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D-69 Vital Stats
Kei
Kei - Vocal
Birthday: October 29
Birthplace: Tokyo
Blood type: AB
Fujiko
Fujiko - Guitar
Birthday: October 21
Birthplace: Tokyo
Blood type: B
Rocka
Rocka - Bass
Birthday: August 9
Birthplace: Kyoto
Blood type: A

PEPPERMINT song sample

Mum Live


Car Window Live


DISCOGRAPHY

BAD GIRL FRIEND (2008)


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D-69 Interview

Photo courtesy of D-69 - click for full size "Each time I just put into the music what comes out of me naturally" is how Fujiko described how he created his music. And it is a very poignantly emotional sound that comes from the three person pop-rock group, D-69. Named, of all things, after the table number of a bar they once sat at, the group's music is well grounded with lyrics from their beautiful singer Kei and a strong guiding bass from Rocka.

Their first full album, BAD GIRL FRIEND, was released this year and has proved to be a solid debut work. So spend a few minutes to listen and learn about these three musicians from Tokyo.

On December 5, 2008 the members D-69 were kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of D-69.


Photo courtesy of D-69 - click for full size How did the three of you meet?

Kei: Fujiko and I were good friends when we were students. Then 4 years ago we met Rocka at the reception after a live concert.

What made you decide to form the band?

Fujiko: Kei and I made a song together just for fun one day. Then, when we let Rocka hear that song, he really came to like it. So, Rocka said "Let's do a band together".

Were any of you in a band before D-69?

Kei - Photo courtesy of D-69 - click for full size Kei: Actually D-69 is my first band. Nonetheless, I wanted to be a vocalist since I was an elementary school student, so it's like my dream come true to be standing on the stage.

Fujiko: Before D-69 I used to play bass in many of the bands I was involved with in the past. Right now, I am also active with Fez, which I do as a solo project.

Rocka: Oh yaaah... a lot.

Where did the name come from?

Fujiko: That's a funny story. We were discussing how to name the band at a bar one day, but we couldn't find the right one. Then I just looked at the seat where we were sitting and it was printed D-6 (the Japanese pronunciation of 6 is very, very close to "rock").

So I said, "Wow, we're sitting at the rock table! Ok, D-6, that's our name!"

Later on we thought it would be better to add 9 (in Japanese we also pronounce 6 and 9 as very close to "rock"). Finally our name became D-69.

How would you describe your musical sound?

Fujiko - Photo courtesy of D-69 - click for full size Fujiko: That's a difficult question. Each time I just put into the music what comes out of me naturally. So, the completion of each form or song is naturally different from the others. The genre could be different as well.

But when Kei sings those varieties of forms what comes out is D-69`s music and it sounds like rock.

In September of this year you released your first album, BAD GIRL FRIEND. How exciting was that for you?

Fujiko: Big time! It took a whole year to complete, from the sound to design without any compromises made. I want as many people to hear it as possible.

Kei: When I was a student I used to study and create art. But this time going through the creation of the album was a completely different experience for me. I sensed something very new in my life--and that feeling has continued to be with me until now.

Rocka - Photo courtesy of D-69 - click for full size Who came up with the title?

Fujiko: Kei said, "I wanna be the girlfriend of whoever listens to this album!" I wanted to add a little taste of "rock" to that idea and so I asked, "How about Bad Girl Friend?"

So together we named the album BAD GIRL FRIEND.

How did you get hooked up with Guru Guru Records?

Fujiko: Ha ha ha! It was just an imaginary one we made up to announce our first album BAD GIRL FRIEND.

Who writes the lyrics and the music on most of the songs?

Fujiko: Kei does all the lyrics. I do all the music. First I make the music. Afterwards Kei takes over and adds the lyrics to it.

Tell us a little about how the songs were recorded.

Fujiko: D-69's recording system is pretty complicated... But let me explain.

1. Record the drum part at the studio.

2. I take that recording home and add tentative guitars, bass and synthesizer.

3. Then we take those music tracks back to the studio and record the vocals.

4. Finally we put everything together: edit the final guitar, bass and synthesizer. With all these step by step procedures it took a whole year to complete...

What's the main message of the song Sleep? What inspired it?

Kei: I was sad about my friends who had to leave music behind because of economic reasons and because they were worried about how other people looked at them. I made this song because I wanted them to cherish music as a precious gift given to them.

SLEEP

Looking at your old piano / You knew right away
A hot wind blows through our empty heads
Young people go and scatter/ It's just the seasons passing by
Our dreams
Stretch on and on

Someone's old rusted words / You're crying, come here
A strange sparkling color / That's how it looks the first time
Line after line piling on top of each other
All white and misting, I can't see a thing
Our dreams
Are so far away

Looking at your old piano / You knew right away
A hot wind blows through our empty heads
Young people go and scatter/ It's just the seasons passing by
Our dreams
Stretch on and on

Our sadness just flies away
Lu Lu Li La La
And that's how it ends

Time after every time / Trapped inside my body
Hurry up and notice / There's only one dream left
Going away faster and faster / Their guitars are singing again
We're holding on
To our dreams

When you really care, that's when it hurts
Dreams are important so leave them alone
But they still shine / And I can't escape from that day
You're riding on shooting stars
Maybe you can find your dreams at least
Our dreams
Stretch on and on

© 2008 Lyrics by Kei


Photo courtesy of D-69 - click for full size Discotheque is musically a very fun, upbeat song. How did the tune and lyrics get created?

