In August of 2019 I shared a post about SUI starting a crowdfunding campaign with the intention to gather funds for the third anniversary of David, which he planned to have in Europe. Paris, to be exact. The crowdfunding ended up being a great success, even raising more money than the target goal. This money would be put into extra shows in Europe, essentially turning it into a tour.
However… No one suspected a global pandemic, so while the show was initially moved to a different date several times, it was eventually canceled altogether. That doesn’t mean SUI has given up on performing in Paris or doing a European tour, it’s just unsure when a big undertaking like this is possible again.
In the meantime quite a lot of other things have happened in the career of David: SUI started up a storyline named “Gothculture”, which is divided over 6 singles in total and a full album bundling all title tracks together as well as some extras especially for the album. On top of that an entirely different, brand new full new album with the title “Hexagramearth” was released at the end of April featuring several artists (among which HIZAKI from Jupiter/Versailles). And then I haven’t even gotten to the online part of everything SUI is up to.
To make a long story short: there is quite a bit to talk about! Which is why I asked SUI for a new interview, following the one I did in September of 2019. Just to catch up a bit.
So, without further ado…
Hexagramearth: The embodiment of David’s connection
This is actually your second interview with me, thank you so much! But for every single interview I have to ask the most predictable question in the book regardless: can you please introduce yourself so the readers know who you are?
SUI: I’m SUI. I’m active as a vocalist, with a focus on my solo project David.
As mentioned before, we have quite a lot of topics to talk about today, but I would like to start with the most recent one: your new album “Hexagramearth”.
The name for the album is interesting already, since it’s a combination of “Hexagram” and “Earth”, and the hexagram symbol is something we’ve seen you use in the logo of David since the very beginning. So I’m very curious to the story behind the name of the album…
SUI: The “hexagram” David uses as it’s logo is formed by overlapping triangles. Each triangle has it’s own meaning, like “light and show”, “myself on the stage” and “a fan enjoying the live from the audience”. They’re all connected and overlap, so this album embodies that feeling.
Another interesting feature is that a lot of artists joined you during the recording of this album. Some of them are faces we see during your live shows more often like erina on guitar, Яyu (from Ashmaze) on bass and SYU on drums for example. But another notable face is HIZAKI. Was the initial plan to work with so many artists, or was this decision made on the spot during the recording later on?
SUI: Some of the joint artists featured on the album are artists I have worked with before, yes. But I wanted to make this album special, with a lot of variations in it. So I aimed to get as many artists to join me as possible. This is a FULL ALBUM rather than a single, so I really wanted to go above and beyond for it. I also really respect the artists who have participated, so I asked them to take charge on the songs they joined on. Giving them this freedom allowed them to color the songs with their own approach, and made their play stand out.
This actually answers my next question already, which was about how much influence every artist had on each song they participated in. But let me ask anyway, what was the process for each song like?
SUI: I made the basic shape for each song, and then presented it to each artist so they could add their own essence to it and thus complete the song. Like I said in the previous answer, each song was made to make the play of the participating artist stand out. In the end, I think it all came together in a very comfortable style.
One of the participating artists did more than just play their instrument for some of the songs, but also take care of the arrangement of some of them, which was quite the responsibility for him, I’m sure. I’m of course talking about SYU, but how exactly did this happen? What made you decide to ask (or permit) SYU to take on such a big role for this album?
SUI: SYU’s musical activities have been the focus of my attention for many years. He was deeply involved in co-starring with his previous projects Dio ~Distraught Overlord, BLACK LINE and G.L.A.M.S. I originally hoped that we would be able to communicate musically in some way, and I was very interested in matching with his performance. I am very happy and grateful that I was able to realize such a valuable opportunity for us to be involved in the production of this work together. I had a very enjoyable, but also meaningful time. I would love to work with him for the production of future works as well.
You know I can’t talk about someone in such detail without asking their version too, right? So SYU, it’s time for your cameo appearance in this interview. What was this experience like for you? Were there challenges you had to overcome, or was it a very easy process? And would you like to do something like this again in the future?
SYU: It was my very first time recording with David, so it was fun, but honestly, it was difficult as well. The songs and world view that SUI produces are quite high quality and difficult. Of course, he is a professional. As a drummer I strongly felt the responsibility to always respond to such things, and as a result I think it was finished in a convincing form. The actual production schedule for this album was quite tight, but despite that it was a very fulfilling experience to be able to do something like this with SUI and the other participating artists. If the opportunity presents itself in the future, I would like to participate again.
