1990-2000 Cross Talking
J-ROCK MAGAZINE February 2001 issue
Translation by : Hyluko
IT'S PLEASANT TO CHALLENGE WHAT IS RISKY
This is the first time that you both meet, but Mana-san, you already know about Lucifer-san. What impression did you have about her ?
Mana : I've known about her since Gille' Loves. And few years ago, I saw something like ads in magazines, and in the titles there were words about vampires, also words like "roses". There, I took a great interest in her... You know, when an artist interests me I buy their CDs myself. So, I got the Cds and listened to them.
And what were your impressions about her works ?
Mana : I saw that her visual works were very profound and I felt common points on these aspects.
Lucifer-san, what are your impressions about Malice Mizer ?
Lucifer : I'm sorry to say that I never really listened to their music. But for this meeting I received their works, and during all this week I was obsessed with it (laughs). Above all Mana, you are profound, and I thought, what an entertainer you are. We can say there is a genre called Malice Mizer, can't we? I thought they created a genre which never existed in Japan and they deserve respect for it.
You watched their live video (Merveilles ~ The end and the outcome ~ l'espace). What did you think about it ?
Lucifer : The live was terrific. Since I'm also a musician, even if the fans see it with easiness, I can understand the difficulties to do all that, and as for their amazing ideas... to realize them all is something unbelievable. That was my impression. I think that as far no one in Japan was able to do such thing, at that point, and it was surely hard to do it for the first time.
Mana : Yes it was. As for rock, I didnt have any models. I mostly took reference to musicals, but it doesn't mean that I'm fond of them. Since there are various good aspects of entertainment in each of them, I assimilated them and explored the "good aspects" in me. It was that kind of impression.
Including the aspect that I think that Malice Mizer has always realized what they wanted to do.
Mana : People usually don't like to do what no one did before, because they feel anxious, and to investigate toward something unknown is also difficult in the physical aspect. But even if everybody thinks "that's impossible", since someone realizes it, we can say that humans are able to do anything. So, at the moment where this is realized, the future is opened, and we can finally be understood. What is hard, is to convince people that is it possible until "realizing" it.
Lucifer : But isn't it pleasant to challenge what is risky ?
Mana : Yes it is.
Malice Mizer and you both do yourself not only the stage set but also the flyers and ads. Does it mean that you pay attention to that point to your expression ?
Lucifer : I thought it was natural to do it myself, and I've always had the confidence in the fact that among the people who were around me, I was the one who could do things the better way. So I couldn't let someone else doing it. But when you go on with your band activities for a certain time, various persons propose to take your photos, do your make-up, the videos, the programmings, I mean the professionals. But then, I thought in the contrary : "So that what the professionals are able to do. Then I can do all of it myself", and I was working alone again.
Mana : It's true that the more important you get theres more persons working with you, but since each person has his own way of thinking, and sees different things, it often occurred that despite all the explanations I was giving, I wasn't understood, so I felt a dilemma about it. So, for what we were able to do ourselves, we wished even more to do everything ourselves. That was one of the reasons why we left our major label to create our own (Midinette MxM). Apparently, for the live production there are stage managers and others who take care of everything, but as far as we are concerned, for the stage set we drew the sketches from the plane ones to the relief ones ourselves, and we wrote all the stories too. Then everyone was astonished about it. I couldn't understand why they were surprised and thought : "what, so they even do that themselves !?"
Since you create your world paying that much attention, it must be the same for each of your songs. I guess it's lots of work.
Mana : It depends also on the songs, but basically I don't write a song in order to compose it. I create it basing myself on a concept that exists, so I imagine the story in my head and choose the sounds which suit the landscape, so it takes me a long time. Since I don't know the chords and don't understand the music theories, I compose by feeling around for the sounds in my head, so I can't at all create songs so fast.
And you work again on them with your band.
Mana : We've been playing together for a long time so we approximately know the sensibility of each other, therefore the songs don't go in a wrong direction, they all progress in the good direction. The other members don't pay that much attention to be musicians either, so they don't think "I must play guitar" or "I must play bass", they give various ideas and this helps me very much.
What about you Lucifer-san ?
