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HEATH Interview [JRock Revolution 2008]

rafaelo · 2960

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Offline rafaelo

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on: January 22, 2012, 05:07:21 PM
JRR: Thank you for accepting Jrock Revolution’s interview request.

HEATH: Entirely my pleasure.

JRR: Congratulations also on the X JAPAN reunion.

HEATH: Thank you very much.

JRR: Before we start the interview, please let me explain that a lot of JRR's readers are more recent foreign Jrock fans and not all familiar with the people who've been around from the start. Most of them know X JAPAN as a band, and these fans don’t know so much about the individual members; this interview is to introduce you to everybody who reads our site. So please pardon us if we ask questions that most other fans and everybody in Japan know the answers to.

HEATH: Yes, that's fine.

JRR: Unlike the other X JAPAN members, you're from Kansai (Ed. Note: Western Japan, the region around Osaka) and not Kantou (Ed. Note: Eastern Japan, Greater Tokyo area). Is that right?

HEATH: Yes, I'm from Amagasaki, in Hyougo prefecture.

JRR: You originally started playing in the Kansai area, too?

HEATH: Yes. My first indies band was there, then moved to Tokyo later on.

JRR: That was PARANOIA?

HEATH: Yes.

JRR: You left that in 1988, then you were in Tokyo in 1990. What did you do in between?

HEATH: I played in another band with some friends, but that didn't last for very long—only until 1990. After that, I decided to go to Tokyo and did that in 1990.

JRR: What made you move from Osaka to Tokyo?

HEATH: At that time, Japan's rock scene basically was Kantou, and anyone who was anybody was in the Kansai region—those who were talented and popular and really wanted to make it big went to Tokyo. I wasn't in a band at that time, just on my own as bassist, but I thought that maybe in Tokyo I could find a chance to make it big for myself.

JRR: Also in 1990, you met X after the final concert of their ROSE & BLOOD tour at Nippon Budokan. How did that happen? Did someone introduce you?

HEATH: Yes. A friend of mine happened to be a friend of HIDE’s, as well; my friend said, “Since they have a live, want to go watch?” The live that he took me to was that one.

JRR: What was your first impression of them?

Heath: When I first saw them, it was at that live—what really impressed me was that the whole concert was like a story. It was very dramatic. During those three hours [of the concert], there was one story after another. Naturally there were points that were especially emphasized; however, because it was one long and ongoing story, it was very interesting. I remember that I felt that X would stay in my heart.

JRR: What were your impressions of the individual members?

HEATH: I was invited to the after-live party and met HIDE there, but there was an incredible number of people, so I don't really remember much [about the others].

JRR: How was HIDE at that time?

HEATH: He really was like a big brother then; he told me “Since you made it here, let me introduce you to everybody. Make sure they remember you.” and then he dragged me all over the place and introduced me to dozens of people as “HEATH from Osaka, yoroshiku.”

JRR: Incidentally, where does “HEATH” originally come from?

HEATH: That's from the band I was in before PARANOIA. The members of that band decided that we should get stage nicknames, so everybody did that. My usual nickname was “Hichan” and “HEATH” came from changes to that.

JRR: So it's a take off of your real first name?

HEATH: Yes, that's right. My first name is Hiroshi, and over time that changed [to HEATH].

JRR: Then “HEATH” stuck?

HEATH: It did.

JRR: To get back to the previous topic, did you join EXTASY [RECORDING] by HIDE's introduction then?

HEATH: I was never an official EXTASY artist...

JRR: But you've been in a number of EXTASY bands?

HEATH: That's true. What were those again... well, there was a number. But we never released anything through EXTASY. It was more along the lines of how they helped us with our tours and, in general, were very supportive.

JRR: But you were at the 1991 EXTASY SUMMIT—even if your band didn't perform?

HEATH: Yes, I remember carrying some flag around that. (Laughs.)

JRR: Rumor has it that when HIDE later invited you to play for X, you thought that was a joke.

