Dir En Grey to tour Europe with “more concert friendly material”

During the second half of May, Japanese Rock and Metal heroes Dir En Grey will set foot on European soil again. This time to support their ninth album ‘Arche’, which was finally released outside of Japan about two months ago. On the album, the band employs a surprisingly straightforward and melodic approach. That made the material on the album relatively easy to translate to the live environment, according to guitarist Kaoru and drummer Shinya (second and third on the right on the picture above).

Kaoru:We reached a point that we wanted to go in a more simple, straightforward direction than the more busy and complicated material we’ve been doing lately. We wanted to go back to a simpler representation of our music.
Shinya:For every album prior to ‘Arche’, it’s been pretty difficult to translate the material to the stage in a satisfying manner. When we recorded ‘Arche’, we kept that in mind. We wanted to record a more concert friendly record. Or maybe that’s not the correct term, but for every element on the album, we took into consideration how we wanted it to sound live.

In the past, how was a satisfying concert version of a song conceived?

Kaoru:Even when we play very complex songs live, we’re not trying to play it exactly as it has been recorded. If there are seven layers of guitar on the recording, we don’t want to play with samples or a backing track on stage. We’ve always aimed for what we can do with five men to bring the song to life.

Has last year’s tour, during which you focused on the material of your relatively melodic debut album ‘Gauze’, influenced the material in any way?

Kaoru:When we played the songs from ‘Gauze’, all the songs for ‘Arche’ had already been written, so that hasn’t influenced it.

On that tour, you played the ESP Ganesa models you used in the early days, instead of the Vipers you play regularly these days. Can we hear those on the album?

Kaoru:That particular model is pretty difficult to use in the studio, so I haven’t used it. However, ESP developed a new guitar for me that is somewhat based on that model.

Shinya, your drums sound remarkably fresh and bright on ‘Arche’. New kit?

Shinya:It’s exactly the same kit as the one I used on our last mini-album ‘The Unraveling’. It’s a Pearl Masters RetroSpec.

Will we be hearing that one on your European tour as well?

Shinya:When we’re touring abroad, we always need to rent a kit. It will most certainly be a Pearl kit, because I’m endorsed by them, but what it will be exactly, is always a surprise.

How do you arm yourself against that?

Shinya:I’m used to not always being able to get exactly what I want. As a result, I’m always prepared to make little adjustments in order to make the best out of it.

Kaoru, what equipment is essential to take with you when you travel abroad?

Kaoru:All the guitars that I need, I will take with me. I won’t leave those behind. In addition, I will always take my AMT E1 pedal with me for distortion. When we rent an amplifier there, it has to be a Diezel.

How has the audience reaction to ‘Arche’ been so far?

Shinya:The album’s been released in Japan for about four months now and I’ve got the idea that the fans have listened to it enough to fully grasp the album now. At our concerts, it seems like everybody’s really enjoying the material.
Kaoru:The reaction has been really positive, but there are some people who were really into our previous album ‘Dum Spiro Spero’ who have the feeling that something is lacking.

Is there a difference between Japanese, European and American audiences?

Kaoru:The audiences react differently in different places. Japanese audiences pay a lot of attention to what’s happening on stage. They anticipate what’s happening on stage and react in a way that is very much unified. Everyone reacts more or less the same, whereas in Europe and the US, everyone gets into the music in their own way. I think it’s very interesting how people from different countries come to the show and experience it.
Shinya:The European audiences are definitely very passionate.

Dir En Grey is one of the only Japanese Rock bands that consistently and successfully tours abroad. Why do you think that is?

Shinya:I have the feeling that quite a lot of Japanese bands tour abroad, but it may be true that no one does it as consistently as we do.
Kaoru:It’s hard to define why that is. I guess it’s not easy to leave the comfort and the security of touring in Japan behind. There are certain risks when you tour abroad and obviously, a lot of preparation goes into that. A part of it is probably just that we’re still around.
Shinya:If you know why, please let us know.

How do you prepare for a tour?

Shinya:Currently, we are in the middle of a Japanese tour. As soon as we’re done, we’re heading for Europe. So in a way, you can see that as our preparation.
Kaoru:We hope to maintain this momentum and bring the show to Europe just as strongly.

Want to judge for yourself? Dir En Grey will play the following European venues in May:

17.05.15 – (BLR) Minsk – Re-Pubilc
18.05.15 – (PL) Warsaw – Pogresja
20.05.15 – (DE) Berlin – Astra
21.05.15 – (DE) Dortmund – FZW
23.05.15 – (UK) London – O2 Academy Islington
24.05.15 – (UK) London – O2 Academy Islington
26.05.15 – (FR) Paris – Le Bataclan
27.05.15 – (NL) Eindhoven – De Effenaar
29.05.15 – (DE) Nürburg – Grüne Hölle Festival
31.05.15 – (DE) Munich – Rockavaria Festival
  1. I actually really like the more simple melodies in this album. I feel like Kyo sang in falsetto in this album a lot more than the othera, but he also started that in Sukekiyo as well, I just wonder if he brought that sound back to DEG with him. I love it regardless!

    • That is a thought that popped into my mind as well, but in all honesty, I think the entire band had been wanting to do that. Kaoru seemed very decisive about this when I interviewed him. I’m not complaining either way; I like the more melodic Dir En Grey and ‘Arche’ is my third favorite album (after ‘Gauze’ and ‘Uroboros’), so I’m happy they took this direction. I’m very curious to see where it will take them in the future.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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