Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Interview with Japanese rocker Miyavi aka Samurai Guitarist

Japanese rock musician Miyavi, also known as the samurai guitarist, was recently in town for his Miyaki Live in Kuala Lumpur 2012 concert tomorrow.
Rock on!

This is Miyavi’s first time not only in Malaysia and but also the Southeast Asia region.
Fans of Miyavi, please don't be mad but I have to come clean and admit that I haven't heard of him until last week when I was informed about his concert and interview.
So I google-d him and when I checked out Google Images, I was surprised to see an androgynous-looking guy.
I was expecting an androgynous guy with braids and piercings, smoky-eyed, and wearing a kimono like the album cover of his 2008 This Iz the Japanese Kabuki Rock but what appeared before us at the press conference was a somewhat normal-looking guy with tattoos over his arms and chest.
Er...what happen to the braids and makeup?
“Each project, I have a different concept. In the previous project, I was trying to express Japanese culture and modern style, hence the look.
“Now I’m going for a more sophisticated and simplified look as a solo guitarist or ‘samurai guitarist’ as some people call me. So now onstage, I don’t wear a kimono, only naked,” he said.
I'm sooo jealous of his fair skin! I forgot to ask him what's up with the shades? Was he going for the cool rocker look or was it to cover his dark-circles?
Miyavi sure has a cheeky side to him. At the start of the press conference, when the floor is open for questions, he said, “You can ask me anything but the colour of my undies. It's pink btw."
When asked about his relationship with his guitar, he said, “It’s an illegal relationship. I’m married, with two daughters but the relationship with my guitar is deep and sensual.
“I just play my guitar, I feel like I can reach out to the people and I feel like I can support them through my music. Just playing my guitar, that’s my identity.
But the samurai guitarist is all seriousness when talking about music.
What do you think about about the declining of the popularity of Japanese pop or rock due to the rise of Korean pop? 
"It's a good thing," he said, without skipping a beat. Wow, I didn't expect this answer.
“Now people can realise how we must be responsible to keep rock in the world.
“Only in a moment, it can be ruined in the near future and that’s what happening right now.”
“Of course it’s not really a good thing that it (Jpop, Jrock) is declining.
It serves as a wake-up call. They are still sleeping, I’m not bad mouthing anyone in particular but we should not be satisfied with just the domestic market.

"Just putting on makeup, just smiling and saying ‘I love you’, doesn’t work as a musician.
“Of course we are entertaining on stage, putting up makeup and dressing up is important
“But the most important things are music, message, philosophy and attitude. Without any of that, it doesn’t work,” he said.

 Miyavi (right) exchanging albums with Malaysian violinist Dennis Lau.

Miyavi has three world tours under his belt, which totals over 150 shows in 30 countries across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
The J-rocker was in Morocco two weeks ago and will be performing in Russia next month.
“I would like to go to Dubai, India and the African continent.
“I wonder if I have fans in the northern-most and southernmost places (Arctic and Antartic), I would love to play the guitar while clad in a thick jacket,” he said.
His latest album "What's My Name?", released October 2010, consists of songs traversing genres of rock, punk, hiphop, and dance, all composed with only the guitar and drums.
Last year, he collaborated with other “samurai” artistes on the “Samurai Session World Series” project.
“The message of these tracks is something I want to say to the world after last year’s catastrophe (2011 Tohoku earth quake)
“We received many support from other countries, including Malaysia.
“We can enjoy night time because we know that daybreak is coming. I used a bunch of negative words like contamination and destruction; but I’m going to blow them away, the light is coming our way.
“As long as we know we are on the right path, we can be strong,” he said.

Fans can expect something “More raw but strong, powerful and energetic” in his upcoming album, scheduled to be released next year.
“French electronic deejay-producer Yuksek, whom I collaborated with for my recent single ‘Day 1’ will be the co-producer or remixer for the new album.
 “Stronger beats, faster (guitar) slaps, and scream faster; these three are the core basis to describe my new album,” he said.
He added, “I want to make something new, new experiments.
“That is the only reason I want to make music if I do something that everyone already know of, it is meaningless.”

He will be celebrating his elder daughter’s three-year-old birthday soon and being a father has also changed his perceptions.
“It takes forever to leave the house now, my daughters wouldn’t let me leave the house!
“As a father, I feel more responsible towards the future and I’m concerned about environmental issues on this earth,” he said.
He added, “My friends are doing a demonstration against the nuclear power. It is not a 100% right choice but we need to be more responsible
“We have to be concerned about people working in nuclear power plants and other issues about the environment like pollution.”

His KL concert was also in conjunction with Pavilion Kuala Lumpur’s Tokyo Street first anniversary celebration.
Here's a vid on what to expect for tomorrow's concert, enjoy!
notes: It's so nice that he actually asked for your name before the interview (great PR) as most of the time, we just jump straight into the interview. I was really impressed with this rock star as he is so quotable, unlike some who give very general statements. I'm now a fan. Rock on!

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