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We had the pleasure to talk with LIPHLICH about their band.
Our first thoughts: What a fancy styling! We needed to know more about them and they generously shared insights into their relationships, the dynamics in the band and other interesting facts we didn’t expect!


What is the meaning behind your band name?

Kuga: It doesn’t really have a meaning. I like the character Riff Raff from the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show and kind of imitated a name with a similar nuance. If you pronounce LIPHICH in Japanese, it sounds a little like Riff Raff.

Which songs would you recommend to people who don’t know LIPHLICH yet?

Kuga: I think STAY STAR, Keren LOCOMOTIVE, MANIC PIXIE and HURRAH HURRAH would be good.

Arai: MAZUROU MANSION (マズロウマンション).

Takeda: Keren LOCOMOTIVE, STAY STAR, YOROZU NO YORU (萬の夜), but there are even more I can recommend.

Kobayashi: MAZUROU MANSION (マズロウマンション), FANTASISTA (ファンタジスタ).

How did you get to know each other?

Arai: I joined LIPHLICH because a friend of mine introduced me to Kuga. Kobayan (nickname for Kobayashi) was my senior at our previous management company. And I got to know Takepon (nickname for Takeda) because he agreed to be our support bassist in the beginning.

Takeda: Since March 2019. After I became an adult.

Kobayashi: Kuga and Arai were under the same label as I was with my previous band. At that time I saw LIPHLICH as my senior band. I got introduced to Takepon when the former bassist left. Before we formed LIPHLICH together, we actually competed against each other during events with our previous bands!

Why did you decide to become a musician?

Kuga: I was an overweight kid until elementary school, who couldn’t even do the Moonwalk from Michael Jackson’s, who I admired. But in middle school, I admired Kiyoharu and hide and strongly thought that I wanted to become like them. I think I naturally admired men who wore makeup. But first of all I thought that I had to lose weight, so I did a diet and started with the guitar for the time being. In the beginning it was only to become cool and about being popular, I think (laughs). I started with that, got slowly obsessed with music, started to sing seriously and before I noticed it, I turned into the person I am today.  

Arai: I started with the guitar because of Tak Matsumoto (B’z) and in high school I decided to become a professional.

Takeda: A friend of mine gave me a bass to play in a band with them during middle school. And then I became aware of visual kei because they recommended X JAPAN.

Kobayashi: My father was a drummer, therefore we already had a drum set at home. My mother was a pianist. Additionally, my parents were in a band together, so I also went to see them. Music was everywhere around me. During elementary school L’Arc〜en〜Ciel became really popular and I got interested in Rock Music. The drums are easiest to hear and I started with them because they sounded the coolest to me. During elementary school we had a school event where everyone was supposed to perform something, and they also had a part for the drums. Because there was just one position for the drums, they had an audition and I passed it. It was the first time I performed in front of others. It felt amazing. Since then I couldn’t imagine anything but becoming a musician in the future.

Last year you celebrated your 10th anniversary. Is there something you achieved as a band that you are especially proud about?

Kuga: 10 years have passed while we always gave our best and did the things we liked. Only I have been there from the start, the other joined in between, but because I continued the band for 10 years, these members are with me in a band now and that’s probably what I am proud about.I am proud that we still want to continue, that we are able to act on our own to continue, that we can create the environment for those actions on our own, that the members are here to create that environment, that we have fans, that we have people who support us and for “people” in general. There are still many things we want to achieve, so we aren’t satisfied at all yet.

Arai: We still haven’t reached a sense of accomplishment we can be satisfied with. However, I am proud about the fact that we were able to create many music compositions or DVDs and that we were able to perform in many places. It counts a little as proof that I and the band exist in this world.

Takeda: I really think it’s amazing to continue a band for 10 years. It’s been just 1 ½ years since I joined, but I really want to continue this band for a long time.

Kobayashi: Looking back on 10 years… is something I can’t do, but when we released our works, when we went on tour, or better said when we finished a concert, I’m always proud of myself and the other members. Especially in 2016/2017 where we released an album in fall and went on a long tour. I remember it being bustling and we had many troubles. We also had to perform a few lives with less members and in 2019 we had a member change. But we overcame all those troubles. That’s why I feel strongly about our 10th anniversary.

On the contrary, do you also have things you regret?

Kuga: Many (laughs). A series of regrets.

Arai: I don’t have any regrets, but the current situation, where we aren’t able to have concerts is very lonely.

Takeda: I don’t have any regrets in regards to the last 1 ½ years.

Kobayashi: I’m only a human, so I probably do have some smaller regrets, but as time goes by I usually forget about them.

How do you usually proceed during song production?

Kuga: I usually don’t get far if I think “Well then! Let’s create something!” I receive inspiration from watching movies or when I find an interesting person on YouTube. I just record one phrase for the time being and we start working with that phrase. LIPHLICH already has over 100 songs, so I’m searching for something new. When I work on songs, I get stuck in a rut because I have set some rules or standard chord progression for myself. That’s why I’m searching for new ideas every day. I also create songs from the impact I receive from game music.

Arai: I’m playing my acoustic guitar at home while I relax and create songs like that.

Kobayashi: I record and save ideas for phrases or melodies once I come up with them. Later I listen to them again and if there’s a good one among them I apply chords and create the chorus. If I feel something from it, I think about the rest, but if I can’t think about anything good, I put it aside for a while. Then I get up from the desk and do something else while still thinking about the song. Taking a bath or cleaning the dishes for example (laughs). In doing so, I get good ideas at unexpected times and I then try to give them a form. Another way is to imagine having a concert and announcing that the next song is our new song. I hit the drums 4 times and then try to perform the song. This method doesn’t work well, though (laughs).

