In 2020, Alice Nine put out consecutive releases “Fuyajou Eden” and “Kuro to Wonderland”, then started off this year (2021) by releasing a song for each member over the course of five months. The unstoppable band continues to charge forward into 2022!
I think that Alice Nine’s movements in 2020 were very much on the offensive. From the return to your roots in “Fuyajou Eden”, it feels as if the bonds and awareness between members became much stronger, didn’t it?
Shou: Since the world has been struck by COVID-19, “Fuyajou Eden” has been a huge ordeal for us because we put all our energy into making it. But even so, if we can’t carry out a tour, then we can’t say we fulfilled our creativity as a “live band”. Using this adversity as motivation, we strengthened our ties as band members, and being able to send the album “Kuro to Wonderland” off into this world was Alice Nine’s way of successfully harvesting the fruits of our labor. And through harvesting these fruits, we moved into our next phase. I believe we’ve been able to tap into something deeper.
Hiroto: I think that 2020 was a year that exceeded the bonds between the five of us. If anything, because of these circumstances forcing us to halt, we became extremely aware of our “individuality”. By the time we were able to tour again, we were able to once again feel the strength and the real thrill of the true essence of being in a band, and experience the rawness of a space that we constructed together with the fans.
Tora: Among ourselves, we thought about what we could do in a pandemic. Through that, our bond and awareness grew stronger over the period of those activities.
Saga: Because it’s a work that came from our producer after all, in the truest meaning of the word, our bonds and rebirth as the five of us hadn’t come out in [“Fuyajou Eden”] yet. As for the nature of this work, I think a “new step” is the right way to put it.
Nao: While concerts are restricted, I wanted to shape our activities in a way that they remained a part of history despite the circumstances. Conversely, I wanted 2020 to be a year filled with activities. I think we were the embodiment of offense in that regard. I wanted it to be a year in which each member was able to grow both in their musical abilities and as a person.
Moving on from a turbulent 2020 and entering the new year. You presented yourselves with a “five-month consecutive release” where each work was produced by a member individually. What kind of motivation was behind this type of release?
Hiroto: Because this feels considerably far into the past already, I’m leaving this question to Shou!
Shou: Because I believe this band’s strength comes from our collective taste, character, and production skills as one unit, we decided on a “zine” kind of release to fully express our visuals and worldviews.
Tora: It’s because we wanted to try releasing songs that bring out everyone’s individuality to the fullest extent.
Saga: It originally started as Shou’s idea. Each member expressed the images they wanted to present to this world under the COVID-19 pandemic. Producing five works consecutively has proven more difficult than we imagined.
Nao: My time at home has increased due to the COVID-19 restrictions, so I’ve started doing things like cover songs. Because we couldn’t do any public activities we thought we’d give everyone a fun time at home by releasing a new song and music video each month.
Facing every song, one after the other, that was created by a member each month, did it make you realize something new about each other?
Shou: Hiroto’s delicate sense of beauty, Saga’s extensive knowledge of music, the aggressive music of my own dark side. Nao’s remarkable skills as a producer, and Tora’s established skills at guitar arrangement, and his skills at having oversight of his work.
The contrast between our work was more distinct than expected, which for me, reaffirmed the potential of Alice Nine as a band.
Hiroto: Our own habits and the things we care about, as well as our world at this moment in time. I think the members’ personality types are all expressed through these works.
Tora: That our personal colors are different depending on each member, I believe.
Saga: I think that the kind of music that’s become each member’s main axis has become clear. Though I’ve done something quite unusual.
Nao: Music is interesting in and of itself. I realized again how music brings out our own personalities.
The next release “Medley” is your new EP compiling these five songs, and includes the new track “Izayoi”. We think of this as the result of the combined efforts during these five consecutive months, where each personality is on display. Would you mind telling us about the five first songs included?
1. Hoshi Furu Yoru ni wa Kimi wo Omou
Release: May 9, 2021. Lyrics: Shou, composition: Hiroto.
Shou: We wrote the lyrics and recorded this song with the image of a lullaby, directly intended for the people mentally broken by the coronavirus pandemic. It resulted in a very sensitive piece of work that could reach people’s deepest parts.
Hiroto: In my mind, I see “Hoshi Furu Yoru ni wa Kimi wo Omou” as the third piece of the trilogy initiated by “FANTASY” and then “REPLICA”. We created a story based on the experiences that we sang about in “FANTASY”, and then created this track as a “theme song” for that story. I am convinced that a story is shared by these three songs through their melody, so please give them another listen with this idea in mind.
Tora: It’s the kind of song you would want to listen to in the countryside while looking at the stars. The unplugged version would fit well too!
Saga: Its melody reminds me of a revolving lantern, making me ask myself “am I dying?”.
Nao: It’s a warm, comforting song that encouraged us to work hard and do our best.
2. Bury the Night
Release: June 9, 2021. Lyrics: Saga, composition: Saga.
Shou: For the first time ever in the history of the band, both the lyrics and the melody were written by Saga. He established the link between music notes and words in an amazing way, resulting in a song that’s very easy to sing. Saga even produced the music video himself. He was able to faithfully capture the cheerful and friendly atmosphere between the members, I really like it.
Hiroto: It’s a song that I would like people to listen to while watching the music video, directed and edited by Tora. Saga tends to compose symphonic songs, but sometimes grants us very distinctive tracks with strong ’90s vibes like this one.
