HYDE Anime Expo Q+A
MC: Let’s give a big welcome to Hyde! So what do you think of being here?
HYDE: Hello! I never thought there’d be so many people.
MC: Is there anything you’d like to say to the fans?
HYDE: Thank you all so much for coming.
MC: So how do you feel about your newest album FAITH being released in the US ?
HYDE: Well, I’ve been listening to American music for as long as I can remember, so I’m very honored to be able to release my own work in the US .
MC: What’s your favorite part of your album, FAITH?
Hyde: All of it, because I put everything I had into making this album.
So, from International Music Feed, we have this first question. In the past, you’ve done theme songs for TV anime. What is something you’re careful about when you write these theme songs?
HYDE: There is a symbiotic relationship…I don’t think it’s right for the song and the show to be too disparate. A song can heighten the world of the story, so I try hard to write a song that has a symbiotic relationship, a song that improves the images.
The next question will be are you interested in making a full soundtrack for an anime or a movie in the future?
HYDE: I don’t really have any interest in producing a soundtrack, but I would like to actually direct a movie or a storyline myself.
MC: Now we’ll move on to the questions collected from the website.
You composed many of the songs on L’Arc~en~Ciel latest album, AWAKE. The album had a resounding message which shone through your words and music. What is FAITH ’s message?
- Question from Lily Escobedo / Santa Ana, CA
HYDE: The message of FAITH is love and death.
What’s the difference between having a solo act and a band?
HYDE: When you’re in a band you’re all making something together, so sometimes you create things that you never would have thought of on your own. But with my solo work, I’m making everything on my own, so I can make things exactly the way I want to.
Do certain events in your life inspire you to make songs?
- Question from Rebecca Nguyen / Santa Ana, CA
HYDE: Of course. It’s everything. Everything gives me inspiration, all of the experiences I’ve been through in my life. I mean, if I didn’t have L ’Arc~en~Ciel , I would never have my solo career either.
I’m curious at how the lyrics process has changed over the years for HYDE and whether he still sees eye-to-eye with his younger lyrics from his L’Arc~en~ciel career (DUNE, Tierra) ? Is the writing process the same for his English?
- Question from Leanne Rivera / Bronx, NY
HYDE: In the past I would paint a picture and then write my lyrics. That was the easiest way for me to really get the images I wanted. Every time I write lyrics they feel new to me, but lately I had a chance to look over some of my old lyrics and I realized that I’m always saying the same thing. I guess my way of thinking has never really changed.
Who or what kinds of factors influence your clothing style?
-Question from Lauren Ortencio / West Covina, CA
HYDE: Clothes? Let’s see…(Pause)
MC: Well then, how did you choose the clothes you’re wearing today?
HYDE: Today I just wanted to be comfortable. I picked out these pants first, and then I decided what would match with them.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do, do fans in Japan and here in America act the same way or differently when they get to meet you and is it a more shocking experience meet with Japanese or American fans?
- Question from Franklin Fang / Garden Grove, CA
HYDE: Something I’m proud of…When I hear people’s stories about how listening to the music that we’ve made makes them happy, or that it’s helped them get over something sad, that makes me so proud. This is my first time to get to meet my American fans up close, and seeing how many people were waiting for me…it’s really brought this all home to me, and I’m really happy.
What kind of sight-seeing, if any, have you done while in California ?
-Question from Francesca Oscoda / MI
HYDE: I went shopping yesterday, but I forget where I went…(he can’t remember the name of the place, so he asks the MC) Oh well, I went shopping yesterday. And the last time I came to Los Angeles , I went rollerblading by the ocean.
MC: Really? I didn’t know you rollerbladed!?
HYDE (In English): Yes!
Do you intend to return to USA to perform again some day? On a side note I would like to say that I am so happy you have come to perform in USA you have made many fans dreams come true including mine! Hontoni Arigatou Gozaimasu!
- Question from Ashley Brown / Roseville, CA
HYDE: Tomorrow will be my first solo show in the US . I don’t know how it will go, but I’m really excited. I hope that this won’t be the last time I come here. I hope that this is just the beginning.
The audience! An amazing number of people turned out to hear HYDE speak.
More audience! waiting patiently!
I know, I know, you aren't scrolling all this way to see pictures of the audience, but I told you, these pics were hard for me to come by.
At last! A picture of HYDE answering some fan questions.
