Give me smile and shine days

Each overcoming their walls

On 27th November, SIAM SHADE released their 4th single this year “1/3 no junjou na kanjou”, which is also the ending theme of the popular Fuji TV anime Rurouni Kenshin. We met HIDEKI(Vo) and DAITA(G), who are currently right in the middle of their tour “No, Way-Out”, a tour which proves their cockiness: “We are what we are!” In addition to having them talk about their frustration and the walls that they say each of them had, we also inquired about their current positive state of mind. As they declare: “Getting hurt was the very thing that made us strong.”

interview and text by Yusuke Kato (加藤祐介)

――It seems kind of destined that the song “1/3 no junjou na kanjou”, which actually existed at the time you were making SIAM SHADE II, appears as a single now, with this timing.

DAITA: Yeah.

――For the past some time you must have been doing your best to get rid of your “visual-kei” image?

HIDEKI: We still do pay attention to what we wear. (laughs)

――Ahahaha (laughs). Your looks haven't been visual-kei since SIAM SHADE, but your sound and lyrics fit in that category, right?

HIDEKI: The lyrics did.

DAITA: We had a lot of songs in minor, so the sound was also in the same vein.

――At around SIAM SHADE III you came out of it with a pop.

HIDEKI: Which was because we thought that maybe we should just to do what we want, rather then worrying about what's going on around us, since we're gonna disappear anyway.

――You even sing: “If I'm gonna flicker out like a sparkler anyway, the only thing to do is to grab a dynamite and leap in” in the coupling song “DDD”.

HIDEKI: Yes. The protagonist of “DDD” gets told that: “You are insane”, and is put in a mental hospital. But who can decide who's insane and who's not, anyway? It's about how the morals of the world may have been good up until the current era, but the same morals gave birth to a criminal like that and corrupted the world. And in that case, aren't my morals more correct than those? You are sure to regret if you spend your time without doing the things you want to do, right? That's not how you should do it, make up your mind and let's burn completely! or so.

――That's deep.

HIDEKI: Lately, I've started to like writing lyrics. In the past it was a pain, but at some point I felt a really strong attraction in the power that words have. There are those who are encouraged by words and then there are those who are depressed by them, right? I think it's marvelous to be able to affect all kinds of people like that.

――What was the trigger for that?

HIDEKI: I don't really want to discuss it in detail... I had a setback–– When I came up against a big wall, I was really encouraged by reading a certain collection of poems. That's what I guess you could call the trigger for it. Up until that, the most I thought about fans telling me that, “I was cheered up by SIAM SHADE's songs” was “is that so”. But when I first felt like that myself, I thought: “Was I really doing such an important job!?” In the past I only had this Mötley Crüe concept of rock: getting women, making a lot of money and driving a fancy car. I thought that, “Maybe that's not quite right”, and with that my lyrics changed.

――When was that?

HIDEKI: In the beginning of this year, I think.

――Did you sense such a change in HIDEKI, DAITA?

DAITA: Indeed I did. However, it was not just HIDEKI. I think that, looking at the past year, each of us have overcome walls and now we have arrived at the next step. It was kind of a stormy year. At one point, we didn't even have a producer. In any case, we had all sorts of difficulties. I feel that we have overcome them and that our luck is changing. I think that getting over such a year not only benefited us as a band but our lives as well. Releasing “1/3 no junjou na kanjou” to musically sum that up, you really feel some sort of destiny at work.

――It really is a SIAM SHADE-like song, and it could also be called your starting point, “1/3 no junjou na kanjou” that is. If it had been a completely new song...

DAITA: I don't think the feeling would have been this strong. I think it would have just been: “This is what we are now”, but I'm really glad we could naturally integrate our old selves into it.

――In that sense I called it a “kind of destined single”.

DAITA: You really could interpret it like that.

HIDEKI: Another glad thing is that NATIN brought the song that would become the coupling song.

――It's another way you've increased your range again, since this is the first time that a song by NATIN is released to the world.

HIDEKI: Honestly speaking, up until now, I couldn't help thinking that, “What is he doing!?” “How can you go drinking when everyone is doing their best!?” And JUNJI too, while I was recording with all my effort, next to me he goes: “Tomorrow we party!”, or something, while practicing the drums. Makes you feel: “We're not done yet!”, doesn't it? I told that to NATIN too.

――It must be because you trust each other that you can openly tell each other that.

DAITA: We have properly cleared such walls too.

HIDEKI: I think that this time, the credit “words/music: SIAM SHADE” really means it.

DAITA: It feels like we had really good experiences at a really good time and a really good tie-up was decided with really good timing.

