1.Guys , thank you for giving us a part of your time ,although you are busy. Please tell us a few words about yourselves.
We would like to thank Ajia no Tengoku for giving us this opportunity to introduce ourselves. We are NARAKU, a visual rock band from Taiwan.
2.Naraku is a Taiwan based band. To my mind, you rarely see visual rock bands from Taiwan. Were there already visual kei bands in Taiwan before you guys founded yours?
NARAKU was formed in 2005. At that time, no other bands would claim their music style was visual rock in Taiwan. Mostly, they would say they were gothic or metal band with makeup and special dressing. Most people had a prejudice against “Visual Kei”, and thought it is superficial and rough. We would like to show what a visual band should be, and how visual band can make in Taiwanese music environment since 2005.
3.How did you guys make your way into the Taiwanese music industry as visual rock band?
At the very beginning, we hardly got a chance to hold a performance. Fortunately, the Taiwanese people are always enthusiastic and warm. We made friends with many other Taiwanese bands. Although they were not visual bands, they are willing to perform with us, and we gradually got some fans, and even the live houses were willing to give us the opportunity to perform. We found out that it is hard to promote the visual rock music in Taiwan as a visual kei band. Therefore, band members established “RAKU MUSIC” in 2009, and published a music paper magazine “VISUALZINE” and “ROCKZINE”. Our goal is to popularize Japanese visual rock as well as JPOP/JROCK music. When more people will understand and accept this kind of music, maybe NARAKU’s music will be easily accepted.
4.If you were to perform in Japan, where would you like to play? For many artists,the main goal it is the Budokan stage. Are you aiming to play on that stage too?
We have performed once in Shibuya at Star Lounge in 2012. It was a great experience for us to perform in JAPAN with other Japanese visual bands, and the Japanese audience is kind and warm. There are always Japan visual bands coming to Taiwan to hold concerts, and we hope we’ll be able to go to Japan to perform often. Maybe Budokan stage is too far away for us right now, but we will grasp every chance and we hope will reach the goal of Budokan stage someday.
5.On November 5, you guys performed at the Kaohsing Film Festival. Tell us more about it.
It was a very special event called “WE LOVE X” and it was the after party of X JAPAN documentary film “WE ARE X” in Kaohsiung Film Festival. November 5th was the premiere screen debut day of that film, and tickets have been sold out immediately. Only the people with tickets could join the after party, meaning that they were all big fans of X JAPAN. Therefore, it was an honor and also a pressure for us to cover X JAPAN’s songs in this event. As an original song-writing band, we rarely cover other band’s songs. However, we were very excited in that night because we had to perform 4 songs of X JAPAN and the audience really enjoyed it. There were huge positive responses from the audience, and that encouraged us very much. We never thought that we’d see hundreds of people singing X JAPAN’s song with us, and it’s was like a dream.
6.How was the No Fear Festival? Do you take part to it every year?
This was our first time to perform at the No Fear Festival. We appreciated the chance offered to us to perform there, since Taiwanese visual bands aren’t seen much at Taiwanese music festivals. It was an outdoor festival in Taichung (mid Taiwan), and our show time was the timing of sunset. People started to come to our stage when we were already playing. There were even foreigners in the audience and encouraged us. The best part of the festival was the fact we could rock out in front of a such audience. We made them to like our music.
7.What made you guys stick together and found Naraku ?
We all love visual rock music, and hope to create an original visual rock music in Taiwan. This is why we got together.
8.To what album does belong the song ” no pain ,no gain ” ? And what is the message of the album ?
“no pain ,no gain” is part of fourth mini album “1001 NIGHTS” recorderd in 2009 and re-recorded in 2016. As the song title says, we can’t get anything without any efforts. If there is something that we hope to get, all we need is to pay for it.
9.Which is the main idea of your concept ?
NARAKU means Hell in Sanskrit. We hope our music, lyrics, style and performance style can bring you to a different place. That might be the hell, it might be the paradise also.
10.On Semptember 24 it was the birthday of your vocalist. Belated „Happy Birthday ” to Hiro! So, Hiro how was your birthday?
Hiro: Thank you. Actually , I haven’t done something special on my birthday. I kept practicing on guitar X JAPAN’s songs. On November 5, we had a special guest . I played the guitar by the side of our guest. NARAKU had 6 members on November 5.
11.Which are your plans for this winter? Where will you spend your winter holidays ?
We are writing new songs right now, and we don’t have holidays. But our band members go out now and then to eat together.
12.Have you ever got in trouble during tours or concerts?
No we haven’t got any trouble on the stage, but sometimes we forget to bring the hair gel or the hair dryers…
13.What’s the best ever live show you went to?
This year, the event from September 25 from THE WALL LIVEHOUSE called ”Paradise and Hell” was very special for us. We held this visual event and there were 2 Taiwanese bands and 2 Japanese bands. Four bands even had a session in the end of the show together, and all the members and audience had so much fun. Although, there are many Japanese visual bands coming to Taiwan, they rarely perform with Taiwanese visual bands. Hope there will be more and more Japanese visual bands playing with us, and that there will be more opportunities for the visual rock music to become known .
14.Except visual rock, is it there any particular musical genre you are drawn to ?
Visual rock is a special music genre, including almost every kind of music: Classical, electronic, metal, punk, hardcore, gothic…and so on. Therefore, we think we will keep being a visual band, and there exists the possibility to mix any kind of music genre with our music in the future.
15.What’s your message for our readers ?
Thanks for your patience and for reading this interview. And we also appreciate Ajia no Tengoku very much. Visual rock not only develops in Japan, but also grows up globally right now. As a Taiwanese band, we hope we can do more things for visual rock, not only for Taiwanese audience, but also for all the listeners in the world. We’d feel honored to know you are spending time to listen our music. Thank you !
* Thank you to Naraku for their time *