Interview with HuV

interview - 03.05.2014 19:01

An interview with HuV: three childhood friends from Okinawa pursuing their dreams as a visual kei band in Tokyo.

JaME sat down with the visual kei band HuV after their successful secret performance in Ikebukuro Cyber on February 2nd to talk about the band's origins, their recent releases and plans for the future.

Could you please introduce yourselves?

Makoto: I'm the vocalist, Sokei Makoto.
Nao: I'm the guitarist, Okuhira Nao.
Aki: I'm the bassist, Yonamine Aki.

Please tell us about the concept of HuV.

Makoto: One of our concepts is catchy melodies within underground sounds. In our previous band, we were quite picky about creating melodies, but we felt like we wanted to have a more aggressive accompaniment for them, so this is what we decided to do when we formed the new band, HuV. (Note: the same members previously played together in the band GLACIER, which went major in 2008 and is currently on hiatus.)

How did you come up with the band name HuV?

Makoto: We have thought about many names together, trying to find a cool one. But after all, although we are not trying to sell it, we are a band of friends from Okinawa, so no matter how much we thought about it, always something Okinawa-like would come out in the end. At first it was a joke, like "Shouldn't we just call ourselves "habu"?" (Note: a type of pit vipers from Okinawa.) "No way, let's think of something cooler!" Then after two hours of thinking over it we settled on "habu" (laughs).
Nao: We did think over how to spell it afterwards and decided to write it as HuV (Note: in Japanese, "huv" is pronounced the same way as "habu".)

You said you formed the band as friends, but could you tell us a bit more about the band's origins?

Nao: We formed HuV last year on July 26th. We were playing in the band GLACIER together previously, and that’s how we came to form this band. Originally, we are friends from kindergarten. We come from the same town, went to the same school, from primary through middle to high school. We started a band together in middle school, and from then on we continued to what we are now with us three members.
Makoto: This becomes more of an answer to the previous question, but when we were little, we thought of what name to give our group of friends, and we would call ourselves "Habu Rengou" back then already (laughs). (Note: "habu union" is the name the band used when playing session gigs before officially forming HuV.) So we can't really talk about when our group formed; we were formed in primary school already (laughs). It's just that the band formed recently.

What music were you influenced by while in this band?

Aki: Since we have played together for a long time, the music that each of us listens to has come through various stages. What we have come to now is a result of the similarities that we have in our music tastes, with profound melodies and heavy parts, and this is what I like a lot. During the lives as well. Makoto is aggressive to go down into the audience and call the fans to the front (laughs), so it's really a combination of melodies with aggressiveness that we would like to continue doing.
Nao: I think what the three of us have in common is that we may listen to different sorts of music, but we all like music with a clear melody. So for example, we'd also have folk songs in our heads, being from Okinawa. And this is what we think of when making music as HuV, keeping the melody as the base and deciding what kind of songs we want to make from then.

So you have known each other for a long time. Could you tell us some interesting facts about each other?

Makoto: When we moved to Tokyo, we were living together. There are many interesting stories from back then. When we were living together, we would divide our tasks. Nao was responsible for cooking, Aki was responsible for making rules, such as which days we would clean the flat. And I was free (laughs). If there were snacks in the house, they were all mine; the juice in the fridge was all mine.
Nao: If there was no name written on the food, it would get eaten by someone, so we started to put our names on the food in the fridge (laughs).
Aki: We have fought so many times over it. I'd come home, and all my snacks would be gone.
Nao: We were really hungry back then, so we would really fight over bread (laughs).
Makoto: I would eat, Nao would cook, and Aki would manage. I think our personalities really come out through this.

If you weren't musicians, what do you think all of you would be doing?

Aki: I have thought once of becoming a worker in the aquarium. Apparently, there is a job where you go to the sea to catch whale sharks, and I even had a trial day of work there. And after I tried working, these two came to my house and said, "Will you go to Tokyo with us?" So I gave up on catching whale sharks straight away. And there's just one aquarium in Okinawa, so the chances of being employed there were quite low.
Nao: Before starting music, I was always doing sports. I started from volleyball, then did football. I think I would settle on football, and my work would be related to sports. Also, having moved to Tokyo, I started cooking and there was a period when I almost changed from guitar to knives (laughs). But after all of that, I stayed with the guitar.
Makoto: From when I was little, when we wrote about what we wanted to become, I always wrote "A celebrity" (laughs). I think this was the only way, if it wasn't with music, it would just be with another form.

Could you tell us a bit about the differences in the music scenes in Okinawa and Tokyo?

Makoto: The distance between fans and musicians is different: it's closer. From what we hear from the past, music was a close part of people's lives. It was something of one's own, so this original culture led to a different distance between artists and the listeners, which is very interesting. In Tokyo it's more of a business, where money is involved, and there is a different kind of excitement at gigs. This is the biggest difference that I felt.

Does being from Okinawa have any influence on your band in particular?

