July 15 marked the 9th annual Tokyo in Tulsa, one of the fastest growing conventions in the Southwest. Held in Tulsa, Oklahoma at Cox Business Center, TnT features all the typical convention fair, bringing top names in art, voice acting, cosplay and, of course, music. This year, they boasted the first American performances for not one, but two popular Visual Kei bands, and I was lucky enough to chat with my favorite of the two, hard rock beauties MeteoroiD. We had lots of laughs while dishing on cultural differences, their recent releases, and meat ^^. Check it out after the break.
Lixx: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me. To start off, please introduce yourselves and describe yourselves in three words or less.
Genki: *in English* I am Genki, the vocalist. Beef. Chicken. Pork
Lixx: Food! Good. I like it! Me, too!
Tomoya: I am the drummer, Tomoya. Alcohol, drums, marathon.
Translator comment: The man loves to run. *laugh*
Machi: I am the guitarist Machi. My three words are Red, Eros (sexy), and fishing.
raL: I am Bassist raL. My words are rock, archery*, and crazy.
raL: Cute, not kyuudou!
Translator: So sorry!
Mikado: I am Mikado on guitar. My three words are guitar, sharp (as in sharply dressed), and hungry.
Lixx: This is MeteoroiD’s first visit to the United States. Welcome! You actually came in a few days before the convention. Was there anything you were looking forward to doing here that you can’t do back home?
Genki : The thing I was looking forward to the most was being able to communicate with people and interact with them. And I’ve been able to do that so I’m very happy.
Tomoya: This is my first time to America. I’ve been places before, but only by car, so this has been a lot of fun for me. What I was looking forward to was the meat. Specifically the meat in America. I love meat so much that when I don’t feel well, I eat meat and I feel better.
Machi: For me, the scenery is very different in America. Even things so simple as the roads and the buildings, so I’ve been taking lots of pictures of my surroundings here.
Lixx: I do the same thing when I go to Japan! It’s so different.
raL: I like to just have a meal by myself and sort of absorb the atmosphere. Here, I didn’t have a meal on my own, but I went and drank. I talked with people around me and it was fun.
Mikado: I really enjoy English dramas and movies. For me, I was looking forward most to being immersed in an environment of English. And I’ve been able to do that so I’m very happy.
Lixx: Last night, you performed a live for an American audience for the first time. How was the crowd? Did anything happen during the live that surprised you or struck you as drastically different from the usual atmosphere?
Genki: The big difference was the look in their eyes. In Japan, the fans look like they’re enjoying themselves, but here, the look on their faces is like, ‘Wow, I’m looking at a star!’ It made me feel so famous, so popular and so important just by the look in their eyes. What surprised me the most though was their voices. How they were so loud and so excited. So, that was really cool.
Tomoya: A difference that was most surprising to me was how quick everyone is to express themselves here in America. So, the audience feels far more moved to make a movement, to put their hands up, to yell out, far quicker than a Japanese audience would. There’s an abundance of expression here. One thing I’m surprised by is that the level of crazy (excitement) is much higher.
Machi: In Japan, our fans have these predetermined movements and choreographed dances for each song. Here that’s not the case. Everyone has their individual movements and enjoy it their own way. What surprised me the most was the cosplay. How many people were in cosplay really surprised me.
raL: Just like Tomoya was saying, how everyone has their own individual expression was really neat and I noticed a lot that people don’t move in the same way. What I also noticed was that, in Japan, when we play a really hard song and then we move into a soft song, everything kind of stops. Everyone calms down. But here, the tension level was so high, that even during the soft song, everyone was putting their hands up and hooting and having a really great time which I thought, ‘that’s interesting.’ I had actually seen it on TV. I watched some overseas performances on the internet and saw that behavior with the audience and was like, ‘oh, so this IS how it is.’ I was really surprised though, about the people that were recording on their phones just because that isn’t done in Japan. But, it made me feel good. It was a very interesting experience that I had never had before.
Mikado: Well, what I was gonna say, these four said already. *laugh* So, I’ll say everyone in America is very expressive with their emotions. Everyone wears what they feel on their faces. In Japan, there are many times when you look into the audience and think, ‘how do they feel about my music? I don’t know. I can’t tell from their face.’ But that doesn’t happen so much here I’ve noticed.
