V-Rock Fest 2009: Versailles Philharmonic Quintet

Interview

by Leela McMullen, Heather Ford, posted November 9, 2009

Versailles at V-Rock Festival 2009

Versailles at V-Rock Festival 2009, Courtesy of BackStage Project Inc.

In their first appearance since signing to major record label Warner Music Group, Versailles took to the stage at the world’s first VK rock festival. Their performance was expectedly emotional for both band and fans, given the recent passing of Versailles’ bassist, Jasmine You. But the underlying message was clear: Versailles is ready to step back into the spotlight and take on the world with their music.

ROKKYUU Magazine was able to speak for a short time with Versailles after their performance at V-Rock Festival 2009.

69: V-Rock Festival has done a great job catering to foreign fans, but we’d like to know what you think is the most Japanese element of your performances.

KAMIJO: Melody.

69: What makes Japanese melodies different?

(Long silence)

YUKI: Well, with the Japanese language, each syllable of a word fits each note and that’s what creates the flow. That kind of typical Japanese melody is very common.

69: Earlier this year you performed a ‘foreigners only’ live at Meguro Rock May Kan. What was the atmosphere like for you there? When you performed overseas, did you find that foreigners in Japan respond differently to foreigners overseas?

KAMIJO: There isn’t that much difference, but when we performed overseas the feeling wasn’t just “We’re able to see you”, but “Finally, we are able to see you”.

69: Did you notice at your Rock May Kan live that the foreign fans had picked up furitsuke (choreography), which, generally speaking, is atypical of Western music culture?

HIZAKI: It’s kind of different for whatever country you go to and it depends on the person, people who want to do it will do it. I think that’s the best way.

69: KAMIJO, you mentioned in another interview that new bands were becoming “visual kei on the outside only.” What do you think visual kei should be like, musically or conceptually?

KAMIJO: Visual kei is not a genre of music. Visual kei is a way of expressing, for individuals to express themselves.

69: So since this is the world’s first all visual kei festival, how do you think VK is being presented? Do you think this is a good representation?

KAMIJO: Well, there is definitely no mistake in having us perform here. (band laughs)

69: We’d like to move on to your PVs. Do you get the ideas for them from the music, or do you already have an image in your mind for them that then prompts the music?

KAMIJO: From the music, although while we’re writing the music, we’re also thinking about the PV and what kind of image we want to create.

69: And what about your lyrics? Do you have to write the music to fit the lyrics or does the music always come first?

KAMIJO: The music.

69: Your visual style is very distinctive, but have you ever performed out of Versailles costumes?

KAMIJO: No.

69: If you did, would it affect how you performed?

HIZAKI: This [costume] is normal.

69: Today, Matenrou Opera’s bassist Yo played for you, and since joining your label they have rocketed onto the scene. Are there any other bands you are interested in playing with in regards to the label?

KAMIJO: Yes.

69: Who?

KAMIJO: It’s a secret.

69: OK. What are your plans for the label? Would you like to expand or continue to concentrate on Versailles?

KAMIJO: We’d like to keep it just exactly how it is.

69: Finally, when you announced that you were coming to V-Rock Festival, you had a small note about “Jasmine You’s dream” and how you plan to continue on with it. Do you feel that coming here today has been a step in that direction?

KAMIJO: Of course, Jasmine You had a dream, but that dream is the same as ours, it doesn’t change for us. Of course. This has been a good step, and we’re taking these steps one at a time.

69: Once again, thank you for today! Do you have any messages to pass on to your fans?

HIZAKI: Please come out of your way to a nearby town and definitely come to see us during our world tour.

KAMIJO: If you come, we will embrace you.

YUKI: If you call us, we will go anywhere to meet you.

TERU: Please listen to all our albums and come and have fun at our lives!

Leela McMullen is a strong believer in the philosophy "no music, no life." Having traversed the range of Japanese fandoms, she found her home at last in visual kei and has made it her mission to share what she loves most with the world. Leela completed her B.A. in Japanese language from Griffith University in Gold Coast Australia. She now lives and works in Japan, striving to bring you the goods, hot from the scene. Follow her on twitter for juicy hints of upcoming articles if you've got a bit of Japanese language under your belt! http://twitter.com/#!/LeelaInTokyo

Heather Ford, opinionated but friendly, studied linguistics for the love of talking to people and enjoys nothing more than a long chat over a glass of wine. For Heather, there's never a moment without music or a day without dancing. She can't get enough of summer festivals and the great outdoors, but needs more hours in the day for internet gossip in bed. Heather writes to entertain and tells it how it is. She loves Japan for the lights in the big cities, the fireflies in the country, the rock concerts and rock gardens, the insane fashion and beautiful traditions, and for all the unforgettable memories.

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  1. sakurahiki
    Sakura_VisuKei

    Awww!!! I just love them even more!! <3..Yes please come by Canada Versailles!!! <3