DIRENGREY INTERVIEW 2011 with VerdamMnis Magazine in France

« Dum Spiro Spero » has just been released. How long did it take you to write and record it ?
Die : Much time, over a year. The writing and recording process started after we did the
Budokan show in Japan on January 2010. However, during that period we did touring in
Japan as well, so I don't think we've kept any kind of precise schedule. I mean, we weren't
recording the whole time, but we were working and creating constantly. It took us quite
some time to complete it because we don't like to rush. A song can take from a month to a
year to complete. We finished it a couple of months ago.

The title of the album is a latin proverb that means « While I breathe, I hope ». Is it related to
the current climate in Japan after what happened on March 11th, 2011?
Shinya : We decided on this title after what happened in Japan so we might have been
influenced by it mentally. Nevertheless, we do not want to push people to a particular
meaning. Take it as you like, yours is ours !

There’s something new musically and vocally on every album. Is it intentional or does it come
naturally ?
Die : It's kind of a mixture of both : It's natural and intentional at the same time. We are
always eager to create something new so as to improve ourselves and not to get bored.
However, we don't try to be something we are not. I mean, we just did our best to convey
musically what was in our hearts, what we wanted to say at that moment in time. We weren’t
that concerned by the idea of changes, the ideas come as they do. What we really focussed on
was the quality of the sound. From this point, we branched out and expanded our horizons,
then we tried to portray them in the foundation of the music. Our process has always been to
grasp at various things and turn what we sense into sound and this comes naturally.

« Dum Spiro Spero » is pretty dense and diverse. As for me, it is the obvious yet darker
continuation of « Uroboros ». How would you describe it compared to your previous work ?
Shinya :  After « Uroboros », we decided to wait quite some time before working on the
new one to get over it in order to create something even more special and unique. On the
new album, the songs are a bit stronger and deeper than we did on our previous work. I think
« Dum Spriro Spero » goes beyond « Uroboros ».
Die : Like you said Mandah, it's much more diverse and gloomier. I totally agree with that.
All the songs were created with seven-string guitars, that is why we have heavier and darker
soundings on the new album. There are more harmony parts and solos which add color
viriancy to the guitar parts. « Dum Spiro Spero » is probably more guitar-oriented than «
Uroboros » and definitely much more wider musically-speaking.

The album opens with « Kyoukotsu no Nari », a spine-chilling instrumental track. The intros
of your albums always offer an accurate insight of the sound and atmosphere of the whole. Do
you write the intro of the album you're working on prior to the other songs so as to lead you
or do you write it once every song is done ? 
Die :  Hum... Interesting. There was no vision for the album as a whole to start with, we tried
to focus on making one song at a time and ultimately end-up with a complete image. «
Kyoukotsu No Nari » was made during the last part of the recording. We made « The
Blossoming Beelzebub », the first song of the album, almost at the same time to get a logical
and coherent combination. Actually, we changed the arrangements of « The Blossoming
Beelzebub » a little bit afterwards because we wanted it to sound more suitable with «
Kyoukotsu No Nari ». We don't have any particular agenda in the writing of the opening
songs but it's very true to say that those songs are special to us and that we focus on them.

The bonus track « Rasetsukoku » is a re-recording of the original song found on your 2000
album « Macabre ». This is something you've done in the past with « Hydra », « Zan » for
examples.  How do you choose the songs you re-record and why ?
Shinya : This time around, we decided to re-record « Rasetsukoku » because we know that
it's a very important song for the live-performances, not only in Japan but overseas as well.
The fans get wild when we play it, so we really wanted to re-write it to play it on this tour.
We just wanted to refresh it for both, the fans and ourselves. 

What has been your biggest challenge in the recording of the new album ?
Die : The most challenging part of the making of the album was probably the mixing
( Mixing engineer : Tue Madsen ) and the mastering process ( Mastering engineer : Alan
Douches ). As for the mastering part, we wanted our sounding to be as perfect as possible, I
mean as we wanted it, but since we called upon a western guy for it, it was pretty hard to
discuss it through the Internet. This is something that'd better be done in person. It was very
complicated to exchange ideas, assemble the pieces and make sure we would have what we
wanted. The mastering process was definitely the most challenging step of the recording.

I guess the artcover represents Tarani Bosatsu ( Tara ), the "Mother of Liberation" in Tibetan
Buddhism. Can you tell us more about it ?
Shinya : Woah ! The album cover is not particulary based on religion. For « Dum Spiro
Spero », we wanted a spiritual symbol that everybody can relate to, that can speak to everyone
more precisely. We also wanted something different from our previous artworks. Yoda Koji
designed it. We've been working with him for years. 

« Dum Spiro Spero »'s artwork and title refer to hope and life while its content - the music and
lyrics - evokes quite the opposite. Was this made on purpose ?
Die : This contradiction was not really intentional. « Hope » is definitely a key-word for the
album and especially for the art-cover. We've been discussing it a lot. The scenery of the
bamboos is very meaningful. The bamboo conveys the idea of sacredness and serenity yet on
the art-cover the wood of bamboos is dark and invasive. The light coming from the
enlightenment-being ( Tarani Bosatsu ) conveys the idea of spirituality and life. Ultimately, it
means to keep faith and hope alive even though you are living the worst : While I breath, I
hope. We've been talking about it a lot... How the light shines on the bamboos and so on.
As for the content of the album, it's the exact same thing. Like you said, the most part of the
music is dark and heavy but the melodies enlighten the whole. If it makes you questioning, it's
great. Do we have hope or not ? It's meaningful.

I get it, interesting. The « Lotus » also conveys the values and ideas you described.
Die : Exactly.

As for you, what is the greatest strenght of DIR EN GREY ( compared to the other bands ) ?
Die : Hum... It's hard to tell because we don't look at the other bands ( laughs ). But as for
me, I think that we have the courage to do what the others are scared to. I mean, musically
we go beyond the format established elsewhere. Our visuals and videos are meticulous,
outrageous and grotesque. The whole identity of the band is unique. This is our strenght. We
motivate each other, the idea is to grow together, develop together, and continue to inspire
each other with what we each bring to the band. It's definitely a plus. Also, most of the bands
try to be friendly to the people, to the media ; this is not our case. We are not here to please
anybody and we have the courage to do what we want to do in every level.

                                                       Mandah Frénot

Source From:http://www.verdammnis.com/interviews.php?id=64

(Die)作為專輯序曲的「狂骨の鳴り」其實是在整個錄音過程接近尾聲的時候才完成。「The Blossoming Beelzebub」也為了與