Interview with Dir en grey: Cultivated Chaos

Dir en GreyMolten lava moods and deeply sinister orchestrations utterly slay the senses on Dir en grey’s latest release The Marrow Of A Bone. The five-piece from Japan whose name is composed of words from several languages have cultivated elements of chaos from Cradle Of Filth and At The Gates as well as abstract and torturous screams from the band that they are currently on tour with, namely the Deftones. Vocalist Kyo, guitarists Kaoru and Die, bassist Toshiya and drummer Shinya may be new to western audiences, but they have been indigenous to the Orient since 1997 without any lineup changes. However, they have consistently changed stylistically throughout their six- record deep discography.

The Marrow Of A Bone having won them a spot on the past installment of Family Values tour with Korn and the Deftones, Dir en grey are poised for a long love affair with North American crowds and that is especially emphasized by Kyo’s stage antics which have previously included the singer hanging by fish hooks.

With whipping currents arising from their dominating speed meeting melodies of doom, Dir en grey brew the perfect storm of deviation and raw emotion that doesn’t even require English vocals to be appreciated. Guitarist Kaoru lifted the veil of mystery that surrounds every band that comes to the US from foreign soil, and as is customary of his heritage, he did so very politely.

It seems like you came out of nowhere, but you have been a band for 10 years. How has your style and approach changed over the years?

We have understood, stood face to face with and reflect on ourselves more than before. I think our style will keep changing from now on, but we have got un-budging spirits.

You also put out records pretty fast, like three records in three years. Do you like that pace or are you starting to want to take more time with the writing and recording process now?

I have always known that we release items at a smacking pace. However, compared to other Japanese bands, we might belong to a part which takes spans between releases among them. It is true that we want more time for production, but also we understand it is normal for all bands to do activities mainly in Japan.

Do you attribute your longevity to being from Japan? Maybe there are less people that want to play rock and metal over there, and so you feel that keeps you pretty close knit?

Compared to western countries, I don’t think there is a rock culture in Japan. Furthermore, there are fewer bands that play rock here, too. Though you can hardly believe this, it is the fact that only bands that try to be liked by the public can appear on media in the Japanese music scene. That’s why we’ve found it difficult here. Well (as for a key to longevity) there is nothing concerned with Japan, I think, because we recently found that we have been working for 10 years. Unfortunately, almost bands that were into the same generation have disbanded already…

How did you end up on Warcon Records?

A person who has taken care of us introduced Bob Chiappardi from Warcon to us. We had talks with him and we knew he understood our visions and our stance. That’s why we decided to work with him. We believe personality is the most important in doing anything, so all of our staff that works with us in the US and Europe are the best people who understand us regardless of the differences of culture. We are grateful for being with them!

What is it about The Marrow Of A Bone that you think has brought you more into the spotlight with fans in North America and Europe?

We can‘t exactly tell you. Conversely, we want to know what it is about, and how the people feel. The only thing I can say is this album reflects strongly on our emotions and hearts. So, it may be true that there are people who are able to feel those parts.

Musically, the record is very intelligently layered as well as heavy, but lyrically, would you say there is a common thread throughout the record?

As I mentioned before, I think there are emotional parts included in any type of our music.

Was there something different or unique happening in the band’s life that helped shape the sound of the record?

I would say what helped to make our sounds might be something influenced by human rather than music.

What inspires Kyo’s stage presence? Have you ever been seriously hurt?

I am not sure because I am not him, of course. But I think it is because his emotion makes him perform like that in the moment.

You have a DVD coming out, why did you choose to release it now?

I guess you might mention about DVD, which we released exclusive for our fan club memberships. I believe they are the people who understand us the most. Nowadays, we tend to do activities in overseas more than before, so we try and produce works for them. At the moment, our fan club is only limited for people who live in Japan, but we hope we will open the door to overseas people.

Are you now seeing yourselves as more a band of the world than a band from Japan?

I particularly never thought about this. But, I never forget that we are very proud of being Japanese.

Were you personally selected by the Deftones to be on the tour, and what will you do after the tour?

Although we felt completely unable to make it happen, we tried and spoke with the Deftones. Then, they answered, ‘Yes’! We were blown away, really, and so thrilled. I can’t wait! After the tour with the Deftones, we will have some time to write songs and then we’re going to tour in Europe in August. Now, there are some songs nearly finished. I am not sure, but we will be able to release something around autumn.