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Moi dix Mois Orient-Extrême Interview

March 15 2006
Translated by Halvorc

Two days before his concert in Paris, and the day before the autograph session at the Hard Rock Cafe, Mana, leader of Moi dix Mois (the most famous Japanese gothic band), received the French press, for a special day of interviews. The surprising mini-album Beyond the Gate has just been released, and the new members have recently been introduced... There were many subjects, but, unfortunately, sone hot questions (about the -close or far- past) will remain unanswered, so they will be eluded in this report. There will still be mysteries around Mana, who is very skilled in maintaining them...

Interview of Mana, in Paris, made by Eric OUDELET (15 march 2006)

Orient-Extrême : To begin with, can you describe briefly Moi dix Mois' music, and tell us what are the differences from european productions, with a comparable style ?
Mana : I already listened to bands from several european countries, but not for a long time [Halvorc : I believe the right translation is "to dwell over it" but I'm not 100 % sure]. I don't know the European scene well, in that field, and I only know the band Anorexia Nervosa really [which Mana met in Paris in 2005]. So it's quite difficult for me to compare. What makes the difference between Moi dix Mois' music from the other band's, is that I composed it.

Orient-Extrême : What were your feelings before your first concerts in Europe, and what are they now, before your second Tour ?
Mana : Last year, I was waiting to see what would happen, so I didn't know what to expect. I could see the audience reacted very well, that there was a good atmosphere. With the acquired experience, we could think the following Tour will be easy, but... the change of singer makes things different one more time. There's a big part of unknown.
Anyway, I have energy to spare, so I'm waiting for the next concerts with impatience and excitement.

Orient-Extrême : Can you introduce Seth and the two session members Sugiya and Hayato (bassist and drummer) ? What are their career, where do they come from ? What are their strong points, according to you ?
Mana : I have chosen the new members according to several criteria. For the singer Seth, I wanted a more masculine voice, a bit more powerful and deeper, and a "middle" [I believe it's the right word but I don't really understand what he meant, saying this] compared to before. Those are the elements which characterize Seth. Concerning bass and drums, I was looking for more technical people. The new drummer is somebody who puts more violence and power in the way he plays.

Orient-Extrême : Could Sugiya and Hayato integrate into Moi dix Mois for the long term ?
Mana : I don't know what shall happen in the future. I cannot tell the band will stay as it is now. However, I'm satisfied with the work of our current group, and I'm thinking of continuing with the quintet as long as it remains possible.

Orient-Extrême : Why wasn't any keyboardist, even during live shows ? A vocalist appeared shortly but conspicuously in OCTURNAL OPERA, but she's never been officialy introduced, and she eventually disappeared just before Beyond the Gate was released... Even in Japan, you've never asked for session members, to play keyboard and those female choruses, during concerts. Is there a reason for it ?
Mana : Since I want to program keyboards by myself, I'm forced to make it pass on playback because I can't play both guitar and keyboard at the same time. Yes, the vocalist was on my previous album, but her role wasn't quite important.

Orient-Extrême : Were you expecting to make "sold-out" and to have so many fans last year, coming to Paris ?
Mana : I was surprised by that !

Orient-Extrême : There were many 'disguised' fans. What did you think about that, did that touch you ?
Mana :This was extraordinary. They were all elegant, and I was happy to seeing them disguised like that.

Orient-Extrême : You have male fans, in Europe, and seeing so much male fans may be a change from Japan... What do you think about that ?
Mana : I'm obviously happy to see so many men in Europe. Boys have a 'warmer' character than girls, they show more energy, we receive this energy during live shows, and it transcends us.

Orient-Extrême : On the contrary, why are there so few men at your concerts in Japan ?
Mana : In my opinion, in Japan, there are approximatively as many girls buying our CDs than boys. Japanese people are proud, that's one of the biggest particularism of our people, and boys are certainly more ashamed of coming to a Moi dix Mois concert than girls. This has a tendancy to change, and we see more males than before, but there's a big majority of girls, who aren't ashamed at all, and who come to the concerts. Boys are the majority to listen to the CDs at home.

Orient-Extrême : Is a new Europe-recorded live DVD to be expectable this year ? Maybe with the complete Germany live ?
Mana : Not for now...

Orient-Extrême : There are high quality features in your latest live DVD Invite to Immorality : a well done editing, beautiful photos... Don't you find that the quality of the box and the booklet aren't up to it ?
Midi:Nette's female director : This is a very classical box for Japan, and nobody in our place noticed that.

