X JAPAN Nissan Stadium and Lollapalooza Press Conference

interview - 07.26.2010 20:01

"We have a chance for a new start at Nissan Stadium and we’ll pour our souls into it."

On July 8th, X JAPAN held a press conference, complete with a mini live, to discuss their upcoming two day concert WORLD TOUR Live in YOKOHAMA Super Push Through Life’s Ups and Downs ~ Facing the World~ at Nissan Stadium set for August 14th and 15th, 2010. In attendance were the band’s five members including ToshI, SUGIZO, PATA, HEATH and, of course, leader YOSHIKI. Many of the members had barely returned to Tokyo in time for the event, including ToshI who attended directly after his 2:30pm arrival into Japan.

In addition to the band’s first official outdoor concert came the announcement of X JAPAN’s first full studio album since 1996, almost a wait of fifteen years. Also of note was the topic of the band’s first American appearance at Lollapalooza in Chicago this August.

Preceding the discussion, a film reel was screened, showing scenes from X JAPAN’s recent world tour and an array of interviews with foreign fans. This was followed by an announcement of the Nissan Stadium and Lollapalooza dates. After the explanation that YOSHIKI called the urgent press conference in order to discuss these important events in person, with the whole band present, X JAPAN made their entrance and the questioning began.


Why did you decide to hold this press conference at this particular time?

YOSHIKI: Well it was SUGIZO’s birthday… (laughs) Actually that’s a coincidence. We were all able to make it today. In fact, ToshI flew into Narita at 2:30 so it’s not my fault he was late. (to ToshI) Oh, you weren’t late? How’s the jet lag?

ToshI: Not a problem.

YOSHIKI: You’ve already caught up. When did everyone else come back?

PATA: I came back on Saturday.

HEATH: I came on the same flight as PATA.

SUGIZO: I arrived four days ago. I still have jet lag.

YOSHIKI: So everyone was able to gather today and we held this press conference.

The title of the concert is Super Push Through Life’s (Seven) Ups and Downs ~ Facing the World~. Please explain the feelings that went into this title.

YOSHIKI: What do you think, ToshI? Don’t we tend to fall down a lot more than that? I don’t think “(Seven) Ups and Downs” quite covers it.

ToshI: Yes, don’t judge by the title.

YOSHIKI: Basically it means that no matter how many times we fall, we always pick ourselves up.

In your May press release, you made it clear that this Nissan Stadium live would become a true revival concert. In YOSHIKI’s words, “It could be said that we’ll reveal a never before seen X JAPAN” or in ToshI’s, “I’m calling it a brand new X JAPAN." Could you shed some light on these phrases?

ToshI: In many ways, it’s a new start. We’ve attached the title Facing the World, but a lot has happened.

YOSHIKI: This time we’re not facing the end.

ToshI: That’s right. That’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it? So in a very positive way, no matter what happens we’ll ‘YOSHIKI’ our way forward…

YOSHIKI: ‘YOSHIKI’ through it? (laughs)

ToshI: Sorry for that. I’m suffering jet lag. I mean, whatever happens, we’ll push through it. This year, the goal is to win through a collection of successes.

This Nissan live will be X JAPAN’s first outdoor one-man concert. What prompted you to hold it outdoors?

YOSHIKI: Did we not play at Hibiya back in the day?

ToshI: We did.

YOSHIKI: So that’s a mistake.

ToshI: Perhaps it’s the first since becoming ‘X JAPAN'.

YOSHIKI: So it’s correct after all.

(laugh)

YOSHIKI: SUGIZO’s played outdoors before, right? In July? You got battered by the wind.

SUGIZO: I did. I did. This time, I’ll be sure to pray that it doesn’t get windy. It will surely be a lovely two days.

YOSHIKI: Do you attract rain?

SUGIZO: Not at all. It’s sunny wherever I go. I’ve been called a ‘sunny genius’, so I’ll pour everything I’ve got into avoiding a natural disaster.

Since 2009’s May concert at Tokyo Dome, this will be X JAPAN’s first concert in Japan in fifteen months. Could you share your ambitions for this event with us?

PATA: I’ll build up my stamina and work hard! That’s all.

