Interview with MIYAVI

interview - 10.25.2015 20:01

How do you make MIYAVI happy?

This autumn, MIYAVI toured Europe in order to deliver an important message to his fans: “WE ARE THE OTHERS”. Just before his concert in Budapest, Hungary, MIYAVI spoke with JaME Polska about everything he considers important in his life: music, his fans and his philosophy.

How’s the tour going? You are playing in Budapest tonight. How do you feel?

MIYAVI: It’s been great. This is my fifth time touring Europe, and tonight we are having the show in Budapest. This tour has been making me realize what I’m fighting for, what I’m trying to improve and move forward. Then it’s giving me the answers – that’s my audience, my friends. They are the reason why I keep creating. Sometimes, especially in the studio, I get lost, but on stage it makes it all clear. I’m so happy, you know. To play the guitar and make people dance with my music, it’s one of my biggest dreams in life and I’m so happy to see my fans having a good time, jumping, dancing, smiling on the floor. That’s my life, the reason why I play music. Especially in this industry, in this entertainment business, sometimes it’s really hard to make it clear, sometimes I’m getting lost. But on stage, everything is there. My fans, especially those who have supported me for a long, long time. I do my job for them.

It's clear you have a strong connection to your fans. You always say “be one”, but what can your fans do to make you happiest?

MIYAVI: Smile on the floor. Seriously. You know, as an artist, and as CEO of my company, of course I want them to buy my CDs, come to my shows, but when I see them smile, that’s the happiest thing. They give me more motivation.

In two days, you will be playing in Warsaw. It’ll be your third time in Poland. What do you remember from your previous concerts in this country – in Gdansk and Cracow?

MIYAVI: I remember how hot Polish fans are. You know, they sing along with all tracks, and also they sang one of my old tracks in Japanese. They’re really, really good. I remember that very well, the venue was great and it was one of the hottest nights on the road.

Glad to hear that!

MIYAVI: You know, I was really surprised, because from my point of view, sometimes I see in Polish cities the trails of communism. A slightly different kind of lifestyle. Then on the floor at the concert, people are really hot, some of the hottest. That really surprises me, seeing how enthusiastic and crazy the audience is.

Yes, Polish audiences are famous for being crazy. Well then, you travelled around the world, visited so many countries. I believe you’ve seen a lot, experienced a lot, but is there still anything that makes you think “wow!” - that still surprises you?

MIYAVI: How beautiful the architecture is. In Japan, we have earthquakes and many concrete, kind of modern buildings. But in Europe - in France, Germany, and Poland - you guys really treasure the history and traditional architecture. It’s really, really beautiful.

You visit a lot?

MIYAVI: I did have a little walk in Vienna last night, and it was really beautiful. You know, I love the culture and I love how people in Europe appreciate it. That’s the history, that’s our past. We can see our ancestors through it. I really appreciate it.

Let’s talk about your new album, The Others. What do you like most about this album?

MIYAVI: The message of unity. There is always a concept to my creation, and this time it’s “the others”. Because, you know, that’s how I felt after I moved to Los Angeles last year. I felt bizarre, I felt different from people around me. But, yes, we are all different. Even if you are Caucasian, it doesn’t matter. You are different individually. You know, what you eat in the morning, what color you like, we are all different, so that’s the message. That’s important: to accept and respect each other is the only way to unite. We need to know that we all different from each other, be it religion, or culture, or language.

Now on the TV, there’re many horrible news stories. Many horrible conflicts. Countries are getting ready for the war. The migrant crisis. The refugees are having a hard time trying to find a place to live. They have nowhere to go, nothing to eat. We have no time to have conflicts. We can’t fight each other, like we can’t run away from this planet. So to unite is the key to the future. We can’t keep fighting each other. We don’t fight if you like the color black and I like the white. I just respect that you like black, and I like white. That’s the thing. It’s really simple. But sometimes we forget it. So that’s the message. We’re all the others, we’re all different, we’re all different colors, but we are still one.

This is a very strong and important message. Tell me, is this why you write your lyrics in English? So more people can understand and receive the message?

MIYAVI: Yes. You know, of course I really appreciate when my fans understand my Japanese lyrics and sing along in Japanese. Like my fans did in Cracow. But at the same time, I want to deliver the message to the whole world. That’s why I pick English. It gets pretty hard for me to keep lyrics in English, but it’s worth it.

We really appreciate it. You are more accessible to fans because of it, so thanks for that. Now, one more question about your music. You’ve changed your guitar recently, you are now using a Telecaster. What new possibilities has this guitar given you?

MIYAVI: Heavier. Lower back ache. (laughs) But you know, more content. You know that I’m inspired by a Japanese instrument, the shamisen, and now I’ve played with a drummer, played with a DJ, so I’ve got a kind of stronger tone to my sound. So I’ve picked up the Telecaster with more bite. As long as you are yourself, you can find your own tone.

It sounds really great on your new tracks. Unfortunately, we are running of time, so do you have any messages for your enthusiastic and crazy Polish fans?

MIYAVI: You know, every time, especially in Cracow, I have a great time. Now I live in LA and we’re far away from each other, but it doesn’t matter: we are all connected to the music. I really, really appreciate the strong support. There’s only one thing I can promise – I’ll never, ever stop challenging myself. It doesn’t matter if it’s music, or acting, or fashion or whatever; the attitude I have for my life helps people. That’s what I really, really hope for. To see my fans dance on the floor is my life and the happiest moment. I love that. So thank you so much.

JaME would like to thank MIYAVI for this interview opportunity.
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