Alice Nine has released single 3 months in a row. “The present Alice Nine” was poured fully in these works which is arrived from ‘twists and turns’ during 9 years since their debut. In their first single this year “Daybreak”, the second single “SHADOWPLAY”, then the single that became the completion of continuous release “shooting star”, they showed us the freshness wonderfully as if they stab the final blow. In the interview about the single “shooting star” which was released on 29th May, they said, “The thing that we avoid most is you’ll become calm down when we are performing rock ballad”. Also, in BARKS, we planned of 3 consecutive months that disclosed Alice Nice who celebrated their ninth anniversary major debut with 9 keywords. And the last 3 topics for this month are “CRISIS”, “HEAVEN&HELL” and “WORLD”, so check it out!
“The important thing is how we can produce freshness while we get excited” (HIROTO)
I was surprised with “shooting star”. It is R&B and stylish ballad song.
Shou (Vo) : There was a ballad single “Niji no Yuki” (released 21th December 2011) before single “Daybreak”. Releasing ballad single “Niji no Yuki” was a big step for rock band, so this time was a big challenge for us to release another ballad song which must be different from before.
Saga (B) : So, there is no consciousness that it must be rock band song this time because of the rock ballad “Niji no Yuki” which leads out twin guitar, we produced something more fresh which different from before.
Because of that, the arrangement had turned up to the direction that a rock band won’t do.
Hiroto (G) : Nope, I really don’t think that “this is not rock”. If you only listen to the sound, I guess it will be classified to UK Rock. It’s not true that “guitar is distorted separately = rock”. We never think, “Let’s eliminate rock this time!” on production level. The important thing is how we can produce with our fresh feeling while we get excited.
Shou : On beginning, this song was slow like a ballad. But we thought, “Let’s break it all and do something cool”, so we arranged it.
Saga : The demo song that I made first was closer to J-POP. Then, I broke it slowly with Hirade-san, a producer whom we cooperate with on single “Daybreak”. Normally, if a producer joins in, it will be easy to listen, isn’t it? When we put various ideas and assembly it, it became avant-garde.
Didn’t you feel worry on the process?
Saga : If I were anxious, in the end it will become ordinary after all.
Hiroto : That was the scariest. Because the thing that we avoid most is you’ll become calm down when we are performing rock ballad.
Saga : This song mentally is not a rock, right? That’s because we protect it. This song feels rock if we see from that side.
Shou : Personally, I think this song is the has the most rock sounds among the 3 consecutive singles.
Hiroto : Maybe it’s because of the process when making this song.
Shou : The song “SHADOWPLAY” that I made was made from concept, “Let’s make song for fans so they feel delightful!”. So, personally I think this song is the most hop one. However the sound is heavy. Although the opening of “shooting star” is very easy to start with, the main is very rock. The production progressed rapidly and made us feel good also.
Tora (G) : Rather than built up the theory, it’s enough that if we simply think “this is good” like what the producer says. It happens sometimes. Something likes, “In here, we have to play it with these chords”. But, it doesn’t matter if the song is cool, right? Our producer is a person like that.
Because Hirade-san is that kind of type, in the songs “Daybreak” and “shooting star” that were produced with Hirade feels very witty which never came up in Alice Nine before.
Tora : Sorry, finally it came up (laugh).
I have memory that we had a conversation that we want to become a band whose fans never feel shy when they say “I am listening Alice Nine”. (Shou)
(big grin) But, personally since the beginning I was thinking they (Alice Nine) are good looking, so they should play more stylish song which matches with their looks.
Saga : Our junior had said it also to us. The songs which are like lightning (grinning)
Shou : The image of an idol was too ahead from the beginning, so it became classic rather than stylistic beauty.
Saga : But we are not the only band who does it. By the way, I guess our mood right now finally closer to modern.
Hiroto : There was a time, each of us concentrated in our own favorite music then reached the harsh time. Also, there was an antithesis about the image of an idol.
Have you ever thought of proving that you are rock band on live performance?
All : We are not that skillful enough…
Shou : When we released a single “RAINBOW” (6th August 2008), we were discussing it together in a studio, “If we continue like this, it a little bit shameful”. There is a time, when a friend asked, “What are you listening to?” to us, we are shy to say that I am listening to an idol, right? I have memory that we had a conversation that we want to become a band whose fans never feel shy when they say “I am listening Alice Nine” and everybody will say to our fans, “Wow, their music is so cool”.
Nao (Dr) : ……We are diligent people (smile). So pure.
Tora : We only think, because we are rock band, let’s make good music. All of us never think to use our looks or to do something odious. If we play music we like, although we don’t follow the line, we can still be famous. Somehow, that’s our confidence.
Shou : The seriousness to the music and the clumsiness are our characters. Therefore, to pass the place like that and because of this flat moment, we put out imposingly in “Shooting Star”. When you listen to it, the music is good, but the contents are not fluffy.
Nao : We are rolled cabbage men. The outside is cabbage but when we eat it the inside is meat.
Saga : So Alice Nine is rolled cabbage men…
Nao : Nowadays there is a new idiom; it is called asparagus bacon men. This is the opposite of rolled cabbage men.
Hiroto : This 3 singles releases interviews. I don’t know why the words related to food came up every time (laugh).
There is a gap between the impression of appearance and the contents of Alice Nine, right?
Shou : When we just started the band, we didn’t like the atmosphere that visual-kei muffled among in the internal family. Alice Nine tried to pull out the image of visual into the society. I think pulling out the visual-kei and spread it out are our missions.