HEATH: That really started with him asking, “You know what our current situation is, don't you?” When I said, “Yes, I do,” he then asked, “[We] want to record a bit, so could you help us out since we don't have a bass at the moment?” I replied with, “Sure, I can play for you.” Then he gave me a tape and told me to copy it. It had about five songs, if I remember correctly. So I copied that, then I went to the studio and played with [the band]. Almost immediately, after I got home, HIDE called me to say, “Seems that everybody likes you, so think about [joining X].” Something like that.

JRR: You went to New York after that. Was that related to X? Or was that something you did personally?

HEATH: That was for X—the press conference at the Rockefeller Center. It was my first press conference with X, as well.

JRR: If that's the reason why you went to New York, several rumors have the whole story very wrong.

HEATH: What rumors?

JRR: That you were approached about becoming X's bassist while you were in New York.

HEATH: No, that's wrong.

JRR: Thank you for clearing that up. Next is something that I've been curious about from your personal work is “DAYDREAM,” which appeared first on your debut mini album HEATH. It seems to have six different versions by now.

HEATH: Yes, I think it's six already...

JRR: It's numbered "006" on [your last solo album] DESERT RAIN.

HEATH: Ah, yes.
JRR: I can't find version 004 anywhere, though.

HEATH: You can't, no. Four is a bit strange... (Laughs.) When I was producing four—in fact, I was almost done with it—the data disappeared. Somehow, it got lost. The equipment that had the data was stolen. After that, I didn't work on it anymore.

JRR: Maybe again in the future?

HEATH: To do that, I'd have to redo everything. I'd have to record the sample again, then do the manufacturing and everything once more to see how well I could recreate four. If I wanted to release it.

JRR: Back to the released versions, I've only been able to listen to 001, 003 and 006. 002 and 005 are also a bit hard to find. To be honest, those don't sound like the same song to me at all.

HEATH: At the time of the change from 002 to 003, there were a lot of DJs in Japan, and new technology that made producing songs easier had become available in Japan, too. A friend of mine was one of those DJs. I did 003 with him following up on it, and it became a completely different work. Or, rather, I felt that the song had to become something different. The theme of “DAYDREAM” had to remain, which was something that I absolutely wanted to retain.

JRR: If it's so different, why did you keep the same name? That's a bit of a mystery to me.

HEATH: Well, “DAYDREAM”—creating it, singing it—it’s about looking at a light from a dark place. That kind of darkness is different for everybody; it's also different with age—the way a small child or an adult might feel darkness. The light itself that you look at from that place might change, as well. I think that all of those changes appear in “DAYDREAM.” That's what I want to express in that one [ever changing] song.

JRR: That's interesting. In an aside since you mentioned DJs: you're DJing yourself, as well?

HEATH: Yes, I've done that numerous times. For club events and such.

JRR: Unfortunately, you aren't performing much at clubs these days.

HEATH: Unfortunately not, no.

JRR: I saw you in LYNX at the Omotesando FAB (Ed. Note: A Tokyo livehouse) last summer. I think that was the last time you performed? (Ed. Note: Actually, the Omotesando FAB LYNX live gig wasn't the last; there was one more shortly after that, at Harajuku ASTRO HALL, but as I couldn't go to that, I guess that it slipped my mind. Obviously, it slipped HEATH's, as well.)

HEATH: That was the last time. I want to, though. (Laughs.)

JRR: Why don't you?

HEATH: In LYNX, everybody is doing other things, too. ISSAY has three other projects: DER ZIBET, [ISSAY meets] DOLLY and... one more, with a very odd name. I forgot what. But with all that, scheduling is a bit difficult. I'm doing things, too. But if we can manage, we're planning to do something [as LYNX] again. Please come to that, too, when we do.

JRR: Certainly; it would be our pleasure. However, if I can come back to “DAYDREAM” once more—that was a solo song in your BLUE NIGHT, WHITE NIGHT in ‘94, but what version of the song was that?

HEATH: That was the second, I think. Maybe the third. But around either of those two.

JRR: Normally, everybody thinks of you as “HEATH on bass,” but you’re actually also singing, aren't you? In your solo project and when you were vocals for BEET SWEET.

