Interview with vistlip

interview - 12.23.2017 19:01

Reminisce about the past with vistlip!

Five-piece visual kei band vistlip celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. In an interview with JaME, the band members take a trip down memory lane, speak about their latest releases and express their desire to reach out to overseas fans.

2017 marks your 10th anniversary as a band. How have you developed as musicians over the years?

Umi: One example of what has changed is our arrangements. When I rewatch some videos I often think, “oh, back then we performed it like this” or “during that song, we played like this”. This is when I feel that we’ve changed. Furthermore, although the basis of what Tomo wants to sing about hasn’t changed, he now thinks a lot more about how to express himself and how to convey his expressions. Now his songs where he sings about deep topics, like own beliefs and ideas, sound completely different. Even if the musical arrangement hasn’t changed too much, the way he conveys it has. I get goosebumps when we perform live.

Can you tell us about the funniest or most interesting experience as a band so far?

Tomo: The Visual Japan Summit was a lot of fun. For us this was a big achievement. It was not just about mingling with the other bands, but a place to strengthen our mental power.

Rui: Our first tour left a big impression on me; it was a lot of fun and I was happy.

Yuh: Now that I think of it, it was a lot of fun being able to go abroad to Taiwan, France and Finland. I was a little worried before we went, but I enjoyed it a lot once we did it. Since this is such a rare opportunity, we’d appreciate it if you could call us over with an itinerary that leaves us some time for sightseeing before and after the show.

Tohya: A precious experience for me was being able to go to all the prefectures in Japan. If I wasn’t in a band I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Also, meeting people in all these places and enjoying the atmosphere were valuable experiences for me.

Umi: Right now we’re on tour. On this tour we are trying to recreate the shows we have played at various venues over the past 10 years. We’re now halfway through and there are many things I felt have changed. Reflecting on these past 10 years is a lot of fun.

Were there any moments in your 10-year journey when you felt like giving up? If yes, what caused the discouragement? How did you overcome the negative feelings?

Rui: When we went abroad for the first time, we went to France and I lost my bass. We were about to have a show in Tokyo, but I was waiting at Narita airport and my bass didn’t show up. I think it went to New York or somewhere. In the end, I got it back safe and sound, but those two days were really hard.

Yuh: When you have a super tight schedule, for example on a tour or when you have two concerts on two consecutive days and another in-store event the day after, it's tough, but when it’s over it feels like no big deal.

Tohya: When we started vistlip, I didn’t know my place in the band or how to behave. The band is going forward, but the time I couldn’t catch up was hard.

How did you overcome this gap between you and the band?

Tohya: I became able to think about what would be the best while doing it. When the others gradually started to value me and I began to accept it, I became more self-aware and it started to change.

Was this because of your skills or because of the mental aspect?

Tohya: The mental aspect. For example, I initially had no confidence, even when I tried to write a song. But the others kept saying it’s good and others who listened to it said so too, so I slowly gained confidence.

Umi: Nothing in particular.

Tomo: At our next show in Osaka we’re going to recreate our CHRONUS concert. At the final rehearsal for the concert we talked and remembered that after our single, Recipe, the number of releases and our workload increased drastically. That was really exhausting. Everyday I thought composing and recording would never end. For some time it was so bad I thought there was nothing left for me to write.

What do you do when you can’t come up with lyrics to write?

Tomo: The only thing I can do is wait until emotions well up. It really only has to be a little thing. For example, when someone makes me angry, I’d broaden this moment and turn it into lyrics.

Are there any songs inspired from you not having anything to write about?

Tomo: Maybe I’ve written about that, too (laughs). I think there are many songs about the feeling of not being able to say anything and I somehow tried to create a picture to write about. That’s also the motive for the coupling song LEVEL 1 of the single Timer, which is going to be released in December. If you read the lyrics, you will understand it, but the content of the lyrics were born out of a time where I thought, “What should I do? There is nothing.”

The first of the three consecutive releases you've announced is a single titled It. What's the inspiration behind this single?

Rui: With this song we really wanted to express our feelings as a band. When I compose a song there are usually a lot of synthesizers and step recording or piano music, but I left all of this out and started from the thought that I want to make a song that consists just of the tunes of the band. Maybe that’s why this song is so paced and groovy.

The "lipper" edition of It comes with bonus song Persona, which was composed by Tohya. Tohya, can you tell us about your experience composing the song?

Tohya: The melody of this song brings out the full range of Tomo’s voice from low to high. It also seems like the fans think the same way, since some have commented “Thank you for bringing out Tomo’s beauty!” The musical composition was done in our usual style, but with the intention of not leaning towards the sound of the synthesizers and without bridging the gap of the guitar sounds too much.

The second of the three consecutive releases is a single titled Timer. What do you want to express with this single?

