Source: D=OUT & HIZAKI Official

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An interview shortly before they perform in the US!
Don’t miss the chance to find out details about how this interesting combination was planned!

Thank you very much for taking your time for this interview. We are very grateful to have the opportunity to talk to both of you about your upcoming trip to the United States for the NEKOCON. Are you excited? 

KOUKI: This will be my first time to perform in the U.S. and I am very much looking forward to it. I also hope that those who were waiting for us throughout the pandemic will be able to experience Japanese culture.

HIZAKI: It has been quite a while since I have performed in the US. I haven’t been able to perform overseas for a while now, so I am happy that this will be the first opportunity to do so again.

First of all, we would like to hear how it happened that the two of you ended up doing this project together, seeing how you usually play in different bands, right?

KOUKI: First it was me who was invited, but rather than going alone, I wanted to go with a Japanese artist who is also active overseas. I approached HIZAKI and he agreed. And since this will be the first time for me to go, my excitement doubled. 

HIZAKI: When KOUKI asked me to join him, I immediately said yes. We used to perform together during the time both of us were very active in Osaka.

D=OUT was supposed to be at NEKOCON in 2020 and last year, but the performances were canceled due to travel restrictions. We are very glad that you are finally able to go this year. How are your preparations going? Is there still a lot to do?

KOUKI: To be honest, it was tough when D=OUT got caught up in overseas travel restrictions due to corona. We would love to participate in NEKOCON once we can go abroad freely again.

Your schedule for the NEKOCON is quite packed. Beside the concerts you will also attend a Q&A panel and autograph sessions. What are you looking forward to the most?

KOUKI: Although I look forward to the concert the most, I would also like to study English for the autograph session. We’ll be able to meet American fans individually and I hope to be able to speak to them, even if only a little. 

HIZAKI: Of course I look forward to the concert, but most of all, I cannot wait to meet everyone.

You will perform D=OUT songs during the concert. We are sure that the fans are looking forward to that! When creating the set list for the US, is there any difference to creating a set list for a concert in Japan? For example, are there any songs you especially want to play overseas? 

KOUKI: I play the Tsugaru Shamisen, a Japanese traditional instrument, and I would like to play it again, especially in the U.S. I hope that through that people get to experience Japanese culture and fall in love with it.

Do you have any plans besides the attendance of the convention? Are there any places you want to visit or any food in particular you want to eat?

KOUKI: It’s my first time going there so I’m not really familiar with it, but I’d like to go golfing in the US.

HIZAKI: As KOUKI wants to go golfing… I guess I will join him and film a YouTube video. 

Both of you have been playing overseas before, right? Are there any stories you can tell us or anything that left an impression?

KOUKI: I have only been to Asia and Europe, but I was impressed by the fans at every venue, as they were just as enthusiastic as fans in Japan.

HIZAKI: When we played a show in Washington, D.C it started four hours late. As there was a possibility that we weren’t able to play at all, we had to do all the sound and everything ourselves. 

How do you prepare yourself for a concert? Do you have a ritual or habit and does it change if you perform overseas?

KOUKI: The day before a concert I always go to the sauna, so I am worried whether there will be one. 

HIZAKI: My guitar playing arm is getting worse, especially due to the fatigue from the airplane, so I will practice and relax my body as much as I can.

Kouki, your solo work not only achieved the #1 rank in the Enka genre on the Oricon music charts in Japan, but also in France. That’s very impressive! Did you expect such success outside of Japan? 

KOUKI: I didn’t expect it at all… And it made me extremely happy that I was #1 in France. I’m always ready to go to France as well.

HIZAKI, you work simultaneously on 2 bands, your solo project and you are also producing for other bands. That sounds incredibly busy. How do you manage all those activities? 

HIZAKI:  Composing music is not a problem, but I am making sure to learn the songs I’ll play live in advance.

What is the first thing you pack before you go on a trip and what is something you most likely forget in the end?

KOUKI:  I am quite careful, so I usually don’t forget anything.

HIZAKI: Instruction to my Japanese staff on what to do while I’m away. 

You both have a very long history in the music industry. Especially in the last few years, the music scene has changed dramatically due to COVID-19, and you have had to adapt. How did you two feel about these changes?

KOUKI: The entertainment industry has been hit hard by the fact that what used to be the norm is no longer the norm. The same goes for bands as well. However, it does not mean that the demand for music has disappeared; it’s just the way music exists has changed, but as artists we won’t give up expressing ourselves. 

HIZAKI: It seems to me that the world has become a place where inequality in status and wealth has become more clear. I hope that my activities and music can help fans around the world who are suffering and feel saddened.

Besides the countries you have already been to, are there any countries you would love to perform in? Or any countries you would like to go to for vacation? 

KOUKI: I would like to go to India, to the Ganges River, as well as to Egypt. I would like to play shows in all countries.

HIZAKI: I would love to go to Hawaii, for vacation and also to perform there. 

And to close this interview, please leave a message to your overseas fans. 

KOUKI: Thank you for taking the time to read this to the end, and please wait for both of us to represent Japan and show you something beyond your expectations.

HIZAKI: Thank you for all your support. I always appreciate the support from my American fans, so please come to the show, as we are able to finally meet. 

Interview: Chris
Translation: Olga
English Edit: Franzi

SpotifyApple Music
SpotifyApple Music

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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