Interview Exclusive

Interview with Shin from HeavensDust and Seann Bowe

28/02/2022 2022-02-28 01:00:00 JaME Author: Polina Kogan

Interview with Shin from HeavensDust and Seann Bowe

We sat down with HeavensDust frontman Shin and the Grammy-nominated producer and artist Seann Bowe to talk about their collaboration.

© Shin (HeavensDust) and Seann Bowe

We sat down with the frontman of HeavensDust Shin and the Grammy-nominated producer and artist Seann Bowe to talk about their collaboration, its origin story and more.

We have talked to Shin a couple of times before, but this is the first time we're speaking with Seann. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Seann: I'm a singer, songwriter, producer and I also dabble in being an artist sometimes. I've worked with acts such as MIYAVI, VAMPS and Sexy Zone here in Japan, and outside of Japan I have worked with Weezer, Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and other artists. I moved to Japan because I love Japanese music and I want to learn more about it and make more of it. So that's why I'm here and that's how I met Shin.

Can you please introduce Shin for us and tell us a bit about what you find most interesting about him?

Seann: Shin is from a band called HeavensDust, which I used to listen to heavily in high school, and lately he's been getting more into, I guess you call it trap, or alternative hip hop. I was really digging what he was doing and my friend Toshi from the band ANSWER-ed introduced us one night and he showed me his first song and I was like "This is really cool". The hip hop and trap scene in in Japan is growing now a lot, and I just thought it was great timing and I was really into the project. Later we linked up, and now we have a song together.

Shin, can you return the favor?

Shin: As Seann said, Toshi introduced us at a drinking party. The first time I heard a song of his, I think it was on Spotify, Hate You, and I was blown away like, damn, this guy is something. I loved his voice, I loved how he wrote his melodies and everything, and he really hit me, I became a huge fan of him. So I was really surprised that he used to listen to HeavensDust back in high school, like, wow, really? And this guy tells me in a live radio interview? And we'd been drinking together a couple of times already, too. (laughs) So that was weird, but I'm really honored to work with him, because I became a huge fan of his and he is a great artist.

Seann, you have mentioned that you've worked a lot with Western artists as well and now you've moved to Japan and you're working with Japanese artists. Can you tell us a bit about the differences between working, for example, in the US and Japan?

Besides the boring business stuff, which is also different here, I would say the main difference is that, I feel like here Japanese music is very focused more on lyrics than melody. And I thought that's really interesting, because for me, my specialty is actually melody. So it's been a pretty fun journey to learn how to highlight the lyrics, while not being too melodic sometimes, you know, to make sure the lyrics are what are heard, instead of the melody, and that was a big transition for me, when starting to work more in Japan.

That's interesting. Shin, you've also worked with many foreign and Japanese artists, do you echo the same sentiments or do you have any other thoughts?

Shin: Actually I was impressed with what Seann said, and I think that's really true. What I've found is that foreign artists tend to focus on things like the beats more then the melody, the melody is also important but even more are the drums and the bass. In Japan, the drums and the bass aren't that important, I guess, it might just be me but I felt like American artists really put a lot of focus on the beats, the drums and the bass and that's what I like about the artists in the States. And in Japan, the lyrics part is true. Like 10-FEET, I love their lyrics, other artists also have great lyrics, I guess that's the difference.

Seann: Yeah, it's so true in the States if it doesn't knock... You need to feel that bass.

Can you tell us a bit about how this collaboration came together?

Shin: I always wanted to work with Seann, but actually I have already released this song before. The song is called You Took Everything From Me, and I wanted to do a remix, including a guest artist, and the first person I thought of was Seann, because the song that I heard from him was Hate You and it kind of linked with what I was trying to express in my song. I knew immediately that the song was going to go well with Seann.

Seann: Yeah, it really did. I love the theme of it. And yes, as soon as I heard it I was like "I'm so down to go in on this".

How was the collaboration process?

