An Interview with Himawari

15/02/2007 2007-02-15 12:00:00 JaME Author: Asagi

An Interview with Himawari

JaME had the opportunity to have an interview with Himawari.

© Himawari
Lena, could you please introduce Takeshi to us?

Lena: Takeshi is the most reliable person with whom to handle my ideas. He helps me to transform the imagery in my head into gorgeous music complimented with beautiful visuals and a brief explanation.

Takeshi, could you please introduce Lena to us?

Takeshi: As a singer song writer, Lena is the perfect match for myself and my abilities. I’m the typical creator who can apply the singer’s ideas to form any track that they desire. Lena fuels me with the inspiration to create the music.

How did you meet and create the group?

Lena: I met Takeshi two months after I moved to New York City from Japan. I was eager to look for a trigger to start my own music, but I didn’t have any clue as what I wanted to create.... We met at a live house and started talking about our musical background. I thought that he would make a great partner to complete the unit and now we are here together...

What does Himawari mean to you?

Lena: Himawari means "sunflower" in Japanese. I named the band sunflower because it is my favourite flower and they appear to have a really positive, strong attitude and they always seem to be smiling as they look to the sun. Lately, I found out that a “sunflower” is the most evolved flower on the earth. It means something to me, and I’m very happy that I named the band after such a beautiful flower...

What are your influences?

Lena: The novel, "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, old movies and classical music such as Claude Debussy, etc. Artists that I gain inspiration from include Kraftwerk, YMO, Édith Piaf and Björk. I also gather ideas from authors such as Mishima Yukio and Tanizaki Junichiro.

Takeshi: I am inspired by great music from any genre and artist/s, from Aphex Twin, Autechre to Zappa and John Zorn. I hold the same frame of mind when it comes to films, I can take ideas from an Alfred Hitchcock movie and then another idea from a film by Robert Zemeckis.

How would you personally classify your music?

Lena: It is always hard to classify your own music into a specific genre, but we are not opposed to any type of music as such. We just want to make good music and we want to create more of a pop sound than anything else. Yeah, we want to be pop stars!!

How does the composition occur when you prepare a new song?

Takeshi: It depends on the song, but Lena usually writes lyrics and a rough melody first and then gives them to me. (At this point half of the visual idea is in Lena's mind). Then I create the tracks and expand the width and depth of the music. Then we finalize the track together.

Lena, you have worked with Björk in the past, could you tell us about this experience and what this has brought to the group?

Lena: Actually, I didn't work with Björk directly, but I did have many chances to work with her staff. It was a fun experience.

Your first album was released in 2001 and your second in 2005, why did you wait for such a long time between releases?

Lena: Actually, that was due to me, I can't just write songs quickly! It was also between the release of both of albums that we moved back to Japan, so obviously the environment around us had changed and as a result, causing a change in our music. These factors contributed to the long period between albums.

In 2006, you took part in the DVD HIGH TECH SOUL. Could you please tell us about your contribution?

Lena: We really didn't know what was going on when we participated in the filming. After our first live performance at Windsor, Ontario in Canada, we had an interview and also signed a deal with our current record label. Mainly for these two reasons, the whole experience is a fond memory. Also during the interview we were dressed in white clothes and as a result we felt that we both captured the audience's attention and yet portrayed ourselves as "fun" at the same time.

You experienced some success in the USA, so why did you go back to Tokyo in 2004?

Lena: Actually, we had never lived in Tokyo before. When we returned to Japan, it was one of our ambitions to live there.

You created the group in 1998. Almost 9 years later, what assessment can you make of your career so far?

Lena: We are proud that we are building our own genre of music with contributions from many great artists. We have met so many people through Himawari in many various industries. Plus we have a great reputation with both our audience and media about all of our music, graphics, and fashion.

What do you think about the expansion of J-Music into Europe?

Himawari: It's great. In Japan, people listen to both American and European music as a norm. Japanese people accept any music regardless of language, but Europeans have not been listening to Japanese music due to the language barrier. It is however, good to see that the barrier has shifted and Japanese music is now becoming more internationally recognized. It gives Japanese artists a great opportunity to perform worldwide. I don't know how mainstream Japanese music could possible become in Europe. Someday... we may see Japanese artists' CDs next to Madonna's!? Hahaha.

Previously you have spoken about Europe and your interest in touring in the West. Why Europe in particular?

Lena: When I looked at my small selection of music, I realized that most of them come from Europe. I feel some empathy toward Europe.

Takeshi: After 13 years of living in the US, I recognized how American music culture is different from both Japanese and European culture. Now that our music style is getting such a good reputation in Japan, I would like to bring it along to Europe.

Lena, you were an actress and a model. What has this brought to both you and the group?

Lena: It is all about meeting people. I met some great photographers, make-up artists, and musicians. It is my pleasure and a great memory to have worked with such great people and have created some wonderful works. I'm trying to "sing like someone acting and acting like someone singing". As a result I can experience both pleasures.

Takeshi, you took part in many projects in which you were rewarded. What memories do you hold closest to you?

Takeshi: Cannes Lion 2006 was the big one of course. Meeting with the director, who produced the film was a fantastic reward! After our initial meeting we've continued to work together on some projects.

What are your plans for 2007?

Lena: We want to take Himawari on a European tour in 2007. We would like to share our music with many people, so we will keep producing music in order to do this. Also, we want to do many collaborations with many artists as both Himawari or as individuals. Takeshi has just finished the remix track for a singer in Sweden. For myself, I'm about to work with Nami to do a performance in the US. So you will see us in many places!!

Is there anything you'd like to say to Europeans?

Himawari: Please check out our website and see, listen, and feel our world! There may be something you can relate to on many levels.

JaME would like to thank Himawari for their time. For more information, please check out Himawari's official site.


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