Here is the message that Scarlet Valse’s vocalist, Kakeru, wants to convey to the world as a vocalist. It’ll come in three parts. In the first one, he talks with passion about “being a musician”.
Since you strongly want to convey your feelings as a musician, we’ve created this opportunity.
Kakeru: Thank you. Since the coronavirus crisis started, we, musicians, have to make various choices, and each of us comes up with various answers and try to deal with it.
Scarlet Valse tried some stuff, based on this thought and this will: “Is there nothing we can do due to the coronavirus outbreak?”. It’s the same for all musicians. First of all, I want to say “Since we’re musicians, we won’t stop our musical activities even if there’s the coronavirus outbreak, we won’t quit”.
These days, there are many people who talk about the fact of carrying musical activities. But as musicians, we chose to live on music, as a profession. So I want to say that we can’t lose to the world’s opinion and I hope our musician friends won’t either.
There are some people close to you who quitted their musical activities due to the coronavirus crisis…
Kakeru: Some people temporarily paused, some quitted too. There are also some people who are gossiping without understanding well the current situation we’re in, such as politicians, mass media or people in general. But I’m sure they’ve been encouraged by some music they really like. I think that everyone who is living in this current situation, and who used to like bands or idols, is kept alive by music in a way. I actually feel it! As expected, the strength of music is to give some relief to people’s anxiety. That’s why I think “we mustn’t stop our musical activities”.
Maybe the peace of mind and the strength that Scarlet Valse’s music can provide is small. But through this interview, I want to tell you that through Scarlet Valse’s music and behaviour, we want to convey the idea of “not losing”.
You’re personally delivering stuff in various ways.
Kakeru: Whether it is what I’m used to doing or what I’m still fumbling around for, I’m continuing to deliver music through Scarlet Valse, of course, but also through my personal activities. Even now, there are many people who would like to go to lives but can’t due to various reasons. Musicians can give some encouragement to these people by their other ways, even if they can’t meet. If some people can feel the relief of staying connected with us by chatting via a broadcast, even if it’s not a concert, then I want to do it.
For the last few years, you’ve been doing Twitcast without interruption, is it also a way to keep in touch with your fans?
Kakeru: Yes. At first, I just wanted to make us known, but since we started our 47 prefectures tour more particularly, I wanted to feel connected with the people who came to see us for the first time and liked us. So I ended up wanting to continue to feel that link between each of us, just by “talking”. When the state of emergency was declared last year, I felt once again how it is important to stay “connected”. I continued to provide online contents with the atmosphere of “intimacy in an izakaya”.
What do you mean by “intimacy in an izakaya”?
Kakeru: I’m used to playing the guitar to compose since long. After passing through the curtain of that place called TwitCasting, you can see Kakeru holding an acoustic guitar and singing various songs there. Sometimes I meet the requests and talk about several topics. I weaved such a place and that how are my broadcasts now. Honestly, I’m still practicing the acoustic guitar, so sometimes I make some mistakes. But since I’m showing my real self and doing my best, I hope that everyone will work hard too. Thanks to all that, I’m having TwitCastings for over 1200 days.
You didn’t want to stop your activities no matter what.
Kakeru: We exist as musicians, so if we stop, we’re no longer musicians. So it’s natural to continue rather than stopping. Even if we don’t perform on stage.
When they declared the state of emergency last year, it reminded me of the concerts situation at the time of the Great East Japan earthquake [TN: in 2011]. At that time, the stores had to refrain from staying open, and the musicians cancelled their shows one after another. Of course, even under such circumstances, there were live houses that didn’t stop their activities. Weren’t there some places that were doing their business while reducing to the utmost their electric power consumption, due to the electric power issues? And just like now, in such a situation where distress dominates, there were people who were searching for help in music. At that time, I became aware that if I could provide just a place to perform, I could sing for “people who want to get rid of their anxiety”, even in a small faint light and with a natural sound without amps. I think that I had the right way of thinking back then. That feeling is back now, and it led us to think “we can’t stop our music activities no matter what”, “It’s okay if we can’t perform now. We should just do what we can under such circumstances.”
