Translations from Les Mizerables de MALICE MIZER (1998 Red Book)
Chapter 1 Music and Encounters
-- So Mana's father was a high school music teacher, right?
[yes], therefore the house was filled with instruments such as a piano, an electone, and a trumpet, but I don't remember that I had to learn any of them. However now my parents have said that when I was small they tried to get me to learn piano but it seems I really hated it. Also when I was little, at the time when I was in my mother's stomach she would make me listen to classical music. Naturally I don't remember that, but it seems I was listening to classical music even before I was born.
-- Its parental care, isn't it. What kind of influences did you have?
On Sunday mornings classical music always played in the house. So, when I was in elementary school I liked art related to music. I particularly liked to make things out of clay, but I liked to destroy things made of clay even more. Theres sort of an aesthetic feeling to broken up figures. I was also good at drawing and somehow I won an award in a sketching competition. When I became a middle school student I liked to draw SF type things.
[SF refers to Science Fiction]
--And how about Music?
I didn't really listen to popular music, such as Jonny's or female idols, but suddenly I mysteriously felt sort of taken aback and thought "I can't despise idols" when I bought a record, but soon enough I started listening to rock. The first was heavy metal. I listened to Western and Japanese music. I was shocked by the distorted sound of the warping guitar, but when my eyes saw all the showiness of it, it made a big impression. However, I was disappointed. I thought to myself "This is cool" as I took in the visuals and albums of many unusual bands, but gradually I wasn't pleased with the looks. I felt like, "These aren't the kind of visuals I'm seeking."
-- When did you first start with guitar?
When I was in Jr. High school, I told my parents, "I want a guitar" so they bought me a folk guitar. I didn't even play it once (laughs). Soon I obtained my own electric guitar.
--Followed by Heavy Metal?
That wasn't a part of my self yet, since in my youth I liked violent hard core punk. It was interesting. The lives were absurd. The hair [in punk style] stood up really tall and I was also interested in that, thinking "how do they get they get it to stand up?" Also when I was in high school I was a mohican.
-- Were your parents worried about this?
Always, they would say "Stop it". If you are going to keep doing that then you are not our child, couldn't you at least be cautious for your pupils? (laughs)
-- Mana, weren't you in hand ball when you were in high schools?
Yes because hand ball was considered to be minor (laughs). I wasn't good at things such as basket ball and soccer which was filled with other students. At that time I liked to do different things than everyone else, so I never concentrated on anything that was popular. I'm really not a sports man, and when I went to games I would always put my hair up. In other words I brought extreme visuals to the high school sporting world.
--(bursts out laughing) So you were a high school student who put his hair up for your band and for hand ball?
I didn't have a band with any of my friends in my home town. I wasn't oriented towards being a pro, so I wasn't serious about it. I didn't really know what I wanted to become.
-- How about when you graduated from high school?
I hadn't decided yet, but I didn't want to become a salary man and I casually left for Osaka. My first band was a punk band. It wasn't hardcore like punk seemed to be in the early days. However, gradually it came into view that punk wasn't what I should be doing.
-- You were awakened to your musical self then?
Yeah. I did my hair and make up, but not in that world. I liked flashy things, so I started doing make up and thought about my individual appearance. I started to feel like, "nothing boyish." My music style wasn't punk or heavy metal.
-- So in general this is where you started to turn towards MALICE MIZER style, isn't it.
It was when I started to listen to things like classical music. Since I brought tapes from home with me when I was in Osaka, that might have been the premonition of it. I mainly listened to Bach, I was charmed by the mysteriousness [of his music]. Then I started to collect horror videos.
-- You like Italian Horror, don't you?
The sounds that played in the background [of horror movies] was really cool, divine, mysterious, and strange. Because of that, I found my inspiration in sounds from Italian horror [movies]. I was into a little bit of heavy metal, but it was not the main chord. I made a band with sadness, classical, dark, and heavy styles as the main melody.
-- Did you appear in any live houses?
Yes. But nothing popular (laughs). There was one guitarist, and I added harmony with bass, but I thought "Its not good, we need two guitars", so I thought it would be a good chance to give it a try.
--Around that time, you were now doing make up?
I did. People saw me and called me things like Mr. Lady and transvestite, but I was going for an artistic feeling. So, I got burned out and broke away from that band. I had a demo tape (laughs).
--And then when your proceeded to Tokyo you encountered Kozi?
In the beginning I did a very low class job (laughs), but at my next part time job I got to know Kozi. In the beginning I joined a band as a help vendor, but performances never went very good. Anyway, I was in a band with Kozi and we shared the exact same concept, not basing ourselves on a foreign artist, but rather we did something original. Thus MALICE MIZER was born from the concepts of "Malice and Mizery".
-- As a matter of fact, MALICE MIZER has already been together now for 6 years, hasn't it?
Thats right. We've had various difficulties though.
-- So now since you can talk about it, are there any stories you wish to share with us?
There were complaints from many bands. At one live we sprinkled gold dust at the guest seating. Then it got stuck on all the visitor's faces and stayed on until the next day. There was a rush of complaints of people saying "I can't get it off!"
We also scattered fake blood that we didn't really aim to hit the guest seating area but we missed, but the people in the front got hit and we were flooded with complaints (laughs).
-- It seems people at the live house got mad.
We covered the stage with a sheet so the floor wouldn't stain, but there was still red on it.
-- It seems you're talking about your indies days.
Well as for albums, we had to carry our own goods to the stores.
-- You returned to the live house and worked hard, didn't you. Even if you had to at small venues.
Even at places where only about a dozen people could enter, we would construct a set. We wanted MALICE MIZER to be something nobody would forget when people saw us at such places.
-- At that time did you anticipate MALICE MIZER becoming such a big success like it is now?
I can't really say if I had already decided at that time.
-- Did you proceed on the issue by saying things like "I can decide on my own fate"?
I wouldn't really say it like that. As for telling the future, I would try to hide my past when doing MALICE MIZER, but then I was struck with "when and how" should I do things. I think there are some people who have the ability to see the future and people who predict it perfectly. If I could do that too I think I would try to pull the strings of my fate. I wish I could do something like that.
-- However, do you [Mana] think you would have come this far so strongly if you had a weaker influence from music?
Originally, I can't say I was a guitar boy. But if I hadn't been impacted by music, I don't know what I would have made of myself.
Translaions by Sarah@Mana-sama.net
Photos from the Introduction and Chapter 1:
(Click the image to enlarge it)