Ra:IN interview after Japan Expo

interview - 09.01.2008 08:00

PATA's band, Ra:IN gave us an interview on the morning after their concert.

On Monday July 7th, we met with the two members of Ra:IN, michiaki (ex-LOUDNESS, The Toys) and PATA, (X JAPAN), in their hotel for a lengthy interview a few hours before their autograph session at the Harajuku shop. The interview took place the day after a much-enjoyed performance at Japan Expo 2008 and, with a relaxed attitude and in a good mood, we had a pleasant discussion about the band's career and their new album, METAL BOX.

Hello, could you please introduce Ra:IN?

PATA & michiaki: Ra:IN is a band of idiots (laugh).

What did you think of Sunday's showcase at Japan Expo?

michiaki: We really enjoyed the concert on Sunday.

Did you expect anything special from this concert?

michiaki: We were surprised because we didn't expect to see so many people. We loved how welcoming the public were and their reaction to us. Too bad it was only the two of us from the band.

On that topic, wasn't it too hard to play without the other members? Were you pleased with the result?

Michiaki: Yes, it wasn't easy, it was the first time we played in these without D.I.E. and Tetsu, but we're pretty happy with the result as there weren't any problems during the show (laughs).

The introduction music that we heard yesterday was pretty soothing and calm. Is this a way to help the audience to get into your music?

michiaki: Yes, being Japanese, we like Asian sounds so we use them to get the audience in the mood at the beginning of each live.

Are you planning to come back to France soon with the entire band?

PATA: As a matter of fact, yesterday (Note: Sunday, July 6, 2008) we had planned to come with the entire band but it couldn't be done due to a few problems. We also had other offers but they didn't fit in with our schedule. So it was only possible to the performance with the two of us yesterday evening.
michiaki: But we plan to come back with the whole band very soon.

Do you know when?

michiaki: We don't know yet but we'd like to come back as soon as possible (laughs).

Would you be tempted to perform concerts in the United States or other countries?

michiaki: Yes, anywhere would be good.

The new album, METAL BOX, introduced a new member, D.I.E., how did it go recording with him?

michiaki: We've known him for years and he was already a session member on the previous album, so there weren't any problems.

Did he, once he was part of the band for good, change your way of seeing and conceiving music? If so, was it to a heavier or more melodic style?

michiaki: Yes, he brought some changes to our way of seeing music. There is now a more electronic feel in our sound.

In METAL BOX, there are more solos than before and they're really impressive. Is it part of the evolution of Ra:IN to offer more and more solos?

PATA: Maybe! (laughs) We'll see in the next album how it turns out. (laughs)

By the way, speaking of solos, michiaki, in yesterday's live, you did a bass solo. That's something we seldom hear from Japanese bands coming to Europe. Why did you decide to play this solo? Where you trying to convey something special when you played it?

michiaki: I do it each time that we play live with Ra:IN and I only do it for fun, I have no message to get across when playing it. Yesterday, I had the perfect environment for it, that's all! (laughs)

Your three albums are really different- METAL BOX stays true to its name. Did you have the idea that you wanted to play in a more fierce way or did it just turn out that way while playing together in the studio?

michiaki: For the first album, it was just a meeting of three session members who wanted to play together without any particular idea, as a "primitive" band. From the beginning, we played without knowing what the sound for the next album will be. It just comes together while we're playing.

Speaking of compositions, how do you organize yourselves to create your music?

michiaki: It depends on the songs. There are songs that we write together by bringing our ideas and improvising the rest. Other times, one of the members will bring a completed song and show it to the rest of us.

Singing is becoming more and more prominent in Ra:IN's songs. Do you eventually want to make an album where there will be singing in all the songs?

PATA: We'll see. If we find the right singer, we’ll do it! (laughs)
michiaki: It's true that there is more singing on our last album. We wanted to make that change.

But are you looking for a singer or will you recruit one if given the opportunity?

michiaki: It will depend on who we meet! (laughs)

michiaki: you write and sing on several songs on the album. What are your favourite themes? What do you like to sing about in your lyrics?

michiaki: I write mostly about abstract topics. The people who listen to these songs can interpret these lyrics in their own way.

When we see your band, we feel that the Japanese heavy metal scene is kind of like a big family. Like when we see PATA was featured in the movie Attitude, is it like that outside of that scene?

PATA: Ah, I haven't seen the movie yet, but we do go out a lot together and meet each other to have a drink. (laughs)

Currently, what are your favourite bands?

PATA & Michiaki: Hmm... Ra:IN! (laugh)

Except for Ra:IN what albums are you listening to at the moment?

PATA: Nothing in particular.
Michiaki: I listen to a lot to rock and Indian-like ethnic music.

What have you done in Paris since you arrived and what do you plan to do?

PATA: Hmm... (laughs)
Michiaki: First we'll have a rest, then we plan to visit Paris as soon as we have some spare time.

PATA, you said on your guitar DVD that you started to learn your instrument by playing Queen songs, but then you stopped playing when you tried to play the solos. Can you play them now?

PATA: (laughs) No no, I stopped when I was 16 and I never tried to play them again. (laughs)

But you still listen to Queen?

PATA: Yes yes, of course. (laughs)

And what do you think of their comeback?

PATA: I saw them live and I'm a great fan of Paul Rodgers (Note: Paul Rodgers is the singer of the bands FREE and Bad Company, and currently singing with Queen).

What did you think of the French audience during your concert?

michiaki: We were really surprised by the audience! (laughs) Last time we came here, we had felt a split between the different parts of the audience, the Japanese and European audiences. Yet this time we really appreciated the community and the mood of all the people attending.

What was the difference you felt before that wasn't there this time?

michiaki: We've been very pleased with the mood that has been created and are happy that we were received with a lot of joy and cheerful behaviour (laughs). In 2005, we played with apprehension. We didn't know what kind of welcome we would get, and this time we've been very well received. I think it's still very hard to explain the differences between the two audiences we've had.

Is working with other artists something you want to do if the opportunity arises or do you just want to play together?

michiaki: Insha'Allah! (Note: Arabic for "God willing") (laughs)

Do you have anything to say to your fans and to our readers?

PATA: (thinks hard) We hope to come back to France soon!

With the entire band?

PATA: With everyone from Ra:IN of course! (laughs)

Thanks a lot for this interview!

michiaki and PATA: Thanks a lot!

JaME would like to thank Nicolas from Paris Visual Prod, Yumi for translating and Ra:IN for their kindness and availability.

The pictures are from their concert on the 6th of July at Japan Expo.
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