On March 29th, rock band BURNOUT SYNDROMES released their best-of album The WORLD is Mine. Many people likely know the band for their anime songs, including hits such as FLY HIGH!! and Hikariare for
the series "Haikyuu!!" and Hanaichimonme for "Gintama". The new compilation includes these familiar hits, as well as a few surprises for the fans.
Shortly after the album's release, JaME took the chance to ask vocalist and guitarist Kazuumi Kumagai, bassist Taiyu Ishikawa and drummer Takuya Hirose some questions about the songs included
on it and BURNOUT SYNDROMES' future activities. We received some exciting answers in the process, so be sure to read on right now!
Why did you choose The WORLD is Mine to be the title of your new best-of album?
Kazuumi Kumagai: So, since 2020, Japanese anime has been blowing up around the world, and we started getting more and more offers to perform at music events outside of Japan. With all these anime-related events popping up, we knew we had to do
something special for our international fans. The album features all our anime songs in addition to several dope, non-tie-up songs that we often perform at our live shows overseas.
The album’s title, The WORLD is Mine, was inspired by our indie era song of the same name, which we remade and included as the title track for this album. I feel this powerful title is really fitting for our greatest hits album because
we created it for the world in response to the growing demand for our music from overseas. And I love the word “sekai” (meaning “world” in Japanese) and frequently incorporate this word in BURNOUT SYNDROMES’ lyrics. Ultimately, the album
title represents my excitement about sharing our music with the world.
What inspired you to re-record your song FLY HIGH!! in English?
Kazuumi Kumagai: Last year, on August 19th, which is the anniversary day of “Haikyu!!” (since “819" can be pronounced as “Haikyu!!” in Japanese) I had considered surprising the fans with an English version of the show's theme song, FLY HIGH!!. Unfortunately,
we were unable to produce it in time and the idea was put on hold. However, when we decided to make a greatest hits album, we included it as a bonus track, which gave the album a more glamorous feel with a stronger international approach. So I felt that
not being able to produce it in time for last August was not entirely negative.
Taiyu Ishikawa: We have long wished to convey the meaning behind our lyrics to people abroad, and then we were granted the opportunity to record in Los Angeles.
Some of the songs from the best-of album were rearranged, including the title track. What can fans expect from the new versions, and how were the songs not featured in anime series chosen?
Kazuumi Kumagai:The WORLD is Mine is a rearranged version of a song from our indie album Bungaku Shoujo. When we perform live overseas, the venues are huge, so we reworked the song in a dance music style to create a feeling of
echoing throughout the vast space. With its fine acoustic guitar sounds and dark melody, the song has a slightly Spanish feel to it.
Mt. Wakakusa Starmine describes a festival held at Mt. Wakakusa in Japan. It’s quite different from the original track from our second album Kujaku – you might be surprised!
Ocean is a live rendition that incorporates sound effects of waves and bubbles before and after the song. During live performances, the two frontmen use hand-mics on this track, and the sound effects allow the audience to fully immerse
themselves in our world.
The album was mastered by Stuart Hawkes, a well-known engineer who has worked with Ed Sheeran. While there were no major changes to the arrangements of the anime theme songs, the overall sound has become more
vibrant. We invite you to listen and compare.
Taiyu Ishikawa: The revamped version of The WORLD is Mine no longer carries a band sound like the original, which makes the difference between the two versions most apparent. So I encourage you to listen to the original as well. Apart
from anime tie-up songs, these tracks are frequently played during our gigs abroad.
How was it to collaborate with FLOW?
Kazuumi Kumagai:FLOW is a band well-known for their straightforward band sound and numerous anime theme songs. However, as a cynical person, I wanted to create something completely different from FLOW’s usual
image, which resulted in I Don’t
Wanna Die in the Paradise. While keeping the band’s signature strong vocals and distorted guitar sounds, I incorporated elements of trap and EDM to create a more contemporary sound. FLOW’s vocalist KHOSHI was excited
and said, “To be honest, I’ve always wanted to sing this kind of song”. Although it is not an anime tie-up song, I hope that listeners can enjoy it as a “new form of anime song” created by two major anime song artists.
Taiyu Ishikawa: It was absolutely amazing. Hearing FLOW’s vocals and lyrics on Kumagai’s composition was truly moving.
Takuya Hirose: It was like a dream to collaborate with our senpai artist whom we had listened to since we were little. When we performed the collaboration song together at our live show, we inspired each other and it turned out to be so cool.
Are there any other artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Kazuumi Kumagai: I find Japanese voice actors to have very unique singing voices, so I’m eager to collaborate with them and incorporate their vocals into my music. In addition to Japanese music, I’m also a big fan of music from outside of Japan.
