Solo debut of 「KAMIJO」, the young nobleman from School of Aesthetics! Brilliant story about
of Visual Kei full of 「poison」
Source: URE PIA
Interview: Fujitani Chiaki
Translation: Ariane de Bourberon
Corrections: Joshua Curtis
Interview: Fujitani Chiaki
Translation: Ariane de Bourberon
Corrections: Joshua Curtis
Leader of the Visual Kei band called Versailles, Kamijo appears with his solo debut and he also appears in URE PIA Souken! We made a long interview with him about his solo single bewitching with its 「aesthetics」 and about warm love to Visual Kei.
Versailles, the Visual Kei band, which with its beautiful way of perceiving the world was very famous even abroad, followed the concept of 「Descendants of the Rose」. Leader of the band, KAMIJO-san on the 28th of August will debut with his long awaited solo single 『Louis ～Enketsu no La vie en Rose～』. And in this kind of mood he visited URE PIA Souken! This interview is about his policy, approach to 「School of Aesthetics」.
- Kamijo-san, what made you think about the solo career, if earlier you have been active in bands?
KAMIJO: Versailles’ hiatus at the end of last year. I didn’t think of any other method, but solo career as the next method to express myself, so from the beginning I was thinking of debuting as a solo artist.
- So didn’t you think about creating a band for example?
KAMIJO: I’m already in the band Versailles. And I was thinking if I’m good. Excluding Versailles I was playing in a band called LAREINE (major debut in 1999 and went on hiatus in 2007), that’s why I was thinking if I really need any other title in current situation? That’s why under the name 「KAMIJO」 I’ve started a solo career.
- And your debut single is to be released on 28th of August 『Louis ～Enketsu no La vie en Rose～』.
KAMIJO: The word 「Enketsu」 is a word formation. It should be understood as 「The charming color of blood」. Because I like France very much, initially the name of a band LAREINE was taken from French word describing QUEEN, so Marie Antoinette. It’s similar with Versailles, so all the time I was active (in projects) having the names related to French history. However, obviously 「KAMIJO」 isn’t related to French language at all. It’s Japanese language with its full blast (laugh). That’s why I thought of using 「Louis」 as a name for debut single.
- The name 「Louis」 brings to mind the king of France, Louis XVI, who was executed during The French Revolution.
KAMIJO: Yes, that’s right. For generations the word 「Louis」 was addressed to a king, that’s why I chose this name. I created the song carrying so many various wishes, which match the scene of Visual Kei.
- Moreover, in addition to main song, B-side tracks 『Grazioso』 and 『Gensō trianon』 on regular edition have been recorded.
KAMIJO: 『Grazioso』 in Italian means 「Elegantly」. This piece is probably the same story as written in 『Louis〜』, but seen from the other angle, because I think that everyone is living their life in a different way. And I also ask myself, if I will go through my life in my individual elegant way. Seems like I simply put my feelings about walking this path into this song.
『Gensō trianon』 is also related to The French Revolution, but I want to entrust the question of “what kind of person is the main character?” to the listeners. This song is already one year old and at first its title had to be 「Maboroshi」 (Illusion) and I’m glad that exactly like if illusion became reality, this song finally was able to see the daylight.
- Do you plan releasing the full album and LIVE performances after single will be released?
KAMIJO: I think that album will come out. I’m working at a rate of one single, so I can pour feelings into each song. I’d like to release (album) as fast as it’s possible, but working according to the principle that I finish songs one after the other. As for concerts, Versailles’ LIVEs were played fast and based on the two-bass (rhythm), so I think that they were attractive. That is why I want my solo LIVEs to be more interesting, so I guess I’d like to create a performance that will be different in terms of visuals from Versailles’ ones.
- Some time ago you said about 『Louis ～Enketsu no La vie en Rose～』 , that 「It's a song written with feelings towards the Visual Kei」, but it seems that you, KAMIJO-san, have your own, different approach to the 「Visual Kei」 scene.
KAMIJO: As for me, firstly 「Visual Kei」 is not a genre. I think that these are different titles, which help the musician - having ideas for a variety of other methods – to express him not only through the music.
My first band LAREINE major debuted in year 1999. At that time, during the Visual Kei boom, there were a lot of great bands with so-called 「The big four of Visual Kei」 at the forefront. In such circumstances our LAREINE had a very low position (underground), because we debuted at the end of that boom. Then came the times in which the scene has become not really impressive and I felt responsible to set an example for my younger colleagues. And it became my propulsion, my power.
