miyavi Interview in Cologne, Germany

interview - 07.09.2008 08:00

On June 21st, miyavi rocked the Live Music Hall in Cologne. JaME was there and met up with the versatile artist for an interview before the show.

In June, miyavi embarked on the third leg of his World tour starting with a performance in Cologne, Germany. While everyone prepared for the show, miyavi took some time out of his busy schedule to speak with JaME again.

You've been in the music business for a pretty long time now and you must have experienced a lot. Can you tell us a little bit about your first steps in the industry?

miyavi: So... How did I feel? Oh, it was when I was 17 years old. I'd just come from Osaka to Tokyo, you know, I decided to play music with my band members in Dué le quartz. I was the youngest member in the band. So, I didn't know anything about music, about industry, about, you know, running a band. I was making music, just playing the guitar on the stage. I was not able to look at the other members, I could only concentrate on my music, focus on myself, improve my skills.

And what do you think when you look ahead now?

miyavi: I want to keep playing guitar and see the world. I hope I will be able to have a good relationship with my fans.

You once said that you'd like to improve visual kei. What is - in your opinion - bad about it and what would you like to change?

miyavi: In Japan, this genre is really isolated. Visual kei has to be a certain style, it has to be isolated in Japan. That's bad and that's why I want to break down the walls. It's so isolated and because of that people are full of prejudices against visual kei. I really want to smash the stereotype of visual kei.

During your last tour you showed your European fans a whole range of highlights at your concerts, for example beat boxing, tap dancers, and so on. Did you change your program for this tour or are these things still part of the show?

miyavi: Uhm, no, there are not many differences. There will still be stuff like beat boxing, but, you know, this time I didn't bring my original beat boxer.

You are a pretty unique character, very colourful and active. People quickly label you as a hyperactive funster because of that. Isn't this image limiting sometimes? And how do you see yourself?

miyavi: Ah, thanks (laughs). You know, it's not limiting at all for me. I'm just miyavi. I think I'm very different from other bands and other musicians, but that's important I think. It's important to stand out, creating an original style, creating a new world. I'm not afraid of being different from others.

For your album 7 Samurai Sessions - We're KAVKI BOIZ - you re-recorded some older songs, such as Girls, be ambitious. Why did you decide to do that and how did you choose the respective songs?

miyavi: I really wanted to try re-recording some songs, because there are so many precious songs for me, and of course for my fans, too. So, that's why I recorded them again. And I'm glad with the result, though, I like the old, original versions too! (laughs)

The title of your song JPN PRIDE makes us curious. Could you please tell us, what's this song about?

miyavi: Oh, it's about pride (laughs), about pride in Japan. I don't know, it's really difficult to explain to others, because Japan is full of complicated and complex feelings and memories, for example the war. The values are always changing, the history is complicated. There was some kind of dictatorship, and in this modern society it's very difficult to go back to the roots. People forget about these ancient things, like samurai, or even happenings in the middle-age. I'd like focus on these things.

You know sakura? The cherry blossoms. It's a very Japanese picture. They fall from the trees, they are still beautiful, but people will just step on one without thinking about that cherry blossom, what it means. There are things Japanese people have to be proud of, but we don't realize it! We always run, we follow other cultures, that's why I try to mix up modern culture with traditional Japanese things in my music. For example combining kabuki rock with visual kei and hip hop and jazz.

That's true. Earlier, people didn't link you with hip hop, but now it's a part of your music.

miyavi: Sure! And I like hip hop. I like Rock City Crew, they are break dancers. They are Asians, one of them used to do the MC on my show, I really respect them. There are many artists from this genre I like and I also deal with it in my free time.

JaME also did an interview with you in Brazil and you obviously like that country a lot. Is there anything about Germany you dig?

miyavi: Sausage! (laughs) But I also like the people, they are very very kind and polite, I think they are quite similar to Japanese people. In Japan everyone is very kind, wherever you go; it's like that in Germany, too.

Now that we already touched that subject - you already played a lot overseas and surely gained some experience. Were there some things you found especially inspiring?

miyavi: Brazil (laughs). I went to a soccer studio, and there was a soccer game. And I went to this music store to look for guitars, there were some musicians and I just talked to them and we had a jam session together. It was so much fun. And there are many cool places... including... Germany (laughs).

Your look is very fancy, same goes for KAVKI BOIZ. Do you design your outfits by yourself or do designers help you with that?

miyavi: No no, my stylist does that for me. I tell him my ideas, he designs the clothes then.

Are there any artists - dead or alive - you would like to work with? Whether it's possible or not.

miyavi: Sure. Especially underground musicians. In Japan there are so many talented artists, they are not major, but they have got so many great skills. Some BMX riders appeared on my show last Christmas to express my music by bicycle and also Japanese traditional drummers, Taiko. I really enjoyed that and I'd like to work with artists like that again.

People from overseas start digging Japanese music, but not just the music, also the whole country. What would you advise someone to do, when he visits Japan? What should people see, where should they go?

miyavi: Oh really (laughs)? They should see my show in Japan (laughs). In Japan there are so many different places to see, Harajuku, Akihabara for example... So many different faces. Not different cultures, but different tastes and styles. You just should walk around the city. Tokyo has got so much variety, so, just go around the city, you will see all the differences.

JaME would like to thank miyavi and his management, as well as Rock Identity for this interview.
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