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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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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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 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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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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Lamp “Tokyo Utopia Tsuushin” column (2011)

Back in February 2011, Taiyo Someya wrote a four-part column for HMV ONLINE to commemorate the release of Tokyo Utopia Tsuushin. In it, he details the early history of Lamp and their journey towards the release of what was at the time their latest album.

Original text: Taiyo Someya (parts one, two, three & four)
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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tokyoutopiatsuushinWith Lamp’s previous album, Lamp Gensou, they quite literally to its name gave us an album full of fleeting, illusional beauty; a sound world drawing a line between music you’d normally expect to hear in this day and age; an innovative masterpiece in modern pop music. Hachigatsu no Shijou, a limited edition EP released in mid-2010, had summer as its theme, and on it they once again portrayed the fleetingness of the seasons in its lyrics, along with sound imagery that made for a perfect companion to the words. It showed us the world of Lamp richer than ever before, opening new possibilities for them as a band.

Now, Lamp are releasing their long-awaited new album, Tokyo Utopia Tsuushin, recorded alongside the Hachigatsu no Shijou EP with about a year and half of work behind it. It’s something that needs to be called the “rebirth” of Lamp; a condensation of tighter rhythm arrangements and even more of the characteristics that make up the “Lamp sound.” It features their usual brand of beautiful lyrics that capture places in time: the cold and the warmth of winter; nostalgic sensations we’ve all once experienced; a man and a woman in an imaginary place, in an imaginary town. Those lyrics are placed on top of a new sound, making for an 8-song masterpiece of the highest order. The sounds on it show an exceedingly distinctive brilliance among the current music scene; a kind of originality that — even looking back — is something only Lamp could’ve produced. It’s something on a whole new level altogether. —HMV

No matter how you slice it,
they’re a band just brimming with the
freshness of someone who does their own thing.
And that’s regardless of the maturity that’s
instantly audible in their musicianship.
There aren’t many people like that out there.
That’s what makes them so great.

Tomita Lab (Keiichi Tomita)

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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 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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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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