Takeru of SuG in January 2014 issue of「KERA」magazine
Takeru of SuG, HAKUEI of PENICILLIN, PIKO and Issei of BugLug in January 2014 issue of「KERA」magazine
Takeru of SuG performing at his one-man live for his solo project 浮気者 held at Shibuya Milkyway on Dec. 03rd, 2013.
Takeru 1st Solo Album “I kyou U” Release Special / Takeru & KERWIN Interview
"Uwakimono", a solo project of SuG’s frontman Takeru, who in this project collaborates with several creators and artists. The first episode of this project is a mini album "I kyou U", which will be released on 11/20. In this creation he collaborates with artists such as "Tamurapan" and "0.8 byou to shougeki". Within these artists is KERWIN(MoRpHO) , with whom Takeru is close friends with. This time we asked Takeru himself about his mini album.
—- From the end of the live at 2012/12/19 at Yoyogi Kokuritu Kyougijou Dai-ni Taiikukan, SuG went on an activity pause. After this you had a surprise live on 2013/09/20 in Harajuku and announced SuG’s comeback. There was a total of 9 months between these 2 announcements. How did you spend the time?
Takeru: I drank beer every day (laugh). Of course I also studied. I read books, watched movies, went to art museums… Besides that I also studied medical science, because I need that for my next work. Also I thought that when SuG makes a comeback I would need more English, so I went on a homestay to New York for 3 weeks to study the language.
—- How was the homestay?
Takeru: There was lots of mouses (laugh). Also there was many scary people during the night. I suddenly got hit at Chinatown.
—- What! You got hit by a complete stranger?
Takeru: That’s right. It as a slum area.
—- That sounds horrible… How was it living while using English?
Takeru: It was very inspiring and fun. I had to use my head a lot, so I used up all my energy every day… But the 3 weeks felt very short. I wanted to be there for 3 months. I went there after almost only studying English by myself, so I thought I would not improve much in just 3 weeks. However, I improved more than I had expected. …I wanted to be there longer. I want to go there again.
—- Was it hard to communicate with the family you stayed in?
Takeru: This time I stayed in the house of a Jamaican American grandmother. In the house there was the grandmother, a cat and an exchange student from Spain… There were no problems with communication. Even though I can’t speak English, my mental is strong enough to do my best to talk.
—- Now, I would like to ask you about your solo project “Uwakimono”. First, please tell me the reason you thought of starting this project.
Takeru: While having my home “SuG”, I wanted to try how interesting things can I create with other inspiring artists with one-time play. With that, I wanted to improve my experiences and study. No one is currently using the expression “Uwakimono” (“betrayer”). The word itself has a negative image, but I thought it was interesting. Also, I wanted to express “Tokyo” in a way that I think is cool. I had been thinking of this from a while back, but after knowing the system of Japan, I thought even more that a project like this is needed, and so I started it.
—- The creation that starts this solo project is the mini album “I kyou U”. The first song is the title song of the album, “I kyou U”. There is also a PV to this song. What kind of story is there in this song?
Takeru: I used a lot of difficult Japanese words with “No meaning” as theme. I expressed “right things” and “bad things” as “正論の邪” (“dishonesty of right argument”), clear things within circumstances that are hard to understand as “あやふやな明瞭” (“vague clarity”)… And so on, I intentionally combined words with the opposite meanings. In the PV I wanted to express that there aren’t only colors like “red” and “blue” that are easy to understand, but that “There are also vague things like “light purple” in Tokyo”… Without limiting it to anything, I wanted to cut out pieces of different people’s lives and culture as a picture, and say that “There are things like that packed up in Tokyo”. I believe that the persons who watch the PV can also imagine the stories in many ways.
—- Also, you have combined “Japanese elements”, such as shamisen (three stringed Japanese musical instrument) with “modern fashion” within the PV.
