Interview with INORAN

interview - 11.12.2011 19:01

INORAN shares his thoughts on LUNA SEA's charity concert, his new single Hide and Seek and his international plans.

A few days after LUNA SEA's charity concert we met up with INORAN to talk about his charity activities, recent solo releases and his ambitions for overseas countries. Dressed in a stylish outfit topped off by a black fedora hat, the artist kindly answered our questions.

First of all, what are your thoughts about the charity show you held with LUNA SEA?

INORAN: It was a fantastic concert and especially because it was for charity. The atmosphere was heartwarming and there was a feeling of unity.

Earlier this year, you set up a project making bracelets to help the victims of the earthquake. How did you come up with this idea?

INORAN: Right after the earthquake, I felt I had to do something for the victims. At first I thought I wanted to do something as a musician, but at that time there was much chaos so it was difficult to distribute, produce downloads or even just to create music. I started to think of other ways, and I remembered Lady Gaga and other artists who had distributed goods. As Japanese companies were experiencing problems at the time, I asked my friend in Taiwan to make the bracelet after which it was distributed across Japan.

This month you released the single Hide and Seek, on which all the songs are in English. Why did you decide to do this?

INORAN: For these songs, English lyrics fit better to the songs and melodies than Japanese does.

Do you also aim to become better known outside of Japan by using English lyrics?

INORAN: Yes. Last year, when LUNA SEA revived and held a world tour, we delivered our music to the people of the world, which was awesome. This made an impression on me and so I decided that I also wanted to deliver my own music to the world too.

How was Hide and Seek created?

INORAN: I’m friends with Taka Hirose, the bassist of the famous British band Feeder. We met this year at Fuji Rock where we played together. Then, we did a jam session together and this song was made, kind of on impulse.

What is the meaning of the title Hide and Seek, what does it refer to?

INORAN: First of all the title comes from the children's game. In human life, everything keeps changing, but you can always find something. The game of hide and seek is like human nature, human life. Information, anything and everything going on in life can be hidden but if you seek you might find it. I wanted to express something like this.

In the song One Big Blue, what message did you want to send?

INORAN: This song was composed after the earthquake. ‘Blue’ stands for tears and emotion. It’s about how many emotions and many tears come together as one, like rain flowing into a river.

You didn’t write the lyrics to Santa Ana Afternoon yourself. Why did you choose these lyrics?

INORAN: It’s actually a cover, the original is by a German artist called Graciella Maria. This year, after I released my album Teardrop, I went on tour. Before the tour I found this song on YouTube and during the tour I decided to cover it live.

The style of the song Joshua is quite different from the others as it is much softer. Was this style change on purpose or was it coincidental?

INORAN: This song is a little different. Last year after the LUNA SEA show in Los Angeles I went to hold a solo photo shoot and saw the most beautiful sky. It was like one of the best skies I had ever seen in my life. I wanted to make a song about it and therefore it is different from the other songs on the single.

For this single you worked together with the bassist of the English band Feeder, and before that you worked with Ken Lloyd who is half-English. What attracts you to England and its musicians?

INORAN: Actually it’s accidental that I worked with English musicians. I'm Japanese but British music has something that the Japanese music doesn't have. The atmosphere is different. It’s often dark and this atmosphere and emotion fits me better than that of music from the United States.

In September, you re-released your first album Sou. Why did you decide to do so?

INORAN: Next year is my fifteenth anniversary as a solo-artist. This first album was already out of stock, so before the anniversary it was decided to re-release the album. It was first released in 1997, and at that time the album was quite different from LUNA SEA’s music, or from rock music generally. It was dark, abstract and such. At that time this kind of music was not yet popular in Japan, and the songs haven’t gotten old so you can still listen to it.

Souwas your first album, but you didn’t sing on it yourself, you used female vocalists instead. Why did you choose this?

INORAN: Sou was my first album, and I decided to bring together my favorite things on it. I love female vocals so that’s why I chose that.

In the beginning, was it hard for you to get used to singing seeing as you are mainly a guitarist?

INORAN: Both my guitar and vocal skills keep improving at their own pace. When I become better as a guitarist, I also become better as a vocalist. I enjoy both a lot, but because my career as a guitarist is longer than as a vocalist, the gap between the two doesn’t get smaller.

When do you feel most comfortable on stage, as a guitarist part of a band, or as a singer and front-man?

INORAN: I feel comfortable in both situations. Playing live is about creating an atmosphere with the audience and that’s most important to me.

Next to being a musician, you also design jewelry and clothing. What do you enjoy about this and what inspires you?

INORAN: I think music and fashion are very strongly connected. Designing and collaborating with designers is a very interesting experience for me. When designing, I am inspired by humans, such as their emotions.

What are your plans for the future?

INORAN: In November, I will embark on the Hide and Seek tour in Japan. After the tour, I will start to record again. Next year I’m planning to do a European tour around April and I’m also planning a tour in Asia.

Earlier you mentioned your fifteenth anniversary as a solo-artist, what are your plans for this?

INORAN: I want to create the best album I’ve ever made in my career. I want to spread my music to as many people as possible, to reach as many people as possible with this album and that is a celebration for me already.

So for your European tour, where would you like to go?

INORAN: We’re still planning the tour, but I want to go to many countries. Maybe I’ll go to France, Germany, Sweden and as many other countries as possible.

Finally, please give a message to our readers.

INORAN: I know many people all over the world that support LUNA SEA and I’m very happy about that. Next, as a solo-musician I also want to deliver my music to the world. So please listen.

Thank you very much for the interview.

JaME would like to thank INORAN, Backstage Project inc. and Takeshi Asai for making this interview possible.
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