INTERVIEW: MeteoroiD @ Tokyo in Tulsa

MeteoroiD had their first-ever overseas show at the anime convention Tokyo in Tulsa, gaining attention and affections from hundreds of their fans and the event's attendees. Being in Tulsa, OK of the USA, the band absorbed and reflected this experience as much as possible. They lived in the moment whilst leaving the best impression they could on their overseas audience. We took the time to sit down with MeteoroiD after their cosplay mixer. With the band still in their hand-picked cosplay, we talk about their experiences at Tokyo in Tulsa, their favorite memories from their visit overall, and even some of their favorite anime!

VKH: First, we would like to start with some introductions. So, could you let us know your names, and a non-musical hobby that you enjoy?

Genki: I’m Genki. I really like strolling. I walked around a little bit here already.

Tomoya: I’m Tomoya, on drums. Recently, I’ve been getting into marathons. I did one marathon that was in the very middle of the night, and it was interesting.

Machi: I’m Machi, I play guitar. I really like fishing, I enjoy doing and it’s very relaxing. From the window of my hotel room I can see a really big river, and I’d like to try fishing there.

raL: I’m raL, on bass. I really like anime and manga. As you can see from my cosplay of Tokyo Ghoul.

Mikado: I’m the guitarist, Mikado. From a young age I’ve always been really interested in studying English, and enjoyed it. Being here and especially being around all of this English I have reignited the passion to study more.

VKH: raL, what’s your favorite anime?

raL: That’s difficult, but probably Tokyo Ghoul.

VKH: Yesterday you were wearing an Osomatsu-san t-shirt!

raL: Yes, I love that one too! (everyone laughs when raL visibly stops himself from talking more about anime)

VKH: We heard you got to see some sightseeing in Tulsa before the show. What did you get to see? 

MeteoroiD: We went to Wal-Mart, and Guitar Center, Art Deco District, and we went to the mall.

VKH: What was your favorite? 

Genki: I liked the supermarkets.

Mikado: They were so large.

Tomoya: I went to a spirits shop, and I bought some beer that you can’t get in Japan.

Machi: I really like interior design. I got some English newspapers to use around my house in decorating.

raL: I thought that Wal-Mart especially was cool. It was so big, and so different from Japan. Even the meat and the vegetables were different from Japan, it really made an impression.

VKH: What did you have to do to prepare as a band for an overseas show? 

Genki: Because I’m a vocalist, I just use my throat. So for me the most important thing to do for preparing to travel internationally, to do an overseas live, is to protect my health, to not get sick. Because if I get sick that effects my instrument. So I try to take care of myself, when I travel for an overseas show.

Tomoya: Because I’m a drummer, I can’t take all of my stuff on the plane. We have to rent some drums. I worry a bit sometimes because I don’t know if the right stuff is going to be there, when I get there is when I see what we are going to have. Also, the jet lag hits me pretty badly. So I try to do as much preparation as I can before the show, like in sound check, I try to make sure that every little thing is perfect. So that if I’m tired or something slips my mind it’s taken care of.

Machi: For me, it was my first show in the United States, and I was worried about getting everything set up, and running into problems and not being able to communicate. I was really surprised because there was so much staff that was there to help me. Because of that I was able to play with no problems and that was a great feeling for me.

raL: When I was preparing to come here I was worried about not being able to use all of my stuff because it was on a Japanese power standard. But I was wrong! Outside of that really everything was the same. You get the same nervous feeling, the same stage fright. It’s not really different from Japan, except that everything is so big.

VKH: It looked like you had a lot of fun being on stage, with everything so big.

raL: I was nervous, so that makes me feel better!

Mikado: I was worried about playing in front of an American audience, because I was worried it would be different. Luckily, I just relied on my training and did what I do, and it worked very well. I was very surprised at how much the audience reacted to my guitar playing specifically, they got hyped up when I played. That made me feel great. When I got here I realized I had left my guitar strap in Japan. But we went to Guitar Center and got another guitar strap, and everything was okay. So thank goodness. (laughs)

VKH: What was it like trying to break the language barrier and communicate with an overseas audience? 

Genki: Last night I prepped a lot. I got our translator to write down a few phrases for me, like “let’s rock” and “are you on fire?” I was worried about it, I thought it would use it a lot, so I taped down the pages in front of the monitors. But because of the lights, I couldn’t see them at all! So I just used a couple of phrases I remembered over and over again. But as I was doing that, I realized that everyone in the audience was understanding my feeling, and the words weren’t necessary. And that was really cool to see. It made me realize that everywhere I go music gets that across, through performance there’s communication there.

Even when you were just sitting on the box at the front of the stage, you could tell people were like “Oh my gosh, he’s right there in front of me, I can feel his energy!” And raL, you were especially good at getting the audience going. You came up and said “Go!” and the audience went.

raL: That’s because it’s not related to words, at all. I was really feeling an energy in front of the audience, and I was having so much fun, so it kept going back and forth. It made me feel so good.

Tomoya: It wasn’t a matter of words at all. We would put our hands up, and they would put their hands up, and we were able to communicate that way. We’d shout at certain beats, and they would shout at certain beats. Their voices would be so loud, especially during Heisei no Yami wo Osouji Shimashou. They really got that call going between the band and the audience.