Takeru: K-POP has been popular or a long time, right. Those people are using Japanese clothes in a great way. But Japanese brands and Japanese culture has not spread among the persons who are influential within Japan. That made me feel gloomy. “Why aren’t the clothes created in Japan getting worn in Japan?”. First of all, there are many people within the Japanese who don’t believe in themselves, and we are a nation who have been taught to be modest. So, there are many situations where we can’t bring out our core. There are situations when we think “Foreign people are awesome” in despise.
So I thought that I want to take my own identity to foreign countries and create something that could be reversibly imported back to Japan. But to make people feel “Japan”, I don’t think it’s real to use traditional backgrounds, wear traditional clothing, use traditional objects. I think that hip hop clothing, electro music and such that we have naturally got from overseas are “Japan” in a way. Since the moment they came to Japan they became Japan’s peculiar culture and melted into it. How would it turn out if I mixed that with things that are originally from Japan? How would it turn out if I brought things I like to the environment I was raised in? …That experiment is this PV.
—- The genre is completely different from “SuG”, so there might be quite many fans who are surprised of it.
Takeru: I didn’t plan on changing it that much. There are songs that were originally meant to be SuG’s coupling songs but I just changed the arrange. I also created it while matching it to the “pictures” and “story” I thought of, so I didn’t plan on “changing” it. …Also, as I thought, I have been told from people who don’t know that many artists that “This is a knock-off of this artist”, “You’ve been influenced” and so on, but from people who listen to songs of many artists, I got opinions saying that “This is very original”. The size of the categories differs by every person, so it was interesting.
—- I see. Then, the 2nd song on the album is “Boukyaku no sora”. This is originally a song by SADS. Why did you think of recording a cover song?
Takeru: I thought that covering is “betraying” in one way too. The reason I chose this song is because it was a song that made me want to start in a band. I thought that this song would be fit as my first cover song. Actually, this song is the theme song of a popular drama that was aired a long time ago. So, I thought I wanted to create the world view of that drama to this, so I thought of the video and the music, and tried to express the “Tokyo” I’m thinking of now to it.
—- Next, the 3rd song “undermine”. What kind of song is this?
Takeru: Within my mind, this is the most traditional rock. The chorus and melody are beautiful, and it is also the most J-POP song of them all. I’ve changed the arrange of the intro etc to dub step.
—- Please also tell the story of this song.
Takeru: A girl called “Hatsune Miku”, created within a computer, comes to the world of real people to study the emoticons of human in order to become a real human. But there are only few people who can see her, and within that, a boy finds her. And he searches for her in Shinjuku in Tokyo, and that’s the story.
—- Is this… In a way, a love song?
Takeru: The girl does not have feelings yet. But by meeting that boy, she learns the sensation of “like” by being involved with people… It is like a prologue of that.
—- And then, the 4th song “Ai no myori”.
Takeru: It’s about meeting the same person many times in Kouenji, a city where Japanese punk is the most popular. I think that there are actually things like that. Even though the two wouldn’t consciously try to meet, they will be forced to meet obviously due to a trick of the destiny. This is a song of a mysterious story like that.
—- The 5th song “96” has a title made of 2 numbers.
Takeru: “96” expresses situation where they are close to each other, but they are passing each other, without really looking at each other. The couple is living together in a one room mansion together, but they aren’t looking at each other. Even though their hearts have already passed each other, they can’t choose to end it. I expressed the situation of two persons like that slowly starting to feel suffocated in the same room.
—- So you aren’t expressing something with the numbers “96”, but they are actually the couple themselves. Now, before moving to the next song, we have a guest. The person who has composed the 6th song on the album, DJ Kerwin.
Kerwin: Nice to meet you.
Takeru (in English): He can speak English very well, so…
Takeru (in English): He only wants to speak in English.
—- (In English) Let’s do the rest of the interview in English, then.
Takeru (in English): Yes, that’s what I heard from him.
Kerwin: I can’t participate to the discussion (laugh)
—- (In English) So, we will now continue in English!
Kerwin: Oh my (laugh)
Everyone: (loud laughter)
—- I’m just joking (laugh). Let’s continue in Japanese. Before getting to the subject of the song itself, I would like to ask about the relationship of the two of you…. I heard you have been friends for a long time. When did you meet?