Living as an artist is all about “Well, what can I do?”
Kakeru: Yes. For sure, we’ve also experienced situations when he had to shrink our activities for financial reasons, or because we weren’t attracting enough fans, so we understand that situation. But our goal is not money. Music is what keeps us alive. What happens if a musician stops making music? We’re musicians, but it’s fine even if we don’t make music. If people are pleased with the way we carry our activities, isn’t that rock anyway? That’s why I’m doing TwitCastings day after day, showing my face and asking people “I’m fine, how are you doing?”
In this second part, he talks about “the current concert situation in which Scarlet Valse is”.
After the state of emergency was lifted last year, Scarlet Valse quickly resumed their gigs in live houses, right?
Kakeru: When we saw that it was becoming okay to perform at live houses with an audience, Scarlet Valse thought “We’ll have a live right away”, no matter what would be the conditions, As Kakeru JAPAN (my own session band), I immediately started to move forward.
Even now, the environment is not the same as before the coronavirus outbreak, and it’s difficult to perform, isn’t it?
Kakeru: Right. We still haven’t reached the point of being able to tour every region of the country and have around ten gigs per month, like before. For the concerts scheduled for this year’s February, I’ll perform four times as Scarlet Valse and once for Kakeru JAPAN. But from March onward, Scarlet Valse will perform around 7-8 times a month, so we will return to the same pace as before the outbreak. Of course, since we had to stop it last year, I want to resume the “47 prefectures tour”. As a preliminary step, we will actively go to the countryside. From April, we are going to as many places as possible for our C/W TOUR [TN: C/W stands for “coupled with”] with NETH PRIERE CAIN, who belongs to Nagoya’s label Double River Record. (As of February 8th, 2021)
To be honest, I’m prepared to face difficulties in terms of earnings, since there are still restrictions all over the country regarding the number of people that can enter live houses. “Our profession is to be musicians” so it’s important to earn enough to simply live. But aren’t feelings our priority after all? So even if there are only one or two people somewhere saying “I want to see a gig of Scarlet Valse”, we want to do our best to go there. Especially if the people we met in several places through our “47 prefectures tour” are pleased and think “Scarlet Valse is a band that comes to see us”. Going to the 47 prefectures is currently difficult due to the circumstances, but we plan to go to as many places as possible.
Scarlet Valse is going back to normal activities this year.
Kakeru: Yes, as much as possible. But with the state of emergency that has been declared at the beginning of this year again, the live houses can be opened until 20:00 only, and it also depends on how it moves in the world, so we might have to take some other measures too. That’s why we do announcements at the last moment, and even so there are many sudden changes. But we want to restore the concerts environment as much as possible, that’s why we’ll stay active. We’ll continue to believe in it.
The most important is not to stop your activities.
Kakeru: It is. But not everyone can come to the concerts. But if it’s songs release, then everyone can enjoy it. Since last year, Scarlet Valse released stuff mainly in the form of mail order instead of store distribution, but we continued producing music constantly. Moreover, the new way to distribute music, that weapon called “broadcast”, has increased. The important thing is how to effectively use all that!
TwitCasting, digital songs, online lives, uploading videos of concerts you recently performed, these might be something common now. But if there are people who feel relieved that you continue to post contents, for sure it means that these people find some little enjoyment in their daily lives, right?
Kakeru: After all, I don’t want to make people feel lonely. Right now, the number of events is decreasing, so I understand that live activities are slowing down. But if we don’t continue to have broadcasts, we won’t even be able to speak to our fans. If we move forward, they’ll be inspired by us and move forward too. The label we belong to, Starwave Records, think like us. If they make some proactive propositions, they also listen to the opinions of our band and put them into practice. If both parties don’t share their thoughts, nothing will move. I think it’s time for the musicians to challenge themselves.