Fujiko: I created "Disco" to be like a good oldie type. Think of the concepts: '80's - Sparkling -- Mirror ball.

Kei: I liked the 80s culture and music and I feel like they're a part of who I am. So, when Fujiko gave me this song, the melody and lyrics came right to me.

What are your favorite songs to perform live?

Kei: I think that good singers can sing any kind of songs with freshness. Up tempo music hooks the audience and ballad music makes the audience cry, and so on.

I don't really hold any kind of stereotypes about that, and I love all of our songs. When I see the audience smile, sing and dance I couldn't be more devoted to the performance.

Fujiko: Yeah, I agree. But particularly I enjoy discotheque and IN SEASON since they have parts that are tricky and thrilling for the guitar.

Do you do many cover songs?

Fujiko: Yes, THE STALIN, The Misfits, RC Succession. All are arranged in D-69 style.

Do you have a favorite place to perform in Tokyo?

Kei: We've performed in some rock clubs in Shibuya, those are all pretty good. We actually started out at a live house in Kouenji, a place that's been around for a long time, but from there, we moved on to Shibuya.

Our next show is going to be back in Kouenji. It's at a new club that was established just last year, so it's a stylish place with a solid sound system. So when we got the offer to play there, we checked it out and accepted very quickly.

Fujiko: I personally really like Kouenji a lot.

Let's learn a little about your backgrounds. Where was everyone born and raised?

Kei: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Tokyo, not really the calm countryside or the big city, but a small residential town.

Fujiko: I was born in Tokyo and lived there almost all my life.

What kind of kids were you growing up? Shy? Outgoing?

Rocka - Photo courtesy of D-69 - click for full size Kei: I was an earnest, bright kid and involved in classroom activities. But that only lasted until the end of elementary school...

Fujiko: Naughty kid!

Rocka: I was shy when I was little, I think. But after starting the band I became more outgoing. But, I`m still shy towards girls... Ha Ha!

How did you all first get into music?

Kei: I think I was about 10. Togawa Jun`s voice suddenly came into my ears from my older sister's stereo. I knew nothing about punk, but it made me so crazy that I started to listen to it every single day.

Fujiko: I saw a band called X (Japan) on TV and I got curious about them. Then I started buying music magazines and got into BOOWY.

Did you have any music heroes growing up?

Kei: Togawa Jyun, RC SUCCESSION, IMAWANO KIYOSHIROU, Street Sliders, THE STALIN and INU.

Fujiko: BOOWY, PLACEBO, Nirvana and Aphex Twin.

What bands or artists inspire you today?

Fujiko - Photo courtesy of D-69 - click for full size Kei: Imawano Kiyoshiro, Endo Michiro and Gabege.

Fujiko: Morohoshi Daijiro, Christopher Nemeth, Brian Eno, George Andrew Romero and PLACEBO.

Fujiko, tell us about your guitar.

Fujiko: These days I use aluminum TALBO as my main guitar. I went to a custom shop, a "Secret Factory", and had them put a synthesizer, sustainer and Miller pick guard into the TALBO to make an original model.

Rocka, how did you pick the bass to play?

Rocka: I fell in love with my bass at the first glance.

Kei, what inspired you to take up singing?

Kei: It was my dream to sing in a band since I was 14, but I didn't have enough courage to do anything about it. When I grew up and started D-69 as an amateur, the lyrics and melodies started coming out of me one after another. I experienced the live performance too. Then I came to realize that I was doing a pretty good job on the stage as a singer. After awhile I started to be more confident with myself and now I can't imagine life without singing in the band.

What do your friends and family think of you being in a band?

Kei: A lot of my family members come to almost all our shows. My friends support me too, it's really nice.

Fujiko: My family doesn't seem very interested in it...

Can you give us any info on your romantic life? Anyone married? Kids?

Kei: I'm not the type of girl who really wants to get married. I'm not so into little children either except for my nieces. I wanna be in love with someone even when I get really old! I wanna be a cool old woman and go on dates at restaurants with my boyfriend! That would be awesome!

What type of places do you like to go on dates?

Kei: I like going to museums or go out holding hands and walking in the park!

Fujiko: I don't like crowded places, so I prefer somewhere quiet, usually not on the weekends.

Will you be doing any live Christmas events this year?

Kei - Photo courtesy of D-69 - click for full size Kei: This year we're not planning anything special for Christmas. However, our show on 12/15 will be a very special one, since it's our first show after the release of the album, so not only the music but our costumes will be exciting. We will show everyone an even more sparkling time than a Christmas party!

Are you going to spend New Year's together as a band?

At New Year's, we will practice and meet to prepare for our live performances in January, though we are not going to have big parties.

What are your plans for 2009?

Kei: Live concerts are our first priority. We're looking forward to meeting many people and we're going to continue having fun!

Fujiko: I think so too. We have spent so much time in 2008 creating the album, so we want to be more outgoing in the upcoming year.

Any chance of doing a tour of North America in the future?

Fujiko: Yes, some time in the future!

Do you have a final message to all your fans?

Kei: Hi. Thank you so much for reading our interview! D-69 is the kind of band that cares about fashion and design as well as music. We have fun within ourselves doing what we want to do. We want to lead other people into our world of music.

Please listen to our first album BAD GIRL FRIEND -- it has a very unique sound and world view.


For more info checkout D-69's official blog (in Japanese) and MySpace page. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments