The band and I have known each other for a long time. We have a strong bond in terms of human relationships; whether it's about our thoughts on music or our personalities. Plus, by looking at the situation in third person I reached the conclusion that "Only SUGIZO is suited to become a member". I was Japanese, and I also had experience performing in front of large crowds without getting nervous.
----After making the big decision, you performed for the first time as an official member of X JAPAN at Tokyo Dome on May 2nd. Did it feel different from when you had played as a backup guitarist?
SUGIZO：Actually, it felt more or less the same. Whether I was an official member or not, the things I express and perform, my position inside the band didn't change one bit. The name of my position was the only thing that changed.
----I see. But did your thoughts or mindset change from when you had been a backup member?
SUGIZO：For the first shows that were held in March 2008 right after X JAPAN reunited, the band was just starting to 'breathe' again. So things were pretty hectic. To be honest the band wasn't able to show its full potential. But as the band continued to perform, bit by bit the band began to breathe more steadily. With the concert at Tokyo Dome in May 2009, we got our second chance to prove ourselves again. It was markedly different from the Tokyo Dome concert held nearly a year before that. I was really happy that we were able to unleash everything we had and let everyone see the band's true strength.
----By the way, before the concert in March 2008, when had been the last time you had performed at Tokyo Dome?
SUGIZO：I performed at Tokyo Dome a few months earlier as part of LUNA SEA. But before that we hadn't performed there in 7 years. But it felt like we had just returned to a place that was familiar to us. It didn't seem as if we hadn't played there in ages. This might sound funny, but for us Tokyo Dome was a place we can easily relate to, like a hometown. So it wasn't a fresh experience. It was more like returning to a place that brought back sweet memories.
----Although both concerts were held in your 'hometown', did the concert on December 24th 2007 as LUNA SEA, feel different compared to the live performance on March 28th 2008 as part of X JAPAN?
SUGIZO：It was totally different. Since LUNA SEA was 'my' band I generally could do whatever I want, and I was able to be the one that leads the way. I could fully express myself. But for the March 2008 X JAPAN concert, I was strictly a backup artist. I was there to lend support, and in no position to say things like "Isn't this a mistake?" or "Why don't we do things this way?" You had to pay attention to the situation and only assert yourself when necessary.
----Now that you're an official member of X JAPAN, are you able to voice your opinions more freely?
SUGIZO：Yes. Since I'm formally part of the band, I can make suggestions whenever I have a chance. I can voice opinions like "That's not right." or "It will be much more effective if we did things in this and this order." Within reasonable limits, I can take charge of the situation.