The values and feelings, which we took over, which we created, reached not only the audience but I think that also our younger colleagues, who took it over and it became a power that made them start activities on their own.
Of course, I still haven’t changed my style, what are largely thanks to support of my fans.
- 「Visual Kei」 gives many possibilities. One of the reasons for which on Visual Kei scene appear new bands is the ease of gaining fans, but there are also cases where active band leaves the stage.
KAMIJO: Visual Kei is inherent to 「poison」. From the beginning there were many people, who like to stylize for Visual Kei, but doesn’t, for example, metal bands enter the Visual Kei realms when they wear make-up? I have a feeling that lately people think that 「I will probably become popular (when I’ll put on make-up) ？」. Now there are more and more good-looking bands. But they can’t escape it. I think that this is good in Visual Kei. Because it has good-looking musicians (laughs). If you once put on a mask, you won’t be able to take it off (laughs).
But it happens not only to musicians, because Visual Kei has an effect on fans and listeners, who also can’t escape it.
Moments, when you more often think "it's beautiful, it's good-looking" when watching pictures, than when listening to the music, I call 「Awakening」.
I think that there is no other scene so full of toxin. Neither the metal scene, or punk, or any other drowns so deep in toxin…. That’s why I love it so much.
Of course I want to offer you, who listen to the music, songs, which are not only poisonous, but they also give a life in color of roses. I want roses to fill lives of people, who will listen to the climax of my first solo single’s 『Louis〜』 lyrics, which says 「La vie en Rose, I want to color you with bewitching colors」.
Moreover, in MV to this song appears Mana-san (MALICE MIZER・Moi dix Mois). Mana-san told me the story about world full of roses and he is the one, who introduced this world to me. And Mana-san being such a teacher appears in my MV, in which I showed the moment of my awakening in Visual Kei, so I think I’d like people watching this MV to keep this in mind and also awake.
For me, meticulously following the example of Visual Kei ends on 「School of Aesthetics」. People, who follow Visual Kei, first of all want to be handsome, beautiful and more impressive than anyone else – such feelings are born in them – and I think that this is exactly the soul of Visual Kei. Mana-san, being my teacher, told me 「Why there must be so few bands to which fit roses? 」. Thinking of making the revolution together I invited him, and this time we will perform together.
- Versailles and KAMIJO-san’s popularity abroad was really high, that’s why you decided to make a tour around South America and Europe, and you were literally travelling around the world. According to 「Cool Japan」, ways to show Japanese culture to the other countries have been discussed in various forms. But we would like to hear the opinion of KAMIJO-san, who toured around the world.
KAMIJO: People in other countries accept Japanese culture, which pleases me immensely. But the truth is that when you go somewhere, you can meet also people, whose knowledge is really limited. The reason is that not all people in the country have the same level of knowledge about Japan.
Still many people don’t know the good side of Japan and that’s a great loss. At the same time, when Versailles started activities, Visual Kei began to attract the interest in Europe, and then in America and Asia, but also South America started showing its considerable interest. However, months went by, people gradually began to quit and stayed with us only those really good.
That’s why I think the other way than 「Cool Japan」, who says that we don’t treat other countries seriously. With a solid foundation built on the artistic achievements in Japan, I would like to be able to be the representative of Japan in the world. What has become a hot topic lately – I think it’s not good for culture of Japan to go abroad so carelessly.
- So how, do you think, we should support growth of Visual Kei in interested countries?
KAMIJO: I’d like to take all of my wonderful Japanese STAFF abroad. Of course, people in other countries are amazing too, but still Visual Kei scene is not only itself, it’s not only the artist, it’s everyone from staff around it and I think this way would be better. That’s why if I could take everyone with me abroad, I could show the splendor of Japanese Visual Kei, I think. So if I had budget for that, isn’t that a good way to support it?
- So in the current situation, when going on world tour, you have to choose an elite STAFF, who will go with you?
KAMIJO: No doubt there are artists, who do that, but I’d rather say they’re minority. The other thing is that since there is a limit of the number of devices and music equipment that you can take with you on a plane, happens that you have to rent them for example on the spot.
The Visual Kei scene is really amazing. I think that if it was only the music, it would be created only by musicians. But Visual Kei are not only musicians, its make-up artists, photographers, videographers, many different artists are involved in creating music, to be able to hear it better. Many staff employees are involved also in songs and I wonder whether in this way Visual Kei scene doesn’t become deeper? I think that this scene is more united than others. That’s why I think that Visual Kei is the greatest. Taking this opportunity, I would like to say「Thank you」to every Staff worker of the scene. From now on let’s keep livening up Visual Kei together.