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Feb 18 2012

RAMPANT – Interview (2012)

RAMPANT
Interview by David Cirone
February 18, 2012

JRock247-RAMPANT-2011-600

As you were writing the songs for “Greedy Monster Wants All,” what goals did you have in mind? What new things did you want to try?

Hiroko: When writing a song, I’m not really thinking of anything. I just write what I’m feeling at that particular time. But I do like to try new things — it’s always on my mind. It isn’t just about doing something new, but how to take that new thing and make it my own. That’s the way our albums come together.

What’s the meaning of “QUATTRO”? And why did you choose to start the album with an instrumental track?

KA+U: “QUATTRO” symbolizes the four instrumentalists. In all honesty, I just wanted to do a track it with the four of us. Really that’s all there is. (laughs)

Hiroko, your performance in “Love Spell” amps up the sexy. The breathing, the tone, it’s pretty exciting and definitely that “something new” you were talking about. What was going on with you when you were writing it?

Hiroko: As far as Love Spell” goes, there’s… well, there were a lot of thoughts about that. Like how to use your breath. You’d get tired of it if I was just perving-out the whole time, so I wanted to figure out a way to make it sexy and still keep it rock. Instead of thinking of the A melody or B melody, I was thinking of lingerie. Really. It starts with white and pink lingerie, as if saying, “Come here, come here…” Then when I drop my tone, that’s when I’m imagining black lingerie with garters and a whip! I’m saying, “Now shut up!”

How long has RAMPANT been performing “New Born” live on stage? The band said earlier that it was a challenge to capture the song’s power in a studio recording. How did you get ready for that challenge? Do you feel any different about the CD version?

KA+U: We’ve performed that song live so many times, I can’t even count! When we finally decided to record it, the first thing on our minds was the challenge of capturing that sound digitally. When making a CD, making big changes in your sound is fine, but when it comes to a live show, how do you duplicate that sound in front of a live audience, while moving around, etc.? It’s nearly impossible. Just like with all of our other songs, we worked really hard to make sure what’s on the CD matches what you hear live.

What’s the inspiration for “Greedy Monster Wants All”?

Hiroko: I think everybody has another person living inside of them that is completely opposite to their outer self. Like the person you really want to become, someone who wants things and needs things more that you do now. Even though you hate this person, without this entity you wouldn’t be able to survive and it helps you work even harder than you normally would. That’s why the monster is your hidden self. Sometimes I really hate that “other” self, but instead of killing it, it’s going to stay with me as a rival forever, I think.

Why did you choose this song to be the new album’s title track?

Hiroko: KA+U wanted a really long name for the album title! (laughs)

It was a surprise to hear the final track “SILENCE – piano version”. It’s a really beautiful version of the hard rock song from “CHOICE OF LIFE.” Who came up with the idea?

KA+U: When compiling the album, the idea kept coming up. Everybody wanted to try it out and we made it happen. The arrangement took about 2 to 3 weeks, I think.

Hiroko: I really wanted to do a piano version. Especially a really simple one. I really want to do this live some day.

Hiroko’s blonde hair was another surprise.

Hiroko: When I had black hair, it wasn’t at all natural, so I made sure it was the blackest black. Then immediately afterwards I went blonde so everybody was shocked! Back in the day, I had it bright red and then black and then I think to myself, “What color do I want to dye it next?” If I’m going to do it, I might as well just go for it. I really like Cold Case’s Kathryn Morris — I love her hair color, white skin, and red lips. Really, it makes me want to go gold!

You guys are pretty active on Facebook and Twitter. You seem to be having a good time talking with your fans.

Hiroko: It’s fun! We can hear everyone’s feelings, and the comments aren’t just from our hometown, Osaka, but from the whole world where people know about RAMPANT. It makes it so real. My English isn’t really that great, and I’m still not good with technology, so I feel bad I don’t keep it up more. But I’ll keep trying!

KA+U: She’s right — it’s so much fun! Twitter is a place you can just say stuff, anything that you’re thinking. Facebook is cool, too, because you can post pictures of yourself as well as videos. On Facebook, especially, I get to talk with our overseas fans and get information that only you can get outside of Japan. I use it all the time. I can use English alright and I’ll keep communicating with the fans the best that I can.

In your current tour of Japan, of course you play songs from from “Greedy Monster Wants All,” but how do you decide which older songs to play? How do you stay in touch with the older material?

Hiroko: The more songs we record, the harder it is to choose a tracklist for our live shows. There are so many songs I want to do because they each have a story.

KA+U: I like that our set list keeps changing. I like it when songs get removed and then come back later. Because when they do come back, we’re a different band by then. So sometimes old songs get to be special again.

Please give a message to your American fans.

Hiroko: Thank you always for supporting RAMPANT! I want to see everyone as soon as possible to the point I’m itching for it. I want to have great time with all of us in the same room at our show!

KA+U: In the near future, we’ll all get together in the same place, and we’re going to do our best live show for you! Please continue to support us and we love you!

– Translation by Y. Yoshida