«

»

Dec 15

[interview] YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz Won’t Forget

Pop quiz: What are YELLOW FRIED CHICKENZ?

a) The Colonel’s new yet somehow original recipe.
b) Mega-triple threat GACKT’s slightly satirical project.
c) A surprisingly sensitive band that just wants to instill some charitable thoughts in their audience’s brains.

If you answered b) and c), you’re correct. When I sat down with GACKT and the gang on October 23, 2011 during V-ROCK FESTIVAL, I expected a conversation to match the  showy live performance I had seen just an hour earlier. I was wrong. After a slightly rocky start, YFC opened their hearts to talk about an experience they hope their whole audience can learn from.

pS: First of all, what’s the origin of your band name?

GACKT: We were really moved by Kentucky Fried Chicken. It appealed to us, so we thought, “Let’s give it the name YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz.” That’s it. We’re YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz.

pS: But why “yellow”? Where I come from, it kind of has a bad meaning.

Jon: Discriminatory?

pS: Right, discriminatory meaning.

GACKT: The reason for that is our confidence is yellow. It’s a sense of pride. I’m proud of us. So I can say, “We are yellow.”

pS: But what about Jon? Haha!

Jon: I don’t know! I’m kind of an egg. Just my outside is white. I don’t know if that’s accurate.

GACKT: What I meant about the band name is we started this project as my solo last year. I found new ideas in this style, so I tried to make a new band. I called Jon and Shinya, U-zo. We started this band to make a man-band.

Jon: A more manly band.

GACKT: Also we are performing for a much different audience.

Jon: Yeah, like the victims of the earthquake and tidal waves. So a big part of our mission and message is to help, but also so that people don’t forget what’s going on there, what happened there. And not just what happened, but what’s still going on there. Recently, we had the great honor to go to Sendai on our tour and before we played two days at Zepp Sendai, we went to Ground Zero. One of the places all along the coast that was just destroyed by the tidal wave. And it was just an incredible experience.  We got to meet the people there, talk with the people there, and see what the current situation was. And that’s why a big part of our message is, “It will not be forgotten.” because it’s six months after the fact, but it’s still leveled. The whole city is gone. All of it is garbage now. So for us, it was a really amazing experience. We actually went back again to a different area to see what the difference was, like is it the same, etc. You know, it’s going to take years and years and years for that area to return to any approximation of what it used to be. And it’s going to take a lot of people’s concentrated effort to make that happen. And not just locals, but everywhere in Japan. Hopefully around the world too. We’re trying to spread our message, not so much in a soap box kind of way.

pS: Just to keep it in the news, right? Because it’s not in the international news at all anymore.

Jon: It was just like there-there-there-there, gone!

GACKT: We’re trying to make songs memorable.

Jon: With those feelings, with those memories, and with that intent in our lyrics and the shows too.

GACKT: There were two children whose parents are gone. You know, we’re trying not to let everyone forget.

Jon: When you go there and see it… I guess anything, you could see a murder or a dead body on the TV or the movies and it has an effect on you. When you hear it on the news, it has an effect on you, and that’s real. But you actually see it there in front of you, I mean we didn’t see that, but when you see something that’s on the same level of just, “holy shit.”It really just blows you away. You can’t describe it until you’ve seen it and the emotions that come out.

pS: I can’t even imagine that.

GACKT: No one can imagine that. You know, we want to understand through these things, watching TV, and the movies, and the pictures, but it was really fucked. It was totally different.

Jon: I like how we’re encouraging people, everyone who’s involved in the YFC project, staff, everyone, to go there with us when we went again, and if they couldn’t, to go by themselves and to encourage friends and people we know to go there. See it. It’s such a powerful experience. It’s not just like, “Go there and then.” It’s, “Just go there.” Go and see and then something will happen to you.

GACKT: We also intended to expand that message to all staff. When we went to Sendai, and when we saw the fact, we could understand.

pS: Was it like you were enlightened at that moment?

Jon: Well, I guess, “inspired” is kind of a strange word to use in that situation. It was very provocative. Provoked, in a way. It’s not a positive feeling. It doesn’t feel good, but it still definitely was provocative.

GACKT: Those facts were like killing our existence.

Jon: Like taking a piece of you.

GACKT: Like taking my heart. We could recognize that we had to move forward. We have to act for the children, the victims.

pS: Has the attitude of your audience in Sendai changed?

GACKT: It’s totally different. They want to touch us. They want to touch our feelings. We tried to give them courage as best we could.

Jon: Going to Ground Zero before our shows in Sendai, it really brought all of us together. And it really made us remember and emphasize to us what the purpose of YFC is. Or one of the main purposes of YFC. With that in mind, with that stronger connection, with that reinforced and renewed realization of what we’re about, to take that along with, “Let’s do a fucking amazing, super amazing show.” Take those feelings to battle. It was a really amazing experience.

