Interview Exclusive

Interview with Shou

11/05/2024 2024-05-11 02:00:00 JaME Author: AMAZE Translator: Aoi, AMAZE

Interview with Shou

Shou talks about his solo project Verde/ and the emotions he went through when ALICE NINE. paused activities after 19 years.

© Verde/ All rights reserved.

© Verde/ All rights reserved.
Shou, known for his accomplished career as ALICE NINE.'s frontman, is currently working on a solo project called Verde/. The project's debut song The Wanderer/ was released in December 2023, introducing fans to music that stems straight from Shou's personal experiences.

Shortly after the song's release, JaME had a chance to talk with Shou about the meaning behind the project, Verde/'s upcoming tour plans, and his memories of performing abroad.

You recently started a new solo project called Verde/. What does the name “Verde/” mean?

Shou: Verde/ is a band focusing on Shou. The name was inspired by the word 'Evergreen'. Together with my friends, I want to protect places surrounded by green, which symbolizes new growth, nature, and revitalization. Since Japanese rock bands often use European languages, such as French, I thought of playing with the Italian language.

Why is there a “/” in the project’s name and also in the name of its first song The Wanderer/?

Shou: On the web, "/' is used to separate different levels. The "/" at the end of Verde/ is a wish to keep expanding the groups of staff, listeners, and others.

You mentioned on Twitter that The Wanderer/ was inspired by searching for light in desperation and loneliness. How did you aim to express these heavy feelings in the song?

Shou: The song is about my aimless wandering as the band was fading. I created the concept with an image of a wanderer in my mind. Although I felt isolated at first, I quickly met up with my highly valued colleagues, friends, and all the listeners, so this feeling of loneliness was cut rather short. In any case, there was intense mental strain as the band had been going on for 19 years. I wanted to use a punk sound to express this feeling of wandering in loneliness.

The promotional pictures for Verde/ are peaceful and natural looking. Is this something you will be conveying in the project’s music too?

Shou: The first promotional images were shot in a natural setting, leading to a deceptive impression of a calm project. A melodic and beautiful rock sound is my favorite type of music, so I aim to work with a versatile approach on that kind of music.

Verde/ will have a first live in March, and Yusuke and Yo from Matenrou Opera and KEN’ICHI will be joining you on stage. Are they permanent supporting members for Verde/, or will the supporting members change?

Shou: The members of the project are not permanent. However, as long as schedules allow, I'd like to continue working with the same musicians and improve the quality. All of them are truly great musicians, so I think that we'll be able to provide listeners with great music that's different from ALICE NINE.

As it was mentioned that ALICE NINE. went on hiatus to allow the members to pursue personal growth, is there anything specific you want to develop or learn? Have you maybe discovered something new about yourself already?

Shou: I am proud of my exceptional talent in songwriting and visual design. However, I still have a lot to learn about music, producing, singing, and other things. I wish to once again do my best as a beginner.

You took on two mentors after ALICE NINE.’s hiatus, singer Ryoko Satou and HYDE. Could you tell us more about this? What are you working on with them?

Shou: No, to me they are like mentors and gods. They are not directly involved but I do get a lot of advice from them. I want to utilise what I've learned from them for the benefit of Verde/.

At the same time you launched Verde/, you decided to continue your other project DIAWOLF with Tora. Could you tell us more about the concepts of these projects and how they will differ from each other?

Shou: With DIAWOLF, we wanted to work in the genre of loud rock based on Tora's guitar sound. As for Verde/, I wanted to create a project that expresses my own experiences and emotions, and that connects visuals and sound.

You’ve worked a lot with ex-ViViD vocalist SHIN in recent years, and Verde/ will be embarking on a two-man tour with him in May. Has your relationship with SHIN as an artist evolved or changed at all since he started his solo project?

Shou: SHIN is truly a great vocalist, a friend, and like a brother, and I respect him a lot. As our bands have come to an end, we've encouraged each other to keep going. For the last five years or so, we've been meeting and talking regularly. I look forward to the tour where we can unleash our dynamic relationship.

Speaking of different music styles, it is well known that you are a fan of HYDE and LUNA SEA, but what are your favorite Western bands?

Shou: I like for example LINKIN PARK, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Muse, and The 1975.

Did you know there are fans in Europe and America who have followed your career for 20 years? How does that make you feel?

Shou: About 17 years ago, we performed in Cologne, Germany, where over 2000 people came to see us. In a similar way people came to see us in Los Angeles. Even though my skills in English and other local languages are insufficient, I am convinced of the unique power of Japanese bands. So, I'd like to once again directly convey this charm to everyone.

When you look back on your activities overseas, are there any particular memories that stand out?

Shou: When we were touring in China, the audience sang along to a ballad in Japanese, which was really touching. Indonesia was also amazing. Japanese audiences are very well-behaved, so they are usually quiet during ballads. So that was a surprising experience.

What are your thoughts about performing outside of Japan again one day?

Shou: As a solo artist, I believe traveling with a small group has increased the possibilities. I hope to be able to discuss with event organizers in more flexible terms than back when I was in a band. So, I'm looking forward to receiving offers from your countries.

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Shou: I'm looking forward to releasing many songs as Verde/. I believe that only then can people truly understand and enjoy who I am as a person and artist.

Please leave a message for your fans around the world.

Shou: Although I live in Japan, I listen to hit charts from London, Paris, and New York every day. The interpretation of rhythm and the rhythm of the lyrics are beautiful in those songs. I find them useful to learn from. I wish to mix what I've learned from other cultures into the unique Japanese visual kei culture and provide interesting music. Stay tuned.

JaME would like to thank Shou for this interview opportunity.

The music video for Verde/'s latest single Lunaris/, which was created in collaboration with BAROQUE guitarist [ kei ], can be viewed below. Links to download and stream Lunaris/ on various music platforms are available here.

 Download or stream "Lunaris/"  Download or stream "The Wanderer/"

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