Interview with Ra:IN

interview - 02.08.2011 19:01

JaME caught up with Ra:IN in France to discuss the past, present and future.

Sitting at a table, eating and relaxing after what can only be described as a spectacular concert with French virtuoso Yann Armellino, hard rock outfit Ra:IN invited JaME over with open arms to chat about life as a quartet and their return to Europe.

Hello, could you each introduce the person sitting next to you?

PATA: Here’s the grandiose Michiaki, leader of Ra:IN.
Michiaki: Here’s D.I.E, the band’s resident pretty boy.
D.I.E: That’s Tetsu, the old-yet-still-good-looking drummer! (laughs)
Tetsu: This is PATA, everyone's favorite guitarist.

It’s been a year since your last visit to France. What did you do during the year?

Michiaki: We can’t really remember. (laughs)
D.I.E: Concerts, concerts, concerts… and concerts. (laughs)
Tetsu: And we released a new single specially for the European fans.

Are you happy to be back in France? What do you think of its people?

PATA: They’re the coolest. (laughs)
Michiaki: French audiences are really impressive. Just like PATA, we couldn’t wait to come back to show them how strong we are as a foursome.

You just played with Yann Armellino, one of France's biggest guitarists. Was this your first time meeting him?

Ra:IN: We didn’t know of him before coming to France. (laughs)
Michiaki: We met for the first time two days ago, which is also the first time we played together. We hadn’t heard his music prior to that.

What did you think of his technical prowess?

PATA: He’s gifted. (laughs)

Did you see any of the bands at the Japan Expo this year?

Michiaki: None. We were too busy.
D.I.E: Our schedule was interview, photo, interview, photo… and that was it during the whole convention. (laughs)

D.I.E, what did you think of the European public’s welcome, seeing as this is your first time abroad with Ra:IN?

D.I.E: Very impressive. I didn’t think Europeans were that welcoming. It felt great to hear their cries during the show. It really pushed me to give all I had.

What about the rest of you? Was this show better than last year’s?

PATA: We really preferred this year's, because the whole band was here instead of only half.

How was D.I.E’s integration into the band? How did he come to join it?

D.I.E: I played with PATA 12 years ago and eventually played with the other members as well. My first time playing with Ra:IN was at the hide Museum closing ceremony, which led to more gigs during the two years that followed. PATA eventually asked me to join as an official member, something I couldn’t refuse. (laughs)

Isn’t it hard to play with members of such calibre?

D.I.E: Not at all, seeing as we know each other very well. It’s actually the complete opposite. (laughs)

Compared to other Ra:IN shows, you all seemed more relaxed during this performance. Are you like that in everyday life or do you take advantage of concerts to unwind and have fun?

Ra:IN: No, no, we’re like that everyday. (laughs)

Do you have other musical projects next to Ra:IN? Isn’t it hard to play in many bands all at once?

PATA: My guitar work doesn’t change between outfits, so I don’t have a hard time playing in multiple bands. As for the others, they only play in Ra:IN. (laughs)

Your European tour is leading you to many northern countries such as Poland, Finland and Russia. Do you enjoy playing there?

D.I.E: We love cities like Paris, but it’s great to go to those other places even if it’s more rural. There’s a great atmosphere there, not to mention lots of people!

Have you received presents from fans in those countries?

Ra:IN: Vodka! Lots of vodka! (laughs)

What do you think of Japanese bands that come to France and are labeled as visual kei? Do you think they give a limited view of what Japanese music has to offer?

Ra:IN: Most artists who come here have lots of good music, so that’s great publicity for our country’s industry.
PATA: We’re happy to have the possibility to show that Japan produces great music by touring other countries.

Has the arrival of D.I.E allowed for musical experimentation? Has it made you modify your sound?

D.I.E: I was originally a little embarrassed and confused since I was joining a trio that had been together for years. But Michiaki told me to “play freely.” PATA said to keep looking forward and thinking of the future. All I had to do was be myself and play, really. Performing with these guys is a very comfortable thing.

Why did you release a new single for the European tour while it isn’t available in Japanese stores?

D.I.E : It’s all grown-up and businessman nonsense, you know? (laughs) Unfortunately, current Japanese market regulations prevented us from releasing it there, so we decided to release it here instead.

Are you working on a new album? If so, when is it coming out?

Michiaki: Once we get back to Tokyo, we’re going to start recording. The album will have a DVD covering the European tour. As for a release date, there isn’t one at the moment. We will have a huge concert for its release, though, followed by a South American tour.

What feelings do you want to transmit with your music?

PATA: We don’t really have any while we’re composing. I simply take my guitar and we play until we’ve got a whole song. (laughs)

Do you think instrumental music can transmit feelings?

D.I.E: When I play, the music and its notes feel like words, which is enough for me.
PATA: I never ask myself that question. I simply play out of pleasure and I don’t think there should be words behind the music because the music itself is enough.
D.I.E: When I see PATA playing, it makes me think of a baseball team I love: the Koujin. They are so into what they are doing that they don’t think of anything else! (laughs)

Do you have a message for your French fans?

Michiaki: I love this area and all I want to do is come back and play as soon as possible!

Lastly, describe Ra:IN as quickly as possible.

Michiaki: Well, I’d like to say something. Our first album was like a recorded jam session where we all played and had fun. The second one was composed and the third, our first with D.I.E, brought a new atmosphere to our music. Our fourth will be the best yet! (laughs)


JaME wishes to thank Ra:IN, Gekido Tour, Bertrand, Xavier and Charlotte for her great translation.
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