HYDE is a busy man, so an autograph is extremely hard to come by. One of the few he signed while in the States was on this huge banner for Tofu Records.
Exclusive interview with HYDE – July 1, 2006, Anaheim, California
Even in the middle of his current Japan tour, HYDE took some time to come to America, to promote his album FAITH, which was released in the US on June 27, 2006 by Tofu Records. A 4-day California tour was also scheduled in early July. Furthermore, he made a special appearance at the Tofu Records booth during Anime Expo to greet his US fans.
Shortly before that event, I had the pleasure of interviewing him. Wearing his sunglasses that day, HYDE dressed himself casually in a two-tone denim jacket with two tank tops underneath, and a pair of khaki-colored pants.
Very nice to meet you.
HYDE: Nice to meet you. I’m HYDE.
Q: Welcome to America. How is it like to be back?
HYDE: It’s rainy season in Japan right now, and the weather is very beautiful here. So I really like it.
Q: Have you always wanted to release your solo album in the United States?
HYDE: Yes, of course.
Q: Every song in the three solo albums that you have released so far has a title in English. Do you enjoy writing songs in English?
HYDE: The music that I usually listen to is English language music. That’s why I try to write English lyrics as well.
Q: How do you decide whether to write certain lyrics in English versus in Japanese?
HYDE: It depends on the song’s atmosphere. But English lyrics are easier to put on melodies, so for example, in the main parts of my songs, I would tend to use more English.
Q: But weren’t you afraid that your Japanese audience might not understand the English lyrics? And in this case, because this album is also released in the US, and so some of your American fans may not be able to understand the Japanese?
HYDE: Hmm… It’s probably true that some fans may not be able to understand the lyrics, but it’s not really one of my worries. I don’t really mind. Sometimes even when I listen to a Japanese song, I don’t understand the lyrics either. So I’m not too worried about that.
Q: In America, religion is a pretty sensitive topic. And the word “FAITH” has always been closely linked to religion. Why did you choose this name for your album?
HYDE: I was intending to write about religion in my songs. That’s why I wanted to make the title easy to understand.
Q: Your first album was recorded in the UK, and now "FAITH" in Los Angeles. How come you wanted to pick these places to record these albums?
HYDE: For the first album, the producer that I wanted to use was in UK, which was why I went there. But for this time, the main reason I chose LA was the sound. I wanted to achieve the LA hard-rock sound very much, so in order to get close to it, the only way was to come to LA to record the album.
Q: The song “COUNTDOWN” was used as the Japanese theme song of the Hollywood motion picture “STEALTH”. Can you tell us your inspiration about this song?
HYDE: When I made the song, I didn’t get to see the whole movie. I only saw the preview of it, so I didn’t know the whole story. But I wanted to create the image of jets flying. And the main message that I wanted to get across was peace.
Q: In the song “SEASON’S CALL”, you wrote “yume ni egaku sekai wo kimi no me no mae ni hirogetai”. Can you describe to us this world that you wanted to paint in your dream?
HYDE: (smiling at my attempt to read his lyrics in Japanese) That would be a world of peace. When I think of the important people that I love in my life, I don’t want them to see the evil side of the world. So that would be a world of peace.
Q: What is your favorite song of the “FAITH” album?
HYDE: I love all of them, but if I have to pick one, it would be JESUS CHRIST.
Q: If not for the song “IT’S SAD”, the album would have ended on a happy note quite literally with the song “MISSION”. Why did you choose to put a song that describes the “worst creatures in history” at the very end? (Note: The song “MISSION” describes an ideal world without borders, where music will guide us all in harmony.)
HYDE: Like you said, if I had changed the order of the two songs around, it would have been the perfect order and would have fitted very well. But it would have been too normal. I wanted the album to have thorns in it. I wanted people to be aware. And I didn’t want to relay a lie, so in order to show the real world, I put IT’S SAD at the end.
Q: What are your expectations for the upcoming U.S. concerts?
HYDE: I have listened to American music and have seen a lot of footage of American concerts. I’m hoping I can create something similar in terms of the high level of energy.
Q: How do you feel about coming to perform in the U.S. right after your last show at Hiroshima in Japan?
HYDE: While I was there, it was something that really made me think… (Pause) And that’s really all I can say… It was… a heavy feeling.
Q: Why did you have angel wings tattooed on your back?
HYDE: I wanted to become an angel. (All of us burst out in laughter.)
But you also like “666”.
