Rock & Read 049 feat. Satoshi (Girugamesh)

Every band has its ups and downs, but this interview was really moving in all the trials and tribulations Girugamesh went through to stay together as a band.

The interview also felt really genuine in the way Satoshi handled the questions, so readers really felt his frustration and sincere relief that they managed to hold together.

But after seeing the preview for the MONSTER album (which we'll provide at the bottom of the article), it's definitely a relief for fans that they were able to make a comeback as Girugamesh because they're back and better than before!

And, without further ado........


After the first Hibiya Yaon live, all news about Girugamesh suddenly stopped and left many fans concerned, but the silence was finally broken on July 22nd!

Approximately 9 months after the Yaon live, there was a one-man live.

「There were conflicts and stuff, and the members' opinions clashed, so it was tough」

During this blank period, what happened, were the problems cleared and were they having thoughts of the future?

The next day after the live at SHIBUYA WWW, there was plenty of excitement, but a lingering coldness persisted around Satoshi.

The next day, after your first live in about 9 months, we interviewed you. How did things go after the live?
There weren't that many issues on the center stage, but as this period of time passed...as expected, there were a lot of conflicts, and the members also clashed, so it was really rough. We overcame that, we shaped our goals, and we gradually become able to answer to those who waited for us. I'm honestly happy that we were able to make a comeback

This talk about conflict and clashing suddenly makes me worried. (laugh)
Yes (laugh). That period of time was really tough, so it felt like forever. The feelings had already been building up there for.....about two years, maybe.

Today, first off about that period of time—we'd like to hear about what you did and what happened after the live last year in Yano ended. So actually, what were you doing?
Actually, there were plans to reveal that we were going to release an album at Yano. But we couldn't come to an agreement what the songs would be at all. There were actually enough songs to produce 2 albums, but for a band that would have a major turning point like a 10th anniversary in 2014, this was no good. We felt like we needed to make a higher-quality product, and wouldn't it be difficult to continue like usual? It was a period when we temporarily stopped our activities and re-evaluated what we were focusing on.

But when you say, “couldn't come to an agreement,” it's just when you meet a level where you say, 「Well, isn't this song good?」 right...
That's true, huh. But, the listeners weren't looking for something like that, right, and above all, it wasn't what we were looking for. If we released something like that, we'd be lying to the fans and we'd be lying to ourselves, so we couldn't find a common ground. Stopping our activities was a bold move, and it came with a lot of risks, but even if we had to take responsibility, we thought things would be worse if we didn't do it.

Was there no discussion of just releasing something at the moment?
There wasn't. Since everyone thought, “This is no good,” we decided that we wouldn't release it unless we created something that we agreed 100% on, and that's where we were in a bind.

But if we look back at the flow that took you guys to Yaon, there was a period when you had some underground activities, and then from there, you had “13days,” and then you were doing a country-wide tour, and you had released two singles.
That's right. Before “13days”, we had a period where we reevaluated everything, but the uneasiness wasn't completely resolved, and we just continued into 2012 with that hanging over us.

What do you mean by uneasiness?
With 「Zecchou BANG!!」, when we were making it with the producer, TAKUYA, we were told, “The song production process is unacceptable. You guys just take a bunch of sounds, mix it up, and make it sound nice.” We had to make songs by taking our knowledge and steadily build it up from the roots, but naturally, the problem of the 「dead end」 arose. That got more obvious, grew and spilled over during that period in Yaon.

If you kept watching the live, it still seemed like you were in a good mode though.
We were excited about the lives and had some uplifting thoughts about them, but we were hung up on the production problems. And after Yaon, for 4 months, we couldn't make any songs at all. Our biggest problem was direction. A year went by without understanding what kind of song we should make and how we should move forward. And, for example with Ryo, he was recording for another band and composing with a lot of different people, so we were all individually doing things that we hadn't done before, and that's when we put all that motivation into Girugamesh. We learned the foundations of music production, and it took some time getting there, but it took some time getting that into our music, but after we got over that, it was pretty quick. But every day getting to that point was hell. Especially since the members were clashing amongst themselves.

When there was a clash, what was that like?
We're not really a band that clashes all the time to begin with. We usually get along fairly well, and we would try to avoid situations like that. But, we'd think things like if we keep this stressful thing of communicating like this for 15, 20 years of trying to communicate our thoughts so the others would understand like this was really stressful, so let's just quit.

