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Their new release, touring, their best and worse memories over the years, and even their strongest temptations. They shared EVERYTHING with us- and you!
PART 1



Before we start the interview, we would like to play a little game. Well, it’s not as much of a game but more like drawing cards (laughs). The question we ask will depend on the card you draw. Who wants to pick the card?

ACME: We usually have our vocalist do these kinds of things. 

Okay, then please pick one.

HAL: As soon as you pick one the interview will be over (laughs).

Let’s see which card you got.

CHISA: Magician. 

Ah, nice one. Magician, right? If you could become a magician, what kind of magic would you like to use? 

CHISA: Hmmm. I would use magic that targets people’s stomachs.

Everyone: (laughs).

CHISA: Their stomachs will hurt when I do this (holds his arms out).

I see. Evil magic…

HAL: It’s not that bad.

CHISA: Yes, exactly. It’s just a little scary. It wouldn’t really hurt them so I could have fun with it.

HAL: If your boss is mad at you, he will be like “Hey! You! Arghh (stomach spell). Please keep up the good work” (laughs).

RIKITO: It has an immediate effect, doesn’t it?

(laughs). Everyone else?

RIKITO: I would stop the war.

ACME: Ooooooh!

RIKITO: The current war causes nothing but loss for Japanese people. Things get expensive. Everything costs a lot of money. So yes.

HAL: I would manipulate the weather. Sometimes it rains when I go to the mountains. Also, I would be considered a god in certain countries.

SHOGO:  What should I pick? It’s difficult to choose. I would make myself the strongest in the world.

HAL: But you will still have a stomach ache. 

CHISA: You can even stop the war by making people’s stomachs hurt.

RIKITO: You can achieve world peace. 

It’s all coming together. Let’s start the interview. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to interview you face to face this time. 

ACME: Thank you so much.

We would like to ask you about your new album, too, but before that, we would like to start by asking you about your US and Canada Tour this summer. This was your first time in Canada, right? What was the most memorable thing to happen during the tour? 

RIKITO: Canada was just full of incredible memories.

SHOGO: When we went to Pittsburgh, they were putting french fries on everything, even on pizza! 

CHISA:It was very delicious though (laughs). 

RIKITO: I love french fries, too. But it was like french fries on everything.

We’re glad it was delicious (laughs). Was there anything that left an impression on you during concerts as well? 

SHOGO: There was! A happy memory! The first time we, as ACME, sold out a show in Chicago. 

CHISA: Dallas… 

SHOGO: Oh, I got confused. It wasn’t Chicago, it was Dallas. 

CHISA: We were so happy that we sold out for the first time in Dallas.

That’s great. Congratulations! Did anything unexpected happen? 

HAL: The venue was outside in Austin. It was 43 degrees so it was extremely hot. During the rehearsal the computer stopped working and we couldn’t even rehearse. We started thinking how we could cool it down. When we opened the freezer in the dressing room, there were frozen hamburgers. 

CHISA:The patty of the hamburgers. 

HAL: When we put them under the computer, it started working again (laughs). Thanks to that we were able to continue with our show. The next time it gets too hot, we will look for hamburgers (laughs). 

CHISA: During the tours, at every airport we arrived at, the airport staff always asked us about our band. Because we always have a lot of instruments with us, the old ladies on the counters always ask for our Tik Tok or Instagram accounts (laughs). I can’t remember where but once a high ranking staff member came over and saw us with our usual carry on (instruments) and let us go through the procedures very quickly. 

HAL: People were making huge lines, and it was like we had a fast pass (laughs).

SHOGO: When we entered the US from Canada, there was an immigration check. There was a long queue at the security checkpoint when we went there to pass our luggages through. But when we told them about our band, they told us to quickly enter from there. Telling them about our band always worked.

CHISA: They are a lot kinder to band men than people in Japan. Sometimes in the US, we meet people who say that their acquaintances live in Japan. Sometimes  they say that they or their acquaintances like the bands or music in Japan.

