It’s been four very busy years since the sensational T. M. REVOLUTION took both the East and West coasts by storm at Otakon ‘03 and Pacific Media Expo ‘04, but now T. M. REVOLUTION is gearing up to return to the American scene at New York Comic Con this weekend, April 18-20.
While trying new pursuits, like a stage career, T. M. REVOLUTION has also garnered a lot of attention as a part of the new rock band abingdon boys school, which, on top of four hot singles and an album, has released covers of classic tracks by both BUCK-TICK and LUNA SEA to wide acclaim.
Just a few days before his New York appearance, T. M. REVOLUTION kindly agreed to answer a few questions from at Jrock Revolution about his hopes for performing in the U.S., what it’s been like to work in abingdon boys school, and what he hopes to accomplish in the future.
Here’s our interview with T. M. REVOLUTION—from one Revolution to another!
JRR: Soon you will be visiting the United States to attend New York City’s Comic Con as a Guest of Honor. You recently took a trip to New York City yourself. Do you feel differently about how you enjoy the United States as a person and as an entertainer?
T. M. REVOLUTION: It’s definitely different! When I’m in New York on my own I go to see musicals. I was here for about one week at the beginning of this year and watched nine musicals. They were shows both On Broadway and Off Broadway—I’m seeing a lot of shows. That’s the fun of being my own boss.
JRR: In the past year you took on a stage role, your first in years since you played Seymour in a Japanese production of Little Shop of Horrors. Is this a sign of more to come from you when it comes to theatre work?
T. M. REVOLUTION: I received a lot of calls [from other plays after playing Seymour]. Well, above all, if it’s a good play, I’d love to take part in it.
JRR: When you went to New York City recently, did you attend any Broadway shows? If you did, which did you see? What is/was your favorite?
T. M. REVOLUTION: “Spring Awakening” was really fantastic. I’m in contact with the music producer Duncan Sheik and the violist, Hiroko Taguchi, is a friend of mine. “Legally Blonde” was also nice. The actor in the opening “Legally Blonde” is actually playing Glenda in “Wicked,” which was great, too. If you have the chance, please go and enjoy these shows.
JRR: What has been your favorite piece out of abingdon boys school’s work, and why?
T. M. REVOLUTION: All songs are important but “Atena,” which we played at the encore of this year’s tour, is a simple and very straight-forward song of all of abingdon boys school‘s pieces. I wrote the lyrics very frankly, and I think that this song will give us a lot of encouragement in various activities. It includes yells to the audience and yells to ourselves, which I really like.
JRR: Working in a band must be very different than working in a solo career. Is there anything about yourself that you have discovered or tried to change due to this new work dynamic?
T. M. REVOLUTION: I think the most important aspect for a band is flexibility. Even if there’s something evolving that’s different from my expectations, it’s important to respect and to enjoy the chemistry between the members. They want me to tell my opinion. That’s one aspect that’s completely different compared to my solo project (T. M. REVOLUTION) and it helps me to improve.
JRR: Your tenth anniversary has come and gone. You have said things along the lines of this having been a journey for you, but you don’t necessarily know what you are journeying toward. Have you made personal progress as well as professional progress this year? Has working with abingdon boys school aided in that?
T. M. REVOLUTION: Starting abingdon boys school, playing in musicals and having appearances in movies—next to T. M. REVOLUTION, there are already so many different activities going on and I can’t miss any of them. Having different possibilities offers me better chances to realize my ideas and to fulfill them to the utmost. Of course this requires a lot of energy and is pretty hard, but starting with my staff, there is always great support, all of which helps me to proceed with my slightly greedy* challenges.
[Ed. Note: T. M. REVOLUTION here originally used the word that translates to “greedy,” though the connotation here is more “ambitious in ideals” rather than “greedy.”]
JRR: Recently you participated in a BUCK-TICK tribute concert. Do you find strength in your bond with other artists? Is American expansion in you career something you discuss at all together?
T. M. REVOLUTION: It’s not just my superiors* but also younger artists who give me strength. I don’t intend to be satisfied with being admired, but I’d rather reply to such feelings and remain someone who is worthy of respect. Especially at abingdon boys school lives there are amateurs and pros who make it impossible to have an embarrassing performance. It’s pressure and positive stimulus at the same time.
[Ed. Note: In the original Japanese, the word is “sempai,” which means someone who is both an elder and superior, always a respectful and deferential title, especially in this case.]
