The Air Moon Ch. 5: Moon Child, Part 1

I wasn’t going to update this until around Thanksgiving, but since Chapter 5 is about MOON CHILD and October is the season for vampires, I figured it would be most appropriate to do this now. While it is a relatively short chapter at just 18 pages, I don’t have time to do it all at once, so I’m splitting it in two. Hirose split the chapter into three, but the second portion is just two pages. This first part consists of an extensive post-tour interview with Gackt.

New readers may want to go to the Table of Contents to start from the beginning of the book. Or not. It’s cool.

Happy Halloween y’all~ 🍁👻🎃🍂

Completing Kagen no Tsuki (Unpublished Interview)

“Thank you very much for all your hard work.”

Three nights after exchanging these words and a firm handshake with Gackt, Chief Editor Hirota1 and I went to meet him once again to do an interview about the just-finished Kagen no Tsuki tour.

This interview was done in the gaps of Gackt’s busy TV filming schedule. Even though he clearly looked as if his strength were leaving his body, his eyes seemed to be focusing on the future of the steadily progressing “MOON PROJECT.” The movie release and the Jōgen no Tsuki tour would be coming up in 2003. The end of the MOON PROJECT was yet to come.

—You worked very hard on this tour! Let’s begin with your thoughts on the Yokohama Arena show.
This is something I always think after finishing a show in Yokohama Arena, actually. “Wonder if I’ll be able to put on such a moving concert ever again?” I always think about that. While I’m singing I’m concentrating too hard on performing to be moved, but once it’s over, it’s like, “Wow, I did something incredible…”

—After the show, it seemed as if you hadn’t lost your memory as badly as you did after the end of Requiem et Réminiscence ~Chinkon to Saisei~, but what condition were you truly in?
I thought I was okay, but afterward there was a party with all the people involved with putting on the tour, and on my way to the next party after that, I collapsed in the car. When I came to, it was 3:30 in the morning. But, well, it’s no big deal. I do have some memories from when I was actually performing. I remember a lot of the talk portion.

—Like when you were calling out the audience’s seat numbers?
Yeah, like that. Hm, what else did I talk about? Oh, that’s right, I talked about the staff member who got married. Other than that, I don’t know. I remember the first half of the performance but…only up to “Lu:na.” *Laughs*

—How did you feel the morning of the Yokohama Arena show?
I hadn’t slept. Not even a wink. But my physical condition wasn’t bad. I’m always sleep deprived anyway, so it’s not like it makes a difference. That’s totally fine. I feel like we were able to make the best use of our rehearsal. The dancers can handle themselves; they’ve got YOSH to manage them, right? Their preparations were excellent. With each performance, they all learned what they had to watch out for, so in that sense, I could trust them to take care of that. What’s important is being able to grasp the vision of the show. If you can’t see that vision, it doesn’t matter how many times you do it, it’ll always be the same. Rather than rehearsing over and over countless times, it’s more important to check before the show if everyone gets the vision.

—You weren’t able to rehearse “Jūni-gatsu no Love Song” strung up on the wire until the day of, correct?
Yeah, because this time we had to set up the day of, so that was the only time we could do it. Everyone was dead. I think they started setting up at two in the morning. I’m confident, or rather, I think that I can do it, so the real question is whether or not the staff thinks I can do it. That’s partly why we have rehearsals.

—How did you feel once it was showtime?
I think it was like, “Wow, made it this far, huh?” Everyone’s bodies held out, including mine. I think everyone did a great job following along on a psychological level too. I was full of gratitude.

—Is there something unique to the power you feel onstage at Yokohama Arena?
The way it comes across is completely different. Even if all of us are performing with the mentality that each show is the last one, I think the audience is looking at it like “This is the nth show of the tour.” Of course, there are some people who are aware of a show as the last one, if that’s the only one they can go to. But since everyone knows Yokohama Arena is the absolutely final show before the tour even begins, and various emotions accumulate within the venue, I think maybe there are tons of people who can’t stop crying, or can’t stop shaking, before the show starts. The instant the show starts, all that sweeps over the stage like water bursting from a broken dam. We have to face that, face it and return it, right? But once the show starts, in that instant, the water rushing forward comes to a silent standstill.