GACKT: That show I told them my message, “Don’t give up.” We have to rebuild this country. Not for someone but for us, for ourselves. This is no one else’s problem. That’s why we have to fix it. People living in Sendai, some people can’t recognize what happened there. A fifteen minute drive away, they didn’t know the fact. Even those people don’t understand the fact. People in Kyushu, Hokkaido, people in America, people in Europe can’t understand. But we have to move them to recognize that fact. To notice it.

pS: Here in Tokyo, there’s a total disconnect. There’s too much distance. Too many people don’t know anybody from Sendai, or there’s just no connection. It’s almost like the “other” Japan.

GACKT: I don’t think it’s so much about distance.

pS: Emotional distance.

GACKT: If you attach the fact delicately, you can change anything.

Jon: I think the word “understanding” is a big part on deciding where you want to go to take your next step.

GACKT: We are almost talking about that and we decided to go to test the fact, to talk to victims, children. And we really understand what we should do.

pS: Can you give me an example of something within your music that might represent the tragedy?

Jon: Our whole album is based on that really. Before we actually started to get together and make the lyrics for the album, G gave me a call and he was like, “You know, with what happened with the earthquake and the tidal wave, I really feel like this is the message we need to spread: love and peace. And don’t forget about this.” That was very solid, and we were on the same page from before we even started, so every song is sort of a different approach in a way of expressing those sentiments without being preachy about it. “The End of the Day,” our first single, is very much about that. Much of the message of that is no matter how bad the situation is, you have to move forward in order for things to start over again. Our next single, “All My Love”, it’s another take on an instance of a tragedy that would be happening in the earthquake. It’s about a couple and one of the people is killed, and how the person who’s left behind feels. What they need in order to move on as well. Same message, just a different expression.

GACKT: We don’t make songs as a negative. We’re trying to make those songs as a message.

Jon: Encouraging.

pS: I can tell by the tone. Just the stage performance, and the way you guys dance and interact with each other. It’s really more like you’re brothers, but everybody is a part of that. You’re all one big family.

Jon: In the Japanese shows, and even in the European shows so far, we scream out to the crowd, “You’re our brothers and our sisters!” Those are the words we use at the show. It’s not just like, “You guys” or “you and you and you.” It’s much more of a group thing.

GACKT: Like a family.

pS: That’s so sweet.

GACKT: I think so too.

pS: I only have time for one more question I feel I have to ask, even though this one kind of breaks the mood. Who comes up with your dance moves?

GACKT: Whoa, whoa whoa. What do you mean?

pS: Like the booty circles. Whose idea was that?

GACKT: That kind of sexual approach… I like that. To get their minds, to get their hearts, we use a lot of approaches. So one approach is kind of a sexual approach.
Jon: Sort of a homoerotic approach. We toned it down for V-ROCK.

pS: Yeah, I was a little disappointed!

Jon: Yeah, we definitely toned it down. You know, you can’t force it in, you know what I’m saying? It’s the same feeling. You can’t just force it. You got to take your time, get the people ready to accept it.

pS: I ask because I really like to dance and I think you guys stole some of my moves.

Jon: No, no. We got the copyright on those.

Official YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz website – http://yellowfriedchickenz.com/
Official V-Rock Festival website – http://v-rockfes.com/
Photos courtesy of V-Rock Festival

4 comments

1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. Jen Wang

    As someone who used to live in Miyagi-ken, I really appreciate that they are trying to raise awareness of the situation there. They actually took the time out of their schedule to visit some of the destroyed town. I’m also glad that they are focusing on sending out a positive message.

  2. Remi Belphegor

    Lol. Dancemoves. xD;
    Very nice interview though.

  3. Laura

    It’s so easy to forget about the victims of natural disasters after we stop hearing about them in the news. What Gackt is trying to do is good.

    It’s too bad the “yellow” thing went over his head though.

    1. Shabushabu

      Don’t get why this “yellow thing” went over his head as you say. It did not at all.

  1. “Show Your Heart”~ YFC | Visual KEIOS

    [...] “So a big part of our mission and message is to help, but also so that people don’t forget what’s going on there, what happened there. And not just what happened, but what’s still going on there…. And that’s why a big part of our message is, “It will not be forgotten.”… You know, it’s going to take years and years and years for that area to return to any approximation of what it used to be. And it’s going to take a lot of people’s concentrated effort to make that happen. And not just locals, but everywhere in Japan. Hopefully around the world too. We’re trying to spread our message, not so much in a soap box kind of way.”(Interview excerpt – Yellow Fried Chickenz Won’t Forget- Purple Sky Magazine DEC 2011) [...]

Comments have been disabled.