Justin’s Japan: Interview with Kaoru and Die of Dir En Grey on the Band’s ‘Dum Spiro Spero’ Tour

Die of Dir En Grey: "Things that we took for granted before now feel more important than ever. We now venture forth into every single day, every new encounter, every concert we play, with everything we have." (Courtesy of MSO PR)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his page here for related stories.

Dir En Grey’s latest album is called Dum Spiro Spero, a Latin phrase meaning “While I breathe, I hope.” Hope is hard to associate with this murky Osaka quintet, whose previous numbers include “Child Prey,” “Repetition of Hatred” and “Agitated Screams of Maggots.”

But if killing is their business, then business is booming. Fresh from dates in South America and Mexico, the group is touring the U.S. and Canada through Dec. 23, with a high profile gig at New York’s Irving Plaza on Monday (Dec. 12). In this exclusive interview, I caught up with guitarists Kaoru and Die to discuss their sizable worldwide fanbase, scorning their government after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and their thoughts on the current protest movements in America.

he cover art of Dum Spiro Spero is said to represent Tara, the Mother of Liberation in Tibetan Buddhism. What was the inspiration for this?

Kaoru: The original idea had nothing to do with Tibetan Buddhism, to be honest. We simply wanted to capture something real and raw and decided to go with a photograph instead of the usual graphics and came up with the current cover.

Dir En Grey has gained a big audience around the world without having to write songs that rely on “pop” sounds or even English.  What do you think is the reason for that?

Kaoru: I think the fact that we are not mainstream is why we appeal to the core fans.

Dir En Grey has been called a band in its own genre. How would you describe the style of your music at this point?

Kaoru: What we try to depict through our music comes from all the negative and unsightly parts of a human being.

For the complete interview, click here.