born is a five member band that began together under RENNY AMY, which was active from August 2005, until December 31st, 2006. Shortly after, the same five members created D&L, and eventually changed their name to ‘born’ on April 9th, 2008 with the sponsored event at Takadanobaba AREA called “born presents 「bug scremo vol.01」”. About a week later, they released their first demonstration single, entitled 「Dust pain」, which was followed by the tour, 「Abnormal skin’s」.
Since operating as born, the band has released three demo singles, their first maxi-single titled 「felony」 which also included their first PV, and their first full album, 「-Abnormal Head Machine-」.
born attended this year’s Oni-con, which took place from October 30th until November 1st, in Houston, Texas. Shattered-Tranquility.net was able to sit down with the members for an interview, where we learned about their performance, their music and their lives.
Please note that everything written in italics, was originally said in English.
S-T.net: Would you mind introducing yourselves?
Ryoga: I’m the vocalist, Ryoga.
K: I’m the guitarist, K.
Ray: I’m the guitarist, Ray.
KIFUMI: I’m the bassist, KIFUMI.
TOMO: I’m the drummer, TOMO.
S-T.net: So, how was your flight coming from Japan to Houston?
Ryoga: It was really really really long!
TOMO: It was pretty bad.
KIFUMI: It was awful!
Ryoga: We had to stop in Chicago and wait for four hours.
S-T.net: Oh, why was it so long?
K: We heard that there was a storm in Texas, or something.
S-T.net: In October we have weather like that all the time. It’s horrible.
K: Oh really?
Ryoga: (Laughs) But now, it’s sunny, isn’t it. Seriously.
S-T.net: Have you guys gone around Houston? Have you seen any sights?
Everyone: We haven’t.
Ryoga: We haven’t gone out yet.
S-T.net: You guys haven’t left the hotel at all? I’m sorry. I guess that means you haven’t had the chance to have any BBQ, or Texas food yet.
TOMO: Not at all.
Ray: Not yet. We haven’t had anything but hotel food.
S-T.net: I’m sorry!
S-T.net: You need to try BBQ before you go!
TOMO: Texas BBQ? Is it good?
Ray: We have a day off on our last day here, so we should go.
S-T.net: Go to Goode Company on Kirby. It’s the best one.
TOMO: BEST ONE.
S-T.net: You had a live here in America last night. How was that different from your lives in Japan?
TOMO: We were kind of nervous…
Ray: Yeah, we kind of were.
Ryoga: Yeah there was. The feeling we got from the fans was awesome compared to Japan.
KIFUMI: Isn’t that typical here in America?
Ray: Yeah, it is.
Ryoga: We fed off the enthusiasm of the fans, and all of us ended up diving into the audience. Did you see the live? How did you find it?
S-T.net: I was very excited, my voice is almost gone because of it! It was really high energy, and I was surprised that you guys only played only heavy songs, instead of some of your softer music, which got everybody really pumped. We were really happy. Everyone was really strong. You guys are really crazy on stage…
S-T.net: How do you have the energy for all that?
Ryoga: When I’m performing, it’s like flipping a switch. It’s natural. The fans’ enthusiasm was great, so we also caught on to their energy. The members had more energy than they do at regular lives in Japan.
S-T.net: Oh really? Wow! So, have you ever had any embarrassing moments during a show?
Ray: There’ve been lots.
Ryoga: My fly was down. Yesterday, when I dove into the audience, I was felt up… but, when I get that kind of aggression from the audience, it feels nice.
S-T.net: How are the fans here, compared to the fans in Japan?
TOMO: The Japanese fans have different moves depending on the song, but here it’s pretty free.
S-T.net: During the Q&A the members said that this was the first time they all stage dove, so how come you haven’t done that before in Japan?
TOMO: Japanese people don’t really dive…
S-T.net: Is it dangerous? Or is it because of the smaller live houses?
TOMO: I wonder why…
Ryoga: The foreign fans, were like, COME HERE. So, I didn’t really have a choice.
S-T.net: So you’ve been to America a couple of times now. Are you planning an overseas tour anytime soon?
TOMO: Twice. We’ve been to America twice.
Ryoga: An overseas tour?
KIFUMI: If we had money, and time…
Ray: If we had the chance to, I’d like to try it. Maybe one, or two months.
Ryoga: But for now, we’re performing in Japan.
S-T.net: Given the chance, where else would you like to perform?
Ryoga: If I had the time and money, I’d go around the world.
TOMO: I wanna go too…
KIFUMI: Me too…
S-T.net: You’d go to every single country?
KIFUMI: Every single one.
S-T.net: Even the small or scary ones?
KIFUMI: Of course! I’ll go to all of them. I want to say that there’s no where I haven’t been.
K: It’s not a specific location, but I’d like to do an outdoor live.
S-T.net: Have you done any outdoor lives in Japan?
