I think that by now Mikaru and the other guys from G.L.A.M.S need no introduction, since they’ve popped up on the magazine and portfolio quite often in the recent years. But this time it’s a little different.
This is only the second interview I’ve ever done with G.L.A.M.S, and instead of only speaking with the band’s leader Mikaru, the entire band sat down with me for this one, giving a whole new perspective to the interview questions I had prepared.
The band is currently on tour to promote their latest mini-album “EVER-CHANGING”, which has a variety of songs which are nothing like one another already, but at the same time it’s not every song on the album that changes, it’s also the world around us.
As if fate knew, Mikaru in particular was put to the ultimate test of “ever-changing” and “adaptability” because of his luggage going missing for most of the tour. In fact, he actually got it back mere hours before this interview, so he could finally deliver the songs on EVER-CHANGING like he intended from the start on the stage tonight.
Anyway, enough changes, let’s not waste any more time and…
It’s been about a year since we’ve last seen you here in Europe, since the last time was at AnimeCon, wasn’t it? But this time you’re all here with a show of your own rather than at a convention. Do you feel like having your own show gives you more creative freedom as a performer than at a convention?
Mikaru: Ah yes, of course. But a convention is very interesting. It has many cosplayers and they usually don’t know about us so it’s a big chance for us to reach other people. But finally, this year it’s only us. I’m very happy about this. During this tour we had a lot of time to wander around and we can play many songs as well. And of course I’m happy to be able to come back to The Netherlands!
For G.L.A.M.S you’ve worked with some old friends recently (erina and Kei from Dio for example, we’ve even seen erina as your guitarist at AnimeCon last year) but right now you are back with Tetsuto and Yudai again. How did it feel to work as G.L.A.M.S with your friends from Dio?
Mikaru: After Dio disbanded it’s not like we parted ways completely or anything. It’s like when I go to my parents’ house. I come over and it’s like “hi mother, hi father!” and with Dio’s members it’s the same. It’s like “okay, let’s play”. The last time I played together with erina and Kei as Dio was two years ago, in 2016. Our brains have pretty much stopped or something, because nothing has changed!
Speaking of old Dio, in 2016 you’ve done a one-time-revival European tour with Dio’s original lineup to celebrate 10 years of B7Klan. How was that tour for you? Was it nice to play Dio’s music together again? And how was it for Syu, since he’s also Dio’s drummer Denka?
Mikaru: Dio is a super different type of band. My head and my brain are very different in Dio, but as Dio’s Mikaru it’s super hard to sing. Every song is screaming and shouting. I like it, but it’s super hard. I like that world and the view that world has, but I don’t know, maybe one day I will play as Dio again!
Syu: It was so special for me, because it was the first time for this band to play again after disbanding. Still, at that time many European fans remembered me and Dio and some of them came to every show. It was so special, I can feel that moment again now while talking about it. I hope that with Dio’s 15th or 20th anniversary we will be able to come back again!
Since you got the opportunity to focus your attention to another project back then you probably returned to G.L.A.M.S with renewed energy. When you came back from the tour in 2016, did you have a lot of new ideas you wanted to try out? And did you end up using any of these ideas in your works?
Mikaru: We tried to make a song that we can sing together with the fans, since I really want to sing together with everyone in the audience, so I made one so we can all sing along together.
Syu: We want to sing together. Sing as one big group. That’s our goal.
The world is “EVER-CHANGING”
You’re currently promoting your new mini-album EVER-CHANGING. And I can tell from your works so far that your creative path is ever-changing as well, both in the music you make for ears to hear and what image you create for eyes to see. Was this the reason you titled your mini-album EVER-CHANGING, or is there a different story behind it?
Mikaru: I want to make a lot of types of music, and I don’t like the words “category” and “genre”. It’s too small of a world for me, and I want to change more and more for the great music I want to make. So every day, day by day, I will change. I think I have to change.
One of the ever-changes is that Yudai helped in the creative process of this release even though G.L.A.M.S is your solo project. Are you planning on repeating this process in the future with the other members as well?
Mikaru: Yudai has contributed music on the first G.L.A.M.S album already. I don’t think the other members will change for the time being, so it’s very difficult for me. Is this a solo project or a band? I didn’t decide it yet, so I can only say that G.L.A.M.S is G.L.A.M.S and the members… I think that right now is the best lineup for both shows and to make music.
For this mini-album there are three PVs, three very different ones with each their own theme. Is it possible for you to pick a personal favorite between these three, and why this one?
Mikaru: My favorite? My favorite… Ah it’s a very difficult question… I can’t choose! Maybe it came as a surprise for the fans that Man In Underworld was a rock/pop or maybe jazz type of song? I don’t know! The Beginning Of The End… I really wanted to shoot that kind of video. So that song was one dream that came true for me. And maybe in the future I will make another type. A new type of music video. (smirks)
During our last interview in 2015 (at the Fan Base Project convention) you told me that you wanted to produce songs with more “heavy” or songs that can bring a fever during the lives. Do you feel that you have managed to reach this goal in the meantime, or are you still searching for the music that the live audience of G.L.A.M.S likes the most?
Mikaru: This time Yudai is with me again, and he is a very good “heavy” sound maker. If I make a song my music is more pop, jazz and dance, and the heavy sound depends… Maybe the next album we make will be more heavy, yes.
Ever-changing means that you’re ever-learning as well. If you look back at your older works as a musician (so not just as G.L.A.M.S), is there anything you would have done different based on the knowledge you have today?
