Interview with MAGIC OF LiFE at Anime Messe Berlin

interview - 28.07.2017 10:01

Rock band MAGIC OF LiFE sat down with JaME to talk about their new single, the messages in their songs, and plans for touring Europe.

Rock band MAGIC OF LiFE introduced themselves to their German audience when they took part in this year's edition of Anime Messe Berlin. Apart from playing two shows on the first two days, fans were able to connect with the band during the Q&A panel on Sunday, and two fan signing sessions throughout the weekend. Despite their busy schedule, MAGIC OF LiFE sat down with JaME to talk about their new release, the message of their songs and who is in charge of going on a smoke break when it comes to band work.

Hello MAGIC OF LiFE! Thank you for taking your time for this interview. Since this is our first interview, please introduce yourselves to our readers!

Takatsuto Nobuyuki: Hello, I am MAGIC OF LiFE's vocal, Takatsuto Nobuyuki. I'm Nobu! (in English) Nice to meet you.
Yamashita Takumi: I'm the guitarist, Yamashita Takumi. Nice to meet you.
Watanabe Yuji: I'm the bassist, Watanabe Yuji. Hello!
Okada Shotaro: I'm the drummer, Okada Shotaro. Nice to meet you!

It's your first time coming to Germany! What were you looking forward to the most?

Shotaro: As for me, I am most looking forward to the live tonight.
Nobuyuki: The reaction of the fans in the audience, I was equally looking forward to that, too. Yesterday after the live, everyone was so nice and warm-hearted and we really had a good connection to the audience during the concert. So for today's live we can be more relaxed.

Anything more?

Shotaro: (without hesitation) Sausage! (everyone laughs) And beer!
Takumi: And the city. I wanted to walk in the streets of this city. Like Checkpoint Charlie! We went there the day before yesterday. Also, there was a very beautiful view when we visited Berlin Dome.

Since your beginnings as DIRTY OLD MEN in 2003, you released many singles, EP's and albums. How do you think the sound of MAGIC OF LiFE has changed during these fourteen years?

Nobuyuki: As a band, we always want to convey a message with our songs, thus we tried to not only use the sound of our instruments, but we want to create unique melodies. I think this is important. Recently we’ve tried out new things, too, like including piano sounds in our compositions. Basically we are always open for trying new stuff to develop our sound further.

Just recently, you released your new double A-side single Senkou Hanabi / Ranbu Rendevous. Please tell us more about the songs on it!

Nobuyuki: The new single includes two songs which both actually deliver a very emotional message: there is always a special someone beside you, supporting you, caring for you. If you have someone like that, it's a pleasure to share happy moments but also to be together when you are sad, too. You know, I have someone like that, too, and I believe we all have a person like that by our side, be it family members or friends. Thus, with our music we try to express this message and try to move the hearts of those listening to our songs. Another message of these songs is, for example, "Because you are there, I can be happy". So we hope those two songs will move some hearts.

Which songs would you recommend to someone who has never listened to MAGIC OF LiFE before – and why?

Yuji: Out of all our songs, well, it's hard to pick only one song. Yet, I guess I'd choose Ranbu Rendezvous, cause even if you are not able to understand the lyrics, the sound is unique, the melody and the emotion in the voice will reach you, so you can enjoy it to the fullest.
Takumi: Furthermore Yowamushi na Honoo! It's the opening theme for the anime “Yowamushi Pedal”. As an anime theme, it has to be very easy to remember and it's light and happy.
Shotaro: For me it would be Senko Hanabi. We performed the song at the show yesterday and I noticed that the beautiful melody was able to reach our audience here, too.
Nobuyuki: I'd say Kokyuu, as it is a song that is not only enjoyable during our shows, but also combines our major points – like good melody, lyrics and sound – and the audience can sing along, too.

What is the main theme of your songs? What do you wish to express with your music and lyrics?

Nobuyuki: Concerning the lyrics – for example as in Kokyuu – well, we try not to simply use words, but to create something new. Like the lyrics of our song focus on a story of a young boy who needs a little push on the back to keep on moving forward, or sometimes it sounds like a little fairytale which tries to deliver honest feelings. So they might be quite unique, right?
Shotaro: His lyrics truly are stories. Yet when I write the lyrics, I try to use things which I experienced myself, and then I transfer those experiences to something with more meaning behind it. Such as using metaphors to make people understand the whole image and the message behind those happenings.

You did quite an amount of anime songs, like DOUBLE for “Joker Game” or several songs like Yowamushi na Honoo for “Yowamushi Pedal”. Do you guys like anime a lot? Which is your favorite anime series?

Everyone: We love anime!

Nobuyuki: For example “Yowamushi Pedal”. Of course it’s not only because we made the theme for it – it's a great anime. But lately I’ve watched Tokyo Ghoul. There is so much blood, I like that. I enjoyed watching the series until the end. And there also happened to be some really sad moments, too. It really moved me deeply.

