[Japan/America] VAMPS Q&A and Press Conference at Otakon

VAMPS Q&A and Press Conference at Otakon

interview – 06.08.2009 01:01

author: Jess

VAMPS took time out of their US tour schedule to make an appearance at Otakon 2009, answering an array of questions.
© VAMPS – VAMPROSE
After having played an incredible show in Baltimore the night before, VAMPS made a quick stop at one of the nation’s largest anime conventions, Otakon, before continuing their month long US tour schedule. Friday afternoon, fans were delighted to attend a Q&A panel with the band. As the audience waited patiently for the band to arrive, footage from the band’s live DVD played on the projector screen behind the stage where VAMPS would soon sit. Growing restless, fans chanted “We love VAMPS!” and even broke out singing the chorus of TROUBLE until finally, it was time for the band to come out.

Sauntering across the stage to their seats, even the cool, sunglasses-wearing HYDE and K.A.Z couldn’t hide their surprise at the blazing hot welcome the audience gave them. Taking their seats, a wave of chatter went through the crowd, pointing out that HYDE had brought in with him a single piece of cake. After settling down, it was time for the panel to begin.

Amazing, isn’t it?

HYDE: (in English) Hello! We’re VAMPS! Thanks for coming!

What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do but never have had the chance?

HYDE: (takes a bite of cake, scratches head and thinks) Make soba from scratch! (imitates making soba)
K.A.Z: I want to make a dish from scratch and then break it! (imitates throwing a dish)

Have you had the chance to eat any American food during the tour? If so, what has been your favorite dish?

(The audience starts shouting “Crab! Crab!”)
HYDE: Ah! (looks side to side, leans into the microphone and whispers) …crab! I eat crab!
K.A.Z: Me too!
(The audience erupts into cheers)
HYDE: So many… eat and eat… yummy yummy!
K.A.Z: Yummy yummy.

What motivated you to choose the USA for this tour?

HYDE: (in English) I want an American girlfriend!
(The audience erupts once more into cheers and screams)
K.A.Z: I love to stay in the US!

If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would you meet and why?

HYDE: Oh… (thinks for a bit) Jesus Christ!
(Audience laughs and applauds. As they settle down, HYDE takes another bite of his cake and stares at the audience blankly with his fork hanging out of his mouth, causing the audience to laugh all over again before laughing himself.)
K.A.Z: It’s a hard question! I’ll have to think about it…

Part of the fun of watching anime is seeing characters with super natural or super human powers. If you could have any special power, what would it be and why?

HYDE: Ah! (thinks) To fly in the sky.

Why?

HYDE: It’d be a very good feeling! It’s not like I want to fly really high up in the sky, but kind of like, close to the roof, that kind of feeling. (takes off sunglasses and imitates flying)

K.A.Z?

K.A.Z: I want to be invisible!

Why?

HYDE: (in English) He wants to go to the bathroom!
(Everyone bursts out laughing.)
K.A.Z: Yeah, go to the girls’ bathroom, their shower room!

What are you favorite animes?

HYDE: “Evangelion!”
(Crowd cheers)
HYDE: I love “Evangelion” the best out of all movies! “Evangelion” is the best! Have you guys watched the second movie that’s out in the theater?

It’s not out here yet…

HYDE: Ahhh! (in English) More fucking great! (gives a thumbs up as the crowd cheers) I recommend that you pay the airfare and go see it in Japan! It’s that good!

K.A.Z?

K.A.Z: “Death Note.”
(Crowd cheers again)
K.A.Z: I also really like “Detroit Metal City.”
HYDE: He did the theme song for “Detroit Metal City!”

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you during a concert or tour?

HYDE: Crazy? (in English) Everyday crazy! (laughs)
K.A.Z: Crazy… I jumped off the stage. It was really high up, and when I landed after I jumped, I broke my leg.
HYDE: (points out a member of the audience with a cast) Did you jump off a stage too?

Fan: Ice skating!

HYDE: (in English) Danger! (laughs)

While in America, have you had any big inspirations?

HYDE: Because you Americans are very open when expressing your emotions – that dynamic – it makes me feel more open because Japan is culturally pretty reserved. We act that way, but the United States makes us more open and able to freely express ourselves. (does a little dance in his seat)
K.A.Z: Everybody is very kind to us. I feel more friendliness here than in Tokyo.

Who is your favorite singer, other than yourself?

HYDE: (makes faces and grabs his head as he thinks, causing everyone to laugh) Jim Morrison!
K.A.Z: Sting!

If you could tour with any other artist, who would you tour with?

HYDE: (thinks) Sting!

Have you ever been to Chicago, and would you ever like to tour there?

HYDE: No, we’ve never been. I want to go to Chicago!

Lastly, a message for the fans?

