Interview by Kathy Chee
Female fronted pop-metal band, DAZZLE VISION, is set to release their 6th studio album on May 4, 2012. After opening for Evanescence a few months earlier, recording a new album, and having Maiko’s death voice vocaloided, the band took a quick breather to answer some of our questions via email.
pSKY: John, did you change any of the guitar parts on the remixes for SHOCKING LOUD VOICE? How would you describe your particular style of guitar playing?
John: Other than the song “Kuhaku,” we just re-recorded. In the new songs, “Second” and “Take my hand,” I didn’t change anything in the guitar parts.
About my style, I am best at emotional guitar playing with freedom of expression. The most important factor is for it to be unique, so I always look for things only I can do or sounds only I can create. When I perform live, I emphasize mainly on how it looks but this isn’t limited to during live performances. If it’s an instrument I don’t feel any attachment to, I don’t feel the urge to play whether it’s at home or at a live. Another essential thing is for the pitch to come together and the guitar to have a strong foundation.
pSKY: The album remixes/remasters have really clean production. Did you re-record any parts and if yes, how did you approach recording each song in the studio?
Maiko: “Second” and “Take my hand” were new songs, so we newly recorded them. We created them with an emphasis on the live aspect, to connect with the album concept. I have poured more emotions in than ever, screamed and sang both songs. We also recorded “Kuhaku” as a live version. To give it more of a live ambiance I sang it all out in one shot without resting in between.
pSKY: Was there a specific direction when you chose the track listing? It makes for a very energetic feeling album as a whole.
Maiko: We chose the track list by imagining a live performance set list. If you listen to this album, I think the flow of DAZZLE VISION’s live performance can be felt. We tried really hard to figure out a way to make the sound close to the sound you can hear at a live venue too. If you listen to it, I would like everyone to come to our live performance.
pSKY: You opened for Evanescence, did you get a chance to hang out? How would you describe the experience of opening for a popular foreign artist?
Maiko: As for myself, I was very moved because it was a band I really liked before I started a band. Their live performance was inspiring, but all of us were inspired by how Evanescence was backstage too, how they interacted with their fans, etc. After the live performance we talked, took photos, and got their autographs.
What I was happy about the most in the two days of performing was that on the first day we gave Amy a copy of our album “Kirari.” After the second day’s performance, it seemed as if she had listened to it, and Amy asked us to autograph the jacket cover. I was really surprised and also I was so happy she felt a positive vibe from our piece! We felt we would like to become artists who have big, warm hearts like Evanescence.
pSKY: Do you consider yourselves part of the metal scene? Tell me about the metal scene in Japan in terms of popularity. Do you think it’s similar in popularity to visual kei (more popular, less popular or just so different it doesn’t matter)?
Maiko: DAZZLE VISION is in a broad category of genres including metal, visual kei, pop, screamo, etc. The only thing is that it’s not for us to decide and we believe it’s something defined by the listeners. I think the popularity of the metal scene and visual kei scene is about the same in Japan, but the age range/gender of the main listeners are different.
pSKY: Do you ever hope to break into the metal scene in North America? Think Evanescence will invite you to tour with them outside of Japan?
Maiko: We would like many more people to know about DAZZLE VISION and like us, so we definitely would like to get ourselves into the North American market. Evanescence said to us, “See you soon!” so we would happy if they invited us. We would like to continue on our activities to grow into artists who are worthy of being invited.
pSKY: Maiko, have you ever felt discriminated against as a female vocalist in this genre? Have there been any tough decisions you’ve made based on your gender?
Maiko: I do feel this. But there are more times I feel I’m glad I am a woman. Also, up to this point, I’ve never had a experience where I had to make a difficult decision.
pSKY: Maiko and Takuro, you’re siblings. Do you ever run into sibling rivalry? Takuro, have you ever had to fend off Maiko fanboys?
Maiko & Takuro: There’s really no sibling rivalry.
Takuro: It’s not a sibling rivalry, but I believe we give each other good influences. There are times when I think Maiko’s working really hard, so I have to as well and it makes me think a lot. Also, we barely have the sense that we are siblings and we mostly interact with each other as band members. Although, there definitely is an existence of mutual understanding, for sure. I believe this definitely is a merit for siblings. And DAZZLE’s fans are well mannered, so I’ve never been put in a situation where I had to protect Maiko. If, in a situation where something like this did happen, I think not only myself but the fans would protect her too.
pSKY: Maiko, your death voice was recorded for an alter ego compatible with the Utau software. Have you listened to any tracks featuring your alter ego? What do you think of her?
Maiko: Of course I listened to it! So many people are making pieces using “Hakaine Maiko.” The voice and her image is me, so I want to love her as another part of myself. I will work hard on my activities as “Maiko of DAZZLE VISION,” so I won’t lose to “Hakaine Maiko.”
pSKY: What are your plans after the album release on May 4?
Dazzle Vision: We decided to make this year -the year of the live- after releasing “SHOCKING LOUD VOICE,” so we are thinking of performing live in all different parts of Japan. We already have many lives planned, but we would like to go perform a lot overseas, so please invite DAZZLE VISION to your country! Let’s go crazy at the venue and have fun. We would like to meet everyone soon!Official DAZZLE VISION website – http://dazzlevision.net/top.html Resonance Media – http://www.resonance-mms.com/