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Visual-Kei Stars are Living the Dream

NIGHTMARE has enjoyed huge success since the Japanese visual kei rock band started in 2000, helped in part by their contributions to anime series like “Death Note,” “Claymore” and “Moryo no Hako.” By 2007, the band of Yomi (lead vocals), Sakito (lead guitar, backing vocals), Hitsugi (rhythm guitar), Ni-ya (bass, backing vocals) and Ruka (drums, percussion) had built up a following large enough to sell out Tokyo’s Budokan arena within two weeks. Eight years on, and in the 15th year of the band, Tokyo Journal caught up with Yomi and Hitsugi, who were preparing for the June 25th release of their new single, “Taboo.”

TJ: How did all of you meet?
NIGHTMARE: We met through friends, at the age of 16 or 17. We’re all from Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture, but our base right now is Tokyo. We love Tokyo!

TJ: Which musicians have you been most influenced by? What makes NIGHTMARE unique?
NIGHTMARE: We are all influenced by X Japan and LUNA SEA. Generally, our music has a sharp melody with undertones of melancholy.
HITSUGI: I am deeply influenced by HIDE [formerly of X Japan], in particular.

TJ: How is the chemistry of your band offstage? Do you hang out a lot together?
NIGHTMARE: We don’t often hang out together in our free time. We think it’s important to keep some distance between ourselves, but not to have a purely professional relationship.

TJ: Have you ever performed abroad?
NIGHTMARE: Yes. We have just come back from doing concerts in Houston, and last year we performed in Paris. The audiences’ responses were very good in both cities, but of course they were slightly different. These concerts were held as part of Japan Expo, so we were very warmly welcomed and very excited to be a part of such a big event.

TJ: If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would you like to perform?
NIGHTMARE: Germany. We have yet to perform there, but we think the fans there will be very hot.

TJ: What has been your most exciting or satisfying performance so far?
NIGHTMARE: We like to think that all our performances are exciting.

TJ: Do you have any plans for overseas concerts soon?
NIGHTMARE: Yes, we are looking forward to performing in Korea and Shanghai.

TJ: You are all very talented rock musicians, but do any of you have classical music training?
HITSUGI: Yes, I actually had piano lessons when I was in elementary school. These days I don’t have any opportunities to use staff notations and now I have forgotten how to read them.

TJ: What is the relationship between NIGHTMARE and Sendai Kamotsu?
YOMI: Sendai Kamotsu is my brother’s band. There’s no relationship at all musically, but of course we know each other’s bands very well.

TJ: I know you have done some songs for anime. Are you anime fans?
NIGHTMARE: Yes, very much.
YOMI: I like “Saint Seiya” especially.

TJ: Why are you so influenced by Gian’s philosophy in “Doraemon”: “Omae no mono wa ore no mono. Ore no mono wa ore no mono”? [“What’s yours is mine; what’s mine is mine.”]
NIGHTMARE: We love that selfishness because rock ’n’ roll is selfish.

TJ: Who are your heroes?
YOMI: Seiya in “Saint Seiya.”
HITSUGI: The Joker in “Batman.”

TJ: What kind of music do you listen to in your free time?
YOMI: Songs from anime such as “Dragon Ball.”

TJ: Do you have a proudest achievement as a band?
NIGHTMARE: Next year we will celebrate our band’s 15th anniversary. Our proudest achievement is performing together for all these years.

TJ: What advice would you give to new musicians?
NIGHTMARE: It is important to keep an adequate distance between members; don’t get too close or too distant. Also, be careful of being cheated by certain adults. tj

The complete article can be found in Issue #275 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.

Written By:

Anthony Al-Jamie

Anthony Al-Jamie lived and worked in Japan for over 20 years. His in-depth understanding of Japanese language and culture has allowed him to carry out interviews with many of the most renowned individuals in Japan. He first began writing for the Tokyo Journal in the 1990s as Education Editor, later he was promoted to Senior Editor, and eventually International Editor and Executive Editor. He currently serves the Tokyo Journal as Editor-in-Chief.


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