Kitasono Minami “promenade” interview (2014)

This is an interview straight from Minami Kitasono’s homepage concerning his debut CD, promenade, released in October 2014. Like Tadashi Shinkawa, Kitasono appeared on Lamp’s 2014 album, Yume, on which he arranged three songs and played on several more.

Original text: Ryohei Matsunaga (original interview)
English translation: Henkka
Minami Kitasono on the web: website, blog, Twitter, SoundCloud, iTunes

Note: You can buy promenade from iTunes or CDJapan (physical CD, PayPal accepted).

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Minami Kitasono: a mysterious singer-songwriter who suddenly appeared on the internet in the summer of 2012. A resident of Matsumoto, Nagano, born in 1990 — he has made little else about himself known besides that. He both fascinated and confused listeners with discerning ears with his original compositions featuring skillfully combined programmed sounds and live instruments. Poppy, mellow and eccentric. Rapid time signature changes and unpredictable song developments, and yet, an abundance pop sensibilities that make you want to start humming the melodies. All of the songs on his masterfully crafted first CD, promenade, feature a band sound as he is joined by a full lineup of guest musicians. With a little more dynamics in his music, it feels like Minami Kitasono might be dangerously close to changing the direction of pop music altogether.

Now as he is on the brink of releasing his debut CD, I got Minami Kitasono to peek outside of his veil of secrecy for me to interview him. So, please do tell us: “just who on earth are you?

Interview & text: Ryohei Matsunaga

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Lamp “Hachigatsu no Shijou” interviews (2010)

Hachigatsu no Shijou, a limited edition summer-themed album, was released by Lamp in mid-2010. Below you’ll find three interviews all pertaining to this great release — one of my personal favorites from the group (though who am I kidding: they’re all great.)

Original interview & text: mFound (original interview)
English translation: Henkka
Lamp online: website, label, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram

You can buy Lamp’s music directly from the band, both physically and digitally, on Bandcamp.

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Lamp released their latest limited edition EP, Hachigatsu no Shijou, on August 4th. Always dedicated to producing uncompromising sounds and showing us the world of Lamp in all its forms — an obsession perhaps a result of the band hailing from the field of independent music. We caught up with the group to talk to them about their music at the beginning of spring, back when it was still too chilly outside to put away the outer jackets.

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Shinkawa Tadashi “Paintings of Lights” interview (2015)

OTOTOY conducted an interview with Tadashi Shinkawa regarding his third album, Paintings of Lights, that was just released on January 11 through Lamp’s record label Botanical House — the label’s first release. Fans of Lamp will have already heard Shinkawa on their 2014 album, Yume, singing on the track “Tameiki no Yukue.” Below is a full translation of the interview.

Original text: Jin’ichiro Iida (original interview)
English translation: Henkka
Tadashi Shinkawa on the web: official blog, Twitter, SoundCloud, Botanical House

Note: You can buy Paintings of Lights at OTOTOY (digital copy, alac/flac/wav/mp3, overseas credit cards accepted) or CDJapan (physical copy, PayPal accepted.)

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Tadashi Shinkawa — a singer-songwriter who works completely alone, having recorded all of his albums thus far all by himself. His 2003 release, sweet hereafter, was a work that mesmerized listeners with its blend of mondo, exotica, and his characteristic, aesthetical sense of melody. On Christy, released two years later, he further made known his abundant musicianship by bringing to the surface more traditional elements like folk and rock, while also featuring a very “Tadashi Shinkawa” home recording sound.

Ten years later, he’s releasing Paintings of Lights. This work, with its Western art motifs and 80’s synth sounds, is a pop album full of romantic and poetic sentiments. It’s being released through Botanical House, an independent record label started by close friends of Shinkawa — as well as fellow creators of high-quality pop — Lamp.

When buying the album through OTOTOY, you will receive a bonus exclusive 15-minute interview video with Shinkawa. Please enjoy the text and video interviews with this usually very secretive artist, along with his highly detailed and brilliant, and yet, transient style of 80’s pop.

Personally, I was label mates with Tadashi Shinkawa on a label called MEMORY LAB. I first met him around 10 years ago; we both liked the same kind of back-to-the-roots music, but our ways of expressing it are completely different. That’s why when I heard his earlier album, sweet hereafter, I actually felt deeply jealous of his musicianship. He was later discovered by the equally wonderful musicians of Lamp, and he’s now releasing his first album in 10 years. Honestly, I thought I’d never get to hear another new album from him again.

I hereby give you my word: this release is truly nothing short of a marvelous record.

Interview & text: Jin’ichiro Iida

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Lamp “Yume” interview (2014)

Here’s an awesome, in-depth interview with Lamp mainly concerning their 2014 album Yume, including track-by-track commentary by the members. Must-read for all fans of the band.

This interview was published at HMV ONLINE.

Original interview & text: Toshiya Sekine (parts one & two)
English translation: Henkka
Lamp online: website, label, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram

You can buy Lamp’s music directly from the band, both physically and digitally, on Bandcamp.

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Lamp was formed in 2000 by Taiyo Someya, Yusuke Nagai and Kaori Sakakibara. Three years since their monumental, pop music masterpiece, Tokyo Utopia Tsuushin, this winter on February 5, 2014, Lamp are releasing their seventh original album, Yume.

Beautiful melodies that sway to and fro like the waves of the sea, unconventional chord progressions, increasingly uninhibited time signature changes and complex arrangements, lyrics showing the beauty of the Japanese language, and harmony vocals that somehow manage to sound both earthly and heavenly at the same time.

A rare breed of pop music creators, Lamp have garnered much praise with each successive album. However, their newest release shows even further evolution, and it is a masterpiece that could even be considered historical. Especially the album opener “Symphony” and the closer “Sachiko” are both miraculously beautiful and chock-full of emotion, and with them it could be argued that they’ve shown us how pop music, at its best, can truly be considered a form of art.

A wonderful mix of styles, drawing from genres like city pop, AOR, Brazilian music, new soul, psychedelic, SSW and harmony pop, and lyrics that paint pictures of the days of youth to which one may never return.

It’s a work that goes far beyond the times or their genre of music. Indeed, with this release, the band has managed to create a landmark album of perfection.

In this long interview, the band talks mainly about their new album Yume, but also the past and the future of Lamp as they chronicle their personal histories in regards to their stances and feelings towards music. I hope that this interview will offer you a glimpse not only into their wonderful music, but also to the inner mysteries of the band itself.

(Interview & text: Toshiya Sekine)

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mouse on the keys “irreversible” interview (2011)

Here’s a great interview with the amazing mouse on the keys, originally published at CONTRAST some time ago around the time their live DVD was released. If you’re a fan of mouse on the keys, and you’re the type of fan that’s interested in interviews and that sort of thing, then I’m sure you know just how scarcely mouse on the keys has those available (not to mention ones in English!). For those fans among you this should be a treat.

Translated in August 2013.

Original interview & text: Shota Kato
Photography: WYPAX
English translation: Henkka

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