Click artists image above to view their full interview.

TOYBOX SHOWCASE 02 (Japan Walker issue 03)

An entertainment section by Toybox Projects in the magazine.

Introducing Japanese artists, new and upcoming artists and creators from behind the scene from Japanese entertainment industry. Putting you on a fun and interesting journey while reading the interviews. 

In this Japan Walker Autumn issue we have interview [Alexandros], Charisma.com and Keiichi Nitta.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW (FULL interview)
The Star - [ALEXANDROS]

Spotlight On - CHARISMA.COM

Backstage With - KEIICHI NITTA

For more information, please visit

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Japan Walker Facebook site

 
THE STAR
INTERVIEW WITH [ALEXANDROS]
[ALEXANDROS]独占インタビュー

Q: How would you say, "This is [Alexandros]!” in a single word?

 

A: [Alexandros] is a rock band, but we combine various genres of music, which gives us an aura that's different from other bands. However, at the heart of our band are melodies that a person of any age or nationality could listen to and feel a sense of familiarity with. We formed our band in Japan, but I spent my early childhood living overseas, so I wanted to have a band that does things according to worldwide standards. So we definitely want to perform lives in Malaysia and have all kind of people enjoy our music.

 

Q: When people listen to [Alexandros]’ music, what do you want them to pay attention to the most?

 

A: First, we want people to take notice of the technical skill of the arrangement. I think people will be able to get a sense of the sound and spirit that only the four of us together can create. Then we want them to fully enjoy the melody. There is a lot of English in our lyrics, so we'd love it if you memorize them and come and sing along at our lives.

 

Q: Amongst your original songs, which one do you have the most emotional attachment to?

 

A: We're attached to all of them, so we can't say one song specifically. But people really get into our song called Adventure, no matter what country we go to and even if it seems like they are hearing it for the first time. In a way, it's a good song to come to know our band by.

 

Q: In your experience as a band so far, what has been the best thing or the most trying thing to have happened?

 

A: It has to be having had all kinds of people listen to our music. Not just in Japan, but in America and England as well our neighbors Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong. And we want to have people in countries we have not been to yet listen to our music as well. There is no way to describe the wonderful feeling of the moment when people can directly experience our music, which the four of us made together in some little room but spreads its wings, making its way throughout the world I guess we've had our share of difficulties, but the strange thing is, by the next day we'll have forgotten all about it. But it's rough when we get sick with colds and aren't able to take a rest from lives (laughs).

 

Q: After creating the theme song for "Kyou no Kira-kun", the movie version of a manga, I expect you will gain more overseas fans. I believe many people overseas learned about Japanese music through television dramas as part of the Japan Wave 20 years ago, but it seems that recently lots of people first make contact with Japanese music thanks to anime and games. [Alexandros] is involved with many drama tie-ups, but do you ever feel that you wish foreigners would watch more Japanese dramas?

 

A: Anime is the main thing in Japan, but the quality of dramas is also very high. There are various regulations and Japan cannot make things that are as flashy as what you find in America, but precisely because of that, Japan is full of ideas and many movies get made right away. Also, the actors in their 30's are really good. Besides dramas, I think you should definitely watch movies as well.

 

Q: Riding the wave of the anime boom, are you thinking about doing any further tie-ups with anime or games?

 

A: When it comes to tie-ups, we aren't in the position to make an approach, however, the idea of artists being inspired by the contents [of an anime or game] and voluntarily creating a song and presenting it would be interesting. If things went that way, we would be able to put truth into our work and as artists we wouldn't be forced into doing something. For example, I really love Japanese Godzilla, so I've always wanted to write a theme song for Godzilla (laughs). I'm so into this that last year when it was revealed on the news that a new Godzilla is in the works, I was inspired to write the song "Kaiju" (laughs).

 

Q: Anime and manga have become hugely popular throughout the world, but what do you think is necessary for Japanese music to also be able to spread overseas?

 

A: In the end, I think it's the substance that matters. There are a lot of possible opportunities, but to turn that chance into something that bears fruit, I think artists need to make good songs and perform well live.

