Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Yeah, I feel a little bit out my depth.

  • It's not every day you get to meet a rockstar who sold 40 million records and is treated like a god in Japan.

  • I don't think it will stop feeling like a dream until I touch him.

  • ... It sounds a little bit creepy, but then this isn't a normal situation.

  • Say the name Hyde to any Japanese person and you'll have a hard time finding someone in this country who doesn't know who he is.

  • Fake Divine - Hyde

  • Who's Gonna Save Us - Hyde

  • Mad Qualia - Hyde

  • Some rockstars have a hit track and then fade away into obscurity.

  • Others continuously reinvent themselves and stick around long enough to become a legend.

  • "Are you fucking ready Tokyo!?"

  • Hyde rose to prominence as the frontman of one of Japan's biggest bands L'Arc-en-Ciel

  • and followed it up as a successful solo artist with a career spanning almost three decades.

  • With 62 songs in Japan's top 10 charts, 16 sellout shows at the 55,000 capacity Tokyo Dome,

  • the first Japanese act to headline Madison Square Garden,

  • and even a sellout show on the deck of the USS Missouri in Hawaii,

  • Hyde has lived a rock star lifestyle most musicians around the world can only dream of.

  • And yet outside of Japan, you may never have even heard his name.

  • I've been invited to spend a week with Hyde to get to know the man behind the literal mask.

  • To hear his story to try to understand what life is like as a mega celebrity in Japan,

  • where idol culture and obsession often take things to the extreme.

  • In what was easily one of the most surreal weeks of my life, this was my week with a Japanese rockstar.

  • *Phone ringing*

  • Oh God, here we go...

  • I've made the error - the spectacular error - of telling my good friend Natsuki who I was meeting this week.

  • Given that he is not only a big fan of Hyde, but also a wannabe rockstar himself, as you can imagine he's been pestering me all week long.

  • [Natsuki over the phone]: Hello Chris!

  • Hello Natsuki!

  • Yeah ok- Bye Natsuki. Bye. Yep. -- Bye bye!

  • Unbelievable... Unbelievable.

  • So we're currently driving out to Tokyo Bay to Odaiba - to the venue where Hyde is performing all week long,

  • where we're going to be spending most of our time with him.

  • I've not actually met Hyde yet so I don't know what to expect

  • I've watched some of his music videos in preparation and he seems a little bit scary to be honest.

  • But I mean, what do you expect from somebody who's called Hyde?

  • I just hope that there's a Dr. Jekyll behind that sort of intimidating onstage persona.

  • I guess we're gonna find out very shortly.

  • Arriving at the venue over three hours before the gig starts,

  • there's already a massive crowd out front buying up every manner of Hyde merchandise imaginable,

  • hardly surprising given Japanese fans' loyalty is often beyond question.

  • And as I fight my way to the entrance, I find myself drawn to one of the more unconventional items on display for the most devout fans.

  • So this - this is the Hyde credit card - the Hyde MasterCard. A real credit card with Hyde's face on it.

  • I've never seen anything like this anywhere else in the world.

  • We've been standing here the last 5 or 10 minutes watching the queue of people coming up to buy these.

  • But yeah. It's pretty... pretty crazy.

  • Having fought my way inside through the crowds,

  • I sneak backstage to come face to face with the man himself and needless to say my nerves have got the better of me.

  • Hi. -- Hey!

  • Good to meet you. Nice to meet you man. How you doing?

  • Thank you so much.

  • No, no. No problem, mate.

  • I've never met a real-life rock star before.

  • I've always had one question: if I was going on stage for two hours in front of thousands of people,

  • I would need a lot of ice coffee and a lot of karaage fried chicken.

  • Is there some kind of routine - some sort of ritual you have before you go on stage? Something you do in preparation.

  • So this week, you are at the Zepp Tokyo.

  • Six days? Six nights?

  • Yep.

  • Why not, again if I was a rock star, I would just do one venue, one day like Tokyo Dome, right?

  • You've got a big audience. You can just do one day. Why do six days in a row at Zepp Tokyo?

  • Well, I am really looking forward to seeing you in action tonight.

  • I'm really looking forward to it. Thank you Hyde.

  • Looking forward to it!

  • Thank you very much.

  • It's kind of scary. It's kind of intimidating...

  • I've never been in that kind of situation.

  • He seemed like an amazing guy. A really nice guy. I'm looking forward to getting to know him throughout the week.

  • Seeing what he can do on stage. Let's go and find out.

  • Standing amongst the crowd, I was about to learn you don't simply watch a Hyde concert so much as become a participant in the madness.

  • And what essentially felt like a 4D experience, in the space of two hours I witnessed him throw water off the speakers,

  • stage dive and surf the crowd,

  • Hell, at one point, he even went up into the second-story, stood amongst the crowd, and baseball batted water bottles out across the room.

  • There was scarcely a single minute that half-a-dozen fans weren't crowd surfing their way towards the stage to reach him.

  • Finally, he got the audience to take out their phones and create a sea of thousands of lights, stretching out into the darkness.

  • The laid-back guy I'd met backstage earlier on was a world away from the unstoppable force

  • who dominated a room full of thousands of people.

