Late last year, JaME had the opportunity to interview exist†trace about their newest mini-album ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC, their progress as musicians and their resolutions for 2017.
Your mini-album ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC was released on November 16th. What does the title ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC mean and why did you choose this title?
miko: I named it after the "royal straight flush" of a poker game, thinking that we can create a miracle when the five "cards" of exist†trace get together! I hope we can inspire your courage to grab the next card for your future when you listen to this mini-album.
Yoake no hikari was written by Omi, and her song Shout Out was popular with fans. Omi, please tell us what inspired you to write Yoake no Hikari and what is the song's message?
Omi: Yoake no Hikari is a follow-up to Tokoyami no yoake and I made Yoake no hikari because I wanted to express my "current" feelings. However difficult the reality is or however deep the darkness is, the suffering or the wall can be overcome. Also, you are not alone, and I want you to live fully in the present together. I put these thoughts into the song.
Which song on ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC did you find the most challenging or interesting to work on? What was challenging or interesting about it?
Jyou: I was like "What!?" when I first heard Psychedelic Black Night and the first impression was really intense. (laughs) But, right away, I knew it was a perfect live-show song, so I went after it full force.
miko: The lyrics of Psychedelic Black Night. For the part "Bokura no psychedelic black night," I wasn't sure if I could sing it so fast. In the end, Jyou finished it with a cool, wicked smile, and I was relieved.
Omi: During the recording, I always try different guitars. For Psychedelic Black Night I used the flying V which I'm not used to playing. I played standing up, and it was both challenging and interesting.
Naoto: Royal Straight Magic was interesting. Phrases came to me right away, and it was simply fun to play.
Mally: Get Back was fun! Since we'd already played it in live shows and I already had the picture, I was really excited during the recording!
What was the biggest challenge in creating your mini-album ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC?
Jyou: The level of English lyrics is getting higher, I think ...
miko: From the time of writing to recording songs, we had many live shows at the same time, so we couldn't concentrate just on songwriting. But, at the same time, we could record without losing the energy from live shows. As a result, we captured the sound that makes you feel like you're with us at the live shows, so I'm satisfied!
Omi: There were many songs with fast BPM, and I was worried how to approach them and bring out the differences. I decided to have fun with those challenges, and I tried using Whammy, or creating different feelings with mellow phrases and sounds or fast changes, too.
Naoto: For recording Kimi to ame to himitsu, I paid a lot of attention to the nuance of the phrases, so it took a lot of time.
Mally: Since there are many fast songs, it was a challenge to master the groove. But I focused on searching for the feeling each song required, and trying to top myself each time!
Since there's the word "magic" in your mini-album's title, please tell us what magic trick you'd like to perform if you were a magician at a magic show.
Jyou: The trick to transport from the stage in a second! If possible, I want to appear in a gorgeous new costume for each song.
miko: Of course, the best one! To pull out a rabbit from a top hat!
Omi: Hmm ... The one to pull out a flower or a pigeon from a hat, I guess ...
Naoto: Magic with water. I want to do something really mysterious.
Mally: I want to do a flamboyant trick that floats people in the air or uses fire!
Jyou and Omi formed a special limited-time unit Winter Boys for your recent Survival March tour. Please tell us about your experience as Winter Boys.
Jyou: Originally, I was going to stand on the stage before the show to introduce the performing bands, but I wanted to do something fun for the occasion. Something music-related. But I can't play the guitar ... "Hey, why not have Omi do it?" This is how I decided what to do, before I got an OK from Omi. (laughs) At the end, Omi made an original song for Winter Boys, and I was glad that it was Omi who played the guitar. I may have been the happiest audience member for that!
Omi: I thought a lot about what we could express with just one acoustic guitar and singing, but we were able to show a new side of us, I believe. It was a great experience to perform an original song on top of covers and to try singing.
2016 is coming to an end. How do you think each of you have grown as musicians this past year?
Jyou: I'm still growing. But, to pick something, I listened to our previous mini-album THIS IS NOW again, and I was surprised how sharp and tough my singing was! When it was completed, I thought it was good, and of course I still don't think it was a mistake, but in ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC I wanted to show more types of expressions, I think. Everything I've done up until now, not only this year, I keep doing my best.
miko: This year my precision in songwriting improved a lot! Not only rock songs, but we also performed a love song that I put all my heart into. I love the melancholic guitar for the song, too!
Omi: I improved my awareness of how I stand on the stage, and as for my skills ... There are parts where I developed, but I always notice more things I want to do better, so it's not enough. I will keep devoting myself.
Naoto: For me, the way I hear and listen to sounds has changed. I hear more clearly the range of bass sound that the song requires. But, I'm still far from the ideal, so I will keep trying to make it better.
Mally: We released two CDs this year. Every time I recorded, I checked my own level, my own goals, and I felt my precision and power improving.
Since 2017 is just round the corner, what New Year resolutions do you have?
Jyou: Continuing from the last question, I want to challenge myself with many things so that I can tell you "I grew a lot!" a year from now. There are many musical genres that I've never tried to sing, and I'd also like to try Japanese enka. I want to make my voice stronger than ever, and to sing in front of you again!
miko: Lately I bump into Omi-sama a lot on the stage. I want the two of us to avoid crashing into each other so we can smile at each other instead!
Omi: I want to polish my skills much more, and make this the year where I can really shine.
Naoto: I want to try many of the playing methods and equipment that I haven't tried yet. Also, I want to deliver our music to more people, and touch them deeply in their hearts.
Mally: I want to make more time for myself and build the basis for my physical power and skills, so that I can deliver better music, make more fun times, and play in more places!
What's next for exist†trace?
miko: We've been expressing ourselves with colorful songs. Next, I want you all to focus on how seriously we go back to our origins and how we can show exist†trace's core identity with various expressions.
Lastly, please leave a message for JaME readers.
Jyou: Thank you for your support always, everyone! ROYAL STRAIGHT MAGIC is an album made with all of exist†trace's might, where we put magic into each sound and each word! Please listen to it from start to finish!
JaME would like to thank exist†trace and RESONANCE Media for this interview opportunity.
exist†trace Official Website: http://www.exist-trace.com
exist†trace on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/exist-trace_iTunes
exist†trace on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/exist-trace_Spotify
exist†trace on Google Play: http://smarturl.it/exist-trace_GGLPlay
exist†trace on Amazon MP3: http://smarturl.it/exist-trace_Amazon
exist†trace Official International Fan Club: http://archangel-diamond.com
Interview with exist†trace
interview - 01.29.2017 19:01
Cards, magic and music!
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