the GazettE talk all about "NINTH".
It’s been three years since visual rock band the GazettE went on a world tour and performed in New York City. This time around JaME had the opportunity to chat with the band the day after they delivered another memorable live show at PlayStation Theater.
The interview took place in an intimate comfortable space within Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.'s New York office in front of Madison Square Park. In contrast to their more intense appearance and commanding presence on stage, the band members appeared relaxed and toned down in their mainly black casual attire. Unfortunately, the guitarist AOI was not present for this interview.
Please explain the symbolism used in the album artwork for NINTH.
RUKI: It’s about showing the hidden side of those things that people think are “right”. For example, the police, clergymen, religious leaders, gods, karma ... But we like to say, yes, it looks like justice from the surface, but perhaps there's something going on behind the scenes that isn't so … and that’s what we wanted to express with the album artwork.
You’ve mentioned in other interviews that NINTH doesn’t have a concrete concept, but is rather a representation of your past and present. How was creating it different from creating an album with a strong concept such as DOGMA?
RUKI: Looking back at the DOGMA era, we had limitations on the production of sound, for example with the guitar and chords… It was more abstract, and we were going on what music we thought seemed to express the word DOGMA. When we were selecting songs, we removed all that didn’t portray the word DOGMA to us, but also when we were making the songs, we didn’t make anything that didn’t express DOGMA.
This time when creating the NINTH album, we looked back at everything we’d done from the formation of the band to who we are today. Our goal was to present “this is who we are, this is our face” in a way that was easily understandable.
How does it feel, now that it seems like you’re switching gears from the “darker era” that was DOGMA?
KAI: We have done eight albums previously and this is now our ninth album. From the beginning we've always challenged ourselves and from each challenge we've absorbed the results into ourselves. Even from DOGMA, we've brought all the good things into ourselves, digested them, and become the the GazettE you know today. Without those experiences and the absorption of each of those good things, I don’t think that what we learnt from them would've occurred naturally within us.
RUKI, you mentioned in an interview that NINTH ODD SMELL was difficult to make because it changed quite a lot before reaching its current version. What kinds of changes were made? At what point did you think “Ah, it’s ready”?
RUKI: We've what we call a “selection party”. At first, it was a completely different collection of songs, right? When we made the song, we probably thought we'd produced something good but sometimes halfway through the selection party we'd be like "Oh, actually, yeah it’s no good at the moment, sorry" (laughs). Then we'll take it back and rework it. It took about four attempts, but eventually we thought this was good. This comes right after Falling, which is the second song on the album, so we wanted to make sure that it came out right.
What was the inspiration behind ABHOR GOD?
RUKI: This is a hard question.
KAI: The four of us, without RUKI, got together, and decided on the tempo of the song we needed. We knew we wanted to put in one exciting song and we were lacking one last song to put in the album. So we discussed what we wanted to produce and that’s how it came about. We knew that we wanted to make an up tempo song. That’s all we knew, so we thought it'd be faster to get together (laughs) and work on that song.
Did you mean to write UNFINISHED as a message towards your fans?
RUKI: I wasn’t actually thinking that, but I wrote it wanting to make sure that people could hear a lot in it. I guess in a way it kind of is.
Which songs from NINTH are your favorite to play live? Why those songs?
REITA: GUSH. It’s easy to play! (laughs) I don’t have to focus too hard to play, so I can have a lot of fun on stage (laughs).
RUKI: NINTH ODD SMELL. We'd such a hard time getting the song right, so it’s great to play live. I’m slow when it comes to picking up songs, so it’s not my favorite for the challenge it poses!
KAI: Uragiru Bero, because there are so many phrases that I love, so it’s really fun to play this live.
URUHA: Sono Koe wa Moroku. I feel this song keeps up the intensity of the live, so that’s why I like it.
Many of your fans found the use of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for your tour final teaser highly amusing. Who came up with the idea to use that symphony? Aside from having “Ninth” in its title, is there any particular reason you chose that piece?
RUKI: I suggested it but we’ve been playing Beethoven’s Ninth many times as part of other mixes, for many many years, so it just felt natural to play that piece (laughs).
To conclude this interview, please leave a message for JaME readers.
RUKI: After we finish this world tour that we're on right now, we're going to make another album. We'll continue to make more great music so we'd like you all to keep watching us and see what we're going to do next. We hope you can come and see us on our next tour.
JaME would like to thank the GazettE and the staff from Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.'s New York office for this interview opportunity.