HEATH: It's not as if I hate to sing. In my solo work, where I write all the music and lyrics, I think I can best express what I want to say if I do the singing myself.

JRR: In DESERT RAIN, you also play all the instruments, correct? Bass, guitar, keyboard...

HEATH: Yes, everything but drums. For those, I used a recording.

JRR: How long did that take to produce?

HEATH: It was very quick. About a month and a half.

JRR: Are you planning to do another DESERT RAIN gig or different solo work?

HEATH: Well, I did DESERT RAIN—with that title—once before. I'd have liked to do it some more times in at least Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, but there wasn't time for that.

JRR: Do it from now on?

HEATH: I'd really like to. Not only in Japan.

JRR: If you would go overseas, where would you like to perform first?

HEATH: First, Germany.

JRR: Germany? Why is that?

HEATH: I have a friend in Germany. Someone I met once in Japan.

JRR: Come to think of it, a lot of the younger bands have been going to Germany lately.

HEATH: Oh, really?

JRR: Yes, a number of them. I think GAZETTE and several others, too. Jrock groups are relatively popular in Germany and France these days.

HEATH: Well, I want to go there, too.

JRR: Japanese rock, particularly visual kei, is getting more and more popular overseas. Given that that's something X JAPAN started, how does it make you feel to see that now?

HEATH: It's as if Japan[ese artists] have finally pushed open the door from their side to let their light shine outside, as well. Everyone has always said that “There are no borders to music,” but few [Japanese artists] have moved beyond the borders—and, of those who did, most didn't leave any impression. It seems that only now the time has come that Japanese rock moves beyond Japan's borders. Since we are in those times at this moment, I think that there are things we need to do, things that I really want to do from now on.

JRR: For example?

HEATH: First of all, a[n overseas] live. I want to do a live concert there.

JRR: A solo live or...?

HEATH: Anything, all, whatever. (Laughs.)

JRR: Everything then? Solo and X JAPAN and LYNX?

HEATH: It's gotten so that there are a lot of offers, and I'd really like to go those places where people are waiting. I want them to listen to our music, to watch us.

JRR: There are people waiting for you overseas for sure. In Europe, there is a fan generated “let's all write and collect letters to send to X to bring them to Europe” action going on.

HEATH: That's amazing to hear.

JRR: Back to yourself: are there any Japanese or foreign artists that you like, ones that you would say have influenced you? Led Zeppelin comes to mind since you did a cover of their “Rock and Roll.”

HEATH: Of foreign bands, I think the first I liked was Motley Crue. Then, maybe a bit different from most guys my age, I like Deep Purple. Also, groups like Rainbow and KISS. After that came Japanese bands in what was a bit of a Japan bands boom then, a boom of “Japan Metal.” That really excited me. X, naturally, is among the bands of that period. During the indies “Japan Metal” time. Much later, there were bands like Nine Inch Nails among the foreign groups that I like.

JRR: Is there any band in Japan right now that you'd like foreign fans to listen to?

HEATH: Yes, there is. (Points to a poster on the wall.)

JRR: THE UNDERNEATH. They are already performing in the USA.

HEATH: I think they are making really great music.

JRR: Have you been to their lives?

HEATH: Not yet, but I had a chance to listen to their master CD. I really think that it's great music.

JRR: THE UNDERNEATH is a very new group?

HEATH: They are new as THE UNDERNEATH, but all of those guys have already had long careers.

JRR: Back to your own music: something else you did was Dope HEADz, with PATA and INA [from SPREAD BEAVER]. Nothing is happening with that, but there hasn't been any break up announcement, either.

HEATH: No, we didn't disband. We’ve suspended activities with that, so maybe one day, if we have the chance again, we might do something again with that.

JRR: We asked PATA about that, when talking to him, and he said something like that, too. So how about you really do it?

HEATH: (Laughs.) Okay; we'll see.

JRR: What you will be doing next is Tokyo Dome. Tokyo Dome is actually where you played your first live as member of X JAPAN, isn't it?

