IDOL no. 47
Yoshiki - Break the silence
D.T.'s NOTE: PLEASE keep in mind that I translated this interview myself, and I certainly DO NOT appreciate stealing. If you want to post it on your own site then e-mail me to ask. Okay!??!!? This interview has been translated from a Thai magazine as indicated above. The Thai interview itself was translated from the original, Japanese interview. So you see, as being traslated many times, no doubt the interview has been altered in one way or another. Therefore, it is very liable to mistakes. If you have any comments, questions, or corrections to make, please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. I want to make these interviews as accurate as possible, and would gladly accept any advices or whatever you care to give ^O^ Thanks, and enjoy!
The fact that YOSHIKI released the VDO, "The Last Live" shows that he has overcome his sadness that was his biggest hurdle and now, he has started to become active again. We've interviewed him to the depths about X, hide, "The Last Live" VDO, and all the way to his project, "VIOLET UK."
I: When I watched the VDO, "The Last Live" again, I recall that you were still wearing the neck brace while playing the drums.
I: And it's okay?
Y: Well, you shouldn't do it. *laughs*
I: Of course not! *laughs*
Y: Even now, I'm still hurting, even when I don't do anything.
I: So do you still play the drums?
Y: When I'm recording for VIOLET UK, I do. If I don't play for three hours in a row, it's okay. But if I get into it like when I did in X then it'd be like suicide. *laughs*
I: When I was watching the VDO one of the first things I noticed was...while you were playing you were also sending some secret signals to hide too right? (Really? I must go back and watch it...-D.T.)
Y: Yes, but that...how should I explain it? Like, if TOSHI says anything weird then hide can turn off the mike.
Y: Yes. Even the list of songs to play can change due to the situation. Because we've already talked about this a little, if that really happens then I'll send an eye signal to hide saying like, "OK, OK" we can start.
I: But when MC TOSHI said, "The name, 'X' was YOSHIKI's idea."
Y: That was probably around when I was 15 when we created X. It was for some contest or something, so we made a band. Back then, we were thinking, "What should the name be?" "If we're not sure yet, let's just use 'X.' "
I: So that was about 20 years ago. Then disbanding X that has been pratically half of your life is a very tough route.
Y: Yeah, but I still put it in around the end of the VDO...because we were thinking of making it again. There was a plan to re-band so we decided to disband for the moment. Of course, one of the reasons came from TOSHI saying that he wanted to leave the band around April ('97). At that time I was recording (in LA) all the members of the band were there too, except for PATA (where was he? -D.T.). When TOSHI came to record the singing, he said "I have something to talk to you about." and in a second he said, "I want to leave the band." and I answered, "I understand."
I: You answered right away?
Y: Right away. Even though I've known TOSHI for a long time, but you shouldn't say that kind of thing anyway. Because it wasn't just about me, I called hide. I think HEATH was also in LA? I told him to come ASAP.
I: You were going to disband right there and then?
Y: No, no matter what I still wanted to continue X. But at the time I was do ing the live CD (of X) so I felt that I didn't want to organize the singing. I mean, make me listen to the voice of a member that's left? Until 2-3 months passed, hide called and said "It's almost pass the deadline."
I: You were really down then, ne?
Y: But at the same time we were also finding a new vocalist (for X). So I thought that we could end for now and come back in the year 2000. We were even discussing to not call it a "disbandment" but a "break."
I: But you did use "disbandment."
Y: Well, I was thinking that "changing the vocalist is the same thing as disbanding, isn't it?" But after that I talked to hide saying, "Is the vocalist from that band good? What do you think?" So we were just talking along the lines of "Who should we pick?"
I: Did you already have plans to do THE LAST LIVE?
Y: Oh...obviously, I didn't want to do it at all. Now that I think about it, at that time, I didn't even want to be on the same stage as TOSHI...I thought that if I had that kind of feeling I wouldn't be able to go through with it. But when I told hide, "We're not going to do it, okay?" We got to talking about why should we do THE LAST LIVE...
"It's not a disbandment, isn't it?"
"So what if it is..."
"Just think of it as ending the scene"
Until it got to the point where I sarcastically answered, "So we're still going to do it without a vocalist?"
And everyone else went, "What?!" I just answered, "We can have the fans sing, can't we?"
I: You really didn't want to stand on the same stage as TOSHI, huh?
Y: Yeah...but even if we talked about it like that, I still called TOSHI to ask "If we do THE LAST LIVE will you sing for us?" And so we held the press conference in September.
I: With all the members except TOSHI.
Y: Yes. At that time...Even up until then I stil didn't feel good. Before that I was busy with "The Last Song" but it ended up we were going to do it (the concert).
I: When "The Last Song" was released I was surprised. It's as though it was what was behind the conversation that day.
Y: You could say that, that song was the last one I did with TOSHI more than the last song from X. There was also the talking part. I talked, and TOSHI sang. And right after the press conference there was a comment from TOSHI's office.
I: Saying that, "I (TOSHI), didn't recieve word that we were disbanding." right?
Y: Something like that. And I was thinking, "Didn't you already quit?" Because this isn't something to joke about. And after that even hide said that he didn't want to be on the same stage as TOSHI. The making of the song, "The Last Live" is a good example. I hired a producer in Japan and sent all the music scores and lyrics to that producer and wrote a letter explaining, like "the length of this part is this." And told him to send me the tape of TOSHI's singing. Then I confirmed that "this part is okay" or "sing this part again." It was a recoding where I didn't talk to TOSHI at all.
I: I see...
Y: Was it like that all the way untill the concert day? I can't really remember.
I: Until the day of the concert...even before entering the Tokyo Dome?
Y: Yes. I felt that I couldn't play the drums in that kind of state. So I went to TOSHI's dressing room and said "Let's go all out." That's all I said before the big rehearsal in Tokyo Dome, I think?
I: Then that means, before the big rehearsal, there was never a pratice where all 5 of you were present?
Y: I don't think so...I was always practicing by myself at the studio. I think the others praticed by listening to the tape of my drums recording.
I: And you were still able to perform. X is an amazing band.
Y: hide said that too. So I told him "we could have a full band pratice if you want." *laughs*
I: X's live already have a reputation of being carefully planned out right? But in THE LAST LIVE VDO, there was a part where TOSHI was leaning against hide's arm. As though when it got to that point, they just did it without planning.
Y: Well, usually a concert gives a feeling that anything could happen. Like when I was going to do the piano solo? Even when I was standing right infront the piano, I still didn't know what I was going to play. (hontou!?!? yoshiki is amazing...-_-" -D.T.).
Y: Yes, I was infront of the piano and I still didn't know what I was going to play. I was even deciding right then if I was going to play or not. Sometimes it's like, "I'm in a good mood today, I'll play a little." But sometimes it's like, "Not really in a good mood today, I'm not going to play." (O_o weird...what happens if he decides not to? Just walk back?-D.T.)
I: It was something that could not be anticipated, huh? Actually, hide said something like that too. "X, in the end is just a rock band. When we come out, we scream. When we play, we scream. When we're getting off stage, we scream. I want to do a live that's something like a thunderbolt."
Y: Yes. The planning beforehand...ah~even if it is planned. I never really liked doing EXACTLY how we planned.
I: You don't like it, ne? *laughs*
Y: Even if sometimes it'll cause some problems. *laughs* Like when we were going to change the rhythm for, "Orgasm" hide put in some effects that made it come out kind of weird.
I: This type of trouble, I see. *laughs*
Y: hide even said, "How about that?" (in a boasting way). I almost hit him with cymbals. *laughs* (lol...weird, I know. But that's what he said ^^" -D.T.). There are many evil funny stories of the band members.
I: But in the last part of THE LAST LIVE you and TOSHI finally reconciled right?
Y: Yes. In the split second that it ended, suddenly everything felt like a huge relief. Like "We came all the way here...we've grown a lot."
I: Even though you felt very relieved, it took you 4 years to release the VDO. Is it because you couldn't bear to watch it?
Y: No, if there wasn't that whole thing with hide, I would have been able to watch it. But when it did happen, the concert became a forbidden thing.
Y: After (hide's funeral) that, I went back to LA and wrote a song.
I: A song dedicated to hide right?
Y: Yes, it's called "Without You." Actually it's similar to all the other songs that I wrote, such as "Endless Rain" or "Say Anything" or "Forever Love." But the more I wrote it, the more depressing it got, as though I could no longer write my own songs. Because when you're composing, you have to think about many things right? Then in order not to think about those things, isn't it better to produce for other people? The more you can think about those artist's things the better. So I took the time when I couldn't think about my own affairs to produce for other people.
I: I see.