HEATH: I believe we’ll be able to share new songs, so... I’ll do my best to ensure an incredible X JAPAN concert.

SUGIZO: The current X JAPAN is far more positive and together than in recent years. I think we’re in a great state as a rock band. The five of us, plus HIDE, so the six of us will make this a quality live where that place and moment will be the hottest all summer.

ToshI: With the refreshing feeling of a fresh start, I’m truly looking forward to it.

YOSHIKI: In many ways, it is a new start. We’ve had a lot or obstacles and it’s not as if the path is suddenly clear, but… We’ll YOSHIKI our way through it.

At Lollapalooza 2010, you’ll be making your American debut. Could you share your feelings about that?

PATA: That’s right, it’s our first time in America. We have a lot of expectations. Since it’s a huge event, we’ll do our best not to lose to anyone else.

HEATH: I think I’d like for us to wholeheartedly show ‘X JAPAN’ to our American fans. We’ll work hard.

SUGIZO: Personally, I’m a big fan of the instigator of Lollapalooza. As a rocker boy… as a rock fanatic I’m incredibly happy. I can’t think of a greater honour than to have our American debut as X JAPAN at such an esteemed event. I’d like to face this challenge with everything we’ve got.

ToshI: Well, today I’ve just come back from Europe. Recently there was Paris and also Los Angeles, but they weren’t ‘real’ concerts.

YOSHIKI: That’s true.

ToshI: I think it could be extremely fun, and I want to relax and enjoy it.

YOSHIKI: Actually, the year that HEATH joined, X JAPAN held a press conference at New York’s Rockefeller Center. It’s been over ten years since we made that first step into America, but the fact that our heart’s desire will finally come to fruition ten years later, I think HIDE must be very happy for us. It’s like… Words can’t describe how it feels. But, I’m thinking it will be a very heavy set. Of course, there’s still health issues to keep in mind.

It seems that the new song Born to be Free will be seen live for the first time at Lollapalooza, but do you also plan to release this song as a single?

YOSHIKI: Probably. Although the first single released in America will probably be Jade and then Born to be Free will be the second or third. The remaining song will be I.V..

Also, you’re in the process of recording a new album. How is the recording progressing?

ToshI: Well, YOSHIKI was in the studio since six am this morning. You just came back two days ago, correct?

YOSHIKI: Yesterday.

ToshI: Came back yesterday and went into the studio, just like that… And that’s how it is.

YOSHIKI: Indeed. Over ninety percent is complete . ToshI’s vocals are finished with, right?

ToshI: Yes. Well at ninety percent, it’s normal that I’d be finished… I guess it’s still impressive.

YOSHIKI: There will be old songs like Tears and Rusty Nail recorded as English versions.

ToshI: What else? Kurenai and such. Although the chorus is Japanese.

YOSHIKI: That’s right. It’s almost complete and the release will be… in autumn. The singles will be released any day now, I think. Well, if they weren’t we’d be in trouble seeing as the event is coming up.

Concerning the upcoming concert, the title is WORLD TOUR Live in YOKOHAMA. Are you planning to hold a lot of concerts following this? Or perhaps an American tour? Could you clarify that point?

YOSHIKI: For the time being, it’s a fact that we’ll be appearing in Los Angeles and New York… Hm? (consults press release) San Francisco, too? Well for the moment that’s in question.

ToshI: Ah, it says here North American Tour, the East and West coasts as well as central America. We’ll be touring the five big cities as well as Canada--

YOSHIKI: Vancouver.

ToshI: Seattle, San Francisco. Also…. Maybe...

YOSHIKI Possibly. Basically, Atlanta, Boston is also in question.

ToshI: Anyway, we have some unconfirmed locations, but some are decided, too.

Lastly, I’m sure there are a lot of people waiting to hear about X JAPAN’s upcoming activity, so could you each please say a few words for them?

PATA: Sorry for the wait. Please continue to follow us from now on.

HEATH: We’ll be putting our all into continuing as a hot rock band, so we’ll be counting on you for support.

SUGIZO: I think the current X JAPAN is in its best condition ever. We’ll be going ahead full speed, so please fight to keep up with us.

ToshI: We’re reaching the exciting point of recording. It was a long time in coming. About fifteen years?

