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Malice Mizer First Interview - Shoxx, Dec 1992
Translated by Kurai

Malice Mizer was formed by Mana and Közi of Matenrou in 7.92. The members are Tetsu (vo), Mana (g), Közi (g), and Yu~ki (b) (their drummer announced his quitting on their 3.15 show at Yoyogi Chocolate City). They recently contributed a song to the omnibus "BRAIN TRASH". I personally had not heard their music, but as I talked with them and heard the intent of this band Malice Mizer, I felt something amazing may come from them. Keep a look out for these guys.

Malice Mizer
A stage presence like a movie scene...

--Did you have a defined idea of Malice Mizer's sound since you first started the band?

Mana: I really love classical and European music. With this band, if I could use two twin guitars to blend together melodies of sadness and beauty, with European, mist-enshrouded imagery (our expression of beauty), combine that with the speed of rock music, and also add vocal lines that were melodic and easy to listen to... from all this I was aiming at a music with beauty and sadness hidden within.

--Although its only been a half a year since the band began, it feels like you've steadily built up your sound.

Mana: Naturally, even more than performing, I want to make Malice Mizer's sound unique and new, not something that can be called this or that. Actually, in terms of our atmosphere, we are still very much in the middle of creating it, and we are still at the stage of discovering our own unique sound through trial and error.

Közi: We've just started to grow our fur.

Tetsu: You could say we're showing our teeth. (laughs)

----You mentioned your expression of beauty as European; would that be using melody as a foundation while you create the aesthetics of your world?

Tetsu: Yes. We're definitely not a pop band, and I want the lyrics to be meaningful.

Mana: For the instruments as well, if you listen close, we put a lot of thought into the making of the harmonies between the bass and the guitars. Just in the harmonies alone we have mountains of ideas, and every time we compose a song its very difficult in deciding where our lines best fit together and where they should accent the dynamics of the song.

--There are definitely some very challenging parts in the interplay of the two guitars.

Mana: I just didn't want to make it like heavy metal, where there's a lead player and a side player, and when chorus comes both guitars harmonize together. More than that, I am thinking of a sound where from beginning to end both guitars together put forth their different colors. That is the most difficult part. Either way I did *not* want to do melodies and harmonies like normal bands.

--Then doesn't it take a long time to complete just one song?

Mana: It takes a lot. It can take from half a year to a year.

--Does that mean that even the songs you perform now are not complete?

Mana: To a degree their form is complete, but they could still change. Yeah, right now we are approaching a sense of completion but its not quite there yet.

Közi: What's more is that we haven't had many actual lives yet, so what we want now as a band is live experience.

--You've only been together for half a year, so its natural to have the attitude that the band will grow from here on.

Közi: Which is why each time we perform its like a series of experiments. Each time we do a show a bunch of new ideas come out.

Tetsu: Even if you were to hear our songs in karaoke we want them to feel real, and so it takes a lot of work to decide where the vocals should be as well.

--To illustrate some, what are you planning for Malice Mizer this year?

Mana: We are aiming at a one-man show. In reality, if we can't do a one-man show, we can't elaborate on our stage set. We really want to emphasize what the audience sees. In other words, we don't want to just come out on stage, perform, and then have it be over. Since our visuals are an integral part as well, we really want to make a fancy stage that has a play-like fascination to it.

Közi: A stage that almost reflects a scene from a movie.

Mana: Yes. We want to not just perform, but to evoke the imagery of a scene from a movie, and make our show like a beautiful film. We don't want to play our set quickly and leave; we want to lure people into our show with the atmosphere of the set and the opera-like aspects of our performance. Actually, so far at our shows we've only been able to show this ambition a little bit.

Közi: So far its still not something we can boast of.

Mana: That's very true. Right now we just don't know how far we can take our ideas, so that is something else we are aspiring for this year.

--On one hand you could say Malice Mizer is not just pursuing a sound, but a more encompassing, total image.

Mana: That's right. We want to combine the visuals and music and evoke a cinematic, unique atmosphere.

Yu~ki: All of our songs have a theme and story to them.

Tetsu: The story aspect is very strong.

--So you're pursuing a conceptual side for each song?

Közi: We are, but we haven't fully fleshed it out yet.

--Do the lyrics all have a story?

Tetsu: I want to link them together thematically. Even more, I want people who hear my words at a show to have them remain in their heads afterwards. I don't want to use words and phrasing that is too straightforward and simplistic... I'm aiming for words that have deep meaning and convey a message people can understand after hearing only once. So rather then saying I try to write lyrics with a story, its more like I try to write lyrics that have strong, meaningful content. Lately I've been writing more songs about love.

--The whole song must take a lot of structuring.

Mana: Yes. Basically I think about the story, and while the song is being structured I paint the scenery of it in my own head, and I choose music that fits that scenery. Moreover, it takes a lot of energy to pick each sound that matches the scenery. It's very time-consuming.

Közi: We are very aware that we must use sounds that are different from other bands.

Mana: We don't want to sound like other bands. We think about the chord progressions of the songs and try to put out something mysterious and alluring. It's very difficult to reproduce that sound live, and we have to simultaneously balance that with our staging, you know. That balance is tremendously challenging. We can only master it by doing more shows.

--There's been a lot of talk brewing about Malice Mizer lately. As the members, how do each of you deal with it?

Tetsu: I think that talk is coming way too soon. We've only been together for half a year, and we are playing with confidence, but to speak plainly, as a band we are not completely solidified yet. So when you compare people's judgments and gossip to our own feelings of the quality of our music, I think all the talk is a bit premature. With that said, conversely we are now trying to aim for that exposure.

--As we might expect, there's a lot of pressure on you from everyone's talk and expectations.

Közi: It's there. It's like "we can't mess up!" And its an honest point that we are not fully solid on our performances yet.

Mana: It's like we've gone ahead on the theatrics and such of our music, and now we must focus on the actual technique of playing.

--But you do have self-confidence as a band.

Közi: Without confidence you can't perform in a band.

Mana: I have faith in our music.

--And your vision for the band is very broad too. All that's left is to give shape to that.

Közi: In that sense this year really feels like the make or break for us. In actuality there is only Malice Mizer for us. I want people to come read this magazine and know more about the band, for them to come to our shows, and for even one person to be moved by our music.

Tetsu: I just want to say this, that the talk about us is premature. Truly, as we are still experimenting with our sound and style, it would be regretful if someone saw us now and made their decision based only on the "incomplete" Malice Mizer they've seen. As a band we're really trying to show our colors now, so I want people not to make judgments on what they've seen, but to watch us from here out.