'SHADOWPLAY', Alice Nine's 2nd single that has been released consecutively for 3 months, has been released. Following 'Daybreak', this song shows the dramatic and sweet world of Alice Nine. The dynamic arrangement of the keyboard over the metallic sound is a technique that can only be done by Alice Nine. Every time they release a new single, they show their potential. BARKS will feature 3 consecutive articles on ALICE NINE, who has welcomed their 9th anniversary, over a period of 3 months based on 9 keywords. For the 2nd article, we interviewed them based on 3 keywords 'VISUAL' 'LOVE' and 'UNKNOWN', revealing some unexpected sides of the musicians. Please look forward to this.
'I'm done hearing critics say Alice Nine can't do Metal-Rock but they are trying to make it look like they can.' (Sho)
--I really get what you meant when you said last time that you wanted to be a 'homemade style thick Tonkotsu (pork base) ramen store.' If I say 'Daybreak' has a soothing tune, 'SHADOWPLAY' has a strong dramatic metal tune.
Saga (B): Exactly!
Sho (Vo): Yes , that's exactly what it is.
--I thought it was a bold move after 'Daybreak'. What's the intention behind that?
Sho: I wrote the original and I wanted to surprise the audience because one of our main composers plays string instruments. I'm not really a metal guy but while playing metal-ish songs in the album, I started liking those metal tunes that change the mood of the atmosphere like a play performed at a theater. I wrote the tune thinking of the stage changing according to the different sections and this is the thick metal sound song that came out of it (lol).
--Did it originally sound dramatic?
Sho: Yes, it was.
--And the 1st and 2nd chorus sound so different like a scenery change.
Sho: If I write thinking of my own excitement, the same scenery doesn't come to my mind. 'Niji no Yuki' had a lot of modulations. This kind of craziness is very unique to my style of writing.
--Yes, exactly. Also, the keyboard leaves an impression in this song. I think it's a bold move to suddenly switch over to only vocal and piano in a metallic song.
Sho: I just simply thought I wanted a piano in the background, and hoped Saga will play the piano in this song.
Sho: He just brushed off that idea (lol), but I'm hopeing he'd play the intro.
--How do you perceive this song, Saga? Is this a metal song?
Saga: It doesn't sound like anything other than metal.
Sho: But I don't really want the metal sound to be the selling point.
--Whaaat?! The metal sound isn't the selling point?
Sho: No no, it's my pleasure for the songs to get recognized as a metal song. What I meant is that I'm done hearing critics say Alice Nine can't play Metal-Rock but they are trying to make it look like they can. I didn't write this song for the sake of metal rock, but the melody came first and we needed the metal sound to fully bring the song to life. We're riding on a metal sound. This is why I thought we need this song to be the main single.
--I see. Now I'd like to ask Hiroto. Having your roots in the UK, have you been listening to metal rock from before?
Hiroto (G): I don't really have any roots (bluntly). I came to it as I write songs for this band.
Saga: You said you grew up listening to 'Halloween (a German Metal band)!
Hiroto: I listened to it but it's not my roots. I did listen to METALLICA and SLAYER, though.
Saga: That's pretty main stream metal!
Hiroto: I didn't copy them.
Saga: But you have a bit of their influence in your spirit, maybe? In your Hiroto Soul (lol)?
Hiroto: Having said that, I didn't think I'd play a metal song in my band. Now I play whatever we play without any hesitation. And the song has a strong melody so I didn't care whether the guitar sound and the arrangement were metal or not.
'For the next one... it'll be 10pm when you leave the ramen store. And we'll invite you out to see the night view.'(Saga)
--How about you Tora?
Tora(G):I don't really care if it's metal or not. I just played the tunes that go along with the song. Alice Nine plays a songs from a variety of generes. So I think this songs belongs to the genre of Alice Nine.
--I see. How about you Nao? Did you get to enjoy the twin pedal drums? I was blown away by your performance.
Nao(Dr): Really? I had ‘kara age' (fried chicken) in my bento box today along with some ‘ebi fry' (fried shrimp). Made me think, 'this is so Metal.'
--... umm.... As an normal person, I don't get the punch line (lol).
Nao: (completely ignoring the fact that he made a weird joke) I wouldn't say anything 'cause I could totally imagine a professional American drummer say, 'YOU can't say that's metal!' And when we published the MV, one of the comments said 'Simple'.
--That's a kind of shocking (lol)
Nao; Yes it was. I think it's because the melody is strong. Even though I tried hard, I'm sorry I made it sound simple (Members laugh).
--Hahaha (lol). Speaking of the MV, the sound is so different from your previous work.
Sho: Visual-Kei bands like us have a beauty reputation to keep up for the audience with a proper dress code. It's our courtesy to the audience. That's our strength and charm, I think. I really wanted to try something only this kind of band can do. So in the MV we compared the shadow to a crow and the sense of loss to a flower. The video is dark and lonely but bittersweet.
