By Halley Bondy
August 24, 2011

Dir en Grey has been through it all. Through eight studio albums and countless tours, the fivesome continues to churn out brutal metal with seasoned vocal harmonies.
Their new album Dum Spiro Spero comes with their standard dose of darkness, but also with new tinges of avant-experimentation. Perhaps it had to do with Japan’s devastating earthquake, which overlapped the album’s conception? Better to ask the band themselves.
Their rabid, nay, bloodthirsty fanbase also launched Dir en Grey into our Artist of the Week slot on Aug. 15th, so a chat with Kaoru, Die, and Toshiya is long overdue. See what the band had to say about the quake, darkness, and tentacles.
How did your new album Dum Spiro Spero change after the earthquake in March? Did it change direction?
[Kaoru]: With regards to our state of mind, it changed after the disaster. In the midst of horrible news being broadcast daily, we wanted to finish the album as quickly as possible so we could put it out there, and for those who were waiting patiently for it we wanted to give something that allowed them to look to the future, even in a small way.
[Die]: Even we don’t really know how we changed, but we were recording in the midst of continuous aftershocks, and not knowing what Japan would be like tomorrow, so a lot of different thoughts went into this album from each band member.
[Kaoru]: Years from now Japan as a whole may be contaminated from the radiation. It may even be the case already. Amidst that we have strong resolve to do whatever we are doing to the fullest.
In an open letter you issued, you said you wondered if it was right to continue working on the album after the earthquake. What made you decide to move forward?
[Kaoru]: We did not know what was the right thing to do, and we still don’t know. However in order to answer even just one question we have to do what we can, to accomplish what we must, we felt the need to act and move forward.
[Die]: There must be fans in the areas effected by the disaster that were looking forward to our album, we were not directly effected by the disaster and if we stopped recording it would be letting those people down.
In the same letter, you criticized the Japanese government for being less than transparent about the dangers from the radiation leaks. What was it like experiencing such uncertainty about the dangers? Is this an ongoing crisis? Do you feel important health information is being suppressed?
[Die]: Even outside of the disaster effected areas in Tohoku there has been case after case of food contaminated by radiation have come out in the news. It is clearly spreading throughout Japan. We can’t say that we ourselves have not been contaminated already. Only after 2 months from the earthquake did the government announce that the Fukushima reactor had melted down on day after the initial disaster, and high doses of cesium have been found in elementary school students in the area, there have been widespread cases of negative symptoms in children, and this is also a threat to people who live, eat and raise families in areas including Tokyo as well.
The new album is more experimental than albums in the past. How did you find your way to the sound on Dun Spiro Spero? Did it take a long time?
[Kaoru]: It took a long time. We began at the start of last year but at first it was a lot of trial and error and the songs didn’t really take form. However because we started that way I think that in this album we have been able to express a world that is unique to ourselves.
What inspired the sci-fi/horror tentacle theme of the “Different Sense” video? Is there some social commentary behind it?
[Kaoru]: Whatever people feel or interpret from it is fine. However the theme is a type of fear that is particular to Japanese people, and the sense of being continuously violated by something.

You’ve said that the album ultimately holds a message of hope and yet the album itself is quite dark and chaotic. Where does the hope part come in?
[Kaoru]: To put it simply, without darkness there is no light.
[Toshiya]:It’s like Pandora’s box. Devils and chaos came out of the box, but in the end there remained in the box a small light that is hope.
How have your Japanese fans been responding to the album?
[Kaoru]: I wonder? I hope that people like it.
[Toshiya]: It is all a matter of what each person felt, so I don’t think it can be “good” or “bad.
Your fans all over the world voted you in in a huge landslide and were very vocal in the comments section. The intensity of their support was more than any of the other bands can compete with at this time. How else have they been showing their support at this time?
[Toshiya]: First, I would like to thank everyone who voted for us! I feel the best way to express our gratitude and meet their expectations is to continue to do what we do to the fullest. All our fans who have continuously supported us are the best!

You are currently on tour in support of the album. Does touring feel different this time?
[Kaoru]: It may sound far fetched, but as long as we are in Japan as it is now anything can happen, and it may get to the point that we can no longer even leave the country. We want to sense the importance of every show we do even more than before.
[Toshiya]: We have more determination and resolve than ever before.
What are your hopes for your North American tour at the end of the year?
[Kaoru]: As long as everyone is feeling and enjoying the show to the fullest, we don’t want anything else.

Source From:http://www.mtviggy.com/interviews/not-even-an-earthquake-can-topple-japans-dir-en-grey/