On November 3rd, before the rehearsal for SIAM SHADE's concert in Ōsaka Warhall, I, who had not yet seen them live, tried an interview in the form of throwing honest questions at the five, while relying only on their videos, records, and their profiles.
Every word in their answers, while mixed with some jokes, resounded their unwavering, adamant will so frankly that it felt comfortable.
In their performance, the five members energetically reveal their immeasurable confidence and passion for music.
After seeing the enthusiasm of the fans, I was confirmed of the fact how their gentle melodies and the powerful, charming singing voices mercilessly captivate the hearts of those who hear them.
It was a live show that perfectly backed all of their words in the interview.
●During your amateur period, even when your telephone and electricity were cut off because you couldn't pay the bills,
you maintained the time to do band rehearsals. What was the source of that durability?
CHACK (Vo, henceforth C): Well, it after all concerns our dream.
It's not like we're being forced by someone, it's not a question of durability or something like that, everyone is just doing it because they want to get closer to fulfilling their dream.
If there were even one member who wasn't like that, I think without a doubt that SIAM SHADE wouldn't be able to pull through.
In such aspect, there are lots of people I've said good-bye to. No matter how good you are at playing the guitar, it wouldn't fun for us if we played with someone who didn't have that ambition.
After all, everyone just tends to think: "Let's take it easy, let's take it easy", right?
But if all of the members are aiming for the top, thinking: "Let's give it our best shot", then, conversely, the guy who doesn't try gets urged on.
I think that in SIAM SHADE's case, that still stands.
●So you are motivating each other?
NATIN (B, henceforth N): Well, everyone just understands that.
JUNJI (Ds, henceforth J): All of us have their goals set pretty high.
C: It's like this: "Now that we've achieved this, let's aim even higher next time".
N: Can't get absolute satisfaction.
●I'd like to hear about your amateur period. In the beginning SIAM SHADE was undeniably a band of the style called "visual-kei", but you quit that on the way.
Lately there have been lots of bands that are visual-kei during their amateur period, and change into ordinary bands the moment they go major. But to change your visual style during your amateur period is pretty rare, right?
C: Actually, we were originally an out-and-out hard rock band.
We just wanted people to come see our shows...
And since the bands that performed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the live house back then were all visual bands, we thought that, "To get fans as fast as possible, maybe that would be the best thing to do", and we dyed our hair and adopted a similar style.
And then we got to perform in a visual-kei event, which got us even more fans.
We had kind of decided to return to our original style when we've gotten a certain amount of fans.
●You weren't embarrassed when you returned to your original selves?
C: Not at all.
After all, even when we were using make-up we got told that, "It'd be much much better to just take off that make-up."
We're all very tall and masculine no matter from which direction you look (laughs), that's why it doesn't suit us.
I think that our fans didn't oppose almost at all.
●So on the contrary, it naturally worked out.
C: We returned to our original forms (laughs).
Besides, I don't have that many friends who are in bands, but those friends I have were saying things like: "I know the songs of ****, but I've no idea who's who".
Or it would go like this, I'd say: "I'm in this magazine, look!", and when I showed it, he'd go: "I can't tell which one is you".
But I guess that's pretty common.
Appearing in such a magazine, "I don't know who's who" is the honest answer of the general public.
But since we are what we are and always want to stand out, I thought that we would stand out if we tanned ourselves so dark that we couldn't use make-up and then appeared in the magazine.
Though there was quite a lot of criticism at first.
●About your first album SIAM SHADE, I think it sounds so tight that it makes you suspect if it really is an indies record.
Lately, when amateur bands can easily release CDs regardless of their real ability, for such a work to be born, is it after all because the band's ideals were set so high?
C: When performing songs live, the arrangements and such can change, right?
Therefore, you can't make such a recording unless you have in sight what you're exactly going to create.
You could say that we're risking our lives for one album.
Well, we were really careful releasing it; our first album.
That's why this time it's SIAM SHADE II.
From the time we started performing live for money, our pride of being professionals has been a strong.
That's why our rivals were not the bands around us, but the bands on a higher level.
But that's because we're always thinking: "If we set our minds on going even higher, we might just do it", and trying our best.
●And now that you've set foot into the major label world, what are your current feelings?
C: We've got sandwiches at the dressing room, "lucky!" (laughs).
And we get paid salary when payday comes, "lucky!", like that (laughs).
It is wonderful, that everyone comes together to see five brats like us.
Couldn't be better.
●I was allowed to listen to your first major label album SIAM SHADE II. Compared with your previous record, it felt really refreshing.
When making this, what kind of feelings did you tackle as a band?
