Dir En Grey's Shinya

By Jay Oakley

First off, Shinya, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to speak with me and answer some questions for your fans.

Thank you for wanting to speak to me.

Absolutely, the pleasure is all mine. I actually happen to be a fan of the band and I really enjoy your work. So Shinya, how are you feeling about the upcoming tour?

Actually, this time we are planning a different kind of stage production for the tour in North America. We are really look forward to bringing something new for the fans.

Oh nice, if you're allowed to talk about it, is there anything you can tell us? Like, are there plans to make the show more theatrical or any use of lighting or pyrotechnics?

At this point, everything is still under discussion and we are still in the pre-production stage. What we are planning is to bring somethings that we do in Japan, some visual effects and hopefully we can bring that over. But we can't really say what that is at this point.

That's no problem, I can definitely understand that. So your latest album, Dum Spiro Spero, has been out for a little while now but you've released a new record this year and to support this tour, The Unraveling. How was the writing and recording for that record?

As you may have heard after the release of Dum Spiro Spero we toured and we came to a point where we actually had to go on hiatus because our vocalist was suffering with some problems with his throat. In the time that we were not on tour we thought about putting together a new album and that's when the idea came up of taking some of the older songs and reworking them. As you know the album is actually a mini-album that consists mainly of reworked songs from our catalog.

Oh nice, that's very exciting. On that note, how has Kyo been feeling? Is he feeling well, feeling strong?

Well, of course, Kyo still has some problems so what he is doing is being very careful with how much he strains his vocals so we don't tour and do as many shows as we did before even with touring in Japan. But he's doing good now, but yeah this is still something that he deals with and he is not 100%. 

OK, I understand that because you definitely don't want to over strain him and you want to keep everything good so the shows can all be at top level. For the fans that are coming to the shows and will be attending the tour is the new record going to be available for purchase?

Actually this isn't a question that would go to me or the band because normally we don't know. That's a question for the management but they are present with me and the record will be available at the shows.

That's excellent and I know the fans, myself included, will be very excited to hear that. When it comes to your drumming style, what are your influences and what made you want to be in a band and do music?

Actually, I'm influenced a lot by Japanese rock. Back from when I was younger and even until today. I'm sorry but I'm actually not very familiar with the bands abroad.

That's not a problem at all. I always find it very interesting in interviews to hear about influences, whether they prefer their local music or the music abroad but there is nothing wrong with being a bit of a home-body when it comes to music and influences. Shinya, has there been anywhere that you have found to be really exciting to play in. Anywhere that you might have gotten a particularly positive reaction?

I would actually have to say that it was definitely the first time we went to South America. The fan reaction was just crazy and it left a hug impact on me. 

One of the questions I did want to ask you, Shinya, when it comes to Dir En Grey's music itself is the lyrical content sometimes touches on dark, almost taboo subjects. Is there anything in particular in Kyo's writing or in anything that you have brought in to the music as far as messages or anything that you try to portray?

Actually, there's nothing really portrayed in Kyo's writing. You can go back to the way we make the music and nothing majorly influences Kyo's writing. It's strictly what Kyo gets from the music itself because it's just him, the lyrics are 100% his. 

Shinya, is there any of Dir En Grey's records that happens to be your favorite? You know they all hold a special place in your heart I'm sure but is there one in particular that you really like?

I'd have to pick the latest mini-album, The Unraveling. We have one track called "Macabre," it's a super long track, and that is one of the songs from the earlier days that I really liked.

Shinya, when you're not performing and you're traveling or just relaxing what do you like to do? Is there any certain kind of music you listen to?

Right now whenever I have some free time I like to watch TV shows, mostly TV dramas.

For the duration of the tour do you guys plan to perform your shows spaced out to give yourselves the any necessary rest or are you planning to go for a solid few months of touring?

Actually, the American tour dates have been announced and we are doing 3 weeks, about 14 shows and that will be it for now. As to what comes in the future or for next year we don't know yet.

I can understand that, no need to plan to far in advance. I did know that you have a Baltimore show in early November that I am very much looking forward to, I've seen Dir En Grey quite a few times and you always put on a great show. You do have a nice following in this city.

Thank you very much and I look forward to presenting the show to all of you. 

I do have a couple of final questions for you and I will let you continue on with your day. A little question for myself, when it comes to putting together the set list and preparing for the shows, my favorite song that the band has put out is "Clever Sleazoid" from the record The Marrow Of A Bone, any chance that that song might make it onto the set list or will we have to wait to find out?

Actually, we do play "Clever Sleazoid" on the tours over seas but it's something that's not in-prompt-to. For the fans it's hit or miss. We'll have to wait and see what we play because sometimes we really don't know what we are going to play until the day of show. Look out for it.

I like to ask this final to the artists because I think it's interesting for the fans to hear. Are there any new bands that have come out recently or in the last couple years that have become a fan of? Since you mentioned that the music you listen to is locally out of Japan is there anyone that you have come to really enjoy?

Actually, I'm not very familiar with the newer acts that have come out so I can't really give you any recommendations on who to check out. But a band I like to recommend is Luna Sea or Lunacy out of Japan they have been around forever. 

Nice, a man that sticks to the classics there is nothing wrong with that. Shinya, I want to thank you very much for taking the time again to talk to us and answer some questions for your fans.

Everything has been good, we hope that you enjoy the show and we'll see you in Baltimore.