MASCHERA, who has recently participated in a number of omnibus albums, is about to release their much anticipated album on December 5th. In this issue, we focus on vocalist MICHI, who is proud of his strong presence and singing ability, and attempt to pull back the veil of mystery that surrounds him. And when we do, masks unexpectedly fly off one by one!? Now, we’re going to find out what his secret thoughts are…
-When I saw your recent shows, I felt as if something had suddenly disappeared from your mind. Is there something that has changed in you?
MICHI: I felt like I was able to calmly look at myself as I see myself and as others see me… I had been chasing only ideals, but I thought it would be more comfortable to let things develop naturally. It seems like the fans are somewhat intimidated by us. I wanted to encourage more communication between us.
-In the past, there was hardly any MCs, and when I saw MASCHERA live, I tended to be a bit reserved, but these days, I don’t have to be so uptight, and I can open my mouth and laugh when they’re making jokes.
MICHI : (lol) Please laugh all you want.
-You’ re not a comedy band by any means.
MICHI : (lol) Yeah, but we can be.
-In the past, you had a mysterious, slightly devilish presence that couldn’t be approached easily, and I think that was very attractive.
MICHI: There are pros and cons to that. Some say that my previous, unapproachable style is more like me, while others say that my current style is easier to connect with… But the choice is not set in stone, so I think I’ll just do what I want, naturally.
-In the beginning, you said that you were able to look at yourself in a different light, how did that come about?
MICHI: As the number of people who are involved with us has increased, I’ve been able to hear many different opinions. I realized that there is much more to me than I thought. That’s when I realized that I don’t have to give an answer right now.
-What do you think is the difference between the “MICHI” on stage and the “YOSHIDA MICHIMORI” in everyday life?
MICHI: I’ve always wanted to stand out since I was little, but I didn’t have the space or the courage to show it… I felt embarrassed. There are girls in my class who are heroes. I longed to be like them. But I couldn’t do that in this scene. But I couldn’t get rid of my desire to be one. That’s why I dared to wear clothes and makeup that I wouldn’t normally wear. When I stood on stage for the first time, I felt as if I had been reborn, that I was not ashamed of anything, that I was not afraid. I was hooked from there.
-When you were in school, were you an introverted boy?
MICHI: It’s not that I was introverted. But I never tried to make friends on my own.
-In the classroom, there are always cliques. There’s a central group and a quiet group.
MICHI: I didn’t have any close friends, so I didn’t belong to any one group. We just talked to each other in a casual way.
-You’re a laid-back type.
MICHI: I was a loner. But I got along well with the delinquent kids, so I was able to live peacefully (lol).
-So your attitude of consideration for others was formed around that time.
MICHI: I guess so (lol). I’ve always been asked for advice, but I don’t take sides. Everyone is my friend.
-In terms of countries, you’re like Switzerland (a permanent neutral country).
MICHI: I’m not that beautiful (lol), but I’ve always been neutral.
-That kind of desire that you’ve had since you were a child is what makes you “MICHI” on stage, isn’t it?
MICHI: It’s not that I’m conscious of using different styles, but I think it’s clear that I’m different on stage than I normally am.
-The moment you start applying makeup, the channel switches to MICHI from MASCHERA.
MICHI: Along with my appearance, I can see my mental state transforming into a shape. I see this vision in my head and make my own image in the mirror. I’m just doing what I want to do, but I can’t get enough of the feeling of satisfaction I get after a performance, and more importantly, it gets my blood pumping.
-By the way, what are you interested in these days?
MICHI: Racing games. I’ve always been a game fanatic (lol). I like the thrill and the sensation of speed.
-Are you the type that gets worked up?
MICHI: It’s exciting. I need stimulation. I have bungee jumped four times in a day. I’m always looking for thrills.
-Also, I heard that you like to read the dictionary.
MICHI: I always carry one with me. When I see kanji, I feel calm. I look at the kanji and wonder what kind of person put them together. I imagine what people were thinking when they saw the kanji, and I interpret them on my own.
-That’s why there are so many kanji characters in the lyrics, isn’t it?
MICHI: I definitely check for emotional kanji. I use them in different ways depending on how I want to express myself. For example, when I want to say something in a roundabout way, I open the drawer in my head a little.
-Your lyrics use a lot of cryptic phrases, don’t they? So until I met you, I imagined you to be a difficult person (lol).
MICHI : (lol) People often say that I’m hard to approach until they talk to me, but once I talk to them, I’m easy to approach.
-What is the image of MASCHERA from your point of view?
MICHI: In the beginning we weren’t a simple band, but I think we were a deep band.
-That’s a kind of strength, but it’s also a weakness when you think about the process of seeing you live, isn’t it?
MICHI : Recently, we’ve participated in omnibus albums such as “THE END OF THE CENTURY ROCKERS”, and more and more people are listening to our music, and recently we’ve been getting new fans at our shows. When I look at the questionnaires, there are a lot of people who say, “It was totally different from what I imagined,” or “I’ve wanted to see you live for a long time”. I think that if you see us live once, you will be left with a lasting impression in a good way. I’d like you to see the show as if you were just coming for fun.
-I think you should see them live first before you make a judgment.
MICHI: I wouldn’t force you to go that far (lol). Whether it’s a band or a relationship, if you don’t meet someone, there’s no future, so you shouldn’t waste it.
-That’s exactly right. By the way, you guys are in the middle of recording an album that will be released in December, right?
MICHI: Yes, that’s right, exactly. “This is the future of MASCHERA!” So please wait for it with anticipation.
-How do you think the next album will be received?
MICHI: This time, it’s more like a beginner’s guide to MASCHERA… It’s not too different from the core, and it’s a compilation of the best of the best from the pop side to the heavy rock side. I think it’s perfect for people who haven’t heard of MASCHERA yet.
-Of course, I’m sure the fans who have been coming to your shows will enjoy it as well.
MICHI: That’s right. It’s the first time we’ve done it this way, so I’m looking forward to releasing it, and I’m also looking forward to the reactions we’ll get. I want to hear a lot of responses, so I hope more people will listen to it.
-It has been two years since the release of your first album “Akutoku no sakae”, and now, two years later, it’s a new start line, a fresh start.
MICHI: Yes, this is the moment when everyone can come to know MASCHERA.
-What are you planning to do in the future, or do you have any plans?
MICHI: I want to challenge myself in many ways, both musically and visually. I want to play more (lol). I have no idea what I’ll do depending on my mood that day, and I want to go on stage at my best.
-What events do you have planned for MASCHERA in the future?
MICHI: On November 3, we’re going to hold a free show at the Rokumeikan to distribute an SCD containing unreleased songs. It’s a very rare recording that we don’t perform live often, so I think it will be valuable. After that, we are doing a one-man show at Shibuya ON AIR WEST on December 3 to celebrate the release of our new album on December 5. There will also be a special making-of video as a gift.
-This is the second time you’ve played together at WEST, the first time being at the event to celebrate the release of “THE_END~”.
MICHI: The event was short, but I thought it suited us very well. The scenery was great, too. All four members are excited to be able to perform here again, and as a one-man performance (laughs).
-Could it be that we’ll see a completely different “MASCHERA” in November and December?
MICHI: That may be the case. Please come and see us.
-So, do you have a final message for us?
MICHI: Please feel free to talk to me at any time, even at a show. I’m sure you’ll understand the kind of person I am.