  • Watching Hyde effortlessly manage the crowd and performed with seemingly limitless energy,

  • it was easy to see how he'd earned his status as one of Japan's top artists

  • The only disappointment for me was that I wasn't able to get one of the roses he tossed out into the audience.

  • Watching you on stage as Hyde, and sitting with you now like Dr. Jekyll, it seems to be quite a big difference in character.

  • Do you feel like you become someone else when you're up there on stage performing?

  • So I was once an English teacher in Yamagata prefecture for three years. I worked at a high school.

  • One of my favorite things was asking students what they wanted to do after they graduated - what they wanted to become.

  • And you often find when you talk to a child or a teenager, there's a moment that defines their career and what they want to do in life.

  • You know, for me,

  • I wanted to become a filmmaker because when I was 10 years old my granddad gave me a Panasonic video camera -

  • it all kind of started from there.

  • Is there a specific event or person in your life when you were growing up as a child/as a teenager that led you to become a rockstar?

  • A specific moment going back.

  • Becoming one of the most famous faces in a country of 126 million people is not a situation to be taken lightly.

  • Once you reach that point of fame, it's not something you can simply switch off if you feel like it,

  • with his face plastered on billboards and thousands of people across the country singing his songs at karaoke on a daily basis.

  • I asked Hyde how he quantifies the benefits and downsides of achieving that level of fame.

  • Are you able to sometimes just go off and stroll around Tokyo?

  • Forget strolling through Tokyo. I wondered what the response would be if Hyde walked out the front of the building.

  • Surprisingly it wasn't just enthusiastic Japanese fans either.

  • Some had traveled as far as the US and Spain to attend the show.

  • His English albums are just as good as his Japanese albums.

  • He's just... different - like he's weird, but in a good way, you know?

  • He's, like, a little crazy and a little manic and his music is very, very different from, like, the typical Japanese sound. At least I think so.

  • I think he's a very unique artist because of Western influences and also Japanese influences.

  • But, he always keeps his own personal style.

  • I don't think I've ever seen so much merchandise for one artist.

  • They say that 90% of people coming to a gig in Japan actually buy the merchandise.

  • In Japan, merchandise is a really big deal.

  • You can see that by the sheer variety of things they've got here.

  • We've got the Hyde tote bag, the Hyde cap, the Hyde mini wallet,

  • the Hyde smartphone case,

  • Hyde wristband,

  • Hyde necklace.

  • They actually open the merchandise store five hours before a gig and it's not just a few people -

  • they've got a massive team of 20 staff here to serve the throngs of customers that come here to buy Hyde merchandise before the show begins.

  • *Phone rings*

  • Hello, Natsuki.

  • [Natsuki over the phone]: Hi, Chris!

  • Oh really. What a coincidence.

  • No. Not a chance. Have yourself a great time in Tokyo, Natsuki. I'll see you around.

  • Yeah, bye bye.

  • Unbelievable...

  • Really?

  • The next day, Hyde and I arranged to meet up for an interview at Universal Music in Harajuku.

  • I want to understand why he's attempting to break out of Japan and focus overseas.

  • But not before I first give him a ground-breakingly lucrative idea to turn one of his favorite catch phrases

  • into a brand new range of merchandise.

  • So yesterday, I was looking at your merchandise. --Yeah.

  • And I noticed there wasn't a shirt saying "Are you fucking ready".

  • I was surprised. I think that'd do really well.

  • What do you think?

  • --Yeah! I'd buy it.

  • "Are you fucking ready, Tokyo!!?"

  • Yesterday, I talked to you about your past and how you considered at one point being an artist.

  • I was wondering today if you could draw me something.

  • Something to kind of motivate me and encourage me to keep fit.

  • Something I could put above my desk and I can look at and go 'Yeah... Hyde's motivated me to do this.'

  • It's very important.

  • Every day, I'll look at this.

  • I can't see it so... it's quite scary. It's gonna be a real masterpiece this is.

  • "Do your best"

  • Aw, that's beautiful.

  • And you got the beard - you got the beard as well. Nice!

  • Thank you, Hyde. Beautiful!

  • Listening to the songs on Hyde's new album 'Anti' with themes covering topics such as faith and identity,

  • the darker tones embedded within the lyrics feel at-odds from the upbeat feel-good tracks that he's usually known for as a Japanese pop rock artist.

  • In solo form, Hyde's more crazy, unpredictable persona will certainly appeal more to an international audience.

  • But historically, Japanese artists have struggled to break into the overseas market.

  • Outside of the numerous cultural and language barriers, there's also a lack of incentive.

  • After all, Japan already has the second biggest music market in the world after the US,

  • with sales of 2.6 billion dollars in 2018 alone.

  • With all that in mind, I wanted to know why Hyde was taking what many would consider to be a difficult path

  • in attempting to break out of Japan.

  • So we've had some serious questions, and now it's time for the quick question quick fire-outs

  • I could probably phrase that less awkwardly...

  • Hopefully we can get picture of your thinking.

  • Question number 1: Coffee or tea?

  • Coffee.

  • Sushi or ramen?

  • Umm... Ramen.

  • Cat or dog?

  • Dog.

  • Playstation or Xbox?

  • Playstation.

  • Playstation or Nintendo?

  • Nintendo!? Ah...