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Malice Mizer "shiroi hada" Interview - Fool's Mate 9/00
Translated by Kurai

~the melody that dances in the fathomless darkness~

The third song since Malice Mizer's revival, completing their trilogy, "shiroi hada ni kuruu ai to kanashimi no rondo" has been completed. Featuring vocals and Japanese lyrics, their third release shows in clear detail their upcoming future. On August 23rd, the album "Bara no Seidou", which illustrates in full this world of Malice Mizer, will be released. Resounding from the fathomless darkness, their ultimate drama begins now.

--Your newest single "shiroi hada ni kuruu ai to kanashimi no rondo" has a long, meaningful title. When you wrote it, what part became the core of the song?

Mana: We made it with the intention of returning to the original sound of Malice Mizer, so it features twin guitars. I really wanted to get that sound of 2 harpsichords, but out of 2 guitars. Up till now we've always had guitar harmonies, but they were of the style of a main melody and a subordinate melody. This time, though, we made it so that while each guitar has it's own independent melody, when overlaid they create a single melody. People may call it a "fugue". I thought long and hard about the complex guitar harmony. We used time and rhythm changes too, which is also something new and different for us. Indeed, instead of an abrupt, obvious change, we let the song subtly develop and change rhythms without breaking the overall sense of the rhythm.

--Even now, a baroque style guitar ensemble has been a feature of Malice Mizer's sound from the beginning, but when did you get the idea to do that?

Mana: A long time ago I was listening to a lot of different music, but no matter what I listened to the guitar always had that same guitar-ish choking sound with nothing but the same chord progressions.. I found it very boring. So I wanted to go all out for a guitar style that was reminiscent of a piano's playing. I had wanted to do that when I was in bands before Malice Mizer, but in my previous bands I was the only guitarist, and without two guitarists I couldn't do complex intertwining and beautiful harmonies. Therefore it wasn't till Malice Mizer that I was able to genuinely work with that desire.

--So, the idea of using the forms you talked about was your own?

Mana: Yes, concerning the parts where I wanted the guitar sound to be like double harpsichords.

--Közi, when you heard about Mana's ideas for that what did you think?

Közi: "Intriguing!", I thought. That musical expression was something I hadn't seen in Mana yet, so I thought it was really interesting.

Mana: I first added effects to the normal guitar to give it that Malice Mizer-ish sound. But in order to express the feelings of this composition, I needed more than just guitar. So I started to add synth guitar, and then I started to wonder if I couldn't add other various sounds as well.

--Your guitars have taken on the sounds of pianos haven't they, without even having to use keyboards.

Mana: We wanted to try to challenge how far the guitar can be taken. The sound of the dueling guitars with the pipe organ and piano was new and fresh to us at the time, and we really liked the sound of it. So we though long and hard about the best way to express that.

--Even with your recording sessions full of the silly monkey business we've heard about you still managed it.

Mana: Yeah (laughs).

--Was the bass also influenced by the approach you took with the two guitars?

Yuki: If you listen to our old songs, the bass lines are all very interesting and mysterious. I try my best. (laughs) When I hear the new single I am very much reminded of those days. The approach I took was very reminiscent of the past.

--It is very similar to the band's beginning sound. How did you approach the arrangement? This time the vocals are a special feature, aren't they?

Mana: Yeah. Like the beginning of a fairytale I first wanted it to begin with a tone of narration.. well, there is no narration, but I wanted it to begin with that storyteller-ish feeling, then gradually become more emotional, at which point the strings would start to weave into the melody. I didn't have any idea for a vocal melody. I had a really strong image for this song, so instead of focusing on that I spent time thinking about the intertwining of the strings and how to make those emotions climax.

--So it was very different than "kyomu no naka de no yuugi" where the stress was on the chorus.

Mana: Yes. With "kyomu" the many voices are all layered on one another, but this had a solo vocal part.

--That's necessary to make "the reunion of the blood and rose" more real, isn't it?

Mana: Yes. So this time we also wanted to make the lyrics Japanese. [[kyomu had english lyrics]]
In order to better explain the story of "saikai no chi to bara", "kyomu no naka de no yuugi", and now "shiroi hada ni kuruu ai to kanashimi no rondo."

--You probably can't tell us anything about the singer yet, but what qualities were you looking for?

Mana: A voice from "the fathomless darkness"... something deep, with a resounding bass quality to it. Also, we think the voice works well with the emotional parts of the song and matches it well. We sought something filled with passion.

--The title of the song also appears in the lyrics. What did image arose when you first heard them?

Közi: I had actually already heard them them a long time ago.

--In the story that Mana had written from the start?

Közi: Yes. They were still in prose form then, but everything you hear in the song was there. The title... the lyrics... I felt very strongly that they were words that come from Mana alone. You had thought of the title long before right?

Mana: Yes, long long ago.

Közi: You were talking about them then too.

Mana: Since around 95...

Közi: Around the same era people Malice was working out that "renaissance European sound."


Mana: Its been stirring inside me for a long time. I've been wondering when I would get a chance to release it.

Közi: That those lyrics and ideas have been constant within Mana for so long without changing is really amazing.

--Was it part of the initial idea you had in forming Malice Mizer?

Mana: No, it wasn't from then, but after I had been involved with the band for awhile they came out. Our new concept has a direct link to our first album "memoire"'s concept, that is, to "reach back into one's own memory." It is a concept that returns us to our original roots.

--I see. Anything to add, Yuki?