Orient-Extrême : A certain number of French fans have had, apparently, some difficulties to order the Invite to Immorality DVD, on your website. Many banks didn't allow transactions with your site, while those fans were used to order in other internet shops from Japan. Were you aware of this probleme, and if so, is it solved now ?
Midi:Nette's director :We didn't know that..

Orient-Extrême : How did people react, in street, during shootings in Paris and Germany ?
Mana : Some people were looking at us a bit strangely, but, apparently, my shoes were the 'center of interest' for everyone. Platform shoes designed for men doesn't seem to exist here. So it did provoke some amused reactions.

Orient-Extrême : Outside of professionnal obligations like concerts and interviews, what do you do when you're in Paris ?
Mana : I make tourism. Last year, I visited laConciergerie and the Catacombs.

Orient-Extrême : The new album is surprising, it differs strongly from the previous ones. What were your goals ?
Mana :Beyond the Gate means to over a new stage, to pass the door... Whe changed our singer, and we also mark this change by this title. I wanted to include much more personal emotions in this album, comparatively with NOCTURNAL OPERA which was a tale. In Beyond the Gate, I just "spit my emotions out". There's no real "goal", if not to express the change of concept, while staying in the same musical style, with more personal emotions, translated by a harder music and a more aggressive way of singing.

Orient-Extrême : Who sings on this album ? Seth and K only ?
Mana : Seth, K, but also Shadow X (the mystery man). We'll only have Seth and K on singing, for thefriday concert.

Orient-Extrême : By listnening to the beggining of Beyond the Gate, we have the feeling it's like listnening to the OST of a Tim Burton [movie]. Does its composer Danny Elfman influence you or was it by pure chance ?
Mana :It's completely by change. I know Tim Burton's films, but I do not know Danny Elfman.

Orient-Extrême : What is your way of composing, of writing songs ? Is it a long work of every day ? Do you allow yourself a very short time at a precise time ?
Mana : I write alone, at home, in my [bed]room, with very little light. I get into my world and I start writing. "It comes when it comes". Since I write the lyrics according to the music, I'm more able to get into this reflection time when the music is ready.

Orient-Extrême : You like French language pretty pretty much as we can see in the titles of your songs, or in the name of your band. We're surprised not to hear lyrics in french, in your songs. Is there a reason ?
Mana's thinking : I'm thinking of doing it possibly, some day, but you must know, for a Japanese, to sing a whole song in French is hard ! [laughings (!). This said, to put some words here or there... it's still simple and possible.

Orient-Extrême : Why doesn't a Moi dix Mois PV exist yet ?
Mana : There isn't one yet, but in a very near future, we're thinking of making one.

Orient-Extrême : Did the project of a Moi-même-Moitié [Mana's brand of clothes] shop in Paris progress ?
Mana : We receive many demands about that. Many persons want it and we're doing our possible to succeed in it. It's not done yet, there are many things to solve on the legal field, before. When everything's ready, we'll make the project concrete.

Orient-Extrême : Japanese visual kei and metal bands try to export themselves to the USA [Dir en grey, DéspairsRay...] Does this continent attract you ? Are you tempted by the adventure ?
Mana : From the bottom of myself, I'm more attracted by europe, which I am fond of particularly. It corresponds to me more. However, I have no objection to make something in the United States. If there's an occasion, I'll go ; but that's not my ultimate goal, I'm very happy to be in Europe.

Orient-Extrême : Would you also feel like playing in a big festival like Wacken or Rock am Ring/Rock im Park ?
Mana : I would be very interested because I've still never 'done' any festival. I'd be delighted to be invited.

Orient-Extrême : What are the great events of your life, which made you the person you are now ?
Mana :When I was a child, I saw films like The exorcist, with very odd atmospheres. Those fantastic worlds passionated me and marked me. I wanted to develop such universes, too.

Orient-Extrême : Concerning your whole career, what are you the most proud of ?
Mana :I'm very proud of having succeeded in going to Europe, making concerts with Moi dix Mois, playing for audiences with different cultures, which I didn't do before. I'm also happy to know we listen to my music in other countries.

Orient-Extrême : What are your next goals and projects ? Will there be a single or a DVD in 2006 ?
Mana : We do not know what it shall be for the moment, but we'll release some other thing this year. Maybe a CD, maybe a DVD...

Orient-Extrême : Thank you and "otanjobi omedetô" by advance ["happy birthday" because Mana will have his one the day of the concert in Germany]
Mana : "Thank you."