HYDE: Thank you so much for coming to the panel. There are so many people here, thank you! You’ve been so nice to us and I almost feel like I don’t want to leave, I’ve had so much fun! We will come back so please wait for us!
K.A.Z: I’m glad to see you guys! Thank you so much for coming to our panel! We would love to come back and see you guys again! (HYDE is eating his cake again.) I wonder if HYDE‘s cake is good?
HYDE: You want it? (laughs)

Please give it up for VAMPS!

HYDE: Thank you very much!

Immediately following the Q&A panel, VAMPS relocated to a private room for a brief follow up press conference.

How did you find out that “Do you like crabs” was so well remembered by your fans here?

HYDE: Ahh, actually, the last time I came to Baltimore in 2004, I said it, but I totally forgot about it. Then I heard that fans get together and actually talk about the “do you like crab” thing and was reminded about it, and that’s why I used that during yesterday’s concert. Once I said it, it was like, oh, that’s right! Everyone remembered.

At last night’s concert, you did a lot of cover songs and songs from HYDE‘s solo period. Why did you include that in a VAMPS concert?

HYDE: If it’s a cover song, we transform it into VAMPS taste.
K.A.Z: We don’t recognize it as somebody’s song, we recognize it as our song.
HYDE: For the audience too, we wanted to sing some English songs, so they could sing along.

You two collaborated a lot before actually formally forming the band. Has there been any change in the collaborative process since officially forming the band?

HYDE: Not too much difference. I’m not sure if it’s because of us forming VAMPS, or maybe because our relationship has been so long, but these days, I just leave it up to him and I do something else.
K.A.Z: It’s changed a little, because I have more stuff to do now.

Ju-ken did a good job of riling up the crowd last night. Are you guys considering have him as an official part of VAMPS?

HYDE: VAMPS is the two of us, but once we get on the stage, it’s all of us as one band. We never differentiate like that.

The word ‘vamps’ means both vampire and a flashy, sexy type of woman. Were you considering either of those meanings when you named the band VAMPS?

HYDE: Originally, I named VAMPS for vampires, but we like the flashy, mysterious women too. It’s all good! (laughs)

Why did you choose to write most of your album lyrics in English as opposed to Japanese?

HYDE: Usually, I listen to a lot of songs in English – the lyrics are in English. I like that atmosphere, that’s why I tend to write a lot in English. When I want to attack the Japanese people with my words, then I use Japanese.

K.A.Z, is there any kind of adjustment or difference going from OBLIVION DUST to VAMPS?

K.A.Z: Even just a change in the person you play with, there’s so much inspiration. Everybody has a different sound, it’s a very different atmosphere. That’s why it’s very interesting for me. It’s like a chemical reaction!

Are you ever surprised by the response of American fans as opposed to Japanese fans?

HYDE: Actually, in Japan, it’s normally, on this part of the song everybody gets excited about, or this part of the concert gets really energetic, kind of like everybody knows what’s going on. But in the United States, when I was expecting people to get really excited, it wasn’t so much at that time, or sometimes it’s not at that big part of the song, but there’s still so much reaction throughout. The reaction level is always different, it’s very unexpected. That’s why it’s very fun for us to do and it’s very encouraging. Basically, to me, American fans are very open and it’s very nice to see that.

Your CD booklet has a story running through the pages about a girl being bitten and not being able to put on makeup. How did that story come about?

HYDE: While we were in the middle of the process of making the booklet for the first edition of the album, we realized it looked like a picture book. Because of that, we thought maybe if we had a story inside the album booklet it would be interesting. That’s why we made it.

Has VAMPS affected your work with OBLIVION DUST? You were supposed to put out an album this year or next.

K.A.Z: Not so much, because everybody has their own timing and everybody knows when you perform in a band so we all coordinate it.

What’s your favorite Mötley Crüe song?

(Everyone laughs)
K.A.Z: “Dr. Feelgood.”
HYDE: “Live Wire.”

HYDE, you were really adamant about how great “Evangelion” was in the fan panel. Why do you love “Evangelion” so much?

HYDE: (in English) I don’t know. (laughs) I don’t know why I like it so much. The second movie is out in Japan right now, it blew my mind. I would never have thought one actual movie could be so inspiring and affect the bottom of my heart. It’s so weird, after I watched the movie, it made me so tired. I felt like I almost fought in the movie or something. It was a great movie!

Lastly, if this tour is successful, are you planning to come back next year and expand? What city do you look forward to going to?

HYDE: I don’t have much experience having concerts or touring in the United States. It makes me feel kind of jittery sometimes. Many fans are very nice to us and give us such a warm welcome, so because of that, we don’t have anxiety or worries at all and we can play with our usual energy we have in Japan, that’s really nice. Next year, we’d like to include the United States, too, but we hope to have a bigger tour though we’re not working on it right now. Thank you so much!

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