Tora: A strong feeling of nostalgia emanates from this song. A kind of cheesy yet cool style!
Saga: It’s a song written by a bassist, but there’s no bass in it.
Nao: Spending time at home was the theme of this music video. We have so much fun in it.
3. AFTER DARK
Release: July 9, 2021. Lyrics: Shou, composition: Shou.
Shou: When I thought back about my starting point, my time as a student definitely shaped my current self. I was dealing with a lot of delusions and thoughts because of sleep deprivation, so I wrote the lyrics with the theme of a “dark fantasy world”.
In terms of the song itself, we haven’t used a lot of futuristic-sounding guitar in a while, I’ve been obsessed with creating symbolically themed phrases using the guitar. Although in the end, I was helped considerably by Saga for the arrangement, he really helped me out.
Hiroto: I think it’s a “cool” song because it’s simple. At a concert too, a suitable level of strained tension and strong determination are sent out through the sound and message; I love this song because it’s very Shou.
Tora: It’s a song that still has some visual kei darkness in it left. The feeling as this song progresses is unique!
Saga: It took a long time to do the mixing for the drums.
Nao: It’s a song where you can see Shou’s gloomy darkness!
Release: August 9, 2021. Lyrics: Shou, composition: Nao.
Shou: It’s a fun song in which Nao displayed his cute side to his heart’s content. Seeing Nao having fun planning out the music video and filming it, I myself became really happy as well.
Hiroto: I don’t think anybody outside us—including the fans—were ever let in on this, but it’s a song with hints about Nao’s musical roots scattered around. Because the music video is an animation where the members don’t make an appearance, it is a work created with that in mind. But I personally think it would have been nice if Nao’s part had been more energetic.
Tora: It’s a bit of an anime song. You can see Nao’s kind personality!
Saga: I’ve been absorbed by how I could pick on and tease Nao, as he’s someone who just opened his eyes to the fun world of songwriting.
Nao: It’s a song about believing in yourself and moving forward, giving a push in the back to the people around. The art in the music video was done by “Nou”.
Release: September 9, 2021. Lyrics: Shou, composition: Tora.
Shou: At the time, it was a demo made by Tora which sounded really cool. It’s really difficult to make stress and heaviness coexist in a song, but he let me freely include wordplay without destroying the song’s worldview.
Hiroto: Simple is best! It’s a song that arouses these words exactly in an easy-to-understand manner. We’ve only played this song twice live, but it’s a song that really shines on stage. The music video was also done in a manner that we haven’t done before and was completely new to us.
Tora: It’s an exciting song to play live! The lyrics are also unique and worth listening to.
Saga: It’s really befitting Tora who has recently become aware of his creativity.
Nao: It’s a hard and cool song that fits Tora.
What kind of track is the sixth song “Izayoi”?
Shou: We actually consider this new track as an answer song to “Mugen no Hana”, a song we created in the past. In a constantly changing environment, in which the moon is waxing and waning, one scene may never be seen again. In this context, the song depicts the feelings of a man and a woman wishing for the endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth, looking for the infinite.
Hiroto: This is actually the first song we completed in this EP, and it is a song that captures the essence of that feeling as we go through autumn into winter. I am simply wondering if I was able to fully express what I wanted to express through the guitar solo. Please, listen to it!
Tora: It’s a mid-tempo song with a slight Japanese feeling.
Saga: This song would be the result if I had to write a ballad in a world where people were eaten by demons.
Nao: It’s a beautiful song reflecting the ephemeral nature of the five of us, wearing costumes reminiscent of the Meiji or the Taishou eras.
There is only a little time left before the end of 2021. What kind of year was it for each of you?
Shou: This year was our attempt to keep moving forward while having to share the road with the pandemic. There were both merits and risks to keep advancing or to stop walking, that’s why I think this year was full of doubts for us. Since I want to keep pursuing our own music from now on, this long time of hesitation will nourish us so we can rise again next year.
Hiroto: Releasing a new song and holding a show with a unique concept per month was a new challenge that we had never faced so far… A highly jam-packed experience if you ask me! But reaching that peak in our activities, a 17th year full of performances, was the year allowing us to finally perceive the light of our “20th anniversary”. 17 years have passed; we made our way until that point and I can feel in my body that the band is still on the road. It was difficult, but I’m glad we did it.
Tora: I’m glad we somehow made it. We won’t let our guard down and do our best to reach the end of the year.
Saga: Personally, I was able to find all the answers I was looking for during the second half of the year.
Nao: This amazing year was the chance for us to reconsider ourselves and bring a brand new Alice Nine for next year.
Thank you very much. To close it off, could you please leave a message to Vijuttoke’s readers?
Shou: Let’s keep getting fired up with visual kei! We want to keep doing that with pride. I thank everyone reading this interview from the bottom of my heart. Thank you very much.
Hiroto: To the readers of Vijuttoke, and to those who read this far, thank you very much. Whether it is our humanity or music that attracts you to us, please come experience our show even in these strange times. Even if just a little, you’ll definitely feel something warm at the bottom of your heart!
Tora: Once the pandemic settles down, we will do our best to make the band return to its original state, so please support us.
Saga: Thank you very much for reading. Everyone, please do your best!
Nao: We will start our tour “the Forbidden Medley” on December 5. It’s our first tour in a long time so I’m really looking forward to it. Readers, please join us, and let’s have fun!
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Original article: https://www.club-zy.com/contents/471107