Kaoru of Dir en grey

We caught up with lead guitarist of Dir en grey, Kaoru, before their concert in Los Angeles.

HV: It’s the last show of the tour. How are you doing?
Kaoru: It’s been hectic. But tonight’s the night that everything is finally coming together. We’re excited to play tonight.

HV: I heard you guys got stuck in LAX during the shooting earlier this month. What happened?
Kaoru: We landed before it happened so we didn’t know what was going on. We were asked to stay inside in baggage claim. No one said anything, no one was allowed to make phone calls. We were given drinks and snacks, but didn’t know what happened. It was a day of being made to wait. When food and drinks were brought out, everyone [in LAX] wanted to get the stuff so it became chaotic. We were afraid it was going to escalate into something more than what it was.

HV: But you guys made it out okay eventually.
Kaoru: Yes.

HV: Then your tour bus broke down a few days ago.
Kaoru: The bus broke down from Denver to Seattle, midpoint where drivers were going to swap shifts. Luckily, we were able to postpone the show until the next day. We ended up renting a van from Idaho to Seattle. It was a long drive, then we had to fly to San Francisco, then LA. Three shows in a row. So people have not been sleeping, both the band and the staff. But we made it this far.

HV: Anything special planned for this last show?
Kaoru: Maybe not special but we will play a song tonight we haven’t played in the US before.

EDITORIAL NOTE: They played “HADES” at the show. It rocked.

HV: There seems to be more emphasis on your appearance this time, especially with lead singer Kyo’s ghoul makeup. Was that a group decision?
Kaoru: It wasn’t something decided by the band, just what each member wanted to do. For the stage lighting and the performance, we always decide as a band, but what we wear onstage and how we represent ourselves is up to each band member individually.

HV: What’s the crowd reaction been like this tour?
Kaoru: Compared to before, more people are watching the show instead of going crazy on the floor. Or maybe there’s more people new to Dir en grey and don’t know how to react to the music yet. People are still going crazy but others aren’t. They’re just absorbing the new experience.

HV: What are you looking forward to the most when you get home?
Kaoru: I want to dive into my own bed.

HV: How would you describe your music to another musician? Like if you met the guitarist from Slayer, for example.
Kaoru: Well if it was the guitarist from Slayer, I’d say that we try to not emulate but follow in their footsteps.

HV: What’s the best part of being in a band?
Kaoru: The fact that I’ve had the opportunity to have so many people listen to our music, to something we produced. Not that many people are able, or are blessed to have that experience.

HV: What bands are you listening to right now?
Kaoru: A Japanese indie band called Downy.

HV: Describe your creative process, how do you come up with song/music ideas?
Kaoru: I’m the type who needs to lock myself up in a room to focus on songwriting. Sometimes ideas come up randomly while doing something else but it’s never something that I’m satisfied with. If something good does come out of it, I still have to go lock myself in a room and work on the music.

HV: What is in store for Dir en grey in 2014?
Kaoru: We’re releasing a new single in January, touring in February and March, then after that, working on the new album.

HV: Thanks for taking the time!
Kaoru: Thank you.