Y: It was like that for about two years, I think? Then there were talks about the celebration of His Majesty's 10th year anniversary on throne. That's when I started to write songs again. When it was the day of the performance, I was enveloped by the cheerings of the crowd and I was very impressed. Like, "Ah~this feeling..."
I: That was a very grand beginning.
Y: You're right. After that I recieved supporting letters from people who saw me that day also, saying "When are you coming back?" And I got the feeling "Alright! I'll try again!"
I: And you started to edit "THE LAST LIVE" right away?
Y: No, I started in January last year. It's probably been about a year now. Because I had to get ready.
I: What did you feel when you first watched it?
Y: Well, I started by carrying two boxes of tissues into the studio. *laughs* (aw...kawaii ^^ -D.T.)
I: If it's because you'll be crying hard, I understand. I would do the same.
Y: And I said "Okay, here goes!" *laughs* But when I started to watch it, I couldn't go through with it. The second "Amethyst" started, I was already crying. Actually, I think I stopped watching after about 5 minutes. And when I came back to the office 2-3 times, I was still "No...I can't watch it." I think it was like that for about 3 days? Until finally, on the 4th day I finished watching the entire thing.
I: During those three days, did something in you change?
Y: Well, I was thinking that I had to get over it no matter what. Like, "If I can't get over it, I probably won't even be able to talk about X for the rest of my life!" And if I can no longer talk about X, it's like I can't talk about my own life anymore.
Y: So, on the 4th day I started to watch it, and during the entire thing tears were streaming down my face.
I: When did you finish editing?
Y: This year in March. I wonder when did I finished it? Probably on the 3rd.
I: Were you crying all the way to the last day?
Y: I was always crying. After the meeting to decide when to release it, I felt that I really wanted to cry. Because I wanted to make it as good as possible.
I: Is it because you thought about hide?
Y: It's probably this hard because hide isn't here anymore.
I: hide used to say, "For me, X is YOSHIKI." Then for you, hide's dwelling is probably very important to you.
Y: X is like, if I say "It's like this!" then it's like this. If I say it's "white!" then it's white. If I say its's "black!" then it's black.
I: That's why hide said, "For me, X is YOSHIKI."
Y: hide would think along the lines of, "If YOSHIKI says so, then it has to be good." and will do so right away. But I'm the rational type, aren't I? Because of that sometimes he has to grit his teeth. But of course, I was always talking with hide asking, "What do you think?"
Y: I would also talk to him about personal matters too. Like, "I'm going to produce for Kitano Shoko-chan, what do you think?"
I: You talk to hide about those things also?
Y: We talk about everything. Like, Y: "I'm composing for Hideki (Saijo), what do you think?" H: "If it's YOSHIKI, it has to be good, no?" Or like, Y: "How about making a tribute for KISS?" H:"How about like 'Black Diamond!'" We can talk about anything. So now that I have no 'partner' what am I suppose to do?
Y: And of course...I always had hide listen to VIOLET UK's songs and ask "How's this one?" and he would answer something like "It's this kind of sound, huh?" I think the development of VIOLET UK's song was made because I wanted hide to listen to it. So as to ask "What do you think?"
I: What was it like when you first met hide?
Y: Before in Kagurazaka, there was a live house called "EXPLOSION" and there was a band there called Saber Tiger. And I was thinking "he (hide) is cool." I don't know why though, because when I met him...it wasn't like that at all! But I still pulled him into the band. I went while Saber Tiger was still performing and said, "Come to X!"
I: Didn't Saber Tiger object or anything?
Y: hide himself said, "YOSHIKI, Saber Tiger is performing right now." *laughs* But I replied, "I know! But just come!". And he said "I can't come right away." And I said back "But you have to come anyway."
Y: But when Saber Tiger disbanded, he called me and said "I'm not doing bands anymore."
I: He said that?
Y: Yeah. When Saber Tiger disbanded, hide decided to quit music and become a beautician. So I told him "It's good that you're quitting."
I: You say that but at the beginning you wanted him to come in your band. *laughs*
Y: No~you see, he said "There are a lot of bands asking me to join. What do you think?" So I asked him, "What do you want to do?" He said "I want to quit music." So I said "It's good that you're quitting." (ah~this part was hard to translate. I hope you got what Yoshiki was saying...? like he's glad that hide goes with his own decision. but somehow, when I read it in Thai it sounded a bit sarcastic O_o maybe it was the way the translater -from Japanese to Thai- translated it. -D.T.)
I: When you said that, what did hide say?