HEATH: It is.

JRR: What did that feel like, your first music major league live at Tokyo Dome? Instead of the usual way, moving from livehouses to increasingly larger venues, moving up immediately to Tokyo Dome.

HEATH: Actually, what I thought then while on the stage was that it wasn't really different. Whether it's playing in a livehouse or Tokyo Dome, what you do doesn't change. Whether it's fifty people or fifty thousand people, you've got to do your best in any place. Regardless of the numbers, you should always try for 120% perfection. So there isn't any feeling of tremendous pressure in my memory for that. On the other hand, what impressed me that night was the fans’ reaction—how they welcomed us, the intensity of that. But that wasn't pressure; that was a pleasure, to realize that people wanted X so much, had waited so long. The overwhelming screaming and cheering when we came out.

JRR: How do you think the upcoming lives will be?

HEATH: I'd like to know that, too. At this moment, it's not something I can imagine yet. Also, I think that even if I would try to imagine it, the actual nights will probably go beyond anything that I could imagine. Ten years is ten years, after all, and while I think that many of our old fans will be there, there'll also be a lot of new ones. Sometimes in my [fan] mail—the youngest fan I've ever gotten mail from was an elementary school student—I get messages that say things like, “I've only known X after the break up. The only way I've seen you perform is on screen and never in reality. I'm looking forward so much to seeing you now.”

JRR: I look forward to seeing that again, too.

JRR: During those ten years, you've still been in contact with PATA.

HEATH: Yes, we meet occasionally.

JRR: How was it to meet YOSHIKI and TOSHI again after ten years?

HEATH: It didn't feel like ten years. Well, first YOSHIKI, PATA, and I met, but [with YOSHIKI] that really didn't feel like meeting again after ten years; it was more like “long time, no see.” Then I met TOSHI in the recording studio, and that was like, “You doing okay?” Almost like there hadn't been that ten year gap at all—the old connections were right there again, without any awkwardness.

JRR: Talking about old times, are there any of the old songs that you really want to play during the lives?

HEATH: If I had to choose only one… “WEEK END.”

JRR: Why that one?

HEATH: There are some memories connected to that. That is… While playing bass, I never really sang chorus. For “WEEK END,” they said, “Come on, do it.” Then TOSHI gave me some special coaching for that, and then—without instruments—TOSHI, HIDE, and I practiced the chorus together. I really loved how it came together into harmony during our practices.

JRR: That would be fun to see again. Incidentally, something different that was fun to see was your Myspace profile until that suddenly disappeared. What happened to that?

HEATH: That actually wasn't me.

JRR: That wasn't you? It did say “HEATH PROJECT”...

HEATH: No, someone else did that without asking me. I even told people it wasn’t me when they said, “Oh, you made a Myspace profile, didn't you?” But they kept telling me that it was there, so I checked. And yes, it was there. But someone actually did that without asking.

JRR: Have you thought about making one? Even PATA has one now, TOSHI made one last year, and YOSHIKI has had his for forever. So only you are missing.

HEATH: (Laughs.) Let me think about it? Everybody keeps telling me that I should, but...

JRR: Your foreign fans want you to for sure. And it's a very fast way to communicate.

HEATH: At the moment, I don't have any idea yet what Myspace is all about. Even though it's been explained to me, I haven't really yet figured out how it works. When and if I do, and if I come to think that it might be fun, I might do it. But for the moment, I still have too many unanswered questions.

JRR: Such as?

HEATH: They’re not technical questions. They’re more basic—like, what is Myspace? What's it good for, what can you do with it? I haven't figured that out yet.

JRR: For artists, it's something of a promotional tool, to announce events or music releases. Also, it’s a way to directly communicate with fans.

HEATH: Do you know [Japanese social networking site] MIXI? It took me some time to figure that one out, too.

JRR: Do you use MIXI?

HEATH: I did for a bit, but I stopped.

JRR: Since you are checking things online, did you look at the Jrock Revolution site?

HEATH: I did, yes.