RIKITO: Because we usually have a lot of baggage at the airport we try to check in at the airport early. In Japan, people are quite punctual so everybody tries to go earlier but when we did it in the US, they thanked us for going to the airport early. I was surprised that they were happy just at that.

That’s amazing. Were you able to do any sightseeing in the US and Canada?

ACME: Yes, we did a lot of sightseeing.

RIKITO: Everytime we go to the US, we go sightseeing with the fans. We also enjoy ourselves during those events.

That’s great. Did you visit a lot of new places?

ACME: We did, we did. The whole thing was amazing. 

SHOGO: The bats. We did bat watching in Austin. Also, the pizza in New York was extremely delicious.

HAL: We were shocked by how delicious it was (laughs). We ate a lot.

CHISA: We also got to visit Times Square in New York and saw the Statue of Liberty. There are probably no other bands that did a photo session at Times Square.

We also want to ask you about the food. You already talked a little about the New York pizza and french fries, but what else did you eat? Especially in Canada. It was your first time there, after all.

ACME:That! That! That! That thing was delicious!

CHISA: Poutine.

HAL: Not protein (laughs). It was delicious. Grilled fish was also really good.

CHISA: The allergies…

RIKITO: Yes, I accidentally ate some fish that I was allergic to in Toronto, so my face swole up (laughs). That was the most memorable thing for me on this tour as a bad memory.

CHISA: We also had a barbecue several times.

RIKITO: The corn was delicious.

CHISA: Later, when we went to LA for the last time, we had a lot of corn barbecues.

HAL: After a month passed, and it was for the last time, but we used butter-soy sauce flavor (laughs).

CHISA: (laughs). After all, we are used to eating barbecue always with yakiniku sauce or soy sauce in Japan. The barbeque sauce in the US is also delicious, but because there is no Japanese style of sauce in the US, we ended up craving it even more (laughs). So we tried mixing the Korean barbeque sauce with soy sauce to create the same flavor (laughs).

(laughs). How did it go? Were you successful?

CHISA: They had soy sauce in LA so we somehow managed.

HAL: Shrimp was so delicious. When we went to a restaurant and I couldn’t decide what to eat, I always chose the shrimp and never regretted it. So far at least. In Japan, the shrimp are often smelly and not very delicious, but in the US it’s never been bad. 

CHISA: Yes, exactly. Like the chicken there can be a bit overcooked and dry for the Japanese taste, but shrimp were always good.

HAL: They are good at cooking shrimp.

We would like to ask this question to CHISA. During the tour you wore red high heels, didn’t you? After that you also wore them during the tour in Japan. 

CHISA: I did, I have been wearing them ever since. 

How was it? Was it difficult to perform in high heels?

CHISA: I got used to it. But I was wearing higher heels during the photoshoot. It would be impossible to perform with those.

HAL: Ah, so it wasn’t a mistake. You weren’t in a hurry and accidentally wore your mother’s shoes, and those were the only ones you had with you (laughs).

CHISA: A staff member in the US said something like “Since you will do it anyway, I will buy you some shoes on AMAZON, so please wear them.” I tried for a bit to see if those shoes would work, and surprisingly I was able to do it. So I just continued wearing them.

They look very cool on you! How were the fans’ reactions?

CHISA: Pretty well. I feel like they became a symbol for me. There probably aren’t many bands that wear red high heels while making this kind of music. So, in that sense, I think I stood out. 

We agree. So, how did you decide to wear them in the first place?

CHISA: Actually, I had a lot of meetings with the designer who made the costumes. And, I, myself, was getting a little tired of the usual costumes and wanted to do something different. It was decided like that. 

I see. Going back to your US Tour, your merchandise released for this tour was so creative. We especially love the cassette shaped USB stick that included 10 of your songs because it has a very nostalgic feeling. How did you come up with this idea?

