-moi dix mois-
-eve of destiny-
Malice Mizer Beast of Blood Interview 7/01
Translated by Kurai
an image of the beast hidden within
Malice Mizer's second single in "Beast of Blood" has been finished. In both sound and image, it is a polar opposite from last month's Gardenia. It is being called the expression of Malice Mizer's insane side. In addition, the song also features their main character of old, the vampire. Today we talk with all the members about this latest release and it's place in the Malice Mizer world, but as Klaha says, "the vampire in Beast of Blood has a different nuance from what we've done in Malice Mizer before." Since its a new Malice Mizer, it was time for a new vampire.
"we created something according to our predictions"
--Is Beast of Blood a continuation to the white world of Gardenia?
Mana: It is a continuation, and in terms of the overarching story it has a small connection to Gardenia. I think that question will be answered more clearly in the third single and our new album. (laughs) But Beast of Blood does have a very important place in the concept.
--Looking at the visuals and jacket photos this time, it seems you really went for the vampire image this time, which is something of the core image of Malice Mizer I think.
Mana: It is. From the title "Beast of Blood", it is doubtless that people will get a brutal, wild image, but I thought our visuals were more of a cool, reserved manner. I want people to see from our imagery that in the recesses of that "cool" there lies an insane part.
--When you composed the music did you have that image from the start?
Mana: We'd decided the title "Beast of Blood" but it was to be chic and cool, and inside it something rages. It's not something you can see, it was our image of the beast within.
--What did the other members think when Mana showed you the song?
Klaha: He showed me the music and his concept together, so my first impression was of a "cool insanity".
Közi: "It's finally here!" (laughs). Mana's 18th aggressive song.
Yuki: I thought it was a song we could definitely play live this tour, so I was looking forward to that. I also thought it was very cool.
--So far Malice Mizer's aggressive songs have all been done with drum machine and electronic instruments, but this has more of a band sound doesn't it. Last time you were saying that you wanted more of a band sound; have you expressed that here as well?
Mana: For the Gardenia series of singles I wanted to bring forth our band sound, so I wanted an aggression that was more "live" than electronic. At first I composed everything electronically, then showed it to everyone, but I had an image of how I wanted the actual recorded version to go. We actually realized our predicted image for Beast of Blood, so unlike Gardenia, the recording went smoothly and the original version was not much different from the finished, recorded version.
--When you actually were recording the song, what things were you conscious of?
Mana: As for guitar, this song is pushed forward by guitar riffs, so I wanted those riffs to have a spirit. It was a battle for me to try to get my guitar to have that certain edge. (laughs)
--Now that sounds like a band. (laughs)
Mana: Yeah (laughs). So my approach on guitar was to stress a biting, cutting sound.
Közi: The style for Beast of Blood didn't involve the restless phrasing of twin guitars, its more of a walled in feeling.. like you are being hunted. We wanted to go with a rhythmic guitar, not something technically challenging. The feeling is like "GROWRR!" (laughs). But we had to play tightly, so that aspect is there too... because if you just play all wildly and insane the "cool" image won't come about.
Yuki: My basic approach was that the bass equals the bottom-end sound, so I thought about how that fit into this song. I tried to keep a balance with the other, higher-end instruments, while thinking "how does the bass fit into the high speed parts?" There are two synth basses in this song, so I had to think of that balance too.
--The bass phrases show a lot of impact and tension.
Yuki: Yes. They aren't particularly difficult phrases, but I am pleased with how the low bass compliments the song.
--What about the vocals?
Klaha: When I first heard Beast of Blood, it brought a grin to my face. My vocal stylings aren't suited to shouting or blaring rage... but with the theme for this song, "cool insanity", I thought I could express that type of aggression. I had been thinking "I want to sing this type of song in Malice Mizer", so I feel it came with good timing.
--You wrote the lyrics for this as well. Did Mana tell you his image, and then you wrote it?
Klaha: Yes. The image I got from the song, and the image and theme Mana told me about matched comfortably, and from there I started building a story... actually it was originally much longer, but we talked about it and thought we should condense the story into the summarized lyrics you see now.
--What image did you show him, Mana?
Mana: A hunter hiding his overflowing desire on a cold night... something like that. (laughs)
Klaha: The lyrics don't show a typical vampire image... vampires are very often portrayed as beings of sadness and melancholy, but we didn't want to show their emotions.. but rather the baring of their senses. The vampire from Beast of Blood has an objective, he doesn't show any emotion. To that end we wanted to show the "cool", "chic" aspect of the vampire. The vampire in Beast of Blood has a different nuance from what we've done in Malice Mizer before.
