As one of Japan’s most successful and well loved bands, L’arc~en~Ciel can look back on a long and varied career spanning 20 years. They chose to mark their second decade of rock with a 2 day anniversary concert at Ajinomoto Stadium, playing songs that ranged across their entire discography. We only got to see the stunning concert film L’Arc~en~Ciel 20th L’Anniversary Live, but we can tell it was an event to remember.
The anniversary was far from a farewell, of course. The band is preparing to release their 12th studio album Butterfly in February and will kick off their world tour in Hong Kong in March. The tour includes a stop at Madison Square Garden in New York City among other great venues.
At this defining moment, we reached out to L’arc~en~Ciel’s charismatic frontman Hyde — who also fronts VAMPS — to chat about the monumental concert, and a monumental career.
In our interview with him tells us what has kept the band together over the years, but we suspect a lot of optimism should be added to the list — the kind of optimism it takes to see the bright side in having your two-day concert coincide with a typhoon. Read on.
What was the highlight of your massive 20th anniversary
engagement at Ajinomoto Stadium?
The hit from the powerful typhoon strengthened the bond between the fans and us.
Was it sometimes emotional to perform such a retrospective?
Playing old songs now felt new. It felt as though I was reuniting with my past self and it was a happy, but an embarrassing experience.
What stop are you most looking forward to on your upcoming world tour and why?
Places like London and Thailand that we’ll be playing at for the first time because the fans’ anticipation turns into excitement.
Over its 20 year history, L’Arc~en~Ciel has survived dizzying heights of success, some pitfalls, and many side projects. What has kept the band together through it all?
And what has kept you so consistently creative?
Compromises, kindness, and seriousness.
If you could do everything over again what would you change?
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Do you feel that the band is continuing to evolve musically?
If you watch the Ajinomoto live, you can get a picture of how we have evolved through our performance of old songs.
What do you see in L’arc-en-Ciel’s future?
Let it be as it will.
How did you come to do the commercial-only cover of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
Are you big Joan Jett fans?
We did it thinking it would be amazing to sing together with the fans at a concert, but the English turned out to be too difficult for Japanese people. The song marks my first experience with rock.
You seem to have a passionate fanbase throughout Latin America. How has L’Arc-en-Ciel connected with so many people in Spanish speaking countries?
I’ve always heard that we have a large fan base, but I don’t know why. I just think that because there’s a tendency for English-speaking countries to only listen to English songs, other countries seem to genuinely understand music for what it is.
You all master, re-master, and produce your own tracks on occasion. Do you tend to appreciate each other’s work or do you all have very different visions?
Yeah, our individualism is what makes us L’Arc~en~Ciel
Does the song “X X X” represent a new direction for the band,
or is it just another piece of L’Arc-en-Ciel’s diverse repertoire?
We’ve performed a variety of songs, but I guess you could say this one’s a little different. I like it.
How does it feel to be the first Japanese band to headline at
Madison Square Garden in New York?
It’s an honor. It’s also very famous in Japan! I hope it will be a success.
The fans are voting for their favorite songs to be performed on
the world tour, but which one is yours?
Me? Probably Kiss.
The proceeds from your 20th Anniversary concert went to earthquake relief. We know the recovery is ongoing. What is the most challenging aspect of it now?
Recovery is important too, but I think there must be steps taken to prevent similar tragedies, as well as reconsideration of how nuclear power plants should be.
What is the most challenging thing about moving forward as such a
popular band with such a long history?
In order to gain trust from fans, they need to give them a lot of faith. We have taken a long time building trust, so the bond between the fans and us is very strong.
My challenge is to please them in the future as well.
credit to edohsama