This interview was taken by Ohanami and posted on their site on 30 October 2015, seven days before the band’s concert in Cologne.
First, we would like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. On this tour, you play for the second time in Germany. Fans all over the country have waited a long time for you. What do you feel, thinking about the tour? Do you think the fans have different expectations than in 2013?
Ijichi: It feels like the tour in 2013 only happened on working days. I hope it’s possible for those who couldn’t come then to see us come now. The tour in 2013 wasn’t on the weekend, but it was full of action. I hope everyone who didn’t have the chance to go in 2013 will have it now. Furthermore, I would like to make a boat trip on the river Rhine.
Kita: Make a boat trip.
Ijichi: Yes, I would love to do this again. And to drink beer!
Kita: You could say that this was the best moment of the tour. (laughing)
Bands are always happy to have a gig in Germany. It seems like our country is a hotspot for Japanese bands. Have you ever shared experiences with other bands?
Gotoh: Well, the Japanese are very interested in Germany because it’s advanced in economy. When Mrs Merkel came to Japan to give a speech, I wished we would have someone like her as prime minister. I visited a self-sufficiency organization last time when I was in Würzburg. I still tell my fellow musicians and friends about this. I like German beer and meat. Ah, and I like the city of Cologne very much.
Kita: I visited the Beethoven house. After that, we made the boat trip to the Rhein. This is a great memory.
Yamada: I have always been talking about the nice views in Germany.
Gotoh: Maybe we will find modern architecture in the cities. Many historical buildings have been destroyed during World War II, like in Japan. This is a big difference from the cities of London or Paris, where there is still a lot of architecture in the cities. Maybe that’s why the Japanese like it in Germany.
Some of your songs are the openings of popular anime like Bleach, Naruto or Fullmetal Alchemist. Have you ever watched them and are there anime or movies you would like to write an opening for?
Gotoh: It is a great honour for us to have our songs used for anime. I think that the studios set their characters to match our songs. When I think of the hard work that’s put into it, I’m proud to see the openings and endings. There are so many high-quality anime in Japan, like the ones from Ghibli. If there was a chance to work together with studios, we would happily take it.
Is there a band or artist that inspires you and does this reflect in your style of playing and your lyrics?
Gotoh: Basically, I’m very inspired by the 90’s rock music and bands, for example, Weezer. I feel connected to Beck, Radiohead and similar bands. Anyway, we were influenced much by the music we listened to as teenagers.
Thus far you have published 12 albums (wrong numbering – akfgfragments). Which one represents your music best? The older or the newer ones or would you say you grew as a musician and songwriter and are therefore better at expressing yourself?
Gotoh: Maybe our technique of playing just evolved. As for my part, I believe my singing and composing were able to develop. I think I have mastered a greater field of music styles now. I also think that when we were younger, our passion and emotions made it possible to play with the power we had. Now we do it for the music and with this music, we also change our style to express ourselves. It’s noticeable in our lyrics, too. Nowadays I read many books, so many references can be found in my lyrics.
Are there Japanese or global artists with whom you would like to share the stage or even have shared already?
Gotoh: That’s a difficult question. Considering artists from outside of Japan, I would like to play with Beck. I would like to meet – not only to play together with – Beck, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan. If I could meet them all in one day, this would be the best day of my life. Considering bands, I would like to play with Foo Fighters.
Kita: We still haven’t met Foo Fighters.
With whom have you played already?
Gotoh: We played alongside a few bands at the Nano-Mugen Festival, which we organised by ourselves. For example with a few UK bands, like Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Suede, Ash, and Cribs. But US bands were there, too: Weezer, Rentals, Nada Surf and more. Many artists come to us to play during our festival.
What are you planning for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years from now?
Gotoh: Next year we will celebrate our 20th anniversary, so there may be one or two special live shows. After that, we also have got a few things planned, so please be patient.
And 5 or 10 years later?
Kita: 5 or 10 years later… It’s not easy to imagine this. (laughing)
Yamada: Will a world tour be an ordinary thing for us by then?
Kita: It would make me very happy to give performances overseas. I would love to explore new places all over the world.
Okay, now it is time to direct a few words to your German fans who can’t wait to see you.
Gotoh: We look forward to it. Currently, many Japanese are interested in coming to Germany. Not just for a concert but to walk around a bit, eat German food etc. These are my interests for which I love to come to Germany.
Good luck and have fun during your time in Germany and have fun at your concerts in Europe. Thank you for your time and keep rocking!