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

In the middle of this COVID-19 crisis, Kiryu announced its third-ever performance at Nippon Budokan. Its last performance there was four years ago!

We have decided to fully support the Nippon Budokan performance; in preparation for it, we are releasing this special interview!

The Nippon Budokan concert is performed in front of an in-person audience while also livetreamed on ZAIKO on April 10, the archive lasts for about three days. Get your tickets now!

“I want to put my current feelings about these times into the music and the performance.” —Hiyori

To start with, last year you announced your solo tour “Senkiyakou” on December 16. Considering it being in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, since when did you have a vision for this tour?

Mahiro: We decided upon a number of things when we had a talk around the end of October.

Mitsuki: At the end of October, we heard that we were able to book Zepp and Nippon Budokan, so we decided on it as soon as we heard the news.

Kujou: It was on the 26th of October. We made the sudden decision during a meeting with all the members. The meeting was sneakily filmed and is up on the Kiryu YouTube channel, so please take a look.

Hiyori: At the end of October we were suddenly informed that a spot at Budokan had been secured. After that, we all had a meeting and it was decided.

Junji: I’ve been constantly craving a third Budokan concert. Our company started up doing lives with an audience from October 18. From the moment we started considering if we’d finally be able to put together a tour as well, people brought in ideas about a raffle for Nippon Budokan tickets—so the conversation continued straight away in that direction.

The final tour date will be the third performance at Nippon Budokan (April 10, 2021) in the band’s history since your last performance there about four years ago. Please tell us wholeheartedly how you feel.

Mahiro: Because it’s the third time already, I don’t feel an immense amount of pressure, but because the state of affairs also changes daily, I find myself often wondering what is going on.

I feel a clear difference in the level of emotions than the first and second times. I don’t feel particularly nervous or excited. My impression right now is that I will genuinely enjoy myself more than ever.

Kujou: I want it to be a concert that we embark on and create together as Kiryu and our fans.

Hiyori: I think my basic stance is consistent with what it always has been, but for sure, I want to put my current feelings about these times into the music and the performance.

Junji: Whatever era it might be, I want to do the things we can do in the present. At any rate, I’m looking forward to it! I want to feel alive together with everyone!

Do you have any different plans this time around compared to the previous two Budokan lives?

Mahiro: We will also be livestreaming it.

I feel that performing at such a large venue as Nippon Budokan under the current circumstances is already greatly different than the other two times.

Kujou: This concert will be streamed in real-time. I think we will be able to perform in a novel way from our previous performances, so I’m feeling excited.

Hiyori: I think the livestream is a big deal. For one, isn’t that a great opportunity for us?

Junji: Several years have passed since our second Budokan performance. We’ve grown since then too. So please wait and look forward to it!

We have heard that both your Zepp tour and the Nippon Budokan performance will be streamed live as well as having an in-person audience. Concerning either the in-person audience or the livestream, truthfully, did you have any doubts or concerns about either?

Mahiro: Initially, there was some reluctance about both but right now, I think this is the best way to go about it.

Mitsuki: Because it’s our first time doing this, there were differing opinions at our company about how we should do it. However, the things we can do now are our activities as musicians, with entertainment as its main component. So my attitude is that I am prepared to do whatever I can even if things get desperate.

Kujou: I always have my worries when doing something for the first time. However, every time we had an audience live I was glad we did so afterward. So in the end, my thoughts are that to keep moving forward is the right choice.

Hiyori: We had to consider our worries and think about every aspect. We all made the decision by considering everything and thinking positively.

Junji: The first time we did a no-audience concert was a bit like grasping at straws. How should we communicate to our fans despite them not being there? However, when we saw the comments coming in I understood. The fans were definitely all there, I thought. Because of that, I have no doubts. We are simply going to play the music we believe in.

In these current times, it has become an era in which livestream concerts are also a natural given. What kind of position do livestream concerts hold for Kiryu in your opinion?

Mahiro: It’s a gateway back into the venues.

Mitsuki: Rather than thinking as a band, our style is more about respecting each member’s thoughts, so everyone has their own opinions. I think that doing a livestream without an audience is like being on a TV program. In terms of sending out our music, there is no difference, my impression of it is as a “show” rather than a live concert.

Kujou: Both with-audience and non-audience concerts are concerts; it goes without saying. A concert with an audience, and a livestream concert, both deliver a real-time image to the fans, so there is no difference in either concert in my opinion. They both have their charm!

Hiyori: I think that lives are fundamentally based on it being “live” in person. I want the people who view our stream to be able to experience us live in person someday, so if the stream creates that opportunity, then I am satisfied.

Junji: I feel like paid livestreams are for the fans, and free-of-charge livestreams are for the fans plus anyone interested in us.

“…the way I move through the world is different from everyone.” —Mitsuki

Your new single “Nue” was announced to be released on February 17. The title is the name of the Yokai called “Nue”, right? Is there any other meaning to the title?