—Like with “death wish” and others.
Hm, I wonder. At the climax, I think there’s something overwhelming. I think there’s something I can’t even understand. When I take all the energy that’s been collecting onstage and throw it back at the audience, in that instant, it’s like everything goes blank.

—So you don’t remember the second half at all?
It’s not like that, I do remember some parts. Like “Soleil,” I remember that, and some other things.

—Could it be that all those reindeer and swans and Santas popping up behind you made you come to?
Oh yeah. *Laughs* I remember things from halfway on. Or rather, it’s been coming back to me.

—Have you seen the video from that day?
Not yet.

—How was the members’ power? I thought their show of strength at Yokohama Arena was a great collection of all their efforts.
I think everyone was balanced after all. I think they were brimming with confidence, so while this wasn’t a walk in the park, they weren’t frantic either. The awareness that this was the end made them move as if wielding an extremely sharp blade with no unnecessary movements. I mean, they weren’t just swinging around at everything. Or should I say, it was so complete that they were like samurai moving in accordance with a scenario. I felt a lot of power at my back. It was tremendous, and kind I guess I’d call it. It wasn’t an irritated force.

—I see. When I saw the video, Ryu had this hardcore look on his face that gave off tons of fighting spirit.
He always has that hardcore face. *Laughs*

—Now that it’s over, do you feel a sense of accomplishment?
No, the feeling of exhaustion is greater. I feel like a gaping hole opened up. It’s like, I’ll completely recover from the pain in my body and the fatigue in time for the next live show, but it’s as if my natural ability to heal doesn’t work… I’m in so much pain I wonder, “Have I always ended up so completely worn-out?” It really hurts. Can you tell? Look at this. *Sticks leg out*

—Whoa, that’s really swollen.
No matter how much I massage them, they won’t go down. I think up till now I’ve been able to make it so that my body doesn’t turn mental matters into physical pain, but the moment I was done with Yokohama Arena, all that came undone. When I woke up on the 25th, I didn’t feel much pain, but I couldn’t get up. It was like I was still asleep, I couldn’t stand up. I moaned, like “Uurgh! Help me!”

—You lost consciousness after the show. How did you feel when you were recovering in your dressing room?
I wasn’t in pain, but I didn’t know what was going on, I wasn’t all there. Since I drank alcohol afterwards in that condition…who knows?

—Please tell me your thoughts looking back on the tour overall.
What I kept thinking throughout the entire tour was “Wonder how many more times I can really do this.” I wanted more people to see it. Besides, this time, I wanted my family to see it, which was an unusual thought for me. Normally I wouldn’t think that. I felt that if this were the end, “I want them to remember.” Of course, I wasn’t thinking that I’d quit at this point, but for some reason, I had this thought in my mind from the beginning, “This might be the end.” I don’t really get it, but… I’m not doing a show that’s so easy to put on that I can simply say “You’re doing it again next year, you know!” After all, this time we started at a level of completion that was already exceptionally high. To look at it from the opposite angle, you could say that maybe I had the leeway to worry about things like that. Also, this time we fought a lot. I was careful to do it so other people couldn’t see it though. There were fights when we were having drinks, fights during rehearsals—or rather, I would get mad. I feel like I was angry a lot. It may seem like a small detail, but when I get into a venue I go and see what our performance looks like from the audience’s perspective, right? During dinner I asked the others, “Do you go around the venue,” and they said they didn’t.

—Yeah, that was during dinner in Hiroshima.
When did you get to be so awesome, huh? Now you can go onstage just like that without preparing yourself? Where in the world do you find someone who’s that good? That sort of thing may be a small detail, but it’s terribly important. Without that, you gradually become arrogant.

