.

Kiryuin Shou: That’s wonderful! What a nice story…

HAKUEI: It made me realize how awesome music was.

You’re very experienced! As expected from you. If you had the chance to perform overseas Kirishou, what would you do?

Kiryuin Shou: I definitely want to go abroad as an artist.

HAKUEI: You went to Japan Expo in France, right?

Kiryuin Shou: I did. It was about eight years ago, but for some reason the return flight didn’t show up, these are really unhappy memories [bitter laughs]. We didn’t enjoy the show much… Not because we had a lack of staff or something like that, but more because the audience didn’t really understand us. I realized that probably, what we’re doing is definitely not something “normal”. It was our first live experience abroad at that time, but since then we had new experiences overseas so I think it would be great to give it another shot. We don’t really receive offers though.

That’s unexpected, your concept is quite easy to understand though.

HAKUEI: Indeed, anyone could understand.

Kiryuin Shou: We’re really waiting for offers! We will make them laugh for sure… Oh, I don’t mean we only do that to make them laugh [bitter laughs]. That reminds me, when we performed at Summer Sonic Festival, there were some staff members who were foreigners on stage and they were laughing so hard!

HAKUEI: [Big laughter] That’s hilarious!

Kiryuin Shou: I don’t remember if we were eating watermelon or cutting cabbage, but they laughed a lot when they saw us doing that. When I noticed their reaction, I had the conviction that yes, what we’re doing can be understood.

HAKUEI: Maybe the audience at Japan Expo was mostly composed of anime fans, so it was difficult for them to understand? I think rock fans would understand easily.

Kiryuin Shou: I think they might be able to understand our weirdness quite quickly.

HAKUEI: Yes. And maybe you would become an international success!

Alright, would you please leave each other a supportive message?

Kiryuin Shou: Being a musician is a lot of work—you have so many responsibilities. I think despite that, HAKUEI is able to maintain that ideal image of a musician. That kind of effort is also incredibly hard work, but not so bad that we’d cry out. Of course, I’d love it if HAKUEI could continue making music and be this way forever. The ideal image of a musician!

HAKUEI: Thank you [laughs].

Then, a message from HAKUEI to Kirishou please!

HAKUEI: But I have nothing more to say [laughs].

Kiryuin Shou: Well, we do whatever we want anyway [laughs].

HAKUEI: If I really have to say something, I think that the way you never waver is really cool. What more… Regarding what we said about the overseas market, I really hope you can become internationally famous. It’s just an example, but one day, maybe you will become the new trend abroad, “Golden Bomber, the visual kei band from Japan”. I feel like you will become even more interesting.

What a nice conclusion! Thank you very much, to both of you!

That was the last part of the HAKUEI and Kiryuin Shou talk, we hoped you enjoyed it as much as we did. And of course, we have to thank our partner club Zy. for providing the source material in the first place!

Make sure to stay tuned for even more interesting coverage and interviews here at JROCK NEWS, don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to keep updated.

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Original article:

Interviewer: Atsushi Kaie (club Zy.)

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