Lixx: Yeah, we’re very honest on our faces *laugh*
Genki:The concept we have now isn’t a lie. It really is close to us and reflects ourselves.
Lixx: You have described the concept of MeteoroiD as ‘space trash that becomes beautiful as it burns up.’ I find that image really interesting. Can you tell us a little more about how you came up with it? Has the meaning of this image changed for you in the course of the band’s evolution?
Genki: The meaning has not changed at all. Explaining this concept a little further, the point is, though we are trash, we are space trash, but even trash looks beautiful from the earth as it comes through the atmosphere and burns up. While it burns up, it continues to look beautiful until the very end. So we will try with all of our might as a band to be beautiful until the end.
Translator comment: That’s wonderful right!
Lixx: We’d like to welcome your newest member, Mikado, to the band. Your sound has really evolved since he joined. Did you know when you met that your styles would mesh so well? Have you learned from each other since you got together?
Tomoya: Yes! *laughs* Yes, we’ve had exchanges of ideas that each of us don’t have individually. Through that exchange of ideas, we grow and become better, so absolutely I think so.
Lixx: For your latest full length release, Bulletbox, you called on the fans to send in images that were then incorporated into the cover art. What was the inspiration behind this and how does it feel to know that they are such an integral part of the finished product?
Genki: For Bulletbox, we feel like it’s our best album. We feel like it hasn’t been just us making this album, it’s not just a result of our efforts, but the fans and the people around us working on it. Originally, we were going to ask the fans for pictures of their faces but we thought, maybe they don’t want to use their faces so we used pictures of their hands. We took all of those images and decided to make an image of a dove because a dove represents peace. So, that’s how that sort of came together.
Lixx: You recently released your newest single…*leans over to translator* Help me with my crummy Japanese!
Translator: Heisei no Yami wo Osouji Shimasho
Lixx: Thank you! *laugh* …on April 13 and have a new single…*points to translator*
Translator: Natsu no 83 Sankakukei *laugh*
Lixx: …scheduled for release on 8/3. The concept for your previous series of releases was “modern society, everyday illness.” Does that concept continue through these singles?
Genki: (In English) Yes *laugh*
Lixx: What is the significance of the number 83 that appears on both releases?
Genki: The readings for 83, eight can be read as ‘ya’ and three can be read as ‘mi.’ So you put it together and it’s ‘yami’ (darkness).
Lixx: Ohhhh. If my Japanese was better, it would be obvious *laugh*
Lixx: Personally, I have always thought of music as a universal language, proven by the fact that people all over the world listen to and love bands like MeteoroiD even if they don’t speak your language. Have you ever found yourself moved by a song or artist even if you don’t understand their lyrics? Have you been surprised by your non-Japanese speaking audience and their ability to understand your meaning even if they don’t understand your words?
Genki: I have always listened to Western music. Motley Crue and Aerosmith, specifically the ballads. And even though I don’t understand the specific words, I understand the feel of the song. I’m very moved by it, so I understand that feeling very well.
Lixx: Thank you once again for taking the time to talk with me. Do you have any final message for your fans here in Oklahoma and throughout the US?
Genki: Last night during our autograph session, I made a point to ask several people where they were from and if they came far to come here. Most were from Tulsa, which made me feel really good. People from this place are coming to see us! Today, I met some people that had driven very far and it really moved me and made me want to go meet them in their places. One had a 13 hour drive and it made me want to travel to them and play for them in their home town.
Tomoya: This is my first time in OK and really my first time overseas and it’s been an incredible experience I never thought I’d get a chance to have. It’s also inspired me to see more places and see more people, so please wait for me.
Machi: It’s been really wonderful performing in America and it makes me want to perform more in America and study English so that I can experience more.
raL: Performing here was really cool. It was just cool! And I really enjoyed seeing how excited the fans got in the audience and it makes me really want to come again. So please wait for me! We’re coming!
Mikado: After last night’s performance, there were so many people that said they love our music and it made me feel so good and makes me hope that next time we come and play, they’ll come see us again.
Special thanks to Haley Marinovich of Marinovich PR, translator Brandon McInnis, Tokyo in Tulsa and of course, MeteoroiD.