X Japan's Yoshiki Hayashi Talks English Album's Progress

Japanese heavy metal legends X Japan will soon be releasing an all-English album to the world. In the mean time these guys were founded in 1982 under the name X later changed to X Japan consisting of 5 members YOSHIKI, TOSHI, PATA, HEATH and SUGIZO; since then they have been known for hit singles such as "Forever Love", "Kurenai", "X", "Rusty Nail", and "Endless Rain". While they may have had everything going for them, they did break up in 1997 reuniting ten years later. Since getting back together they have toured across the U.S. Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. In between all of this, they have been working on their first original album in 14 years, this being the first English-language album with the first single "Jade" that gave everybody a glimpse into what to expect. X Japan's fans are so patient for waiting so long that the moment to come is so close at hand. Yoshiki, X Japan’s leader, songwriter, drummer, and pianist discussed this long overdue release.

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what role you play in X Japan.

Yoshiki: Google me. Haha. Sorry I’m joking. I’m the drummer, pianist, and leader of the band.

2. Can you tell me what the music scene is like in Chiba, Japan, are there any bands from there you could recommend?

Yoshiki: Chiba is next to Tokyo. It’s pretty much the same as what’s going on in Tokyo. I check some Japanese bands once in a while but it’s hard to name a few.

3. Do you think not being from a big city like LA or NY influences your sound?

Yoshiki: I grew up in a place called Tateyama, which is a small town near the ocean. But my parents bought me bunch of vinyl records when I was a child. It’s not so much that I was influenced by the place but was influence by my father who bought me a lot of classical music vinyl records. Then when he died that’s when I discovered rock music myself.

4. You guys were once known as X then changed it to X Japan, what does this name symbolize and mean?

Yoshiki: Yes, we started off as “X”. But when we first came to the U.S., we found out that there is a band called “X”, so we named our band “X Japan”. It means where we came from, we just thought the sound of it was cool as well.

5. Can you tell me why you wear a neck brace in all of your performances?

Yoshiki: Because of the drum style I’ve been playing, I injured my neck. A few years ago I had a major neck surgery. My doctor told me not to play drums anymore but I still decided to go on a tour. He said that it was suicidal to do that, but if I had to play, he told me I must at least wear a neck brace. But to be honest, I don’t know how many shows I can play till it breaks. Haha!

6. In 2010 you did a North American and in 2011, a European, Latin American, and Southeast Asian Tour - when can we expect to see you guys return to these parts of the world?

Yoshiki: Let me just say it’s in the works. Each member of X Japan has its own management so it makes my job very difficult, getting everyone together to even talk. But now I can say I’m pretty sure we will start touring again next year.

7. Tell me about your English debut single for the song "Jade".
Yoshiki: I wanted to describe a new style of X Japan, and still contain the beautiful melodies and aggressiveness, as well as heavy sounds. But I also wanted to make a statement that X Japan is evolving.

8. Where are you in the recording process of the new English album?

Yoshiki: I’m just waiting for a few members’ schedule to complete the remaining parts. So unless I come up with another new song, it’s pretty much done.

9. How does it make you feel to be creating an English album, is it something you guys have always wanted to do?

Yoshiki: Even these days I intentionally write some parts in Japanese, but English comes naturally when I think about rhyming and how it flows. On top of that I’ve been living in the US for more than 15 years so it was very organic to write the lyrics in English.

 10. Who is producing the album? How has the producer aided the recording process?

Yoshiki: I think we have a notorious producer who doesn't finish the album. Please blame him, don’t blame me… well, the other side of me. Every record we made has had such an impact in the scene, including us. So we just don’t want to create an album that we look back and say “it was just one of those albums”. We want the album to have a significant meaning and impact for us.

11. Where are you recording the album?

Yoshiki: Mainly I use my own studio in Los Angeles. But depending on members’ availability, I record anywhere in the world including Japan.

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