JRR: What is your impression of it?

HEATH: I thought that it was well done. (Laughs.) Well, I didn't look at all of the pages, but things like the interviews, information about bands, you can get all that very easily in Japan. But, even now, it's almost always only on paper. So seeing all that online on Jrock Revolution made me think that it's a very exciting site.

JRR: Thank you very much. That's a wonderful compliment. And when you do something overseas, may we feature that, too?

HEATH: Naturally.

JRR: So what are your next plans then?

HEATH: At this point, first of all, X. Someway, somehow.

JRR: Someway, somehow? In what form?

HEATH: I want to do something that goes beyond all expectations with X. And I still want to do things solo and with LYNX.

JRR: That's a problem of time [scheduling]?

HEATH: No, time [not having any]'s the problem. (Laughs.)

JRR: Is that so? (Laughs.) Even with that, may we look forward to more things from you?

HEATH: Please do.

JRR: We'll take you up on that. And to come to an end for today, may we ask you for a message to your overseas fans and to the readers of Jrock Revolution?

HEATH: Hello everybody on Jrock Revolution, this is HEATH. How are you? This was my first interview [with Jrock Revolution], but I think maybe you'll learn a little more about me from it. From now on, I'd like to deliver some great music—not only to Japan, but to everywhere—so please keep an eye out for it. This was a hello from HEATH.

JRR: Thank you very much.

credit is thank you my friend  Morphine



Offline AsukaMiyu

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Reply #1 on: January 24, 2012, 01:33:35 PM
Ah, that interview was actually directed by Panthere Noire, a former X-Freaks member.
Old times... XD

...When the morning begins
I'll be in the next chapter...


Offline Feudal

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Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 05:06:09 PM
Whatever happened to Panthere Noire? I remember her well when I signed up on these forums in 2007. She knew a LOT about X Japan and always shared some cool info then one day I noticed she was gone and all of her posts were gone as well.



Offline Matthias

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Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 05:33:59 PM
Remember a lot of internetdrama going on during that time.

Thanks for posting the interview.



Offline myuu

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Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 11:29:44 PM
aww i remember back too.. good times.. haha :D although we had a lot of drama here, we had great moments as well :)

JRR: Talking about old times, are there any of the old songs that you really want to play during the lives?

HEATH: If I had to choose only one… “WEEK END.”

f*cking play it again! i miss that song so much :(



Offline Feudal

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Reply #5 on: January 25, 2012, 11:13:12 AM
aww i remember back too.. good times.. haha :D although we had a lot of drama here, we had great moments as well :)

JRR: Talking about old times, are there any of the old songs that you really want to play during the lives?

HEATH: If I had to choose only one… “WEEK END.”

f*cking play it again! i miss that song so much :(

Yes! I miss Weekend a lot too :( I think that was the best line of the entire interview. Perhaps Yoshiki will throw in Dahlia or Weekend in the rotation for 2012 world tour...he better. He will lose a lot of credibility if they run with the same set list as 2010/2011. I was shocked that they used the setlist from N.A Tour for Europe, South America, and Asia. People in Japan would not put up with that kind of a set list, I guarantee it. In a sense, I can understand that it was a good mix of songs to introduce new audiences to...they played a lot of big hits which was nice. Rusty Nail and then Silent Jealousy..damn that was awesome.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 11:14:43 AM by Feudal »



Offline XVikyX

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Reply #6 on: January 25, 2012, 02:15:46 PM
Nice interview, thanx :)
I miss Weekend, too! Studio version of it is kinda good, but it cannot be compared with live performance *_* Any concert version of Weekend is just amazing and extremely energetic.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. (c)


Offline Kasumi

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Reply #7 on: January 17, 2019, 12:37:06 PM

JRR: Talking about old times, are there any of the old songs that you really want to play during the lives?

HEATH: If I had to choose only one… “WEEK END.”

f*cking play it again! i miss that song so much :(
Awww I never read this long interview up to this point. XD Heath has good taste. I like Weekend a lot too. :D

While I'm away, read this line again...