Before the show at Tivoli de Helling I managed to sit down with Natsuki, Aki, Tama, Nao and Zukki for a short interview about their European tour, but who exactly are these five guys?
Well… The band formed in 2004 with the concept of “美と大敗” (Bi to Taihai), which means “Beauty and Decadence” in English. They had a darker and heavier visual performance and sound than other bands signed to the LOOP ASH RECORDS label, but this clearly did appeal to the scene. The band released a number of singles before releasing their first album “VERSUS” in late 2009 and followed up with “Rouge” in late 2010.
The album “Rouge” is exactly the reason why they’re touring through Europe now, which is also their very first time outside of Japan! So…
From what I understand this tour is the very first time outside of Japan for all five of you. And Europe is a big continent with many different countries that each have their own culture. What do you think of the tour so far?
Natsuki: We are enjoying this tour a lot, and we’re having a lot of fun. All the food we’ve had in all countries we’ve been to so far have been delicious as well!
Switching the topic immediately, I’d like to ask about the name for the band. What’s the story behind “-OZ-“?
Tama: The name of our band doesn’t really have a meaning. We just heard it from someone at one point and it immediately sounded super inspiring to us. This is why we’ve decided to name the band “-OZ-“.
Can you tell me a little bit about the beginnings of -OZ-?
Aki: I started the band in February 2005 with Natsuki with the concept of “Beauty and Decadence” as a starting point. At first the live performances we did were just shows for us. We’d just show up and perform our routine in front of the audience that had gathered to come see the show. But now we’ve learned how to interact with our audience and do our show together with them instead of just for them. We try to connect with our fans during our performance to create a really good show that comes together with good emotions, and that’s not just enjoyable for us as a band, but also gives the best performance you can view as an audience.
How about the things that really make -OZ-, like the music and the visual image? Is this created by the vision of just one of you, or do you each put your own influence in every song and outfit as well?
Natsuki: The main composer of the band is Tama, and I do all the lyrics for each song by myself. But for everything else we get together as a group and we talk about everything, like the artwork for each of our releases and what we will wear on stage. It’s not like one of us dictates everything, we want everyone to be happy and have fun, not just the audience. It’s also very important that all of us feel comfortable with the work we create.
I’m sure you have some dreams for the future as well?
Tama: The European tour was one of our dreams. We want to bring our show to everyone who has been waiting for us for a long time here in Europe. But there are also people who are waiting for us in other countries, so we want to go everywhere where our fans are as well.
Natsuki: We just want to have our passports filled with stamps! (everyone starts laughing)
Unfortunately we only have time for two more questions, so the before-last one… What is -OZ- like when you’re not on stage or working for the band?
Aki: I do something with music. Music is my hobby, but it’s not just the guitar! (laughs)
Tama: I’d probably be drinking somewhere, and well… Beer…
Zukki: … (everyone turns their attention to Zukki) … Oh! (everyone laughs) I’m sorry… I like fishing, angling and camping.
Nao: I like Japanese animation (aka Anime).
Natsuki: I’m a bit of a computer maniac, really…
And sadly this is going to be the last question… Do you have a message to everyone reading to close off this interview with?
-OZ-: We are really enjoying this tour and all of Europe a lot! We really want to come back, but also visit the people we have not visited yet or during this tour. Please wait a little longer for our arrival, because we really do want to come back!
Unfortunately this interview had to be cut due to time constraints, and I really don’t think this interview has done the band any justice whatsoever. Especially with how nice the guys were even though they knew we had to speedrun this interview before we even started.
Also, as we were wrapping up someone passed the room we were in and recognized me through the open door. Since it was pretty close to my birthday they wanted to pass their congratulations in advance, which didn’t go unnoticed by the band. Vocalist Natsuki immediately asked “Is it your birthday?”, and without waiting for an answer pulled out his lighter to improvise a candle before starting to sing “Happy Birthday” in English, and the rest of the members chimed in almost immediately as well.
If this doesn’t convince you these guys are really, really sweet… I don’t know what does!
We also took photos of their performance at Tivoli de Helling (Utrecht, The Netherlands). You can find these photos on our photography portfolio, Arlequin Photography, by clicking the image below!
(In 2021 Arlequin Photography was officially changed into a full photography portfolio, while all interviews and news were moved to a new domain called Arlequin Magazine. At this time -OZ- were no longer active in the music industry. This is why there is no social media section for this article.)