VIVALET has been around in the visual kei scene since 2013. They’ve released 4 singles, 1 mini-album, and even a couple of live DVDs. With so many releases under their belt, it’s no wonder that they’ve been attracting attention from the overseas visual kei fanbase. In this exclusive interview with VIVALET, the members talk about their 5th single 「2度目の絶望とSuicide ceremony」 (2-dome no Zetsubou to Suicide ceremony) and their upcoming one-man tour in May. Read until the end to see how you can win a special prize!
-Thank you for taking the time to meet with us. Since this is our first interview with VIVALET, could you all introduce yourselves?
MARY: I’m MARY, the vocalist.
TAKUYA: I’m TAKUYA on bass.
DAIKI: I’m DAIKI on drums.
-Could you tell us the meaning and concept behind your band name?
DAIKI: It’s a combination of the Italian word “viva” and “let,” which is like “together.” Basically, it’s like “let’s rock out together.”
Our original concept was “hope within despair,” but we’ve changed our concept to accompany our new single, “2-dome no Zetsubou to Suicide ceremony.” Now it’s more like that hope is gone. Now our concept is, “waking up from a dream of despair to a reality of despair.”
-That’s a bit sad, isn’t it? Why did you make that change?
DAIKI: It fit the new single’s lyrics and concept more.
-How did you all meet and decide to form a band?
MARY: Our [former] guitarist and I were in another band together and decided to start a new band. Then we asked TAKUYA to join us. We found DAIKI after putting out an ad looking for a drummer.
-What were your first impressions of each other?
MARY: I thought TAKUYA was very handsome. I also thought he was a bit scary and serious.
TAKUYA: Like a part of the yakuza or something? (laugh) I knew DAIKI before we started the band. The drummer in my last band had some trouble and so DAIKI helped us out sometimes and even did support for us once. When we decided, “DAIKI is going to be the drummer!” he was like “What?!” (laugh)
-Your new single “2-dome no Zetsubou to Suicide ceremony” was released today on April 20th. There are 3 songs included on the B-type. Could you tell us a bit about each song?
[2-dome no Zetsubou to Suicide ceremony]
MARY: It’s a song about someone who has some bad experiences and becomes consumed by despair.
-It sounds dark.
MARY: It is dark. It’s a song without any light.
[In the rain]
DAIKI: “In the rain” has nice melody and good energy, but the lyrics and vocals are very sad. It starts off in high spirits and ends in heartbreak.
TAKUYA: This is probably VIVALET’s most punk-sounding song. You can hear a bit of an The Offspring-inspired sound in the intro. I didn’t like it at first because of the original bass intro, but DAIKI rearranged it for me and said I should try it out. As for the lyrics, they’re pretty racy. It’s a mix of punk and sensuality. This song is a bit different from the other songs on the single.
-Which song on the new single is your favorite and why?
MARY: “In the rain.” I like its melody the best [out of the three songs].
TAKUYA: I choose “2-dome no Zetsubou to Suicide ceremony.” DAIKI wrote it. It has a classic visual kei sound. I like its melody the best, even though the lyrics are pretty dark. (laugh) I think it’s my favorite out of all of VIVALET’s song to perform.
DAIKI: I like playing “In the rain” the most. It has the kind of tempo I’m best at playing. As for the song I like listening to the most, that would be “Fadeless.”
-By the way, who usually writes lyrics? Who composes the songs?
DAIKI: MARY is usually in charge of lyrics and I usually handle composition.
-What did you try to do differently (both musically and lyrically) for the single compared to previous releases?
MARY: We mentioned this when we talked about our new concept, but up until now, our songs have ended with the idea of hope no matter how dark the beginning of the song was. This time, I took away that hope. Since our theme this time was “suicide ceremony,” I wrote about someone who lacked hope and was consumed by suicidal thoughts.
DAIKI: And since our concept until now has focused on hope, the choruses of our songs have been catchy. Our melodies are easy to listen to. But when we decided on a dark concept like “2-dome no Zetsubou to Suicide ceremony,” I didn’t want the music to sound too bright. I had to strike a balance between “easy to listen to” and “not too bright” in both the melody and phrases.
-Was that difficult to accomplish?
DAIKI: Very difficult. It originally had a more catchy chorus, but I thought, “This isn’t despair. This isn’t suicide.” (laugh)
-You’ll also be embarking on a one-man tour “2-dome no Zetsubou to Jikai to Aka” (Translator’s note: 2nd Bout of Despair, Disintegration, and Red) starting in May. What kind of tour are you planning?
TAKUYA: Personally, I’d like to find a way to express the “disintegration” and “red” parts of the tour title before it starts. We’ve discussed it a little already as a band, but we’re still thinking about how to express that in terms of new songs and the new single.
There are 4 shows in the tour, and I want every show to be different. We don’t want people to be satisfied with going to just 1 show; we want them to keep going. Come see it for yourself!!
DAIKI: I usually play a drum solo at our one-man shows. I really like Motley Crue and Tommy Lee. His drum solos are awesome. I can’t spin around or play upside down* like he does, but I want to play drum solos that are as awesome as his. Obviously, the overall show is the most important thing, but I’m also looking forward to that.
MARY: I want everyone to enjoy the shows.
*Warning: video linked contains graphic language.
-Since most of our readers at S-T.net are based overseas, a lot of them haven’t had the opportunity to see VIVALET live. How would you describe a typical show to someone who’s never seen you before?
DAIKI: Our shows are ones that you can let loose and go crazy at, but that’s not all. Our music is also easy to listen to, and our vocal and performance style stand out. I think our catchy music is what sets us apart from the other heavy bands.
MARY: Our concepts and lyrics vary between songs, so I want people to look for those differences in lyrical content.
DAIKI & TAKUYA: We’re talking about shows. (laugh)
-Speaking of overseas fans, have you noticed an overseas following on your social media accounts?
DAIKI: We’ve been getting attention on Twitter, Facebook, and even YouTube. People introduce our videos on YouTube.
I’m an early riser. Sometimes I’ll Tweet “Good morning” on Twitter, and then I get a lot of replies from our foreign fans because of the time difference.
-Where do a lot of your overseas fans live?
DAIKI: Brazil. They have a fanpage for us on Facebook called Vivalet BR. We also get messages from people sent in languages I can’t read or identify, like not English or Japanese or French.
-Do you have any interest in touring overseas someday? Where do you want to go?
TAKUYA: If the opportunity ever comes up, yes.
MARY: I’d like to go to the UK. A lot of my favorite bands are from the UK, like Oasis.
DAIKI: I want to go to Los Angeles.
TAKUYA: That’s pretty specific. (laugh)
DAIKI: Yeah, because I love Motley Crue.
TAKUYA: I want to go to America. I like Power Rangers, but they don’t have a Japanese version released. I want to see that.
-Lastly, please give a message to your fans and readers at S-T.net.
MARY: A lot of you reading this are probably hearing about VIVALET for the first time. I hope you’ll give us a listen, but I also hope that you’ll try to come see us live if you ever get the chance to come to Japan.
DAIKI: I understand that it’s difficult for those of you living overseas to see us live, but you can purchase our CDs via our website. Definitely check us out. And send us lots of messages on Twitter, because that’s one way that we can communicate with each other.
TAKUYA: They basically said it all already. Also, if there are any overseas tour organizers reading this, please send us a message!
In S-T.net tradition, we’ll be raffling off 2 autograph boards signed by all of the members. Enter using any or all methods on Rafflecopter. The deadline is April 27th at 11:59PM (EST).
Interview by Shannon and Ku