KOKIA live in Paris 06/01/21
French J-music Awards 2008 : the results !
mikan music articles
By Shimoa, on 2009-01-18 12:30 - Translation : janiine
■ mimu : Before starting, I'm sure there are among our readers people who wonder who you are ; could you please introduce yourself ?
■ When did all this happen ?
M : It's been three years, three years and a half since we met. The set-up of Nichika was about two years ago.
■ Speaking of "Nichika", where does this name come from ?
M : It's written with the characters for "two thousands" and "flower" : we are in the years 2000, and the concept is that these years are becoming flowers. We are living dark times, when people can get hurt easily, and the idea is that these flowers could give more energy to people. That's why we ended up with "the flowers of the years 2000", so "Nichika".
■ Did you hesitate with other names ?
M : Hum... No, not that I remember.
■ When we visit your official website, we are welcomed by a piano melody that I love. Who wrote it and why can't we find it on CD ?! (laughing)
M : Yoichirou wrote it ! Actually it's a music we used to play in concert while we were going on stage. But it's true we didn't record it though...
Nomura : I've been inspired by French impressionnism for this music : Ravel, Debussy,...
■ Still speaking about your official website, it has a very particular section : Issui (editor's note : same pronounciation as Miyamoto's first name but written with different characters, that means roughly "to close the eye". In this section, Issui usually posts poems ). Why did you want to publish these poems on your website ?
M : Since childhood, I love to write, to write poems or in a diary. It's a hobby that has never left me until now and I wanted to use it in order to show another side of my personnality. There are clearly things that can only be expressed by words, and by creating this section, I wanted to show another "vision of the world" than Nichika's.
M : Exactly. Actually, when I was little, I was shy, naive, it was hard for me to express myself in front of others. My mum was worrying about it, so she took me to karaoke, that's how I started singing. I was 9 and I really enjoyed it. Little by little, I became more cheerful, more able to talk to others, really blossomed out. But the "When I grow up, I wanna be a singer" thing actually came at around 11 years-old. And the following year, I had the audition you were talkng about. Because I had decided on my dream, although I was still going to school, I wanted to give more to music, that's why I ended up dropping school.
■ I already know the answer to my next question now that I met this person, but can you tell our readers who makes your covers, that are wonderful by the way ?
M : It's an illustrator called Tajima who makes them, since our debut single. He aldo did the cover for Aijou ; the idea was his, though the photo was taken by someone else. Tajima has also designed our offical website.
■ If you had to introduce Nichika with only one song to someone who doesn't know you, which one would you choose ?
M : That's hard ! (laughing) ... I would sing â€“or make listen to- Atarashii Mizu, our third single.
N : Edelweiss probably...
■ Why ?
M : Hum... I feel like Atarashii Mizu is truly pervaded by Nichika. Objectively, I think this song doesn't look like any other, that it represents Nichika pretty well.
N : I think Edelweiss is the most "direct" song for someone who doesn't know us at all. It also explains what is really Nichika . I like Atarashii Mizu too, but for me it's a bit complex, "indirec ". I would play it, but after Edelweiss. I think this one is good to introduce ourselves and that it can also appeal to non-Japanese people.
■ Rather than giving messages, we feel like your music tries to show things, to create atmospheres : why, for whom ?
N : This is a tough question... (long silence) Why don't we sing message songs ? Hum... for example... all human beings have some nostalgia in them, don't they ? Without talking openly about love or something, with one word, or a sentence, we try to... how can I say it... kind of revive this nostalgia that each person has in his heart, that these feelings would be brought back to life only by seeing an image or hearing a word. Nichika's music, without shouting messages out loud, whispers nostalgia to our ears... Argh that's so hard to explain ! (laughing) Many artists sing message songs, but Nichika is more trying to convey something with a whisper, so that people who are listening to our music, by this feeling of nostalgia or "nature", come into our world.
■ Sorry for this brain-teaser... ! The next question is more simple. Your lyrics are signed Pockets of Demo : who is it ?
N : It's Nichika's pen name.
■ What does that mean ?
N : Well..... (all laughing) Grammatically, it would certainly be better to say "Demo of Pockets" but... Actually, I often create demo tapes and I always give them a title : in Japanese, in English or even a word that doesn't exist. Or for example a title that doesn't have much sense but that matches with the atmosphere of a given song. Pockets of Demo is one of these titles. We all like this name, so we've chosen it as our pen name. It doesn't have any particular meaning.
M : We composed this song starting with the guitar intro (he hums it), that at this point had nothing to do with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Then we wrote the lyrics, but there wasn't any "hero", so how can I say it... I thought that by adding a leading character, the whole lyrics would be clearer. Then the idea of introducing that Lucy suddenly occured to me. It's about a girl who is a bit weird, a crazy girl. And we wanted to... how can I say it... (looking for the right word) make a parody ? That's another way to show respect : rather than keeping, "protecting" this song, on the contrary we wanted to use it and make it a funny thing. That's why "Diamonds" became "Parasol", it's just humor !
M : It was the first edtion, so we wanted to do it in a friendly atmosphere, that's why we've invited these three artists who are our friends. But Nichika doesn't have many friends so... (all laughing)
N : For now !
M : Apart from that, there is the fact that RYTHEM is also a duet, just like alÃ¼to ,... well, Kurumi Enomoto is alone but I think we all have something in common in our "characters".
■ How have you met each one of these artists?
N : I used to be a session musician for Kurumi Enomoto, that's when we hit it off. For the others, we've had the opportunity to do several lives together.
■ Oh I see. Have you been a session musician for other artists ?
N :Hum... who could I mention... somebody famous? Concert or recording? (thinking) Ah, Makoto Kawamoto for example. Then... (thinking for a long time)
M : You know, for the Kouhaku...
N : Oh yes, hitomi. Do you know her ?
■ Yes, of course ! Getting back to the Shinsetsu Ai no Uta project, how often would you like to do it again ?
N : I haven't decided yet, but I would like to do it every two or three months.
this news), will be the theme song for drama RESET. Were you given particular instructions from the series' staff ?
N : First, we were given the script to read. To me, the main theme was human relationships. Neither love relationships nor family relationships, but truly human relationships, what is really in the heart of human beings. So we haven't been asked for a love song, nor have we been imposed a frame, we were free. Besides we were not asked for aiming an age bracket or a gender in particular.
■ Genius Party has also been used as a theme song for the eponymous animation movie, but it seems like the comingdrama tie-up will have a bigger impact. What do you think about that ? Is it the first step to celebrity ?
M : (laughing) The highway to success ? (all laughing) We are really happy, I think that's a great opportunity !
We wish you all the best ! Thank you very much for your time.
Finally, here is a short video message to french audience. Thanks so much for kindly playing our game !
Sincere thanks to Nichika and their manager for this interview... and everything else !