Lucifer : At the beginning I was only writing the lyrics, but today I also compose the music, include the melodies for the singing, do the arrangements, the programming, so I do it all. But until it all fits together in the final form like a puzzle, I break it once achieved, I rebuild it after breaking it, so it takes me also a lot of time. I think that, you know the sculptors often say "I didn't sculpt it, I only dug to extract what was already inside". I think the music has also its final form at the moment where it plays in my mind. So it's like if I was searching this final form proceeding by trial and error.
In your case Lucifer-san, you express yourself not only with music but also with words. Is it in order to construct the world which is in you by the words ?
Lucifer : Yes. Since I also compose the music now, I have to adjust the number of the words, and even if it looks great when read as a poem, if it sounds nasty as a song then it's bad. For these aspects it's also like a puzzle. So, for the stories I can't complete here, I wish to write them as novels.
Will they be independent ?
Lucifer : No, they will be linked. There is a story, and I write songs of it. It's like if I was composing the music of a movie. The fact that there is at first a story has maybe common points with the methods of Mana-san.
A moment ago, we talked a little about vampires, which are one of your common points. On what occasion were you interested in them ?
Mana : The first time I was interested in them was when I was a kid at primary school. I liked the fact that vampires were and are related to horror very much. I was reading stuff that the children usually read, like "Demons xx Manual". Late in the night we could often watch vampire movies. Unlike the common horror movies, there were "beauty", "insanity" or "sadness", and these elements were well balanced, and I felt in them something mysterious. This has always remained in my heart, but when I was at middle school I was closing my heart on it, and I was an agreeable boy (laughs).
I can hardly imagine you like that (laughs).
Mana : I was dancing on Johnny's (note : boys bands such as Smap) (laughs). So I was totally integrated into the society. But as I was growing, I was more and more searching in me something mysterious, and it was when I was in my late teens that I began to collect this kind of stuff : I was listening to heavy metal, punk. At that period, I hadn't yet found myself so I was listening to various music, and I was doing things blindly. So I have the feeling that with Malice Mizer I finally found what I've wanted to do.
What about you, Lucifer-san ?
Lucifer : For me the "universal" or "eternal" side of Dracula is one big theme. This is at the same time "the passport to bliss" and "the entrance to hell", something I desperately want. This theme has always been in me. I've also liked horror since I was a kid, especially the vampires. Since the primary school I've liked movies like "Shojo no ikichi (Andy Warhol's Dracula)" or "Carmilla", but I was at first fascinated by a manga of Hagio Moto, the character of Edgar in "Poe no ichizoku (The clan of Poe)". Since the hero was a child who had approximately my age, the kid I was could identify with him. It wasn't only for that, I was also touched by the pain of the vampires. So the vampires of this story were the first ones I liked.
Another common point between you two is your magnificent make-up. By making up, Mana-san becomes a woman and Lucifer-san a man.
Lucifer : In fact, I never wished to become a man. Since I was a kid I've felt a strong resistance to wear skirts, I was always wearing jeans and short pants. So, for me it's just about living very naturally and staying as I am.
But since Gille' Loves, the main character of the lyrics says "boku" (note : the masculine way to say "I").
Lucifer : The fact that I didn't wear skirts or sang saying "boku" were all natural things for me, I didn't do it consciously. Since I was a kid there were for me 3 kinds of gender : the man, the woman and the gender. The two former ones didn't concern me, only the person of the third sex, the gender, have always fascinated me, like David Bowie, Akihiro Miwa (note : Japanese transvestite actor) or Peter-san (note : Japanese star). I think, I am myself a gender, and since I was a kid I've always thought I can only love someone like this. So, when I write I naturally write "boku", and at high school my nickname was "Oscar" (note : of "Versailles no bara" ^^) (laughs). So it was something natural for me.
And you Mana-san, what was the occasion ?
Mana : It came tardily (laughs). In my teens I was a man. At that period there was a strong "aggressiveness" in me, and I was a macho man. Ah, but at the beginning of the middle school I was agreeable (laughs). Since then I was feeling more and more anger against the world and I was becoming someone hard. It was in my late teens that I realized there was someone like this inside my heart, and I was waking up.
How did you realize it ?
Mana : I didn't change all of a sudden, but progressively. At the beginning, since I've liked the women's design for the clothes for a while now, I started wearing them, and that way I began to wake up. So there wasn't any precise occasion, my true character was more and more waking up in my mind, it was rather that feeling.
