A-To-J Connections recently sat down and interviewed Tomo (Ex-Delfina Mar'riage) from RHEDORIC on his third trip to this US. The purpose of this trip was to host a special in-store meet-and-greet at XENON LA in Little Tokyo and to promote RHEDORIC in the hopes of following up with a US tour!
A-To-J: Please introduce yourself.
Tomo: I’m RHEDORIC’s guitarist, Tomo, nice to meet you.
A-To-J: This is your second time doing a meet and greet at XENON, what did you think of the first one?
Tomo: This is actually the third time being at an event. The first time I was involved with CELL in the summer so it’s three times. It’s always fun at these events.
A-To-J: So you were also in LA recently for the VNITED MUSIC FEST, can you tell us how that was like?
Tomo: I really enjoyed the heat and hype from the audience in L.A.
A-To-J: Can you also tell us about your friendship with Kenzi from ANTI FEMINISM and Kon from CELL?
Tomo: CELL’s Kon and Kenzi from ANTI FEMINISM are my seniors. Originally I was in Kenzi’s record label and so he’s like the “father” of the music industry to me.
A-To-J: Does that mean Kenzi’s also older than you?
Tomo: Umm… our age…
A-To-J: You’re the youngest right?
Tomo: That’s right, I’m the youngest! “Very young!” (In English)
A-To-J: 18 right?
Tomo: Yes, I’m 18! (Laughs)
A-To-J: Can you tell us your plans about this visit?
Tomo: First of all, this interview and other interviews are the reason I’m here as well as some secret plans.
A-To-J: How many interviews have you been in today?
Tomo: This is my second.
A-To-J: RHEDORIC recently went into a major label, can you tell us about this?
Tomo: I haven’t really thought of much about being either indies or major, we’re just taking this opportunity because it was given to us. RHEDORIC hasn’t really changed from being the same old RHEDORIC.
A-To-J: What are some of the differences being under a major label?
Tomo: It’s not just us anymore, there are many other people that are helping us now and doing things for us, such as managing the schedule. Since there are more people involved, I feel like we can produce better music.
A-To-J: What was the inspiration for the album, JIGGY?
Tomo: Since RHEDORIC was founded, we’ve been releasing limited singles and we were releasing what we had collected up. We wanted to release what we thought was RHEDORIC’s “best”. So we put this on this album and wanted to release it to the public.
A-To-J: It has all of your best songs?
Tomo: Yeah, it’s almost like a “best” CD.
A-To-J: What is your favorite song from the album and why?
Tomo: My favorite song is “Guilty” because there’s a music video and it’s the lead song for JIGGY. I feel like the song is filled with all the good parts of RHEDORIC so I like it.
A-To-J: Can you tell us how RHEDORIC was formed?
Tomo: I wonder how RHEDORIC was formed… I was originally Yusuke’s friend and we went out drinking often. It started off as us wanting to do something fun and interesting. I forgot about the details already (Laugh)
A-To-J: What do you mean by “interesting”?
Tomo: We wanted to do something in music that was interesting so I was just helping him with that “project” at first and when that project finished, we formed RHEDORIC.
A-To-J: By the way, what kind of things do you drink with Yusuke-san?
Tomo: Beer, shochu…
A-To-J: Asahi? Sapporo?
Tomo: Asahi only!
A-To-J: What about the shochu?
Tomo: We drink potato shochu. We also drink Japanese sake and tequila.
A-To-J: Tequila too? That’s pretty dangerous stuff!
Tomo: Yeah it is! I can’t even drink it nowadays. I just drink bourbon now.
A-To-J: What bourbon do you like?
Tomo: I drink a lot of Jim Beam. Even in Japan there’s a good amount of Jim Beanm
A-To-J: Can you tell us about the songwriting process?
Tomo: Yusuke does most of the songwriting. I do it sometimes as well. We do the songwriting and then the other members arrange it a bit. That’s how we complete the song, that’s the “RHEDORIC style.”
A-To-J: If you had to describe RHEDORIC’s style of music to someone who hasn’t heard it before, how would you describe it?
Tomo: I want to tell them “just give the music a listen!” (Laughs) I don’t think 10/10 people will love it but we hold pride in the music we make as RHEDORIC. There is a lot of variety in the songs so if you listen to all of them, I think you’ll find at least one you’ll like.
A-To-J: How is RHEDORIC different from your previous bands?
Tomo: The one thing that is very different is that the qualities of the songs are high. We also put in more passion into the music.
A-To-J: You didn’t feel that the past bands you were in were passionate?
Tomo: I think the past bands I was in was good at music and we liked what we did but in RHEDORIC, we go past just liking what we do, all the members care about the music we make. I consider us to be a professional group and it gives me as well as the other member’s stimulation. It’s very different from the past bands I’ve been in.
A-To-J: Can you tell us about your fashion today?
Tomo: Where should I start? (Laugh) Well for the accessories, the main brand is Chrono Hearts. Bracelet is from 13 Designs. Sunglasses are Jimmy Choo. They cost 400 dollars. I think both of the shirts are Japanese brands.
A-To-J: Why do you like those brands?
