Today we have an exclusive interview with vkei band GLIM GARDO.
GLIM GARDO is so new that they've yet only performed secret lives, but their music has already gained attention. Vocalist Sakuya (朔弥) has a melodic yet powerful (almost metal-esque) voice that contrasts nicely with the contemporary heaviness of the instrumentals—and all of this is wrapped nicely in the skin of a dark, dramatic fairy tale.
Read on to meet this band that we're expecting a lot from.
GLIM GARDO, thank you very much for agreeing to this interview.
Please introduce yourselves. What’s one word you would use to describe yourselves?
[Sakuya] I'm vocalist Sakuya (朔弥).
[Noku] I'm guitarist Noku (ノク). “Rushing ahead recklessly”
[Runa] I'm bassist Runa. “Heterochromia”
[Rose] I'm guitarist Rose (ロゼ). “Poor dexterity”
What is a cheap daily item that you can’t live without?
[Noku] The HANKYODON pouch I always carry with me. (But it wasn't cheap!)
[Runa] MONSTER energy drinks
[Rose] Hana Celeb tissues
Please tell us how you formed.
[Noku] When my previous band with Runa broke up, I was frustrated by the things that we hadn't accomplished, and I felt strongly that we couldn't end like this.
So I invited Sakuya, who I'd played some lives with in my hometown.
Since there was a concept of twin guitars from the beginning, I then asked Rose, who I knew from before, and that led to our formation.
What is your band’s concept?
[Sakuya] A modern interpretation of Grimm's Fairy Tales.
What is the origin and meaning of your name?
[Sakuya] Grimm's Fairy Tales aren't just “old stories,” but rather thought-provoking tales that are full of profound—and sometimes cruel—lessons.
Similarly, we aim to talk about all kinds of things happening in today's society, including darkness and tragedy. We've christened ourselves as new storytellers who will tell about the way humans really are.
Your mascots, Maisie and Nero, have a cute horror image. Is there a story behind them?
[Runa] Since our band name was inspired by Grimm's Fairy Tales, the character of Maisie was born as an analogue of Little Red Riding Hood, and rabbit Nero along with her.
In Maisie's right hand is the head of the defeated wolf; this is secretly meant to signify “shattering the ordinary.”
How would you describe your music? Why did you decide to play this style?
[Noku] I didn't arrive at this style with a specific image in mind. From the beginning, I thought our music should be based on storyline, drama, melody. It's hard to word, but once you listen you'll understand.
[Runa] This single Obscurial is kind of our standard, right? It encapsulates the answer to “what is GLIM GARDO.”
In VK, there are many different aesthetics. How would you describe your aesthetic, and why did you choose it?
[Noku] I've not been very conscious of aesthetics before now. But the music I've wanted to create, this is it.
[Runa] I wanted to express visuals, sounds, and performance from my world, and I wondered if there was some way to express all of that at once. What allows me to express myself the most is this genre.
[Rose] I'll say with confidence, to anyone, that I'm a vkei person. I'll always feel cool in front of my fans, and no matter what anyone says, I'll be a vkei musician with pride!
How did each of you become interested in vkei? Also what does vkei mean to you?
[Sakuya] When I saw and heard visual kei for the first time, I was intrigued by the different ways that music can be expressed. What I mean to say is the way that it's a combination of sound and visuals.
[Noku] When I was 6 years old, I saw L'Arc~en~Ciel live with my sister. I was close with my sister, and she introduced me to a lot of other bands.
[Runa] I was shocked when I happened to catch a vkei series on TV; I wondered if there was really such a world out there.
I think the meaning of visual kei is to be able to deliver the listener to a world where everything is a delicate art.
[Rose] I accompanied a friend to what happened to be a vkei live, and was really impacted by it.
The meaning of vkei is different to different people, but basically I think if you feel vkei, you're vkei!
Why did each of you choose to join a VK band?
[Sakuya] Because I thought a vkei band would be a good genre through which to express myself.
[Noku] Originally I was in a band that did metalcore, melodic death metal, etc, but I met Runa though a vkei session live that I attended by chance, and I've been there since.
[Runa] The biggest thing is that I felt I could show my sensibilities to the fullest through this world.
[Rose] I saw SuG's live and was so shocked that I wanted to be in a band. And then I saw lots of bands, but I thought vkei ones were the best.
