Last week was the release of your brand new album “Underworld”. How has the reception been so far from your fans?
K.A.Z.: In Japan, we are doing pretty well and reviews have been great all over the place. In the states, great partners like LOUDWIRE have supported our new single, “Calling” and featured the album so we’ve been getting a lot of good feedback so far as well.
What is the biggest difference between “Underworld” and past VAMPS albums?
HYDE: The biggest different would be the fact we had great producers on board, Howard Benson, and Kane Churko.
Our past albums were self-produced. Working with them felt like we had additional band members. It was very collaborative and such a pleasure. They know more about the North American market and most of all, they are so talented!! We’ve learned a lot.
K.A.Z.: Also, collaborating with great artists we admire was something we didn’t really try before. On this new album, we have Chris Motionless of Motionless In White from the US, Richard Z. Kruspe and APOCALYPTICA from Europe, and KAMIKAZE BOY of MAN WITH A MISSION from Japan. Working with these amazingly talented artists always gave us fresh ideas and we enjoyed the process of creating.
Any specific newer tracks you’re excited to play on tour that you haven’t previously played?
HYDE: Everything from the new album!! “Calling” is definitely the song we’re excited to play and the album title song “Underworld” is a great one to play live too.
Last night, we kicked off the tour in Alabama and it was really cool to see these rock fans who came out to see I Prevail and Starset and have never watched us perform before actually rocking out. We really appreciate them and hope they’ll walk away feeling like they discovered some exciting new music.
On “Underworld”, there is a track called “Inside of Me” featuring Motionless in White Vocalist, Chris Motionless. We have a pretty big following of Motionless in White fans, so tell us about your experience working with Chris, and also how the chance to work with him came about!
HYDE: When we were in the studio with Howard Benson writing the song, we just came up with the idea to invite a someone to guest on it. Our goal is to be a globally successful band and we thought it would be cool to have an international singer on board. In the process of writing the song, we came up with this screamer idea on the bridge and we looked for the best guy. We have played some of the same festivals as Motionless In White and loved their music. So we decided to reach out to Chris and asked him to be on the song. He was down and such a cool guy, just like “yeah, that sounds fun. Let’s do it!!” It was a great experience to be in the studio with him. Thanks, Chris!!
On the subject of collaborations, you’ve also featured Apocalyptica on your track “Sin in Justice”. What was that opportunity like considering your ways of performance were quite different?
K.A.Z.: Oh, these guys are the most amazing talented artists musically and great personalities. We have done a couple of tours together actually and we love doing shows with them, just hanging out drinking, and even some serious talking about music in general. Their performance brings us a whole another level of stage impact. I mean 3 cellos and the drums, who doesn’t think they are cool!? We think everything about them is almost too cool. Lol
Over the years, you guys have racked up quite the mileage touring all over the world. As people love to say “Home is where the heart is”, away from home, where is your favorite country to play in?
HYDE: We love America for sure. The audiences are so honest. If they like us, they like us. If they don’t feel us, that’s what it is but we learn something from both situations.
In South America, we have a big fan base and we always appreciate their tremendous passion.
K.A.Z.: We’ve been to the U.K. and other European countries a couple of times too. We love Europe too because we grew up listening to a lot of music from there.
If we have to pick one place, we can’t answer the question. Haha
With your increasing exposure in the United States, what do you do to stand out from other Japanese bands?
K.A.Z.: This is a very difficult question because we just do what we do. We are not competing with any other bands from Japan or anything like that. We just think the more Japanese rock is popular overseas, just like Japanese cars, food, fashion and anime it means that there’s already some trend in a way and people have an appreciation for it.
Any notable differences between your crowds back home in Japan and the crowds in the US?
HYDE: Just like we were saying, the audiences are so honest in the States. We feel like the music level is really high in the states. Not just music but all entertainment. Therefore, people know what’s cool and what’s not. And it’s a pure judgment to the songs. In Japan, we are already kind of established and some people love us because of that. Coming to the states reminds us of the time we just started VAMPS in 2008.
Last but certainly not least, thanks again for your time again. Anything else you’d like to add about the future or about “Underworld”?
K.A.Z.: We do think we came up with the best VAMPS album ever!! And we would like everyone in the world to take a chance to listen to it. The album is really cool. It’s a VAMPS album for sure but we had a different approach this time and you can hear that throughout the entire album.
HYDE: There are a lot of people who haven’t even heard of VAMPS yet but please check out our new album UNDERWORLD. It will rock your mind!!