SHOGO: When we started talking about releasing a new album in the first place, we talked about a lot of different things, like whether it should be a paper jacket or a plastic one. During those discussions, the cassette shaped USB stick idea came up (laughs). So we looked at the material and decided we wanted to go that way. 

CHISA: We wanted to do something special for the US Tour and we decided to go with that one.

It’s also on sale in Japan, isn’t it?

CHISA: But it’s sold out already.

RIKITO: There is almost none left. It’s pretty much sold out.

SHOGO: It sold quite well.

RIKITO: It did. Even in the US. I think because it was something unique, a lot of people purchased it. 

I see. You will also start a tour in Japan in November, right? In the upcoming Japan Tour, you will be visiting places that you haven’t had a chance to visit in a while. What do you look forward to the most? 

CHISA: Of course I’m looking forward to the concerts. And other than the concerts, it will be like a first come first serve answer–

RIKITO: It’s okay. I don’t mind going last.

CHISA: Is it okay? For me, it’s Sapporo. When was the last time we went to Sapporo?

RIKITO: It’s been so long.

SHOGO: When we were doing a two man show as CHISA & SHOGO. We haven’t been to Sapporo for a long time. It has been 3 years, I think? 

CHISA:  There are so many delicious foods in Sapporo: sushi, miso ramen etc. I’m really looking forward to it.

You will also do a fan meeting in Sapporo, won’t you?

CHISA: Yes, only Sapporo doesn’t have a second part (talk show), so we will do it in another venue the next day. Also, Sapporo beer is very delicious, too.

HAL: Ahh, it is delicious. The meat is also good.

CHISA: Yes. I’m looking forward to it.

HAL: As for food, since we’ll visit those places I want to try and eat the local food there. Hiroshima okonomiyaki that has noodles in it for example. There is also momiji manju with octopus inside. It’s not delicious at all. It’s pretty bad (laughs). It’s interesting though. But interestingly bad (laughs). Also, there is something called Genghis Khan caramel in Hokkaido… 

CHISA: Oh, it doesn’t taste good.

HAL: It’s  pretty bad caramel. Not delicious at all.

So, are you looking forward to it? (laughs)

ACME: (laughs) You’re making her worry.

HAL: It will be the same answer as everyone else’s but whenever we’re on the road I can see different mountains than usual. 

SHOGO: It’s not the same. It’s not the same at all (laughs).

HAL: I’m looking forward to the mountains. If I see one I haven’t seen before, I always get fascinated by them. Most of Japan is covered with mountains so it’s fun to see them. I said it on behalf of everyone (laughs). 

RIKITO: Only you look at the mountains. I want to see the rivers (laughs). We will play our new song on this tour, so I’m looking forward to that.

Other than the concerts?

RIKITO: Other than the concerts, if I have to choose one, I would say Hiroshima because it’s been a long time since we last went there. Also, I think it is always nice to go back to my hometown Osaka, or Kansai.

SHOGO: You have to say Chiba, the place you say you want to live in.

RIKITO:  Chiba is for my private time. This will be our first time in Chiba, right? We’ve never played there as ACME.​​ I’m looking forward to it for that reason also. 

SHOGO: I’m looking forward to Chiba where we have never played before. Of course, people from the Kanto region would come to our show. Since it’s our first time there, I hope that people who live in Chiba and don’t go to Tokyo often will also come to see us. That’s why I’m looking forward to going to Chiba.

Also, you live streamed some of your concerts before for your overseas fans. Are you planning to have live streaming for your performances during this tour as well?

CHISA: Actually, we haven’t done a lot of live streamings for our one man shows. We only did them on days we randomly thought “let’s do it.”

RIKITO: If anything, we took the videos during concerts, and played them on YouTube the next day when we received requests from the fans. But we haven’t done many live stream concerts. 

CHISA: It’s a little difficult these days. Since we are able to do concerts again, if we have live streams for the concerts as well, for example, fans from Tokyo that initially decide to attend many shows in different cities might decide to watch the live streams instead. This is one of my concerns. I think overseas fans also want to watch them, so maybe we will live stream just the finale. I hope we can arrange something for the future. 

