Interview with Haruka at Anime Messe Berlin

interview - 21.07.2017 01:01

Haruka speaks about her new songs, her future plans and why there is still a language barrier between Japanese artists and their overseas fans.

Just before her show at Anime Messe Berlin, singer-songwriter Haruka took a moment to sit down with JaME and talk about her new songs, her future plans and why there is still a language barrier between Japanese artists and their overseas fans.

Hello Haruka! Thank you for having an interview with us again. Also, we are happy to welcome you back in Berlin! What were you looking forward to especially, when you were invited for Anime Messe again?

Haruka: Well, I really wanted to try new things this year, so I am going to play the piano for the first time in Berlin. Also, I am going to play some new songs from the new album. I'm really looking forward to doing this on stage and getting a reaction from the audience.

You could already do a little sightseeing in Berlin, right? What do you think about the city and coming back to Germany in general?

Haruka: Germany is one of the countries where I feel the most comfortable in general, to be honest. It's the culture itself and the people are very respectful and polite, so it's easy to communicate with everyone. Speaking about Berlin, I think the city itself is very creative. You can find a lot of inspiration for music and art right here, so it's really inspirational and interesting. That's why I love Berlin so much. It's really different from other European cities, like more traditional cities.

So, Berlin is a little bit more modern?

Haruka: Yes, modern! Also experimental. There's a lot of contemporary art or new architecture, so there are a lot of new things for me, too.

Yesterday you had a Q&A panel, before having your first concert today after our interview. How did the panel go and what do you expect from your concert?

Haruka: I think the new songs from my upcoming album are pretty strong, because they contain strong messages, so I'm really looking forward to receiving comments about these songs from the German audience. That's something I'm really looking forward to. About the Q&A panel, there were really interesting questions, also some casual questions like which are my favourite anime or games. Of course, there were also questions about how I started playing music, my new album or my future plans.

Speaking about future plans, do you have plans to visit more countries for concerts in future?

Haruka: Yes! But they are not concrete yet. I'd like to come back to Europe and I also want to go to South East Asia again. I had a show in Indonesia this year and it was a blast, I had so much fun. There is a big population in Indonesia, I think it's about twice as big as the Japanese population, so there are so many people, also so many young people, who appreciate music, Japanese culture, games and anime. So, naturally it's also a huge market. So, as I said, one of my plans is to go back to Indonesia, but I would like to come back to Berlin too, since it was my favourite show.

We would be happy to welcome you back here soon. Last time in Berlin, you said you are working on a new album and you already mentioned new songs. How is the progress of this new album?

Haruka: Well, I think I will release it around November, though there is no release date yet. I am recording right now. Around seven songs are already done and there are three more songs to go.

How about artwork and everything related?

Haruka: I talked to my stylist and I decided what kind of outfits I'll be wearing for the music video and for the CD jacket. I'm already looking forward to having another photo shoot and video shoot as well.

So we will be able to watch a new music video of one of the new songs soon?

Haruka: Yes, it will be for the lead track, Carry On.

Can you imagine singing a song in a completely different language other than Japanese or English? Would you like to do something like this in future?

Haruka: Yes! I would like to do that! For now, at least I wrote a new song in 95% English and it will be part of the new album, too. But it's a sad song. And … I'd like to sing in German as well (laughs). But it's hard! A song in Indonesian would be nice, too. For a start, it would be great to put at least some words of these languages into a song.

When you think about working as a musician, which is your favourite part?

Haruka: I love being on stage and going to new countries the most, like coming to Berlin. It's always a new experience. Because through music, you can meet a lot of people and you can get to know new cultures, which is totally exciting. That's the best part of being a musician.

So, getting in touch with a lot of people during and after your shows, is it inspiring for you when it comes to writing new songs?

Haruka: Yes, of course! My new album is entitled Unite! and for this, I got inspiration from my overseas shows especially. Like uniting people, bringing people together, sharing common experiences ...

There are no borders in music, but sometimes there is a language barrier between a Japanese band and their fans. Do you think this language barrier got smaller during recent years or is there still a lot of effort needed to overcome it?

Haruka: Well, I think there is a problem. As for us as Japanese artists, our English is not very good. Fortunately I used to live in Australia, so I can speak English, but for other artists it's very difficult. I think they don't have to necessarily sing in English, but it would be easier if they spoke more English, for example, during MCs on stage. If they could speak the local language a little bit as well, it would be even better.

Like YANAKIKU did during their concerts?

Haruka: Yes! It is a great idea, I think. Learning just a few words of the local language can break the ice immediately. I guess Japanese bands still need to make a lot of effort. I'm not being cocky, but there is still room to improve. If Japanese bands spoke a bit more English, even more people would appreciate Japanese music because they can communicate with the musicians. It would be easier.

Right now, you are a solo artist but can you imagine yourself playing in a band or do you prefer being a solo artist?

Haruka: I like to be a solo musician, because I have freedom and I can be flexible. But at the same time, bands and band sounds are very powerful. I saw MAGIC OF LiFE last night and their sound is really strong and powerful and convincing as well. So I would like to work with good musicians and I would like to be on stage with other musicians as well, like support members for a live show. Actually, I do that in Japan, but to go overseas with these musicians, I think that would cost too much and for the organisers of conventions it might be difficult sometimes to invite all the band members. That's why I go overseas as a solo artist, but in Japan I play with support musicians.

Time to dream big: What would be something you would really love to achieve as a musician?

Haruka: In past years, many people have asked me this particular question. Like, what is your ultimate goal and I gave it some serious thought so many times. I would say I don't have any concrete goal like performing at this venue or going to that place. It's not so specific. But my goal is to meet as many people as possible through music and to inspire as many people as possible with my music. Meeting people from all over the world and from every country, this is my ultimate goal. Not selling a certain number of copies or having a specific number of shows.

But are there a few places you would really like to go? Not like the ultimate goal, but in general?

Haruka: As for now, I really would like to go to China because it's our neighbour and it's a big business partner for Japan. But I think it's a closed market, because they banned the Internet. Not totally, but Chinese people can't use social media such as Facebook and Twitter. That's why it's an inaccessible market for me. I got the opportunity to perform in Berlin and in Budapest because of social media and e-mails but even Google is banned in China and without that and social media, it's very hard to book shows. So, that's the core problem. But I'd really like to play shows in China.

Thank you very much for this interview. Finally, please leave a message for our readers!

Haruka: Thank you so much for reading! I'm really grateful for the opportunity to perform in Berlin again and this is really thanks to your support. If you wouldn't have supported me, I would not be here. The organiser of Anime Messe invited me again because of fans' support. They wanted me back and I really appreciate that! I would like to come back to Berlin soon and I would love to play more shows here and in Germany in general. So, please support me from now on, too!
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