Shuu mentioned before, “Girugamesh isn't a band that was formed with a distinct purpose.” He said it was a hometown friends who gathered together and that became a big band.
Yeah. That's right. That 「hometown friends」 seemed to have a half-baked feeling behind it, but it felt like that at the moment, and if we didn't change that, we couldn't move forward. After I realized that, I also really built a wall around myself. I thought to myself, "Was it just the timing or had the situation really gotten that bad?" But if situation wasn't as bad as it was, we wouldn't have been say what needed to be said and move forward.

But when you mention this wall, if you don't keep it in check, you'll be thought of as 「the guy with the bad attitude」, and there's a chance that that might make things worse.
No, it was like, “Enough is enough.” Our relationships had already soured, and no matter what happened, it was like, “It's got nothing to do with me.” If it wasn't for that, we wouldn't want to have a progressive talk. And if it was already like that, then it's fine if we don't like each other.

So there was that kind of feeling there too. You talked about how Ryo was recording for another band, but Satoshi, you had some solo activities with another band too right.
I recruited some members, and we wrote lyrics and songs, but I hadn't really made music for Girugamesh before now. So when it came to that, as expected, I came to understand how Ryo, who made the songs, felt and how tough it was. So I learned a lot from that, and I came to see the balance of the entire song so it was like having a birds-eye view of everything. It was a time where I was able to go back to my roots, so I'm really glad I did it.

What was the criteria for gathering these new members?
As expected, there are a lot of people who know about music, but it was an important that they had something Girugamesh didn't.

For the sake of bringing Girugamesh back to its roots.
That's right. Since we were stopping, I needed a different perspective of things, otherwise it'd be pointless. I went with these guys to the studio, went to lives, and I came to clearly see Girugamesh's strength and weaknesses.

What points? For example, when talking about weaknesses.
Well, like completely focusing on one part of the song. Like the BPM, similar melodies, a hard beat and vibrato. On the other hand, things like live atmospheres, the energy of the song, unsurprisingly, Girugamesh was pretty formidable, so this became our weapon.

It made you re-look the music composition and band logistics aspect, but did it also make you reevaluate yourself as a vocalist?
I did. I went to watch a ton of lives, talked to a lot of people, talked to my seniors and thoughts I had there gradually gave me a feeling of encouragement.

When you did that, the values you picked up—were there things that you hadn't thought of by yourself before?
When it came to my thinking, I thought that as the one singing, I'd write the lyrics myself and it's natural for me to write my thoughts. But there were people who said, 「Since you're a band, isn't good to sing about the members and the band's strengths? It's not like only one person's doing everything, and when it comes to being a band, singing about each of your aspirations is how it should be, right? Of course, it's good to talk to the members, understand their thoughts and sing about their strengths.」 After that, I took a different approach to the lyrics. I managed to leverage that new insight quite a bit with 『Monster』 too.

Besides band activities, did you do anything else?
Besides band activities...there weren't any. I didn't have any breaks. I didn't even have 1 day where I was free to go out (dry laugh). I was making songs on New Years too. I probably didn't do anything besides band stuff.

That period of not being able to relax must've been extremely tough on you.
Well, I thought if I didn't face the difficulties now, I knew in my gut that I definitely wouldn't be able to move forward from now on. Personally, this was all I had. For me, singing is everything.

You talked earlier about being disoriented but what did you work out in the end?
With the 5 albums we've released up till now, we had an individual genres of music that we'd take and put in, and we took on a lot of challenges, but those all became a sort of “release and move on” type of thing. We really worked on going deeper into Girugamesh's heaviness, digital pop and go with a sound that had a lot more depth.

The 3 new songs you did at the live naturally gave that impression. 『Music』 had a really polished digital sound, 『Go』 properly preserved the pop feeling, and that was built on the heavy sound that you guys had to begin with.
That's right. On overcoming our weak spots, when it came to things like, “Wouldn't it be nice to make a song like this?” we made our weak points our strengths, and with the things we gained while getting to this point, we lengthened that list in the process.

Looking back, each album Girugamesh released caused quite some controversy.
That's right (laugh). Every time there was a release, there were lots of different people for and against it. It was really just us wanting to present what we were interested in at the time so—what is it...is it ok to use the word “diary”? We wanted to make something with that sort of a feeling behind it. Looking back, the one good thing we were able to pull out of this was the feeling in 『MONSTER』.

It's great for the band's health to create something that brought out the feeling of a diary, but there were probably times when you guys couldn't agree right? For example, were there instances when there were clashes?
No, that happened all the time, you know (laugh). As expected, someone always said something or other. Like compared to before with 『MUSIC』 , we'd be told things like, 「Don't make the same song!」and 「You've made a pretty similar song.」But when we put out 『MUSIC』 , people said, 「You guys have changed.」(laugh). Seriously, people just say whatever they want. We've gotten used to that “Why?” feeling that comes each time though (laugh). But, we didn't feel lost because we released something we personally believed in, and no matter what people said, it was something we thought was cool.

