INTERVIEW: the GazettE Re-introduce Themselves to the World with NINTH

(L to R: Gt. URUHA, Ds. KAI, Ba. REITA, Gt. AOI, Vo. RUKI)

Somewhere in the heart of New York City rested a five-piece rock band from Kanagawa, Japan. Less than 24 hours prior, they took Manhattan as its mistress by rocking an audience of 1000+ in Playstation Theater. Off-stage, they weren’t dressed any differently from the other citizens of America’s fashion capital; clad in loose black streetwear, expensive-looking caps, and ominous face-masks. What did stand out, however, was their other-worldly confidence and nonchalance with notes of awe. The Authentic Rockstar Vibe™.

This was the GazettE… four of the five members to be exact. REITA (bassist), RUKI (vocalist), KAI (drummer), and URUHA (guitarist) sat on cushioned seats respectively. AOI, the rhythm guitarist, was unfortunately absent. As they removed their disguises to greet me, their humanity became apparent as I realized they were just a group of regular cool guys.

Some really, really cool guys in really, really expensive-looking caps.

Even without the makeup, crushed velvet, and epic theatrics, they were drenched in charisma. Nearly two decades of activity have made these men practically royalty in the visual rock scene. And they seemed to know it. The weight of their invisible crowns and powerful influence slouched their shoulders in humbling angles... They had swagger.

After being introduced to them and the translator by one of their many managers, I rushed to set up for the discussion.

“Hello!” I said, breaking the awkward silence I'd created. They laughed and greeted me before we jumped right into the interview...


VKH: What do you think about the GazettE as a band today?

RUKI: Ah, to describe in one word… Do you want me to describe the band in one word? It can be in Japanese, right? (laughs)

VKH: We want to know where you think you are today. You can say however much you want!

RUKI: Oh man… You ask stuff like this? Please wait for like two hours! What a hard question…

[REITA, KAI, and URUHA proceeded to ponder how to answer the question as well. How do you sum up a 17-year career in four-to-five seconds...? It’s a feat that anyone would deem impossible. So I decided to grant them another 15 minutes to see where the conversation would go, and they seemed to appreciate it.]

VKH: It’s ok! We can come back to it. Maybe an easier question...

All: Oh! (everyone laughs and claps)


VKH: Out of your entire catalog, which songs are you most excited about performing in front of your international fans?

RUKI: "GUSH"! It’s fun to play. (laughs)



REITA: "FALLING." It’s the most important song because this is the first song that we play and this is the first connection that we have with the audience. It’s where we learn what kind of interaction we can expect from the audience and what we can provide. That’s why I like "FALLING" the best.

VKH: Nice answer!

REITA: Ah, I’m glad! (laughs)



KAI: "Tomorrow Never Dies." This is usually the last song that we play, and it’s the finale of the concert. Fans are super pumped up along with us, so that’s why I enjoy it.



URUHA: For playing overseas, "Filth in the Beauty." I don’t know why, but for some reason, everyone overseas really digs it. So I wonder if the song is more popular overseas than it is domestically.

VKH: Is it not that popular in Japan?

URUHA: In Japan it’s popular, but we play it so much that Japanese fans are probably tired of it now. They don’t get excited.

KAI: (overlapping with URUHA) We play it too much! Japanese fans are always looking for something new.

VKH: It’s the same way in America too (always looking for something new), but because "Filth in the Beauty" has that R&B sampling… R&B and hip-hop culture are so deeply mixed into American music today, fans get super hyped for that song. And it's so closely tied to the GazettE brand [that its a classic]. We haven’t heard it live that often, so we get excited when you perform it.

URUHA: That’s good information! (laughs)




VKH: Do you feel pressured to write more lyrics in English to reach more people?

RUKI: For the GazettE as a band, language is more like a secondary thing for us. We don’t tend to think that far in terms of words, we don’t really think about which language to do.

VKH: That’s good information!

All: (laughs)


VKH: In 2016, your first show in New York, you had a very strict concept and particular sound. NINTH, unlike DOGMA, has no specific concept and is much more versatile as a result. Was this to show the world just how dynamic and versatile the GazettE can be?

RUKI: For DOGMA, it was a stand-alone concept; it was a little strange and different because of it. Because DOGMA was the way it was, and we toured for so long people started to associate us with the word. But really, we don’t have that kind of concept as a band. We want to show people this is who The GazettE is in 2019. We want to make it easy for the audience to understand.


VKH: You often say you’re a live band, and NINTH feels like a love letter to your live audiences. What made you decide to showcase the GazettE as a live band on a studio album and how did you go about doing so?