In the third part, he conveys his thoughts about “Scarlet Valse’s future” to the people currently doing their best.
At the moment, Scarlet Valse upload a “24h-limited live video” every Friday at 20:00. You’re trying several other things, aren’t you?
Kakeru: Yes. Regarding the “24h-limited live video”, the one-man concert originally scheduled had to be cancelled due to the declaration of the state of emergency. But there were many people who were looking forward to it and wanted to see us. Since the staff of the venue had taken proper measures against the spread of the infection and were ready for the concert, we performed not in the form of a live streaming, but we recorded the concert held with no audience and aired it for free on a regular basis for all the people who were looking for it.
I started to think that this method would be a new way of communication to be connected to various people. Scarlet Valse will continue to take on new challenges while keeping with the time changing.
You said it many times, but you “can’t stop”.
Kakeru: Indeed. Neither Scarlet Valse nor I intend to stop. It’s unthinkable for a musician to stop his musical activities. I can’t imagine expressing myself without music. Above all, I want to stay a musician. If I drop this title, then I’m no longer myself…
You, as Kakeru, are also trying to search what you can do under such a situation, and you’re continuing to practice.
Kakeru: Yes. Of course, I know that some live houses are still in trouble. Personally, Kashiwa’s live house totally helped me, so I wonder what I could do for them… Thinking about that, I planned an event there with my solo project. It’s not much, but I hope I’m helping bands and businesses with this stimulation.
For the online concerts, I share with the staff of various live houses I’m indebted to and with our bandmen friends a private URL so that they can watch the gig too. Every time they tell us “You gave me motivation” after watching it, it gives us energy too. In our case, we have some free streamings, as we mentioned at the beginning, and also some paid broadcasts. So that people don’t feel lonely when we don’t have concerts or when they can’t come, we plan to put all our strength into broadcasts so that the people who watch us get some encouragement.
The「Starwave Fest Vol.23～event for the label’s 11th anniversary～」to be held on February 18th will be a concert with audience, but will also be broadcasted, won’t it?
Kakeru: Since the “Starwave Fest” has never been broadcasted, 70. from XANVALA and I asked the representative and we got that this time it’ll also be broadcasted. Moreover, we decided to choose Takadanobaba CLUB PHASE because it’s a place with a good streaming system. Even though it’s a paid broadcast this time, since it’s a festival, it’ll be a great way for all bands to make them more known.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Scarlet Valse will go on in the future.
Kakeru: Now, I’m strongly thinking about not continuing our “47 prefectures tour” that we stopped last year due to the coronavirus crisis, but to redo it from the beginning. In addition, we’ll make real our one-man at TSUTAYA O-WEST that we had to cancel too. We can’t announce a concrete schedule yet for both of them, but I hope that we’ll be able to make a happy announcement to everyone in a little while.
However, the safety and the peace of mind of our audience must be our priority. It’s the same for live houses. It’s difficult to coordinate everything, because we need to take everything into consideration, we don’t know how the situation will change, it depends on how the world moves, so at the moment it’s difficult to make you a promise. Anyway, Scarlet Valse will continue to challenge themselves to make everyone “live with energy”. And I also want to bring smiles to my fellow band members and to the staff working with us. If we can do it someday, I’d also like to casually talk with all our fans while going on a trip to Hakone’s hot springs. I still don’t know how soon it’ll be, but when circumstances will allow it, I’ll immediately get in touch with you all (laughs).
About Scarlet Valse
Scarlet Valse is a visual kei symphonic power metal band from Japan. Their heavy but uplifting sound features fast-tempo beats, powerful and fast guitar solos, and melodic arrangements with encouraging or romantic lyrics. Carrying a strong sense of elegance, the members pull off impressive looks. The energetic songs and their wild stage presence make their concerts an exciting experience!
Apple Music: https://apple.co/36MICbl
Kakeru – Vocal
You. – Guitar
Rin – Guitar
Shian – Bass
Yo-hey – Drums
Label: Starwave Records