When you make up and become a woman, do you see the world differently ?
Mana : It's when I have this make-up on me that I am myself as usual, and when I'm not made up it's like, I don't know who this person is (laughs).
Lucifer : I think that looking at you, many girls saw their life changed, and they can't go back. I wish you could make many more girls like this (laughs).
Mana : I myself can't go back (laughs). I probably can't go back anymore. There are many bands who are in the Visual kei for a certain time, and then become natural. I think we won't be like them.
Your natural appearance is the one you currently have.
Mana : Absolutely. You know, only looking at someone I can guess : "Why does he use make-up ?". I don't see any person convincing, so I think : "Ah, he probably puts on make up in order to keep in fashion". The persons who find themselves and go on with putting on make up have a different aura emitting from the photos, so I don't see often this kind of person.
A person who emits an aura, is it someone like Akihiro Miwa ?
Mana : Yes.
I WISH TO CREATE MANY THINGS AND GIVE FORM TO THEM
This issue will be released in the end of this year. Can you tell me how was for you the scene of the end of this nineties ?
Mana : Hmmm… let me see. I am not that influenced by the other bands. Since I formed Malice Mizer and knew that "this is my way of living", I am consecrating all my life into it. Until then, I hadn't any reason for living and I was an impossible boy (laughs). I was doing band activities, but I didn't yet know "what do I want to express with this ?" or "what kind of music do I want to do ?".
Why did this kind of boy want to create a band such as Malice Mizer ?
Mana : I wanted to include in the band name "malice and tragedy" Since that period I started being interested in people's psychology, before forming Malice Mizer. It was the time where inside me another me was waking up. So I was quite often doing something like "people watching" and started to think : "what this person is thinking about, and with which kind of feeling…". It's something you can't see, so I wanted it to become something visible to our eyes, to express it by music. Everyone has a "malice" side and "tragedy" is something that can happen at anytime, so I wanted to express by music what is behind this "tragedy" and formed the band Malice Mizer, and there I felt something like : "this is a mission I have to accomplish", and that way we are here today. So for me the nineties are related to the fact I realized that.
What about you Lucifer-san ?
Lucifer : I've only listened to English bands and I didn't know that much about J-rock. But since I started music myself at around the beginning of the nineties, I met people who gave me their works and listened to them, and at the same time I could see what was going on underneath it all… They do it apparently easily but behind the scenes, I could see that they were making many efforts. So for me, these last 10 years were very instructive. Until then, my life was simply the one of a lady living in a good family. Even though I knew like a maniac many good movies and music, I've never created something by myself. It was when my father died exactly 10 years ago and I left my family house that my life started, I have that feeling. So, I feel strongly that the music of the nineties has guided me, instructed me and made me grow up. As for the persons I met, for many of them I thought : "Ah, that was an encounter of destiny"… I think the same thing for today. So, for me the last 10 years were wonderful years.
What would you like to do for the year 2000 ?
Lucifer : I did music from the novel "Lillie Marlene" and I'm currently writing the continuation or parallel stories. I've written 3 chapters the last 2 years. But I still have around 10 chapters in my head and I'd like to write each of them with perseverance, to illustrate them by music, and release them. My dream is that these stories could one day be gathered as literature into one bound book.
This is maybe the arrival point of what you've done so far.
Lucifer : Yes. I have the feeling that all what I've created so far were to realize this.
What about you Mana-san ?
Mana : I'd like to give form in a satisfactory way to the various stories which are in me and express them on stage… It's very hard for me to compose music, I can't create songs successively, so I think it will be the same. It's not because we'll be in the year 2000 that I could suddenly compose music, this pain will always be there, but I wish to create a lot of stuff and give form to them… It will be that.
And this is the most important thing. In the current scene, music has become disposable, so it will be about to create music which won't be like that.
Lucifer : I don't think it will be something disposable. I have the feeling that our music is very close to art like Cocteau. So I think in 50 years people will be listening to us, that’s what I hope. Disposable music has its place, but what we do isn't that. When I listened to old Malice Mizer, I didn't feel it was old and it will probably always be like this. When I listen to old Visual kei today, I feel : "Ah, this is old", but I didn't feel it at all. This is something great, your music passes over ages (laughs).
Mana : Thank you so much (laughs)