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Shinwa Malice Mizer Interview - Shoxx [mar, 2000]
Translated by Kurai

For you to listen to Kami's composed songs, that is all we want..

At the end of last year Malice Mizer released the video and single "Saikai no chi to Bara", starting their activities as a group of three. This year there have been many worried fans, but on February 1st they will release the Kami Memorial Box (mini album + video) titled "Shinwa". Before starting their new story, this is the work they felt compelled to make...

--When you released "Saikai no Chi to Bara", you told us Malice Mizer's story from here on out was already decided upon. However, isn't this latest work in that same vein as "Saikai"?

Mana: In a sense, yes. From the start we had decided to release the songs Kami left behind with the intention of sharing them with the world, but the content of the lyrics and such do have a relation to our new story. It's a difficult location for a release, but I would say it is in the same vein, that it's not a completely separate work.

--In what shape did Kami's songs remain?

Közi: It was all left for us on disk done by synth.

Mana: They had bass and drums added, giving the songs their general form.

--What was Kami making the songs for?

Mana: For the new Malice Mizer. Before we had figured out the fine details to our concept, we had a general discussion about it once before. We all focused on making new melodies and songs, and that was when Kami brought forth his compositions.

Közi: It was right about last year when we did an event (4/99). We had time to work on compositions and he brought them forth then.

--What was your impression when you first heard the songs?

Mana: "Unmei no Deai" had a gentleness to it that Malice Mizer hadn't done before. Kami had said it had a French-like image to it, but I also got the image of looking out from a tall skyscraper. I felt it was a composition I myself could never make. When he first showed me "Mori no naka no tenshi" it was brighter, and I almost wanted to skip over it. It still evokes that feeling for me even now, but it also has a fun feeling, and it brings to mind Kami's smiling face while he plays drums.

Közi: It was the first time he had composed anything, so it was also the first time we had heard his work. He had told us "I'm composing something". And so we were very surprised when, of all of us, the songs he brought forth had the most definite, finished shape to them. He had fully added the guitar and bass, as well as completely worked out the pattern of the progressions... "that's just like him" is what we thought when we heard the songs.

Yuki: I hadn't heard his compositions either, so at first I was wondering what kind of songs he would make. There were a lot of different progressions, but he had even thought of the title as well and as I listened to the songs, my image of them widened. They were fresh, new songs for Malice Mizer.

--Kami hadn't composed any songs before, so what was his motive for writing such complex songs like these as his first attempt?

Közi: Since a long time ago he had been saying "I want to compose".

Mana: Before, he had bought a synthesizer and tried to compose something but he said it didn't come out well. So I think he had been trying for awhile.

Közi: He practiced guitar in his home, bought a keyboard and practiced playing that as well, and tried out many other things in order to compose. So this may have been the first time his ideas took a solid form, but I think his feelings to compose had been there long before.

--Now that you mention it, the last time we met with Kami he said to us "I want to compose songs, but until they take on a solid, finished form I can't show them to anyone".

Mana: That guy.. that's just like him! You know, he loves cleaning around the house. (laughs)

Közi: He's surprisingly a very hard worker, isn't he.

Mana: Kami, you know, he's got a wild image, but in actuality he's surprisingly sensitive and has to have everything in perfect order. He would always say how he cleans his room everyday.

Közi: Yeah, so its not really surprising that he brought all these songs to us with even the titles finished.

--Kami had composed more songs, but why did you select only these two?

Mana: Of the songs, we thought that those 2 best showed Kami's feelings. They are polar opposites, but it was decided that we'd boil it down to just these two.

--You had said before you wanted to do this Memorial Box before, when was it that you mentioned that?

Mana: Around June. We'd talked about doing some kind of ceremony, or a fan funeral or something. But as artists, more than doing a ceremony we wanted to share Kami's remaining sounds with the world with our own hands, letting even more people listen... we thought that would better go along with Kami's wishes and feelings. So we decided to do a cd as our memorial.

Közi: We want to share the songs Kami composed with everyone. That's all.

Mana: If we were to do a fan funeral and such, I feel it would be nothing but sadness and grief. But this lets us look to the future more positively, and its a work that can show Kami's message as well as the forthcoming Malice Mizer.

--There are lyrics to the songs, but were those there from the beginning?

Mana: No. Originally no lyrics had been added. Since a title had been added, though, the words are from the image that expanded while I listened to the songs. They are from us to Kami, and from us to those of you always in need of Malice Mizer...

--A lot of time has passed from when you said you wanted to make the memorial box in June.

Mana: There is a reason we waited to release it on February 1st. It's Kami's birthday.

Közi: We had talked about releasing it earlier, but...

Mana: ...But we wanted to do something for Kami on his birthday. It may have taken some time, but we think it has been released on a day with meaning.

--"Saikai" is the only one that's not Kami's song, right?

Mana: "Saikai" was added as our feelings to Kami.

--Were there any hardships with refining the compositions?

Mana: "Unmei no Deai" was very difficult, and gave me lots of trouble. Actually, while we arranged it, it gradually took on a different shape, becoming like a new song.

Közi: While we were doing it, the song changed shape entirely. It was very difficult.

Yuki: In the beginning it had a more bouncy rhythm. That part has been changed.

Közi: But while I was working alone on the song, somehow, I felt as if Kami was there in the room with me.

Yuki: I felt that too.

Közi: I felt he was looking on with me. Indeed, we used Kami's sound for the drums.

Mana: On "Mori no naka no tenshi" I played the guitar. With "saikai no chi to bara" I didn't play the guitar, so it had been awhile since I recorded with it. When thinking of what kind of guitar to do for this song, I didn't want to have a really planned out, tightly decided idea. So, on the same day of recording, while I listened to the song I decided on the phrasing then.

Közi: We wanted to show Kami's happy and energetic moments, so we didn't want a tight and neatly arranged guitar.

--It's a type of song you haven't had yet in Malice Mizer, isn't it?

Mana: Yeah, because of the happy, fun feeling. Kami too probably knew we wouldn't make this kind of song. He said he had made a song from his own perspective.

Közi: In the beginning it was even brighter and fresh. I hadn't played guitar for awhile either since this song, so my fingers got all sore. (laughs)

Yuki: I thought a lot about how to approach the song too. "I wonder how many angels there are?" and such. For some reason I got an image of the mood of the nighttime, so I wondered what made me think of that.

--Originally, was there no explanation from Kami about the songs?

Mana: Only briefly.

Közi: Yeah, while listening to the music he would say something like "Here I want there to be this kind of sound".

--This time as composers there must have been many things you needed to take into consideration while composing. Did you have any problems there?

Közi: The titles were added already so that was a big hint for us. But since the words had a deep meaning, as we arranged the songs until their completion we were troubled.

--When you were working on it, did you not think of him and have painful thoughts?

Mana: No, but...

Közi: We were pained by the skill required for the parts in his songs which took technique. (laugh) Of course our hearts were pained too, but we didn't want to make a tearful, sad production.

Mana: As we listened to "Mori no naka no Tenshi" in the studio with the volume very loud, the rhythm was pulsing through and I suddenly thought of Kami playing that rhythm with his smiling face. Even though he was not actually there, we made the songs with the feeling that he was there in spirit, working on it with us. So I think this memorial box has been made with our feelings and his feelings.

Közi: I truly believe that too.

Yuki: I know he can hear it, and I believe is pleased.