Y: He said "Ah~is that so." and that was it.
I: That's all?
Y: That's all. And 2-3 days later he called to ask, "Can I watch X's pratice?" When I said "Yes." He came and sat, watching by himself. After that when we went for a drink together, I think he said "Will it be okay if I join X?"
Y: TAIJI was pulled in once before that also. There were many reasons why we pulled him in. Including the fact that we pulled him in so that X wouldn't become a hard rock that had the colors of punk. Why did TAII come back again~? Oh, because there was a time when we were staying together and he came to to me saying, "I have nowhere to stay, can I stay with you?" So I had to take him in. That time it was like, Taiji: "Staying with YOSHIKI makes me feel like I can do anything." hide said before also, "If YOSHIKI is here, it feels like we can do anything." It doesn't seem like these two should be in the music industry, huh? *laughs*
I: Does that mean that if they're with you, they can do any fun thing they want right?
Y: Probably. But hide used to be the leader of a band. PATA was also the leader of "JUDY" before also.
I: How did PATA come in to all this?
Y: I used to play drums in the back up band. And PATA came and asked "Can you join JUDY?" I told him, "No, I can't." and asked him, "Will you join X?" He replied, "What? I'm the leader of the band. That's not possible." But even then, he eventually joined. *laughs* So it was very tiring. Being the leader of a band that's full of leaders. But hide said...What the hell did he say? Something like I just yell stuff and he's the one that pulls X together.
I: Yell stuff?
Y: Like when X debut, people criticized us mercilessly. And I would complain and yell something like, "You guys know nothing about music!" and hide would tell me, "YOSHIKI, that's not good. Find a better (nicer) way to say it." He would give advices like that.
Y: I always do things to the best of my ability and I know that hide is right behind me. That's why I wanted him to listen to VIOLET UK's songs...
I: When you finished editing "THE LAST LIVE" hide wasn't a problem anymore?
Y: No matter how many times I watched it, no matter how anguished I was, the process of editing still made me cry. But yeah, it probably won't be a problem anymore.
I: When the purple logo of "X" at the end of THE LAST LIVE VDO changed, there was a preview of VIOLET UK right?
Y: Oh...you noticed? (I did too!-D.T.) When I made it, I was thinking "Even if I put it in, I don't know if anyone will see it."
I: Well, if anyone leaves it on long enough, they'll find out. *laughs*
Y: Well, there's one more thing. Did you know there was a hidden trick?
Y: At the end there is a list of songs right? During that time, the 'A' from "Amethyst" changes color.
I: I think that it should be purple...
Y: Yes. This was before we released the song "Dahlia" There was a talking part around the middle that says things like "Destiny" and "Alive" and I printed those big (the beginning letters) and when I put those together, the result was the word "DAHLIA" (If you look at the lyrics: the talking part:
"Destiny Alive Heaven Love Innocence Always" makes DAHLIA get it? That's so cool! I never noticed that before. And I've always wondered where the name, DAHLIA came from. Now we know ^O^ -D.T.)
I: Is that so?
Y: Yes. So if you go back and watch it twice. The "A" at the end of the second time is not just that. (okay, I have no idea how to translate this part. sorry~! -D.T.)
I: Because that "A" is the "A" from Amethyst?
I: Could you say that VIOLET UK is the continuation of X?
Y: I was thinking of a second era for X, but my solo doesn't have that kind of image.
I: But now you've told me the secret of the logo. In the song "THE LAST SONG" do the lines 'I see red, I see blue' mean mixing the colors red and blue together and getting purple? Which is VIOLET UK!
Y: To explain, 'I see red' mean I'm very angry and 'I see blue' means I'm sad or depressed. After that are the lines "But the silver lining gradually takes over/When the morning begins/ I'll be in the next chapter" which means that no matter how bad a situation is, there is always a positive side to it. It refers to the English phrase, "Every cloud has a silver lining." meaning that there is happiness in sadness.
Y: There are also songs in VIOLET UK that talks about "the other side", it's similar to the 'I see red, I see blue' Because the way I communicate it, is the same.
I: For X, the symbol used to represent red anger is "Kurenai" and the blue sadness is "Blue blood" is it not? When you combine them, you get the purple of the dawn. If that's so, then the music of VIOLET UK is positive right?
Y: Not at all. Basically, VIOLET UK is negative.
I: It's like that?!
