Interview with Kiwamu of BLOOD
A month before the American debut of the revived BLOOD, its leader Kiwamu granted JaME an interview about the new line-up.
Why did you decide to revive BLOOD?
Kiwamu: After BLOOD stopped its activities in 2009, I focused on GPKISM. I already started GPKISM in 2007, but I didn't get the good reactions I wanted to get. Of course, when GPKISM went to foreign countries, there were many people that came to the show. But it was the same with BLOOD, I did that with BLOOD already. And almost the complete GKPISM fan base was BLOOD’s fan base. GPKISM was like a small version of BLOOD. For one year, I booked many shows in Japan for GPKISM, but the reaction was not good. So I decided to restart BLOOD with new band members. I am working for my label, so there are many musicians around me. I asked Hayato and Dora about BLOOD and their answer was “Okay!” It was a new start.
What is the difference betwen the present BLOOD compared to BLOOD from a few years back? How do you want to be perceived since BLOOD's comeback?
Kiwamu: I think the most different part is the live show. From the first period to third period, we thought a lot about recording. Fu-ki, the third vocalist, especially liked recording. But our new vocalist Hayato loves concerts very much, so he always thinks about the live show. And fourth period BLOOD has a real drummer, Dora. Dora makes his beat - it’s not an industrial beat but a real one. Because of these things, BLOOD’s sound became more exciting.
What does BLOOD mean to you?
Kiwamu: It is the base of my everything. Without BLOOD, I couldn’t have set up the labels Starwave Records and Darkest Labyrinth. Without BLOOD, I wouldn’t have toured foreign countries, I wouldn’t have released many CDs and I wouldn’t have sold 23 000 CDs. And thanks to these activities, I made many friends all over the world.
How did you meet the current BLOOD band members, Hayato, Azami, Kazuha and Dora? Why did you choose them to join your band?
Kiwamu: Drummer Dora was the support drummer for GPKISM in Japan and it was easy to ask him to be a BLOOD member. Hayato was a free vocalist near me. Sometimes, he taught GPK what a live show was about. I thought that if I want to make a good live show, I needed to get Hayato for BLOOD. Kazuha was our support guitarist at first, introduced by Hayato. His guitar skill is rough now, but he is talented.
Do you plan to engage yourself in side projects like GPKISM again or do you want to focus on BLOOD only?
Kiwamu: Many people misunderstand my situation. I didn't say "I left GPKISM," right? In 2007, I did many things for BLOOD but there was a lot of free time too because there were no label activities. So I decided to start the side project GPKISM with GPK. But GPKISM is GPK's project, he needs to continue that without my power. From 2009, I created many songs and lyrics for GPKISM, I booked many shows and I sourced for funds for GPKISM. Because it sounds like KIWAMUISM, it’s not good for GPKISM as it should be his main project. So after the second album release, I gave him the initiative. If GPK makes his songs, GPKISM can release a new CD. If GPK books a tour, GPKISM can go on tour. If GPK can find funds for GPKISM, he can organise good activities. Can you understand this? If I do everything like I did between 2008 and 2010, it isn’t GPKISM. GPK has his own pace but he has good sense of music. I hope he will make something in the future. Currently, I have many things to do for BLOOD. For a while, I want to push BLOOD activities by myself.
In the past, there were industrial and other hard rock elements in BLOOD's music. What type of music inspires you now?
Kiwamu: I wrote all the song ideas by myself in the fourth period. In fact, I was bored with industrial music from 2010. I listened to a lot of industrial music during those years but I couldn’t get inspiration from that kind of music. Now, I get a lot of inspiration from the band sound. So BLOOD’s new sound will be more band-like than the third period. For the fourth period’s music, the other members give me their ideas for the live show. We always think about the live show first.
What made you decide to use Elizabeth Bathory as your inspiration for your new concept?
Kiwamu: In 2005, after the release of BLOOD’s third album, I wanted to use Elizabeth Bathory as a concept. But the third album concept’s was Vampires, so it was similar. The vocalist said "I want to use another idea." So I couldn’t use that for BLOOD. And in 2008, after GPKISM released the first album, GPK couldn't create songs for a while. He used all his ideas for the first album. So I brought the Elizabeth Bathory idea to GPKISM and I wrote many lyrics and music by myself. I am not familiar with writing lyrics but I wrote many anyway. From 2010, GPKISM played my songs Elizabeth and Bathory during live shows. But GPK is a recording artist, not a live show artist, so I didn't get the reaction I wanted. At the end of 2010, I decided to restart BLOOD. I wanted to use Elizabeth and Bathory. So BLOOD has the same concept for the songs. But it has no big meaning because I wrote these songs some time in 2010.
Do you specifically search for particular motives and inspiration? Do you do any research to discover interesting topics? Or is part of your hobby and you already possess the knowledge of those topics so you just use them in your work?
Kiwamu: All the members always get inspiration from their life and their experience. Growing up step by step. Of course, they will get some inspiration from live shows and recording experiences. So they will find their new ideas for the band and songs.