Shin: I just sent the track to Seann. (laughs)

Seann: Yeah pretty much (laughs). I loaded it up here and just recorded ideas until I found some cool stuff, I put it all together and sent it over to Shin and was like "What do you think?". He liked it, and then from there we got it mixed and mastered, it was a pretty smooth process.

Nice. That's very 2021.

Shin: Yeah. I have so much respect for Seann and I knew he was going to do something really good, or I wouldn't have asked for it. So like, it's the trust part.

Seann: Yeah. Thank you man. I appreciate you letting me do my thing.

Shin: Yeah, I was surprised that you changed the BPM. It really changed a lot, I loved it.

Seann: Thank you, man. I just felt like it needed a little bit more remix energy, you know.

So, can you tell us a bit about the concept of the song, or anything we should be listening for?

Shin: When I wrote this song, this COVID thing came, and it's not just COVID, but sometimes things are just taken away from you. Maybe it's the government, or your company, or you might lose your job suddenly, or your girlfriend might cheat on you and leave you, you know. They take something away from you that you've been working hard on.

But in the end, focus on things that you can control, not what the others do. Like, when the state of emergency was announced, for example, the bars had to shut down, and you can't really do anything about it but you have to focus on what we can do, not on the things that they are telling you. If you focus on that, you can't really do anything, it just gets you more irritated and a lot of hate can grow.

In the end, I think we should focus on something what we can control. I really understand how fucked up things are when they take things away from you, there's anger and it's sad. That was the song that I wrote, but what about you, Seann?

Seann: For me it was like, in the past I've had all these people that I really looked up in music and otherwise, and you put so much trust in them, especially in mentors and things like that. And then, when they let you down, sometimes when they turn on you, it's incredibly painful. When someone betrays your trust, it feels like they stole a part of you, because you gave them a part of yourself.

And so that's what I felt when you first sent the track over. So I just tried to get back in that place and that time and put that into the lyrics, and kind of like hold our two visions together.

Where can we find the song?

Shin: We shot a music video and that's on YouTube, you can also find the song on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, anywhere online. It's only going to be on streaming and for download, no physical CD.

So we're going to be able to listen to it, we're going to be able to see the video, will we be able to maybe hear the song performed live somewhere online or offline?

Shin: I was thinking about that too. No plans yet but I would love to, with Toshi on guitar, that'd be cool.

And then you'll have the shakuhachi flute as well...

Seann: How are we going to mic that? I have no idea!

Shin: We always mic it with a headset for HeavensDust.

Seann: Oh really? That's awesome!

How was the filming for the video?

Seann: We started filming it at six in the morning and it was by Shinkiba STUDIO COAST* and that's like an hour and a half away for me, so it was like "wake up, first train".

Shin: So sorry, bro! (laughs)

Seann: It's all good. (laughs) I think it really helped my energy, because I was fresh and it was a lot of fun shooting with the director. He's got a really cool vision, and he's very vibrant when it comes to his energy, you can feel he's excited, and that makes you excited. I feel like I had a lot better a performance in this video than what I have had in past videos, and I feel like we owe a lot of it to the director.

Shin: Me too, I love his vibes. When he's shooting, he gives you a lot of positive vibes.

* A popular Tokyo live venue that's now closed down.

Can we expect any more work from both of you together?

Seann: I'd love to do something else together.

Shin: Yeah, I'd love to also. I'm sure sometime in the future we'll do it, right?

Seann: Yeah, we should have a swap, y'know. I was on your song, next you can be on mine.

Shin That's nice! Love that.

Do you have a message for our readers, all over the world?

Shin: Like I said before, I think it's really important to focus on what you can do, what you can control, and not on the others, and have peace of mind. Not just anger, sadness and being depressed. It's easy to get into those places, especially in these kinds of times, but I hope everyone finds peace inside them.

Seann: Whether you are a listener or an artist, we all love music because through it, we can relate and not feel alone, in our struggles and in our happiness, too. It makes us happy. So I think that's a beautiful thing, no matter what side of the music you're on, we're all into music for the same reason and that's because we find a connection through it.

JaME would like to thank Shin and Seann for their time.

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