I see. We’ll change the topic from live streaming to touring again. When you’re touring, who always packs too much and who packs not enough or forgets something important?

SHOGO: I’m the only one that forgets stuff. I even forgot my costume once.

HAL: He once did a concert with the t-shirt I lent him (laughs).

SHOGO: I borrowed his t-shirt, and I wore it while HAL wore the hoodie from ROTTEN ORANGE.

RIKITO: The one with the least amount of luggage is probably SHOGO.

SHOGO: Yes! I pack the lightest.

RIKITO: It’s like “did you really come here just with that?”

SHOGO: Even though we are going all the way to Fukuoka, I just have something like this (points to a small backpack) (laughs).

HAL:  But you do forget things (laughs).

SHOGO: Of course excluding the instruments and stuff, just counting my usual baggage.

CHISA: Everyone is used to doing tours so everyone takes just what they need. Nobody packs anything unnecessary. After all, we also often go to the US so everyone is very good at packing.

Next, we would like to ask you about your new album. We listened to your new song RESISTED TEMPTATION. It’s an amazing song that combines melodic parts and heavy beats, and CHISA’s growling is as impressive as ever. Could you tell us a bit about the production process of this song as well as the feeling behind it?

RIKITO: To start with, the original song is prepared by HAL. He is the one who wrote the lyrics and made the demo track.

HAL: I wrote the lyrics first, then asked the members to make it sound cooler (laughs). We arranged it together, discussing this or that would sound better. So it became cool like this (laughs).

It’s definitely cool (laughs). We also would like to ask you about the feeling behind the song.

RIKITO: It took us a really long time to complete RESISTED TEMPTATION. We even thought it could be better not to release it during the recording session because we couldn’t agree on anything.

CHISA: Everyone had their own particularities about what they wanted to do with the song. But the details were so small, we all lost track of what was right or what our goal was, including our engineers. But we did it at the last minute and we even extended the studio time, but we completed it. So please listen to it many times. 

SHOGO: It became a song with a lot of feelings and with a lot of details in it.

I see. The lyrics also seem very deep. Could you tell us a bit about the lyrics as well?

HAL: I wrote the lyrics, and I’ll talk about mountains again (laughs). I have been hiking a lot lately. Once, I took a long time hiking, the sun set and it got dark. I had to walk back in the dark. I had a headlight but I could only see the ground around my feet and it was scary. But if I had stopped there, there might have been wolves, you know, or bears. There are animals, it’s pitch black, there is no moonlight and it’s cold. I thought I was going to die so I kept walking. Even though it was dangerous, and some places were very narrow so I could see the real HEAVEN’S DOOR right there (laughs).  It’s like, this way leads to HEAVEN’S DOOR so let’s take the other path (laugh). As I kept walking, I thought that in daily life, we don’t really worry about fighting for our lives or trying not to die. That’s how the song was born. But I wrote the lyrics by including thoughts such as “would it be easier to give in to the temptation?”

Since we are talking about temptation, I think everyone has a guilty pleasure. What is your guilty pleasure?

HAL: Ah that thing? Double dipping the kushikatsu. Even though it’s prohibited. Kushikatsu is a type of katsu on a skew with fried pork etc. There is also a red bean paste sauce, and when you eat it, you cannot dip it in the sauce twice because it gets dirty. That’s why there is a sign on it that says double dipping is prohibited. But my temptation is to double dip it (laughs). But I guess that’s not the kind of thing you asked (laughs).

That’s perfectly okay (laughs).

SHOGO: For me, it is eating right before I go to bed when I get hungry. It’s the best. I can fall asleep right away after that. It’s fattening though.

RIKITO: I mostly have food related temptations.