It sounds simple, but I think that's all there is to it in the end.

 

Q: When it comes to Japan, what are your proud of?

 

A: The food is delicious, isn't it! (laughs). Of course I think that because I'm Japanese (laughs). But it seems like there are a lot of people in Japan who research foreign food in their own way and have the imagination to create a brand new dish out of it.

 

Q: What is the thing that you would most recommend in Japan?

 

A: [Alexandros].

 

Q: If you created a song with 'Japan' as the theme, what kind of song would it be?

 

A: We would probably make uses of the sound of trees.

 

Q: What do you think is the biggest difference between rock music in Japan and other countries?

 

A: Basically, we think they are the same. You turn a minus into a plus, and being somewhat rough music, rock can be an outlet for Japanese people who are comparatively gentle, but have their particular frustrations and stress.

 

Q: Some of the members have experience living overseas, so what do you think is different between the music culture in Japan compared to those in the countries you've spent time in?

 

A: There are lots of things. Depending on your background,  I think different musical scales are pleasant to your ear. So in order to enjoy the music of a particular place, ultimately it's important to get to know the atmosphere of that place too. It's the same for the people making the music, so it's necessary for them to be able to convey the atmosphere of the place through music alone to people who know nothing about it.

There are many differences within Japan too. In areas with cold climates the lyrics tend to be introspective, while in warmer climates the lyrics are often carefree (of course there are exceptions to this).

 

Q: Having lived abroad, aside from in your use of language, is your experience reflected in the band's music at all?

 

A: There are all kinds of people in this world. I'm glad that I learned early on that this is not something that should go ignored. At lives for example, you shouldn't find fault with people who really want to go crazy and let it all out, nor should you forcibly try to pump up the people who want to watch quietly.It's my feeling that when you listen to music, it's one of the few times you can abandon yourself body and soul without worrying about politics or religion.

 

Q: What is the thing you most want to do as a band?

 

A: We want to become one of the best bands in the world that everybody knows about.

 

Q: What's the difference between your fans in Japan compared to those overseas? 

 

A: There are a lot, but once our lives start, it seems like  those differences disappear.

 

Q: Do you have any plans to do things outside of Japan in the future?

 

A: We are right in the middle of planning something. We want to do something as soon as possible. However, we can't perform overseas unless we have at least 300 people coming to our live. We're doing preparations now so that we can pounce when that opportunity strikes, so please look forward to us coming.

 

Q: Please tell us your upcoming plans for the band.

A: We're thinking that we want 2017 to be all about writing songs. And then once we have all the songs in order, we want to make an album.

 

Q: Please tell us about the concept for your new album and any interesting episodes that have occurred.

 

A: We didn't establish a concept of any kind. We put our feelings at the time into the songs, so each song has a different mood. There are people in this world who do everything they want in their own way, so as our way of saying this loudly, we made the title of the album "EXIST!"

 

Q: Please give a message to your fans in Malaysia and Singapore.

 

A: To everyone in Malaysia and everyone in Singapore, we will come and do lives in the near future. We pray that when we do, we will experience some amazing moments together.

Q: この仕事についた理由・きっかけはなんですか?

Why did you decide to pursue this career path? 

A: 姉がモデルをやっていたからモデルを始め、音楽はずっとやりたいと願っていたらチャンスが舞い込んできた。

My older sister was a model, so I started out modeling. It was always my ambition to do music and the opportunity to do so just came my way after wishing for it. 

Q: マレーシアとシンガポールのファンにメッセージをお願いします。

Please give a message to your fans in Malaysia and Singapore. 

A: まだ一度も行ったことが無いので行きたいという気持ちでいっぱいです。

ライブでみなさんと触れ合えたら私の人生においても素晴らしい経験になると思います。

I have never been to Malaysia or Singapore before, so I'm dying to go. 

I'm sure that being with everyone while I'm performing will be a special and memorable experience for me.

 
SPOTLIGHT ON
INTERVIEW WITH CHARISMA.COM 
CHARISMA.COM独占インタビュー

Q: You've released a full major album. Could you tell us about the concept or any episodes regarding the album or what you would like listeners to pay attention to?

