It’s been a while since our last interview, but we wanted to start 2024 off with something a little different this time. For this interview we’ve asked vocalist 蒼月 (Tsuzuki) and guitarist 螢 (Kei) some questions about their band Pluto – which is a project I have personally been following for most of the “short” time they’ve existed.
Pluto was formed in mid/late 2022, followed shortly after by their first single “KILL ME SLOW”.
While “KILL ME SLOW” absolutely is their flagship song – if you can even call it that already -, it’s definitely not their only release so far. (I might be crazy, but I’m not that crazy… Am I?) One of the other tracks on their first single, “horizon”, was chosen as the opening theme for the Nintendo Switch game “9R.IP“, which caused the creation of “eternal” and “Memories” – of which the latter is a composition by guitarist 螢 (Kei).
Starting in September of 2023, Pluto released a new song every month for the remainder of the year, showing both sides of their sound with this collection of songs. So that’s more than enough reason to ask the guys for a chat, don’t you think?
So let’s not waste any more time and get right into it!
* All of the songs mentioned are linked in the questions and answers of this interview. If you see a purple-ish song name, that’s the linked version.
Additionally, the group’s Spotify and Apple Music accounts can be found at the bottom of this page as well.
“We aim to be a band that coexists with intensity and beauty”
Before I start on the questions, could you first introduce yourselves to everyone reading the interview?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): I’m Pluto’s vocalist 蒼月 (Tsuzuki). Nice to meet you.
螢 (Kei): This is Pluto’s guitarist, 螢 (Kei). Nice to meet you.
To start us off, I’d like to talk a bit about Pluto as a whole. Can you tell me a little bit about the ideas behind your works?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): We aim to be a band that coexists with intensity and beauty, focusing on loud rock and alternative music.
I hope that I can express the pain in my heart and the emotions that I am afraid to share with others in this form of sound.
So your work is a way for you to express the emotions you are afraid to put into words, I see. When I first learned about your works I was of course drawn in by your music, but also by your name. Why did you choose the name Pluto?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): The name “Pluto” refers to the former planet. The idea behind this name is that Pluto as a band is music for those who are left out of the solar system.
Continuing on the topic of music, where do you find the inspiration for your songs? Are there any artists out there that inspire your works?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): In terms of artists I listen to myself Evanescence and Marilyn Manson are the biggest influences from overseas, but from Japan I think that lynch. and the GazettE have been particularly influential.
螢 (Kei): For overseas bands it would be Nirvana, METALLICA and Marilyn Manson for me. Domestically I often listen to hide and lynch..
I feel like I hear another influence in your works, especially for you, 蒼月 (Tsuzuki)-san. Some of your vocals remind me a lot of 綴 (Tsuzuku)’s style when he was still singing with MEJIBRAY…
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): Of course I was listening to MEJIBRAY as well. I think his death growls’ versatility is amazing. So I do think they’ve influenced me as well.
So far you’ve only been a band with two members and support members during live shows. Is it easier for you to stay a duo, or are you open to welcoming other members in the future as well?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): If there are any good members, I would like to welcome them!
螢 (Kei): I don’t think about it deeply. I feel like there is someone out there who wants to work with me.
The gears of society: difficulties and conflicts of living
So far you’ve released one official single, back in 2022: “KILL ME SLOW”. Can you tell me a little bit about the three songs that make this single?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): “KILL ME SLOW” is about the difficulties and conflicts of living in the world. This is included in the lyrics as well.
“RAVEN” explores the feelings and anger of people who cannot become a part of the social gears.
“horizon” has put the feelings of losing a loved one into a song.
You’ve also decided to make a music video for “KILL ME SLOW”. Can you tell me about your thought process for this video as well?
螢 (Kei): As the title of “KILL ME SLOW” suggests, the feeling of being killed slowly was very similar to my own sense of life. So when I heard the title of the song from 蒼月 (Tsuzuki) I imagined the music video would have a story behind it as well.
I would be happy if people could feel the feeling of being slowly killed by the crowds of the city, work and time. I thought it would have a stronger impact on the song if we had support members playing with us, so that’s why you see four of us in the video rather than just 蒼月 (Tsuzuki) and myself.
“horizon” isn’t only featured on this single. It was also chosen as an opening theme for the Nintendo Switch game “9R.IP”, wasn’t it? How did that collaboration happen? Since that is a pretty big deal if you ask me!
