Vidoll spoke with JaME the day before their American debut about their upcoming singles, America, and instant ramen.
JaME was given the opportunity to speak with popular visual-kei band Vidoll the day before their performance at the Wiltern in Los Angeles as part of the JRock Revolution Event held at the end of May.
For our readers who may not be familiar with you yet, please introduce yourselves.
Giru: Vidoll guitarist, Giru.
Jui: Vidoll vocalist, Jui. Nice to meet you.
Rame: Bassist, Rame. Nice to meet you.
Tero: Drums, Tero.
Shun: Guitarist, Shun.
Why did you chose the name Vidoll for your band? What is its meaning?
Jui: We decided the concept first: ‘occult romance’. Our name was inspired then by this concept.
What’s the connection between your name and this concept?
Jui: ‘Bi’, or ‘vi’, in Japanese means ‘beautiful’. ‘Doll’ of course just means ‘doll’. There’s lots of meanings behind occult romance but that’s the one we picked.
Why did each of you get into music?
Giru: I started playing guitar when I was sixteen because I loved seeing rockstars on television.
Jui: Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved music and singing.
Rame: My friends were all really into music, and so I ended up getting involved too.
Tero: I love music. I play a lot of instruments but I really like the drums best.
Shun: When I was in high school, around fifteen or sixteen years old, it was trendy to be in a band so I ended up getting my start that way.
We’ve heard that Tero also plays the piano. Were you playing that before you took up the drums?
Tero: Yes. When I was six years old, I took up playing the piano and it wasn’t until junior high, when I got involved with a brass band, that I started to study and play the drums.
How did Vidoll form?
Rame: I met Tero, two other guitarists, and also Jui. Then two years ago, those two guitarists quit and Shun and Giru both joined us.
How did you find Giru and Shun? Did you see them in their previous bands?
Rame: After the other two quit, we were looking for new members. Some of my friends and other people in the scene introduced me to these two and I thought that their energy and personalities really matched Vidoll‘s concept. That’s why we chose them.
What was it about visual-kei that made you interested in it?
Jui: It’s because visual-kei is really cool.
How do you choose your look at any given time?
Jui: It depends on how we feel at the time. Because every time we do something, every day, we feel differently so the look reflects that and is different too.
You’re releasing two new singles this summer, INNOCENT TEENS and Cloud. What can you tell us first about INNOCENT TEENS?
Giru: It’s going to be more sophisticated then what we’ve released before.
Can you tell us something about the lyrics, the story of the song?
Jui: Let’s see…. Every moment of our lives is really important. When you’re a teenager, everything seems fun and you’re living for the day. But even as you get older, you shouldn’t forget that time, that feeling. That’s the story behind it.
How about Cloud?
Jui: After we changed labels…. Mm…. It sort of has the same concept as INNOCENT TEENS, and people helping each other when they’re young. It’ll be a mixture of both the new and the old.
Speaking of labels, what do you feel is the main difference between being signed to a major company and being indies?
Rame: It’s so different…. it’s kind of hard to say, to put it into words. Ehh…. (laughs and looks to Jui) I don’t know.
Jui: Mm…. The two biggest differences are that we can concentrate more on our music and the number of our fans has increased.
Were you aware of your large American fanbase already?
Rame: We knew that we had fans but we weren’t aware of their numbers.
Do you know that they’re already lining up outside to see you? Some of them have been out there for days.
(the entire band looks shocked for a moment before exchanging looks and some surprised laughter)
Rame: (smiling widely and speaking in English) That’s great.
The vocalist in a band always has a sort of strange position when it comes to international fans. It’s usually the voice that fans find the most moving and yet many of them do not fully understand the lyrics because they’re in Japanese.
Jui: I actually don’t think there’s much of a language barrier. Everything can be felt by the soul and I’m really happy to have an audience that feels what I do.
Are there any songs in particular that you strongly wish all of your fans could understand the message behind?
Jui: I think…. (quiet for a long moment) Toumei Nakago. That’s a message I want to spread throughout the world.
What’s been your most memorable moment together as a band?
Rame: (laughs) Hokkaido gets a lot of snow. After a live, we were in the van and driving down the highway and (begins doing a circular motion with his hands, which Jui and Tero playfully mimic) we started spinning around and crashed into the snowy mountain (laughs). Thankfully no one was hurt at all.
Oh my goodness! Though since no one was hurt… was it fun?
Jui: (laughs) After it happened, it was fun.
Rame: (laughing as well) Still, it was pretty scary. Since we didn’t get hurt, we can laugh about it.
How did you get involved in this event, JRock Revolution?
Rame: We were already thinking about touring in the United States and the timing ended up being really good. So that’s what happened.
So you would like to do a one-man tour here?
Rame: Of course! Especially if the fans want us to.
Your fans here would really love it. What are some of your plans for the future?
Rame: We love having fans in the United States and all over the world. We would be really happy to come here again.
Has anything about America surprised you?
Giru: When we were walking down the street, some homeless guy started shouting at us.
Oh, we’re sorry….
Rame: (motions to Tero) In Japan, this guy is always walking down the street and shouting at strangers too.
Has there been anything positive?
Rame: Outside the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, there was a guy dressed as Superman. And the Superman was kind of… fat. I was disappointed. (in English) Image down.
(laughs) We’re sorry…. Now just for fun, could you each say something about the member sitting to the left of you?
Giru (about Jui): A lot of the time, his fly is down. The very first time we shared a stage, I noticed his zipper was open then too.
Jui (about Rame): Something interesting…. Whenever I’m on the phone, Rame is always asking me about it. “Who is it??” “Who is it??” When it’s not for him! (laughs) He also repeats jokes a lot. If someone laughs at one of his jokes, he’ll tell it again and again, like four or five times.
Rame (about Tero): We often share a hotel room when on tour. He takes such quick showers that I could start making instant ramen when he goes in and it’d be done when he gets out.
(we misunderstood Rame‘s answer initially which prompted a shocked reaction of-)
He makes ramen in the shower?!
Rame: (laughs) No, no! Ah, though there is hot water in there…. (starts acting out scooping up water with a bowl)
Tero: (smacks Rame in the back of the head)
Rame: I’ll be done in three minutes!
Tero: (smacks him again)
Rame: (still acting out scooping up water; in English) Ramen, Japanese style.
Tero: (about Shun) What to say about this guy…. (thinking) In Japan we have like… mm… blind dates, speed dating? Five guys meet five girls and they go out. And at the end of each date, he ends up in bed with all the girls (laughs).
Shun: No no no no no!!
Rame: (laughs) It’s a joke, a Japanese joke.
Shun: No no, it’s a lie!! (then about Giru) Something strange about Giru is every time he plays a video game, he’s always talking to himself. He won’t stop.
Giru: (points to Tero) But he’s the otaku!
Finally, please give a message to your fans.
Rame: This is our first time playing a show in America. We hope you’ll end up liking Vidoll more and more and that we can come back to tour.
JaME would like to thank the JRock Revolution staff, the Renaissance hotel, Teru Haruta, and Vidoll.