Getting the schedules of so many people to match up must be quite a challenge, especially because we’re still dealing with a pandemic and the restrictions from it for everyone’s health and safety. Regardless, you’ve managed to create an amazing result with this album. What was it like to do a project like this?
SUI: Well, we don’t have to gather in person in a recording studio, we can exchange data. So as long as we have an internet connection we can work together regardless of matching time or schedule. And because of this I can gather as many artists as I want, in theory of course. One of the things I’m really glad about as an artist is that I can easily record and broadcast through radio. On the other hand, I do think the judgment on quality is getting stricter. By overcoming and having fun I think I can raise my skill naturally, so to me it’s definitely worth it.
One of the bonus tracks for the album is a “gothic jazz” version of Story Teller. Which has a completely different sound than we normally see with your songs as David. Did you want to try a different style and see what the fans would think of it, or was there another reason for this choice?
SUI: I made this version playfully. Speaking of “another version”, usually that different version is a piano or a simple unplugged version. I wanted to go beyond my expectations in a good way, and I wanted to show that I could even show my own personality even with a jazzy sound.
Story Teller is also the song the MV has been shot for, but why did you choose Story Teller over for example Hexagramearth?
SUI: “Hexagramearth” is the ending theme in the story of the album, but Story Teller on the other hand is suitable for a thrilling opening. The story that is expressed in the MV for Story Teller is also featured in the other songs of the album, All of these elements made me choose this song for the MV.
A year of “Gothculture”
And with that question I conclude my list of questions I had for you about “Hexagramearth”, but even though it’s the newest full album, you’ve had another project you’ve done through most of 2020: “Gothculture”. From April to December you’ve released “-Nightimage- First Act”, “-断章 (Dansho)- Second Act”, “-Reunion- Third Act”, “-Claustrophobia- Fourth Act”, “-Decadent Art- Fifth Act” and “-dawn- Sixth Act” to tell the story of “Gothculture”, but in February you concluded the project with a full album bearing the same name.
All in all it’s quite a project to take on, so let’s chat about that for a moment too, now we’re here anyway.
Like I just said, not long before Hexagramearth came out you also released a full album called “Gothculture”, containing the title tracks of all singles in the Gothculture series. What was it like to release so many things in a relatively short time in this format?
SUI: It took me a year to release all of the parts, so I personally don’t feel like it was done in a short period of time. However, I’m glad that other artists think it was released at a high pace. I feel like I thoroughly expressed “gothic” in my own style with this series.
The story was originally presented to us through a total of six singles. Which you later bundled as a full album, but what is the story behind the bundle? Were the singles so popular that fans asked for more?
SUI: Thanks to you, the fans, all singles in the series sold out. That being said, I wanted to create a collection album for the title tracks rather than producing new copies of the singles. For the album I also wrote a story booklet and I changed the mix of the songs. I’m always thinking about how to put out items that keep it fresh, and give the fans new things to discover.
I’m sure not everyone who’s reading this interview has heard all of the singles in the Gothculture series, or maybe they haven’t heard any yet! For those fans who aren’t (too) familiar with it yet, would you recommend them to listen to all of the singles, or the full album to get a good idea of the story and the series?
SUI: I want you to listen to the album first, and then, if you can afford it, listen to everything else. Not just the singles within the “Gothculture” series, but everything I’ve created with David.
The Third Anniversary: Not from Paris, but worldwide from Japan
You’ve probably seen this question coming, and we’ll get to the how we got here part in a moment, but in January this year you’ve celebrated the third anniversary of David. Your dream was to celebrate this where it all began: in Paris. But due to the global pandemic this dream had to be postponed a little. Let’s talk about that, and some other things related to it shall we?
I think I can safely say that there is no one who feels the disappointment of the canceled show in Paris more than you do. So please tell me how you feel about it now.
SUI: In the end the show was canceled, but I haven’t given up on it. I keep thinking positively about it. The health of fans, members and staff is more important than my desire to a live show. As long as I don’t retire from my work as an artist I can continue to do shows. So everyone, please stay safe. And remain a fan until I can take my “revenge”.