RUKI: It’s interesting that you felt like this because that’s how we recorded it – [with the thoughts of] how a live concert feels. When you actually listen from the beginning to the end, maybe it will remind people of watching the GazettE live. [Maybe you'll feel like] you actually saw our entire live performance from beginning to end.


VKH: With this “live concert” underpainting, how did the glitch art imagery you’re using influence or relate to your music?

RUKI: Even before we started production of the songs for NINTH, that was the image that we had. We wanted to show something like glitch art. Not [to be] grotesque, but to have the art show the blood vessel [as] something more abstract. That’s what the glitch art was about. That was the inspiration that we had before we started working.

KAI: Often we, the GazettE will look at the design first and then we will get inspiration and make music that goes along with the image. DOGMA was exactly like that.

VKH: So the album was artistically influenced – that’s very cool!

All: (laughs)


VKH: Many English-speakers think rock is dead. But due to the immense success NINTH saw on iTunes and Billboard (click to see charts), we think your work can change their minds. What do you think? Do you believe rock is dead?

RUKI: But even in Japan, most of rock is dead.

VKH: Oh– (laughs)

RUKI: But as long as there are people who love the music, then it’s not in vain. It will never die.

REITA: It’s like a zombie. (everyone laughs)


VKH: You’ve said NINTH is the sound of “The GazettE in 2019”. But how would you describe the GazettE in 2018/2019 and what you have been trying to accomplish in your NINTH era?

RUKI: This is the first question again? (laughs)

VKH: Kind of, but a little bit different! It’s something a lot of people are wondering online.

RUKI: Really? I want to know too. (everyone laughs) Maybe... the reverse of rock!

REITA: Zombie. (laughs) Breaking Bad…. no, Walking Dead! (everyone laughs)

VKH: But you're alive!

KAI: the GazettE in 2019... Gosh, it’s so hard. I want to say something cool. Actually, we’re still searching for it. I don't really want to say what we are all about. We’re still touring, so something inside me is saying I don’t want to know that yet. I really look forward to seeing where this journey will take us. What we’re going to be in the near future.

VKH: That's a nice answer.

KAI: Oh I got the best answer! (everyone laughs)

URUHA: You mentioned before that rock is dead… Maybe we’re a bit old-fashioned, so perhaps we’re samurai! The GazettE is samurai!!

VKH: I don’t think what you’re doing is old fashioned, I think what you’re doing is new age. Keep doing you.

All: (laughs) Thank you.


VKH: You previously wanted to have NINTH produced by Josh Wilbur, but those plans were canceled due to time constraints. Might the next release or album have that dream finally realized?

REITA: The song for the music video [FALLING] was produced by him. He did the mixing for it.

RUKI: Yes, we don’t have plans to work with him right now, but we would love to [work with him again]. He wanted to come to our concert in LA but wasn’t able to make it.




Thank you for your time! Could you please share your goals and send a message to your fans and our readers?

RUKI: We will keep making good music without fail, and send it out into the world, so as usual, please keep watching us.

REITA: I am so very appreciative and grateful for you to love us so much, even though we don’t even speak English. From here on out we want to continue to keep making friends from all over the world and go to many different places, so please continue to follow us.

KAI: I want us to continue to make the kind of music that we love to create, and for the people who are waiting for us, we want to be able to visit them, and have more activities. The five of us will work hard for it.

URUHA: We’re doing so many live concerts in so many places on this tour, and we learn so much from the fans and seeing their reactions. We want to be able to make more music that the overseas fans will love and keep growing, and we want to come back here as well.


Special thanks to Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) and HERESY, Inc. for coordinating this interview! Thank you to Rob Alan for assisting with transcribing and editing!


The GazettE are still in the middle of their world tour! Check the dates below and see if you can experience NINTH the way they wanted you to hear it.

Stream NINTH on Spotify and Apple Music. Purchase it on iTunes and CDJapan.











NINTH ($9.99 on iTunes)
1) 99.999 2) FALLING -NINTH MIX- 3) NINTH ODD SMELL 4) GUSH
5) THE MORTAL 6) UTSUSEMI 7) SONOKOE WA MOROKU
8) BABYLON'S TABOO 9) URAGIRU BERO 10) TWO OF A KIND
11) ABHOR GOD 12) UNFINISHED
Stream it on Apple MusicSpotifyand YouTube. Purchase it on iTunes and CDJapan.

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1 comments:

  1. Winona, you need to make a live stream where you tell us how it happened and how they were!!!! Please!! ^_^

    ReplyDelete