Interview with HYDE at Japan 2019 presents Japan Night

interview - 05.06.2019 10:01

HYDE gives JaME the details on his new solo album "ANTI".

Ahead of his performance at PlayStation Theater in New York on May 12th, HYDE took a moment to sit with JaME to discuss his new solo album, ANTI, along with plans for the album’s physical release and his future tours. Arriving at the dressing room in casual black pants, a hooded sweatshirt, and a loose monochromatic gothic-style tee, he relaxed into the oversized leather couch while everyone took a moment to greet each other. Getting comfortable, HYDE adjusted his face mask and removed his jacket, settling in for the discussion.

Congratulations on the release of your new album! What is the overarching concept or message of ANTI?

HYDE: Hmm, concept... Yeah, well, with this, it’s an extension of what I’d been doing with VAMPS. And with the higher level of creative freedom, I’ve been making songs with American producers. I was aiming to make songs that American people will like, while also giving the songs a Japanese essence. I’d say it’s been a success.

Please explain the meaning of the imagery used in the music video for FAKE DIVINE. What’s the story that’s being told in the music video and how does it tie in with the lyrics?

HYDE: Oh... I don’t think there’s really a link between the lyrics and the video (laughs). That video was made for Halloween. The video itself shows an underground “Alice in Wonderland” Mad Tea Party-type setting; the lyrics don’t really have anything to do with it. The lyrics themselves... express a lack of trust in God, I think.

AFTER LIGHT is a heavy and aggressive song. How did you get yourself into the mood to create such a song?

HYDE: That was… We said we wanted to make a song that would get everyone going crazy at our next concert. The guitarist Pablo made it, he thought it’d be the kind of song I’d want to do so he went and made it, arranged it with the American producer, and it came out great.

What are some of the highlights of MAD QUALIA? Is there any part of the song you’d like listeners to pay attention to?

HYDE: This really is an image song for the game "Devil May Cry". I was asked to do it. I really love this game. There’s great... Hmm, what is it, synergy, and I wanted to make a song that got people excited for the game while listening to it. I was going for a cool, hard rock, "Devil May Cry"-ish kind of track.

What do the “hundred demons” and “critic of the day” you sing about in OUT refer to? What was the inspiration behind the lyrics of this song?

HYDE: Hmm, what was it… What kind of song was it… (laughs) Hmm, yeah… Essentially, this song was about not being afraid to stand out, like, when we’re doing our job we usually stand out, and quite often people say bad things about us on SNS, and it can be pretty intense. But don’t let it bother you, because if you let yourself become small you can’t do anything. But don't let it bother you and move on. That’s the kind of meaning I had with “demon”; it’s like a metaphor.

Please describe your experience working with YOSHIKI on ZIPANG. Were there many meetings between you and him? What were your roles and his roles in the creative process?

HYDE: Well, for the part of the song that had piano, I wondered if YOSHIKI would play it for us. He’s a really busy guy though, so I thought he’d probably say no. I aimed to ask him when he was in a good mood, “Is there any chance you could play this?” I asked this a decent time before, a couple of months before the deadline, and it seems he was in a good mood because he kindly said “okay”. He did leave it till the last minute though, like I expected. I thought it might not happen, but he did it right before the deadline. We also only ever exchanged emails really, but he created a really lovely song, piano solo for us.

Was there any particular gun violence case that prompted you to create SET IN STONE? What do you want to express through this song?

HYDE: How many years has it been since I came to America? Well, not that many, and yet there’s already been a number of cases. And... Even though it’s such a shocking thing to happen, why won’t they do anything about it? From a Japanese perspective it makes no sense. We don’t have guns in Japan, you see. Which makes it really baffling, for a Japanese person... So, that’s why... I thought they’d be interesting lyrics to write as a Japanese person.

Why did you choose to cover Duran Duran’s ORDINARY WORLD? How did you decide on the musical direction you wanted to take for the cover?

HYDE: So, the idea to turn a ballad into a hard rock cover song came from the staff, and while I was trying to think of good ballads, this song came to mind. I actually love Duran Duran, and amongst their songs I thought this one was really special. The idea of creating a hard rock arrangement gave me a good vibe; I could imagine it straight away. So, I gave it a go, and it came out sounding better than I expected. It’s a really fun song to play during concerts.

What’s next for you?

HYDE: After this, hmm... Well, after this tour with In This Moment, I’ll go back to Japan, release the album (on CD) in Japan, do some touring in Japan, and I’m thinking about coming back to America in September.

Thank you for your time! To conclude the interview, please leave a message for JaME readers.

HYDE: Yes, so I’ve been working on this album ANTI for a long time now, and it’s essentially an album filled with songs that really get people going at concerts, so it’s an album that’ll get people hyped. I hope people listen to it, even just for a little bit. You don’t have to buy it, you can check it out on YouTube or another video site. If you could listen to it even a little, I think you’ll get the appeal of this album. So, if you have the chance, please give it a listen, and I hope you’ll come along to my concerts.

JaME would like to thank HYDE and UNIVERSAL MUSIC JAPAN for this interview opportunity.

Read our live report on HYDE's performance at Japan 2019 presents Japan Night here:
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