Of course. It's just, people might think, “Could it be that with the next album, it isn't the progress that they were hoping for?”
Ahh. Yeah, yeah. Of course, of course.

You certainly had your incubation period, and that took quite a while, but I've really thought that 『MONSTER』 is proof of Girugamesh at its best.
The members thought that too. Seriously, with all the twists and turns we've gone through, we came out after thinking about what we really want to do, and this song came out as a result of that. We really felt that THIS is what we wanted to do.

This force that's moving forward was first released in a single that's titled 「INCOMPLETE」.
That's right! The single that feels complete is 「INCOMPLETE」 (laugh)!

That caught my attention. Why “Incomplete”?
It was a warning to ourselves. The single tells us that, even if we believe that we're “perfect,” we need to call ourselves out. If the band ever felt satisfied with where we were, that'd be the end of us, and we wouldn't be able to stick around. The title was to say to us, “You guys will never be complete. Don't be satisfied with yourself and always push forward." The lyrics also say the same, and those words were actually a scolding to Girugamesh. Like, 「If you guys are gonna gloss over everything and think you'll still make it, you've still go time so just quit the band and find yourselves another job!」

When were you told that?
Before “13 Days.” At that time I thought, “I don't feel that way!”, but when I look back, I was overly optimistic and if nobody said that to us, I think I wouldn't be here right now—that's how much those words fired me up. I never want to forget that feeling ever again, and I made and sing these lyrics with that feeling in mind. Every time we have a performance, I want to fire myself up.

Girugamesh probably reacted to those words, huh.
Back in the day, we would've spent our energy fighting back and thinking, “We're gonna show them up!” but that made us a bad band because we always butt heads. We thought if we lost that rebelliousness, we wouldn't be able to function properly. As expected, we thought, “You're so full of it!” and “Just let us do it however we want!” I thought that was Girugamesh's strength.

So, when you were told that, you didn't cave in at all, huh.
Not at all. We were like, “Haa~!?” (laugh). Everyone in the band held that belief, so being told that really saved us.

So, you did an edited version at yesterday's live, and it gave a really serious impression. Especially with the last song, I thought you guys really concentrated all your determination in there.
With that song, that was where we really asked ourselves, “Are you guys really okay with leaving it at that? Is it ok to just end it like that?” The lyrics were written during our toughest time. It'd be nice if people could hear how we felt during our darkest hour. That's to say, a taste of our despair (laugh).

In that song, there's a final scream at the end, right? At yesterday's live, during the shout, you had an especially sharp look that felt really bestial.
That had all my feelings poured into it. That thought of, “HEY! We're BACK!” But because of that, my voice is all rough now (laugh). In that one shot, we did it all. But we only managed to convey that much.

Yeah, it was a completely different expression from what I'd ever seen before. It was like, “That was from the bottom of his heart. Both 「Zecchou BANG!!」 and 「Zentetsuken」 had a pretty strong party mode flavor.
We already dug ourselves deep, so we were in a situation where didn't release anything but serious stuff (laugh). That sort of party flavor has completely disappeared.

Our feelings have really toned down since then. Plus we just couldn't get used to it. That kind of mental state just completely washed out.

Would you say that's being obedient or being truthful?
Being truthful. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing—I don't know.

Usually, when you lie, are you exposed right away?
I get exposed. Like, I know I'll be exposed, so I just won't lie. Even though it's better to keep it hidden, I'll end up blurting it out (laugh).

What about keeping quiet about your thoughts?
Nope, that's impossible (laugh). I can't keep it in.

There are many types of vocalists, but aren't there also poker-faced ones?
There are, aren't there. I'm jealous of that, but it can't be helped.

Is that so. (laugh)
I'm really jealous of that! It just looks better right. It's better to not to just blurt the truth and just show the good stuff. I think that's a pretty useful skill, and it's not just because other people have it and I don't. But I think that won't be possible at all for me (laugh). I can only say things as they are.

Nowadays, your rival bands also aren't really attached to a genre, but there are a lot of visual kei people right. The things that make you unique become a weapon you can use, but have you ever thought, “That's not good,” or anything like that in regards to these differences?
I haven't thought that before. It's harder for me to lie. If I say my own feelings calmly, and it doesn't work out, then that's that. I always think to myself that I am who I am.