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): When they heard “horizon” it clicked for them, so I was asked to use this song as the theme song!
Two other songs were born out of this collaboration, and they can all be found on the soundtrack for this game, but also as their own single. Please tell me the story behind the creation of “eternal” and “Memories”. Since you each composed one of these songs, right?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): “eternal” is the answer to my composition “horizon”. I wanted to draw a contrast between an opening and ending in such a way that the lyrics mesh with each other. “horizon” is about the one that has passed, and “eternal” is about the ones that are left behind.
螢 (Kei): “Memories” was indeed written by me, and since I knew it would be more of an ending type of song I created it based on the story of the game.
“You are so beautiful, why am I so ugly?”
At the moment this interview is published, you have finished your 4-months consecutive releases-schedule that was announced at the 1 year anniversary of your band last August. All of these songs were new compositions, and you’ve started with the song “Banshee“. Why did you choose a banshee as the subject for this song?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): As you might know, a banshee is a monster that cries on your behalf when you are about to die. When I learned about that story, I decided to write this song. Since I think there are certain people who, when they’re feeling desperate, say something like “if I were to disappear, no one would be sad”. But this banshee conveys the message that this is not the case.
Compared to your other songs, “Banshee” also uses more English than Japanese in its lyrics. Did you feel like the story and emotions of this song were easier to express in English, or did you make this decision for a different reason?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): The reason is that when I chose the temporary music for this song, I simply thought that English would be more comfortable. Another reason is that I often use English to muddy the meaning of my words, rather than singing them in Japanese directly.
The second song in the series takes a completely different direction than the first. “九月の桜” (Kyuugetsu no Sakura) is more of a ballad song, but there is a bit of a darker story to it, isn’t there?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): “九月の桜” (Kyuugetsu no Sakura) is a song of emotion that laments the contrast between the person I admire or adore, and my self-evaluation and situation. “You are so beautiful, why am I so ugly?”
Cherry blossoms usually bloom in April, but for this song I used the motif of crazy cherry blossoms that bloom in September. There is no particular reason why it was released in October though!
It was “Discord“‘s turn in November. Both the accompanying video and the song itself sound like they’re composed with a live show in mind, but there is a bit of a darker theme involved here too…
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): For “Discord” we first aimed to create a fun, wild song LIVE. As for the lyrics, they say that the other person won’t be able to fulfil your ideals anyway. So you should stop expecting anything from others and just do what makes you happy.
雪 (Yuki): I feel like this is something a lot of people will recognize in their own lives. So even if the sound doesn’t resonate with everyone, the meaning behind it sure does in some way or another.
Last in line is “SURRENDER“. And you’ve chosen quite the topic for this one haven’t you?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): “SURRENDER” is a song about infidelity. And I think there are people who justify themselves even though they are the ones doing something wrong. And in the end it’s them who end up in hysterics lol.
But for that person it’s all about the emotions they feel, and they don’t care about what is logically correct. They just want to vent their dissatisfaction.
This is a sarcastic song for such people.
“I think it’s more difficult to listen to CDs nowadays”
At the moment this interview is being conducted, we’ve officially covered all your songs so far. But that brings me to the next question, which is “Where can we find your music?”. Is it possible to order a physical CD from somewhere?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): I am not thinking about pressing any physical CDs right now. I don’t have them in any stores either. I think it’s more difficult to listen to CDs nowadays, so I am only thinking about digital streaming and video distribution via YouTube, etc.
I will link your Spotify and Apple Music accounts below (after the interview is finished), since believe it or not, the name “Pluto” is a little bit of a nightmare to find on streaming services (especially Spotify). There are multiple artists who had the same idea there… But speaking of that, if people want to stay updated on your activities from now on, what would be the best way to do so? Since Pluto doesn’t have it’s own website just yet…
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): If people are looking for a way to stay up to date, our official Twitter/X account as well as our personal member accounts are the only things we have available right now, so please check it out!
I’m a little sad to announce that this is going to be my final question (for now, since who knows, we might be able to do a follow-up in the future!) already. Do you have some parting words to end this interview with?
蒼月 (Tsuzuki): I will do my best in this second year as well! Please provide me some support!
螢 (Kei): We’ll do our best in our second year as well, so if people listen to our work and like it – we’d be super happy if they could come see us live.
雪 (Yuki): And like we just established, the information for these live shows can be found on the band’s and members’ Twitter/X accounts. 😉
雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind Arlequin Magazine & 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.