For this edition of “RUKI’s Jack of all trades,” we present Conversation Project Part 3.
We have the long version of the conversation between RUKI and our guest, Aki from SID, concerning their private lives and friendship.
TEXT：YUICHI MASUDA PHOTO：TAKASHI HIRANO
HAIR ＆ MAKE-UP：KAOLU ASANUMA（DEEP-END Co.,Ltd.）
I think we’re on the same wavelength with our “childish conversations.” (RUKI)
It just felt like they really stuck to their own styles (Aki)
–When did the two of you meet?
RUKI: How many years has it been since we first met now?
Aki: I don’t really remember. But I’m pretty sure we met at Shibuya O-EAST’s Battle of the Bands. There were a lot of other bands there too. I had heard of the GazettE before that, but we never met. I thought you guys were really cool when I saw you perform.
RUKI: Don’t lie (laughs).
Aki: It’s true! (laughs) As a band, the GazettE is our senior by about a year or so
RUKI: but it’s not like I have seniority over him because of that or anything. I saw SID’s flyer at Takadanobaba AREA before actually meeting you. That was back when there was only two of you. And your hair was all spiky. Since then, I started researching SID in my own way… I was intimidated by SID and Alice Nine back in those days. And I was always kind of keeping tabs on you guys (laughs).
Aki: That goes both ways. At Battle of the Bands it was like “If we don’t give our all, they’ll overtake us!” Or something like that. Back then there wasn’t anything like YouTube yet so you couldn’t easily sample music. But I was always curious about you guys too so sometimes I would try looking you up (laughs).
――Did your impressions change at all after actually seeing each other perform live?
RUKI: Aki has a lot of energy on stage. From the time we start rehearsals he just keeps on moving around. After seeing that I’d go back to the dressing room and say things like “We gotta have more energy than that tonight!” to my own bandmates.
Aki: I didn’t think we’d end up talking about that stuff (laughs). We were always felt like “We can’t let them look down on us!” too. Especially me. I was fired up more than necessary, wasn’t I? (laughs) I guess that came out in me moving around like that. Saying Battle of the Bands… might be a little misleading, but it was kind of like a feeling of “the one who dominates wins,” or something like that, wasn’t it?
RUKI: Yeah. From the moment you entered the venue (laughs).
Aki: Thinking back on it now, we were so young back then (laughs). Of course we still always have that awareness. Like what kind of music the other bands we’re playing with have. But seriously, the GazettE was ridiculously cool and had kind of a foreign feel to them. They used two guitarists, but each still had their own sound. It just felt like they really stuck to their own styles. That hasn’t changed even now.
RUKI: Aren’t you complimenting us a little too much? (laughs)
Aki: Well, this is completely unrelated (laughs), but I often invite RUKI out. I’ll say, “Let’s go get some drinks” But he doesn’t really answer his phone (laughs).
RUKI: You’re leaving out too many details! It’s because you always call so late at night (laughs).
Aki: Yeah I know. A lot of other people have told me that too (laughs). Well I have LINE now so it’s pretty convenient. Even if I think, “it’s pretty late so he’s probably sleeping” I can still send you a message.
RUKI: Yeah, but even you seem to have become an adult (laughs). You’ve stopped contacting me so late at night. I guess the way you drink has become a little more sophisticated. Aki’s drinking habits are actually pretty well-known in this industry (laughs)
Aki: I guess I do have bad drinking habits. I know they probably have a name for me (laughs). But the GazettE has someone with bad drinking habits too (laughs).
RUKI: Ahaha! I’ll accept that (laughs). It’s not like he gets all crazy or anything, but he starts talking a lot I guess (laughs).
Aki: Sorry to mention it, but at first, RUKI wasn’t able to drink at all. So it’s not like we became friends from drinking together. One time we happened to go out to eat together and we just clicked. Even the GazettE’s Uruha told me “You take RUKI out a lot! That’s pretty amazing.” It’s because back then, Ruki didn’t really go out much.
RUKI: Yeah. Since the beginning it was like I was isolated even in the dressing rooms at a the GazettE event (laughs). It often felt like just because I was on good terms with the GazettE members, I was kind of just there. For other bands it was like there was a wall between us that said “You cannot stand on the other side.”