—Plus, you’ve been saying that since the time of “MARS ~Sora Kara no Hōmonsha~.”
That hasn’t changed all this time. I’ve always said, don’t forget, don’t let it go to your head. Even if we were able to perform perfectly, there are tons of tiny details we must not forget about. It’s naive to think we could leave those things out then go onstage and deliver. Of course, everyone understood me, including the staff. Because I got mad at them too, right? “If you don’t understand what I’m saying then quit!” Even a monkey can do what it’s told, so I said to them, please think for yourselves why what I’m telling you is necessary.

—This time around you were strict with the dancers too, weren’t you?
Yeah, because I wanted them to catch up to us quickly in terms of their mentality towards going onstage. I saw them not taking the rehearsal seriously so I said, “If you’re gonna take this lightly then quit!” They can do a shoddy job well enough as it is; we wouldn’t have set aside time to rehearse if that was all they needed to do. When people behave arrogantly with me in that kind of situation, I snap. If you do what you’re supposed to, I won’t yell at you. When I’m stressed, I get angry, but if you do it right, I’ll say, “Good job”… In principle I don’t want to get angry in front of people. Because then people’s image of me will be that I’m always angry. *Laughs*

—Compared to the previous two tours, was there anything different about the vibe fans in the audience were giving off?
Hm, maybe this was a reconfirmation for some people in the audience. It felt like they were double-checking, “Gackt is…” Now that I appear on TV shows and such, fans make up this image of me for themselves based on what they see on TV. From my point of view, I say, “Do what you want, go ahead and make up whatever character you want to.” That’s all it is. But the girls who aren’t like that will think, “Gackt doesn’t change.” It’s not that I’ve changed, it’s that those girls have created this image of me, then it’s like they process that image themselves. I won’t say whether that’s good or bad, but I’m doing this with the mentality that I can only be me, so those who want to believe, that’s all they have to do. I’ll live up to that. If someone doesn’t believe in me, they won’t no matter what I say, right? It’s pointless. I only respond, in my own way, to the people who say “I believe.” The fact that I don’t make them believe means that whether they can believe or not is a matter of their own abilities. That’s probably a talent that those girls have.

—You felt that at the venue?
No, there were a lot of emails after the show that said “So you were Gackt after all.”

—But that must’ve made you feel like, “You’re just now realizing that?”
Oh yeah. You know how lately they’ve started calling me “Gak-kun” on TV? If you want to call me that, go ahead; I’m not gonna say, “Don’t call me that!” But among the fans, there were some who said they wouldn’t deal with Gak-kun fans, or who would fight over really stupid things. One ridiculous story was that when I left Malice Mizer to go solo, there was a time when the fans who’d been supporting me since my Malice Mizer days were fighting with the ones who started supporting me after I’d gone solo. They’d say things like, “We don’t like Malice Mizer fans,” or “You’re not a true Gackt fan if you don’t know about his time in Malice Mizer.” Pure nonsense. Don’t treat me like an object! There are some fans who are repeating the same things. I’d like to say, don’t bring me into that type of argument. It’s too low-level.

—Speaking of email, I heard that the fans had spread the plan to sing “Silent Night” at Yokohama Arena via email. Is that true?
Actually, right on the first day in Fukuoka, my Mac broke so I couldn’t see my email. I didn’t know about it during the show. I heard the story afterwards.

—Were you able to hear the huge chorus singing “Silent Night” all the way up near the ceiling?
At first, when the sound reached me, I was like “Huh?” For a second I didn’t know what was going on, but when I heard from one of the staff members that it was the fans singing, it was like I truly understood that this is what putting on a concert is really about. A live show isn’t something that’s made only up on the stage, I think it’s made by every single person who goes to see it. The thing is, when one person started to sing, that set a wave in motion, it created ripples, and when that spread through the venue, I think everyone felt it, they felt that each and every one of them was creating this live show. Then when the song started to play, the feeling that they had been the ones who called me out must have gotten stronger, I think. That’s the kind of thing a concert is. It’s meaningless if all you’re doing is taking it in. Because we’re letting out tons.2 Because a concert is a place where you repeatedly release what you’ve taken in.

—Did you get dizzy?
I don’t remember. During “Silent Night,” when I was on standby above the stage, I told myself, “Pull yourself together!” Because of that I was able to hear the song. At first I thought I was hearing things, but as I started to come around, I realized there really were people singing. It was incredible. The voices coming up steadily from beneath my feet made my legs sway. I mean, I was already strung up on the wire, right? And voices are waves. When you use a speaker, you’re just making one voice louder, but when each voice comes together to sing, each one causes its own small vibrations. Air vibrations spread, so the way they travel is different.

—How did you feel when you came down to the center stage?
I don’t remember it exactly. I only have an intuitive sense of it. I remember when I was up on the scaffolding, but before I knew it, I was onstage, there were staff members around…I remember “Kimi no Tame ni Dekiru Koto.” I remember how I started to sing and said “On this holy night…” So this time I remember how it started, but…

—Did you develop any fevers during Kagen no Tsuki?
The complications were horrible during the summer. This time, I hardly took any antipyretic drugs. I was in a bad condition, but it wasn’t as bad as summer had been. Summer was really awful. I felt like, “Just kill me now!”

—Please tell me how the water screen for “rain” came to be used.
That came up in discussions a really long time ago. When I said, “I’d like to do this sorta thing,” Mr. Asano said, “I figured you’d say that.” When I asked, “Can we do it,” he said, “We’re making it right now, so it should be ready in time for the show. Let’s do it.” The staff had so many things thrown at them this time, but I think they worked well. I could really tell how everyone wanted to make it possible for me to accomplish what I hoped for, so I was really glad. For example, I flew over the audience in Yokohama Arena, right? That’s something unthinkable in Japan; I think I was the first. For MARS ~Sora Kara no Hōmonsha~, the flying was set up so that I’d pass over the aisles. That way, even if I fell, I wouldn’t end up on top of somebody. But it was different this time. You can’t do this sort of thing in Japan. It’s like this for using water onstage too, or flames. There are tons of unreasonable demands. I was incredibly happy that Mr. Asano strove to clear all those hurdles for me. …It’s because everyone’s stubborn, you know. Me, the staff, we’re all stubborn, and when that kind of people get together… All I ever say is “we can,” so I throw a lot of things at them. There are money matters, too. In the end, I’m really happy that everyone went in the direction of giving everything a shot. It was certainly difficult when we were in the middle of tackling these things. Everyone’s thinking, “Gimme a break!” But we have this pride that we won’t let anything make us say “We can’t.” We don’t want to say it, and it mustn’t be said.

—To top it off, the staff is composed of people from various companies.
Yeah, there was a lot of pride clashing. Speaking of which, when I asked, “Who’s gonna take the wire off me when I land on the stage?” Mr. Asano said, “I’ll do it.” Because Mr. Asano is the one who takes responsibility when all’s said and done. But we had other young staff members make the rounds to the venues as much as possible this time. But at first I was angry with them all time. For them, that was all they could handle, they didn’t have as much leeway as Mr. Asano. But I did it because I wanted them to grow up quickly. Regardless of how young the staff is, a stage director is like a mob boss (*Laughs*) who can put those egos in order.