A: The title 'not not me' carries the meaning 'This is not not me'.  I think there are many people who feel they are not accepted and feel about themselves that they aren't a certain way. Because of such anxities and noticing such things, they aren't accepted. We would like such people to listen to our music.

Q: As an artist, so far what has been the best thing or the most trying thing to have happened?

A: Itsuka: The best would be meeting interesting people. As for bad things, none.

Gonchi: The best thing would be being able to do and experience extraordinary things. The most difficult would be performing in front of large crowds as I get nervous.

Q: From your lyrics you seem to relate strongly to OL (office ladies) Although music has no borders, some of the lyrics speak particularly to the experience of Japanese office ladies . Do you think your fans abroad will be able to relate to these sentiments?

A: We would like for them to be able to relate to the songs. Also because we've been increasingly getting offers to play abroad.

Q: You have unique music videos. If you were to create a music video with 'Japan' as the theme,  what kind of kind of music video would it be?

A: It would be a music video where samurai's don't appear so as to convey the meaning that people like samurai do not exist now. I'd like to make a video where there are people dressed head to toe in red and white who then become all red as they are cut down by swords.

Q: Up till recently you were OL. When you released songs that spoke to the darker side of OL life, how did your colleagues react? Also when it was announced, were you afraid of their reaction?

A: They played out songs in the office. It was awkward (laughs)

Q: You emphathize with OL's, but on the flipside, have you incurred the wrath of men or your seniors?

A: I think we make music that really doesn't matter gender-wise so it's alright.

Q: You've since quit being OL. Do you think about making songs not just about the frustrations of OL but those experienced by women and society in general?

A: I've come to realize that the songs we sing whether they are about the concerns and questions of marriage, childbirth and working, these are issues and concerns of many in society. Because we realize this, we would like to continue on on this note.  

Q: Have you ever received requests from fans to write songs about particular grievances?

A: We often get asked to write songs about unrequitted love. Everyone, please fall in love with someone great!

Q: Cosplay is popular across the globe. Charisma.com have a colourful and extraordinary style, but what kind of cosplay would you do given the chance?

A: Itsuka: The Pale Man from 'Pan's Labryinth'

Gonchi: Chibi Maruko-chan (I like it and watch it often)

Q: Anime and manga have become hugely popular throughout the world, but what do you think is necessary for Japanese music to also be able to spread overseas?

A: Without forgetting the essence of Japan, I think Japanese should make music that non-Japanese aren't able to.

Q: Please give a message to your fans in Malaysia and Singapore.

A: Please listen to our music and invite us to perform.

I love going overseas. I'd love to play a live there.

Q: 世界中でコスプレが大人気で、VALSHEさんもクロスプレーヤー(性別が逆のプレーの意)ということでコスプレファンに注目を浴びています。クロスプレーをする際に、気をつけている点はありますか?

Cosplay is very popular worldwide and as a crossplayer (cosplay in which the person dresses in a different gender) you have gained attention from cosplayers. When, crossplaying, is there something that you pay attention to in particular?

A:  クロスプレーヤーじゃないよ?まあだけど、そう見えるならそれでもOK!だってそれが素敵に見えるなら、形はなんでもいいと思わない?だけどもしVALSHEが本当にクロスプレーヤーとして自分をプロデュースするなら、ヒゲは欠かしたくないね!笑

I’m not a crossplayer. Well, but even if I look like one that’s okay! So long as it looks wonderful, the form it takes on doesn’t matter right? But if I were to really produce VALSHE as a crossplayer, I can’t go without facial hair! (laughs)

 

A: What would you say is your definitive style?

A: Simple snapshot style.

Q: What are you particular about when taking photographs?

A: The expression and movement of the subject and drawing out what's on the inside.

Q: In your work as a photographer, what has left the biggest impression on you?

A: Photographing Madonna, Kate Moss, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga. Also, when I worked as Terry Richardson's assistant.

Q: Up until now, what has the best or the most trying experience for you as a photographer?