Aki: I get what you mean.
RUKI: Really, I’m just shy around people I don’t know, but to other people I look difficult to approach. But Aki didn’t care about that and would talk to me light-heartedly. That left a really strong impression on me.
Aki: I like to find out about the other person’s character I guess, feel out whether or not it seems like we could become friends (laughs). From that I thought, “hm, seems like we could have a decent conversation.” I’m glad we were able to meet in a way where we could both relax a little.
RUKI: There are band members who thoughtlessly talk about equipment and those who can only talk about things relating to their bands. But the two of us always end up having “childish conversations.” We’re on the same wavelength when it comes to that.
Aki: definitely. We talk about normal stuff, like what kind of music we like.
RUKI: And going to karaoke. Though we mostly sing visual kei songs. We make themes like “Songs of the 90s” (laughs).
Aki: And I’ll sing the GazettE songs (laughs).
RUKI: And I’ll also sing SID songs (laughs).
――What a sight to see. I hope that you let the public see the two of you like that someday.
Aki: Nah, we won’t let anyone see. It might be kind of dangerous (laughs). But anyway, we only talk about fun things.
RUKI: We haven’t really talked about serious things.
Aki: Yeah, we haven’t. When we meet, it’s more like “Hey, have you heard that new CD?” or “Nine Inch Nails was really good!” or “Those clothes look cool!” We only talk about things we like like that. Of course we also talk a little about each other’s bands. For example, “How was your overseas tour?” and stuff.
RUKI: Yeah. We’ll suddenly start using LINE too.
Aki: Yup. Stuff like “I heard your new song. It was cool!” But somehow, rather than conversations between people of the same profession, it feels like we’re just a couple of kids. We like similar things so we just naturally have good conversations. That’s the thing. Nowadays, you can get anything you want on the Internet or sample music before you actually buy it. Back when I was a student you’d buy something ’cause the cover looked cool and were really happy when it actually sounded good too. And then being able to brag about it made it even more fun. It’s like we’re kindred spirits in that we had those kinds of conversations with our friends back in our school days.
RUKI: It’s like a music-related hobby. For example, even if we both liked LUNA SEA, which songs you like from them is important to me. Like, “I like the B-side more than the A-side track on the single”
Aki: Yeah, I agree (laughs). Of course I like a wide range of music, but at my core, I’m very similar to RUKI.
RUKI: In that sense, I’m very similar to Aki. Like being really enthusiastic about some of my hobbies. That part of me doesn’t match the rest of my bandmates at all (bursts into laughter).
Aki: Yeah, I kind of understand (laughs).
RUKI: Someone that matches that part of me other than Aki would be people like Hiroto (Alice Nine). If someone likes LUNA SEA as much as I do, then we tend to also tend to share a love for western music as well. I think we even started talking about Sigur Rós at some point, didn’t we? Seeing that, I’d think “I thought he’d like them” (laughs). Within the band, there isn’t much “western music that everyone definitely listens to,” but there’s a lot I have in common with Aki.
Aki: I think I might be the same (laughs). On the contrary, it’s good that everyone listens to a lot of different things and don’t have much in common in that sense.
RUKI: Yeah. If the band was made up of people who just listened to and liked the same things, it actually wouldn’t be very interesting. So actually, it’s probably good that I have someone to talk about that kind of stuff with “outside the band.”
Aki: Probably. Also, it’s important that the things that make you think “this is lame” are similar (laughs). Like if I think, “This has been pretty popular lately, but isn’t it actually really lame?” I’m kind of happy when he agrees with me and responds with “I know, right!” (laughs).
RUKI: We can’t really give a concrete example of that here though (laughs). Honestly, we just have those sort of childish conversations all the time so… it kind of feels like we met each other back when we were still students (laughs).
――If you really had met back then, you might have ended up forming a band together.
Aki: Possibly. There’s a pretty high chance of that. I’m actually pretty curious as to what kind of music we’d make together.
RUKI: Me too. We even have a vocalist and a bassist so it’s kind of like Kuroyume (laughs).
