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.

On July 7, 2021, The Brow Beat released its first single “harevutai” on a major label. This song was also used as the opening theme for the anime “Yu-Gi-Oh! Sevens”. We talked with Ryuji and HAKUEI about the four editions of the single that will be released, among other topics.

“The Brow Beat will conquer the world of visual kei.” —Ryuji

The Brow Beat released three albums “Ragnarok”, “Hameln”, and “Adam” under an indie label. Through those three albums, The Brow Beat’s style has taken a solid shape. Additionally, for the next step, The Brow Beat has accomplished advancing to a major label.

Ryuji: In our case, we have continued our activities as we liked since our indie days, so we never felt dissatisfied in that environment. However, by stepping into the spotlight of a major label there are more opportunities to get on people’s radar, so I simply feel happy for this opportunity.

HAKUEI: Over those three years, we progressed with working on these three albums and through that, we were able to understand “The Brow Beat is a band that takes this kind of approach”. On top of that, when thinking about “how should we progress with the next album”, we became aware that “doing the same thing again isn’t an option”. In order to avoid doing that, we chose to move to a major label.

When The Brow Beat announced the move to a major label, it breathed new life into the world of visual kei. Going forward, it seems like The Brow Beat will bring a boost to the visual kei scene, I’m really looking forward to it.

HAKUEI: I don’t think I would be that happy if people told us “visual kei has gotten interesting since The Brow Beat started running around”.

Ryuji: Someday I want to stir up the entire music scene. But first of all, The Brow Beat will conquer the world of visual kei.

Your debut song “harevutai” is currently being used as the opening theme for the anime “Yu-Gi-Oh! Sevens”. Were there any characteristics that you were asked to fulfill when writing this song?

HAKUEI: I have personally been in charge of several anime theme songs in the past with PENICILLIN. However, those songs had all been previously recorded and were later chosen as theme songs, so they weren’t “songs made for anime”, so to speak. For this reason, I felt that I wanted to try writing a song for an anime, so I took on the request to write this song.

There were requests from the producers of the anime, but I didn’t personally feel that I wanted to make a melody with that much of a sharp edge. However, I thought that if The Brow Beat were to write a song to the general public, it would generate an interesting result, so I started writing while keeping that in mind. Even so, because there was a lot of trial and error, it was unexpectedly difficult.

Ryuji: HAKUEI went through a lot of trial and error. Maybe there’s no point in saying this, but the song that he initially made was actually very cool. But because it was too heavy to be the theme for “Yu-Gi-Oh! Sevens”, that version was shelved. If there is an opportunity, I would like to complete that version of the song and release it to you all.

“Out of the three songs, two of them are too inappropriate for children, so they shouldn’t listen to them.” —HAKUEI

So the lyrics for “harevutai” are a collaboration?

Ryuji: As far as the lyrics to “harevutai” were concerned, I wrote the lyrics first, and then HAKUEI finished them for me. That’s because the lyrics I wrote for “harevutai” are opposite to my personal outlook on the world, I’m good at writing dark lyrics.

Moreover, I’m the type to use words or expressions that aren’t typically used in lyrics; I prefer writing lyrics that don’t express things directly and are puzzling. But because it’s a cheerful song and many children will be watching “Yu-Gi-Oh! Sevens”, bright lyrics are more fitting, so inevitably, most of the lyrics ended up being quite straightforward and direct, but I also wanted to express and add my own twist. Because of that, I wrote the lyrics with some difficulty.

When I finished, I gave the lyrics to HAKUEI and he rewrote them to make them easier for children to understand. As a result, the completed lyrics can be understood quickly even by rascals who spend their days running around outside [laughs].

HAKUEI: Because we were given this opportunity to do an anime collaboration, it would be nice if children who haven’t heard of The Brow Beat could enjoy our music. Nevertheless, this is not a song expressly made to be easily understood by children. Furthermore, I thought “there’s no mistaking that this is what Ryuji wanted to say” and took that into consideration and tried expanding on it while I was completing the lyrics for “harevutai”.

Aren’t there also various meanings to the title “harevutai”?

HAKUEI: Certainly. It’s a song that will become a harevutai (big moment) for us, and the name “harevutai” also has significance to our record label [who manages the Ikebukuro venue called “harevutai”], so there are a lot of different meanings behind it.

The Brow Beat 「ハレヴタイ」【Official Music Video [Full Ver.] 】

“harevutai” is a song that can touch many people’s hearts, from children to adults, but wasn’t the coupling of the three tracks on the single a bit extreme?

HAKUEI: Out of the three songs, two of them are too inappropriate for children, so they shouldn’t listen to them.

Especially the subject matter of the song “21 grams” on Type A, children shouldn’t be allowed to listen to that one.

Ryuji: “21 grams” refers to the weight of the soul. “21 grams” is the embodiment of the darkest parts of my mind. The lyrics to this song contain a lot of complicated words and I wrote it thinking that it could be a good opportunity for middle and high-school students to deepen their knowledge of fallacies.

“These kinds of pained lyrics are at the essence of visual kei.” —Ryuji

It’s a song with the vocals recited in an interesting rhythm, it’s very striking and I felt it resound in my heart.

