Kitasono Minami “lumiere” Interview & Liner Notes (2015)

Want to know more about Kitasono Minami and more specifically “part two” of his debut, lumiere? If so, you’ve certainly come to the right place. Enjoy!

Interview & text: Kato Naoko (Japanese text)
English translation: Henkka
Kitasono Minami on the web: Website, Blog, Twitter, SoundCloud

Note: You can buy lumiere from CDJapan.

Interview

Following his initial popularity on SoundCloud, this artist just released his first studio recordings on last year’s mini-album, promenade. On it, he wrote, composed, and arranged (including the orchestral arrangements of) all songs, and showcased his multi-instrumentalist abilities on the bass, guitar, and various other instruments. Kitasono Minami has been displaying immense talent and competency on his recorded material.

At the young age of just 24, his pop sound incorporating strings and horn sections is so beautiful, mellow, and most of all accessible that it is almost frightening. His second release, lumiere, only strengthens that feeling. Framed as the counterpart to promenade as its “twin mini-album,” this release gives the impression of possessing even more sounds which were not present on the previous release.

We conducted an email interview with the artist himself in regards to lumiere.

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Uwanosora “Yogiri” Interview (2019)

To commemorate Uwanosora’s awesome third album, Yogiri, finally being made available on Spotify last month, here is an interview about it. You owe it to yourself to give it a listen. Enjoy!

Interview & text: Uchi Takahide of WebVANDA (Japanese text: part one & part two)
English translation: Henkka
Uwanosora on the web: Website, Instagram, Kadoya Hirohide Twitter, Iemoto Megumi Twitter

Note: You can buy Yogiri from CDJapan.

With the release of their second album Hidamari in 2017 (and a subsequent analog pressing the following year) still fresh in our minds, Uwanosora are releasing their eagerly anticipated third album Yogiri on June 26th.

This being their second release after becoming a duo in August 2017, Kadoya Hirohide (guitar, songwriting, production) and Iemoto Megumi (vocals) have, since the city pop beginnings of their 2014 debut, incorporated elements of various other genres into their music as they continue to develop their sound. One might even say they have become “music for the discerning music fan.”

In this interview, we asked the two members about the creation process of this album.

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Oketa Tomomichi “Teiyuu Mokuroku” Interview (2017)

Here is an interview with Oketa Tomomichi about his great debut album, Teiyuu Mokuroku. While at the time of this interview he was still a member of Uwanosora, he would go on to leave the band a couple of months later. Also featured on this album is Uwanosora vocalist Iemoto Megumi. Definitely do check out Oketa Tomomichi’s material if you have yet to do so.

Interview & text: Uchi Takahide of WebVANDA (Japanese text)
English translation: Henkka
Oketa Tomomichi on the web: Website, Twitter, Instagram, Bandcamp, YouTube

Note: You can buy Teiyuu Mokuroku from CDJapan.

As previously reported, Uwanosora member Oketa Tomomichi will be independently releasing his first solo album Teiyuu Mokuroku on May 31.

The programmed solo sounds heard on the album are the complete opposite of Uwanosora ’67, featuring band mates Iemoto Megumi and Kadoya Hirohide. With its very human, organic, 80’s electro-pop sound, as someone who was listening to that very same sound in real-time back then there’s something quite nostalgic about this album. In today’s musical climate where everyone is eager to split everything up into sub-genres, leading to the undoing of more distinct trends in music, there’s something about the album that just sounds so fresh.

Beginning with the lead track “Channel No.1” with its striking combination of very visual lyrics and a groove unique to sequenced music, the songwriting and arranging on all of the album’s tracks was done solely by Oketa himself. Six out of the nine tracks feature Iemoto on vocals, while the other three — including “Channel No.1” — are sung by Oketa. Also featuring on “Channel No.1” as backing singers are two names not previously seen in the credits of other Uwanosora-related releases: Nakagaki Kazuyuki and Ura Atsushi.

With the album’s release fast approaching, we present to you an interview with Oketa Tomomichi.

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Iwasaki Hiromi “Tsutsumi Kyohei Singles & Favorites” Interview (2021)

Here is a recently published interview with Iwasaki Hiromi. A celebrated singer with a career spanning over 45 years, among her many accomplishments there is one that is especially relevant to this post: of all the artists that legendary songwriter Tsutsumi Kyohei ever wrote for, she went on to receive the largest amount of his compositions. Especially through the mid-70’s to the early 80’s, these two made some amazing music together.

If you want to know more about Tsutsumi Kyohei, please see this profile and interview that I translated a short while ago. But now, here’s Iwasaki Hiromi.

(Note: this translation omits the final four questions of the interview as they were more about Iwasaki’s plans for the upcoming months and not about Tsutsumi.)

Interview & text: Hamaguchi Hideki (Japanese text: one, two, three)
English translation: Henkka
Iwasaki Hiromi on the web: website, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube

Note: You can buy Tsutsumi Kyohei Singles & Favorites from CDJapan.

Hit After Hit as the Embodiment of “Kyohei Disco”
Iwasaki Hiromi in the 1970’s

Iwasaki Hiromi made her entrance to the world of entertainment through audition program “Star Tanjou!” (Nippon TV) on 25 April 1975. Her debut single, “Duet,” was written by Aku Yu and composed by Tsutsumi Kyohei. Going on to release numerous hits as she became one of the representative pop singers of Japan, Iwasaki celebrated her 45th anniversary in the industry last year.

However, in October of that same year, she received the news that Tsutsumi, her former mentor, had passed away. A year later on 20 October, Iwasaki is releasing a two-disc anthology of songs written for her by Tsutsumi. In this interview we asked her about her relationship with this extraordinary hit maker, and about her thoughts in regards to the works they produced together.

In the first part of this long, three-part interview, we will be giving you stories from the 1970’s when Iwasaki Hiromi first met Tsutsumi Kyohei.

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Blue Peppers “Blue Peppers EP” Interview (2015)

Blue Peppers are a great two-member Tokyo band, consisting of Fukuda Naoki (left in the picture below) and Inoue Kaoru (right). If you don’t know them yet, definitely do check them out if you’re looking for some mature Japanese pop with strong AOR vibes and nods to city pop.

While their 2nd full album SYMPHONY is coming out in December 2021, here is an interview about their very first release: 2015’s Blue Peppers EP. Enjoy!

Interview & text: Kubota Taihei (original text)
English translation: Henkka
Blue Peppers on the web: website, Twitter, Twitter (Fukuda Naoki), Twitter (Inoue Kaoru), Instagram, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube

Note: You can buy Blue Peppers EP from CDJapan.

Blue Peppers is a unit consisting of Keio University boys Fukuda Naoki and Inoue Kaoru, and they are a tasty unit indeed. Their new release Blue Peppers EP came out on October 7, and its mellow sound sits somewhere in the borderline between a certain 90’s genre — which was itself built on top of a catalogue of great records — called “Shibuya-kei,” as well as another genre that has become a hot keyword in recent years: “city pop.”

Nonchalantly hinting at that “Keio Boys” image through their material which is both stylish and smart, their music has the sort of overwhelming originality which only the two of them could have created. If you’re looking for something that’s a little out of the ordinary, then here are two new faces you ought to keep your eye on!

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