13th August Shibuya Kōkaidō sold out!
Currently recording their 2nd album

Even in the GiGS' editorial section, SIAM SHADE receives the most attention among new bands. Their first album SIAM SHADE turned out to be a bestseller, despite being an indies album. Also, their 13th August headliner live show at Shibuya Kōkaidō was sold out in one day! This is what you could call “tremendous momentum”. After hearing that they were recording their second album, we decided to visit them at the studio right away.

――First, explain shortly how the band was formed.

CHACK: In the beginning, as SIAM SHADE, there was three of us: me, Kazuma and Natin. Afterward, in 1993, Daita joined. Junji joined in last year's May.

――What kind of music did the original three play before SIAM SHADE?

CHACK: It was hard rock. I'd say that Kazuma was into rock 'n' roll and Natin and I were into American rock.

――When did you record your first album “SHAM SHADE” [sic]?

CHACK: July last year.

――I'd like to ask you about the way you create your songs. Your arrangements can be quite elaborate.

CHACK: We create them in “frame-by-frame advance”. When we're working on an intro, we'll go through it hundreds of times. And since the vocalist has nothing to do during the intro, I'm like: “How long is it going to take? Finally you've managed to progress 8 measures!” (laughs)

――During that time you're polishing the song in your mind, right?

CHACK: While sitting in Zen meditation. (laughs)

DAITA: I think that — since we are a melody-main band, and since the intro is what one first hears — it is really important to create an attractive intro. I mean that it's a difficult task to find an intro that fits that particular song best. I think that SIAM SHADE's music gives you a feeling of “woah” right at the beginning.

――I believe that the powerful chorus parts are also one of SIAM SHADE's strong points.

KAZUMA: Since I originally sang vocals, we thought that it'd be interesting to try twin vocals.

――SIAM SHADE also has two guitarists, although they sound different, do you also treat the vocals in the same way?

KAZUMA: When recording, I pay attention to make the harmony part sound as similar as possible to the main vocal part. However, in reality our voices aren't similar.

DAITA: It seems that when people who don't know about it come see us live, they are surprised. It also seems that there are a lot of people who think that we can't replicate the singing live.

――So, how do you intend to show off the twin guitar aspect of SIAM SHADE?

KAZUMA: Daita-sensei usually decides about that. (laughs)

DAITA: Since I don't sing vocals, I think about different ways of lightening the Kazuma's burden.

――And how do you, Kazuma, feel about that?

KAZUMA: I follow like a puppet.

――Are you an android or something? (laughs)

KAZUMA: Although, there is one song where I play a solo...

――What kind of a guitarist do you see Kazuma as, Daita?

DAITA: He's great, of course. I think that since I have a meticulous side as a guitarist, and Kazuma on the opposite is very laid-back, we fit together nicely. When he stands on the stage, Kazuma is pretty much a showman.

――Vice versa, what kind of a guitarist do you see Daita as, Kazuma?

KAZUMA: He's a delicate guitarist. His personality is reflected in his playing.

DAITA: Thanks. (laughs)

――The rhythm section plays rhythm changes and other kinds of elaborate technical stuff. Did you originally have such a musical sense?

JUNJI: It's more like, I'm influenced by the interesting stuff that Daita plays, playing behind the tight guitar phrases that he plays. For example, I'll try play in unison at subtle levels.

――Isn't it hard work to follow him all the way?

JUNJI: But it's interesting, so I'm doing so.

――How do you, Natin, feel about Junji's drumming?

NATIN: We're incompatible. (laughs) When I speed up, he slows down and he speeds up when I slow down. With the previous drummer, we speeded up together.

JUNJI: When Natin lags behind as I unintentionally play faster, we get a good balance.

――So you have a delicate ensemble?

DAITA: Maniac would be more accurate.

――Is that what they call maniac? (laughs)

JUNJI: I'm subtly coming and going behind the sixteenth note beat.

――So, you're a delicate group in which all the five members are walking on a tightrope. And if one of you falls, you're in big trouble.

(Everyone laughs)

――Please tell us about the equipment you use to record your second album.

DAITA: I've used my current set for only about half a year. Since I use the tremolo arm, I think the tone is close to a Stratocaster. As I used to play a Les Paul before, I'm thinking of using a fatter sound for the lead parts.

――What is your favorite guitar currently?

DAITA: I'm still going through trial and error, but from the ones I currently use, it's the ESP that I had custom made for myself. It's a strato type by the way. The neck is a set-in neck.

NATIN: For live shows I pick basses on how they look. For recording, even if they look they same, I use maple ones. The ones I use live are ash.

KAZUMA: For recording I use a strato guitar by Duncan. The PUs are by Schecter. (1)

JUNJI: I use as much stuff as I can. Quantity over quality. (laughs)

――What was the biggest reason you decided to use a set by Yamaha?

JUNJI: The drummer I'm closest to uses a set by Yamaha and he let me try it out. It was easy to use and I also liked the sound. For cymbals I prefer Paiste. I like the way they feel when hit,and the roundness of the sound, or how should I put it, its softness.

――Do you have any instruments, Chack?

CHACK: For cymbals I use boobs. (2)

――..., well then, say a few words about the 13th August Shibuya Kōkaidō gig.

CHACK: In Shibuya we will be fun, beautiful and floating in the air.

(1) This is what it says, even though a Schecter guitar with Seymour Duncan PUs would make more sense.
(2) パイステ(paisute) - Paiste, パイオツ(paiotsu) - boobs

GiGS magazine #87 (August 1995). Scans by morgianasama