Ryuji: I started writing it with the idea of only having the hook be melodious, and then rapping the rest. I had too many things I wanted to say at all costs, so I jammed them all in by chanting quickly. I added inflections to my speech so I think the song ended up naturally demonstrating my abilities as an actor.

HAKUEI: “21 grams” is a very avant-garde song and is something that only Ryuji can express. Precisely because it’s Ryuji, he was able to charge his lines with his feelings, and this type of worldview is something that we can express because we are The Brow Beat. We want to further explore this type of style with The Brow Beat and I think it will be very cool.

Up until now, there haven’t been any lyrics that express your views on life and death so concretely, this type of content is something that only Ryuji is capable of writing.

Ryuji: I want to help people who have negative thoughts or feelings somehow. The things that saved me when I was in junior high school were songs like this that express the feelings of someone at rock bottom. I wrote “21 grams” to help and support the hearts of people who feel that way, even just a little, just as those types of songs helped me back then. Especially because these kinds of pained lyrics are at the essence of visual kei.

HAKUEI: It also means sharing the same pain.

The song “Cinderella” on Type B is also quite extreme in a different way than “21 grams”.

Ryuji: First, we decided that the theme of the song’s lyrics would be “Cinderella”. HAKUEI wrote the lyrics to the hook, for the rest, we divided the work among ourselves and took the same parts home to work on. We then brought back our revised work and revealed it at the same time in the studio, compiled it all together, and completed the lyrics. The first time we worked this way was when writing “Snow White”. That time it was an experience that worked out really well, so we decided to use this method this time too…


Ryuji: When we looked at the lyrics we each had written, mine was from the witch’s point of view and HAKUEI’s from the prince, neither of them were from the point of view of Cinderella. So we took them back home again to include lyrics from her point of view, once again, revealed them in the studio, and that’s how the song “Cinderella” was completed. But even by doing that, HAKUEI ended up writing lyrics from the prince’s point of view [laughs].

HAKUEI: Just as there were many difficulties in the writing process, that must have come out in the words of the prince who also faced many difficulties.

The Brow Beat「シンデレラ」【Official Music Video [Full Ver.] 】

Part of the lyrics are “foot violently pierced by a pin”, that’s quite a graphic depiction, isn’t it?

Ryuji: I wanted to describe Cinderella being tormented, and that’s the image that came into my head at the time, so I wrote that line.

HAKUEI: The lyrics to “Cinderella” are quite violent, but they fit in terms of the story.

That’s true. They are quite extreme and cruel. However, that’s the story of Cinderella.

Ryuji: I wrote one part of the rap as “Shut up, I’ll make you work until you die”. I was also aiming for the lyrics to be easy to find with a lyric search engine [laughs].

“I already have a hunch that whenever we release an album, it will have songs that are even more amazing.” —HAKUEI

The lyrics of the coupling track “Grind age” on Type D (Anime Edition) sends a painful message to this generation of young people.

HAKUEI: When writing these lyrics I wondered why events in today’s society were happening, and why people do the things they do. I also thought about things like why people don’t say the things they really have in mind. Is it because there are too many things that make them upset? That realization is probably also reflected somewhere in the song.

Ryuji: The lyrics and melody that HAKUEI wrote for “Grind age” are very good and it’s a song that feels good to sing. The lyrics in the beginning say “troublemakers and fools” and these are words I’d personally never use. The interesting thing about the lyrics that HAKUEI writes is how they are—how should I put it—abstract, yet direct. And while the sounds make it easy for the scene to emerge, each word pierces through and showcases its distinctness.

Your single itself, including the coupling tracks, looks like it will be a work that will stir up the concept of what the major scene is. For this reason, I am looking forward to seeing how The Brow Beat will stir up the music scene with its entrance on the major stage.

Ryuji: For starters, through “harevutai” I want to make children watching TV feel satisfied.

HAKUEI: I think the fact that Ryuji wrote “21 grams” is a truly great thing. That being said, it’s not as if we are simply satisfied with that and I already have a hunch that whenever we release an album, it will have songs that are even more amazing. To put it simply; The Brow Beat wants to catch many different people’s hearts with our work. By making use of the power of a major label, from here on out, we want to put out songs that can touch everyone’s hearts—even if it’s just a little. Regardless, in one way or another, we want to improve the quality of our work more and more!

Well, for our last call, anything you want to finish off with?

Ryuji: At the end, it’s got to be rice porridge.

HAKUEI: I think so too. You can’t end with udon [laughs].

No, no! That’s not what I meant [laughs]! Please leave a message for the readers of Vijuttoke.

Ryuji: Listen up! Shut up and pay attention!

HAKUEI: Hey you, stay visual[ttoke]! Tomorrow and forever visual[ttoke]!

Powered by: club Zy.

Interviewer: Tomonori Nagasawa

Photo: Masanori Kato

Hair and makeup: Hitomi Kita

Stylist: Tatsunori Numakura

Original article:

Brought to you by the triple partnership between club Zy., JROCK NEWS, and Vijuttoke.

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