A: When I got to capture the smiling faces of many people from all around the world during

my time as an assistant in New York.

Q: Anime and cosplay are very popular throughout the world. Many cosplayers take selfies and have their picture taken while in costume, but what do you feel is the most important point when taking such pictures?

A: In any case, becoming the character as fully as possible is the most important thing.

Q:  Now people can edit their selfies to make themselves appear cuter, but what do you think of this kind of app?

A: I think they are great.

Q: Amongst all the artists and models you have photographed, who has been the best, most fun or most meaningful to work with and what is your reason?

A: I have been able to photograph Paralympic medalists throughout the world and they always imbue me with a sense of power.

Q:  Who would you like to photograph and why?

A: Michael Jackson and the reining Emperor of Japan.

Q:  What sort of photograph do you enjoy taking the most? What is the reason?

A: I like taking documentary photographs. This is because they are real.

Q:  Do you have a certain kind of photo you would like to try taking? Alternatively, what

would you like to do in the future in terms of photography?

A: Prime ministers and heads of state across the world. I also want to collaborate with artists of various genres.

Q: You have been working in Japan since returning from New York where you gained experience as a fashion photographer. Has the way you look at the Japanese photography world changed since working abroad? Also, as a result of that experience, what has changed about the way you take photographs and what has not changed.

A: Nothing has changed for me. In a good sense of the term, nothing has changed.

Q: What do you think are the differences between fashion photographers in Japan and abroad?

A: I would say the quality of the experience of the models and creators.

Q: Japanese fashion garners attention for its traditional garments, brands, styles, cosplay, etc. Japanese fashion brands have begun to actively expand into Europe, North America and East Asia, but do you think photography can do to help Japanese fashion become as popular as anime, games and cosplay in Southeast Asia?

A: A collaboration with Hayao Miyazaki.

Q: What do you think about international luxury brands like Louis Vuitton using anime and CG instead of models?

A: I think it's fantastic.

Q: You came to Malyasia for MIYAVI Live in Kuala Lumpur in 2014, but what kind of impression were you left with regarding Malaysia? What kind of photographs would you like to take in Malaysia?

A: Malaysian people are very kind and I really loved the food. I want to photograph Malaysian celebrities and politicians.

Q: If you were to take pictures that capture 'Japan', what kind of pictures would you take?

A: I would want to take pictures of life in the Japanese countryside and shots of Japan's beautiful nature.

Q: Please teach us a trick for how to take good photographs that reflect one's uniqueness, regardless of whether the photographer is amateur or professional.

A: I think it's connected to acting with consideration and thoughtfulness for the person whose

picture you are taking.

Q: Please give some words of advice to people who are aiming at becoming pro-photographers.

A: Keep on clicking.

Q: これまでのお仕事の中で一番大変だったことはなんですか?

Up till now, what has been the most difficult experience of your career?

A: 大変な事は挑戦を選ぶ事だと思います。乗り越えればどんなに大変でも後で良い思い出になるので無いです。某大御所の女優さんがリースで借りたフェンディの衣裳を勝手にフィッティング、口紅ガンガンに付いていた時はかなり凹みました〜(笑

I think that a difficult situation presents you with an opportunity to take on a challenge. No matter how tough, if you can overcome it, it’ll become a valuable memory, so none really. Having said that, there was an incident with this one very famous actress who had, without consulting us, tried on a Fendi outfit we had on a loan and she got her lipstick all over it. At that time I was quite gutted (laughs). 

 

Q: これまでのお仕事の中で、一番思い出に残っている事はなんですか?

On the flipside, what has been the most memorable thing you’ve experienced through your work?

A: 原宿ロンチャーズという番組でスタイリストの先生という立ち位置で顔出していた。好き勝手にしゃべらせともらっていたので面白かった。

I appeared as a teacher to the stylists on a television program called ‘Harajuku Launchers’. I was allowed to speak as I pleased so it was fun for me. 

BACKSTAGE WITH

INTERVIEW WITH KEIICHI NITTA

新田桂一独占インタビュー

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