Galneryus is a Heavy/Power/Symphonic Metal band from Japan. With heavy and fast paced rhythm mixed with strong and blasting melodies, they have been one of the most famous Japanese Metal bands of the last decade, especially thanks to Syu, the leader and guitarist of the band, who is well know for his fast and melodic guitar playing.
As a fan for 7 years, I had the dream opportunity to interview Galneryus before their private concert in Paris the 17th of July.
Q – Hello !
Band : Bonjour ! (« Hello » in French)
Q – Could you please introduce yourselves for the readers ?
« I’m Yuhki, on keyboards » « I’m Taka, on bass » « I’m Syu, on guitar » « I’m Junichi, on drums » « and I’m Sho, on vocals »
Q – You played in Köln two days ago, what do you think of the European audience compared to the Japanese audience ?
Syu : It was the first live of the tour, so we were a little bit afraid because we didn’t know what to expect. But when we started to play, we noticed that the audience was enthusiastic and dynamic. They were also very reactive to our songs, showing that they already knew them. We found that really cool !
Q – For most of the band, it’s your first time coming to France, what do you think of our country ?
Syu : Indeed, it’s the first time we come to France as Galneryus. However, Junichi and I already came once I think (Editor’s note : with Animetal in 2006), but in general terms, we are really happy to be in France, because we know that French people love Japanese culture, especially anime and manga.
Yuhki : We really found French fans, as well as French people in general, friendly and warm. It really makes us happy !
Syu : We were also surprised and happy to see that Galneryus is supported by so many fans in France.
Q – You are about to release your new album called « Vetelgyus » , is there a special theme or concept behind it ? Will there be new things in it ?
Syu : The album is named after the star (Editor’s note : Betelgeuse), and it will be released in September, followed by a tour in Japan in the fall. However, the theme will be more centered on winter. Yuhki produced two songs in it.
Yuhki : It think the album is the perfect image of what Galneryus is today, but it also incorporates new elements. Our producer asked me to create new atmospheres for this album. We did that by incorporating new sounds and influences, such as Disco style clap-sounds. I think we managed to create a harmony between our old and new elements.
Syu : Even if there are new elements, we didn’t lose the essence of Galneryus. But we merged it with new influences, such as Celtic music. I can’t really say what represents winter in our album, but I think novelty and the diverse influences are a really important aspect of Vetelgyus.
Q – I had the chance to see acoustic versions of two of your songs (Editor’s note : Still Loving You and The Wind Blows), will you release an all-acoustic album or mini-album someday ?
Syu : It’s not really something we planned. For some of our concerts, we did play acoustic versions of our songs (but not unplugged) during our encores, and that was really a first time experience for us. The audience thought that was great, so we might keep on doing so for our next concerts.
Q – Do you think that coming to France, as well as touring in other countries, will make you more creative compared to when you were only touring in Japan ?
Syu : Yes, of course ! Traveling, experience new things, see new landscapes, meet people from different countries and learn more about their traditions and customs, all of these really inspire us a lot !
Q – A friend of mine who lives in Tokyo told me that in Japan you usually play 3 hours long concerts, how do you manage to have that much energy ?
Syu : Hey that’s really long ! (look at the others) How can we last that long ?
Sho : When we rehearse, we do not really aim at lasting 3 hours. To tell the truth, we do not really have the impression to play that long during our concerts, but it really is a lot. I think it’s more the facts that we are on stage and we receive the energy and dynamism of the audience that make us have a lot of energy as well. Seeing the audience be happy and having fun is what really makes us strong and able to give the best of ourselves.
Q – Will you release other cover albums like Voices From The Past ?
Syu : It’s true that it’s been a while since we didn’t record this kind of album. But that’s because we don’t really have enough free time for that. Currently, we’re focused on our new album and on touring, so it’s not really a priority for us. In general, when we decide to make a cover album, each one of us (and our producer as well) chooses a song that he likes and then we start to work on it.
Yuhki : We really like making these albums, and we’d really love to make another one. But at the moment we’re doing so many things that we can’t really afford to do so. These albums are really a chance for us to have fun, so we like to make them when we are more relaxed.
Q – What would you like to say to French people who do like Metal or do not like Metal, but do not know Galneryus yet ?
Syu (jokingly impersonating a countryman from Kansai (a region of Japan where the band comes from)) : What, there really are people who don’t Galneryus ?
Yuhki : In Galneryus, we do make Heavy Metal that you can headbang to, but we also happen to have catchy and Pop melodies, so even people who don’t listen to Metal can appreciate our music.
Q – Thanks a lot !
Band : Thank you !
I would like to thank all the staff of 33 Degrees who brought us Galneryus, and on top of being super nice people, gave me the opportunity to make this interview.
I would also like to thank the people who helped me prepare this interview : Axel (who is the friend in question in the interview, who gave me ideas for questions, as well as correcting the interview from Japanese), Dante (who also gave me question ideas), and my good friend William, who supported me when I was nervous before interviewing the band.
Lastly, I would to thank my friends and colleagues from Japan Addiction Music : Maxime, who invited me to take part of JAM, and Marc, who gave his all to give me the opportunity to realize my dream.
The report of the press conference (which contains a lot more questions) will arrive in a few days.