Yuh: Basically, we created this song with playing it live in mind. This time we thought a lot about the rhythm of the bridge. In the beginning this was the main point and we created the other components from there. We composed one chorus and from there we created parts as we liked. Although we were able to rapidly develop it, I wouldn’t say it’s a very busy song. It is full of emotional parts as well as different components. Tohya created this piece with the band’s tune in mind, but if it was me I would have first thought about putting in the synthesizers and then think about the guitars.

The third of the three consecutive releases is a DVD of your 10th Anniversary LIVE 'Guns of Liberty' performance. What's the concept of that live? What are your best memories of your 10th Anniversary LIVE 'Guns of Liberty' performance?

Rui: It’s been a surprising 10 years, but what was impressive to me was that we weren’t really in a “It’s been 10 years so we have to feel moved!” mindset. Of course, we wanted to play a good show but it was more normal than we would have predicted. For me, before the show I felt tense thinking “10 years, so what?” but when I climbed up the stage and started to play I thought “Wow, 10 years, that’s amazing!” This change of feeling occurred during the show and it made it a performance filled with those feelings.

Tomo: We played a song that we had only played once before and the crowd broke into such loud cheers I couldn’t hear the sound of my in-ear monitors. (laughs)

Umi: Wasn’t it just because you yelled, “Shout! Shout!” that you couldn’t hear us? (laughs)

Tomo: No, it was because they were so loud! (laughs) We hadn’t experienced anything like that before, so I was happy we received such cheers. But, as Rui and the others said, I think it’s good that we were able to treat our 10th anniversary as a small step on our journey. We by no means reached our goals yet and I think it’s good that we are optimistic about the future ahead.

Recently, you announced that you'll strengthen your communication with your overseas fans through your Facebook page and other channels. What kinds of content can overseas fans expect to see?

Yuh: We haven’t hosted any release events abroad, so we haven’t gotten into this situation yet; we only show ourselves to our fans during the show or when we get back to the hotel. So far, we have only shown ourselves to Japanese fans but want to interact more with our overseas fans. We also share videos of our leisure time when we’re not playing shows and we want to promote this raw part of us in the hope it comes into contact with our fans.

As you progress beyond your 10th anniversary, what are your hopes and wishes for the band?

Tomo: I think I can speak for everyone when I say that the motive for why we originally started vistlip was that we didn’t want to be constrained by the visual kei genre but we wanted to express what we thought was good music through vistlip. But when you do something for a long time, there is only so far you can go. When we decided the nature of vistlip, we settled there. But recently I’ve been thinking back to our original intentions a lot. In our recently released songs our original intent of “music of different genres” is emphasized by our current performance skills. We want to be a band that is proud to be visual kei, but also one that isn’t restrained by visual kei.

Lastly, please leave a message for JaME readers.

Yuh: When we were in Taiwan, we got lost and some locals showed us the way. They were studying Japanese hard and although we couldn’t speak any Taiwanese, thanks to them who tried hard to communicate with us, they could show us the way without any problems. This kind of communication is very refreshing and I think it would be great if we could host a fan meeting or something like that.

Rui: We haven’t played abroad for a while, so you haven’t had the chance to experience us much, but with our 10th anniversary our wish to go abroad has intensified so please come and see us when we come to your country – is all I can say (laughs). Since we don’t have much experience yet, please don’t be too hard on us.

Tomo: I’ve been thinking this for a long time, but since we’re Japanese artists, it’s hard to meet us, right? I wonder if we haven’t made our fans, who have nevertheless loved us for such a long time, lonely. We need the demand for vistlip and if there is any, we will try to respond to it. So please, everyone, raise your voices. If you do so, I think that paths will open. Thank you!

Umi: We haven’t been abroad a lot and our CDs aren’t distributed abroad. I’m very grateful for our fans who love us now and who put in an effort to know us. In contrast to that we haven’t been able to communicate with you, but from now on we want to strengthen our communication with our overseas fans.

Tohya: Although we haven’t had many chances to go abroad, after 10 years we have finally managed to communicate to our overseas fans. And the more response we get, the easier it will become for us to visit our fans abroad. Some of you might only know our name, some might only know visual kei, some might only know our music, but we want to go to your place and share the show with you. So those of you who read this interview, the louder you vocalize, “I really want to see vistlip live!” the easier it will be for us to go abroad. vistlip has also many calm songs, but if you go crazy even about those, it will lift our spirits. We’re happy if you invite us abroad.

JaME would like to thank vistlip for this interview opportunity.

Recently, vistlip announced a four-band tour with Kiryu, BugLug and R-Shitei, titled Quadruple Disruption and Fighting the Symmetry. The tour is scheduled to begin at the Factory Hall in Sapporo, Hokkaido, on March 11th, 2018 and culminate in a final show at STUDIO COAST, Shin-Kiba, Tokyo on March 30th, 2018. Visit for more information.

Watch the tour trailer below:

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