Dir En Grey are Japanese rock royalty. The band, which has built a rabid, worldwide fan base, recently embarked on their first North American tour since 2011. I recently down with Dir En Grey guitarists Kaoru and Die to find out exactly what US fans can expect this time around.
GUITAR WORLD: Could you talk about how Dir En Grey got together 16 years ago?
Kaoru: We were actually together in a band before Dir En Grey, except for our bass player, Toshiya. After being together in that band for a while, we were thinking of doing something else but ended up working together again. We met Toshiya at one of the events we played together. When he joined us, Dir En Grey was formed.
Sixteen years as a band is no small feat in today's music business. What has the journey taught you about life and yourselves?
Kaoru: We have met so many people along the way, and it is thanks to those who are so supportive of us that we have come this far. What I've learned is that the best thing to do is to just be yourself and definitely continue to do what you believe in. And just never give up.
Do you have any music-business advice for young musicians?
Die: Just expose yourself to many different types of music. Even if it's just doing copies of other artists, it will help you to mold your own musical identity.
Kaoru: You just have to create a lot of music, but go into your music production with freedom. Don’t restrict yourself. Just do what you want to do.
What can North American fans expect on this tour?
Die: We are trying to bring some elements of our Japanese stage set to North America. The fans can expect something they've never seen before from Dir En Grey here in America. It also has been two years since we last played here, so we are very excited about the shows.
How has Dir En Grey tried to evolve over the years?
Die: With every concert we play, with every song and album we make, we always try to challenge ourselves, and that is what has brought us to where we are today.
Kyo experienced some vocal damage in 2012. How did you guys cope and rise above it?
Kaoru: We don’t really look back on that as something that held us back in any way. We are always looking forward, and we took that time in our hiatus as a time for us to work on new material but at the same time just take a small break from the band.
What's next for Dir En Grey?
Die: After the American tour, we will be going back to Japan to start work on our new album. In March 2014, we will play our last show for the Dum Spiro Spero run at the Nippon Budokan, and surely there will be more to come from us!