Interview Exclusive

Interview with Taiyo Someya from Lamp

19/03/2021 2021-03-19 01:00:00 JaME Author: retrorandy, Christine Translator: Paul Chu

Interview with Taiyo Someya from Lamp

Taiyo Someya sheds some light on Lamp's songwriting process and hints at what fans can look forward to from the band in 2021.

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Last year, contemporary pop band Lamp celebrated their 20th anniversary. Guitarist Taiyo Someya recently provided a condensed biography looking back on the band's past, and now, in a quick interview conducted towards the end of last year, we were also able to ask him some questions about the band's present and future.

In your own words, how would you describe the style of music you make to a new listener?

Taiyo Someya: Our style is somewhat uncultivated, but our music is sensual and energetic.

Where do you usually get inspiration from when you start writing a new album? Do you do anything special or listen to anything to get ideas?

Taiyo Someya: Unlike a lightbulb going off or something like that, it takes us a long time to develop ideas for new material, usually many years, to come up with something, to come to an awareness something might work, to understand and appreciate certain things about the music and ideas behind them. It’s a process, and insofar as it is so, it takes time to correctly verbalize and communicate what we want to do. For example, we released our album Tokyo Utopia Tsushin in 2011, but the ideas themselves came to us around 2005; and the concept for Her Watch, which we put out in 2018, came 10 years earlier. So whereas our ideas for an album require time to develop, our songs are more trial-and-error, and moving forward with the results that come from that.

What is your process for writing new songs like? Does everyone come up with ideas and share them, or are they derived from something like jam sessions?

Taiyo Someya: Well, we try to come up with melodies and chords, then add in the lyrics after. In the past, we often recorded our material on a voice recorder, and we all huddled around and listened to it. Then, in the studio we recreated the sound, added arrangements, and recorded it. Recently, I picked up ProTools software for my home studio, so I was able to work on arrangements during this early stage of the process. Yusuke, who sings, plays guitar and writes songs, as a perfectionist and bashful type, he doesn't allow anyone to listen to his demos, which naturally makes everything more difficult for us.

Sometimes the creative process leads some songwriters to go on long tangents that go on for 10 to 20 minutes and other times songs are only 1 to 2 minutes. Sometimes long songs begin to feel too long and too indulgent for some people. With that in mind, how do you decide where to draw the line and consider a song “done”?

Taiyo Someya: As a listener, when I listen to our material, I’ve come to understand some of the songs we released so far were excessive, self-indulgent, and over produced. But at the same time, we started discovering positive things in areas of our songwriting and music, too, and as a result, the length of our songs has gradually become shorter and shorter.

You've mentioned that your album Her Watch was strongly influenced by 80s Brazilian music. Is this a theme you're planning to continue with on your next release, or do you see yourself heading in another direction?

Taiyo Someya: For now, we are moving in a different musical direction. Still, there is nothing specific in terms of which way we want to go.

2020 has been a tough year for most musicians. How has the coronavirus affected your activities this year? Did you try anything new to adapt either personally or as a band during the lockdown period?

Taiyo Someya: Well, to be honest, since we rarely play live, we haven’t really faced any difficulties with the 'ronavirus. I’m mostly focused on songwriting, without thinking too much about what’s happening around me. I must admit though, if the situation continues as it has, it’s going to affect all of us, musicians and non-musicians alike. Hope this isn’t the case.

We've heard that you are interested in heading overseas sometime in the future. Once the COVID-19 situation has been resolved, if you could perform in any city in the world, where would you want to go and why?

Taiyo Someya: There is no particular place I’d like to visit. For me, I think every city has its own charm and allure. If you can enjoy the local people, scenery, food and culture, there is nothing better than that, is there.

What can fans look forward to from Lamp in 2021?

Taiyo Someya: In 2021, we plan to record the songs we’re writing now. Please wait a tad more for us to get it done, because sometimes we are slowpokes.

Please leave a message for your fans overseas.

Taiyo Someya: We’re very happy to hear many fans overseas appreciate our stuff. I believe music transcends time and space and is shaped by certain experiences and feelings we carry around with us. All this eventually gets transmitted into our music and those who have ears to hear it understand us through this.

JaME would like to thank Taiyo Someya, Lamp and Paul Chu for making this interview possible.

Fans interested in getting to know Lamp better can check out some of their playlists on Spotify, or follow Someya's Twitter account or the group's Facebook page to stay tuned for more updates on their upcoming activities.

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