In black frills, a full face of makeup and impeccably styled hair, SUI
, the driving force behind David
, sure looks the part of a Japanese visual kei superstar. Looks aside, he is known for his love of all things dark,
baroque and mystical. A talented singer that caught the eye of industry mogul KAMIJO
at a young age, he was a vocalist for Megaromania
and Metis Gretel
for several years, until the day he decided that
he needed to embark on a solo journey with one main destination on his radar: the world.
, his brainchild, first saw the light in 2017. Quite deliberately, his compositions come in the same architecture as a Gothic cathedral: a solid, monumental instrumental base held together by three skilled backing musicians,
intricate melodious details and lyrical pinnacles that are just as uncanny as they are transporting. Rich in reinterpreted biblical references and sumptuous metaphors inspired by vampire lore, the depth of his lyrics combined with his musical craftsmanship
soon gained him a reasonable following in the Japanese music scene. This April, backed up by
ex-DIO - Distraught Overlord, ex-BLACK LINE
and current G.L.A.M.S
, ex-DIO - Distraught Overlord
FAR EAST DIZAIN
, he will be playing in Paris for the first time as David
, a dream come true for this self-confessed Francophile who swears he can’t get Paris out of his head.
As he prepares for his trip to Europe, JaME had the chance to sit down with SUI
and ask him a few questions about David
, why he chose to go solo, what he learned from veteran frontman KAMIJO
what goth means to him.
On April 11th you’ll be playing a concert in Paris. This will be your first appearance in Europe fronting your solo project David. Is there a special reason why you chose to play this show in France?
: It all started very shortly after I announced that I would be starting David
, back in 2017. I was given the chance to participate as an opening act for Versailles
’ European tour, and
Paris was the one city I couldn’t forget. I had previously played here back in 2012 with my other band, Megaromania
, and it was an intense, memorable experience. So when I founded David
, I really wanted to come back.
I see David
as a very versatile act, I think it has the potential to engage both Japanese and foreign listeners alike. European audiences are very enthusiastic, it’s inspiring. It’s a very different experience from when I play in Japan.
Plus, I love European culture as the birthplace of Gothic style.
To make my dream of performing abroad come true, I launched a crowdfunding campaign in Japan, and that’s how I was able to land this date in France. From here, I would very much like to take the leap and play all around the world!
Tell us more about SUI, the man behind David. What does music mean to you? Why did you decide to start this solo project?
: Since I was young, from the very first time I sang a song, music has been my most loyal companion. It never leaves my side. L’Arc~en~Ciel
was one of the very first bands I ever saw live and I became
a big fan. Growing up, I really loved writing stories, and from there I started writing song lyrics. Singing came naturally to me. I was a vocalist in several bands for a solid ten years before I decided to go solo. I felt like I needed to create my own
universe as an artist, that’s how David
came to be.
You mentioned L’Arc~en~Ciel - what are your other inspirations?
: I get most of my inspiration from art and films, but I do try to avoid letting them influence me too much. I wouldn’t want those to hinder my ability to feel and think freely. One of my favourite themes is Gothic culture.
’s aesthetic is very Gothic as well. I do like to paint the concept of “Gothic” with my own colours, though.
You have previously worked closely with KAMIJO of Versailles. How has he influenced you as an artist?
: When I was in Metis Gretel
, one of my first bands, KAMIJO
was our producer. When we disbanded, he gave me lots of advice on how to pursue my solo career. He’s a very respected senior
artist in the Japanese music scene, and he really taught me how to thrive solo, onstage and backstage!
How would you describe David’s music and artistic concept?
: I would say it’s melodic and it has many elements typical of Japanese rock music. Our cornerstone is symphonic music blended with metal. I try to have it embody all of my own ideals as well as my artistic concepts,
such as Gothic culture, goth rock and metal. I chose the star of David as our logo because it’s a ubiquitous, minimalist symbol. I also picked the name David
because it reminds me of the historical David
*. As a vocalist,
SUI aspires to be the modern incarnation of David
*Translator's note: a shepherd who gains fame as a musician in the Books of Samuel
Tell us more about your support band. What do you like about Syu, Erina and Ryu as musicians?
: We all knew each other from past collaborations back in Japan. David
’s songs require both technical proficiency and a talent for performance, as well as certain human qualities. I picked them because they check all
these boxes and they do a great job at supporting me as a solo artist. Even as such, having a band that plays confidently and with eloquence is something that’s quite important for me.
Let’s talk about your latest releases in France, the mini-albums
Souseiroku 1 Birth and Confession and
Souseiroku 2 Fearless Scenario. How would you describe these two mini-albums?
: Souseiroku 1 Birth and Confession
is packed with my yearning to create something unique as a solo artist. Souseiroku 2 Fearless Scenario
depicts my struggle to attain my own ideals and to create my own universe. The
title, “souseiroku” (meaning “creation records”), is a metaphor for my own journey and enlightenment. Together, they form a series that I plan on pursuing in the future. I would be thrilled if you gave them a listen!
In 2019, you put your solo project, David, on hold on July 7th. Why was that?
: It was an artistic choice. According to the concept behind Fearless Scenario
, the character David
kills himself after his one-man concert.
We’re glad to hear he was reborn, then! What about the future - what are your plans? Are you working on any new music? SUI
: Sure! Besides David
, I’m also working on a new band, CULA
I like to explore my own potential non-stop, I always want to do a little more, push a bit further or sing a little longer!
Do you want to leave a special message for your foreign fans?
: Of course I do! It’s been eight years since my first European tour as a band member and three since I last played here solo. I’m really excited that I scored this chance to play in Paris as David
. On April 11th, I will
finally have the chance to make my dream of playing as an international solo musician come true. I would be thrilled if many of you came to see me. I really long to meet you all and to show you David
and the visual kei culture Japan is so proud of!
JaME would like to thank SUI, Syu and 33degrees for this interview opportunity.
will play in Paris at O’Sullivans Backstage by the Mill on April 11th. Tickets are already on sale here
and Meet & Greet options are available.