Yuki: I feel entirely the same way as what they've been saying (laughs). "Shiroi hada" is very deep.

--Speaking of "memoire", the visuals this time seem to be part of the same tale as well.

Mana: Actually the back jacket of "memoire" is the same as that of "saikai no chi to bara".

--That also has meaning in it?

Mana: Yes.

--The recording of this single has been advancing along with the rest of your new album, and what's the situation on that?

Yuki: With songs like "shiroi hada" you have to put forth a lot of vigor and energy. I think our present "way of life" has been put into this album. Both strengths and weaknesses are in there. So I hope that connects with people. (laughs)

Közi: The guitar... I've really had to practice. I'm serious. (laughs) Among the songs we've done so far these are very difficult, and they have complex twin guitars. Mana and I have been trying out different riffs to see what works best... its really difficult. I can't move my fingers. (laughs)

--Definitely with the key changes and such the image changes a lot. The guitar parts must take tons of time?
Mana: Not so much as "tons", since we didn't have that much time. (laughs) As we we've been simultaneously doing many different things, we had to be very disciplined in a limited period of time.

--It seems the album is completed, would you touch on that a little for us?

Yuki: It's like it brings out this unique part of me I haven't seen before. It resounds in my heart too... ...my words aren't making much sense right now... (laughs)

--Is that so? (laugh)

Yuki: "a rebirth of malice and misery"... how's that? [[arata naru akui to higeki.. this is like the 'mantra' of bara no seidou and is written on the album/lyrics/promotions all over the place]]

Közi: Ahahaha (bursts out laughing)

Yuki: That's the condensed version I guess...

Közi: This album is difficult. I feel I can't describe it with words... We've really returned to our original sound, yet you can also clearly see our future direction. The breadth is wide, yet I feel the bottom is deep too... I think people will have many "what was that?" moments as they listen.

--Such as?

Közi: If I told you that, it wouldn't be a "what was that?" moment. (laughs)

--I see.. (laughs)

Közi: But there are many feelings in the album that will tear into people's hearts.

Mana: As the world of "bara no seidou" is constructed in detail, its a more thorough, tightly constructed vision than we've had before. The "renaissance European sound" of Malice Mizer is also there, and I think people who like that will find this a wonderful album.

--"Bara no Seidou"... an impressive title.

Mana: Yes.

--Even the song titles are all in Japanese, which is rare for Malice Mizer.

Közi: Everyone will probably be surprised when they see it.

Mana: Its been rare for us to have an assortment of Japanese titles, but I think the titles really fit well.

--We'll talk about the album in more detail next issue. Changing the subject, you're in the middle of rehearsal now right?

Mana: No, we're in the last phase of finalizing the plans. We have really big plans for this. The live will be very detailed according to "Bara no Seidou." I think people will feel like they are watching the image of "Bara no Seidou." We plan to go further than the concepts of other bands and create a new kind of stage presence. At each scene the people on stage will be different, so the live will feel like its developing song by song, scene by scene.

--The stage presence you've had before has been large, but you want to make it even more so?

Mana: Yes. Up till now our stage has been focused around a vocalist, but this time its not that style. Its vastly changed I think. If you listen to the album I think you'll see the image, but to speak simply, the influence of an opera or musical is strong I think.

--Will Közi sing?

Közi: Um.. well, the members will all have their different roles.

--You said "musical", but your usual "Alice in wonderland" type fairy tale stylings don't appear to be here.

Mana: No, they're not. It is a depressing, heavy world. Like a sanctuary rising from the endless darkness...

Közi: Doyo-n [[sound effect of heavy silence, darkness, depression]]
..its that kind of feeling!

Everyone: (bursts out laughing)

--With just one word I saw the image very well.. (laugh)

Közi: (laughs) This has become very interesting!

--The image is of "fathomless darkness" isn't it.

Mana: That's there too, yes.

Yuki: The fairytale world aspect is no longer there, but we will still accept your screams of joy, so please cry out to us at the concert. (laughs)
--You also have a television special coming soon, what's that about?

Mana: It's the imagery of the "Bara no Seidou" album, and it chronicles our history, where we're going from here, what we're going to do. Also, phrases and hints from the album have been scattered throughout the program. This program is our newest work, so please don't miss it.

--Finally, could we return once more to the topic of your new single, "shiroi hada ni kuruu ai to kanashimi no rondo"?

Mana: For this song, please buy a lot of roses and let them fall across your room as you listen.

Közi: After reading this, I'm sure a lot of people will actually do it. (laughs)

Mana: Upon seeing the promo video, I'm sure people will understand why. Actually, I want people to watch the video with roses too, spreading them about. (laughs)

--These suggestions for the situation people should listen is a new for Malice Mizer. (laughs)

Mana: And women should wear a white negligee to further set the mood.

Közi: While twirling about. (laughs)

Yuki: As always we want people to listen to with good ambience. And they should turn down the lights too, to just the right level.

Közi: People's impressions are made from the ambience too.

Mana: Yes, before you listen please offer up your prayers. (laughs) It's better not to listen during the day too. And a night with a storm would be best.

Közi: Gee, there's not many days people can actually listen... (laughs)

Mana: And a night with the moon out. The scene will arise in people's minds better that way I think. The atmosphere is important you know.

--If it's this much work just for a single, I wonder what will happen when the album is released...

Mana: It'll be terrible!

Közi: Horrrrriiiblleeee!

Everyone: (bursts out laughing)