The Press Conference was held in the Hilton on August 9 at 2pm. Yoshiki spoke in English while Pata (guitarist) and Heath (bassist) spoke in a mix of English and mostly Japanese.
- Yoshiki: Hi, I’m Yoshiki.
Pata: *in English* Hi, I’m Pata.
Heath: *in Japanese* Nice to meet you. I’m Heath.
Q: X Japan last played in NY in 2010 as part of the world tour in 2011. In this October, X Japan will be playing in Madison Square Garden in New York City and later Yokohama Arena in December. Will there be another world tour in the next year or sometime in the foreseeable future?
Yoshiki: Actually, we’re playing at the Yokohama Arena September 30th, not December 1st, almost 10 days before Madison Square Garden. Yes, we’re actually going to be announcing some kind of shows in Madison Square Garden, but right now, we’re concentrating on Madison Square Garden. Right now it’s MSG, MSG, MSG. *laughs* But it’s a possibility.
Q: Are these shows to promote your album or are these just great opportunities for X Japan?
Yoshiki: Well, we haven’t released an album in a long time, but we just released a ‘Best of’ a few months ago. Our history is about 22 years ago. We had a press conference at Madison Square Garden-not Madison Square Garden-in New York, at Rockefeller Center. We signed with Atlantic Record and it was a big deal. We were suppose to release an album that, but other things happen. Than 22 years later, we can come to New York and play shows like now. I can’t really tell you why we’re doing this at Madison Square Garden, but you’re going to know soon. There is something going on. Soon. *smiles*
Q: Yoshiki-san, you’ve been involved with charity projects like raising money for Red Cross and for the tsunami relief. Can you tell us about the experiences you took away from being involved with projects like that. What other projects you have planned for the future?
Yoshiki: When I was 10 years old, I lost my father-he committed suicide-so I had a pretty depressing childhood. I kind of understand the pain some children have. I participated in charities here and there, than several years ago, I tried to create my own charity foundation, tried to support children who have that kind of pain. Not only my charity foundation, unfortunately right after I have my foundation, a big earthquake happened in Japan. That moment, I concentrated and focused on supporting victims of the earthquake and tsunami. When you save people, I also feel saved for some reason. I want to keep on doing this for the rest of my life. It’s my own peace.
Q: Yoshiki-san, you recently had a classical tour and Pata, you recently played in Texas with Ra:IN. How are playing for different performances and groups differ in preparation in performing for X Japan?
Pata: *in English* Maybe the same…I just play guitar. *laughs*
Yoshiki: Pretty much, X Japan is my life. Everything is like a side project, even my classical tour when I went to many countries and places. Even during my classical tour, I said ‘X Japan is my life’. It’s not like I’m doing projects and coming back to this. We’ve been doing X Japan, it’s not like we’re going back to just play. It’s [X Japan is] in my blood. X Japan is more than a project, it’s our lives.
Q: How did you find out about Otakon and made you come back again? What are you thoughts about Baltimore as a city?
Yoshiki: Because you guys are so cool! I first came to Otakon in 2007? Or 8?
Yoshiki: 2006! Oh, that’s like 8 years ago! That means Otakon is my first convention experience. That’s right! At that time, I wasn’t even doing X Japan than because X Japan was not happening than. I wasn’t even talking to Toshi and since than, lots of things happened. The first time I came in 2006, I did not know that we had that many fans in the US even. Even outside of Japan. We started finding out that people throughout the world are listening. It was so cool to be surrounded by these people. Since than, it is my third time here. I came with Sugizo in 2010 when I played at Lollapalozza in 2010. So 2006, 2010, 2014…so I’m going to be here in 2014 than. *laughs* Every four years, just like the Olympics. *laughs*
Journalist: I’m happy to have you back.
Yoshiki: I’m very happy to be here, so excited to perform tomorrow. It’s not like X Japan but I’m very excited for this performance too.
