Interview by: Ryu – **日本語翻訳：**珠城 – English Translation: Ryu English check: Rena
Phobia, thank you very much for this interview!
⊷ Please introduce yourself and describe yourself with a single word.
KISUI: I’m the vocalist KISUI. The word I would use to describe myself would be “boy”.
Iori: I’m Iori (依織) the root guitarist. The word I would use to describe myself would be “Dog-lover, who loves walking with his dog“.
⊷ Which Kanji would you use to represent Phobia?
KISUI: Ki (希 = Hope)
Iori: Yamai (病 = Illness)
⊷ Overseas fans would like to know more about the history of Phobia. Could you tell us more about how Phobia was formed?
KISUI: When I was a high school student, I used to play in a cover band of Kuroyume, Also around that time, after playing against Laputa’s cover band formed by aie (gibkiy gibkiy gibkiy) and Hibiki (ex.kein), “aie” invited me to form LAPSE together. After the disbandment I got introduced to Iori at aie’s home and so the first Phobia era formed with two persons who love the world in a dark atmosphere.
⊷ Why did you choose to become a Visual Kei artist? What do you think is something that can be only expressed with Visual Kei?
KISUI: I wasn’t really interested in music at all, no matter what I listened to it was always Kuroyume. Also because Visual Kei is a kind of mysterious category itself, it has a unique worldview of its own. Visual Kei = any music genre is OK. Which makes it unique that any melody can be compounded and interwoven with any other genres.
Iori: I entered the world as a roadie, the band I supported made me fascinated by their live performances. What can only be expressed with Visual Kei…? Well, without any limits, anything that can be expressed within “visual kei“.
⊷ What made you start to make music? What was your motivation for starting a band?
KISUI: After I bought Kuroyume’s single “Chuuzetsu” and listened to it, I was totally blown away by it.
Iori: When my mother was teaching me how to play the violin, after playing some random notes I thought “Oh, it sounds like music!“, that’s how it all started.
⊷ Various overseas fans describe Phobia as a “legendary band”, how do you feel about this?
KISUI: I don’t feel this is true. I guess we’re only called like that purely because lot’s of time has passed. However it’s still a great honor to be called a legend.
Iori: I feel honored, but to me a legend is someone who isn’t alive anymore. So I’m gonna do my best to continue being a living legend.
⊷ Phobia was formed in July 1998 and dissolved in May 2002. Could you tell us why you decided to restart Phobia?
KISUI: I thought “Is my music career really over?“.There was a sort of change in my heart and I thought I could still do it at least as a hobby. Also because of the frequent phone calls with Iori, we talked a lot about doing the band together again someday as a hobby.However, Iori decided to play in an original band again and then miraculously just after those activities came to an end, just by coincidence, the “happening” of the Phobia ONE-DAY revival event came our way. However, that idea was lost due to COVID-19, but since we announced that we would come back and still wanted to answer the feelings of our fans, we revived Phobia for a day, with our own power.And surprisingly our bond between our fans was simply amazing. It really made me want to revive Phobia instead of forming a new band.Also the help of others around us was amazing and above all, the fact that our fans still remembered Phobia was also a big GO for our resurrection.
Iori: It was a pity that the Shuuen NO Rasetsu (終焉ノ羅刹) event was cancelled due COVID-19. Actually we also only planned to revive just for a day. But since it was cancelled due to corona and we declared our return, we had no choice but to make it come true at a later moment. But we never thought we would actually hold so long like this. (laugh)
⊷ What’s the biggest change in the visual kei scene from 2002 to 2022?
Iori: I don’t know if it’s only tied to the visual scene, but to me it feels that playing techniques of the generations below us have improved dramatically. Also in the past there were way more trouble around the costs of music equipment transport money, equipment has been evolved during the time. The current scene feels that it has become easier to move in and much more entertaining than before.
⊷ To what kind of music do you listen these days?
KISUI: Recently, I’ve been listening mainly to Western mixed music, jazz, and also a bit of the current visual kei scene of the bands we play against at.
Iori: I don’t really listen much to music, but I often listen to fairytale-like Celtic music before going to sleep. I also listened to Laputa and aki-san’s bands.
⊷ Could you tell us why you chose the current support members?
Iori: We have often played at previous gigs together, so I feel comfortable if I’m with them, because I know them well. They’re also fun and nice people, so I made them our support members.
⊷ Where do you get your inspiration from when you write your songs?
KISUI: I often get inspiration, to create a new song, after watching movies.
