Interview with Hironobu Kageyama at Anime NYC

interview - 13.02.2019 11:01

Hironobu Kageyama speaks with JaME before the Anisong World Matsuri event during Anime NYC.

JaME had the privilege of interviewing Hironobu Kageyama, legendary anisong musician and leader of JAM PROJECT, during the recent Anime NYC convention at the Jacob K. Javits Center. Kageyama had the air of a veteran rock star, adorned in his black leather jacket, black collar necklace with various pendants and assortment of silver colored rings on his fingers. The energy he usually emanates on stage was evident in a more contained manner. His broad smile was friendly and warm as he thoughtfully answered questions concerning his past and current works, as well as his anisong career.

You’ve mentioned that the theme song for "One-Punch Man" season two will get everyone pumped up. How do you get in the mood to create this powerful song?

Kageyama: Well, I’m still in the process of making season two and it’s supposed to come out next spring. I think it will pump everyone up like in season one in a rock-ish way. I get pumped up by coming to overseas events like this one in the US and feeling so much love from all the young fans – it's more than I could have imagined when we created the original theme song in Japan, and I’m just so happy about that.

What was it like writing English lyrics and working with David Foster on Beginning?

Kageyama: This was more than 30 years ago, but back then, we were really inspired by his music and he was a musician who was so huge. I admired him so much. The way that I felt — the amount of admiration, joy and happiness I experienced — is beyond description.

What was your inspiration behind the lyrics of A-ROCK ~Dennou Wars~?

Kageyama: "A-ROCK" means "animated rock". It’s like anime-influenced rock. Because we've been doing anisong for a long time, that’s the image that we wanted to create.

What came to your mind when you first saw the title CHA-LA HEAD CHA-LA? Is it true that it’s a variation of the Japanese phrase “hetchara”?

Kageyama: So the first time I saw the title of the music, I was really taken by surprise. There is a word “hetchara” in Japanese, but before that word, there’s the word “chara”, so it made me wonder what that word actually meant. So in every country where I get interviewed, everyone asks me what "CHA-LA HEAD CHA-LA" means! The closest thing I can say is, “Oh, don’t worry! It’ll be all fine. It’s all good!” (laughs)

What has sustained your love for rock and anisongs for 40 years? What keeps you excited about making music?

Kageyama: When I’m singing live, that’s the most fun time in my life. That’s why I’ve been able to come this far. These days, we make our own songs. When I create my own song, I put a lot of energy into it and get really motivated, so when I sing a song I created on my own, it’s really fun. When I was a kid, when I saw a rock band from the US or England, I thought, “Oh, I really want to be like them!” And now that I’m older and I’m on the stage performing, I get more excited than ever.

So what would you say is your secret for staying active in the anisong industry for so long? Do you have to be part performer/part businessman?

Kageyama: There’s no need to be a businessman (laughs), but if you write music and poetry in addition to being a performer, I think it will give you more opportunities to stay in the business.

Please leave a message for JaME readers.

Kageyama: I’m very happy that I was able to come to the US, plus it’s my first time here in New York, so I’m really touched that I’m here. The US anime fans are really into it, so when I go to concerts, it’s amazing to see everyone get so pumped up. I’m really going to put all my energy and effort into tomorrow’s concert!

JaME would like to thank Resonance Media and the Anisong World Matsuri team for arranging this interview.

Anisong World Matsuri at Anime NYC Event Information:
Anisong World Matsuri Official Website:
Lantis Official YouTube:
Hironobu Kageyama Official Website:
Hironobu Kageyama Official Facebook:
Hironobu Kageyama Official Twitter:
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