Saturday, 16 August 2014

Con Report: ViViD Panel

ViViD's Q&A panel was held Friday afternoon before their live. The band was already seated at a long table at the front of the room when the small but excited group of fans was ushered in. They all looked dashing and cheerful, flashing wide smiles at the crowd as we shuffled in. I took a seat at the edge of the crowd, trying not to be distracted by the wild Ken-chan lurking about taking pictures and futzing with the sound (as an avid AGENT, this was difficult for me). Shion of Babel Entertainment acted as MC and with an enthusiastic "Let's kick it!" we got started.

Q. How are US and Japanese fans different?

Shin: US fans are more free.

Q. If you weren't a musician, what would you do?

Shin: I never think that.
Ryoga: Hair stylist.
Ko-ki: Fashion designer.

Q. How do you feel about first live in America?

Ko-Ki: *in English* Seventh Heaven.

Q. Do you think about debuting in America?

Shin: Of course

If you read my previous con report, then you already know about the sound issues. Though the guys had microphones on the table, none of them worked and hearing was sometimes difficult, but everyone made the best of it. Shin did his best to respond to audience questions in English, only using the translator when he was absolutely stumped.

Q. What you would like to show someone who’s never experienced VK?

……. *stumped*
Ryoga: Want them to feel their body and the music.

Shin: How did you find out about us?

Audience: YouTube, Valentines Day special, introduced by friends, VK fandom.

Q. Where do you get inspiration for your music?

Shin: From heart.
Reno: I listen to a variety of music that inspires me.

Q. Do you listen to American music?

Reno: I like Dream Theatre and Nickleback.

Shin: My inspiration is talking with any foreign fans in English, so my dream has come true today. Thank you. My English is poor.

Audience: We understand you! So it’s good

Shin: Thank you. Because of you.

Q. Do you think the message (in your music) can come across even if we don’t speak the same language?
All: Yes.
Reno: I like American music, so it’s the same.

Q. How long do you practice?

Reno: 10 hours a day. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr*air guitar* (lol)

Q. How did you come together as band?

Shin: Destiny.
Reno: I worked for a game center and he (Ko-ki) was a customer.

Q. Do you play any other instruments?

Shin: I play drum a little bit.

Q. Do you teach each other your instruments?

Shin: Not yet
Reno: We teach phrases on guitar and bass, especially for sessions.

Q. Iv, how long have you been playing bass?

Iv: About ten years.

Q. How did you get into playing your instruments?

Reno: I started playing in school and I became their hero and I got addicted to it.

As everyone started to loosen up, the Q&A turned a little silly. The ViViD boys were charming and had us all laughing. Questions from the audience increasingly turned into conversation as the members turned them back on us, asking our opinions and impressions.

Q. Do you work out?

All: Yes
Shin: Of course, he (IV) has muscles.

ViViD: Whats good to eat in Orlando
Audience: Everything, Tacos

Q. What do your families think of your music?

Reno: My family and friends sing our songs in karaoke.

Audience: We don’t have karaoke bars like you have.

ViViD: What do you do when you want to sing?

Audience: youtube!

*This question turned into a conversation about the difference between American and Japanese style karaoke bars.*

Shin: Have you been to Japan?

Me: I went to japan and all I did was go to lives.
Shin: Ohhhh wonderful!

Q. What is the nerdiest thing you guys have done?

Ryoga: Biohazard
Ko-Ki: Yu gi oh
Iv: Survival Games. I like games with guns. Call of Duty

Q. Do you like the scary ones? Like Fatal Frame or Silent Hill.

Reno: I don’t because I’m scared of ghosts. But I like Walking Dead.

Shin: My English is poor but what song do you like the best of my band?

Audience: Precious!, Dear, Natsubana. Are you singing that tonight?

Shin: Tonight?! Ahhhhh...dou deshou. I’ll think about it

Shin: Me? I can’t choose, because everything is my creation.

Q. What did you do in hotel room today?

Reno: Changed my guitar strings.
Shin: Thinking about today's MC because I want to talk today only in English.

Q. What is your ideal type (of girl)?

Shin: *gestures to crowd*
Ko-Ki: Nice smile

Q. How’s the jetlag?

Ko-ki: I haven’t slept at all, but it’s okay.

Me: They have those five hour energy shots outside….

Reno: How do you know?!

Me: I just had one!


(Ryoga said something about energy drinks being stronger here than in Japan…)

Reno: The hamburgers are huge.

Me: That’s why we’re fat!

ViViD: No no no…*lol*

The panel wound down and shifted into an autograph session. ViViD brought a whole slew of merchandise with them ranging from t-shirts and Cd's to plushie key-chains and fingernail stickers. The conversational mood of the panel carried over as everyone made their way down the line with their purchases. Shin made a point to chat with everyone in English. The room was filled with smiles and giggles. I think everyone, band and fans included, left feeling closer to each other. I'd like to thank ViViD, Babel Ent., and Orlando Nerd Fest for what was definitely a unique and special experience for all involved and I hope we can repeat it in the future.

--Kort Maguire