Mitsuki: It’s a time of various thoughts and feelings intersecting. Your “right” may be someone else’s “wrong”, and the opposite may also be true. But I’m not the only one who feels this way, and that is also part of my personality. That is to say, in the end… no matter what shape your heart is, it is “human”-shaped.

When did preparations for this music release begin?

Mahiro: We made the decision very quickly, so everyone was in quite a hurry.

We got started immediately after the October meeting mentioned earlier.

Kujou: As for the coupling track “Goku Homura”, it was written without any relation to the release.

Hiyori: The coupling track was done at an early stage. As far as the title is concerned, we proceeded with it quite rapidly after the meeting.

Junji:  I feel like after we talked about the Budokan lottery, we hurriedly started writing.

What kind of song is the title track “Nue”?

Mahiro: It lets you feel the considerable growth we’ve been through over this period in both the lyrics and the music.

Mitsuki: I composed it as melodic hardcore type of song, but none of the other members understood it. Thus, it became a track with the awareness that either nobody can keep up with my taste, or that the way I move through the world is different from everyone.

Kujou: Mitsuki said we had made a melodic hardcore song to which we reacted with a, “huh?”. He explained that we added in a melody that is of the essence of melodic hardcore, so it became somewhat closer to a melodic hardcore song!

Hiyori: Rather than “Merodikku hardcore” (melodic hardcore), it’s Mitsuki’s “mitsukikku hardcore”. All the wonderful parts of Mitsuki’s sensitivity are tightly squeezed into it.

Junji: And once again Mitsuki came to us with a super-fast song [laughs]. Mitsuki calls it melodic hardcore, but I think it’s become a very Mitsuki kind of song, “The Mitsuki”! It might have a bit of a 90s feel here and there too.

Could you tell us what kind of song the coupling track “Goku Homura” is?

Mahiro: It’s quite a vigorous song.

Mitsuki: The recording for this song was done before the summer—so I’m remembering it again from the beginning.

Kujou: Every part of the sound builds on top of the other.

Hiyori: It’s like a deluge of sound. The sound closes in without pause, it’s that kind of Kiryu-ish song.

Junji: This one definitely has “The Takemasa Kujou” kind of feeling. It has a completely different taste as opposed to “Nue”.

2020 was a difficult year, but for Kiryu what was the year like?

Mahiro: It’s been a year in which I’ve deeply reflected anew on the words “If you set your mind to it, you can do it”.

Mitsuki: This year has been an opportunity to see in a new light what our fans think of us and desire from us.

Kujou: It’s been a year in which I had a lot of time to think about our fans. We’ve been moving from one thing to another and our obligations have increased, so we haven’t had any time to ourselves at all.

Hiyori: There were a lot of painful and frustrating times when we couldn’t stand up in front of our fans. But when things finally reopened, I was so full of joy that I couldn’t put it into words…it was a year in which I was able to re-recognize how precious the existence of our fans is.

Junji: As we couldn’t do anything the way we used to, it has truly been a year of reflection. I think it has been a seriously challenging year for the music industry as well, but we have to somehow make things work.

Kiryu started the year 2021 off with an energetic dash; what kind of year will you make of 2021?

Mahiro: I want to make it a year where we pull through without any doubts about the things we’ve decided upon.

Mitsuki: No matter what the outcome is, I won’t have any regrets, that’s all.

Kujou: Making great strides with exceptional luck.

Hiyori: I simply want to make it an enjoyable year. I want to make it so fun that there is no time to think about unnecessary things.

Junji: Don’t lose, don’t yield, don’t lose heart! I guess just not losing, yielding, or losing heart [laughs]. I’d like it to be a year where we can hold lots of concerts like we’ve always done.

In conclusion, please express your enthusiasm for your current solo tour “Senkiyakou”!

Mahiro: With all my heart, I’d like you to come to our tour final to be held at Nippon Budokan on April 10, even though it’s risky. Please support us.

Mitsuki: Even under these circumstances, our all-Japan solo-tour will take place. How you can cheer and what you can do will be announced at each venue, but the best judgment is up to each individual person.

“Self-responsibility” is a convenient word that has been flying around recently, but actually it is what I strongly request of you at this time. That’s why, instead of leaving the decision up to someone else, I want each of you to judge for yourselves.

We respect each method of your support. It will not be judged, that; if you’re able to do something, you are admirable; or if you can’t, that makes you a bad person. Therefore, even if our activities are criticized behind our back, we are willing to take up the challenge of this tour based on our beliefs.

Kujou: I absolutely want to let it be a success. I don’t want it to just be a celebration of us having been at the Budokan; I want Kiryu and our fans to become one and aim for success, all together!

Hiyori: I think the most important thing is for the members to enjoy this tour more than anyone else, and to be even more proud than we decided. Only after that, we will be able to make the fans smile. Let’s create a tour together where we can make each other smile from the bottom of our hearts.

Junji: I myself am really looking forward to it, and I would love for it to be a thrilling and exciting tour where I’m able to spread that joy to everyone. I want to prove the power of entertainment and being alive to you!

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