INTERVIEW: VAMPS @ The Fillmore (The Modern Vintage Tour)

 (Photo: L to R: Gt. K.A.Z, Vo. HYDE)

VKH Press had the chance to sit down with vocalist HYDE (L'Arc~en~Ciel) and guitarist K.A.Z (Oblivion Dust) of VAMPS just before their final performance on The Modern Vintage Tour with SIXX:A.M. and Apocalyptica at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD. The guys discuss things like what they've learned on the tour, them being "vampire pirates," and much more. Check out what they have to say below!

VKH: It’s been over a year since your previous U.S. tour. Is there anything that you have missed while you were away?

HYDE: Hamburgers. In-N-Out hamburgers.

K.A.Z: I was receiving a lot of fan letters when I was in Japan asking "When are you guys coming back?" and "Please come back to the States!" I was kind of wondering about when we could actually come back to the States to perform for the fans who were waiting for us.

VKH: Since you are touring with two popular American bands, the audiences you are playing to are generally unfamiliar with your music. What is it like playing to a crowd that hasn't really heard of VAMPS before?

HYDE: We have been treated differently. If we're in Japan, everyone knows about us and we get really good reception from the audience, but once we go to the States or anywhere outside of Japan, the situation is totally different. We're willing to try and make a name for ourselves in a new market, and that's what we're doing right now. We're taking it seriously. We get nervous, of course, because we don't know how the audiences will react when they hear us play, but at the same time we really enjoy it. We think that's what we want, so this is a great opportunity for us. I feel that this is necessary when performing in front of the people who don't recognize VAMPS yet. I think it's a very important thing to do in the music career.

VKH: We heard that you had been playing “Live Wire” at nearly every show on the tour. How have fans in each city been reacting to it so far?

HYDE: There are a lot of SIXX:A.M. fans, but most of them are also Mötley Crüe fans because of Nikki Sixx. They're kind of crossing over and stuff. They know that SIXX:A.M. doesn't do "Live Wire" on this set, but if the audience comes out to see SIXX:A.M. and they get the chance to listen to "Live Wire" from VAMPS, I think it's pretty lucky for them to be able to hear something like that.

VKH: Which of your songs got the most reaction from the crowd?

HYDE: Aside from Live Wire?

VKH: Yes, besides Live Wire. (laughs)


VKH: This is the last show on your tour with SIXX:A.M. and Apocalyptica. How has your experience been touring with these bands?

HYDE: So far, I really appreciate what SIXX:A.M. has done for VAMPS. Being an opener and playing in front of these people... We've never been an opening act before. I learned a lot of things from this experience and I appreciate the opportunity that was given to us.

VKH: What did you learn?

HYDE: When we're performing in Japan, everyone in the audience already knows us and is pretty much a fan of ours. That makes things easier because the audience already knows our music, so sometimes the music doesn't really matter. They just like VAMPS no matter what kind of music we play, how we perform on the stage, etc. Basically no matter what we do, that audience will still like us, but in here (U.S.) nobody knows us yet. Because of that our live performances in general need to be more serious. We need to do the best we can to show who we are in order to tap into the new market and expand our fanbase within it.

There are people at shows who are like "Hey, yeah VAMPS! I love you VAMPS!" and performing to them is ok, so we could continue doing what we've always done, but there are still those people who just stand there thinking something like, "Ok, who the hell are they? I've never heard of them. I don't even know what kind of music they do, but OK let's take a look."

That scenario makes things kind of hard. We have to think more about performing to those kind of people than our fans, so we can reach out to them. Since we see SIXX:A.M. and Apocalyptica perform every night or so, we continue to learn from them; how they get on stage, how they get to the audience, and even how they approach the fans... If we like how they do something, we try to learn how to do it in our own way.

VKH: We understand that Mötley Crüe is one of the bands that inspire you. How have you felt being able to tour with Nikki Sixx up to this point?

HYDE: It's kind of like a dream come true. Mötley Crüe and Nikki Sixx were my idols back in the day, but now we're just walking around backstage and communicating with each other and having actual conversations. This is like my personal dream. I'm super happy and I really appreciate what they've done for VAMPS.

VKH: Are there any specific memories from this tour that you would like to share?

K.A.Z: Since day one of the tour we've been having some freaking serious trouble with our bus. We've had to deal with it every single day! The generator broke down, the automator doesn't work, the regulator... the tire busted... We don't even have a tire on one of the trailers right now, but (somehow) we're still running!

HYDE: (laughs) There's always a problem.

K.A.Z: Yeah, we always have problems! That's just one of the things...

VKH: Hopefully you can make it back home safely!

K.A.Z: Yeah, we only have one more show left after this one.

VKH: What is it like touring with an American band as opposed to a Japanese one?

K.A.Z: It is fun, of course, to tour with an American band here. We've never toured with a Japanese band in our career, so we don't really know what that's like, but it's definitely fun to tour with an American one. We have a lot more bands that we want to tour with from here.

VKH: Back in February you hosted SIXX:A.M. for VAMPARK FEST at Nippon Budokan. Since you are being hosted on their U.S. tour, how does this tour feel in comparison to VAMPARK FEST? 

HYDE: Through VAMPARK FEST we have a lot of good relations with not only SIXX:A.M., but also NOTHING MORE and some other bands. It was kind of hard to pick the bands, make an offer, and get it confirmed. The whole process wasn't easy, but at the end of the day we're really happy about the results we got from the festival. Everyone on the line up was really happy. They still appreciate VAMPS for the offer and stuff, so it all felt right.

VKH: Following this show, you will be performing in New York for your headlining show. What are you going to bring to this show that you’ve learned from the tour?