How do you write your lyrics? What do you want listeners to feel when they hear your lyrics?
[Sakuya] First, I create a tale in my mind and relate that story to something that's inspired me.
We want the listener to enjoy our music as if it's the embodiment of that story.
Please tell us about your April 18th live-limited single, “Obscurial”. Could you tell us a little bit about the songs included in it? Were there any challenges or triumphs when making it?
[Noku] Obscurial is the first song I wrote for this band. I think composing this song helped me realize the foundation or world view of GLIM GARDO.
[Runa] RED MASQUERADE is a song that has lots of momentum. It was created with the image of a song that would raise tension during lives.
[Rose] Obscurial was the first song that I ever rehearsed in a band, and the first MV that I ever shot in my life, so I have a lot of feelings for it! I think it's a cool song with some intense parts and an epic chorus!
Please tell us about the process of making an MV. How do you decide on the concept, locations, etc?
[Noku] The lyrics of Obscurial are based on Grimm's Fairy Tale “The Juniper Tree.” So we made the MV so that it conformed to that story while still conveying the world of GLIM GARDO.
[Ed.: The tale is basically about a stepmother who murders her stepson, who then returns as a bird and drops a rock on her head to kill her.]
What’s your process for making new songs?
[Noku] I often start writing songs on the guitar or piano.
It depends on my mental state and emotions, so some days I can't make anything at all, and other days I can complete a rough outline in one night.
I also believe outside input is important when creating something, so regardless of whether I'm composing or not, I keep my antennae open for new things.
[Runa] I tend to come up with an image and then make patterns for many songs all at once.
Streaming services have become more popular lately. Have you considered using these? Do you think it’s important to have physical releases?
[Noku] I think streaming is important for the music industry because it allows you to find new music easily.
However, the CD can deliver the entire world view of the music through its artwork; that's a charm that cannot be experienced through streaming.
That said, we're considering both forms of release for GLIM GARDO.
[Runa] We're thinking about distributing the CD via digital services so people can listen to it. But for vkei especially, I think CDs are still important to express the entire worldview.
[Rose] I think streaming is great because it's convenient, but I personally still like to buy CDs of my favorite artists and collect them. So I think CDs should be kept as part of the culture!
Unfortunately, your first concerts had to be cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. How have you adapted to these changes in your planned activity?
[Nose] The situation is changing day by day, and Japan is currently in a difficult situation just like every other country. It's very hard to perform lives with the same feeling as before. We've also decided to postpone our performance.
Your first sponsored event will be held on April 18th at LIVE HOUSE Rumio and April 29th at HOLIDAY NEXT NAGOYA. Incidentally, it will now be your first concert, right? What can we look forward to from that performance?
[Noku] Due to the effects of the coronavirus, we've decided to postpone that show. I'm so sorry to all of the people who were looking forward to it.
However, it is a “postponement” rather than a “cancellation.” There is no doubt that GLIM GARDO's worldview will be fully enjoyed at the show.
Until that time, please take precautions and take care of yourself!
Please tell us your goals as a band for 2020.
[Sakuya] First of all, I'd like to create more songs to introduce people to GLIM GARDO and let them enjoy our world!
[Noku] The first goal is to make as many people as possible know about us. We're going to be proactive!
[Runa] To let people know about the band GLIM GARDO.
[Rose] I want to charge ahead as a band representing the new Reiwa era.
Lastly, please give a message to everyone.
[Sakuya] Please step into the world of GLIM GARDO.
[Noku] We hope to make the future of GLIM GARDO together with you. Thank you for your support.
[Runa] This is just the beginning. I'll do my best to make the world of GLIM GARDO known to a lot of people. Thank you for your support.
[Rose] Please support GLIM GARDO in the future!
GLIM GARDO will release their first single, Obscurial, on April 18th. Those who preorder via BOOTH will receive a QR code to bonus footage of the band playing through RED MASQUERADE. (Overseas purchases are possible using Tenso or a shopping service.)
Their live schedule is in heavy flux due to the current situation, so please follow their twitter for the most up-to-date information.
To GLIM GARDO, thank you so much for allowing us to do this interview! We wish you luck.
Thanks to Ryu for coordination and jonas for translation help.
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