Is there something you'd like to share with us about your new maxi-single, Elizabeth?
Kiwamu: In this single, there are three songs. The first song is Elizabeth. I wrote this song when I was in GPKISM. At first, it had a more aesthetic part in the song. But when we played this song live, it became a more violent song. The second song is Fake and Fake. I wrote this song after a concert of fourth period BLOOD. Dora and the another members gave me many ideas for this song, so it became more aggressive. The third song is Sweetest Disease. This is a song from the second period. From the first live show of fourth period BLOOD, we have always played this song. So we decided to record this song again. The tuning is much lower and the sound became more heavy.
In your interview with JaME in 2009, you said that you decided not to play shows in Japan because the Japanese audience didn't support you. Yet after your revival, you've played several concerts in Japan, so what is your situation with the Japanese audience now?
Kiwamu: I think "you decided not to play a show in Japan" was for BLOOD's last tour. During eight years of BLOOD’s activities, US and Mexican fans supported BLOOD very much. So I decided to go to these countries, but I didn't see the image of us playing in Japan at that time, that’s why I said that. In 2010, I started Starwave Records as my label. All bands played in Japan. Now my label’s artists go to other cities too, so BLOOD decided to play in the Japanese market as well.
Do you plan to resume your concert activity overseas, just like in previous years?
Kiwamu: This year, I booked shows in Canada and the US. After I announced this tour, I got offers from other countries, so we may go to other countries. But we don't know about that yet.
For these upcoming overseas shows in Canada and the US, what are your expectations?
Kiwamu: For me, a foreign tour is a very normal thing. I will do my best in any live show. But if there is anyone who takes our photo without our permission, I will kick that person in the face.
Do you think that in modern times Ameblo, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks are an important "accessory" for musicians/artists?
Kiwamu: To promote the band, that kind of social network service is very important. Especially Ameblo as it is the official blog for entertainment. It is very important for us to promote the band.
From your point of view, as a band member and label owner, just how important is the use of the internet for you?
Kiwamu: For example, when I use social network services, I get many emails from fans. But in the fan mails, there are people that want to get a reply from the artist. But I don't reply to them because artists should show their gratitude to fans in their songs and live shows. We should not send a personal reply to each fan. If we have that kind of time, we should use it to produce good works instead. Near me, there is a stupid artist who always chats with fans. It is the most foolish thing to do for an artist.
Kiwamu, for several years you've said in interviews that the present visual kei scene is full of boring, stereotypical bands which are copies of the same style and that it will be over soon, but recently you mentioned that you also found good aspects of visual kei. What do you think is visual kei's advantage? What in your opinion should be done to improve this style?
Kiwamu: When I worked for the gothic scene in Japan, I noticed the same situation. But in the visual kei scene, I noticed that there are a few good bands that have their own identity. So I decided to return to the visual kei scene. Another reason was that some visual kei artists asked me about a visual kei label. It was another reason for me. For them, I needed to work for a visual kei label.
You do not only write music, but you also record, design CD covers, create websites, promotional videos and you even manage your own label. Which one of these activities is the biggest challenge for you? What do you think is your greatest accomplishment?
Kiwamu: Hmmm, this is an interesting question. I do many things. In fact, in the independent scene, to save money is a very important thing. So I learned many things by myself. For me, video editing and the web design were an accomplishment. I am a professional graphic designer but these two jobs are not my speciality. Some artists are liars. They always tell lies like "I am the graphic designer" or "I am the fashion designer" to make themselves look bigger than they really are. But it is not true. If they do not do these things by themselves, fans notice the real situation. I think the real artists will not lie. If there is a self-style artist near you, please check their work. "Did that by himself?" Sometimes, his mother makes his costume. But he says "I designed this. I am the fashion designer." Very funny, right? Anyway, in my profile, there are no lies.
In one of the interviews you said that you “enjoy being busy.” Is there something special that you're doing now that maybe you would like to share it with us?
Kiwamu: Now, there are twenty artists on my labels. Everyday, there are many many things I need to do. But I like that situation. For the label artists, I can use my time and my skill. I work on my jobs every day, except when I’m sleeping or eating.
Next year, BLOOD will celebrate its tenth anniversary. Have you planned
anything special for that occasion?
Kiwamu: For me, it is the tenth anniversary, but for the other members, it has just been one year. In my mind, the fourth period BLOOD is a new band. I will enjoy the first anniversary as a new BLOOD member.
Please give your message to the all the fans around the world.
Kiwamu: Thank you for this great interview. The interviewer researched BLOOD a lot, so the questions are good. Anyway, BLOOD will release our second single as the fourth period band and we will go to Canada and the USA. I hope everyone can enjoy the new line up. We also received offers from European promoters. If we can go to Europe again, it will be very nice. See you at our live show!
JaME Poland would like to thank Kiwamu for his time and patience and Inka for her assistance.