YOSHIKI: An album release? That’s right. In fact, I hadn’t thought we would ever make a new album.

ToshI: Since YOSHIKI and I started our first band it’s already been…

YOSHIKI: Since we were classmates.

ToshI: Not that YOSHIKI publicizes his age…

(Laugh)

ToshI: Well we’ve worked together for a long time, actually starting at YOSHIKI’s house.

YOSHIKI: I was the vocalist of our first band, in fact.

ToshI: That’s true, way back when… Although you were terrible.

YOSHIKI: Rather than terrible, I had a really high voice. (laughing)

ToshI: It was cute, but… your voice hadn’t changed, so it was terrible. I’d forgotten, but you used a telescope as a mic stand… Anyway, we’ve come from that sort of beginning to heading out to meet the world and many things are coming together now at this true start line. You could even say it’s a ‘final’ start line. Well that’s how we feel, so without regrets, I want to shout out wholeheartedly.

YOSHIKI: X JAPAN have had many drama and problems. However, anyone and any band have their own worries and obstacles, but our ability to shake off those problems is exceptional. It was said earlier, but a lot has happened to bring us together as a band. As ToshI said, being able to seriously work hard with everyone, no matter what happens, I’m thrilled. We have a chance for a new start at Nissan Stadium and we’ll pour our souls into it.

Thank you very much.


(Following this, the floor was opened to questions concerning the Nissan Stadium concerts.)

As SUGIZO said, HIDE will make a total of six members. Will you, for example, be using footage of him during the concert?

YOSHIKI: I believe so. Well, the Chicago event is a festival, so I don’t how far we can go with that, but we have some ideas for Nissan.

Concerning the logo mark in the back there, it seems to be new… Is it, after all, the imagery of your enthusiasm for this new start?

YOSHIKI: My neck’s sore so I can’t see it well, but this is the logo for Nissan. It’s aimed towards the outdoor live. Actually, the dragon is clutching a globe.

ToshI: That’s a globe? (laughing)

The title implies so, but I wonder if the content of the concert will be very different from those of the recent past? What form will it take?

YOSHIKI: It would be no fun if I spoiled too much, but even the opening will be different. X has been going for about ten something years already without really changing. Well, it’s not going to be too big a change, but seeing as it will be outdoors and we’ve recorded a lot of new songs… Coming into this challenge, ToshI’s voice is in good condition, so… It will be a different performance compared with those of the past.

Thank you.


The following mini live consisted of an acoustic rendition of Forever Love featuring YOSHIKI on piano, ToshI on vocals and SUGIZO on violin. The lovely piano/violin duet of the intro set the mood for ToshI’s mature vocal melody. It certainly was not obvious that the vocalist had just flown in from Europe, and the trio’s performance for the gathered press was no less than would be expected of them at Nissan Stadium in August. Upon the last notes, all three broke out in satisfied smiles, YOSHIKI grinning brightly as if to say “now you know what you’re in for.”


Finally, the press were given the chance to ask a few questions to YOSHIKI himself.

HIDE will also be a part of the concert, won’t he?

YOSHIKI: That’s correct. We’re including HIDE as a member.

How is your physical condition?

YOSHIKI: Not great! (laugh) My index and pointer fingers tend to go numb, but as long as they move, it’s alright.

Do you think you have the stamina for two consecutive days?

YOSHIKI: Well, once we get started it’s like a car without brakes, so… (laugh) We’re out of control.

As for an original album, this will be the first since HIDE’s death, correct?

YOSHIKI: That’s right, although about half the songs are older songs set into different arrangements or reworded in English.

Do you think it will be successful?

YOSHIKI: I’m confident that it will. Just before our album Dahlia was released ten something years ago, I said I’d never want to go through all that trouble again, (laughs) but this time it’s coming along really well.

Are you worried about the prospect of rain?

YOSHIKI: Well rain is rain. It can’t hurt. On the other hand, I think it will be refreshing to do an outdoor concert. We’ve done events but never a one-man outdoors.

Please present a message to the fans.

YOSHIKI: In various ways X JAPAN have caused people a lot of worry, but from here on out we’ll be starting anew, so please support us. We’ll certainly present a live that will live up to your expectations, so let’s meet soon.
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