Your style stands out a lot, doesn’t it? How do you come up with your outfits and ideas for PVs?

Kuga: Until a while ago I used to scribble down the outfit and then we produced it. Recently this changed and if I find clothes by chance, I’m using them for the next time. I want to treasure such coincidental encounters. For PVs of songs we want to do, we create the whole composition and do the editing by ourselves as well. If it’s nothing special, we leave it to our cinematographer. There are many amazing PVs in the world, so it’s really stimulating, isn’t it? Back to your previous question, I have many PVs where I wished we would have done things differently. I regret not doing a PV for HOUCHOU NO DELIKATESSEN (飽聴のデリカテッセン) (laughs).

Takeda: I guess everyone can do as they please for the outfits. But we do think about the right balance of them. 

Kobayashi: We only discuss the general atmosphere of the outfits together and then everyone decides for themselves. So everyone’s own style is reflected in their outfit.

You released many songs in 2020, didn’t you? Were those releases influenced by corona?

Kuga: We originally planned to release them. As we couldn’t do any concerts, we decided to release them just like that. The question is, how we’ll proceed in 2021. It got a little delayed, but we also released SMELL STAR ~KEREN LOCOMOTIVE GAITEN~ (SMELL STAR 〜ケレン気関車 外伝〜) which you can download, so please listen to it.

Arai: The releases weren’t greatly influenced by corona.

Takeda: As we had a lot of time, we also had a lot of time to think during the recording. That’s why I am completely satisfied with the result, my own take included. In that regard, I guess it had some influence on the songs.

Kobayashi: I don’t think that the songs we released last year were influenced by Corona. There were many songs we already finished before Corona even started. However, the world is in a really difficult situation right now and I am keeping an eye on the constantly changing situations in the world. That’s why I think that the current situation will be reflected in our future works.

Do you have an artist or musician you admire?

Kuga: I don’t have any anymore. I have many people I respect, though.

Arai: Tak Matsumoto (B’z) and hide (X JAPAN).

Takeda: I admire all cool artists.

Kobayashi: I receive impact from different music genres, but I can’t think of a certain person. 

What are you doing in your free time?

Kuga: I always drink alcohol.

Arai: I drink alcohol and play games.

Takeda: Recently I got used to cooking and therefore I usually eat in my free time.

Kobayashi: I have a reptile (a leopard gecko), so I occupy myself with taking care of it and I also like to go shopping. I’m also obsessed with Super Sentai right now.

Who is the most reliable member?

Kuga: Everyone. Actually, starting this year I created my own label and therefore I am the CEO, but on an emotional scale it is Takki (Arai’s nickname), for composed opinions Takepon (Takeda’s nickname) and Kobayan (Kobayashi’s nickname) for reprimanding me. Each one is reliable and that helps me a lot. They are reliable in many aspects. 

Arai: Everyone is reliable. It’s difficult to tell who is the most reliable.

Takeda: Kuga, Takki (nickname for Arai) and Kobayan.

Kobayashi: I think that the singer of the band determines the music of the band, therefore it is Kuga.

Which member is the most unusual one, and why?

Kuga: There aren’t any weird members in our band. I guess.

Arai: It’s Kobayan. While driving he suddenly starts singing in a high voice really loud.

Takeda: That’s a secret (laughs).

Is there a genre you want to try out one day?

Arai: I want to try R&B.

Takeda: For the bass, I want to be able to play phrases from many genres and within those I want to create my own originality.

What are the characteristics of your concerts?

Kuga: My head is a mess when I perform, so I don’t really know (laughs). I can’t say anything but that, even though I am already doing this band for 10 years (laughs). If they ask me about our concept, I can’t reply with anything but “myself” either. But I do think that it is good like that.

Arai: For me as a guitarist, I express myself with my whole body. The guitar becomes part of my own body. Generally speaking, we perform with full power. 

Takeda: “Calm”. However, we do shout intensely (laughs).

Kobayashi: We often let the fans sing.

Which song is the most fun to perform?

Kuga: A song that is fun because you have to move a lot, is MANIC PIXIE. One that easily makes you move along is NOURI NO DORO (脳裏のドロ) or DAIKEIKAKU (大計画) for example. And songs that touch you emotionally are YAKAN HIKOU (夜間避行) and FLEURET.

Arai: SEX PUPPET ROCK’N DOLL.

Takeda: All songs where we get the impression that we became “one” with our fans are the most fun to do. That’s why I can’t pick out a specific one. We have too many.

Kobayashi: KEREN LOCOMOTIVE.

And last but not least, please leave a short message for your oversea fans.

Kuga: Nice to meet you! There are so many places I’d like to visit for concerts. We receive impact from music throughout the world, so I hope we can visit you some day. I’m the type who gets homesick easily, so I’m a little worried about that. When we go, I’ll try my best not to get homesick. I also want to eat all the delicious things in the world.

Arai: Hey guys (in English)! I’m Takayuki Arai. Thank you for listening to our music, even though we are in Japan. We will continue to create amazing music. Please look forward to it. And I also want to visit everywhere we have fans one day. At that time, please yell our names loudly. See you!

Takeda: Nice to meet you, I’m Kazuhiko Takeda. For me, having concerts overseas is one of my goals. That’s why I’ll work hard to realize that dream and meet you soon. Thanks for reading this interview.

Kobayashi: We haven’t had the chance to do concerts abroad yet, so I really want to do that. I really like to get to know other cultures, and that’s why it makes me really happy that there are people overseas who love our music. Thank you for your support.

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It would be great if you could support us with a small donation.
It might not be much for you, but it would help us providing more and better interviews in the future.
With a little bit of your support we might be able to realize even more!

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