C: Though there aren't any rules what amateur bands should be like, I had some pretty heavy feelings like: "Indies music must be like this" or "In live houses, you must play music like this or you won't be accepted."
When you make your major label debut, average people are going to listen to your music, right?
When that happens I'm able to release songs with any music and lyrics I like.
In that sense, I think that with SIAM SHADE II my feelings were refreshed.
●Both of the two albums have all music, lyrics and arrangements credited to SIAM SHADE. That's rare, I thought, but also at the same time it felt kind of nice.
Like, this is something you're particular about.
C: Well, it is the proof of our cooperative strength.
I really think so.
Although our music, the compositions, are made by three people, a lot of JUNJI's personality is also packed in them, and there are times when the arrangement of a song is inspired by the drums or the bass.
I don't think we could create the songs that we do if even one of us was missing.
Therefore, it feels natural to credit them to SIAM SHADE; that's how it should be.
●The lyrics merge well with the melodies and they are easy to listen to. Were you conscious about that?
C: Rather than something musical, it is the lyrics that we changed the most consciously between the last album and this one.
The previous one has neutral lyrics which can be taken from either a man's or a woman's viewpoint. I deliberately made the chorus parts more ambiguous, so that they could be interpreted in many ways.
On the other hand, this time I consciously tried to make words that you can take back home with you.
I think that the lyrics will make quite a clear image appear in your mind.
"They come straight to you", that indeed was my aim.
●I have not seen you live yet, but I was shown your latest video. I was impressed by its power, or should I say that I felt a chill (laughs).
What kind of a place is the live performance for you all?
DAITA (G, henceforth D): Sanctuary.
It is a sanctuary.
It is like our very own utopia.
●You are quite satisfied with your own live performances then?
D: Well, there are times when you can do it and times when you can't.
Since it's live, various problems will come up.
But when performing, everyone is just basically having fun.
On days when the five of us think that it was fun, that's a day when beer will taste delicious (laughs).
C: At live shows, there are things you can't do with just enthusiasm, you've got to be serious.
After it's over we always reflect on which parts were good and which were not.
Since it's live, I don't think that everything will always go smoothly, but I think that our satisfaction rate is quite high.
D: Since there's five of us, it wouldn't work out if someone was missing.
That's why everyone must bear their responsibility.
I hear that you are skilled in comedy also, so that's also something I'm looking forward to in today's show.
Are there any elements of a comedy in your music?
N: There are. Although just a little, in one song (laughs).
D: One that we only do live.
KAZUMA(G&Vo, henceforth K): But that's what people enjoy the most.
Songs where you don't have to think about anything are the best.
But it's just that one song.
●Is there a possibility that in the future you'll make new songs that contain comic elements?
Everybody: Absolutely not!!
D: That song will probably never be included on an album.
Or if it is, that will be a live album.
●Let's say that your comedy side gets highlighted. Do you feel that there is a danger that you would be seen as variety entertainers rather than a rockband?
K: No. Since we play music that seriously.
C: Those who listen to us will get it, but even if that side of us gets us to to appear on TV, none of us want to become people like that.
Music is the main thing for SIAM SHADE!
●Still, is there some reason that you do comedy?
K: We just want to do it because we like it.
C: There aren't any rules what you can do or can't do as a bandsman.
I want to destroy that kind of concept.
Though we do get criticism because of it.
When we first started doing it, we got a lot of comments about it.
However, it has eventually become one of our selling points. People will say: "There is a band that does stuff like this."
I think that it is OK like that.
Announcing their major label debut in Shibuya Kōkaidō is common for visual-kei bands these days, but I think it was a good thing that we were able to avoid, in a different sense, that kind of obviousness.
●Will you continue doing that in live performances in the future?
C: After all, we would like to create things for fans that you won't see unless you come to SIAM SHADE's live shows.
If you just want to hear the music, I think that the albums are enough.
I think artists need to think more about what are the essential, the real enjoyments in live shows.
And besides, we want to do it.
●Lastly, what is the ultimate target SIAM SHADE is aiming at?
C: There is no such thing!
There is no point we're aiming at.
Ultimately, there are no such things as what kind of music we want to do or what direction we want to go.
This album and the one before it being this different, we are a band that continues changing and doing things that we think that are cool at that time.
We just want to stand out.
I want to become such popular person of the Heisei period, that when I walk around the town, everyone from children to grannies will call me Mr. CHACK.
Rather than just a band, each of us would have their own character.
N: That we want to go to the top, both in name and reality, is a fact.
We want to dominate both the back and front sides of the music world.