In Attendance

G.L.A.M.S. in Paris

G.L.A.M.S. performed in Paris at l’International on February, 29 2020, before concerts and tours around the world were put on hold, and we caught the show and had a chat.

Last winter, Mikaru and his group G.L.A.M.S. were back in France and more specifically in Paris as part of his European tour and the promotion of their fourth mini-album, Twilight After the Rain. Still unknown for some, G.L.A.M.S. is actually not new to the Japanese and international rock music scene. Formed by Mikaru and several ex-members of Dio and Black Line, the band could have chosen like many other Japanese rock groups to opt for local glory and not risk an international career in a musical field today way less renowned than it used to be. But Mikaru, band’s leader and mastermind, remained faithful to his artistic philosophy, even if he has to give up on fame.

Photos by Paul Chagnon.

A singer and songwriter from Tokyo, Japan, Mikaru is mainly known as the leader and vocalist of his ex-bands and projects Distraught Overload (Dio) and Black Line. After a stupendous debut with Dio in 2006, he performed for the first time in Paris in 2007 at Japan Expo. The band quickly became one of the leading visual kei internationally and remained as such until their final show in 2009. After their disbandment, Mikaru and Denka (drums) created a new project entitled Black Line. which gave him the opportunity to express his artistic fiber as a graphic designer. The band didn’t last and gave path to G.L.A.M.S. in 2013, that actually debuted as a multidisciplinary at Paris 7 Days art exhibition where Mikaru introduced his paintings along a music show. Composed of Denka (now Syu), Yudai (ex-Black Line), Erina (ex-Dio), and Tetsuto, G.L.A.M.S. made a name for itself and has toured not only in Europe but also in Latin America in 2014/2015.

On February 29, 2020 we had the great opportunity to attend the show and its after-show meet and greet organized by Uknight, TSC Records, and ReaLive, at l’International where G.L.A.M.S performed along Alex Skydda, the Japanese duo Libation, and a DJ set Le Tohu Bohu.

The 2000s generation may already know you thanks to Dio (Distraught Overload) and then Black Line but it’s probably time to summary your latest projects at every level. How have you been lately? How did you experience the transition from Dio to your next projects?
Mikaru : As you know, I am from the world of darkness. It means that my body gradually adapted to this human world.

What does it mean to you to go from a band to a solo project? What are the pros and cons of solo projects? Do you regret not being in a band anymore?
M : The word regret does not exist in my dictionary. Pros: I can freely create my world. Cons: None!

What are the main differences between the Mikaru we knew at that era and the one you are today?
M : There is essentially no difference. I will never change. It’s just that the way of expression is different from the past. In that respect, it is much better now.

You’re not only a singer but also a visual artist who is fond of photography. What or who are your main inspirations as a visual artist these last months? Why do you particularly like photography?
M : I consider myself part of the art work. I mean, I use myself to find out what I can create. It’s a way to entertain you at times other than the show.

And as a singer, what are your main inspirations in life, culture, philosophy etc.?
M : For me, life is a show. I always stand on the stage. Always. I’m not a man, I’m not a human, I’m a theater called Mikaru.

What is your definition of art (all forms of art) by the way?
M : It’s what I think is beautiful or not.

Could you tell us more about your academic experience? Has it been related to art? How impactful or insignificant has it been on your art today?
M : Since I was a kid I loved drawing and singing. I won an award at the painting competition. I also won an award in the photo contest. But I have never studied them. All are solely my intuition.

Since you design jewels. If you could be a jewel, what would you be and why?
M : Diamond. Diamonds captivate and drive people crazy. I want to be such an existence.

Can you tell us where to find your creations?
M : g-l-a-m-s.com This is my website. I want you to touch my work and enjoy my world.

Is visual kei still in fashion in Japan? What are the main differences between visual kei in Japan and visual kei every elsewhere?
M : I don’t know about visual kei in other countries. I’m not familiar with Japanese visuals kei. But I think it’s becoming less popular. Times change. If Dio hadn’t stopped… well… I think it would have been fun.

It is quite common to hear that dark art is the actual responsible for psychological disruption. What is your own opinion on it?
M : It may be. Everyone is lonely.

Let’s go back to music. Have you ever considered to remix some of your tracks with G.L.A.M.S.?
M : Not for now. It’s more exciting to write a brand new song if you have the time to.

Do you have any concepts for photoshoots or albums that you’re dying to try out in the future?
M : I have many ideas in my head. It’s countless. But it’s a secret. I hope you look forward to it.

If you could collaborate with other artists, non-music artists included, who would it be?
M : John Lennon and Marilyn Manson. John, he took me to the world of music. Manson, he took me to the visual kei world.

We generally observe the aesthetics imagery of your music and photos. However, we don’t necessarily know the serious message behind each of them. What are the main topics you deal with? What are you trying to communicate?
M : When you want to feel better, when you feel calm, when you are with your lover or family, and when you are lonely. I would be happy if my music and paintings could be with you at that time. I can be a part of your life.

Visit g-l-a-m-s.com for more and see more of Paul Chagnon’s photographs on Instagram @paulchagnon_. To read more, check out more In Attendance articles.

Demona Lauren
Demona Lauren is a contributor for Auxiliary.

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