HYDE: Right now on Modern Vintage we only get 30 minutes on set, but in New York we'll have a longer set. We've learned a lot since being limited to play for only 30 minutes. We'll take everything that we've learned to make it through the longer set, and become like a new VAMPS.

VKH: Since you’ve performed at Fort Rock Festival and Welcome to Rockville, did you manage to see any of the other bands perform? If so, which ones do you think you would like the chance to work with?

HYDE: Slipknot and Papa Roach, I think. We saw Papa Roach at Fort Rock and Slipknot at Welcome to Rockville.

VKH: What was it like performing in the hot Florida weather?

K.A.Z: The U.S. rock festival is not an easy situation to be in. You don't get to do soundcheck, you only get one shot. And it's under the sun, so it's hot as hell.

VKH: And it's around noon.

K.A.Z: Right, so everything keeps running from the first bands to the headliners. From on stage to backstage, it's hell. Everything is too busy. Even so, through those experiences, we become tougher. We get used to the situation and the whole atmosphere, so when we go to the next festival or when we get another opportunity to perform in any kind of situation we should feel confident about what to do because we've done it.

VKH: Does this make you feel more comfortable about playing at even bigger festivals like Rock on the Range in Ohio?

HYDE: Yeah, we should be more confident about when we get up on the stage. We've learned a lot from the two festivals we've done, so we want to try even harder at Rock on the Range on May 15th.

VKH: Fort Rock Festival was your first American music festival since your performances on WARPED TOUR in 2009. How did it feel returning to that kind of show?

HYDE: It is such an honor to perform at those kinds of big festivals because we get exposed to a ton of people who mostly don't know about us. Performing in front of those kind of people is a great opportunity for us to expand our fanbase, so we are very pleased to perform at those festivals.

VKH: What was the atmosphere like performing at these festivals with so many major bands at once?

HYDE: It's kind of the same situation touring with SIXX:A.M. and Apocalyptica. With Slipknot, we used to listen to them as well. So this is all just like a dream being able to play with artists I looked up to. When we're on the stage, we're thinking and performing like "Hey, let's try to get more fans, try to get more people's attention." It's very exciting and kind of very surreal. We don't know what we're going to get from the audience.

VKH: Has working with these kinds of American bands always been a goal for you?

HYDE: Of course we had been thinking of touring with big bands in the States since we started thinking about going overseas. For some reason it didn't happen for a while, but now we've had the chance to do it.

VKH: In regards to the release of Bloodsuckers (International Edition), why is it that the international edition of “AHEAD” is called “WORLD’S END?"

HYDE: If we didn't change the title, then we would get, "AHEAD" in Japanese and "AHEAD" in English. When both songs come out to the market, they would be called "AHEAD (English Version)" or "AHEAD (Japanese version)". I didn't want that kind of thing, so I thought, "Why don't we change the title?"

I actually wanted to name the Japanese version "WORLD'S END" as well, but I couldn't because the meaning of the title wouldn't suit our commercial. "AHEAD" was the theme song for the new Sony Xperia cell phone, and there are a lot of regulations when you get tied in. The company didn't want the name "WORLD'S END" for their new product.

VKH: That does sound a bit too existential for advertisement, doesn't it. (laughs)

HYDE: Yeah, it's like you have a new cellphone representing the end of the world, and that doesn't really work. (laughs) That's why we couldn't title it "WORLD'S END," and titled it "AHEAD" instead.

VKH: And that song is still about the end of the world?

HYDE: Yeah, it's about that kind of thing.

VKH: For the music videos for "AHEAD" and "WORLD’S END" did you use the camera angles so that you could record over the video with the English version of the song over the Japanese music video or did you re-record the entire music video?

HYDE: We did another shooting for the English version. It's the same music video, but because of the lip syncing, I had to sing it in English, so I had to redo it just for the performance.

VKH: We understand that VAMPS are vampires in the overall theme, but when releasing The Jolly Roger, why did you choose a secondary theme of pirates?

HYDE: Being a vampire is good and all, but why should we only be vampires? I wanted to try something else. I wanted to come out under the sun, but when a vampire goes out they get burned, so I changed the theme so that I could film in the sunlight.

K.A.Z: "The Jolly Roger" was an old video recorded when we used to be human. (laughs)

VKH: So from this point on you'll be vampire pirates?

HYDE: Yes, let's change the name to VAMPIRATES!

VKH: I can see the headlines now. (everyone laughs)

VKH: Do you have any future plans you would like to share?

HYDE: Once we finish our headline show in New York on May 1st, we're going back to Japan for a couple of days before flying to Taiwan and Hong Kong for a couple of gigs. After that we'll be going to Europe for another tour.

VKH: Thank you so much for your time! Would you please send a message to your fans and our readers?

HYDE: Thank you for your support. We are so happy to be here touring with SIXX:A.M. We feel honored to be able to tour each state in the U.S. and we want to return sometime soon, so please keep supporting us. Thank you so much!

K.A.Z: Through these experiences, we've learned a lot, and the entire band has learned a lot. Everyone who's been on this tour learned a lot of things. The bottomline is we want to come back is because we want to let people listen to our music to show  them who we are and what we are. Please keep supporting us so we can come back and do something bigger in the near future!

Special thanks to VAMPS for taking the tie to answer our questions and to Universal Music Japan for making this interview possible!
Share on Google Plus
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment


  1. Thank you, VKH, and Winona Peace, for this deep and rich interview. I really admire VAMPS' courage stepping out their comfort zone, trying to reach people who don't know them and performing in front of tons of new audience...etc. I can imagine the tour was definitely not easy for them to get used to. But they conquered all the difficulties and became stronger. I'm looking forward to seeing NEW VAMPS after this priceless touring experience with SIXX: A.M.. I will keep supporting VAMPS and ALL the Bloodsuckers! xoxo