Bryan Reesman of Metal Edge magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist Kaoru of Japan's DIR EN GREY. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Edge: Singing in Japanese does not seem to be a detriment in selling DIR EN GREY to an international audience. Was it ever your plan to go global?
Kaoru: If you listen to the new album, there are two songs with English lyrics, "Glass Skin" and "Dozing Green". Of course, most of our songs have Japanese lyrics, but it depends on the song. Some of the old songs have English lyrics. It's not about wanting to write Japanese songs or wanting to write English songs, it depends on the song's melody and what we want to convey via the songs. We don't have a preset in mind. We don't have to make an English song to be able to sell records outside of Japan. It just kind of happens.
Metal Edge: Why do you think DIR EN GREY became popular in Germany after getting big in Japan? What was it about the musical culture there that made you attract a large following?
Kaoru: I feel that in Germany it didn't start with the Japanese music. It probably began with the introduction of Japanese animation or games into the country, and from there people got to know Japanese culture and became interested in the music as well. It probably started with an interest in Japanese culture itself, pop culture or entertainment culture, instead of DIR EN GREY being the cause of the popularity of Japanese bands over there.
Metal Edge: How has your audience changed since you first went over there?
Kaoru: We've only been to Germany three times, but in comparing our first performance there to the last one, which was at the end of last year, I saw the change in the fan base or the crowds. In the beginning there were many Goths or young kids who liked to dress up coming to the shows, and while that has not changed 100 percent, lately more regular music fans are coming to the shows in their T-shirts and jeans.
Metal Edge: Your music is defined by extreme sonic contrasts, whether it's the delicate and brutal elements meshing in a song like "Stuck Man", or the obvious difference between an aggressive track like "Reiketsu Nariseba" and a delicate track like "Ware, Yami Tote…" Why do such extremes attract you?
Kaoru: It is very important that each song correlates with the next. The implementation of all of these different types of elements – when it comes to tempo, not just the melody — was always present from before, but when you listen to the first album you can realize how different it was from our later works or this album. But it was always the way I've been writing, and I was always interested in creating a song that has not been done before while also keeping to my way. At the same time, this new album has included all these different elements from the band before, from the present and something that they would like to go to in the future, so it is a mixture of all sorts of things, which might explain the difference between all the different songs on this album.
Read the entire interview from Metal Edge magazine.
"Uroboros", the seventh full-length album from DIR EN GREY, sold around 6,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 114 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD debuted at No. 1 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.
"Uroboros" was made available in four formats: digital album; CD jewel case; deluxe limited-edition CD digipak with bonus track and DVD; and 12" LP with a digital download card included.
"Dozing Green", the new video from Japan's DIR EN GREY, can be viewed below. The clip was helmed by by the band's longtime director Hiroyuki Kondo and took two and a half months to create, from filming to post-production.