Gazette Reita Personal Interview Essay

I recently bought the March issue of ‘Arena 37C’ and I’m currently working through translating interviews from it. The first one I bring to you is a personal interview with the bassist of GazettE, Reita. Here, he mainly talks about the band’s gig last year on Christmas Eve, as well as boys being “simple-minded”, his love for motorbikes and the importance of memories.

In the recent midst of what seems to be a lot of bands disbanding, I hope you enjoy reading this interview where you hear about such a great band who still get on well together after so many years

All extra notes provided by myself are in []s.

— Could you tell us about more about your 2009 Last Live on the 24th December at the Tokyo Big Sight?

Now that we’re into the new year [2010] it seems like a long time ago, but on that day we all got really excited. Because of the place [of the live] and the special set list that we had, I think it had a different feel to our regular ones [gigs].

— I thought so too. I got a big thrill from seeing the scene of that large hall full of an audience.

I’d like the GazettE to continue being a band that gives you [fans] a thrill.
— But, because the hall was so big, even though I wanted to see the 5 of you as you are in flesh however small [far away] you are, I kept looking at the big screens [at the side of the stage which films the band playing] (laughs).

That can’t be helped (laughs). Because all 5 of us were filmed simultaneously, you got to see all of us at the same time which was good, right? When the halls are that big I bet the audience at the back can’t see the stage very well, so having screens is a necessity. We first used those simultaneous screens [of each member playing] at the Saitama Super Arena last year. The first song it was used for was ‘Filth in the beauty’, and there’s a funny story (laughs). We found out about it after watching the DVD of the gig; but what happened was, the simultaneous screens should’ve already been playing from the intro [of the song], but for some reason there was a roar of noise [approval] from the audience when we were into ‘melody A’ [beginning of the verse]. We asked ourselves, “What was that sudden change in the audience all about?” We realised later, that because everyone was head-banging during the intro they hadn’t noticed the screens, and it was when they raised their heads at the ‘melody A’ point that they saw them (laughs).

— (laughs) It goes to show that it’s important to look back and watch your gigs, doesn’t it? (laughs) Do you often watch performances of yourselves?

Um… If I get the chance then I often do, but when I do watch past performances I always think “Couldn’t I have done better?”, so I tend not to. Because I find myself more full of criticism [regret] than anything else. But well, I think being critical of yourself is important. Because if you’re satisfied, then it ends there. You need that “I can do better” feeling or you won’t move forward. But when I sometimes watch old video clips, I see that I was afraid of nothing [making mistakes] and I just went for it, and it’s like I was more youthful. Though it’s good material to use in order to take another look at myself.

— We either gain or we lose, don’t we?

Yes. In the past there was a time when I only did gigs because they were fun, and there was also a time when I kept focusing on my appearance [performance] rather than my playing. I don’t think I’d want to go back to that now, but there were good things about those gigs at the time.

— When did you only did gigs because you found them “fun”?

Probably until just under a year had passed since we started working with our current office [record label]. Before that, I didn’t feel any pressure whatsoever in doing a band. I mean, I thought set-lists [of the songs] were things you came up with on the day of the gig.

— What about lighting and sound?

I’d never really thought about it. It’d be like, “Can we have a reddish light during this song, please” during rehearsal. When we first joined this office, we had 2 one-man [single band] shows, and it was then that the manager e-mailed us asking “What’s your set-list for tomorrow?” the day before the gig. At the time I casually thought, “We can decide that on the day, can’t we?” (laughs). It would be unheard of now. Our manager was shocked back then, though. So, we put together a set-list beforehand, and our rehearsal went very smoothly, which meant that I realised that yes, planning ahead is better! That’s what the GazettE was like at first (laughs).

— As with children, when you gain more wisdom and when you begin to think more deeply, you stop jumping into things unprepared at the spur of the moment, don’t you? It’s almost as though by experiencing fear [of failure] you learn to be more hesitant.

Yeah, there is that too. It’s like you become more cowardly. That’s why, in all honesty, part of me was scared before our gig at the Tokyo Big Sight.

— You were scared?

Yes. We did some old songs we don’t normally do at our gigs, and the fact being that it was Christmas Eve I felt that it needed to be particularly special, which meant there was this fear that I don’t normally experience. I thought that [for the fans] getting to hear old songs again would be great, but the old songs hold the imagery [scenes] of when they were released along with the past, so people might think it was best not to touch those songs and to leave them as they were…or they might think they were better when we played them in the past… I kept having these thoughts. Actually, the first song we did was ‘Zakuro gata no yuutsu’ (single released in July 2004), and during rehearsal we tried changing parts of the arrangement, yet when we did it we thought, “Let’s leave it how it originally is. This song isn’t just our song now.” So we left it it.

— I like how you thought, “This song isn’t just our song now”. I’m sure all the fans were really happy for those words.