Iori: I’ll start with the image of “The person who sings my song.“.
⊷ What song is your favourite song to play live?
KISUI: All the songs we’re playing. I feel the joy of performing the songs which we created and the excitement of those who hear them.
Iori: √Joucho Fuantei ÷ Kouatsu-zai/ Ketsuryuu-ryou = Kimi ni (√情緒不安定÷降圧剤/血流量=君に) Because it’s an easy and quick song to play.
⊷ At the end of 2021 your 0th mini Album ［bəˈzär］ was released. Please explain each song to us.
Ⅰ.Logical view of the worldKISUI: My current feelings.Iori: KISUI-san told me that he wanted to put a SE track as the first track. So it’s a song which wasn’t written in a rush. I also wrote this song with the hope that I could show KISUI’s crazy side straightway from the very first song.
Ⅱ.BASQUEKISUI: In a way, I reflected on my past in a negative way.Iori: I wanted to write one song which would be a typical Phobia song. So I wrote it without thinking, just going with the momentum, just like when I was young.
KISUI: Distorted emotions of a pure girl who cannot even rely on her only existence.
Iori: I do like ballads in the middle of a song, so this is my favorite song.
Firstly I had an image in my mind and from there I made it into a song, and I used a dark-skinned woman for the music video, just like the image I had in mind. Bizarre has a meaning such as ‘strange‘, but after all there is nothing more bizarre than the contrast between black and white.
KISUI: For the gap between Phobia from my perspective and the contemporary visual scene.
Iori: The chorus first popped into my head and I built up the whole song. It was so boring that I thought about trashing it, but I liked the chord progression of the chorus, so I reworked the rest of the song except for the chorus.
KISUI: Betrayal of women.
Iori: In my opinion, it’s a song that seems unlikely to be a Phobia song.
I used to write songs without thinking about chords and theory, but this song is a song that is very Phobia, while making use of chords and scales.
KISUI: Zange’s male perspective. Expresses the difference in values between men and women.
Iori: This song was born from the sound of a synthesizer, which I own myself. It’s interesting how just one tune can spread out and form a song.
⊷ What do you think is the strength of Phobia?
KISUI: The attitude of always incorporating what we wanna do and that we enjoy what we’re doing.
Iori: We’re appropriate in a good sense….
⊷ What is important when choosing a theme (costume, artwork, MV) when releasing a release?
KISUI: For example; We have Bizarre, cultivated by honestly expressing how we felt it. We asked ourselves “Who is Phobia?“, with that in mind we focused on how we can express ourselves through fusion.
Iori: It’s an image. When various parts are cut out as a single image, it’s important to make sure that the final image looks ideal.
⊷ Music, what does it mean for you?
KISUI: A catalyst to free the mind.
Iori: Eh… Eh… Mu…. Music!!
⊷ Do you have any beliefs or mottos as an artist?
KISUI: Let’s give it a shot anyway.
Iori: My motto as a person and as an artist is “Stay Positive“. This has never changed.
⊷ The band name is Phobia…. But, do you have any phobias?
KISUI: Japanese horror movies.
Iori: Can’t tell you. (laugh)
⊷ What makes you smile?
KISUI: To stand on stage as Phobia.
Iori: When I’m soaking in a hot spring, while eating sweets, or sleeping next to my dog.
⊷ Do you have any goals for your future activities?
KISUI: “To keep having fun being active?” As long as I’m doing this I surely will always reach my goals. While being active, I also expect that new [goals] will come on our path.
Iori: Nothing in particular, except to provide music that does not disappoint anyone. (laugh)
⊷ On August 11th, You will be co-starring the 3MAN together with MIRAGE and Deshabillz, at Shinjuku. Please tell us your enthusiasm.
KISUI: It may be rude to our seniors, but on this day, Phobia will leave a deep mark.
Iori: Since we’re being surrounded by our seniors I’ll do my best not to be scolded by them, but I’m gonna make sure to give the most memorable show of the day among the bands playing and go home happy.
⊷ Last question, please give a message to your fans and readers.
KISUI: I’m really grateful to everyone! This is all I could give today. But any beginning will also have an end someday. Each day ahead has a time limit. With this in my mind, I will continue to give everything with my might today and tomorrow as well. After reading this interview, it would make me happy if I could get closer to your heart even for a moment.
Iori: Thank you very much for your support. I’m going to continue to think of our future and do the things we always wanted to do, without rushing anything.