Machi: Just like Tomoya was saying, being able to communicate just using your body and voice without words was really fun. In Japan, there’s no culture of taking photos during shows. So it was really cool to see that, and I personally really enjoyed it. It made me feel like a superstar.

raL: There was such an energy in the audience. I’m the bassist, I didn’t have a mic. I didn’t have any English. I’m pretty bad at English, actually. So I just used my Japanese! In Japan you don’t say jump, you say “Tobe!” So I said “TOBE!” and it would work, they would jump!

Mikado: More than I would have been able to in Japan I became a guitar hero here in the US, at that show.

VKH: Some time ago your style veered away from aliens and went more gothic. What influenced that change? 

Genki: The biggest influence for the change in style was our change in members. As you know, we changed our guitarist to Mikado. So we came together, and thought us five, what style can we go within our music? Because we wanted to evolve through our change of members. So we came together, and we thought that all together we preferred the darker style and concept, music with the metal “wrraaah”, and sounds like that.

VKH: Despite all those changes, what’s the core of MeteoroiD’s style that we can always see in them?

Tomoya: For us, I would say if it’s simplified, it would be the worries of modern society. And what I mean by that specifically, our humanity, everyone alive right now goes through the same troubles, the same worries, the same problems. We don’t just want to sing about that but we do, often. And the reason we do is because everyone alive has sadness, has problem, has worries. And when we write music about that more people can relate to it. That’s what we try to maintain in our songwriting, even though the style has changed.

VKH: You've said in an earlier interview that you want to leave the impression of visual kei on your American audience this weekend. Sometimes there is a debate over exactly what visual kei means. How do you define the genre? 

Genki: It’s a genre that’s able to pull from a variety of other genres. It’s not just music but it uses visuals to create a fantasy-like genre.

Mikado: It’s a genre that shocks both the ears and the eyes!

Machi: It’s a genre where you can be who you truly are.

raL: It breaks down the walls of things like “genres” and “lives”. It’s amazing music that expresses itself through various forms!

Tomoya: It’s not a music genre, it’s more like a genre of drama!

VKH: Did the decision to be ‘visual kei’ influence the sound of your music? 

Genki: Discovering music and discovering visual kei was the same thing for me so there wasn’t any influence.

Mikado: It’s the type of sound that I’ve wanted to produce for ages so it didn’t change anything.

Machi: Not anything that we’re aware of.

raL: I’ve always loved visual kei so any influence is a good thing.

Tomoya: I’ve been listening to visual kei since I was little, so it’s only when I pay attention I realize, “Oh, this is visual kei”!

VKH: Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew that you wanted pursue music? 

Genki: When I was in elementary school, I saw X JAPAN and it was so shocking! Since then I’ve been fascinated with music.

Mikado: It’s not as strong as it is now but it was when I started playing piano in elementary school.

Machi: Around middle school, a friend had me listen to X JAPAN.

raL: It started from middle school when I listened to L’Arc~en~Ciel! Even now, they’re a band that I really love and respect.

Tomoya: I got interested in instruments around the time I was in middle school and I heard X JAPAN on the radio.

VKH: How has life as a rock musician surprised you? 

Genki: It’s a surprisingly serious profession.

Mikado: I’ve become much more polite.

Machi: It’s suitable for me. Also, people who can properly balance work and play are amazing.

raL: It’s tough!!

Tomoya: You can’t be a rock musician without a lot of hard work.

VKH: What is one unfulfilled goal you have for yourself as a musician? 

Genki: World Tour!!

Mikado: I want to sleep surrounded by about 50 guitars!

Machi: It’s a small thing but I want to sell out a one-man live.

raL: I want to perform on the same stage as a band I admire!

Tomoya: Do a tour in every corner of Japan and have lives in many different countries!

VKH: After your concert, how do you feel about MeteoroiD moving forward? 

Genki: I guess you could say I’ve adopted a more flexible way of thinking.

Mikado: Getting to see more of the world has made me more open-minded.

Machi: I now want to be able to speak English.

raL: The scope of things I want to express has expanded! I feel like I’ve “powered up”!

Tomoya: I want to go overseas even more and get all kinds of motivation.

VKH: That was our last question! Would you please leave a message for your fans, and VKH’s readers? 

Genki: Coming here has been a big dream for me. Having done it now, it makes me want to do it more, because I have loved it so much. So please look forward to us playing more overseas, in more places.

Tomoya: This is my first time playing outside of Japan. Before I came, I could imagine playing overseas. You can look online and see pictures of it. But there are so many things you can’t imagine before you come here. The energy of the crowd, and just the feel of the venue you’re performing in. You can’t imagine that until you’re experiencing it. So that has really inspired me to do more overseas shows, and work harder to make that happen. So please, wait for me.

Machi: For me, coming here has made me want to prepare better by learning English. Right now my level is only useful if you want to go shopping.

raL: This is my first time playing overseas, and it’s even more fun than I thought it would be. So please wait for me, I’m coming back!

Mikado: These last four pretty much said everything I wanted to, so I guess I’ll say - coming here has made me want to make more friends overseas. That’s my goal, so please wait for me.

Special thanks to MeteoroiD, their staff, and Tokyo in Tulsa for making this interview possible!

Editor's Note: In light of their disbandment, VKH Press wishes good luck to the members of MeteoroiD and we hope to see them in other bands in the future!

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