-eve of destiny-
Orkus, December 2005
From the Throne of Darkness
translated by Geisha
These days Moi dix Mois’ album Nocturnal Opera is being officially released. A work that is unequalled. It should be very interesting for all who are on the lookout for real Gothic sounds because what Mana has created under the name Moi dix Mois is truly dark, bombastic and full of energy. In his home country, Mana reigns supreme on the throne of Goth. Moreover, on photos he exudes an aura like nobody else and whoever has had the pleasure of seeing him in concert tells enthusiastically of his charisma. Mana is a work of art but with the added feature of not being artificial. Mana is real! He lives what he presents with Moi dix Mois. Great was the suspense in happy anticipation of another one of the rather rare conversations with Mana and the relief was all the greater once it had all been committed to paper. “Voilà!”
Orkus: These days your new album will be released officially in Germany and Europe. This means that you are the first artist of the younger generation who has released his second album in Europe. Does that make you proud in any way?
Mana: My first album, Dix Infernal, was published by a different label but I’m proud of this first album, which was released by a French company. This time I’m proud to have signed with Trisol. It is my wish that as many people as possible will get to know my work and will have the chance to listen to it. Nothing is better than this whish becoming reality. Nocturnal Opera, in the form in which it is released by Trisol, differs from the Japanese version. I’m awaiting its release with anticipation as it is a special package, which contains the album, a singles collection and as a further bonus two video clips.
Orkus: How long did it take you to write Nocturnal Opera?
Mana: Well, it was some time ago, so I can’t give you an exact figure but it took a couple of months – since I first create a “story” and then, based on the pictures of that story, develop a song.
Orkus: Is there a specific story behind Nocturnal Opera?
Mana: Nocturnal Romance on Nocturnal Opera is a story about a man and a woman, who could not come together in the world of the living. In short, the woman who this man loved dies suddenly. In his deepest desire to see her at least one more time, the man asks the help of a special individual and returns her back to the living. Therefore, at midnight amongst ruins, the stage is set for the couple’s “opera”. There is a story behind every song.
Orkus: Can you tell us something about the elaborate artwork?
Mana: The artwork was created based on all the stories that are connected to each song on Nocturnal Opera. My role was to play two parts, a man and a woman. I was the man who holds the woman lovingly in his arms and I was also the woman who was being held. The stories of the songs are scattered as ciphers throughout the booklet. Songs, booklet and lyrics form a whole. I hope that my work also appeals to everybody on a visual level.
Orkus: There are very few musicians who succeed so perfectly in transporting the dark in their music and to reveal it to the listener…. Can this partly be explained with the fact that you not only love the dark but actually live it?
Mana: I’m interested in people’s hidden side. That has been a theme throughout my work. Even though I can’t explain it, it really fascinates me.
Orkus: Speaking of dark things, I have to think of thunderstorms. Do you, too, stand at the window during thunder and lightning, looking out in fascination and relishing the spectacle of nature?
Mana: I absolutely love thunderstorms. I preferably climb onto the roof to watch them. The moment when a thunderstorm breaks loose is beautiful and frightening at the same time and that stimulates my fantasy immensely.
Orkus: Did you like thunderstorms as a child or were you - like most children – scared of them because you didn’t know what they were and what was actually happening?
Mana: If you live in Japan’s capital Tokyo lightning is nothing to be scared of because all buildings have lightning rods in order to prevent people getting hit. That’s why I could climb onto the roof without the slightest fear of being hit.
Orkus: Can you remember the first time you became aware that you love dark things?
Mana: I have been attracted to dark things for as long as I can remember.
Orkus: Why do you think people think that the dark has got to be evil at the same time?
Mana: The dark is in every person’s soul.
Orkus: What positive experiences have you made so far with the dark? You once said that you witnessed a poltergeist phenomenon? What was it that shook in your room?
Mana: Personal things that belonged to me and that were in the room moved. At the same time I saw a friend’s soul leave his body.
Orkus: Did this experience worry you? How did you deal with it?
Mana: I couldn’t return to my house for a while.
Orkus: Do you believe in ghosts? Of course, Hollywood movies exaggerate the whole thing…. But in how far could you imagine that we are surrounded by ghosts?
Mana: I have never seen “ghosts” but I believe that they exist.
Orkus: Let’s return to your music: you often use the lovely sound of a harpsichord. What does this predecessor of the piano mean to you? What fascinates you about its sound?
Mana: The fragile music, which sounds as if it would break any moment, evokes nostalgic memories in me.
Orkus: On Nocturnal Opera you have, amongst others, used female backing vocals. For us that’s very unusual in Japanese music but it sounds very good! What made you decide on it?
Mana: Nocturnal Opera is a story about a man and a woman. As the artwork shows, a female voice was essential.
Orkus: Vizard is the hardest and fastest song you have composed for Moi dix Mois so far. What was the background to this song?
Mana: There is only a narrow line between good and evil.
Orkus: Vizard is followed by Mephisto Waltz, a very quiet song. Do you generally like the contrast between “hard and fast” and quieter, almost tender passages? You often use both in one and the same song.
Mana: I like the contrast between calmness and movement.
Orkus: Perish is also a very fascinating song. Guitar and bass sound different than what we have heard from you up to now. In places the style reminds of old Deathrock, like it emerged in the early 1980s in the US. Why did you want to play this song in a different way?
Mana: I wanted to create a feeling of melancholy, so I chose sounds on guitar and bass that seemed to “flow” and to “float”.
Orkus: Moi dix Mois is Moi dix Mois. No other band could be compared with your music. You style is unique. Are you aware that you have created something absolutely special? There aren’t many musicians in this world who could create such unique art. What do you think is the reason why you succeeded in this?
Mana: It makes me happy to hear that. I’m always looking for music or a style that only I can create and I hope to be able to continue to do so in the future.
Orkus: It has now been six months since your trip to Europe. What did you like most about Paris, the “City of Love”?
Mana: I found it fascinating that in Paris I was able to really feel its history. In Japan, Kyoto is the only city I can think of that has preserved its historical elements and even there they are currently tearing down old buildings in order to erect new ones. Other cities were destroyed during the war. In my opinion, Paris is one city that is exemplary in its effort to preserve the traditional style.
Orkus: Did you also have the opportunity to visit the legendary cemetery Père Lachiase?
Mana: No, but I went to Montparnasse cemetery.
Orkus: Did you visit the grave of a specific celebrity?
Mana: I’m not interested in the graves of celebrities but I love cemeteries as a location.
Orkus: Have you ever thought about where you yourself would like to be buried?
Mana: In my home country: Japan.
Orkus: Is there something that simply scares you when you watch the news on TV?
Mana: Plane crashes. I don’t know exactly why but I really hate having to board a plane.
Orkus: Imagine you could choose a place and a century where you could spend a certain amount of time. Which country and which century would you choose? For example, how about a visit to Johann Sebastian Bach?
Mana: The second in which the world was created! Otherwise, the mid 19th century when Niccolo Paganini was active. I would like to hear him play.
Interview: Claus Müller / translation by Geisha
Special thanks to LucifersBride for the scans.