Lamp “Zankou” interview & liner notes (2007)

Zankou, Lamp’s collection of new material and previously unreleased songs was released in March 2007. This interview regarding the album was posted in 2007 on a site called mf247 that no longer seems to exist. I’ve also included translations of liner notes of three of the six songs on the album; these were written by Taiyo Someya between 2004 and 2007. Enjoy!

Original text: Masaru Yokota
English translation: Henkka
Lamp on the web: website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Botanical House

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

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If I was to summarize them very briefly: they’re a hidden gem of pop music. Give them a listen and you, too, will quickly hear that they’re truly deserving of the title. City pop, soft rock, MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira, a genre of Brazilian music that came after bossa nova), soul, AOR, bossa nova, etc… You can find components of many musical genres in Lamp’s material. Now, nearly two years since their last release, they’re breaking their radio silence to release their first collection of unreleased material, Zankou, while they’re busy working simultaneously on their fourth and fifth albums. With a focus on this collection that gives us a glimpse into their future with its newly-written songs, this interview zooms in both on Lamp’s past as well as what they wish to achieve going forward.

Interview & text: Masaru Yokota

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Shin Rizumu “NEW RHYTHM” interview (2015)

Shin Rizumu is another great new artist who I hope will find lots of success in his musical career. Here’s an interview regarding his debut album NEW RHYTHM that came out in May. I hope this translation can be of some small help in finding him some English-speaking fans, too.

Original interview & text: Hotaru Kato (original interview)
Photography: Junko Yoda
English translation: Henkka
Shin Rizumu on the web: website, Twitter, SoundCloud, iTunes

Note: You can buy NEW RHYTHM physically from CDJapan or digitally from iTunes.

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A third-year high school student born in 1997 and living in Kobe. A singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who not only writes, composes and arranges his songs, but also does all the vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, synths, trombone, and programming by himself. In his first year of high school, he began uploading music on SoundCloud that he’d written since he was in junior high school. These tracks started spreading on the internet, and sharp-eared listeners and musicians alike were quick to note that another musical genius had appeared. In January 2015, he released his first independent analog recording.

New wave, indie rock, roots rock, soul, funk, R&B, pop, and more — his music and sound which have the essence of all these genres know no boundaries. It’s music that has a freedom and sensibility that could’ve only been achieved by someone in his teens, and yet, the level of polish and perfection is something you’d never expect to hear from someone his age. This new-generation pop maestro is quickly starting to gain more and more prominence.

Text: Hotaru Kato & photography: Junko Yoda

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Uwanosora ’67 “Portrait in Rock’n’Roll” interview (2015)

Portrait in Rock’n’Roll, the debut album by Uwanosora “side project” Uwanosora ’67, was released on June 10th, 2015. This interview with its members Hirohide Kadoya and Megumi Iemoto was published on their website some days later. The album is unfortunately not as of writing available for digital purchase, but this shop appears to stock the album and will ship overseas (and here’s their English-language shopping guide). Please enjoy the interview.

Original interview & text: Takahide Uchi (parts one & two)
English translation: Henkka
Uwanosora ’67 on the web: website, Twitter: Kadoya & Iemoto

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— To start off, I’d like to ask you about your initial motives in regards to Uwanosora ’67 and your first release, Portrait in Rock’n’Roll. Why did you decide to release this album with just you and Iemoto, and why not under the name of Uwanosora?

Hirohide Kadoya: The initial motive was simple: we wanted to release an album with a 60’s approach. The fact that it ended up being just me and Iemoto was because me and Oketa had such different ideas about what we wanted to do with that concept. Sure, we could’ve just compromised and met halfway, but when we listened to what each of us had, there was just such a difference in the material that we found them incompatible with each other. That’s not to say that made things between us weird or anything — the both of us agreed that we wanted to try both those approaches and so we thought it’d be a fun idea if we’d both write our individual sets of songs for Iemoto to sing. And that’s how this came about. My batch of songs was completed first, so they’re also the ones getting released first. Uwanosora the group has always been us three, so it was our intention from the beginning to release this album under a different name. Well, all we did was add some numbers at the end though. (strained laugh)

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Lamp “Lamp Gensou” interview & liner notes (2008)

Lamp’s fourth album, Lamp Gensou, was released in late 2008. The band conducted a Tower Records exclusive interview in commemoration of its release, also publishing “liner notes” where all three members wrote about their thoughts on each song on the album.

Here are English translations of both the interview and the song-by-song commentary.

Original text: Masaru Yokota (interview), Lamp (liner notes)
English translation: Henkka
Lamp on the web: website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Botanical House

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

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— This is your first original album in three and a half years and I’m sure your fans have been waiting for it eagerly. How do you feel about the album now that it’s finished?

Taiyo Someya: Right. Well, let’s just say that if we got into a car accident or something and died right after this album was released, in effect making this our final album… I think I would be left with so much regret in the afterlife. If I’m going to die in the near future, I hope we at least get to release one more album before that happens. (laughs)

Kaori Sakakibara: That’s awful! (laughs)

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Uwanosora “Uwanosora” interview (2014)

Uwanosora is a great, new Japanese band who released their self-titled debut album last year. The following is to my knowledge the only published interview they’ve done so far and it’s an interesting, very in-depth read. Two members of Uwanosora are releasing a new album next month under the name of Uwanosora ’67 which you would also do well to check out.

I definitely recommend giving a listen to this band especially if you’re a fan of, say, Lamp.

Original interview, text: FUKUROKO-JI (parts one, two, three & four)
English translation: Henkka
Uwanosora on the web: website, iTunes, Twitter: Kadoya, Oketa & Iemoto

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

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(L-to-R) Hirohide Kadoya (guitar, songwriting), Megumi Iemoto (vocals) & Tomomichi Oketa (guitar, songwriting)

As a resident of Kansai, the first time I heard the term “city pop” was around the time I moved from my hometown of Nara to start university in Osaka. I think the reason I didn’t really get what the term meant was because, for me, “city” had always meant “Tokyo.” Sure, I’d always lived right next to Osaka, but to me Osaka was a place that never had the image of an urban, polished city — I’d always just thought of it as this area that had been forcibly made to flourish. But these feelings of mine towards Osaka were also what made me so interested in the “city,” and once I’d gotten to know the streets of Osaka a little bit, I started imagining just what Tokyo must be like in comparison. This was also when I first became interested in the musical genre of city pop, but deep down inside, I was cynically thinking to myself how “this city pop stuff is surely something only people living in the suburbs of Tokyo are able to truly understand.

This blog, FUKUROKO-JI, is a place where I’ll be interviewing people I’m personally interested in. My honorable first guests and fellow Kansaians, Uwanosora, are a three-piece band consisting of Hirohide Kadoya (guitar, songwriting), Megumi Iemoto (vocals) and Tomomichi Oketa (guitar, songwriting). Formed in November of 2012, they produced an eight-song demo tape (unreleased) after just two months of being a band, and this July they released their first full-length album, Uwanosora, through Happiness Records.

I first heard of this band through the Nara record store Django, whose owner, Mr. Matsuta, I spotted praising Uwanosora on Twitter. I immediately bought it, and upon listening to it I was overwhelmed by the level of songwriting and arrangements that were way beyond the level of your average debut indie album. I desperately wanted to ask them about their approaches to songwriting and about the songs included on the album, and so with nothing to lose, I approached them about doing an interview. And, admittedly, at the back of my mind I did have an ulterior motive of wanting to know more about these people who — despite not living in Tokyo — had managed to release an album full of city pop.

Interview & text: FUKUROKO-JI

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