CHISA: Recently, I keep giving into the temptation, so I keep gaining weight. Also, anime and drama. Recently, Amazon Prime and Netflix release one whole season at once so watching a little before going to sleep won’t hurt, right? Just one episode then sleep. But it ends on a cliffhanger so I think that I’ll just watch one more episode and before I realize, it is 3 o’clock. I can’t resist that kind of temptation.

RIKITO: It’s internet shopping. I keep buying things like everyday necessities.

CHISA: What do you buy? (laughs)

RIKITO: Detergent.

CHISA: I know right?!!

RIKITO: The normal size refill detergent bags should be enough but when I search for them, there are like three times sizes. Well, then I should just buy the three refill sized ones, but then I want to buy two of them (laughs). That kind of temptation (laughs).

HAL: Can I say one more? I just remembered one more. I have dinner, then drink some alcohol and just lie down a little. But then I fall asleep like that (laughs). Before I can even change my clothes or brush my teeth. I just intend to lie down for a second, then fall asleep (laughs). Sorry, I really wanted to share that (laughs).

Thank you (laughs). Going back to your new song, what is your favorite part in the song?

HAL: I was particular about this until the very end of the last mix, but after the tempo slows down to a breakdown, there is a part that slowly goes “dong tan tan”. The bang of the bass drum took a long time to mix. I asked the engineer to make the sound stronger (laughs). It is the engineer’s job to create a good balance but I told him that he can even erase all the other sounds as long as the bass drum sound is audible. Because that part is after you already lost to the temptation. It’s such a zone. I think you will understand what I mean if you listen to that bass drum part.

CHISA: It’s the feeling right before the song goes into that slow part.

HAL: It’s kinda like your stomach gets upset on the train and you fight the urge to throw up, but the moment you can’t hold it anymore is that baaaam part (laughs). It feels like that (laughs).

RIKITO: Regarding the sound of the new song, the bass sound has been distorted to a degree that we’ve never done before, so that’s a part that we were very particular about.

SHOGO: The last part I think. The tuning of the guitar gets low.

RIKITO: The lowest ever.

SHOGO: It feels like the real thing (laughs). It was all a long warm up until there (laughs).

We also want to ask you about your new album. There are a lot of songs with lyrics about not giving up, persisting through the pain etc. in many songs like HEAVEN’S DOOR, RE:, RESISTED TEMPTATIONS and WALK. How did you come up with these lyrics? Did you draw upon your experience with hardships during your history as ACME? 

 HAL: It’s about the mountains again (laughs). I wrote the lyrics for HEAVEN’S DOOR and this song. I usually think about various things as I’m walking so I think the mountain related content is increasing. I think climbing and hiking have something in common with life. If you keep walking, you’ll definitely get somewhere. If you look over there from where you are right now, you might think that it’s too far away and it’s impossible to get there, but taking just one step ahead isn’t so difficult. But if you keep taking those steps, someday you will definitely reach the place you thought was so far away. I think it’s a good aspect of the mountains. The band doesn’t go that well (laughs). Because we get pulled into different directions (laughs).

We were just going to ask you about the band, too. What was the most difficult thing for you as ACME to go through in these last 5 years?

HAL: Well, there was a period when our bass player, RIKITO, was gone for half a year because he was sick. There was a time when only the three of us ended up doing the concerts for half a year. At that time we were desperately trying to finish up the concerts somehow and we were so fired up. We were like “Let’s do this!” before the concerts (laughs). When we played after the bands with 6 members, like BLUEBILLION, the stage seemed even bigger because there were so few of us on it. It’s amazing that we got through that and now can play as 4 again. I’m really happy about it. Even now, as we get to perform in a lot of places, and even abroad. We didn’t think we could do it when we were just 3, so I’m really happy. 

