Approaching the “LAST VISUALIVE”, GACKT’s Sublime Drama Begins

GACKT’s main story, the “MOON SAGA PROJECT”, has been represented in various forms of media including music, movies, and stage plays, since his debut. His upcoming single「ARROW」will play a major role in his version of lives, the “VISUALIVE”. 2015-sett19-lastvisualive-okmusic-01

[To encourage those who have heard me, that is the what my work is destined for]

──Next March, your concept tour, the “VISUALIVE”, will kick-off 7 years since the last one, at the same time you’ve announced that this will be the final chapter of the “VISUALIVE”. Where it concerns this upcoming single「ARROW」, is it a work that has some kind of connection with that?

I only create things that are related to each other. The basis of the “VISUALIVE” comes from the story of vampires in “MOON SAGA”, the live extracts each era of the story, and what has been expressed in art works and movies until now, is in other words known as the “MOON SAGA PROJECT”. For example, 『MOON CHILD』(a film released in 2003)is also one of the works, where it tells a vampire story in the near future. So, the story has gone from the near future to the present, and while returning to the past, we have the origins of the vampire in Japan, which we follow and finally arrive at the story of Minamoto no Yoshitsune that was told in the『MOON SAGA -Secret of Yoshitsune-』stage play in recent years. In this time’s live, it will be the expression of each of these through music and cuts of different scenes. In short, it aims bring fascination of this spiritual world with music and videos and production. As this「ARROW」is the song that is meant for the very end of this story, the live was made with the assumption of this song as the start. In other words, it began from the end.

──So that’s why, there’s the depiction of a friend being lost in the solemn sounds, and it came across as an exceptionally dramatic piece of music right.

Yes. Just that, if you’re wondering whether I’ll be dressed in armour as Yoshitsune when I perform it in real life, that won’t happen. Betray anticipation, satisfy expectations. That’s my way of doing things, where it is outside of what is predicted by the average person. I want to produce something even better with the past stories, in a more objective manner. Because in my mind, I usually create songs and the concert production together, it is important to embed the idea that “this song goes here, that song should go there”. When that image has been inflated, at the start of this “LAST VISUALIVE”, this song is needed. That’s why, although I definitely have the world view itself, it takes a lot of time to put it into words. Even if I put the thoughts I want to express in characters all in one shot, because songs are not long enough for me to put all of them in, I have to proceed by cutting it down while choosing appropriate words to use. Even so, this time’s「ARROW」has quite a lot more lyrics than the average song.

──In other words, does that mean that you’re overflowing with thoughts and messages you want to write?

This might be difficult for a woman to understand but… if a man stops living in virtues and ideals, that’s the end. Of course, anyone would know that reality is tough, and what you seek won’t come in a simple way. Because we can live in our ideals and dreams and virtues until we die, isn’t that probably why from a woman’s point of view, men are like children? However, even if death exists in there, I think that women are the ones who will support the people who won’t give up and struggle to hold on tight to what they won’t throw away, until the very end. Because they understand how painful “reality” is they won’t attempt it themselves, but they continue supporting while wondering “why is this person choosing to walk down such a difficult path?”. I think that the significance lies in the division in the roles of men and women, and it’s not about which is good or which is bad, but it is that times progress because these two exist. The aesthetic of men is their bitter cries of suffering and sorrow in their quest for their virtues, watching them struggle will inspire and move others who start to think “I have to do it too”. That is the struggle that is the history of mankind.

──Of course Yoshitsune too, is one of those men who chase after their virtues and ideals right.

Such people exist in every era. If not, time will not progress and nothing will change. What’s sad is that there are so few of these people at the top, and ultimately the ones who take those seats are probably those who have been sitting on their high horses on the the sidelines. However, those who can change times are not interested in being at the bottom. For example, even if it means being sacrificed, as long as the reason for them being born exists, they will have the guts to become a cornerstone. Within that, the judgement of whether they can run away from it or not, is dependent on the strength of their own feelings. So, when you look at history, those who have that role are usually men, so, as expected we are these kinds of living beings. Often, the ones who jump out from the 2nd floor while being told that its dangerous and end up crying with their injuries are men right? Then, the girls who see that and laugh while calling them idiots, will probably start thinking that men are, as expected, are pretty much just like that. Because they’re idiots. But, if you become cold to that, you’ll end up pretty dark as a person.

──So the reason why this song has such high dramatics while making people feel the universal message, is because of those thoughts as the background. Even behind the lyrics 《美しく散れ (utsukushiki chire = scatter beautifully)》, because it has a meaning of sacrifice for the ideal future, it sounds exceptionally beautiful, and also comes across strongly.

That’s why, right now, if there are people who pause because of it, I would like them to take a step out. My job is to encourage people, to put it in another way it can be described as my destiny. I can only write sad songs but, unless I can encourage the people who have listened to it, there’s no meaning for doing this. Also, the characteristic of this era… For example, I went to Italy for a holiday, didn’t I. After processing by looking at the place with my own eyes, feeling it, touching it, and talking to the people around me, I was impressed with our generation. That’s why, to the young kids who exclaim “Whoa this is amazing!” just but tapping around Google Maps, you can say to them things like “It feels like you just went there”. However, that’s a mistake. They didn’t just “feel” like they went there, with all their senses, they really did go there. This is a special ability that they possess which we don’t have.