Aki: hahaha! If we have the chance sometime somewhere, it might be fun. Plus, it’d be nice to do something after being more relaxed. Rather than saying “let’s do this!” and feeling like adults who have to produce a lot music, it’d be more like “I was bored and made this when I was drinking. You wanna try and do something with this together?” And then distribute one song or something without anyone really knowing about it (laughs).
RUKI: Yeah, something like that would be good (laughs).
――Doing things in secret is okay, but if if you guys really do do something together, please tell us (laughs). Incidentally, I wanted to ask you, how do you guys view each other as musicians?
RUKI: I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to most of SID’s music. I tend to end up listening to bands that I’m interested in or bands of people who I’m interested in. My thoughts when listening to SID were that they don’t really change. I mean, they’re always melodious. Also, I can always tell which songs Aki made.
Aki: Oh, you can? (laughs)
RUKI: Yeah. Even if you don’t tell me, I think “This is definitely him.” They have a very obvious rock feel to them. It’s like you can tell from their aura. Also, out of all the bands that have formed, they are a band that I feel I should support. The more years that pass, the stronger I feel that way. That feeling of “They’re so good!” when I first saw them was not wrong.
Aki: That’s kind of embarrassing (laughs). Talking about this kind of stuff might actually be a first. So I feel kind of refreshed today (laughs). Of course I feel similarly to everything RUKI just said. As a musician, RUKI is a performer, but it’s like he’s surpassed that and is a complete package and a creator. And because of that, even though the other members put their own ideas into their CD jackets and videos and such, I feel like RUKI’s the one who came up with everything. I think he’s a person who can see things in so many different ways. Including lyrics and music. I’m the complete opposite, a “song-stopper.” I don’t write words or anything either. But RUKI can do everything and is so creative. I really respect that aspect of him. There’s this feeling of “There’s no way I could do all that”
RUKI: This is definitely embarrassing (laughs). We can’t have this type of conversation when we drink (laughs). Rather, it’s like this kind of talk is taboo over drinks.
Aki: Yeah. This topic is definitely not allowed (laughs).
RUKI: Yeah. If you’re gonna go out to have fun, you gotta have fun. If you start talking about work in that situation, you won’t be able to tell the difference between on and off. On the contrary, sometimes something will come up in a conversation when we’re out enjoying ourselves that will give me a good idea.
Aki: Yeah that happens sometimes. That’s why I think our relationship is important. For example, when I’m drinking with my friends and RUKI doesn’t pick up, just saying “That jerk didn’t answer!” gets everyone riled up (laughs). But of course if he actually comes, then everyone gets even more excited.
RUKI: That’s ’cause if you drink with your bandmates, you’ll end up talking about your own band. And that just makes your work last longer. When I drink with Aki, I’m able to enjoy myself without any distractions. We don’t talk about how our sales are doing or anything (laughs).
Aki: If the GazettE gets it’s name on the top of the charts or something then I’ve sent him messages saying “Congrats, I’ll treat you out next time” and stuff (laughs).
RUKI: And I’ll say “Give him the receipt” (laughs)
――You guys have such a nice relationship! How do you think your relationship will change over the years?
Aki: I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. But… I’m pretty sure it’ll be the same as always (laughs).
RUKI: Yeah. I don’t think it’ll change at all. From when we met up until now, nothing has changed.
Aki: If something were to change… I guess in a few years we’d start talking about our health. Medical check-ups and stuff (laughs). I can’t really imagine it. Let’s drop this topic (laughs).
――I think it’d be nice if the two of you would stay kids at heart and someday be able to go see a band you like overseas together.
Aki: I really wanna do that. Not just a typical vacation, but to go see a band would be nice.
RUKI: That’s true.
Aki: It’d be a lot better than just going to a hot springs or something.
RUKI: Definitely. But for now, we won’t change our current relationship with our fans. There’s no need to change anything anyway.
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source: Original Article (Japanese)
It’s a little late, but I didn’t have time to add this before I left for the weekend. I would also like to thank my friend, Sena, for helping me with different parts of this translation and proof reading it. I’d also like to thank my anonymous friend and Japanese friends who helped me make this translation as accurate as possible.