Mikaru: My imagination has no limit!
(Note: I’m pretty sure he means that he wouldn’t change anything with this kind of answer.)
You can change others with your influence too, though
We’ve spoken about your recent music-related activities, but how about your paintings and your jewelry? Have you been working on those as well, like collecting ideas or actually creating something physical people can see? And if you did, what can you tell me about this/these?
Mikaru: At the moment I’m not busy with painting or jewelry, but I really want to try something new, and that would be designing clothes!
You recently mentioned that you’d also like to do something with fashion, and that you were sure it would be beautiful if you did. But what would you like to create? Would you limit yourself to upper body wear (like shirts and hoodies (which is called a “parka” in Japan)) or go for a complete outfit?
Mikaru: Full, full!
Stephany: Good call! (jokingly winks at Mikaru, everyone laughs)
Stephany: Everyone makes underwear! (laughs)
Mikaru: Womens… Underwear… (everyone laughs again)
If you would dive into fashion, would you prefer to create something that is entirely by you, or a collaboration with an already existing brand before maybe moving on to something entirely by you? And what kind of brand would you like to collaborate with then?
Mikaru: Only me is the best, for me. I don’t know what the fashion world is like in terms of rules and restrictions, but if I do a collaboration with an already existing brand it’s not just my design. So if I make something I want to decide everything, the design, sizes, everything!
Currently you are on the EURO TOUR 2018 “EVER-CHANGING”, and you’ve already been at several places in Europe. Are you enjoying the tour so far? And can you maybe tell me about something memorable that happened during this tour, or something that made you think about the previous times you were in Europe?
Syu: This happened before we even officially landed in Europe… We were supposed to land in Paris, but due to the very bad weather around the airport the plane had to change it’s destination to Düsseldorf in Germany, where we had to wait for over six hours!
Stephany: That’s usually my fate whenever I am in Düssseldorf too… But I heard you lost your luggage as well, Mikaru?
Mikaru: (In a very upset, sad tone) Five days!
Stephany: So no clean underwear for Mikaru then. (everyone laughs)
Mikaru: Five days! Crazy!
Syu: Your costume, also…
Mikaru: My makeup.. So I couldn’t do any makeup, I had no costume, and Saturday and Sunday we were at a super big convention, Japan Touch, in France. There were too many people there, but… I had no makeup on my face and only a T-shirt as my “costume”. But after the show I thought “I don’t care about the costume and makeup”, because this is one of my faces too.
Tetsuto: We write notes for ourselves when something crazy happens so we won’t ever forget it. Like we went to a supermarket and we got this product called “Orangina”, which is orange juice basically, and he (Tetsuto points to Mikaru) called “ORANGINA!” very loudly. You should have seen his face when everyone looked at him!
Yudai: So many crazy things have happened…
Syu: We’re sure many more crazy things will happen too.
If you could go back in time and relive one moment of your life again, what would this moment be and why would you choose this one?
Tetsuto: At first I wished that I could get the Chinese food back, or some happy times in general. But recently I never think about going back anymore. I decided that I want to see what is now, how my life is every day now.
Yudai: Now is the best, at least in life.
Mikaru: About seven or eight years ago I made a painting for my father’s birthday. It was from the Dragonball series, the character Trunks. You know that manga? I saw the manga and there was a picture in there that I really liked, so I made a painting of it and I gave it to my father. It read “FUCK YOU!” on it because it was fighting scene. (Laughs)
Syu: Because it was a fighting scene, and he copied the image from the manga. It’s not like he wanted to tell his father “fuck you!” or anything! He just copied it.
Tetsuto: It was the best, a cool scene!
Mikaru: If I could go back I would tell myself “STOP! Write something loving instead!”.
Syu: Nine years ago, Dio first came to The Netherlands to play a show. If possible I’d like to go back to that time. It was one big day in my life…
And finally, is there a message you would like to share with the readers of this interview?
Tetsuto: The Netherlands is the first place for us on this tour to do a live show in a livehouse near Den Haag, so it’s special for me. The first time, the oneman show was in Den Haag. So I want to go back here again and again. So let’s go together!
Yudai: Now is the best, the end of your life!
Syu: I love you guys, and I will come back soon again!
Mikaru: (Calling with his hands in front of his mouth like a horn to the microphone) Hello Netherlands! Tonight I am happy to see you again, and I hope I will be back soon! Next year, I hope? Please wait! I love you!
This interview itself was also quite a change too, since there was quite a search for a good spot to do this interview while the other bands played on stage. Eventually we ended up in the storage attic of the Dolhuis venue.
Despite that, it was a really fun interview to do, and the surroundings ultimately don’t matter. It was just worth mentioning because of the reoccurring theme of “ever-changing” we’ve had going on all this time.
We also took photos of their performance at Dolhuis (Dordrecht, The Netherlands). You can find these photos on our photography portfolio, Arlequin Photography, by clicking the image below!
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雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind both Arlequin Magazine and Arlequin Photography.
She started in 2009 as a photographer with Arlequin Photography, but due to a growing interest in journalism, translation and behind-the-scenes work in general the project burst out of it's seams in 2021 and expanded through the addition of Arlequin Magazine.
雪 (Yuki) is a native Dutch speaker and maintains both the English and Dutch sections of both Magazine and Photography with original content, translations and photography as well as all the behind-the-scenes work for both websites.
She speaks Dutch, English, Japanese and German.