JRR: abingdon boys school’s cover of “Dress” was very popular here. You contributed to the LUNA SEA Memorial Album as well. What was it like to meld abingdon boys school‘s style with enduring BUCK-TICK and LUNA SEA tracks?
T. M. REVOLUTION: Since there are so many fans of these artists and songs, it’s very important to value those feelings. Another aspect the respect we have for each respective artist and their songs. So all those feelings are mixed into sound that we come to in the end. If you’re not able to understand the style and philosophy of an artist, it’s impossible to write a tribute.
JRR: This is your third appearance at an American convention, the first one being in 2003 at Baltimore’s Otakon and the second being at Pacific Media Expo in 2004. Is there a reason why you have chosen this avenue of appearance? Do you like the atmosphere these conventions create?
T. M. REVOLUTION: The most striking thing that won me over was the passion of the Comic Con staff and their strong desire to have me come perform. [When there is so much determination] small problems don’t even matter. For me, it’s essential to sympathize with the passion offered.
JRR: What was your most memorable experience from coming to American conventions?
T. M. REVOLUTION: I think it’s a great chance to meet American fans of course, but also Chilean, Russian fans—a chance to see people I never met before. It’s always difficult to get tickets for Japanese concerts. So fans from China, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore came to the conventions in the U.S. It was a great experience, too.
JRR: We know that you have only performed twice for American audiences. What is your take on the difference between audiences in Japan and America?
T. M. REVOLUTION: Basically there’s no big difference no matter the country. I’m purely happy that everyone coming together with so much passion, expressing their feelings directly to me. Because of my relatively restricted activity in America, everyone really values every single chance we get to communicate, so I want to increase the number of concerts in America to be as close to the fans here as I am with the Japanese fans.
JRR: Many of your numerous fans in the United States are banding together to aid one another in going to New York City’s Comic Con to support you. Do you have any message to give them?
T. M. REVOLUTION: There have been requests to have the Comic Con call for T. M. REVOLUTION and I think that this was a great achievement. A live show is realized by fans calling for it and acting on it. It may even be possible that the European fans make is come true, too. I believe that fans can definitely make live shows happen as long they have the desire to make that happen, and I encourage everyone to make these desires known. I really appreciate it when fans tell me their wishes with all their heart.
JRR: Is there anything special you are going to do, emotionally or physically, to get ready for your New York City performance?
T. M. REVOLUTION: It’s been 4 years since my last performance in the U.S., so I want to make myself known again and go [to America] with a completely new feeling.
JRR: Artists are also looking to Europe and other parts of Asia to tour and expand. Are you as well? Where would you most like to go?
T. M. REVOLUTION: Needless to say that I want to perform in lots of different places, but it is important to me that it doesn’t just become a business, but rather remains an answer to fans’ requests—just as with the Comic Con. I want to perform for people who wish to see T. M. REVOLUTION from the bottom of their very heart. I would also like to do a tour in America and not just one single event. There are also a lot of countries in Europe I haven’t been to, and that goes for abingdon boys school as well—I’ve always wanted play a live in London.
JRR: Your stage layouts and performances over the most recent few years have always been very elegant, intricate and elaborate. What inspired you to perform in those aesthetics?
T. M. REVOLUTION: I get inspiration from films and books but also more personal things, such as changes of the seasons outside my window. There are many little aspects of everyday life assembling and I think that those things are reflected in my stages.
JRR: American fans are going so far as to creating their own fan-supported groups and clubs to support you and their passion for your work. How does this make you feel?
T. M. REVOLUTION: First of all, thank you very much! It’s really unbelievable. Shortly after my debut, I never thought that I might have this kind of relationship with my fans. The preciousness of meeting everyone and sincere gratitude is what I’m strongly feeling now as a reply to my fan’s enthusiasm. For the sake of my fans I’ll do my best to put on wonderful songs and concerts.
JRR: Jrock Revolution‘s purpose is to bring all overseas fans together in a united movement to help expand Jrock overseas. What would you like to see happen in general for Japanese artists abroad in the next year?
T. M. REVOLUTION: It’s easy to get information but more difficult to meet people face to face. I think that it’s an important step. Even if you want to enter the international business there might not be the necessary support from the Japanese side which makes it impossible to go. I think an organization supporting artists to go abroad might be a good idea.
JRR: Please give us a final message for Jrock Revolution.
T. M. REVOLUTION: I often hear: “The first Japanese musician I knew was T. M. REVOLUTION.” I’m really happy and hope to have more chances to meet many more people. To do this, I need everyone’s support. I’d like to do the real ‘revolution’—both T. M. REVOLUTION and fans—together.
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