Y: Yes. There's a song called "hollywood black sheep" that has lyrics saying something like "Even if I die tomorrow, as a rock star, I will never die." I just wrote it like that (without thinking about it much).
I: The black sheep of hollywood....
Y: Like "If I die, will anyone cry for me?" (if YOSHIKI died, everyone would cry for him T_T -D.T.)
I: You're always so harsh on yourself.
Y: Yeah. I just mentioned "the other side" because in the song the lyrics says 'take me to another world.' To put it simply, it's a song about heading towards death.
I: Not "I want to live, take me to another world" but "please erase me from this world" ?
Y: Yes, exactly. I have a lot of songs about death. The word "suicide" is used a lot.
I: We all have to die anyway, and now you want to kill yourself? Isn't that a bit overload?
Y: It is.
I: During the preview, there were also clips of the interview in Korea (at the end of THE LAST LIVE vdo). Talking about the music style of VIOLET UK, correct? You said "I would like to create something beautiful to touch people's hearts. A lot of times when I was depressed, music helped me. So I would like to create music that's going to help people and fans."
I: And VIOLET UK? The non-negative part?
Y: Between my positive and negative power, the negative would be more uplifting. Like when you see a rose among thorns, the rose would be even more beautiful, no? The small happiness in sadness would also be more significant right?
Y: While communicating the sadness and the thorns, beauty is also conveyed, and that makes it very positive.
I: It's very complicated...is this how you wrote X's songs too?
Y: Maybe, but there's more originality. I presented them in ways I've never done before. The violent songs are violent. But on the basis, VIOLET UK is digital...how should I say it? Like trip hop music uses "tricky" or "massive attack." Ah~but not to the level of "Potishead" (name of a band). But I did put in some things in that style. I also have punk and rock style, too.
I: Furthermore, you also have classics and noise guitar.
Y: Yes, I wanted to put in the beautiful melody of the 7-stringed guitar for my own satisfaction.
I: Now, I'm starting to feel that VIOLET UK is totally different than what I had in mind.
Y: But the guitar, I was influenced by hide. During X, no matter what track we were recording, hide always wanted to put in 32ch, I think? He always wanted to put in the the guitar noise first.
I: First? *laughs*
Y: It was the same for "The Last Song" too. He begged to put in SOME guitar, as though his life depended on it. Back then, I thought "Why?? See if after I edit it, will there be any left!?" But I think I understand that now.
I: If you say in the sense that hide influenced you, then VIOLET UK could be the 2nd X?
Y: The guitars, yes.
I: But in the preview you also said "VISUAL should be an important ingredient." and "Maybe make it like a fashion show" too, right?
Y: Image and music is something that cannot be separated, there will always be a connection, right?
I: But how about lives, that's probably different from having a band to come on stage and play regularly, right?
Y: That's an idea I've been thinking about. If I can, I want it to give off the feelings of a live. I want to have a tour too. In a form that former bands have not done before. It'd be nice if I could do it like an amoeba.
Y: Like, I can change forms fast.
I: Even if you say that I stll don't get it. *laughs*
Y: Is that so? I'm so happy that I make people confused. ^^
I: What about the "UK" from "VIOLET UK"?
Y: When I first started out there was just "VIOLET." But there were many problems after that. Things about rights and all that. Similar to "X Japan." So I said "How about VIOLET UK?"
I: You really said that?
Y: Something like that. I thought of many meanings for "UK." Like, "Underground Kingdom." But if you really think about it, my influences, other than KISS, comes from the English. Like Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, or Iron Maiden. They're all good. But how I landed in LA, I don't know myself. *laughs"
I: During the film gig in Korea, you said that you were going to release something (around the middle of the year) and that you were going to come back to stage.
Y: It's probably not good but I don't think I will. *laughs* True, we can now arrange plans and schedules. I have about 30+ songs. Even the mixed songs, I have.
I: You could actually release an album?
Y: The problem is each song is about 10min, so I have to cut it short (I don't think 10min songs are a problem...-D.T.). But after the editing of "THE LAST LIVE" vdo, everything just stopped. But I think I can continue again now.
D.T.'s NOTE: Now that you've read the interview, I would love to hear your opinion about it. Was it confusing? Was it good? Please e-mail me ^O^ Also, I am accepting requests for interviews. So if there is a certain artist you want to read about, e-mail me and I'll see if I can find an interview of the requested artist. No guarantees though. But please, let it be someone within the JRock and JPop vicinity ^O^ Thanks!