Specifically, I’m a fan of artists like Galantis, Björk, and Zoe Wees from the European music scene. It would be amazing to have the opportunity to collaborate with such talented non-Japanese artists!
Taiyu Ishikawa: It’s my dream to collaborate with Justin Bieber; I fantasize about him finding us on Twitter.
Takuya Hirose: The collaboration between Ed Sheeran and Bring Me the Horizon on Bad Habits really struck a chord with me, and it made me want to explore collaboration beyond genre boundaries. AURORA is
one artist I am particularly drawn to, as I am a huge fan of her voice, sound and arrangements, and it would be a dream come true to collaborate with her.
If you had to pick three BURNOUT SYNDROMES songs as your personal favorites, which ones would you choose and why?
Kazuumi Kumagai:Jakyou Haikinkyou It’s featured in our album TOKYO. I wrote this song as an antithesis to capitalism, and the song’s very popular in Japan. It has a dark yet enjoyable essence, with various sound effects
such as coins and cash registers that effectively convey the song’s background scenery, even if you don’t understand the lyrics.
Speech This song can be found on our album Myojo and it is inspired by Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech. With its lively and upbeat tempo, it could easily be an anime theme song. If you like
BURNOUT SYNDROMES’ anime songs, I’m sure you’re going to like this one, too. The song concludes with inspiring quotes from various influential figures from across the world and I like it because there is a sense of happiness in it. I
asked native speakers of different languages to contribute their voices.
Yorokobi no uta This song is featured on our album Kujaku, and I incorporated the melody from Beethoven’s Ode to Joy into the composition. Repeatedly featuring familiar melodies, this song guarantees enjoyable listening
for everyone. BURNOUT SYNDROMES often derives inspiration for our music from classical melodies. Writing a song with the restriction of using only a few melodies can be both pretty creative and enjoyable. This playful, experimental approach
to producing tracks in albums has been quite helpful for creating anime theme songs, and I hope you can feel that too.
Taiyu Ishikawa:PHOENIX, Mt. Wakakusa Starmine, and FLY HIGH!!. Live performances of these songs demand audience participation through jumping, shouting, and singalongs. I like songs that come to life with the active
involvement of the audience during live shows.
Takuya Hirose:FLY HIGH!! As our debut song, it holds a special place in my heart. I can still vividly recall the moment it was featured on TV as the theme song of “Haikyu!!”, which marked our first anime tie-up, as if it were just
Speech This song has the power to lift me up no matter how down I’m feeling. I also love its drum arrangement.
Good Morning [New] World! Good Morning [New] World! is a reworked rendition of Good MorningWorld!. I particularly appreciate the grandiose atmosphere of the arrangement, which effectively captures the essence of "Dr.
STONE"’s worldview and evokes the scenery of the anime.
Since this release features a number of anime tie-up songs, do you watch anime yourselves? If so, is there any particular character you like or relate to?
Kazuumi Kumagai: The series with hard-hitting worldviews such as “Ghost in the Shell” and “Psycho-Pass” appeal to me. More recently, I’ve been captivated by the worldview presented in “Made in Abyss”. My favourite character is Hibiki Ganaha from
“THE IDOL M@STER”. The music produced in "THE IDOL M@STER" is of an exceptional calibre, and has served as a great source of inspiration for me since well before my debut.
Taiyu Ishikawa: I spend most of my time watching anime while travelling, including on aeroplanes. Oikawa from "Haikyu!!" is my eternal admirer.
Takuya Hirose: I am an avid anime viewer, and for recent animated works I like Seishiro Nagi from "Blue Lock" and Aki Hayakawa from "Chainsaw Man".
Recently, you finished your first world tour, congratulations! You visited locations in the US, South America and the Middle East. In 2019, you performed at Anime Messe Berlin, in Germany. Can fans in Europe expect to see you live again sometime in the future as well?
Kazuumi Kumagai: After our live show in Germany, we haven’t had the chance to perform in Europe again. Since then, we have added more anime theme songs to our repertoire, and our performances have become much more powerful, so we would like the
audience in Europe to see us live again. Although we receive many offers mainly from North and South America and Asia, we are eager to perform in Europe too. To those who organize events in Europe, we eagerly await your offers!
Taiyu Ishikawa: We also feel sad that we haven’t been able to visit Europe frequently. We will definitely visit you in the near future, so please wait for us!
Takuya Hirose: Of course! I would love to perform at lots of anime events in Europe.
Are there any memories that stand out when you look back on your experiences performing overseas?
Kazuumi Kumagai: I have fond memories of playing "Mario Kart 8" with German folks at the games corner of Anime Messe Berlin in Germany. When we were children, games were something we played alone or with a few friends in a room, but
nowadays they have become a means of communication that can be enjoyed with people who speak different languages and I’m so impressed. I believe we are living in a wonderful era where we can connect with people from all over the world through games on the Internet.