I see. Then during your hiatus, the conflicts the band faced as a whole were bigger than the problems the front man faced.
That was the biggest one. We couldn't see where we were, so we didn't know what we should do, and we didn't know what and where we should polish up. That was really bad. It was Girugamesh at its worst.

By the way, during that time, were there anything the members said to you that you thought was harsh?
Hmm...well, when I was doing my solo band, there was some opposition, and they said things like, 「Think about Girugamesh more!」 and there were times when I was like, “Whattttt?” I got mad because I wanted to break through this problem, and that's why I was venturing out—not for the reason those guys were thinking.

It didn't mean you wanted to quit and had changed your mind about things.
That's right. It was because I was thinking of Girugamesh.

But, if it had gotten that bad, I think they might have been impatient.
Well, I really think it can't be helped. We weren't moving forward at all, but I understand where they were coming if I was like, “Well, I'm just gonna go start something new.” But still, I wish they'd about it just a little more...

So things were so messy that everyone was at their wits end.
Everyone was at their wits end. We were at the end of our limit, a critical breaking point.

But you've gotten over the clash.
That's right. I think the people who came to see the live yesterday understand, but everyone of us is looking at the same thing and moving forward together. I think where we are now is great. 『MONSTER』 has a pretty high level of difficulty, so we practiced the instrumentals quite a bit and aim to shoot over 10 years (laugh). But anyways, we want to pour it all out at once on October 13, at Shibuya AX.

That's your first one man “G#” live after a year, but traditionally AX is a final venue after a 47 prefecture tour, right?
There's the period of the 47 prefecture tour final, and there's also that period that I mentioned before about our rebellious period is also included. We, really want to go forward as one—the members, staff and fans. It's a final and a restart.

From the viewpoint of the guests, if you did it at a larger venue, you'd fill the extra space, but you're quite focused on AX.
That's true, huh. Well, that place actually left the biggest first impression. For the band, it was our first goal, so there's a sense of accomplishment that ties into our own self esteem. Our first goal and dream was also AX, plus I think AX was probably the venue where I saw a live for the first time. There were a lot of incredibly moving moments, so it's the live house that invokes the most powerful thoughts for me. So for us to have a one man live there holds a lot of meaning for us. I want to sell out and have 3 consecutive concerts there.

What kind of live do you want to do? Something like a 47 prefecture tour, or a live that uses the “13Days” concept?”
I just want to do lives. I want them to just let me blow up and play our songs.

By that, do you mean a feeling like it's your first time coming together?
Something like that. We're gonna do this band without erasing that feeling.

In that vein, what does Girugamesh have their eyes set on?
Excluding the music?

As expected, I want to make lives more of the focus. I really feel that now with the development of Internet sharing, CDs don't sell, and the music scene has slumped. If we have really awesome lives, we can really revitalize the scene.

From Budoukan and Dome too?
I consider Budoukan a live house. I want people to come and see our lives, and then think to themselves, “I wanna be in a band too,” and convey to these people, whether it's one person or a lot of people, how fun lives are and how great music is.

There's also partly a sense of the scene weakening because there aren't that many people who want to do it.
There is, huh. The way I think of it is that the music scene now is too attached to the current generation. In the past, there were a lot of songs that really bloomed from a mess, and they carried really passionate messages within them, but there's an increasingly bad image of music being a really inorganic piece of work. Like, there's no human aspect to it. Isn't it bad if the current scene has lost that?

So you're saying that for the sake of numbers and a mass appeal, the essence of music has faded away.
That's right. Even if you look at the lyrics, there's nothing but stuff with a lot of interesting words line up, but what do they really want to say anyways? There's no feeling of wanting to frankly convey something.

That music has certainly decreased.
Well, the generation has let it become that way though, right. With the recession, there might be people who don't want to listen to such sharp topics. But if something like that disappears, the meaning of music will disappear too. Well, I'll defend that to the death.

I see, especially since you've been waiting to finally restart.
We've already crushed all our worries and insecurities, so we can only move forward now. And (laugh), I just wanna do lives again.

You must be starving for it.
I am. I can't wait.

Wow--talk about an intense year for Girugamesh, but all of their efforts clearly paid off and they have both the "Incomplete" single and the Monster album to prove it!

Just to rile you up in anticipation for what to look forward to in their Monster album, Danger Crue released a clip of Drain, which shows a reinvigorated Girugamesh.

Leave us a comment down below about what you think of Girugamesh's journey and your thoughts about MONSTER and what you think it'll bring!

Also, as we mentioned our Twitter, this week's gonna be a jam packed week for MICHIDO, so stay tuned with us by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr!


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