Exclusive interview with Pay money To my Pain

interview - 21.11.2007 12:00

JaME was able to have an exclusive interview with the rock band Pay money To my Pain.

In October, JaME was able to have an interview with Pay money To my Pain, (P.T.P) a heavy rock band whose music is a mix of screamo and hardcore. Even though P.T.P is a Japanese band, all their lyrics are in English and their sound with American influences appeals to many people. The band is currently enjoying a lot of popularity and their number of fans is increasing, so JaME interviewed the band to introduce them to the overseas audience.

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Can you please introduce yourselves?

K: I'm the vocalist, K.
ZAX: I'm the drummer, ZAX.
JIN: I'm the interpreter, JIN (laughs).
PABLO: I'm the guitarist, PABLO.
T$UYO$HI: I'm the bassist, T$UYO$HI.

Pay money To my Pain's music is categorized in various genres, including emo, metal and screamo. Could you tell us about your music and your band for people who don't know you well?

PABLO: I think it's open for people to compare our music to other things. I know they compare us to metal and other various genres, but we try to make sounds that only we can make and we don't care about genre. We just want to have an original sound, but there is a theme of heaviness among them so we have a lot of songs like that.

Your band name is very extreme, Pay money To my Pain, what does it mean?

K: It means just what it says. Well, my nature is quite negative so my work is made when I'm feel dark or down. Then people pay money to buy our CDs, so, in brief, really they're paying and buying my pain. I really wanted to draw a line to that.

Does it mean that music can't be without 'pain' for you, K?

K: Yes. Basically (laughs).
PABLO: I understand his feelings very well.
K: I can't get ahead or move on without pain.
PABLO: As for me, I feel like I can't express my feelings anywhere except in music. People take the word 'pain' in various ways and how they understand it is quite different, but I think 'pain' has the meaning of stress in ourselves, and sadness during our everyday lives. I need somewhere to express it, which is music in this case.

So you put your feelings of anger or sadness in music, rather than happiness or pleasure?

K: Um... For me, I don't make songs in order to put my feelings into them, but what I make naturally becomes my work. Again, I don't make music to put my anger into it; as I write songs my words come out naturally. Sometimes they have pain, but my songs are really made for me, as they are.

Your lyrics are completely in English, is there any particular reason for that?

K: If I wrote lyrics in Japanese, only Japanese people could understand, but if I write them in English, people in various countries can understand.

So it's not because it's hard to put Japanese lyrics to your music, but you want to send a global message?

K: Um... I don't know, but maybe. Also, I just like English! (laughs)

Some people say Japanese lyrics are hard to put to music, but English is easy.

K: Yes, but we can do it even though it is harder and I know some bands who put Japanese lyrics in their music. I think that it is more a matter of whether I like doing it or not.

How do you write your songs? Do you write them together?

K: Yes. We work in a studio together. Basically, PABLO brings songs and we all work on them.

So it's not that each member makes songs independently, but you arrange the songs together?

PABLO: Yes, all five members definitely complete our music together. We make and progress our sound as a group.

Do you create your lyrics after you make melodies?

K: Yes and if the song is really good, I write the lyrics at the same time. For example, when I listen to the music, I open my notebook and start writing the lyrics as they come to me.
PABLO: K does that almost all the time. When I give him my songs in a studio and he likes it, he starts writing the lyrics right there and then. Well, he mostly does it at the same time. We progress the music in a studio, while K continues with his lyrics. That's usually how we do it.

Do you first think of English lyrics in your head?

K: Sometimes, but sometimes I translate from Japanese.

You are living in Los Angeles, how do you stay in contact? Especially concerning sound material, rehearsals and so on?

K: I use my computer a lot, such as skype phone, a laptop and e-mail. Sometimes we talk on the phone and it costs me a lot, as you can imagine (laughs).

So how do you record your music?

K: I do it when I get here, when we get together in a studio. I only fly four times back and forth between the USA and Japan every year, so it's not so easy. It's pretty tough, you know. Twelve hours on airplane, which kills me and I don't like it! (laughs)

Why did you choose to put such a nice beginning with piano for the first track of Another day comes?

PABLO: Our band, PTP, has been playing hard music, but I have been thinking that we don't want to be know for only heavy songs. Piano sounds have a mood and image, with classical tones. If we start very hard with the roar of distorted guitars, I think the image of our band won't differ from other bands. I dared to put in the piano sounds because I thought our world would have that kind of mood, not only sharp but also heartfelt. Another reason is that I wanted to amaze people! (laughs)

This beginning really produces a nice image of a beautiful dawn, starting from piano sounds then the addition of clear guitar sounds.

PABLO: Yes. It's like a dawn or beginning of something.

What do you mean when you're singing "by fight for your rights, fight for your justice" in the song The sun, love, and myself?

K: Right is the right thing, such as my own will, my own style, my own culture, you know... It's my root. So I fight for my life, to do what I want to do.