Q: Since you brought up ‘blood’, all your fans call you ‘vampire’ and you should play Lestat in the movie. What your fans want to know, is when are you going to do a vampire themed rock opera?
Yoshiki: Huh, good idea! I think I have a split personality or something because sometimes I’m called vampire, sometimes Yoshiki. Sometimes I don’t know. I also have a character called ‘Blood Red Dragon’, created by Stan Lee. Sometimes I call myself…I don’t know. I just traveled for Yoshiki Classical world tour in 10 countries, where I am, I stay up all night. It’s not jetlag or being vampirish. Is that even a word?
Yoshiki: Now it is a word. *laughs* I’m half joking and half serious. Sometimes I say to “What are you?”, I say I’m half Japanese and half vampire. I like the image of being an vampire.
Pata: *in Japanese* Really?
Yoshiki: *in Japanese* Yes. *in English* I like being a vampire X Japan member. I would like to create a vampire rock opera. It would be cool.
Q: You’re not only a musical icon, but a fashion leader. How do music and fashion relate to you? Was it something that just came out when you’re doing X Japan or is separate?
Yoshiki: Before my father died, my parents owned a kimono shop, traditional clothing. I grew up in that kind of environment. I was always surrounded by kimono. When we started X, we had alot of interesting clothing, dyed our hair red and purple. Fashion and music are almost inseparable at least to us. Fashion is music and music is fashion. It is very natural to have both. So now I have YoshiKimono, the clothing line. Actually, I will be debuting YoshiKimono in the 2015 Tokyo Collection.
Q: You’ve been involved with alot of different collaborations: credit cards, comics, wines to name a few. What other collaborations would you want to do in the future?
Yoshiki: I want to do something a little bit more musical as well. Actually, there are a few more projects coming, which is Yoshi-something but more musical. A music thing. Again, my main focus is music. Everything else is a hobby. Something interesting coming. I plan to do a press conference so Yoshiki can’t talk about it yet.
Q: Heath, we saw a video once in the past. It was Phantom of the Opera style, you were in a cage coming down and you had robot dancers around you. It was an incredible bass solo, where it was joined by instruments. Will you do something similar to that again, especially in a venue like the Madison Square Garden?
Heath: I think that rock is shocking both musically and visually. Both the sight and sound to be shocking, that is rock. That is X Japan. Madison Square Garden has a shock to it that isn’t like something before so I want to do a new kind of shock in that Madison Square Garden in the future. So please look forward to it.
Q: Have you had any memorable experiences either good or bad interacting with your fans?
Pata: Meeting with fans is always a fun experience.
Yoshiki: Meetings with fans, yeah? We went around for a long time, seen alot of bands come and go. When you’re on top of the world, sometimes you don’t realize-some bands think like they’re the best, but we exist because of the fans. We can’t exist without fans. There are no bad or good fans. We’re really about the fans. Because of fans, X Japan reunited. Without fans, it wouldn’t have happened. All those tragedies happened to our band, we have to thank our fans. Sometimes, we bump into crazy fans too. *laughs*
Heath: Thank you very much!
Q: Some songs from Yoshiki Classical was released with vocals. For example, ‘Amethyst’ was originally written for VioletUK and is now on Yoshiki Classical as an instrumental as alot of X Japan songs. How are you able to convey the messages of the original vocal version of the songs in the instrumental version?
Yoshiki: ‘Amethyst’ was a classical from the getgo. I didn’t really write lyrics, as lyrics were written later. We had some event in a Tokyo amusement park-an X Japan event-when some particular attraction, my classical music was playing. The members were there and Hide said, “What is this song?” “It is one of my compositions.” “We should use this for Tokyo Dome, X Japan opening.” Really? I didn’t even think about that. Than, we started using ‘Amethyst’ for the Tokyo Dome show. As long as it’s a great melody, we can always put nice lyrics to it. All of X Japan songs can be instrumentals, with or without lyrics. I think of the melody first.