INTERVIEW: exist†trace on Royal Straight Magic

After the release of their second mini album in one year, ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC, exist†trace took the time to answer some of our questions about their accomplishments in 2016, as well as what the band has planned for us in the future. In their answers, exist†trace sheds some light on their creative methods and their own feelings on their recent work and send some New Year wishes for VKH readers in 2017!

VKH: The title of your latest release is ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC. What sort of “magic” have you added to your songs to make this CD different from your previous albums? 

Jyou: Magic that makes you fall in love with Jyou! I sang with a lot of passion, thinking about my singing style and the best type of voice to use so I could enchant you.

miko: For this album, we recorded with a powerful sound like our live shows, but it's not as much "live show"—like as we did for THIS IS NOW. But that's actually the "magic that makes you want to go to live shows." Have you noticed?

Omi: I put a lot of feeling into my performance because I wanted to interest people who don't know exist†trace.

Naoto: During the recording, there were many times that I thought of moments from live shows, and they gave me a lot of power. I believe that your smiles and voices are the real magic.

Mally: I didn't really intend to create something magical, but I put all the power I have into the album! Since we had so many live shows in 2016, the power I stored up from all of those must have created magic!

VKH: Do you believe in magic? Please tell us why or why not.

Jyou: I believe magic exists. The power of a person to make others happy must be magic. Jyou will become such a wonderful wizard.

miko: Anything can become a reality if you wish from your heart. Maybe there's not a big difference between magic, wishes, and goals.

Omi: I don't believe in "magic" itself...but it would be lovely if you can use it.

Naoto: I don't believe in magic, but I believe in miracles.

Mally: I don't believe in it. (laughs) The moment when someone who made an effort without anyone seeing it finally gets the spotlight -- that's magic, I believe.

VKH: For "Psychedelic Black Night" why did you decide to use electronic music to give the song its psychedelic tone?

miko: exist†trace has included extra elements like strings in the band's sound from the beginning, and starting with DIAMOND, we started to use electronic sounds as well. For us, it doesn't feel unnatural to use electronic sounds. In this song, the two guitarists play so many low riffs, mixing in the electronic sounds gives the song a strange, supernatural feeling, and that's interesting.

VKH: How has exist†trace's "twin vocal" style changed since you began doing it on DIAMOND?

Jyou:  Each personality has become stronger and more intense, to the point where you can tell who sings which part just by looking at the lyrics. To tell you the truth, when the twin vocal style started, I was careful about the way I concentrated on the parts where our two voices came together, like in unison and harmony. I was thinking too much like "What if I make it uncomfortable for miko to sing?" But now I don't think about that. Each of us can bring our own personality into the song fully and balance each other.

miko: It's becoming more interesting for sure, even with obvious twin-vocal songs. Among the new songs, the parts in harmony are complicated chorus lines, and we also tried a new style in "Kimi to Ame to Himitsu". To tell you the truth, there are many hidden twin-vocal highlights in this album!

VKH: Why did you release two mini-albums this year (THIS IS NOW and ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC) instead of just one full album?

miko: There are two reasons. The first is because I wanted to package the songs with the raw emotions from last year's live shows as soon as possible. This is why THIS IS NOW was packed with six songs that were hot at the time. Another reason is because, unlike WORLD MAKER, now I want to show exist†trace's core identity more strongly, rather than our experimental or colorful sides, and I thought that the size of the mini-albums was a better fit for that than a full album.

VKH: What is the difference in theme/style between THIS IS NOW and ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC?

miko: THIS IS NOW is a mini-album that focuses on the internal side, myself, and the band, and ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC is a mini-album about the external, visible side, and about giving inspiration to our listeners.

VKH: How did you decide the title for ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC? Did you know that would be the title before you wrote the songs?

miko: All the songs and lyrics were completed before the title was decided. I felt that the lyrics of this song matched perfectly with the theme of the mini-album, so the title of both the song and mini-album became ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC.

VKH: When you announced your SURVIVAL MARCH tour, miko said the tour would be “a culmination of our feelings during 2016.” Could you share those feelings with us?

miko: It was a wonderful tour! But the highest point was achieved at our one-man live shows in Osaka & Nagoya in December. I want to achieve an even higher level at the final in Tokyo! And I want to make our activities next year more exciting.

VKH: As the year comes to a close, what are your thoughts about exist†trace's music?

miko: Honestly, even famous musicians around the world are no match for exist†trace, I believe. This is how proud I am of exist†trace's music. I'll keep going without hesitation, so we can share our music with more people.

VKH: What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Jyou: I'd like to challenge myself in genres I've never sung before. I want to make things as interesting and fun as I can so I can be exist†trace's new weapon.

miko: I can speak English a little, but I'm not comfortable with singing in English. So I want to sing English lyrics fluently in 2017!

Omi: I'd like to work on all aspects of myself, and make this new year really shine.

Naoto: I'd like to try playing methods and equipment I haven't tried yet.

Mally: I want to make more time for myself, get exposed with different things, and enrich myself! And I want to improve my physical strength and skills!

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

Jyou: Thank you for reading our interview! ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC has made me really excited, and I hope I can share this feeling with so many more people. Everyone, please listen to the album a lot!

miko: Please listen to our new CD ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC a lot! It's frustrating for us to not be able to have many live shows overseas, but I believe only music can deliver our feelings over the distance. I'll continue to create music so that we can stay connected to your hearts until the time we see you again. Thank you!

Omi: I receive a lot of power from your voice and existence. Thank you so much for your constant support. I want to stay connected to your smiles continuously this year.

Naoto: Thank you so much for your continuous support from far away. I want you to listen to ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC many times and to find your favorite parts.

Mally: In 2016, many fans came to Japan to see us, and it made me really happy! I was happy to know that we have so many fans who enjoy our music and send us many messages through social media! Thank you!! The only promise we can make for now is to keep making music, but I will spend each day dreaming about the next time I can see you again! I hope your happiness overflows in 2017!

Special thanks to RESONANCE Media for making this interview possible!
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