ROCKet from Australia – Ninezero Interview- .
1)Thank you for your time Ninezero. How do you feel about being interviewed from Chile to the world?
Ninezero :It’s awesome! I’ve always had an interest in Chile because I had some friends from Chile in my high school. It’s a place that I want to visit someday. I’m happy that you are interested in my music.
2) What do an Australian in the farthest part of the world?
Ninezero : That’s a good question. I never had an interest in Japan until I visited Japan in 1998. After going there and seeing how beautiful and unique the place is, I couldn’t get enough of it. After coming back to Australia, I started saving some money so that I could live there for a few years. Now, that few years has turned into 16 years. I can’t believe it. I guess another reason for coming here is that the music scene in Australia is really isolated. Australia is so far away from the rest of the world, so it’s difficult to make an international career there. I do a lot of songwriting for games from international companies in Japan, such as GuitarFreaks and DrumMania, TV commercials and some Playstation games. This is something that I couldn’t have done if I were living in Australia .
3) Since what year you’re active in the world of music ?
Ninezero :My first concert was when I was 6. I sang at my school’s festival. I was hooked! I loved the feeling of people smiling and singing along with me. When I entered high school, I went on to sing in the school choir and we performed all over Sydney, including a TV commercial. Then, I moved onto singing in musicals when I was 13. It was also awesome to sing and dance and try to remember words to lines. I did this for about 3 years. After that, I got into hard rock and heavy metal. Then, I wanted to be in a rock band. Rock felt so powerful and rebellious. It really energized me. Soon after that, I arrived in Japan.
4) Before Nine Zero what was your musical activity?
Ninezero : My first band in Japan was called Raiden. We made songs about Japanese culture. It was fun. We released a mini album and it got good reviews in Burrn Magazine. After that, I concentrated on my solo career and working as a studio musician more and more.
5) What can you tell us about the musical reality of Australia? Some bands we should know?
Many of the big bands that made it overseas left Australia to be based in other countries. I did the same. Australia is so far away from the rest of the world and the market is small. This has nothing to do with quality. In my opinion, some of the best bands in the world are from Australia. I recommend you check out: The Screaming Jets , Hoodoo Gurus , INXS , Midnight Oil , Rose Tattoo , Cold Chisel , Jimmy Barnes , The Angels and of course, ACDC . Australian artists really know how to make songs feel fresh and lively. Whenever I listen to rock from Australia, I feel like I want to have a barbecue and party with my friends.
6) Before you eradicated in Japan you had had any previous contact as
a fan or as a musician?
Ninezero : Before coming to Japan I didn’t have any contacts with Japanese musicians or fans. I jumped into the deep end! I had to do everything by myself. It took years and years before my hard work started to pay off. Some of it was luck too. For example, playing at a show and meeting someone. Then, that someone turns out to know someone else, and it just snowballs. The most important thing is to be friendly at shows, talk to people and build your contacts. I always try to be a kind crazy metal singer. Talking to and respecting fans is important. They paid their hard earned money to come and see a show, so you have to give them more than they expect. You need to make react somehow. If they react by putting their fists in the air, that’s cool. If they react by leaving the show and going home, that’s
7) How do you remember your foray into the world of Japanese industry? When you change your way of seeing things?
Ninezero : I guess it happened slowly, not fast. I used to play shows constantly when I was in Raiden and in my solo band. This was important to build brand awareness and build contacts. The first thing that amazed me was how dedicated Japanese are to music. I was truly impressed with how much Japanese enjoy music in their lives. The fans always support you. They are open to listening to new music. It is hard trying to make a living through music in Japan. It’s even harder being a foreigner. Each success was also followed with a downer. You have to keep on trying and never give up. Even this year has had its up and downs. It’s just a part of life.
8) What do you think of being called a gaijin in Japan?
It’s just a word. Racism in Japan is not as aggressive or noticeable as it is in Australia. Racism is present in every culture, so once you realize that, it’s just a part of life. Sure it has restricted me from doing some things here, but by being a foreigner, it has also opened new doors. It’s all about pushing it aside and just doing your best on the stage. I have many tattoos too. Tattoos are taboo in Japan. However, overall, the Japanese people are very polite and keep to themselves most of the time. I respect Japanese a lot for that.
9) About your collaboration with Japanese companies, which has been the one that has most enjoyed?
Ninezero : They’ve all been great and super professional. I think the one that I’ve enjoyed working with the most is Music Network Corporation. They make a free monthly music magazine. I’ve worked with the president of MNC a lot, Mr. Mitani, so we have developed a good relationship. They are also the publisher of my own Rockstar English book series. I always enjoy working on new projects with them. He’s the guitarist in Blood Sabbath, so we have many projects together.