Takumi: “Haikyuu!!” is an anime about volleyball. I like it really a lot since it's a real life human story. It's very interesting.
Yuji: I like “Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu”. Do you know it? If you don't know it, I recommend that you get to know it and watch it soon. It's great! Furthermore, “One Piece”.
Shotaro: My mother really liked the anime “Alps no Kanojou Heidi” ("Heidi, Girl of the Alps"). I watched it when I was still a little boy, but I remember it well. The girl from Frankfurt, Clara, was always with Heidi and experienced many things for the first time. It has a great story and I liked when they went to the city together.

In Japan you are very popular, but you have also attracted many international fans. Apart from Anime Messe Berlin and Japan Expo Paris, can we expect more concerts overseas, or even a full tour?

Nobuyuki: If there is the chance, of course we would love to do that! Also, not just for one event, but for a longer time. Anyway, it's sad that this time it is just a short trip and we don't have much time to enjoy ourselves, too. It would be great to build on that and to build up a real fan base here as well. We don't speak English, so it's hard to create a fan base here for us, but the music can be understood without words, too. Music has no borders, so we try our best!

You have a special connection to Tochigi prefecture, as you founded your band in Tochigi and have been organizing a music festival in Tochigi city since 2015. What is special about Tochigi prefecture?

Nobuyuki: In Tochigi there are many cities which still have the "Edo vibe" to it. You can experience the life from the old days when you walk through those cities in the mountains, when you cross over a river and just find yourself in the nature. It has something soothing to it, it's calm. It's very nice to be there.
Shotaro: Also, Tochigi has a cute mascot figure called Tochisuke. He is super cute. Please have a look at him! We noticed that in Europe there is no such culture here, but in Japan we have so many mascot characters, like Kumamon and Funassyi. There is even a ranking. Tochisuke ranks number four!

Which is your favorite part about band work?

Takumi and Yuji: (without hesitation) Live, live, live!
Shotaro: For me too, playing lives, I guess.
Nobuyuki: Beside the lives, I really like being in the studio for rehearsal but I also like the thinking process of composing something new. We all like the creation of something new.

By the way, does every band member have a certain role within the band?

Nobuyuki: Well, I'm in charge of making songs and composing. Shotaro is also kind of a scheduler for us. And Takumi and Yuji … are in the smoking division! (everyone bursts out with laughter)
Takumi and Yuji: No, no, no! It's a lie! (everyone is still laughing)
Nobuyuki: To be honest, Takumi is responsible for the socializing part and Yuji is also our driver.

What is your next goal that you want to achieve with MAGIC OF LiFE?

Takumi: (while everyone is thinking, Takumi leans forward, whispering) Europe tour, Europe tour, Europe tour...!

Everyone: We would really love to do a one-man concert or a tour in Europe.

Nobuyuki: So our next goal is an EU tour. Also coming back to Berlin for a one-man concert would be very nice.
Yuji: Oh, I want to do that!
Nobuyuki: It would be awesome if we could achieve that. Or to do another concert here together with a local band, like a Berlin based band. That would be interesting, too.

Thank you very much for this interview! At the end, please leave a message for our readers!

Nobuyuki: The next time we come here, we hope it will be with a Europe tour and we hope it will be very soon. Be it solo or together with another band, we don't care. It would just be great to have a longer stay in Europe. So keep your fingers crossed for us, meanwhile we try our best in Japan, too. In fact, we hope to be back, best would be with a full Europe tour.
Takumi: There are still a lot of people who don't know about us, so please check out our YouTube videos, listen to our music … or watch anime to learn about Japanese culture, and fall more and more in love with it! And the best would be if you'd come to watch our shows and have fun.
Yuji: If you came to our show yesterday and got to listen to us for the first time, or listened to our music on the Internet, thank you so much, we appreciate it. We will give our best to our followers, so please keep on supporting us.
Shotaro: This time, we have been able to get in touch with the people here in Germany, we were able to connect through music, even though we don't speak the language. That is all thanks to Kanzen Music who called for us. But we want to know much, much more about Germany and the local culture and people. So I also want to study the German language. When we walked through the city a little and were able to observe the people here, some of them seemed to have flowers blooming around them, like in a manga. Also we could spot so many flowers in people's gardens and that was when I thought, "Ah, people here are so kind-hearted". It was touching. At first, I had a totally different image of German people like they are loud and drink lots of beer (laughs), but now I really want to come again and learn more. And there is also something I already remember in German: "Ich liebe Berlin und Deutschland!" ("I love Berlin and Germany!")

JaME would like to thank MAGIC OF LiFE, Kanzen Music, Chikara and Stephanie for making this interview possible.
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