CHISA: There were a lot of small things like the computer stopped working because it was too hot, or the equipment we asked for wasn’t prepared etc. But, strangely enough, being together with these members and staff members makes me think that we can always find a way. Even when our car stopped working or broke down during the tour, somehow it worked out. It might be because during those times, nobody, including myself, said things like we can’t do this anymore. Maybe that’s why we are still able to keep going. When our car got broken into in Seattle and all of our equipment and goods were stolen, we were of course shocked, but we still felt like we could do something about it. Even during times of great difficulty, we feel like we can still handle it. That day, we were thinking about taking photos of the broken windows and making it into t-shirts (laughs). Like when we cooled down the computers using the hamburger meat (laughs). Out of nowhere, somebody always thinks of a solution for sure and it goes well. There really aren’t many times when we wanted to give up. In these 5 years, even when we were just 3, we always thought we had to keep going (laughs). It was like “let’s have a drink first, then let’s go” (laughs). I think this is the secret to being able to continue for five years. 

SHOGO: The only hopeless situation was when we couldn’t celebrate our 3rd and 4th anniversaries  because of COVID. We had to postpone or couldn’t do our concerts. That’s the only time.

HAL:  What was even more hopeless than that: after going to Sendai I couldn’t eat gyūtan (grilled beef tongue) because it was a Sunday. Nothing could be done. It was like please open your shop for me (laughs). That’s why we are going back to Sendai in the upcoming tour (laughs).

On the contrary, what was the happiest thing that happened in the last 5 years? I’m sure there are a lot, but what was the number one for you?

CHISA: Lately we couldn’t perform much in Japan and even now we are not able to do the concerts in Japan the way we used to do. That’s why, in any media, our US Tour becomes the topic. I feel a bit sorry for our Japanese fans but what makes me happy is that there are people who are listening to our music and who are waiting for us in places we’ve never even been before. We were able to do a one man show in New York this year. I had heard that people from New York might be a little colder than people in LA or Texas but that wasn’t the case at all, a lot of people came to see us. I’m happy about that. In Japan, in the US, and everywhere else, it’s having these opportunities that makes us want to do more. 

SHOGO: The number one thing for me is being able to go to the places that I have never been before. Like when we went to Canada for the first time, in Toronto. I was thinking that the Major League took place there recently. But it’s amazing that we went to a different country and so many people came to see us. I was surprised.

HAL: When I think about my goal in making music, I have always had the desire to have as many people as possible listen to the music I and my friends make. Now, not only in Japan, not even only the US, a lot of people from various countries are listening to our music. Even more so, there are people who are waiting for us in the countries we visited for the first time. I think nothing can match that happiness. If I didn’t make my life through music, I would be spending all day making screws and metal, then going home and having a wife that complains “despite your low salary, all you do is get hungry” (laughs). I think I have a much happier life now compared to that (laughs). I’m able to go to a lot of places with my friends, and make some noise.

So, are there any other new places you definitely want to visit next?

CHISA: There are a lot. With the current ACME, the most likely place we can visit in the near future seems to be South America or England. 

HAL: I agree. In England, they did a DJ event with ACME as the main theme so I thought we should definitely go there. 

CHISA: I wonder if we can visit all of America since we went to Texas already. I mean we even visited Canada after all.

SHOGO: Isn’t Costa Rica in between there? It is above Mexico, I think. Going to South America, there is a small country that is Costa Rica. I’m interested in that place because there are sloths (laughs). I really want to go to Las Vegas. Either Las Vegas or Shiga. Because our Shiga show got canceled. We were planning to go there, but it got canceled once because of a typhoon or something, then got canceled again because of COVID so it was canceled 2 or 3 times. Even though we said we would do it, we still haven’t so it’s Shiga or Las Vegas.

RIKITO: Brazil. I want to fish in the Amazon River.

= TO BE CONTINUED =

Interview: Gamze, Chris
Translation: Gamze
English Edit: Franzi

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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!

One thought on “Band IN: ACME Part 1 (Dec 2022)

  1. Thank you for the interview! I look forward to the next part 🙂 I hope the band are able to come to England some day. Their tour dates in Japan sadly didn’t line up with the dates I was there.

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