Before Jin Akanishi performed at Club Nokia for “You and Jin”, JrockRevolution.com had a chance to catch up with him about current projects and so much more!
I hear you’ve auditioned new dancers and everything for your “You and Jin” project. How has everything been for that and working with a new team?
Jin: Really fun. Everyone is very nice and it’s been great.
Good to hear. Is your new team mostly American or Japanese?
Jin: American. I’ve been working with a choreographer, Sky Hoffman. He is really great.
I understand you’ve lived in the U.S. in the past for a few months, and been back here for the past few to prepare for the upcoming concert. You speak English quite well – was that part of the plan too, to brush up on English?
Jin: Oh no, my English is not good! I still ask my friends “how do you say this, how do you say that.”
It’s great that you’re learning – it’ll be a vital part in communicating with American fans.
Being away from Japan, do you miss it at all?
Jin: No. I actually felt like I was “American” living in Japan. A lot of my friends there went to international school so I was around the culture. I really like it here.
Not at all? Not even the food?
Jin: oh the food, yes. Japanese food is very delicious.
Do you drive here in L.A.? I can imagine it being a different experience than driving in Japan – opposite sides of the road, freeway traffic etc.
Jin: Yes… I’m cool with it.
Have you had any time or opportunities to check out local shows and concerts over here?
Jin: No… been busy and a lot of stuff to do.
Tomorrow you’ll get to see differences between the Japanese crowd reaction and American crowd reaction for the first time?
Do you listen to Western music at all?
Jin: I only listen to Western music
What are some of your favorites?
Jin: Lil Wayne, Eminem… there are like a lot of artists.
You’re into a lot of urban music?
Do they inspire you in any way?
Jin: Kind of, kind of… but I can’t be Lil Wayne. If I like Lil Wayne, I can’t be him…because that’s not what I do.
You joined Johnny’s Entertainment when you were very young, at the age of 14. You’ve been working in the professional field since middle school. Do you ever feel like you missed out on life as a normal teenager?
Jin: No, not really.
You’re into urban music but you played a rock star in the movie “Bandage” which was released in Japan earlier this year. I want to hear your take on the two different styles. How was it playing a rock star in the movie?
Jin: It was fun, it was totally different, different personalities too. The producer for the movie, Takeshi Kobayashi, produces for Mr. Children [Very popular rock band in Japan] and so all of his music was rock, and I don’t really sing in that style. So it was a good experience for me.
Was it completely different for you?
Jin: Yes, completely different.
Did you find it difficult at all?
Jin: It was really difficult to sing. I didn’t even know how to sing in rock.
Was it a good learning experience for you then, to sing with a rock band rather than with dancers?
Jin: Well the band part was fine, but singing on the rock beat was very difficult.
Which style would you prefer, if you had to choose one of the other? Rock or urban/hip hop?
Jin: Hip hop.
How does your acting career compare with your music career?
Jin: Well I love singing and dancing… but I want to fit acting in as well. I want to be perfect at everything. I want to do everything – I want to do what I want to do.
What other ventures would you consider getting into?
Jin: I want to do directing for film. I’m kind of interested in that.
What kind of projects would you be interested in? Do you have any favorite directors or producers?
Jin: I have no idea about directors. I love watching movies.
What is your favorite film then?
Jin: “Louder than Words” – My friend shot this movie. It’s my favorite. It’s mixed with Japanese and English. It’s very independent so I don’t think you guys will ever see it.
So it’s VERY independent!
Jin: I also like the Butterfly Effect as well.
If you could produce a movie right now, what do you think it would be about?
Jin: I have no idea!
As far as the producing side goes though, I know you write as well – whether it be for KAT-TUN or for your solo project. How do you go about the song writing process?
Jin: I write the beat first. And then when I listen to my beat, something comes out and I just write down the lyrics after. I don’t know, I just do it. Then I bring the song to the studio and improve them – and add other instruments.
So basically you write the beat and that sparks everything else?
Do you use a certain kind of drum machine to produce the beats? What is your technical set up?
Jin: I use logic.
You’ve been in the entertainment business for give or take, ten years now. Do you have any advice for the people who are trying to get into what you are doing?
Jin: No… I don’t know. I’m not that good at advice… I don’t deserve to give advice to people. Just have fun, doing what you do. You can write music, you can create… you already have the chance so just keep going.
How does it feel to be one of the first Japanese pop stars to do something big in California? We (JrockRevolution.com) follow a lot of the activity of Japanese rock bands- but on the pop side, you’re one the first ones to create such a large production. How are you taking this?
Jin: I don’t know, I didn’t even think about it! I’m just doing it.
Do you foresee yourself expanding in America, by playing alongside American artists?
Jin: I want to collaborate with American artists.
Who would you like to work with?
Jin: Lil Wayne. Keri Hilson, I really love her. Great voice… and she’s hot. I want to share my music with American artists. That’s my next step.
What sort of things can we expect?
Jin: Good music, fun. Sexiness… [laughs] and drinking.
Have you always thought about coming out here? Or was it something that just happened because the opportunity came up?
Jin: It just happened. This has always been one of my dreams though, to come to America. It’s kinda like… my dream came true.
Do you feel there are any significant differences between the American music industry and the Japanese industry?
Jin: I don’t think there are any differences… I don’t know yet.
You’re doing one show tomorrow and two shows on Sunday, are you excited?
Jin: Yes! I’m really excited.
Do you have hobbies outside of music?
Jin: Shopping, and just hanging out with people.
Now is shopping something you enjoy more here, or in Japan?
Jin: Japan is better. Well maybe because I already know where to go for certain things.
Jin: Shooting movies… that’s about it. Singing and dancing is my hobby. I’m working, but I’m not. I’m having fun.
After America, do you see yourself expanding to Europe other parts of the world?
Jin: Yes… definitely Europe and Canada.
Interview by: Akiko M.
Edited by: Ali W.
Special thanks to Jin Akanishi and Johnny & Associates
Website: You and Jin