I envy the children of this generation!
Taiyu Ishikawa: I was amazed to see the audience sing along perfectly even though the lyrics were in Japanese. It was like I could witness their journey of listening to the song repeatedly until they could sing it effortlessly.
Takuya Hirose: I have many happy memories of overseas performances where fans would sing along in Japanese when we played anime songs.
You have been performing together for 18 years. Looking back, what is something about the band or you as individuals that changed over time?
Kazuumi Kumagai: One major change in our music production is that I am now responsible for almost all of the arrangements and then hand them over to the other members, whereas in the beginning, the three of us used to gather in the studio as a group
to create songs. We switched to this production style because it’s easier for me to meet external schedules like animation productions when I work on the songs alone, and it allows me to focus on the details. Additionally, we now live far apart, with
me living in Tokyo and the other two in Osaka. We believe that this production style, with one person leading as the producer and the others concentrating on their own roles, suits us better and is more in tune with the current generation.
Taiyu Ishikawa: As the songs require more intricate arrangements, I find myself playing less bass during our performances.
Takuya Hirose: In the early days of the band, we used to consult with each other on all sorts of matters as we progressed. But now our roles have become more defined, so I feel that we decide on the direction of our activities smoothly in a top-down
Is there anything that has stayed the same since the very beginning?
Kazuumi Kumagai: I believe that our (the three of us) perception of ‘music’ hasn’t changed. To me, music is not merely a business, but also serves as support and a walking stick to walk through my life. Creating music and receiving feedback has allowed
me to identify both the differences and similarities between my personal values and those of the public, and examining lyrics has helped me to confront my own inner self and foster personal growth. I am certain that I will continue to evolve alongside
music as long as I remain active in the industry, like I always have.
Taiyu Ishikawa: What’s never changed – I love Kumagai’s music.
Takuya Hirose: I sense that the mindset of all three of us to continuously explore new ideas remains unchanged.
There are only two more years left until your 20th anniversary as a band. Have you already started making plans to celebrate this occasion? Is there anything special you want to do?
Kazuumi Kumagai: Oh, it is indeed two more years to go! I didn’t even realize until you mentioned it. Since I’ve spent over half of my life as a member of BURNOUT SYNDROMES, I haven’t consciously kept track of how many years I’ve
been in the band, nor have I thought about any anniversary events. But we are a band that constantly takes on new challenges, such as creating anime theme songs, providing music, collaborating with other artists, and performing overseas once a month.
So, I have a feeling that we will naturally come up with something new and special in two years’ time. Come to think of it, it might be a good idea to ask our fans what they would like us to do to celebrate this milestone.
Taiyu Ishikawa: Our 20th anniversary totally slipped my mind until you asked. I want to have a big celebration!
Takuya Hirose: We don’t have any plans yet, but I’m hoping to hold events where we can show our appreciation to our fans.
What are your goals for the future? Is there anything new you would like to try?
Kazuumi Kumagai: I watch a ton of films and I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making some film theme music. I’m really into those flashy American films like Marvel and Disney, but I also love the beautiful visuals in European films. I enjoyed
watching “El Ángel”, “The Platform” (El hoyo), and “Blue Is the Warmest Colour”. It would be great to team up with some local singers and create music for amazing films like those.
Taiyu Ishikawa: I’m eager to perform not just in Western countries and South America, but also in Asia and Africa.
Takuya Hirose: Creating theme songs for numerous anime series. And ultimately, I dream of embarking on our own world tour.
Please leave a message for your overseas fans.
Kazuumi Kumagai: Thank you for listening to BURNOUT SYNDROMES’ music. We hope this interview has given you a better understanding of who we are. Despite the distance between us, we always feel the love and support from you. Just
like how the Japanese are impressed by European cultures and cities, we want to share the beauty of the Japanese language and anime with people from overseas. We are committed to continuing to create exciting music and will definitely visit Europe to perform
for you. So when the time comes, please come out and join us for our show!
Taiyu Ishikawa: Thank you so much for getting to know us. We promise to visit you, so please come and meet us when that happens!
Takuya Hirose: Thank you for listening to our music. We will perform many live shows overseas, so please come and join us when we perform in your city.
JaME would like to thank BURNOUT SYNDROMES and Mayumi Kojima for this interview opportunity.
Links to download and stream BURNOUT SYNDROMES' best-of album The WORLD is Mine on various online music platforms are available here.
Fans in Chile, Brazil and Indonesia can also look forward to seeing them live in the coming months. Scroll down to check out their upcoming overseas tour dates.