Tomo: I like shiny things so many of these accessories are shiny. When you get older, you start to like shiny things! Also It’s pink!
A-To-J: Isn't that weird for a guy to like pink so much?
Tomo: Yeah. (Laughs) It's nice from time to time isn't it? I really like pink. There are a bunch of pink things at my house in Japan. In the kitchen all the goods are pink.
A-To-J: Do you like cooking?
Tomo: I love cooking! I can cook anything. The most recent thing I made was guacamole. I also made my own tortillas.
A-To-J: So you must be enjoying LA!
Tomo: I really do love it here. This is my third day being in LA but I’ve already had Mexican food three times!
A-To-J: That’s too much!
Tomo: It is a lot (Laughs)
A-To-J: Any place in particular that you went to go eat at?
Tomo: Just places that were close and also Mexican areas. I really do love Mexican food. But before I came today, I ate hamburgers and I’m really full. I’m also a little sleepy but I’m ok!
A-To-J: What’s your favorite genre of music?
Tomo: Recently I’ve really liked alternative rock. I also like “Pop Punk” genre especially the foreign bands that perform it. Some of the bands I like are Sum 41 and Yellowcard but I really do love a lot of different bands in the genre. I also really like Bon Jovi.
A-To-J: What’s your favorite Bon Jovi song?
Tomo: "You Give Love A Bad Name".
A-To-J: So do you sing these songs at karaoke?
Tomo: No, because I can’t sing in English (Laughs)
A-to-J: If you can’t speak English, why did you come alone?
Tomo: Even if I can’t speak English, I have Justin! I can live because Justin [Justin from NAMELESS and XENON LA] is here.
A-To-J: How did you become friends with Justin?
Tomo: I met Justin when I came here before and we became friends. Whenever I come here, we hang out after I finish my work and we drink.
A-To-J: Drinks like Jim Beam?
Tomo: We actually drank Japanese sake yesterday.
Justin: Why are you interviewing me? (Laughs)
A-To-J: Do your favorite artists inspire your music?
Tomo: I’m not really sure but since I listen to my favorite bands a lot, I probably do get inspired as I make songs. I don’t really think about copying their style or anything, I just enjoy listening to their songs which is a completely different thing from making my own songs.
A-To-J: What is your dream venue or event to perform at?
Tomo: I really want to perform in Slipknot’s festival. I really like Slipknot and especially the vocalist in the band so I want to perform with him as well. I want to meet Ozzy Osbourne because I really like the MTV show “The Osbournes”. If it’s in Japan, I want to play at Budoukan.
A-To-J: What would be your dream collaboration?
Tomo: Like I mentioned, I would like to collaborate with the vocalist in Slipknot.
A-To-J: In English?
Tomo: Of course! I also want to collaborate with Paul Gilbert from Mr. Big. If it’s someone famous, it can be anyone!! (Laughs)
A-To-J: So even Britney Spears is okay too?
Tomo: I’m not too sure about Britney Spears…
A-To-J: What are next year’s plans both for yourself and RHEDORIC?
Tomo: We will be releasing a new mini album on 12/31 of this year so we’ll be doing a release event tour within Japan. We hope to do a tour overseas including America if possible.
A-To-J: There’s been a lot of talk about non-Japanese bands are calling themselves “Visual Kei”, what do you think about this?
Tomo: I think its fine. I think it means they respect J-rock and our music so it makes me happy. I think they can even say it more proudly!
A-To-J: What is your definition of Visual Kei? Do you consider RHEDORIC as Visual Kei?
Tomo: What do you guys think?
A-To-J: I definitely think that it’s considered Visual Kei, but we also think it should be up to the bands.
Tomo: I think that’s fine. Whatever you feel of RHEDORIC is what you should think of RHEDORIC. We don’t want to define what we are within people and we’re ok with whichever you think we are. If you think we’re not Visual Kei, that’s fine and if you think we are, that’s great too.
A-To-J: Where should we go to find out more about RHEDORIC?
Tomo: We have a Facebook and a website. [Links Below]
A-To-J: Lastly, do you have a final message for your fans?
Tomo: It’s really an honor that people from overseas have interviewed us about our new album, “JIGGY” and I’m very happy. I really want to perform lives for our fans as RHEDORIC and have a fun time with everyone. We really want to make better material in the future so we would like fans to keep up to date with the details. We are planning to tour overseas someday so please come see us!
A-To-J: Thank you for your time!
Be sure to check out both RHEDORIC and Tomo on the links below! Also be sure to pick up their first album, JIGGY, available digitally in the US! A Review for "JIGGY" can be found here.
For More Information
RHEDORIC Website: vestimitation.com
RHEDORIC Official Overseas Facebook: facebook.com/rhedoric.oversea.official
RHEDORIC Twitter: twitter.com/RHEDORIC
Tomo Facebook: facebook.com/egawa.tomo
Tomo Twitter: twitter.com/tomo1108gt
The above interview was conducted by Eunice Wang and Darice Chang (who also provided on-site translation) with photography and direction by Manuel Figueroa. Post translation by Tiffany Fujii.