—What do you think of the band members’ growth?
Once we started rehearsing, I started to feel like they’d cleared more obstacles than they had before doing the summer live house tour. They weren’t as unsteady. Ryu became far more stable, he came to drum really well. Toshi’s drumming was steady, with extremely few emotional ups and downs. But Ryu plays the drums with his emotions, right? He’s a macho kind of drummer. I like both kinds, but in Ryu’s case, when his emotions come out in a good way, there’s no problem, but with the bad times, his emotions show in the worst possible way. So he has to improve the level of his bad times. And he understands that. As for the two guitarists, I think they were able to break free from the feeling of responsibility and awareness over Masa being gone that had bound them like a spell. They developed the attitude of supporting the band with just the two of them. They were conflicted over whether they could do it without Masa, but they had to do it, and a live show is about more than just technical issues. Ren goes well with Ryu, doesn’t he? Ren was unstable, so sometimes Toshi would get him all turned around. Ren and Ryu are both emotional types, which means that when they’re in the same emotional place, it’s a good thing. But when they’re in different places, they can’t do it at all. In that sense, I thought that the combination of Ren and Ryu wasn’t a bad one.

—You has grown, too.
Oh yeah. I think he became more manly in the sense that now he himself can draw in audience members. And since he became able to attract them, he also started to show a sense of responsibility as a guitarist. How do you gain the ability to attract people? That’s not something that can be explained. It’s not something you can grasp if you do a certain thing, it’s no good if you don’t grasp it yourself. So whether you can do that determines if you can survive or not. I really think he’s become manly in a way. He doesn’t get nervous anymore. …When there was that trouble in Hokkaido, he got super nervous, then when it was over, I got so mad at him. I lost it. But, fundamentally, I think that problem became a good opportunity for him. It was a reaffirmation of the fact that nothing comes of the frontman getting nervous and running away.3

—Right, there was some trouble during “Speed Master.”
The point was how he dealt with it. That problem was something he should have been able to imagine, but it’s usually the things we can’t imagine that go wrong, right? At that point, there are so many things a frontman must do. Ultimately, it’s about his level of awareness. If you reach a higher level, you’re able to handle things. If You thinks, “Gaku’s sure to get mad,” he should then say, “Well then, why don’t I do it?” “Even though I knew what I should do, I couldn’t do anything. That’s why it’s so, so frustrating.” That was his personal struggle, which is why I think it was good that it happened. Saying that, “Even though I knew what I should do”…when you’re young, if your friends get mixed up in a fight, even though you think, “I have to go,” your legs shake as if you don’t know what to do. But all you have to do is just go. So that’s a naive way of thinking. But after that, I think You changed quite a bit…

—Do you remember which venues you felt a reaction from?
Overall, yeah. Utsunomiya, Gunma. I like Gunma. Fukuoka was good too, and Osaka.

—I feel like the first day in Osaka was the best.
We’d gone to Osaka several times on the previous tours too, but I think that of the shows we’ve done there, this time was the best. Each city has its own good points. What stayed in my memory was the dinner after each show, because there was a fair amount of arguing, and that’s when I was most lucid.

—Did you have a hard time coming up with material for the talk portion?
Not really, because I just said whatever popped into my head. *Laughs* What I had trouble with was figuring out a way to segue into “Soleil” after the talk. *Laughs*

—What were your impressions of the cities you went around to on the tour?
This time, I wasn’t able to walk around town much. Just Fukuoka and Kanazawa. In Nagoya I was only in Ōsu for a brief second. I walked around Kanazawa at night, which was plenty. Playing games in Canal City was fun for me, but it was hard on the staff. They were keeping an eye on everyone around, glaring. I was so lucky being able to go to the department stores in Fukuoka in broad daylight; it was a miracle.

—So were my selections good?
They were. Walking around each place is a unique pleasure. Because if people gather and there’s a panic, and in places where there are stairs someone could get hurt, so then it would be as if I made them get hurt…

—What was the most physically demanding part?
The hardest part was from Nagoya and the two days in Osaka to Niigata and Kanazawa. My body and throat were both destroyed. I think I did good to last through all that. At that time, the tension kept building higher and higher, and I couldn’t keep it in check, right? But the show in Osaka was good.