Then it makes Alice Nine turned into the rolled cabbage men!
Shou : Sorry (bowing quickly)
Tora : He just ended with “sorry” (everyone laughs)
Saga : That inner face is part of human nature that oozes from us
Shou : Well, from now on let Hiroto-san gets wrinkle on his forehead and become pushy.
That’s not the problem (laugh)
Saga : While the human nature may ooze out in late of 30s-40s, we suddenly become popular band (laugh)
Hiroto : But if we didn’t release “shooting star”. We will not become like this. Our band is in a good situation right now.
Tora : We understand this because we are doing it for 9 years. Nevertheless, our great single is not only because of us, but also because of the environment around us. We want to thank to the environment. Eh, I just said a good thing (laugh)
Shou : The last sentence is not important (laugh)
Next is 9th anniversary special project, investigation about Alice Nine using 9 keywords. This time we also asked those about 3 words.
When did you feel crisis?
Shou : when we were checking our 5th anniversary live performance, I felt, “This song is terrible”. We were too unskillful so we didn’t recognize it. But, at that time (when we were checking), we recognized it because we were better than before. Since then, we used to practice by ourselves.
Hiroto : crisis, hm?
Tora : Hiroto is in crisis because he is too popular, isn’t he? (laugh)
Nao : Amazing!!! His crisis is different from us (laugh)
Saga : He looks like a rock star in old days.
Hiroto : Well, of course I want to be popular like that (laugh). It was before I join Japanese martial arts (6th January 2011). I was over. I didn’t feel anything. Honestly, I thought it’s over. I wasn’t popular at that time (laugh). But I was revived when I joined martial arts.
Tora : I injured my leg and my neck, but the most critical thing happened to me was when my father said, “You are over in Alice Nine”.
Saga : Last month, I had horrible hair fall. I was frightened at that time. I felt crisis.
Nao : I was awful last year. My liver was sick (laugh). The score B came up on my result of physical examination. But, when I was thinking I can’t play in a band anymore if I drink alcohol, I got A on my result of physical examination this year.
Do all of you do physical examination?
Tora : Yeah, because we are healthy rock band.
Nao : If we aren’t healthy, we can’t rock.
No. 8 [HEAVEN&HELL]
Please tell me the most heavenly moment and the most hellish moment.
Shou : Because the concert brings us happiness, basically it’s heaven. I still remember our first concert at Takadanobaba Area. The moment when audiences’ eyes were sparkling when the curtain opened, still remains in my memory. The mobilization was increasing, then we held first one-man concert at Ebisu Liquid Dome. And on that stage, because of the great energy, our vocalist’s pants were torn on his crotch. That was a hell (everyone LOL). Mao-san (SID) who came to that day also commented “It was furious concert” (all laughs).
Hiroto : Hell in the concert… The hell is troublesome.
Tora : Why I am so popular at live performance? It’s a hell right? (everyone laughs)
Hiroto : It’s not a hell (laugh). When solo guitar part, there was no sound, and then spontaneously I threw my guitar toward effecter and the knob fly away (laugh). I attacked the hell.
Saga : I researched on Youtube and found a cool method if the sound doesn’t come out. The other instrument starts the solo as if there is nothing happened and later the troubled instrument come back smoothly after fixed. If I get trouble, I will depend on you Nao-san.
Nao : I also research on Youtube about method when a drummer gets a trouble. First, the drummer will smile (everyone laughs). Then, pointing the other member using the stick and blame to him (all laugh). There were many other methods.
Hiroto : When I made a mistake on musical arrangement of “Akai Kazaguruma”, all of the audiences did a chorus. It was a real heavenly moment.
Tora : I don’t have any hell moment. Once I couldn’t perform on a concert because of hernia. I think can’t perform is a hell and perform on concert is a heaven.
Saga : It’s a heaven to perform at huge hall. There were so many hell moments such as when on solo bass, the sound suddenly stopped.
Nao : Generally it’s heaven during the performance. During the MC part, we will become happier. The hell moment was when concert was about to start and I appeared on the stage, then I sit down, but there were no sticks on my drum. “Damn”, I was in a hurry. And then I found the sticks were under my feet. Thank God I made in time on performance. It was a hell at that moment.
I would like to ask about overseas concert.
Shou : Basically I dislike Japanese people who admire western countries. At first, I always think, “I’ll never go to overseas”. I never thought that there are so many fans from overseas. We already had a concert in 5 countries, they all are impressive. From now on, I want to hold a concert and meet a lot of fans from overseas.
Hiroto : I will do my best, so I can go to overseas. This situation is the same when we went to Osaka for the first time. I think if we go as we can go, we can feel more the difference of the culture.
Tora : 12 hours moving by airplane is my limit. I can’t sleep at all on the airplane. I will just watch same movie on round-trip. Do you understand this feeling? (laugh). However there are a lot of places where I want to go.
Saga : I also like band from overseas so I can understand our overseas fans’ feeling. I want to go overseas as much as possible.
Are the audience feeling excited when you do live performance?
Saga : Jakarta is the best concert I have ever had in my band life. It was so amazing. When the technician played the instruments, suddenly “Alice Nine” chant occurred.
Hiroto : They sang with enthusiasm. It was a first time seeing the audiences singing “FANTASY” from the beginning until the end.
Nao : I thought because of the different language it will be hard to connect with them, but I found out that if we try to communicate so hard to them, they will respond us. It doesn’t change anything although the language is different.