Interview with KAMIJO in VICIOUS (March 1999).
Interview by:Mami Akagi, Photography by: Kenji Tsukagoshi
LAREINE's vocalist KAMIJO, was raised in a family environment in which his grandmother was a piano teacher and his mother was an electone teacher. Since he was very small, he played around with the keyboard as if it was just another toy and also became quite fond of tennis, which his parents also played. It wasn't until highschool that KAMIJO felt he wanted become involved in a band.
"One day, I happened to be holding my tennis racket like a guitar, and thought, "I wanna play guitar!" says KAMIJO.
During highschool, he spent a lot of time copying different kinds of music with his friends, without ever creating a band.
"I spent many lonely days creating songs all alone on the MTR (multi-track recorder)" laughs KAMIJO, "but the knowledge that I learned during that time is really helpful now. One of the melodies that I made during that time became the base for the song "Lillie Charlotte," so I don't think those days were a waste."
--How did you meet the present members of LAREINE?
KAMIJO: Except for EMIRU, I met the others while we were working as staff (roadies) for the same band. I met EMIRU by submitting a "members wanted" ad in the classified section of a magazine.
--You must have gotten tons of replies from the magazine ad you placed, what was the reason that you chose EMIRU among all those who responded?
KAMIJO: Well, I don't know how good this is for a standard of choosing musicians... but before we made our decision we got a picture from him. The picture was him wearing black clothes, and he had red hair with a white ribbon in it. The picture was taken out of focus. At that time, we didn't know that the picture was taken out of focus on purpose, and it seemed that if the picture was taken for real it would be really good. Anyway, it was the picture that had a really big impact on us.
--It wasn't taken out of focus by accident?
No, he said that he tried really hard to take it out of focus the way he did. When he came to the studio, we tried playing with him and he was really good. When we heard his bass, it was like "it's got to be him!" As for MAYU and MACHI, I met them while we worked together as staff for the same band. Of course, MAYU's guitar and MACHI's drums were really cool. Musically...MAYU has perfected a kind of music that doesn't flow inside of me. As for MACHI, well I like Paul Mauriat and Richard Clayderman, and he is also into that as well. Our hobbies and tastes seemed to match so perfectly, I definitely wanted to work with him.
--I see. I'd also like to inquire about your personal character KAMIJO. If you analayze yourself, what kind of personality do you think you have?
KAMIJO: First of all, I'm not very skillful (clumsy), not just privately but also as an artist. Also both privately and as an artist, I'm an incredibly selfish person. But I also feel this since of responsibility that I have to be like that... I like to carry things out to the end. Also, I love my own voice. I really like the simplicity of a clumsy and selfish me with this gentle voice.
--What are you're weak points or faults?
KAMIJO: hm...well, probably that I've made so many lovers (<--he's referring to the fans). That's kind of... like I'm the unfaithful type (He's trying to say that he can't return the affections of every fan without being unfaithful to each fan as well, but he loves all the fans so it's like he's the unfaithful type not being able to devote himself to one person--niji).
--Hm. However, you seem so earnest in your approach to music and very serious during your interviews, but somewhere it seems that there is some natural boke* in you. *laughs*
KAMIJO: That's something I can't say now. But, well I, um, is it ok to say something sad?
--Sure, please say whatever you like.
KAMIJO: Whatever I say, no one ever laughs. In LAREINE, everyone is boke*. *laughs*
--Hahaha. I see, with no one to play the tsukkomi role, then...
KAMIJO: yeah, when you compare all of us as boke, MAYU and I, who have the lowest level of boke, can bring up a really cold wind.
KAMIJO: Yeah, like Kantarou**.
--You mean as in Kitakazekozou no Kantarou**?
KAMIJO: Yeah. Whenever I set up a joke, as if Kantarou has just blown a cold blast of air it's like "huh, the air has gotten cold." Um, could you please make sure that this part of the interview about Kantarou gets put into the article? *laughs*
--Hahaha. You're one weird guy! *laughs* Plus, since you say that with such a straight face, I don't know if I'm supposed to laugh or not.
KAMIJO: That's me. *laughs*
--I understand. *laughs* Well, what does music mean to you?
KAMIJO: As for me, music is the perfect game. All things that have to do with music are games, and more fun than anything else. And, the music that the four of us, LAREINE, put forth is, if I may say in pretty words, is like flower haute couture that exists only by sound... in other words, specially ordered high class clothing?
--haute couture music?
KAMIJO: Yes, it has a nice sound doesn't it? I think I can enjoy haute couture and create it into sound. That's why I think this is the greatest game.
--So, the members of LAREINE must be like high class companions for you KAMIJO?
KAMIJO: More than companions, LAREINE is one human being. The four of us, one human... like they're my eyes, mouth, and other brain?
--eyes, ears, and other brain?
KAMIJO: No, not horn***, two brains.
--No one said horn.
Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you said horn. Anyway, the reason that I didn't mention a "heart" among those things is because until the four of us are together there is no heart. Love, sadness, the spirit that binds two people together, and the spirit who feels, if these four things aren't gathered together I think that a heart can't be made. I can't make a heart alone, without my eyes, mouth, and two brains. Um, I may be being thick-headed, but it's two brains and not a horn.
--yes, yes. brr... *laughs*
*boke refers to a kansai form of comedy called manzai. It is made up of two people, one who plays boke and one who plays tsukkomi. The tsukkomi is the smart witty one who usually feeds some kind of potential gag line, which is misinterpreted by the boke (the dumb guy of the pair) who says something funny. The tsukkomi then corrects the boke by saying something witty in return and then slaps the boke on the head. Just think of a conversation between Mo (tsukkomi) and Curly (boke) of the three stooges and you get the picture ^_^. It's funny to think of all the members of LAREINE being boke.
**He's referring to Kantarou from the folk song & legend "Kitakazekozou no Kantarou," who comes every year in winter, bringing the cold winter wind with him
***KAMIJO said zunou, but misheard and thought that the interviewer said tsuno.