Because of the cancellation of the show in Paris you celebrated the third anniversary in Tokyo instead. In 浦和Narciss (UrawaNarciss) to be exact. It ended up being a show with no physical audience in the venue (other than the staff working on creating the show behind the scenes of course), but fans could tune in to the livestream on YouTube from all over the world. It’s certainly different, but what was it like for you?
SUI: I’m very grateful for the streaming service. And not just for that one time, but the fact that it is possible in general. Thanks to the power of the internet you can watch my livestreams from anywhere in the world now. There’s no full support (or translations) in English as of yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join the stream! It was definitely different to not be able to see the response of the audience in the venue itself, but I could see the responses from viewers in the chat during the live, which helped with the idea that there was an audience there. I just couldn’t see them.
You said you haven’t given up on doing a live show in Paris in the future, so… I know it’s very hard to answer a question like this thanks to the pandemic still going strong even now, but what are your thoughts on a future show in Paris, or Europe in general?
SUI: Of course I’m planning, even if it’s nothing concrete just yet. I want to make it even bigger. Turn it into a full tour rather than just one show in one city in one country in Europe. Thanks to the fans the crowdfunding campaign raised more money than the target goal I originally asked for, and from the very beginning I said those extra funds would be put into other shows in Europe. It’s all thanks to the fans, and I really hope that when it’s possible again they will support me in the same way as they did with the crowdfunding campaign in 2019. I can tell you that I’m looking forward to it!
You’ve guessed it already, the crowdfunding is the next item on the list of topics today. We never got to talk after it finished, so let’s make up for that right now!
You already mentioned this in your previous answer, but the crowdfunding campaign raised more money than the target goal thanks to everyone who made a donation. How did it make you feel though? Other than happy the goal was reached, of course. How did it feel to do something like this together with fans, and would you do something like it again in the future if needed?
SUI: “Living as one”, which is also the overall theme of “Hexagramearth”. Being able to support each other and live together through a project like this. I can feel the importance of it, so please continue to love your favorite things and culture. As for doing something like this again in the future… I don’t know if I would take it on again or not. Only time will tell.
You’ve (probably unintentionally) been a bit of a trendsetter by starting a crowdfunding campaign, as other artists have followed your example and started their own campaigns after yours as well. But what about the reaction of the fans? How did they react to your crowdfunding?
SUI: There were pros and there were cons, of course. I felt like it was very important to get my thoughts out there, let people know what my plans and intentions were. It’s because of that openness that the crowdfunding was able to succeed, I think. But it would never have succeeded without the help of everyone that supported it!
One of the rewards for the highest tiers in the crowdfunding was that you’d write a song especially for those supporters. But instead you’ve made something that everyone can enjoy: the music video for the song “Dearily”, which came out only days after the music video for “Story Teller”. Please tell me a little bit about “Dearily”.
SUI: The song was composed on the theme that was requested by the fans who participated in the crowdfunding. The theme is to remember to meet people, and to live one day at a time as a fortune for yourself. To add the element of David to it I’ve put footage from both the costumes I’ve worn and the live shows I’ve done from the very beginning up until now as a way of recalling the activities so far.
David’s worldwide connection
Due to the pandemic a lot of artists have moved from a physical stage to an online stage. And while at the time of this interview live shows are slowly starting to pick up again here and there, most of the direct communication with fans is still through the internet. This of course opens new doors for fans overseas, so let’s talk a little bit about this too.
Of course you haven’t really been able to do live shows as David like you’re used to either. How has this pandemic influenced your work other than a cancelled show in Paris? Have you felt limited in any way? And what about livestreaming? You’ve livestreamed your anniversary show, but are you doing anything else too?
SUI: Being healthy is the top priority during this pandemic. Not just for me, but for everyone. All members, staff and fans should also stay healthy. I took my own approach with this entire pandemic, so I haven’t felt inconvenienced in the slightest. Being an artist on the front line means that I have to be able to adapt quickly and take a unique approach, so that’s exactly what I’ve done.
As for livestreaming, I’m doing that too, yes. On TwitCasting specifically. All information for those streams are shared through the Twitter account of David, so if you could check that on a daily basis it would make me very happy.
There’s also a different way people from all over the world can support you: the Wizard Store (David’s webshop)! The webshop supports orders from outside of Japan without the use of a shopping service, and has actually been able to do that since before the pandemic. Where a lot of artists started to look into this after the start of the pandemic, you were at least one step ahead already in that aspect. But what can people expect to find at the shop that they can’t find anywhere else?