KIFUMI: No, we haven’t.
Ryoga: No, We’ve only played at live houses.
S-T.net: How was last night’s venue compared to where you normally play in?
K: It was huge compared to normal.
TOMO: It was so wide, it felt really good. It felt like Tokyo Dome.
Ryoga: If it’s too narrow, it’s not big enough for born.
Ray: Because Toshi needs space to act out.
S-T.net: Did you get a chance to talk to any of the other bands, like Echostream or Satsuki?
TOMO: I met Tomo from Echostream in LA. Satsuki care of us, even in Japan. Tomo from Echostream was our translator in LA.
Ray: His English is great.
S-T.net: Are you planning on releasing anything new soon?
Ryoga: Probably sometime in January of next year.
S-T.net: Will you continue making PVs too?
Ray: In the future, but not for the next release.
S-T.net: Can you tell us what your process is for making music?
TOMO: Ray and K present their ideas and compositions, and together we arrange them.
S-T.net: Do you have input on the design and packaging of your CDs?
TOMO: It’s pretty much up to Ray.
S-T.net: You do a good job of it.
Ray: Thank you!
S-T.net: You released your first PV, felony. Did you have a lot of input into it?
Ray: Ryoga and TOMO did.
S-T.net: You had two previous bands before, and now you have the name, ‘born’. So what does the band name, ‘born’, mean to you?
Ryoga: It’s giving birth to various types of music, one after another.
It has that type of meaning behind it.
S-T.net: You’ve changed your name several times because you have so many different ideas and move on to different themes. Is this the last time that you’re going to rename the band?
Ryoga: So far, the desired image that we’ve been trying to portray has constantly been changing. When we came up with ‘born’, it got stuck in our minds, so we probably won’t change it again.
S-T.net: Since your style changes so much, how do you decide on what costumes to wear?
Ryoga: I don’t really think: about it, and I put more energy into our music. I don’t want people focusing on our looks, so we just wear black.
TOMO: Yeah, we feel the same way about it.
S-T.net: Even though you wear similar outfits, I notice that you add your own individual touch to it.
Ryoga: We have different personalities, so we don’t need to wear showy costumes to show ourselves.
S-T.net: How long have you known each other?
TOMO: Four years.
S-T.net: How did you meet?
Ray: How did we meet?
Ryoga: It wasn’t like a sudden thing.
TOMO: How did it happen?
KIFUMI: We were from the same band before.
Ryoga: These two guys. (Points to Ray and KIFUMI)
KIFUMI: The two of us. Then that band disbanded…
Ray: We became friends.
Ryoga: I saw them live, and thought they were cool so I talked to them.
S-T.net: So, you stole them from their other band?
Ryoga: No, no, it wasn’t like that! The timing was just good because their band was breaking up.
TOMO: Good timing.
KIFUMI: Good timing? Bad timing?
Ryoga: A friend introduced me to TOMO. What I wanted in a band, and what TOMO wanted in a band was the same. We had similar interests in music, so I thought I wanted to work with him.
S-T.net: What got you started in music?
Ray: I saw my favourite artist on television, so I wanted to be in a band.
Ray: hide from X Japan.
Ryoga: Toshi from X Japan.
S-T.net: You should do your hair all big like Toshi used to.
Ryoga: One day, I want to.
TOMO: At yesterday’s live, you could tell that his performance was influenced by Toshi.
Ryoga: Yeah, it was.
S-T.net: Were your parents supportive of you getting into the visual scene?
KIFUMI: At first, my parents weren’t expecting anything to come of it. They were being realistic about it, and thought that I would give up and just come back home. But now that they realize this is truly want I want to be doing, they support me.
Ray: For me, it’s more like I’ll just do whatever I want to do.
S-T.net: Before you got into music, did you have a part time job, or any odd jobs?
Ryoga: I had one, but I can’t tell you about it. I’ll get caught if I talk about it.
Ray: I worked at a ramen shop.
Ryoga: I also worked at a ramen shop.
S-T.net: Does that mean you can cook well?
Ray: I’m an awesome cook. But the shop owner was really crazy, so I quit.
S-T.net: Ah, a crazy ramen shop owner.
TOMO: Crazy ramen shop owner!
S-T.net: That should be the title of your next single!
S-T.net: Can each of you tell us something that most fans don’t know about you?
Ray: I feel as if I’m slowly losing my sanity…
Ryoga: Everyone’s a little crazy.
S-T.net: What are your favourite accessories?
Ryoga: I don’t have a particular brand.
Ray: Body piercing.
TOMO: I don’t wear rings or anything, so I guess just my necklace and piercings.
K: I always have my bracelet and necklace on.
S-T.net: Do you want to design accessories someday?
Ryoga: Actually, we recently designed one. From November, we’ll be selling a loop style necklace.
K: Yeah, and something that the overseas fans don’t know is that it’ll be available online. So you’ll be able to purchase it on the website.