Takeru: When we were born at the hospital, our beds were next to each other…
Kerwin: Right, right. Today we are going with a setting like that, I see (laugh)
Takeru: They will actually believe us (laugh)
Kerwin: If I answer you seriously, we met at a club party of mine, called “SWEET DREAMS”, and a designer we both knew introduced us to each other.
—- What was your first impression back then?
Takeru: I thought “Is he in a band?”
Kerwin: I looked just like I look right now, so.
Takeru: I thought that wow, there is actually a person with an aesthetic world view like this in the club scene too.
—- How was it for Kerwin?
Kerwin: I thought that “He is looking at things very obediently”. He had this light, obedient smile.
Takeru: Did I?
Kerwin: Yes. I thought that he’s different, or more like that he’s a type of person I haven’t met yet, and he left an impression on me. We didn’t contact each other for 2 months after that, but due to something we started taking contact… Now we meet every week (laugh). We didn’t have that much time to get a grope of each other, right.
Takeru: We played together every day during the summer, getting on a swing in Shibuya and such.
Kerwin: That’s right. We have many memories. I believe I have been acting quite straightforward with him.
—- I heard that you had a session with DJ and dancers 2 years ago. Did you want to do something together from since the beginning?
Takeru: Yes. However, we thought that we should do it when the timing is right. We thought that we shouldn’t force it. The collaboration this time started when I heard a part of the song he brought to me, and I said “I like this. Let’s do it”.
Kerwin: The demo was done on 11th January this year, and when Takeru came over to my place I told him “I’m testing out this new kind of song” and had him listen to it, and he said he liked it. And now when I think of it, 11th January was actually the day we met.
Takeru: You’re right! Because we met on the day before SuG’s anniversary live.
Kerwin: It’s very interesting. And actually for the song, I didn’t create it for something special, I just had the image of it. Not the electro imae of myself, I wanted to insert classic sounds and dark parts of people… I created the song in the middle of the night, so it became a melody like that.
Takeru: I had him play it to me many times on that day, and I also played some piano to it.
Kerwin: When I read the lyrics, I was surprised because they were exactly the kind of lyrics I had been imagining of. I originally had a theme of “awakening from the world of gray” within me.
Takeru: Also, I had been thinking that “I want to add a song to the end of the album, in which the day breaks from the gray night of Tokyo”, so when I heard that, I thought it was perfect. Japanese people can’t express themselves well, so if they don’t have tools, weapons, such as e-mails or LINE, they can’t say their opinions straight, so I wanted to express the thing confined inside these people as the loneliness within Tokyo.
—- I see. How do you feel now after making the collaboration?
Kerwin: There were many things I experienced. Starting from the way Takeru creates songs, the way we have experienced many things from the beginning are very different, and I have a completely different style and different background, so I listened to his opinions when I could and thought that I could improve beyond the borders of the genre with that.
Takeru: You also said that at the steak restaurant.
Kerwin: Yes. I have strong feelings within myself, so I can’t really listen to people’s opinions, or… I don’t want to be put into a mold, so I have a guard around me. But I have received many kinds of chances from Takeru in music business, so I thought I thought I could be honest and improve.
—- So, we would like to keep looking forward to the day the improved version of you two comes reality. Now, as the last one, I would like to ask you for a message to your fans.
Takeru: Even if you don’t buy the CD’s, even if you don’t download them, you can listen to music for free. As my love towards creating is strong, there was a time I thought that the fact that the price of the music is fading away is sad. However, if I can create something really good, if we can get connected in the real meaning of the word, I believe I can go to overseas to meet you, and I believe that we can create a great view together. I would like to go and cut open my future as an artist from now on.
Kerwin: I didn’t create the song this time because I had to, instead I have made it a track that is just the way it turned out to be. So I would like you to listen to it and feel something from it.
credit : musicjapanplus
013年11月20日〜 SuG 武瑠「浮気者サミット2013」Part#1 (4 more to go)
Takeru’s Instagram update!
Hirari Ikeda and Takeru from SuG in Takeru’s new music video.