--Speaking of dark and lonely, I think this B-side song 'Scarlet' expresses the beauty side of this world well. To be honest, this thick gothic sound and the essence of UK that it contain definitely follows in the foot steps of LUNA SEA in a classic way.
Tora: That's exactly it!
Sho; Yeah, the composer of this song, Saga, just had an expression on his face that said, 'Exactly what I wanted!' (lol)
Saga: I came up with this song when I was jamming on LUNA SEA songs at an event. Even though it wasn't a serious session, we got pretty serious about it.
Hiroto: You're getting me nervous.
Saga: We were saying 'LUNA SEA definitely rocks' and this song was created (lol). So, everyone will think of LUNA SEA when they hear it. It's perfect as a B-side song.
--So, tell me about the 3 consecutive releases. For the first song we ate Genovese at a Italian restaurant, and for the second song you took us to a homemade ramen store. Where will you take us for the third song (lol).
Saga: For the next one... it'll be 10pm when you leave the ramen store. And we'll invite you out to see the night view.
Hiroto: Yeah, next one's definitely a night view.
Nao: Oh, that was a night view? I somehow thought it was a hotel (Everyone laughs).
Sho: No no no (lol), a bar lounge on the top floor of a fancy hotel.
Tora: Oh, that's what you meant.
Hiroto: The song has a 'I will give you all the city night view' kind of feeling to it. Yeah, we're totally trying sound cool (lol).
Saga: And we're gonna scream 'I love you!!' while looking out into the night view (lol).
Sho: There's nothing you can do if you get dumped after this.
--So, we're gonna move onto the second part of the interview. I'm going to interview you based on 9 keywords for 3 three consecutive months. This is the second month.
--Why do you guys declare that you've drifted away from Visual-Kei?
Sho: When I was younger, I used to feel something weird about those people who said that. It's not so cool to deny your root or where you came from. We haven't achieved anything even close to what our predecessors have achieved but I'm so proud to be a Visual-Kei artist.
Hiroto: We love and respect the fact that the world of Visual-Kei is far away from the daily life and our inspirations have their own world that words cannot describe. That's why we don't claim ourselves as Visual-Kei Artist.
Saga: It's easy if people come to your show because you're beautiful or because you make up on. But it could be a burden. The bottom line is that if the music is good, the band will stay.
--Please tell me what you 'Love' about your fellow members. Let's start with Sho.
Nao: When he comes in to the bath when I'm taking a bath (members laugh).
Saga: Really!? That really happens?
Nao: I don't usually use the hot tub but when we went on our FC trip, we had an outdoor hot spring in our room. It looked so nice that I went in.
Hiroto: I didn't know Nao took hot baths!
Nao: Yes! And I took a bath many times, and finally, Sho joined and I loved it (lol).
Tora: I love his seriousness.
Hiroto: I like his singing voice.
Saga: I like how he remembers our birthdays and anniversaries, and does something to celebrate it. I'm the type that forgets.
Hiroto: Sho cares about people.
--Let's move on to Nao.
Sho: He turns into a big bro when we're alone.
Tora: His laugh. So high but when you start liking it, it's a kind of addictive (lol).
Hiroto: The atmosphere that he produces.
Saga: He can be his energetic self even in new environments.
--How about Tora?
Sho: His voice when he talks.
Nao: His body (Everyone laughs). Not in a weird way. I think he represents a general image of a masculine man.
Hiroto: But he becomes a chicken, like... being afraid of roaches. I'm like, 'with that body and face, you're still afraid of that?!'
Saga: Night Tora! He's funny when he's drunk. He shows his emotion in a straight forward way.
--How about Hiroto?
Sho: He's a good guy、too good to be in a band.
Nao: If he's been honest with me, he has the purest soul.
Tora: His honesty, if he has been (lol).
Saga: As a man, I totally envy him. He will be forgiven if he does things I would be punished for, if I'm not being tricked by him (lol).
--Please tell me about Saga.
Sho: He's perverted but sincere. When I read the lyrics to 'Hello, World', it really surprised me (lol).
Nao: How he's been saving up money meticulously (everyone laughs).
Tora: He looks very unique but he really takes good consideration about the band and creates a good balance.
Hiroto: He doesn't seem evil.
--Tell me about something that's unknown about Alice Nine.
Sho: There used to be some bands when I was little who look, but I don't think we have that image. Should we be a bit scarier?
Saga: Who's gonna take that role?
Nao: Hiroto. Please, do that with your pure heart.
Hiroto: No no no no (lol). But there's no one unreasonable in this band.
Sho: We really take the outcome into consideration and then act. No, I can't go to that scary side.
Tora: Speaking of unknown, it's kind of an unknown ambition for us to perform at Tokyo Dome.
--How long do you think it'll take?
Tora: Maybe half a year.
Tora: If the next single sells well.
Saga: There's a possibility that it won't make it.
Sho: Before, when Mr.J came to our show he told me, 'You guys grew up watching us, so you guys should go beyond us.' Since he's given us such a cool compliment, I would love to be on the same stage with LUNA SEA, as a man.