It’s because it’s not just ours, it’s something we share [with the fans]. See, when we do old songs, because we’ve become used to seeing what else we can do [to improve], we want to do everything to the maximum, but I think that’s different with old songs. Because of the way they are, they have a meaning to them. If I went to see a band I liked and they played their old songs, I’d want to listen to them the way they originally were, too. That’s what music is all about. Old songs have become part of memories. Don’t you think that your memories have transformed into something more beautiful than the time of the actual events? That’s why, in relation to songs, the impressions that they made have also transformed into something more beautiful and they live within those memories. I feel that we shouldn’t shatter those memories. The fact is, my memories have become something more beautiful too (laughs). Memories get saved one rank higher [in terms of beauty or enjoyment] than how things actually were. At least, I think they do…

— Ahahaha! You sound like a tired old man with the way you said that as though you’re drained of energy! (laughs) But I think that idea [thought] is more so in boys rather than girls. Girls are more realistic, so though there are memories which have become more beautiful, when it comes to love and relationships, we’re able to seal them away and completely forget about them.

That’s so saaaad! (laughs) But yeah, I guess girls are probably more realistic. But then again, boys are stupid (laughs). Well not “stupid”, but “simple-minded” (laughs). Girls are outrageous! (laughs)

— There may be some girls out there who say they’re “simple-minded”.

That’s true (laughs). But girls are quite strong [-minded, emotionally], aren’t they? (laughs)

— As to “strong”, I think fans of the GazettE are particularly strong. Like at the Tokyo Big Sight, they were really getting into it! It was actually like a battle scene.

I really think that too. Even seeing it from the stage I think, “wow”. But to be honest, it makes me very happy. Although it would be bad if someone got hurt, and I’m sure it’s a lot of work for the security guards, but as long as you make sure no one gets hurt and you don’t cause a lot of trouble to the people around you, I think it’s better if you really go for it. I’d want the fans to really enjoy themselves. So long as you keep the peace and to the very minimum follow the most important rules, I don’t think it’s any problem if you leave your seat a little and head-bang! The number one priority is that you enjoy yourselves.

— When I watch the GazettE fans, I realise just how lucky they are, because they get this chance to really enjoy themselves. It makes me think that if they get to enjoy themselves that much, the ticket prices really aren’t expensive at all [they’re worth the price].

Ahahaha! Ticket prices, eh? (laughs) But really, they try hard to save up their money and buy them, don’t they? I want them to really enjoy themselves during that time [of the gig]. As with this time [Tokyo Big Sight gig], I kept that in mind when we put the set-list together. I couldn’t wait to see the fans’ reactions to the first song ‘Zakuro gata no yuutsu’. In saying that, I bet you were all surprised at *’Rudolf the red nosed reindeer’! (laughs)
[*During the first encore after Kai and Reita’s rhythm set, Uruha and Aoi joined them to perform a rendition of ‘Rudolf the red nosed reindeer’ at the gig because it was Christmas Eve!]

— It was hilarious when Ruki said in his MC [talk], “Rudolf the red reindeer” – he’d turned the whole reindeer red! (laughs)

He did, he did! (laughs) It’s ’cause he’s not used to anything like that (laughs). We might seem like a band who might not do that kind of thing, but as the GazettE, we do (laughs). We may be stiff [in our image], but we have a strong feeling of wanting to please and make the fans happy. But seriously, we probably won’t do something like that ever again. It was 2 days before the gig when Uruha said, “Shall we do ‘Red-nosed reindeer’?”, but we sure ain’t gonna do something like that frequently (laughs).

— And then you go and make yourself [yourselves] detestable by saying that (laughs). How did you decide your set-list?

Each of us sort of said, “What about this song?”, and then we’d re-listen to the CD [of the song], then be like, “Yeah, it’s good. Let’s go with this one!” We’d been rehearsing since the beginning of December, but instead of our usual rehearsing studio, it’d be only us members in a small studio in the middle of town and such. We’d use the amps provided at the studio[s]. We’d never really done anything like that before, so we all clearly enjoyed ourselves; the rehearsals and the gig itself.

— How did you come about rehearsing in that way?

Well, we’d been relaxing too much near the end of last year, and we had so much time on our hands but nothing to do (laughs), and no one in particular suggested it, but it was kind of like, “Let’s rehearse, guys” (laughs). In the end, that’s all there is for us to do (laughs). Even now, we’re talking about doing those kind of rehearsals again, because we had good experience from it. That’s why I’m ready to fly out [give it my all] this year. Still, we’d been busy rushing about without any breaks until now, so it’s nice to have been given time to myself, where I get to do things I like such as see to my motorbike, as I’d been fixing it up. I’m thinking of showing my motorbike at a “Customised [motorbikes] Show”, as I’ve now sent it off to be completely re-modelled, and I’m looking forward to seeing it when it gets back to me. Also, recently I’ve been looking after a cute ‘okameinko’ [type of parakeet bird] called “Keiji” (laughs).

— You’ve certainly been enjoying your spare time, haven’t you?

Thanks to a lot of things, yes (laughs). But in the end, us lot (GazettE) needs to do gigs, or rather, we’ve realised that it’s not good to have pointless amounts of free time (laughs).In any case, I’d like to work hard [in my career] in 2010. The other day, the 5 of us members went out drinking in what was probably 5 years, and we had a general chat about how we want to go about 2010. It’d been ages since the 5 of us had gone out drinking together, and I really enjoyed it. We joked around, talked about stupid and pointless stuff, and it reminded me, “The GazettE is great”. With that in mind, now, I’m being ambitious in many ways in my work, so I’d like everyone to be expecting of our next developments.

Okay, after an hour playing with the prime number machine, i've decided that it's definitely time to do my essay. tweets will cease now.

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