Does it come from your own experience?

K: Yes, from the audience and myself.

Your album is quite eclectic. Why?

K: You mean because we sometimes play hardcore and sometimes melodic music? I don't know, it's just like chemistry. It's PTP, our sound.
PABLO: On this album, I wanted to express our ability. Not just in one area, but others too. I really wanted to widen our world more and more.

You self-produced your album this time. Did you do it for that reason?

PABLO: Well, there was't really any deep reason for that. It was just because we thought that we could do it by ourselves and we wanted to do it by ourselves.

K, why did you live in Los Angeles? What have you learned from living there?

K: Culture, language.... and skateboarding! (laugh)

Are you living in LA to skateboard?

K: (laughs) To study language.

Why did you choose LA?

K: Because New York is a little too far (laughs). That's it!

On your website it says "Where we exist is not in TV, magazine and PCs window. We exist on the same street where you are standing". Why did you write this message?

K: Actually that phrase was created by one of my friends. He's kind of a street child, and grew up on the streets, so every rule and influence he had was learned from the street. So that's why.
T$UYO$HI: Now because people can easily get access to the internet, TV and magazines, they tend to think they know everything, but it's they don't. We aren't heroes made for TV, we're in the same place as you. We are just normal guys like you, but just making music in a band. We are not made up, but very real.

You emphasize that you are "walking on the same street" as your fans. Is it important for you to come into contact with them?

K: Yes, very much. I think so, yeah.

Do you experience exchanges with fans, like you give to them and you receive from them?

K: Do you mean switch experience? Yes, of course!
T$UYO$HI: I feel like we are the same person as you.
K: We are musicians and also just human.

Have you already performed in the USA?

K: Yes.

What was your audience like in the USA compared to in Japan? What was the difference?

K: Very different! When they looked at me, just as a foreigner, they'd say "Oh man, Japanese can play hardcore music!". Their response was always the same thing, like "Ohhhh~! Yeah~~!". That's it (laughs). They wanted to have fun, drinking beer and watching foreigners play.

Are you interested in going to Europe?

K: Of course. I'm very interested. Someday, we're going to tour in Europe.
PABLO: It would be great if we could.

When I listened to your music, I thought moshing would fit it best. What kind of audience do you prefer? Those who are actually moving or those who stand still all the time?

K: I like everything except for parapara (laughs). I don't know, but just do whatever they want to do. It's okay for me if they are just standing, looking, drinking beer or moshing, whatever they want. I don't care.

Would you like to give a short comment about your songs, describing your impression for the songs in your latest album, Another day comes?

K: Which ones are you interested in?

Home, please! We like Home very much!

K: Home is very simple. You know, people are living their lives and we have our own lives. Sometimes we are lost, sometimes we are in a struggle. We're always looking for the light which means hope. And this song is about growing up in Japan, but right now I'm living in USA, so sometimes I miss home. Home is like my weakness, shell, cage, something like an empty space, which I call 'home'.

I saw your PV and saw the tattoo with 'PTP' of your arm. When did you get it and why?

K: Here you are. (Shows me the tattoo of PTP on his right arm) I think I got it maybe three or four years ago in LA because I like tattoos.

What kind of bands do you usually listen to?

K: Do you know THE HIGHER? THE HIGHER's songs are very pop but I like their melodies.
ZAX: ....Noise. (laughs) ....Noise. (Meaning he likes noise music)
JIN: Johnny's. (laughs) NEWS of Johnny's. (laughs)
PABLO: Yesterday, I was listening to Sigur Ros all day long, in the rain, on full blast (laughs). I like Iceland very much, so I really like the dark mood of mum, Björk and AMINA.
T$UYO$HI: I listen to various types of music, but recently I've been listening to The Album Leaf, InMe and Idiot Pilot. I don't often listen to heavy music at home.
PABLO: I don't listen to heavy music at home, either.
T$UYO$HI: I do like to play heavy music and make heavy music, but I don't listen to it.

What are some of your future plans?

PABLO: Well, we'll finish our tour, then we'll get together and discuss our future plans, which we always do. We don't have anything special planned at the moment.

Could you give a message to JaME readers?

K: Thanks for being my friend! (laughs) I hope you guys are enjoying our music. Our first album, Another day comes, means everyday is a new day, as you already know, and I hope it's shining newly for you. We believe that. I hope you can feel the same feeling as me. Thank you.
ZAX: Please listen to our album, Another day comes, which is dark, but surely you can see the light in it (laughs). Support us!
JIN: We are friends, so please come to see us in Japan.
PABLO: Please tell your friends about our music. If you do so, we may have a chance to see you overseas, and we really hope to see you.
T$UYO$HI: Without regards to Japan or the USA, we want to play in various countries, in front of various people, so please write us a message on our MySpace website and invite us to concerts in your countries! You can download our music from iTunes in both America and Europe and you can also buy our music there, so please check out our music!
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