S-T.net: What are you currently obsessed with?
Ryoga: Lately, video games. Playstation. Persona 3.
KIFUMI: Buying equipment.
S-T.net: In the Q&A, KIFUMI said that if he could get away with it, he’d steal equipment.
KIFUMI: Did I say something like that!? Yeah, I guess I did. But in reality, I buy it.
Ray: Candles. I collect them.
TOMO: When I have the time, I rent DVDs.
Ray: Adult DVDs?
TOMO: No, no.
K: Nothing in particular, but since I’m always making new songs in my head, I guess I could say that’s something that I’m obsessed with.
S-T.net: Superheroes are really big in America right now, so if you guys could be a super hero, what would your powers be?
Ryoga: I’d want to keep peace in the world
TOMO: Peace man
Ryoga: Have the power to destroy evil
KIFUMI: I’d actually want to be the villain… MWAHAHA
K: I’d be Spiderman.
Ray: I’d be someone from X-Men. I want to have all those abilities.
S-T.net: KIFUMI, during the Q&A, you talked about going to school to be an architect. Do you still practice those skills?
KIFUMI: Recently, I haven’t at all. In the past, I drew a lot, but now that I’m busy with the band, I don’t really do it anymore.
S-T.net: If you weren’t in a band, what profession do you think: you’d go into?
TOMO: I’d be a comedian.
S-T.net: You did make everyone laugh during the Q&A today!
KIFUMI: Yeah, he did.
Ray: I’d be a movie star.
Ryoga: A ramen shop owner… no, what was it… a crazy ramen shop owner.
K: I’d be a hairstylist.
S-T.net: So you do your own hair?
K: I do the colouring.
S-T.net: I read in a previous interview that TOMO wanted to be a manga artist.
TOMO: That was a long time ago.
S-T.net: That was when you were in RENNY AMY, wasn’t it?
S-T.net: Does anybody else have any hidden talents? Can anyone else draw?
TOMO: I’m not that good, but I really like drawing.
K: I like sports, like soccer and basketball.
Ryoga: I can do ball games and marine sports, like surfing.
Ray: All I know how to do is float in water.
KIFUMI: I think: my drawings are better.
Ryoga: Yeah, he’s good.
Ray: Making things on the computer.
S-T.net: Do you mix music or make techno?
TOMO: Ray does.
S-T.net: If you could switch parts with someone else in the band, who would you switch with?
KIFUMI: I’d try vocals.
S-T.net: Ryoga, can you play guitar?
Ryoga: I’m very good.
S-T.net: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you bring?
K: There’s no point in bringing money, huh?
TOMO: Yeah. A TV and DVDs.
Ryoga: That’s hard…
Ray: I’d bring three women.
Ryoga: Me too!
S-T.net: What would you do if they ran away?
Ray: If they ran away… I’d send up a smoke signal to get them back!
TOMO: Three more naked women… Change, change, change!
Ryoga: TV, video games, iPod.
KIFUMI: Bass, amp, effecter.
K: You’d need an electrical outlet… I’d bring an acoustic guitar… and clothing and food.
KIFUMI: Clothing?? It’s a deserted island!
K: Oh yeah, I guess…
TOMO: I’d want to bring water, food, and bread sticks. I’d have to have my glasses.
S-T.net: Can you share with us a favorite childhood memory?
K: Amusement parks.
TOMO: Family trips.
Ray: I had fun playing with my family and relatives.
KIFUMI: Riding my bike full speed.
S-T.net: How about your weak points and strong points?
Ray: I’m not really good with time… I do things on my own pace. I’m forgetful.
S-T.net: Ryoga, aren’t you the same?
S-T.net: Are you really that tardy?
TOMO: Yeah, he is.
K: Sometimes, he doesn’t even make it.
TOMO: His watch always says 6:00… it’s always stopped.
S-T.net: What are your plans for 2010, now that the year is almost over?
Ryoga: We’re just doing things at our own pace in January.
S-T.net: Are there any other bands you’d like to work with?
Ryoga: The vocalist of Rammstein.
Ray: It’s not any specific band, but this summer we did events with a lot of different bands, and I’d like to do something like that again.
S-T.net: Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Ryoga: We do most of our shows in Japan, so we’d like you to come watch us there as much as you can. We’ll come here too from time to time, but we’d really like you guys to come visit us often too.
Shattered-Tranquility.net would like to thank CURE Media USA for giving us the opportunity to talk with the members of born. We also appreciate both born and Suzie for taking time out of their busy schedules for this interview.
For more information on born, check out the following links:
・ Born OHP
・ Official MySpace
・ Ryoga’s Official Blog
・ K’s Official Blog
・ Ray’s Official Blog
・ KIFUMI’s Official Blog
・ TOMO’s Official Blog
・ born News at Shattered-Tranquility.net