HYDE: People always want things that they don’t have. I wanted something I don’t have, which was the wings, so that I could become an angel.
Q: The founder of JaME named his son after you. Is there anything you would like to say to him?
HYDE: He’ll probably grow up and be like an angel.
Q: Last but not least, could you please say a few words to your fans in America?
HYDE: Right now we’re on tour and it’s just the American section, but in a way it feels like this is a final. I’m really excited to see if I can make it here in the US. It’s a challenge to me, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Q: Thank you very much for your time.
HYDE: Thank you.
Many thanks to Yuriko Inagaki for arranging the interview, and Fumika Fujibuchi for translating during our interview.
Text written by Wynne Ip
Photography by Mimi Ko
A Q&A session at Tofu Records booth during Anime Expo, 2006
Anaheim, California. On July 1, 2006, hundreds of fans gathered in front of the special stage set up by Tofu Records at Anime Expo, North America’s largest anime & manga convention. They had been eagerly waiting for the arrival of one of Japan’s most recognized rock artist, HYDE, who had just made his US debut with his latest album “FAITH”, to be followed by a four-day American west coast tour.
The announcement of HYDE’s scheduled appearance came from Tofu Records’ website only nine days before the actual event. Fans were asked to submit questions to HYDE, and he would answer selected ones while on stage. Only the date and location of the event were announced, and the actual time had been kept secret. So some fans showed up as early as noon, when the doors to the Exhibit Hall opened at Anime Expo, to assure themselves a chance and the best seats to witness the first US public appearance of their favorite artist.
Their wait was paid off at around 4:30pm, when HYDE finally made his way into Anaheim Convention Center. As he approached the stage through a barricade of security and staff members, the MC led the crowd to start counting down from ten. As the countdown reached zero, HYDE found himself on stage in front of hundreds of screaming fans from all over the country. Even some of his most dedicated fans from Japan were in the audience. After blowing a kiss to his excited fans, HYDE calmly took his seat while the crowd continued to cheer on.
Sometimes the simplest greeting might be the best way to get an instant response. HYDE seemed a bit speechless when he saw this many fans welcoming him, but he immediately thanked the audience for coming. He continued to explain that he had grown up listening to American music, and therefore he was really glad to have been able to release his album in America.
When asked about whether he had plans to make any soundtrack albums for anime or action movies in the future, HYDE replied that he actually had more interest in directing a movie or animation, prompting immediate cheers from the audience. When asked what the message was for his latest album “FAITH”, HYDE described it as “love and death.”
As the lead singer of the popular band L’Arc~en~Ciel, who is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, HYDE was asked to described the differences between being part of a band and being a solo artist.
“In a band,” HYDE said, “all the members collaborate their ideas together, so the end result was not always something I had expected. But as a solo artist, everything comes out the way I imagined and expected. So that would be the main difference.” Later on, he described that if there were no L’Arc~en~Ciel, there would be no HYDE. So everything that had happened to him in his life was part of his inspiration when creating his songs.
When HYDE was asked whether the way he wrote his lyrics now had changed at all from his younger days, HYDE told us that he used to draw pictures of the songs before writing his lyrics, but he didn’t have to do that anymore nowadays. Sometimes when he looked back at the lyrics that he had written years ago, he would realize that those lyrics talked about exactly the same things that he wanted to relay now. So he didn’t think it was any different at all.
HYDE seemed puzzled when asked to describe the factors that affected his clothing style. Seeing how he was having a hard time to come up with an answer, the MC reworded the question, and asked HYDE how he picked his clothes that day instead.
“Today… I first chose my pants, and then I decided what could go with that.” HYDE responded quite simply, but the crowd loved his answer. HYDE also tried to recall the place he went shopping the day before, but in the end, he could not remember. The audience, however, was very amused by the look on his face. He also revealed that he went inline-skating.
At the end of the Q&A segment, HYDE expressed his worries and excitement at the same time towards his first US tour, but he hoped that the experience would be great, and if his American fans could keep supporting him, he would be able to come back for more.
Before HYDE left, he drew several lucky winners from a jar of raffle tickets and autographed a big poster that had been hanging at the back of the stage. He sent the crowd into frenzy again by blowing kisses and by slightly lowering his sunglasses to look at the crowd for a few short moments. As he exited the stage, fans were still in awe that they had just seen one of Japan’s biggest rock star with their own eyes.
Text written by Wynne Ip
Photography by Mimi Ko
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