miyavi at Animagic in Germany

interview - 08.12.2007 08:00

Before his first performance in Europe, miyavi answered a few of JaME's questions at Animagic in Germany. Press conference included.

After the press conference, PS Company and R:ID allowed JaME some time to interview miyavi at the German event Animagic 2007.


Hello, we're the JaME German team. This is already our third interview with you this year, thank you for always having time for us.
miyavi: Thanks for always taking care of me!

How was your flight? And how are you?
miyavi: I have gotten used to the flying. In Japan I only work and don't have any time to learn, but when I'm on the plane I'm sleeping or learning, so time just flies.

So you don't have any jetlag?
miyavi: No, not at all.

Even though you're here as a solo artist, the hottest topic is your band S.K.I.N., so let's begin with this. Can you tell us about your impressions from the first live?
miyavi: I already noticed that there were many fans waiting for me when I went to Los Angeles as a solo artist in May. With S.K.I.N. there was so much energy on stage, and because the other members are famous musicians too, there was a kind of special 'band magic', which is not there for a solo artist. I was very impressed by the fans' enthusiasm.

Why did you decide to have your first concert in Los Angeles instead of Japan?
miyavi: We had the chance to perform there because we're recording and rehearsing in LA, there wasn't any deeper meaning. It doesn't matter where we go on stage, as long as we don't forget our pride of being Japanese. We're of course planning to play in Japan too.

During our interview in February, you said you'd like to play in a band, but were selfish and would stay alone for the time given. Only two months later, you announced that you were going to join S.K.I.N. Why this sudden change of view?
miyavi: My opinion on that did not change, as I am continuing my activities as a solo artist. It's not like I'm going to stop my solo career just because I joined a band. Concerning the band, I was asked to join last year. Even if I take part in that, I'm still going to work both as a solo artist and in the band. Each of us has his own projects and we united to create something that we, as a part of Japanese culture as well as of Visual Kei, can be proud of.

How much of miyavi is there in S.K.I.N.? How much do you influence the music?
miyavi: Basically it's everybody contributing 1/4 of the band, but I must admit I'm influenced by the others, as I'm the youngest member. I'd like to add my own essence, which the others do not have. We're a really good team, even though everyone is pretty selfish. (laughs)

How is it working with such knowledgeable musicians? Did you learn something from them?
miyavi: Yes, of course! They are my senpai, which I respect as both musicians and people.

On the other hand - could you teach them something?
miyavi: I think my only advantage is that I have my youthful energy. Hmm, perhaps 'youth' isn't exactly right here, but I believe there is a kind of "explosiveness" only inexperienced people can produce. The others expect something like this from me. We interact quite a lot and inspire each other.

Do you think your personality changed since you started your career as a musician?
miyavi: This changes naturally over time. What is more important concerning this: There is always something, which remains unchanged at the core. Therefore I don't see this as an alteration, but as a development.

Although you have already been to Europe before, tomorrow will be your first performance here. Are you nervous or did you gain even more self-confidence by playing in the USA?
miyavi: (laughs) Hmm, I already had lots of experience in Asia concerning difficulties from foreign languages. So I learned how to portray and comport myself even if I don't know the language, and I gained a lot of confidence during the shows in LA. To be honest, I enjoy everything right now instead of being nervous. Some tension is necessary for sure, but currently, I lack it. My support musicians, the Kavki Boiz, are rather individual, I really have fun with them. They aren't "visual" guys, but they understand my point there and are good colleagues and friends. With them, I am able to show the "Neo Visualism" I enjoy.

You just mentioned them - could you tell us more about the Kavki Boiz? Who are they, where did you get to know them?
miyavi: Basically there are a beat boxer, a step dancer, a bass player, a drummer and a painter. In addition to that, we also play more instruments. We are more like a group of artists, not like studio musicians or any usual band. Each one is an independent artist. I conduct the performances, but we improvise a lot. All members come from hip-hop, punk, blues or other genres. I have the feeling I can connect these genres, by making them interact. The way I met them was different for every artist; for example, during a performance in Tokyo Geijutsu Gekijyo last year or at Budokan, during street performances we played together or... when I spontaneously played the guitar at clubs and we just started a jam session together.

What can we expect of your "Neo Visualism" style? Will you show us more of it during tomorrow's performance?
miyavi: Let me see... I think Visual Kei is not only about dressing up, putting makeup on and taking nice pictures. I'm thinking about how we can help to make people dream and enhance Visual Kei, not only through music, but as artists. I want to try and enjoy various genres and styles, both visually and music-wise and not depend on pre-established patterns and categories. Of course there will always be miyavi's music at the core, but I want to meet various challenges.

Your music is very widely varied, you play and compose songs from various genres. How do you choose which style to use next?
miyavi: Well, that depends on what mood I'm in when I start writing. Everything just comes to me. I have tried many different things after my old band separated and I didn't have anybody around me that I knew anymore. This was when I noticed I had to change myself. While writing pop songs, I laid emphasis on the melodies, as this is the way to convince the listeners. I also had to retreat from everything, to enhance my consciousness. For Dokuso - Miyabiuta it was very important to work together as a guitarist with musicians who are my friends, in order to cross genre borders and explode together. I had the urge to place a spotlight on such things ever since I had my major debut. Later on I paid a lot of attention to popular compositions and their melodies, for Dokusou - Miyabiuta, working together with others was important and I was able to mix everything. When I went to LA and danced at JRR - because I like dancing in general - this also mixed into my music.