HIDEKI: Though this is my unlucky year. (laughs) However, my fortune is strong against adversities; I've been said that I'm like a flower pushing through asphalt. I will blossom when I'm at my worst moment. It really is happening like that so I'm thinking if you just can't change fate.

DAITA: There really are moments when you feel that you are born under certain stars. For example, a lyricist can't suddenly become a pilot; I guess you really are born with certain natural gifts.

――“1/3 no junjou na kanjou” is the ending theme of the anime Rurouni Kenshin. Is it already playing in it?

DAITA: It will play starting on 18th November. This was once again lucky, it will play about two times before it goes on sale.

HIDEKI: I'm a bit worried that maybe things just seem to be going well, but don't work out in the end. (laughs) That's just because I'm a fan of Yokohama Bay Stars. They make it look like they're gonna win, but in the end: “So it was futile after all...” (laughs)

DAITA: As a Giants fan I'm at the very bottom though. (laughs)

――You shouldn't place your destiny in pro baseball. (laughs)

DAITA: True.

――But being an anime fan, this must be a tie-up of dreams for you, DAITA.

DAITA: It's really great.

HIDEKI: The greatest thing is that the televised show will soon be out on video and (our song) will be in it. Though anime songs used to have lyrics that had something to do with the anime in the past, it's different nowadays.

――Why not make an over-the-top anime song?

DAITA: Like Animetal? (laughs)

――Not like that; one where you repeat the title in the chorus.


――”Devilman” or “Gatchaman” were like that, but the songs were really cool, weren't they?

DAITA: “Mazinger Z” was cool too.

HIDEKI: If you made us make one, it might become something awesome.

――I too think that only SIAM SHADE could do it.

DAITA: Come to think of it, Earthshaker, Loudness and Bowwow did anime songs too.

――For Bowwow it was a robot tokusatsu called “X Bomber”, right?

DAITA: The overseas version had Van Halen.

――Why not make one? Something like: “Fight! So-and-so-man!!”

HIDEKI: They don't have titles like “So-and-so-man” nowadays. (laughs)

――Sorry for being old. (laughs) So, the coupling song “DDD” was, like you said, brought by NATIN. However, it isn't very “bassistic” song.

DAITA: The first time I heard it I did think that: “Sounds like it was made by a bassist.”

HIDEKI: Especially the intro.

――Did NATIN come up with the arrangement too?

DAITA: He had done some of it, but mostly it was done with the band. The chord progression changed and the melody changed too.

HIDEKI: NATIN brought the cool intro, I was in charge from the B melody until the ending, and DAITA was in charge of the guitar solo's rhythm arrangement. In total, it was all of us doing our best. The intro was cool though, so the work went smoothly.

DAITA: Intros can be surprisingly troublesome. Like, the melody and all are really good, but the intro doesn't fit in.

――You hear a lot about changing just the intro with other bands too.

DAITA: Yeah. People do skip over songs based on the intros. Because I like hard rock, I was especially like that. If I didn't think that the intro was cool, I wouldn't listen until the singing began. But I do think that music-wise too, “DDD” is a nice compact song.

HIDEKI: But performance-wise it is pretty difficult though. (laughs)

DAITA: Our rehearsals start tomorrow, so we gotta practice a bit or we're in trouble. (laughs)

――The backing of the guitar solo does sound difficult.

DAITA: During the solo, I'm playing the solo, so I'm OK. (laughs)

HIDEKI: But we did worry up until the day before the recording if we should make the solo backing rock'n'roll-like flashy or detailed. It was not until three days before the recording that we decided to choose this song. I thought that it took quite some artistry to make the song this strong.

――And on 12th November, your country-wide tour “No, Way-Out” starts from Shinjuku LIQUIDROOM. What is the meaning of the title?

HIDEKI: It's not “can't escape”, the word means “not a fad” or “old-fashioned”. And from there: “SIAM SHADE is SIAM SHADE!” “Not colored by anything else, it's music that only we can make!”

DAITA: “We're different from the rest!”

――When this magazine goes on sale, half of the tour is already over. What kind of a tour do you think it will be?

HIDEKI: The schedule is very busy, but we will do our best in the time we have.

――You'll also have to make the tour lead into your new album.

DAITA: That's true. I think that our next album will be in the style of SIAM SHADE II. From hard songs to pop songs. I think that it will have the unity of “We are SIAM SHADE!”, so I'd like everyone to sense what are the changed new parts and what are the good old parts that remain the same.

Fool's Mate magazine #195 (January 1998). Scans by morgianasama