──I see. To perceive it as a special ability is new.

For example, if we replaced things, like if the era when we used to walk from Tokyo to Osaka, to a time when horses, carriages, cars, trains were in use, it would become normal of us to be travelling by plane. If in this era, someone said “I’ll go to Osaka by horse. There are things I can gain from this”, it just elicits the reaction “are you an idiot?”. Likewise, amongst today’s children, there are those who say “But just by entering it into the computer you can get it right? Why do you have to spend lots of money just to go all the way there?”. Of course, they won’t be able to follow the idea of tasting the food there, and talking to the people you meet. That’s why, in reality, going in itself holds great meaning. In other words, what I really want to say is, when it comes to the act of “just going” , there are those who have a sense of being satisfied with simpler means. That’s why, when faced with children or the younger generation of this era, its useless for us to speak in terms of having those feelings, but we have to be respectful to them who possess this special ability. Because to us, we think that it is normal for a TV program to last an hour, but they will say that it’s too long.

──Is that so!? 2015-sett19-lastvisualive-okmusic-02

Right now, if its YouTube just 2 minutes is enough. They have the special ability of completing things in 2 minutes. However, we too have our own good old experiences that only we have. If we can exchange it with each other without negativity, we can share with each other the excitement that exists in times we don’t understand, with that, it’s like a conversation that is shared between us and them who are living together in the same era. Through the story of Yoshitsune from the 1100s, the conveying of that era’s good old feelings is exactly the same as what we’re talking about now. Especially for the modern society that advances at a breakneck speed, if we don’t become aware of that, we will lose something precious on a global scale… that’s what it is. Because an era, is something that progresses ahead of the same tragedies and the same crimes keep getting committed, those sins will also become bigger and bigger. That’s why, it’s useless unless we recognise that we are in an unstable state, where continuing on like this will only lead to the destruction of humanity.

[Next year’s tours is one of the separators Ahead of that, I don’t know if I will run again]

──So you’re saying that in『MOON SAGA』which spins a story while going back in time, there was also such a meaning behind it. By chance, with that era as the setting, was there something that was the contributing factor to GACKT-san thinking that your “destiny” is to encourage others?

No, that was just something that I chose. I have deep friendships with business owners, and even though they need to use hundreds of employees, you can say that they aren’t able to encourage these people. To encourage people like how I do is a job that you choose, and because it is not something that just anyone is capable of, it can be said that I will continue on as much as possible. I’ll do that calmly. As expected, I know quite well what is lacking in the people standing at the top of this world. Of course, I recognise that in myself as well, but I don’t think that I can remain like this forever. That’s why, in this time’s “LAST VISUALIVE”, it’s a decision within myself where I separate things by thinking “first, I’ll finish things to this point”, and even I myself don’t know if this will mean the end for me, or if I will start running down a new path. As continuing on requires hard work and physical stamina and mental strength, as expected I can’t keep running forever. It’s a fact that I’ve been continuously confronted with the question of how much further my body will hold out, for 17 years… I think it’s been 22 years since I first joined a band? I’ve kept being “GACKT”, its also possible that my spirit has been considerably affected. That’s why, I’ll draw my own line, and because I’ve made the decision to run until that point I’ll make my way there. After that I’ll decide about going beyond that line.

──I get the feeling that those thoughts are also being expressed through the depiction of Yoshitsune breaking away before accomplishing anything in「ARROW」.

Because it is simply something that comes out from my own body, it overlaps with my own feelings. Following that, I want people to feel and interpret it with questions like “why is it that the word “arrow” appears over and over again in this song?”, and think about each part of it. The answer that comes out immediately is definitely going to differ from the answer that you arrive at after awhile but, it makes the process in itself meaningful.

──Incidentally, in the last chorus, the phrase 《Now (I) have not yet visited the future (you) depicted》appears but, what is the future that GACKT-san depicts?



It’s pointless if you’re asking for answers to check against (laughs). Well, because if I talk about it there’ll be a lot to say. Just that, I believe that I will chase the dream that I have in myself until the end.. One of them is… for Japanese to really be true Japanese, to now bring the culture created by Japanese to places overseas more, and create more opportunities while showing what it is. If this can’t be done Japan will really become hopeless, the dignity of the Japanese will be lost.

──The way of life of a man who pursues an aesthetic, is embodied in GACKT-san exactly. For the concept of the “LAST VISUALIVE”, has it been steadily hardened?

Hm… I’ve been struggling with the mechanistics. For example, I’ve tried using projection mapping for the Yoshitsune stage play but, I also get that the technological aspect probably still isn’t enough although I thought of using it in this time’s music scenes. Well, look forward to it. Maybe the live might even fly. Like “Ah, sorry. As expected that can’t be done!”. I’m kidding, I’m kidding!(laughs)


Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team