Indie visual kei band Rides in ReVellion had their US debut at Anime USA this past October. Having already made their mark overseas through english-subtitled music videos and social media, Rides in ReVellion performed in front of their American auience in Washington DC. VKH had the opportunity to sit down with this four-member band at the nation's capital, talking about their influences, musical style, and sharks. Check out what they had to say below!
VKH: First, would you please introduce yourselves with an interesting fact?
KuRo: I’m KuRo on vocal. I’m a very strong arm-wrestler.
TaJI: I’m TaJI on guitar. Someday I wanna be more famous than Great Muta (a Japanese wrestler).
Ame: My name is Ame on drums. My dream is to be a shark.
Nagisa: I’m Nagisa on bass. I really like American women because they’re very beautiful.
VKH: What are your thoughts leading up to your first overseas concerts?
KuRo: I was very excited, but I was also really really nervous of course. I think everybody felt the same.
TaJI: I never even dreamed of coming to America because I thought the lyrics might not translate. We don’t know how the stage set up will be or what the reaction is going to be, so even now before the live, I'm nervous.
Nagisa: I was really excited that we were coming to play in America, but because I like anime, I was extra excited that it’s at an anime event.
Ame: I was excited about the live, but it was my first timing flying in an airplane so I was really nervous about it.
VKH: How was it?
Ame: Very scary.
VKH: Now that you’re here, how do you feel being at the anime convention?
KuRo: Beautiful. So… this is America…
TaJI: The steering wheel of the car is on the left side instead of the right.
Nagisa: Not just buildings but all the food and drinks are lot bigger than in Japan.
VKH: How did you choose your band name?
KuRo: We liked the idea of a rebellious kind of music and we liked the way the word rebellion sounds, but we wanted to bring visual kei into Rides In Rebellion so we changed b to v, making Rides in ReVellion.
VKH: How would you see that happening in visual kei music, bringing "ReVellion" into it?
TaJI: Recently visual kei has become a little bit more formulaic and predictable, so we wanted to bring a new sound and mixed it up. That’s the Rebellion.
VKH: Can you describe your music style to your new listeners?
KuRo: It's catchy and melodious. We take the melody and harmony from the past and blend it with new digital sounds to make something different.
VKH: You've successfully mixed rock and electronic elements in that way. What is your process for doing this?
TaJI: I like X Japan, so I listen to lots of old songs that I like from them. I think about what I like and don't like about it. Then I listen to more modern songs, like GazettE for example, which has elements like the synthesizer that X Japan doesn't. I like that sound too, so I kind of take samples from each style and cross them over each other and see how they sound together to make something from that.
VKH: Where else do you pull your melodic inspiration from when you look back for that feeling?
TaJI: Since I was little, I always felt like Japan kind of has its own style of melodies. I pull from those childhood experiences to get a similar sound.
VKH: Do you plan on trying anything lighter or heavier than your past releases?
KuRo: We wanna try lots of different genres but our next single is gonna have a little bit more of a metal feel, so we're actually gonna try that out very soon.
VKH: Can we expect any ballads sometime soon?
KuRo: I love ballads.
TaJI: The next single is gonna have the metal song and a ballad, so RIR will have three ballads after that release.
VKH: Who writes the lyrics in the band?
KuRo: That's me.
VKH: What are your favorite lyrics from your songs?
KuRo: The lyrics of "Eternal~Katsubou no Sora~", which was our second single.
VKH: Is there a line in there that you really prefer?
KuRo: "Hey Jesus"
VKH: Can you go into what the song is about? I watched the video and read the lyrics and was really curious as to what the inspiration was.
KuRo: There's the god called Jesus, but the idea is that I don't need to follow the god—I want to make my own path. The idea of rebellion is really strong in that song.
VKH: Do a lot of your lyrics have something akin to an authoritative figure that you’re talking to?
KuRo: For me, I'm singing to Jesus, but when you listen to the song you can think about any superior figure that is standing in your way. That feeling is really strong in Eternal, but other songs have a different feeling.
VKH: What are your inspirations for your other songs?
KuRo: "Chain" is kind of about love. Lovers... they didn't necessarily want to be together but now they are and it's impossible to be apart from each other. In "Seirios", the thing inside of yourself that you are reaching for, like your goals, is Seirios. So it's about striving for that and thinking that someday you will reach it.
VKH: For everyone, what is your favorite track you released so far and why?
Nagisa: "Amnesia", which was the song that came on the Seirios single.
KuRo: It’s really difficult, but I choose "Rain".
Ame: I like all of them.
TaJI: "“Eternal ~Katsubou no Sora~"
VKH: Now what artists have inspired you individually?
Nagisa: Aqua Times (Japanese rock band).
KuRo: As a band, Black Veil Brides. As a singer, Whitney Houston.
Ame: Angela Aki (Japanese singer), foreign punk bands like My Chemical Romance.
TaJI: In Japan, X JAPAN, LUNA SEA, The GazettE, and NIGHTMARE. Overseas I like Black Veil Brides, Korn, and Dragon Force.
VKH: Where do you see this band in five years?
Nagisa: Not in five years, but maybe even sooner, I want to record an anime song.
KuRo: Madison Square Garden.
Ame: I'm a shark.
VKH: You should incorporate that in your costume.
Ame: Maybe I'll have some kind of headpiece...
(back to the question)
TaJI: Nippon Budokan. *large venue in Japan
VKH: How do you plan to evolve musically?
TaJI: Whatever we think is cool at the time, we want to add that to what we're doing.
VKH: What allows you to stand out as a new visual kei band?
TaJI: There are a lot of melodious bands out there, or have been in the past, but we're a new kind of melodious. We're determined in our hearts to not follow the same pattern. I have confidence that we don't, and that we stand out on our own.
VKH: Ame, why do you like sharks so much?
Ame: "Inspiration". In a dream, I was alone in the sea. My mom never lets me go to the sea. I saw a shark and I thought I was gonna ride it, but it was gonna eat me. I felt really happy about the feeling that the shark was going to eat me. [It felt] like it would be comforting, so from that moment the shark became my messiah. I must spread the message of the shark.
VKH: Thank you so much for your time! Would you please share your future plans and leave a message for your fans?
TaJI: Thank you! We're gonna release our 4th single soon. We don't know the title yet, but the theme will be Reincarnation. (*Now announced title: Reincarnation ~F.A.T.E/Rusty Nail~). VKH is a news site that delivers visual kei information all over the world. Of course, I’m checking, so please read it too!
Ame: Thank you for reading this long interview. When you come to Japan, please come to our live!
KuRo: Visual kei is a part of Japanese culture, but people all over the world love it. It’s a great feeling. We of Rides in ReVellion aim to provide you with more music and we want you to know more about visual kei. I’ll be back!
Nagisa: We’re proud of visual kei and we’re also proud of being a visual kei band. We’re trying our best so please cheer for us!
Special thanks to V Star Promotion and Anime USA for making this interview possible!
KuRo's Twitter: @KuRo_RIR
TaJI's Twitter: @TaJI_RIR
Ame's Twitter: @ame_RIR