—Your acrobat skills steadily improved, too.
That practice doubles as a warm-up and helps you focus, so it’s the best. It’s not like I can relax if I’m resting anyway, so it’s a given that loosening up my body is the best thing to do. My legs got destroyed pretty quickly, after all. I worry about it when I go onstage, so I always have to be strengthening my muscles. Practicing somersaults for an hour and a half is nowhere near as tough as doing a show.

—Sticking a wire work landing must be pretty high-impact, right?
That’s not the only part that’s high-impact!

—You got good height and distance in Yokohama Arena, you know.
Because I’m good when it’s showtime. *Laughs*

—You also pulled off the return to the main stage from the center stage really well.
I think that sort of thing turns out the same no matter how many times you do it in rehearsal. It’s a matter of whether or not you visualize yourself being able to do it. That’s true of anything. I rehearsed the wire action over and over because I wanted the staff to have the image of us being able to do it. I think being able to see in our mind’s eye what it is we want to create is more important than checking things on the stage. Because you can’t do what you can’t see yourself doing. If you’re able to visualize something clearly in your mind, that’s the first time you accomplish doing it. That’s why, to visualize, I go around the venue before rehearsal to see the passages the people who come see the show actually walk through, the doors they open, which stairs they climb, what angle they’ll be watching from. You can’t have an image of that if you don’t go walk around to see, can you?

—The concerts which will be a continuation of Kagen no Tsuki will happen early next year for sure, right?
There’s Jōgen no Tsuki. I’m not sure yet if it’ll happen before or after the release of the movie MOON CHILD, but I think there will be an arena tour. I saw the finished movie yesterday actually, and it was good. I cried! That surprised me. I’d seen the version without sound about a hundred times, but I was moved seeing the final version. It had been a while since I came across a movie that moved me. I thought, how lucky I am to be moved by something I made myself. I really want men to see it. I want modern men to see it, and get a lot out of it to take back with them, because there are many things in this movie that are steadily disappearing from society. There are many things women can feel too, but…they can take those feelings back to Yugoslavia or Croatia. I also want people dealing with problems of national borders or wars to see it. I think even people from other countries can watch this movie and realize what’s important. It’s not a war movie, but I guess you could say it’s a movie that lets you feel what it is we’re missing, what it is we’ve lost that has left things as they are… I cried in a movie theater for the first time in a while, you know.

[Chapter concluded in Chapter 5, Part 2]

1. I couldn’t find the reading for the Chief Editor’s name. 廣田 can be pronounced three ways: Kouda, Hirota, and Hiroda. Hirota seems to be the most common, so I went with that. His first name is 喜久次, most likely pronounced Kikuji.

2. Not sure I got this right. What Gackt said was 「放ってなんぼだから。」The なんぼ is throwing me off. It can be synonymous with いくら and thus used in similar ways to mean “how much” in the specific sense and in the immeasurable sense.

3. Usually it’s Hirose’s use of idioms that I find myself questioning, but in this case, it’s Gackt’s. The phrase he used, ケツまくって (ketsu makutte) comes from 尻を捲る (ketsu wo makuru) which literally means something like “turn up your butt” but idiomatically means “to become defiant.” In English, we could think of it as the attitude someone might take if they’re mooning someone. But the thing is, when “Speed Master” went off the rails during that show, You didn’t become belligerent, he froze. Or, in his words, he left it to Chacha. Which leads me to believe that Gackt was using ketsu wo makuru not in the dictionary sense but in the apparently common but mistaken sense of “to run away,” coming from the idea that if you need to run in a kimono the only way to do it is to pull up the hem and in the process flash everyone around.

3 thoughts on “The Air Moon Ch. 5: Moon Child, Part 1

  1. Pingback: The Air Moon Ch. 4: Kagen no Tsuki, Part 12 | Warped Frost

    1. You’re welcome! Really I wanted to put the whole chapter up together, and earlier to soak in the Halloween atmosphere, but there was so much stuff going on this month… orz

      Anyway, *hugs back*!

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