For your new single sakihokoru hana no you ni / Kabuki danshi, you added hip-hop and turntable sounds, we know you like to experiment. What exactly inspired you to work with those elements and what can we expect next?
miyavi: Oh, I don't want to put too much emphasis on just hip-hop. You will see during tomorrow's concert that it's not only this genre, but also punk and blues. We have step dancers as well and a Japanese drummer. Concerning the compositions, I hope to have combined all of those in a way which is still easy to understand. I hope I'll be able to keep this chaos together tomorrow.

What do you think about websites like YouTube? Do you think they influence your career in any negative or positive way?
miyavi: Hmm, I expect Universal Record doesn't like it too much, but I think it's interesting as it is a new generation of media, especially if there will be a way to solve the legal issues. Myself, I like to visit such sites.

Which album would we find in your CD player most frequently? Which would you recommend to your fans?
miyavi: Ah, haha, let me see...hmm, Noisettes and The Fratellis, I also listen to them. There are too many artists at Universal Music. Hm... I can't think of more right now.

Finally, do you have a message to your fans who can't wait to see you perform tomorrow?
miyavi: Yes! It's my first time here in Germany, yesterday (Friday) there was a warm... no, a hot welcome for me. Everywhere I go, I want to be proud as miyavi. There are too many fans who wanted to come to the concert, but couldn't. I hope those who were able to get tickets will enjoy tomorrow evening a lot!

-----Press conference----

Shortly after the press conference with Plastic Tree and before we had our personal interview, the press conference for miyavi took place in which selected fans and media were allowed to ask their questions in about 35 to 40 minutes. miyavi's answers were mostly in English, in difficult cases he also had the support of R:ID's translator, Noriko.

What was your first thought after you were invitied to join S.K.I.N. by Yoshiki?
miyavi: I was excited! He said that it would be his last band. I was thankful and joined.

Where does your inspiration come from?
miyavi: From everywhere. I get inspired by music, my life and my bathroom.

Did you have the time to go sightseeing in Bonn?
miyavi: I walked through the streets a little and ate sausages.

You change your dress style very often - where do you get the ideas for this?
miyavi: The idea for my new hairstyle came from kabuki, for example.

What expectations do you have towards the German fans?
miyavi: I expect them to go crazy! I'm looking forward to seeing them!

J-Music fans freak out when they hear your name. Why?
miyavi: I don't know. Maybe because I try to express my feelings through my music, but I'm not sure...

Which music do you listen to? Do you also like some German artists?
miyavi: I like... Rammstein! (everyone laughs) And Industrial.

What where your thoughts when you first noticed your German fans?
miyavi: I didn't think anything.

Do you mind that sometimes your fans here don't understand all of your lyrics and can't guess what you want to express through them?
miyavi: I don't give a fuck! I don't care!

How is working as a solo artist different from the work in a band?
miyavi: When I'm solo, I'm the only one who is responsible. It was sad when my band broke up, but it also was a chance for me as a solo artist.

Now that you're older, is it easier to play in a band and to be among the ones who are responsible for S.K.I.N.?
miyavi: All the bandmembers are older and more egoistical. (laughs) As a guitarist, I have to work well with the others, yet I'm able to continue my solo projects. And I'm good as a guitarist.

What do your parents say about your career?
miyavi: They are not strict but they support me!

The concert was almost immediately sold out. What do you think about that?
miyavi: Thank you! (in German)

Do you notice your own strengths and weaknesses while composing?
miyavi: I can play the guitar well and I have a broad knowledge of Japanese figures of speech, but maybe I'm not so good at singing.

Many fans would love to have a German fan club. Are there any plans to open yours for overseas fans?
miyavi: I hope. I really hope so.

What do you think about casting shows?
miyavi: Oh, we have those in Japan as well, and they're a good opportunity to get a chance. I think it's okay. If you want to succeed there are thousands of ways to do so and this is one of them. And if you really believe, you can make it to the top.

Who had the basic idea for S.K.I.N.?
miyavi: Yoshiki! He's the band's leader, he asked Gackt and then both of them asked me to join.

You carry your guitars with you all the time. Did any of them ever break because of that?
miyavi: No, but I hit the strings quite hard and they often rip because of that.

Your video clips seem really elaborate. How long does it take to record one of them?
miyavi: One whole day.

What are you most afraid to lose in your life?
miyavi: Music and my guitars!

Is there a goal you still want to reach?
miyavi: No, there's none, because I think if I die, that's the goal. I want to travel around the world and experience things and when I die, I hope to have proven myself.

Do you have groupies?
miyavi: Sometimes.

What do you think about stalkers?
miyavi: I don’t give a fuck! I don’t care!

This was where the press conference ended. Everybody was given the chance to take a photo and then was asked to leave the room, in order not to delay the interviews (of which JaME was offered one as the only web site) any further.

miyavi's ending words: I'm really excited and can't wait to see my fans, because the tickets were sold out so fast...(stops and ends the sentence in German) Thank you!

------

JaME would like to thank R:ID, PS Company and of course miyavi for making this interview possible. Also special thanks to Johanne Henders from Germanrock.de for the live photos.
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