10) Who are the support members of Ninezero? Is a studio project or have also played live?
Ninezero : Ninezero is my stage name. I used to have a solo band, but I stopped that and now I’m in three bands. Maziora The Band, Kick Star Babies and Blood Sabbath. The members in Maziora The Band are Kentaro (Gargoyle) , Yoshihito Onda (Judy & Mary, Zamza, Presence) and Himawari (Dustar-3, Sex Machineguns).
11) How you met the members of MAZIORA BAND?
Ninezero : I was friends with Himawari for many years before Maziora The Band were formed. We used to hang-out a lot in Shinjuku and go drinking. One night, we talked about playing together in a band. This turned into Maziora The Band. He introduced me to Kentaro and Yoshihito. Now we are get along really well. I often go to a beer garden with Kentaro. Kentaro and I also play shows together and have a joint partnership making songs for game companies.
12) How was your collaboration with Kenjiro Murai?
Ninezero : That was an awesome job. He wanted a singer for a song on his bass guitar tutorial book. I enjoyed screaming on the song. We also play a show together every year or two for his birthday. He’s a really nice guy. I respect his talents a lot and we often hang-out together too.
13) You could tell us about the members and activities times of the following musical projects Kenzero, BLOOD SABBATH, KICK STAR ★ BABIES?
Ninezero : Kenzero is a project that Kentaro and I started a few years ago. We wanted to provide a composition service to game companies. It’s a lot of fun making songs for games that kids will enjoy for many more years to come. We have made some really good compositions in this project, but I can’t say the titles of the games until they are released.
Blood Sabbath asked me to sing for them a few years ago after the big earthquake in 2011. They needed a singer to play at a concert in Fukushima. The show was to get support to stop the country using nuclear power. After that, I started playing with them regularly. Now, we have a recording on an awesome charity CD, The Great Lefty. A dedication to Tony Iommi.
The members of Kick Star Babies played with me in my solo band a few years ago, so I thought it would be cool to start a new band with them. The music we play is fun and it’s party rock n’ roll. We are planning to start recording for our first CD from this fall.
14) What could you tell us about your company ZERO PRODUCTIONS ENTERTAINMENT?
Ninezero : I started this company to provide composition services to game companies. I am also making my English education book series, teaching English to Japanese. The Rockstar English series aims to teach English with music as an overall theme. The books are not about music. The books teach English conversation. They cover a variety of topics that Japanese are interested in. It’s a really fun project and it keeps me busy.
15) Do you feel like you’ve done everything you’ve wanted as a musician?
Ninezero :Not at all. One project I would like to do is make music for children. I had a little boy in 2014, so I want to make some educational songs for children. I’d also like to make a band that sings only in Japanese. This would be a great challenge for me, because up until now, I’ve only ever sung in English.
16) What could you tell us about musical tastes and hobbies?
Ninezero : I’m into all kinds of music. Sometimes I listen to classical, sometimes pop, sometimes soul etc. It depends on my mood. When I’m really tired, I love listening to Pink Floyd . When I’m working, I listen to classical music. When I’m on tour, I listen to some Australian artists, like The Screaming Jets and The Poor . Music really is emotional, so the type of music I listen to changes depending on my emotion.
17) What do you think the future of Japanese music in the West? any criticism to do?
Ninezero : One thing that Japanese artists need to do is sing in English. It’s the only way they can truly make it big overseas. Most Japanese music is still only made for the domestic market. I hope that the Olympics will change this. I hope that my English book series can help artists learn English and they can write cool lyrics to their songs.
18) What are the plans for 2015?
This year, my main focus in finishing my English book series. This has taken more than 2 years to make and it’s almost finished. I’ll be releasing the remaining books this year and early next year. Unfortunately, at this stage, the book series is only available on Amazon in Japan. However, if there is an interest in Chile to learn English from my books, then I might make it available to international fans. The books are specially made to Japanese fans, but it’s also a great way for people from other countries to learn something about Japan too, because there is a lot of local cultural references.
That said, I’ll also be rocking on stage with my bands. Maziora The Band has some really good gigs lined up for the remainder of this year and we’re thinking about our third album. Kick Star Babies will enter the studio and begin work on our first album. Blood Sabbath might make an original debut album too. It looks like it will be a busy year, but I love being busy. Busy rockin!
19) Do you have a message for your readers to end this interview?
Ninezero :I’d like to thank the people of Chile for reading this interview and I hope that you can enjoy my music and future book releases. No matter what country people come from, music unites us. We are one family under the house of rock! Stay metal!
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