JaME held a brief interview with alice nine. before their American debut as part of the JRock Revolution event in Los Angeles, California.
Popular PS Company band alice nine. took some time out of their busy schedule to answer a few of our questions the day before their performance. Casually dressed, the five member band spoke to us about their formation, their lyrics, and their new single, WHITE PRAYER.
Where did the inspiration for your band name come from?
Shou: The ‘alice’ part of our name we just thought looked and sounded cool; very visual-kei. We write the ‘nine’ in a Japanese character though, in kanji, to show our roots and our pride as a Japanese band.
What can you tell us about the band formation?
Shou: Tora and I had been in a band together previously. At that time, Nao and Saga were also looking for band members so we were naturally drawn to one another. Shortly after that, we saw Hiroto at a show with his band. We all thought he was really cool and would fit in perfectly with the band.
Then you mostly knew each other previously?
Shou: We knew of each other, but we weren’t really friends until alice nine..
What prompted you to begin in the visual-kei scene?
Tora: I really like metal and that kind of music, and I felt that the visual-kei scene was the closest to that spirit.
Hiroto: I really admire hide of X-Japan, so it was natural for me to go into visual-kei.
Shou: My idols were also in visual-kei; I love Luna Sea.
Saga: Luna Sea, the same as Shou.
Nao: I had friends already involved in the scene, so it was only natural for me to end up in it as well.
When it comes to composing and creating your songs, is the music or the lyrics written first?
Shou: The music is written first.
Have you ever been surprised by the lyrics that Shou creates to match the music?
Hiroto: I’m always surprised, but it can go two different ways. Sometimes, the imagery that I have in my mind when I’m writing…. Shou‘ll create lyrics that match it so perfectly! It’s a little scary (laughs). Other times though, he goes in a completely different direction from what I expected and I’ll be really shocked. But it’s always a good surprise, no matter which way it goes.
What can you tell us about your newest single, WHITE PRAYER?
Shou: It’s about being together as well as a play on words. When the lights, the spotlights, all come together on stage, they become white. ‘Prayer’ brings ‘purity’ to mind, just like ‘white’ does.
As the lyricist for the band, is it ever difficult to come up with the right words to express yourself or your ideas?
Shou: It depends. If I’m inspired by something else, like a movie or a book, it’s okay. When it has to do with my life though, my own heart and feelings, it’s much more difficult.
You’ve also used quite a bit of English in some of your songs, such as Q and Dead School Screaming. How do you decide which parts to put in English and which to put in Japanese?
Shou: I go by the overall feel of the song and whichever language calls to me.
Your fans tend to do a lot of coordinated hand motions in Japan while fans in America and many other countries, tend to be much more individualistic with their actions at concerts. What do you think of this difference in culture?
Tora: We haven’t played here in America yet, so we’re not sure how it’ll be.
Shou: Everyone feels music differently, so everyone reacts differently.
Please give a message to your many fans.
Tora: Even though there’s some differences in language and culture, we’re really happy to be here.
Hiroto : (nods) I feel exactly the same; I’m so glad to be here.
Shou: I’m so happy and excited to finally see some of our American fans.
Saga: I am too; we’re all really happy to be playing overseas.
Nao: (thinks for a moment) ….. (in English) Do you love me?
Thank-you very much for your time.
JaME would like to thank the JRock Revolution staff, the Renaissance hotel, PS Company, and alice nine..