With the best album and also VAMPS' world debut album, "SEX BLOOD ROCK N’ROLL" under their belt, VAMPS has gone on a European tour and is preparing for their US tour at the end of the year. For VAMPS, who have begun to advance onto the world stage, "SEX BLOOD ROCK N’ROLL" is their first big step. Since the album was intended for worldwide release, all the songs were re-recorded entirely in English, some parts of the music were newly recorded, and the songs were mixed so that they have the best possible sound quality. This interview was conducted in August at the venue for "VAMPS LIVE 2013[BEAST PARTY]" as VAMPS was putting the finishing touches on the album. This album is more than a mere best album; it is a work that is infused with all of VAMPS' essence.
■I’d always wanted to make one. It’s like the right time has finally come.
■I chose songs that we’d always play live.
--The album, “SEX BLOOD ROCK N’ ROLL” is a greatest hits album, and at the same time, your world debut album. For you, HYDE, which aspect do you feel stronger, personally?
HYDE: The debut aspect. Honestly, I wasn’t thinking very much about its release in Japan.
--In that case, couldn’t you have released “VAMPS” (1st album) and “BEAST” (2nd album) as a 2-disc set?
HYDE: I think 2 discs is a bit too much. I felt that we had to select out of what we had carefully and make something really high quality.
--What do you mean by high quality?
HYDE: At the root is the quality of the songs. We did rewrite and re-record the songs in English, but it all comes down to the songs. These are songs that have been carefully selected out of VAMPS’ repertoire. Live performance is another important theme. But in the end, we wanted to condense our work into 13 tracks and release it as a debut album.
--How long had you been playing with the idea of creating something like this? Was it after you transferred to your current label where the world debut began to look like reality? Or was it something you had in mind from before then?
HYDE: I had always wanted to make one, but I never knew when the right timing was. It’s like the right time has finally come. To be honest, if we were to have released a greatest hits album in Japan, it would have been better to wait a little longer. We’ve only released two albums lol. Initially, I was considering selecting songs from my solo works as well –popular songs like “MIDNIGHT CELEBRATION”. But when we tried to do that, there were just too many songs, so we decided that VAMPS songs would be enough. HYDE’s songs can come later.
--What was the standard used for the selection.
HYDE: Songs you can’t do without. I would choose songs that we’d always play live, and after that, K.A.Z would lay his ideas on top.
--It was a bit surprising that “Life On Mars?” (David Bowie cover) made it through the cut. Of course, it’s a song you often play live, but I was surprised to see a cover song in there.
HYDE: This was K.A.Z’s idea. He wanted to put this song in the album. I’m sure there are many people would think, “shouldn’t it be another song rather than “Life On Mars?”, but we had to think strategically.
HYDE: From a listener’s point of view, cover songs are a great way to catch people’s attention –to get people interested in your music. Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams” (Eurythmics cover) was like that. I think it’s good to have a song that appeals to a wide audience.
--Especially when releasing outside the country.
HYDE: Yeah. Also, the album in general is quite fast-paced, so we figured we’d like to have a slow song in there. That was another rationale.
--I also thought “MY FIRST LAST” was a bit of a surprise too.
HYDE: This was also K.A.Z’s idea lol. He said he wanted something Asian or Japanese on the album, which I thought was a good idea.
--Aside from the cover song, we’ve got 6 tracks from “VAMPS” and 6 tracks from “BEAST”; did you intentionally try to balance this too?
HYDE: It’s like, “Oh, it’s 50:50” lol. We weren’t thinking about that at all.
--Despite the album being a greatest hits release, some of the single songs are not on there. Was it something you did as a way of going global?
HYDE: Yeah, we really had to think in terms of what kind of album would sell abroad. Singles are produced with the Japanese listeners and market on mind.
--Did the selection process go smoothly?
HYDE: Yeah, relatively. We also wanted to put in “SECRET IN MY HEART”, but we couldn’t fit it in, so we had to let that one go lol. There are other songs that we’d love to put in there, but once you start thinking, there’s no end to it. That’s why we didn’t have too much trouble choosing.
--How about the song ordering?
HYDE: The ordering was finalized just day before yesterday (August 7th) lol.
--Now that you mention it, I didn’t receive the tracklist until this morning lol.
HYDE: We really had to wrestle with that part. The ordering was really difficult. It’s usually a lot faster, but this time, the order would play a crucial role in determining the direction of the album.
--There were too many possibilities?
HYDE: For example, we could have gone with the stoic and hard image, but I think that VAMPS has bit of a humoristic feel; we could choose the ordering so that it hides that aspect of the band and make it feel like an alternative heavy rock type of band or to go the opposite direction and make it feel really pop. This was a hard decision to make.
--In the end, where did you land?
HYDE: We found a good middle ground, but we went with something with a strong major label feel to it.
--Did you consider about your setlists at shows?
HYDE: We didn’t really consider it, but it sounds quite live oriented. In my mind, there’s that feeling of, “I want the next song to be like this”, so that naturally came out.
[Interview] HYDE from VAMPS Talks About World And “SEX BLOOD ROCK N’ ROLL” to be continued in Part 2