SUI: I feel like there are a lot of people who support me from overseas. The existence of both the Japanese and the overseas fans will be important for a long time. Unfortunately the webshop doesn’t have full support in English in terms of language, meaning most of the webshop is written in Japanese only. But if you send a message through the webshop the staff will be able to respond to your question in English. The shipping costs for overseas orders a little high, but I hope you’ll be able to use it anyway. Since a lot of items are only available through the webshop, like cheki and tickets for livestreams just to name some. But of course the shop also has my CDs and DVDs.
Fans, both from overseas and in Japan, can support me through Twitter and TwitCasting too. There are many things you can check to stay updated on my activities, but Twitter probably is the easiest one to stay up to date with.
We’re almost at the end of the interview, but there are some formalities we have to go through still. You know, those familiar questions you can guess without fail… 😉
You know I have to ask this, as even though you’re doing quite a lot of things and you’ve just released a new album, what else are you planning on doing in the near future?
SUI: I’m still hoping for a tour in France as well as all of Europe. I would like many fans to be able to see me as David.
Phew, that were quite a lot of questions this time! Which means I’m all out for now. Except for this last, also very predictable, one: Do you have a message for everyone who has been reading this interview?
SUI: It’s a difficult situation in the world, but I will tell you how important music is to people through the “gothic” filter. With everyone’s feelings and actions I feel like we can continue forever. Let’s continue to live together, and let’s enjoy Visual Kei.
There are some things SUI hasn’t mentioned in his interview, so please allow me to share this information with you on his behalf instead:
~ Livestream schedule for June
SUI did say he’s doing livestreams just like quite a number of other artists, but there’s actually a schedule for his streams on TwitCasting this June!
There are special talks with erina (June 9), Яyu (June 13) and SYU (June 23, the translators who normally translate Lounge Room will be in the chat during this stream!) and a live with erina, Яyu and SHO (June 30).
On the right you’ll find the official announcement image that also tells you at what time these livestreams are taking place. (All times on this poster are in Japanese Standard Time, so don’t forget to convert them to your timezone! For Western Europe this is 7 hours behind JST.)
~ Tour final “Hexagramearth -運命の糸と意図- (Unmei no ito to ito)”
On August 31 David will hold a oneman tour final to conclude the “Hexagramearth” tour in SHIBUYA PLEASURE PLEASURE.
Next to tickets to attend the show in person in Japan (this obviously means you have to physically be in Japan at that time) there is also a special ticket available through the Wizard Store.
No matter if you live or are in Japan, the live will be recorded and temporarily archived on SUI’s TwitCasting page. This archive will become available at 9PM Japanese time on September 4, and will be available for some time (at this moment it’s unclear how long this archive will be available). This means you don’t have to tune in at that exact time, but you can watch it whenever it’s convenient for you. Or you can watch it again at a later time, because you can watch as many times as you want. (You can find the link to SUI’s Twitcasting page at the links list at the very bottom of this page.)
You can get tickets for both the live show and the stream archive through the Wizard Store:
クロートーエリア (Kurootoo-eria) (1st Floor front area) | ラケシスエリア (Raketsusu eria) (1st Floor) | Stream archive ticket
~ “Hexagramearth”, “Gothculture” and other releases
While yes, SUI also makes sure to add the releases to his webshop, but you can also find them in other places, like for example here, at CDJapan. While all singles from the “Gothculture” series are sold out at the Wizard Store, at the moment of writing you can still get them through CDJapan. (This does mean they might sell out by the time this interview goes live though, if that happens: sorry about that!)
Firstly, I want to give a very special thank you to SUI, for taking the time to sit down and answer all of the questions in the long list I presented him with. (There were a lot of topics to cover since the previous interview! I’m so sorry!) It means a lot to me that you took on this daunting task, and that you answered every single one of my question with the passion of David!
Second, the cameo appearance for this interview: SYU. Because without him this interview wouldn’t have been possible in the first place. I’m very glad you wanted to make a guest appearance in the interview for this one question as well, since it didn’t feel right to not ask you about this big role on the “Hexagram” album personally.
And last, but certainly not least: I know this has been an incredibly long interview, and then there was some extra information to fill in some of the gaps in terms of current events too, so I also really want to thank YOU, the reader, for getting all the way to this message. I really appreciate your support, but also your interest to read my work!
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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.