Congratulations! Tenth album! It’s a big milestone. Could you tell us about getting your first major release? What were your feelings and hopes in those days?
RUKI: The first album we released under a major contract was our second, NIL. Looking back to those days, there are some parts that feel the same as today. Being "indie" or "major", I was never really aware of being either, and I still feel that way now. My focus has always been on the work we're putting out and how to keep surprising fans.
URUHA: Back in those days I wasn't aware that a major debut was an option for the GazettE, so I didn't really have any expectations. And not much has changed since then, our driving force remains the same; to keep making songs and performances to the best of our abilities.
AOI: I never expected to be in a band that could make as many as ten albums! I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported us along the way.
REITA: I remember desperately trying to make the first album with no knowledge of the right way to do it, but I worked hoping that we could make something that a lot of other people would listen to. That feeling keeps getting stronger and stronger.
KAI: To be honest, I never expected to be in a band that would last such a long time! This is also thanks to all the fans from all over the world that have supported us! Thank you very much.
Did you have a list of things you wanted to accomplish back then?
RUKI: One of the things I wanted to achieve back then was to build on our live activities, playing in small venues, and building our way up to be a band that plays large concert halls or arenas. Naturally, I also wanted as many people as possible to know about the band. Now we're focusing on perfecting our live show and evolving our music.
URUHA: At that time my main goal was to keep playing bigger and bigger shows.
AOI: I think they were pretty much the same as other bands who grew up around the 80's-90's music scene, although I think we achieved almost all of them.
REITA: I'd never really set any goals in terms of selling a certain amount of CDs or performing a number of shows. Our goal was to be a cool band.
KAI: I don't remember any clear goals except always aiming for the top!
Have you accomplished everything on the list?
RUKI: Not yet, but in a sense there's no goal.
URUHA: I've realised that it's a goal that can always be bettered.
AOI: Does it count being recognised by many people and becoming a professional musician?
REITA: Not yet, but we're always getting one step closer.
KAI: We're still trying.
Has the GazettE's progression changed in ways you didn't expect?
RUKI: I think it's been different to what I originally imagined for us, but in a good way.
URUHA: We haven't really evolved in the way that was expected, but that's not necessarily bad.
AOI: the GazettE has never once welcomed a producer. It certainly gave us endless freedom, but it also takes a lot of time to evolve. I've enjoyed all the unexpected twists and turns along the way, so I'm very happy about the progress we've made, even the smaller steps.
REITA: It's taking longer than I expected, but we're still evolving.
KAI: Being able to attract attention from all over the world is really beyond my imagination!
When I first heard 'NOX' and 'LAST SONG' from the MASS sampler I had goosebumps from excitement. They sound so fresh, modern and different to your releases so far, yet they still sound very much "the GazettE". To us, it feels like you have at least two songs each album that really stand out as different to anything you've previously done. Is this something you're consciously aiming for?
RUKI: It'd make me very happy if you feel the freshness and evolution in the band in not just those tracks, but the entire album. What's always in my mind when song writing is whether we can excite ourselves as well as the listener. I believe that if something excites us, it will naturally pump up the listener too.
URUHA: I'm grateful that you felt that way. Despite a new approach and nuance to our sound, what underlies it is clearly the GazettE.
REITA: It's difficult to make something our own and keep things fresh, I’m glad that you could understand and appreciate that.
"Come back to the light" seems to echo through MASS. It's also among the only times English is used on the album, which makes it feel even more special and targeted. Is this a key theme to MASS? What other themes are there?
RUKI: "Come back to the light" can be thought of how we feel regarding live performances at this time. It's both our raison d'etre and the reason for making music. The pandemic forced us to stay still, so this album offers hope for this situation.
Was the recording / productions / arrangement of this album affected by the State of Emergency at all? A lot of bands on JPU Records worked completely online for their new EPs and albums to avoid human contact. How was it for MASS?
AOI: the GazettE were no exception, we did it online too. The process was unprecedented, completing most of the process from composition to mastering without face-to-fact contact.
KAI: We also did a lot of the work online. There was some parts that were difficult, but we could overcome them quickly.
Who have you been listening to recently? We've been going through The Offspring's discography again, it made the pandemic a bit more enjoyable.
URUHA: For me, it's been Bring Me The Horizon, Northlane and ZEDD.
AOI: I was working on MASS right up to the final minutes of release, so I haven’t had much time to chill out and listen to what's going on right now. I’m always working on rock music, so when I’m by myself lately I tend to listen to jazz.
REITA: Hey! The Offspring happen to be one of my favourite bands of the last 25 years! I still listen to them now. I didn't expect others to be listening to them during the pandemic. When they come to Japan I go and see them.
KAI: The Offspring, great! Personally, I’ve been really into Japanese artist Ado-san recently.
Your music video always seem so cinematic, BLINDING HOPE especially! Who are some of your favourite movie directors, and have their works directly influences some of your work?
RUKI: I watch a lot of movies and music videos, regardless of genre. So I wouldn't say a particular single director has had a distinct influence, rather it's the accumulation of the lighting, camera work and story editing that I've seen up to this point that is reflected in the video for 'BLINDING HOPE'.
As always, thank you for the overseas releases and for the world tours. We think you're in a very rare position as a band from Japan, to have had such a big impact overseas and to have toured the world. What kind of things have you learnt from these interactions and experiences?
RUKI: While working mainly from Japan, our material has reached all over the world. It's a miraculous feeling to know that. And with regards to touring, the experience of performing on stage in various countries has definitely strengthened our spirit perhaps even more than our music. I feel that the GazettE in its current form has been established by it.
URUHA: What had a big influence on me was how the way of communicating varies from country to country, but the fans could still show their excitement and feelings beside us on stage. That really left an impression on me in a good way.
AOI: I could feel it in the last world tour. I felt that it’s gone from "Japanese music being enjoyed by a core audience" to a much more general audience of "people enjoying a show". From these experiences, I came to think about all of our projects in way in which overseas fans can also enjoy.
REITA: It's great motivation to know that people are rooting for you all over the world. It's also interesting to see that the songs that get the crowd going overseas are different to those in Japan, it's fun to notice those details.
KAI: I think these experiences overseas have definitely improved the band! It broadens our horizons as well as influences the music we make!
Any final messages for international fans who bought MASS?
RUKI: Once the global pandemic is under control, the GazettE will be back on stage with our latest progression. Please wait for it, we're looking forward to that time.
URUHA: Thank you for your continued support. What did you think about our new album MASS? How happy it would make me to play in front of you all again someday. I hope that time will come and that if you have a chance, you come and join us on tour!
AOI: I'm definitely coming back to the UK once the pandemic's over. We're preparing for that day and very much looking forward to it. Until then, please listen to MASS to get you in the spirit. Also, don't forgot to check out the member's Twitter and Instagram accounts. So, until we meet again...!
REITA: Thank you as always! I am looking forward to the day we will be able to get excited with everyone on a world tour again. Until then, please take care of yourselves and have fun. I Really want to meet you. Please listen to MASS a lot until then.
KAI: I don't know when it will be, but we definitely want to do another world tour! Please wait!