Jupiter has been pretty active in the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) genre for a few years now, creating quite a name for themselves. Unsurprisingly, given that the original lineup of the band existed out of both guitarists, the bassist and the drummer of Versailles. Throughout the years there have been some changes to the lineup, and currently Jupiter exists out of vocalist KUZE, guitarists HIZAKI and TERU and drummer DAISUKE.
The original vocalist, ZIN, is no longer a part of the band, and bassist MASASHI and drummer YUKI have left the band. MASASHI was replaced by bassist RUCY (formally known as the bassist of KILLANETH), but RUCY left the band shortly after the European tour was announced. Right now Jupiter uses a support bassist, Shoyo.
The band will be returning to Europe this May, with a stop in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) on May 10. For more information and tickets, please visit the website of the venue, Baroeg.
Anyway, let’s get to the fun stuff, shall we?
Jupiter is quite well known in Japan by now, but in Europe that’s definitely a lot less. Can you please explain in your own words what Jupiter is to you, so everyone here in Europe is a little more up to date?
HIZAKI: We are “the most beautiful and heaviest band in Japan”.
A lot of people will of course recognize HIZAKI and TERU as the guitarists from Versailles, but Jupiter has a different approach musically and both projects shouldn’t be compared to one another, hence the completely different name. What is the story behind the name “Jupiter”?
HIZAKI: Both TERU and myself really love the universe and myths. This is why we made the decision to name our band “Jupiter”.
The European tour is right around the corner, and it’s not the first time in Europe for HIZAKI and TERU, but what about KUZE and DAISUKE? Have you ever been to Europe before?
HIZAKI: It’s actually the very first time for both KUZE and DAISUKE that they’re going abroad. They’re really looking forward to visiting Europe.
Europe is very big and every country has it’s own culture, as you might know from your previous visits. Is there anything you’d like to see or do while you’re here?
HIZAKI: We try to visit churches during our time off on tour.
Like I said in the intro already, right after the tour was announced RUCY stepped down as the bassist, but did this affect the upcoming album and upcoming tour at all? Shoyo plays with you during live shows in Japan, but what about in Europe?
HIZAKI: It was actually me who played the bass lines during the recording of the album. We expected a new bass player to join us, but that didn’t end up happening. We will also bring Shoyo with us as a support bassist during the European tour, yes.
Shoyo currently is your support bassist, and of course it was quite a hit to have RUCY join and leave in such a short timespan, but are you planning on adding a new bassist to the lineup in the future, or will you keep a support one for now?
HIZAKI: We’re currently looking for a new bassist, but we’re not only looking in Japan. We’re looking for one all over the world.
Legends Never Die
“ZEUS ~Legends Never Die~” is the very first album with new vocalist KUZE. But how was this behind the scenes? Since KUZE and ZIN both have completely different skills and sound?
HIZAKI: The biggest difference between the two of them is the extend of their vocal range. We’re able to create our songs without limitations in the range of melodies with KUZE now, which was something we weren’t able to do as well with ZIN.
Speaking of the new album, a lot of European fans don’t speak Japanese very well, if at all. It might be very difficult for them to understand the message you want to express with this album. Can you tell me a bit about it?
HIZAKI: “ZEUS” has the same meaning in Greek Mythology as “Jupiter” in Roman Mythology. As you know, Jupiter is our band name, and the new album is intended to express “what we are”, as well as the determinations that defeat any difficulty or suffering.
I’m sure that you all have a favorite song on this album as well. Which song, based on the recording sessions, is your personal favorite?
KUZE: “No cry no more”.
DAISUKE: “Show must go on”,
I was very surprised to find a song which was fully composed by KUZE on the “Theory of Evolution” single already, but since we’ve heard you sing various songs that were originally sung by ZIN, like “ARCADIA”, “TEARS OF THE SUN”, “The spirit within me” and “Guilty as Sin”. Since these songs have a completely different sound than your voice, so do you enjoy singing them? Or would you rather sing the works that have been composed with you as the intended singer instead?
KUZE: When I had the chance to present the guitar riff for “Bring me out” the other members immediately liked it. This is why we decided to include this song on the “Theory of Evolution” single.
But when they ask me to write lyrics, I ask them for images of the songs. When they provide them I blow up these images and I start writing. Of course we still play the four songs you just mentioned, but I am singing them in my own style. It doesn’t bother me that these songs were composed for a different vocalist at all. Whether they’re old or new songs, I enjoy singing them both. If I can be honest for a second, it’s actually harder for me to sing the new songs composed for me than the old ones composed for ZIN! (laughs)
It’s no secret that your fashion style has influenced the industry since you first appeared on the scene in 1997. Since it wasn’t common to see a male musician in a more feminine role (which is called “女形 (onnagata)” in Japanese). But why did you choose this style?
HIZAKI: From the very start I wanted to be an entity that crosses the borders between nations and genders.
Next to music you’re also very interested in art and production (you’ve designed art for quite a few bands in Japan, including Versailles, Jupiter and 摩天楼オペラ (Matenrou Opera) in Japan and Impellitteri in the US), but you’ve also given a lecture about the development of pop culture at the Kyoto University in 2010. What makes art so important in your life?
TERU: Creating art is something that comes to me naturally. It might even be the most important thing in my life, and my reason to keep living it this way. I thought about starting a career in graphic design at one point, but for now my priority is still music.
Before you became an official member you were already playing with them as a support drummer. Your previous band, ROACH, has a completely different style than Jupiter. You’ve gone from “casual rock” to ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei), but how does this feel to you? Wouldn’t you rather have played “casually” instead?
DAISUKE: I always loved the gorgeous style of ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei), so I feel really lucky that I was able to become a full member of Jupiter. Because of this love for the style I had absolutely no problems changing from one style to the other either.
At the moment of writing the new album is around the corner, and the Japanese and European tours are too. But are you thinking about the future plans after these events already, or not?
HIZAKI: We’re already planning the release of our next album!
I only have one more question for this interview, and you can probably guess this one. Do you have a message for everyone reading the interview today?
HIZAKI: We really hope you will like our new album, and we hope that you will come and join us at our shows!
Like we’ve mentioned several times in this interview, Jupiter is about to embark on a European tour to promote the release of their new album “ZEUS ~Legends Never Die~”. The European leg of the tour will be from May 9 to May 19. For more information please check Jupiter’s own website (see the “follow” section below), and for information about the Dutch date specifically, check the website of the Baroeg venue at the top of this article!
We also took photos of their performance at Baroeg (Rotterdam, The Netherlands). You can find these photos on our photography portfolio, Arlequin Photography, by clicking the image below!
Follow Jupiter around the web