--Most of the lyrics are in English, did that fit with the instrumental phrasing?
Klaha: The lyrics are in English, but because I was told the stage for the song was London, instinctively I thought English would fit. In terms of the resonance of English, the inorganic quality.. I think that also fits. In contrast I don't know if I could have expressed that in Japanese.
"we wanted to show the insanity inside of the chic"
--The coupling for Beast of Blood, "Baptism of Blood", seems to be a sister song.
Mana: There is a commonality to them. "Baptism" means "senrei", and a baptism of blood is something a vampire can never escape from, its an essence of theirs. Without this the B.o.B series wouldn't be complete. I say series even though its only two songs. (laughs)
--What kind of images did you have when you made Baptism of Blood?
Mana: There's the image from "bara no senrei" [["baptism of the rose", played during the bara no seidou concert]]. After I composed Beast of Blood, I thought more it and delved further into the concept.
--This song doesn't have that band sound, its electronic again. Is that because it was originally "Bara no Senrei"?
Mana: Baptism of Blood isn't meant to be heard as a song perse', but more of as a ritual. So we weren't trying for a band sound.
--What about the lyrics?
Klaha: Basically its just a monologue. My role was basically to do the calm, cool, reserved dialogue while the other members play the raging, aggressive parts; the parts where its like the blood is fermenting.
Közi: In terms of the chorus singing I've done with Malice Mizer, this has the most instability and rolling in the vocal.
--But this time its not so much of a chorus as it is the actual vocals, right?
Közi: In a way, its the screams of blood. Plus my rhythm timing is actually a little off in a couple places. (laughs)
Yuki: I didn't think of anything particularly deep, I just screamed (laughs). It was fresh and interesting.. something I'm looking forward to live.
--The third song on the cd is a memorial track, "Bara no Souretsu" [["funeral procession of the rose"]]. Is there a connection between its addition and the release date of 6.21?
Mana: I cannot talk about this song. Those who understand will understand.
--Then we'll let it alone for now. Also, you are releasing the video "Beast of Blood ~ de la image" in concurrence with the cd. It's done in black and white to bring out that cool, chic insanity.
Mana: I originally had an image of a tight, strong contrast, so since I first composed it I had wanted to do the video in black and white. We looked at a lot of ways to make this video, but when we saw the black and white image we thought it fit. We went to our manager with the ideas for that kind of video. Also, we used actual film this time. The texture of actual film fits the world image very well.
--Just like an old vampire movie.
Mana: Yeah, there's a movie atmosphere to it.
--The jacket pictures also seem that way. The members holding classical instruments is very compelling.
Mana: Beast of Blood is an aggressive song, but we wanted to show the insanity inside the chic. So instead of showing the distorted, loud guitars, we wanted to show those classical instruments. We're dressed formally and carrying classical instruments, but you can see the insanity in that we are standing on a sea of blood in the photos.
--You have now released two singles with "Gardenia" and "Beast of Blood". What part of the current Malice Mizer can people see from them?
Mana: These songs are at extreme opposite ends of the spectrum I think. These are the two singles with Klaha, and we very much wanted to show these two sides of the new vocals of Klaha. I think people have an image of him as an operatic singer from Bara no Seidou, but we gradually want to introduce his other sides as well, and make songs to fit that. Therefore the next single will also be impossible to imagine. (laughs)
--In June you begin the "Gardenia ~yoake no teien~" standing live tour. What kind of live do you want to do?
[[note: standing live refers to them actually playing their instruments on stage, at clubs, like a "normal" band would]]
Mana: It's been four years since we've done a standing live. We've done halls for so long now, but with songs like Beast of Blood my excitement as a guitarist is brewing. More so than the lives we've done before, there will be a sense of community and connection with the audience I think. It will be very band-ish.
Klaha: The aggression we couldn't show at the Budoukan last year... and the insanity hidden inside will flow freely at these shows. I want to do a show intense enough to wipe out any unnecessary memories you've had.
Közi: It won't like be the overwhelming type of lives we've done till now. It'll have more of a roaring, cutting feeling.
Yuki: I'm looking forward to enjoying the atmosphere of the standing live. So please listen to our singles carefully. We've put them together all pretty for you. (laughs)