Interview with UPLIFT SPICE

interview - 15.12.2011 11:01

UPLIFT SPICE speaks about their band's music and history in a short chat with JaME before their wild performance on a stage in the southern part of France.

When emo-rock band UPLIFT SPICE concluded its first European tour, the members spent some time with us before their live in Marseille, France to introduce themselves and share about their band's music and history.

Could you first introduce yourself and the particularity you bring to the band?

Chiori: I'm Chiori, UPLIFT SPICE's vocalist, and I'm crazy! (everyone laughs)
YOOKEY: I'm YOOKEY on guitar and I'm blond.
tobita: I'm tobita the drummer and I'm the one who eats all.
Kenji: I'm the bassist, Kenji, and I'm the one who watches over tobita. (everyone laughs)

How did all of you meet?

YOOKEY: Actually, Chiori and I went to Tokyo at the end of our high school studies and that's when we met tobita, who then introduced us to Kenji.

Your career started in Tokyo?

YOOKEY: Yes, exactly.

What does UPLIFT SPICE mean and how did you choose this name?

YOOKEY: Our name's meaning comes from the hope that we have for the people who come to our show, which is to feel the tension increase, like when a person eats spicy dishes. As for the band's name, I wanted to choose a name that is difficult to pronounce and hard to remember, but when you can finally pronounce it, you will never forget it.

When did you begin playing an instrument?

YOOKEY: I started on the guitar at the age of fifteen.
Chiori: I've a piano at home, but as my instrument is my voice, I don't know how to use it.
tobita: When I was fourteen I learnt to play the guitar and was sixteen when I learnt to play the drums.
Kenji: I began to play the bass when I was sixteen years old.

At the end of 2010, you went on a long and full tour with 42 shows that ended with your first one-man. Did you like this experience and was it tough?

YOOKEY: Our policy is to organise a tour parallel to the release of a CD or an album. So yes, of course there were some difficult moments during the tour, but we mostly remember the joys of the last concert.

Kenji joined the band recently after Atsushi's departure which followed this long tour. How was your integration to the band, and isn't it hard to work together with your brother tobita in the same band?

tobita: After the bassist's departure, we held many auditions. We didn't choose Kenji directly, but from the different auditions we saw, he was the one who stood out the most. And on the contrary, it's easier to work with his brother.

In 2007, you contributed the original soundtrack of the movie “Heat Island” with the song Hanabi no iro. How did you get this opportunity?

YOOKEY: Actually, we don't really know how it happened. We received an offer and then we sang it.

Did you compose the song specially for it?

Chiori and YOOKEY: Actually, the song had already been released on CD before, so it's something like a cover for the film.

Your popularity saw an increasing and pretty astonishing rise: In 2008, you opened for ELLEGARDEN and BRAHMAN, two popular Japanese bands in the punk-rock scene in Japan. In 2010, it's for western bands THE USED and SAOSIN that you played as opening act and you also played during the famous SUMMER SONIC festival. Were you surprised about this ascension?

YOOKEY: In Japan there are a lot more bands that grew faster in popularity than us, but as we progressed normally, we are very satisfied and happy.

You decided to entitle your first full album UPLIFT SPICE. Was it a turning point for you to use an eponymous title?

YOOKEY: The choice was bonded with the fact that our mini-albums helped us to study our music's evolution and to experiment. So for this album, we wanted to show that we became a full entity, that we found our own identity. It's like a diploma of study.

Continuing to speak about your album, you released Paradigm Shift this summer. Could you talk about it a little?

YOOKEY: It's an album that holds much significance for us, because it's the first one in which Kenji took part in. It's a complete album because we created it together, so we have a very strong feeling and relation to it.

Did it have any particular concept?

Chiori: It was a little complicated because on one hand Kenji's arrival and his presence created a change in the band, but on the other hand, we were worried that the fans couldn't see the UPLIFT SPICE they knew in this new album. So we had to come up with something refreshing but at the same time continue with the same guidelines we had since our band's debut.

Amongst the songs on this new album, there is Galileo. Is there a link to the band Galileo Galilei that is growing in popularity or to the famous historical figure?

YOOKEY: Neither one nor the other.
Chiori: The song is actually based on the satellite Galileo, which took a picture of Jupiter this year.

Where do you find inspiration for your compositions?

YOOKEY: We are influenced by everyday life.

In France, the audience mostly discovered you due to the channel Nolife, where your music was particularly well received. You also played a sold-out show in Paris. Were you excited to play here in France?

YOOKEY: Whatever the place, so for France too of course, we always try to give the best of ourselves for the audience and for the fans who support us.

During this tour, you played at Japan Expo Centre, a sister event of Japan Expo, and plan to play at another convention in Belgium. Have you performed at a similar event in Japan before? If yes, what do you think of it?

YOOKEY: We found it very good. We had the opportunity to play at a festival in Japan, but it was of the more conventional kind where many artists play one after another on the same day. But we never played in this context, where the convention introduces a culture with one part dedicated to music.

What are your projects for the future?

YOOKEY: After Marseille, we will play in Belgium and then return to Japan to continue our tour which will end on December 17th. We have also planned a new national tour for next year.

Do you have any message for our readers?

YOOKEY: (in French) I love France.
Chiori: (in English) I’ll be back.
tobita: I love the milk drink Candy'up, especially the chocolate flavoured one.
Kenji: I love France.

JaME would like to thank Soundlicious, UPLIFT SPICE and its management as well as Stéphane for the translation.
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