Makoto: When we started our activities last year, for half of the year, we were doing activities both in Tokyo and in Okinawa, and we felt this freedom in Okinawan people that would not be present in Tokyo, as I talked about previously, in good and in bad ways. Like, people would arrive late to the live house, as Okinawan people are on loose terms with time, or for example, like we did at today's gig, spontaneously change the setlist. So in this respect, maybe this is exaggerating, but not being bound by a set form, I felt happy that we were from Okinawa.

You have released two singles: Hana, yurameku in December and Shounen no ao -last song- in January. Could you tell us a bit about these releases?

Makoto: We released our first CD, B.R.N sky, earlier, and it had loud instrumentals, as well as catchy melodies, in it. We then thought of what we wanted to release next, and we thought that we should progress little by little. We felt that the theme of "seasons" was an important one for us, and the song name Hana, yurameku (note: a flickering flower) has the origin in there. "Flower" represents snow, and "flickering" refers to both paper snow and snowstorms. Once again, we tried to create a balance between aggressiveness and catchiness while conveying our view of the world in the song. We decided to bring out two consecutive singles from the start, and for the second consecutive single we wanted to release something completely different. Shounen no ao is actually a song that existed from a long time before, from before HuV was formed, and originally it was a song we would play rarely at big shows, such as one-man gigs. But as we wanted to bring out something completely different from the first two releases, we have arranged the song to include clean piano melodies, and being more of a slow-paced soft song, it became a completely new piece that could represent this side of our songs.

Could you tell us a bit about the story of the lyrics of these songs?

Makoto: Before writing the lyrics for Hana, yurameku, we already decided to make the theme of this song Winter. Since interpreting a theme may be difficult, I purposely started writing without thinking anything, trying to understand what I wanted to do. The first things that came to my mind when putting together the words Hana, yurameku were images of a stage. We had all wanted to make it a winter song, but in fact we had written a winter song before, so just this would not be interesting. So I thought of what I wanted to do, and images of a circus, a stage, and Nihon Buyou (Japanese dancing) came to my mind. The protagonist of the song is a girl who has feeling for a man, but not living out her real feelings, she is forced to dance. This is something that is not just limited to love, it also happens in music, or other things. People are forced to dance on stage, and what you thought was snow was actually a snowstorm made of paper. This is a song about our past experience a well, standing on stage and bringing out CDs but actually being forced to dance by someone, and it is something that is true for love, too. So the images of winter and the stage came together in my mind to create this story.
Shounen no ao starts with the words, "This song is my everything". This song is of pale memories from my days as a boy. It's the last letter that is written by one protagonist, who is a boy; it is my roots. It is me as a little boy conveying the message of my pale memories to someone, and if it was the last time to convey this message, it would be in these words, so the song names includes the words "last song".

On March 28th you are playing your first one-man live in Higashikoenji Nimandenatsu. Is there a special theme for this concert?

Nao: We started activities on July 26th 2013, so it's been over a year since we’ve continued playing and creating new songs. We would like to make a live where we show the HuV up to that day and a new HuV and state that this is what we are going to do from now on. Rather than there being a concept, we would like to clearly bring out HuV.
Makoto: When we started HuV in July last year, we had a number of goals that we went on to accomplish, like releasing CDs, bringing out music in Okinawa and in Tokyo. So then we wanted to bring together what was scattered until now in a show where only we were playing. We wanted also to bring our audience into one circle, and go on to the next step from there. So rather than having a theme for the one-man show, we are putting in order scattered things that we have created until now, and this is why the title of the one-man is the date of the show.

Can you tell us anything more about your plans from now on?

Aki: We do have some announcements, but we would like to save them for the one-man show, so please look forward to them. We can conclude them with a statement that "we would like to widen the scope of our activities". So please come to our one-man to hear the news.

Since JaME is international, could you tell us where would you like to go if you could go overseas?

Makoto: Germany! I don't know for sure but I have heard rumours that the cities there are very beautiful, so I would like to go there.
Nao: I just want to drink beer. (laughs)
Aki: I want to go to the US! I have heard that the hamburgers there are very big.
Makoto: Because of the food? (laughs)
Aki: I have an image that everything is so big there, so I want to go there.
Makoto: I also want to go to Taiwan. It's somewhat close to Okinawa in a number of ways, so I would like to go there. If we went overseas, this could become a new step for us.

Finally, please give a message to our readers.

Nao: We have just started our activities as HuV, but from now on too we would like to do our best to bring our songs and our warm feeling to people from all over the world, so please support us.
Aki: We have come from the small island Okinawa where music is prospering, and the three of us have been together for a long time. I feel that we have something that we would not lose to other bands with. We would like to spread this something to places all over the world, so if you have a chance, please listen to our music.
Makoto: Regardless of any concepts, what we think is most fun is being free. We would like to continue making music in freedom, and we would like you to be free and listen to our songs when you want to, and when you want to come to our shows, please come to see us.

JaME would like to thank the band and all their staff for making this interview possible.
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