雅-miyavi- will be making his debut with S.K.I.N. THIS Friday at Anime Expo. Before this, he performed as part of the Jrock Revolution Festival. We were luckily enough to sit down and interview the musician before the big show.
JRR: How did you become involve with J-rock Revolution?
Miyavi: Yoshiki just called me. I am different from other artists, so I will be “uku” (Japanese slang: distinguished). My band includes a tap dancer, beat boxer, DJ, Wadaiko player, bassist, painter, and me on guitar. So I know I will be distinguishable in a different way. I am and represent Japanese Culture.
JRR: Do you think J-rock Revolution will differ from or be similar to your past musical experiences?
Miyavi: It will be different because these are two different countries. The audiences’ nationalities are already different – absolutely not the same. That’s why we have to remind ourselves again where we are from. We are Japanese and we should be of proud ourselves. That’s why I brought a Wadaiko, Japanese traditional Taiko drum, with me.
JRR: What do you expect from the audience?
Miyavi: I am looking forward to having a good time, and if I’m having fun, then I can give the audience a good time.
JRR: In the lyrics of Miyavi-uta, you say “I am Visual-Kei”. How does one person embody a whole movement?
Miyavi: To me, Visual kei is not just putting on make-up. Visual – Kei is a lifestyle, so I am singing about my lifestyle in Miyavi-uta. My personality and lifestyle are from mixtures of visual styles like “kabuki,” a Japanese traditional style. This includes the humor and extreme make up aspects.
JRR: Are you looking forward to seeing any of the other bands?
Miyavi: Merry. I know the vocalist from Merry because we are friends. We were both part of the same indies label. I like his voice, especially since his style of singing sounds like old Japanese pop. Merry’s songs have a Showa period sound to them. I don’t know if I will have enough time to watch them though.
JRR: Do you have any tattoos about or influenced by the US?
Miyavi: None. I don’t have any tattoos. I only have “irezumi.” Tattoos and irezumi are different. I only have Irezumi because I am “Japanese yakuza.”
JRR: Besides the festival, is there anything in particularly you are looking forward to doing or seeing during your stay?
Miyavi: I already went to Melrose and drove on Sunset Blvd.
JRR: As a visual Kei artist, what is your concept?
Miyavi: No genre and no category – I am super visual kei. Visual kei is not a category of music but a lifestyle to me.
JRR: If you could describe your music in three words, what would they be?
Miyavi: Kabuki, Samurai, Oresama (individuality)
JRR: What was making the transition from indie to major artist like for you? Was there anything in particular that was easy or difficult?
Miyavi: It’s much easier now. I work with more people than before, so it opens my eyes in many ways. I have endless possibilities.
JRR : Please describe your experience/performance you had in Las Vegas this past February?
Miyavi: It was awesome. It was during the same week as Chinese New Year so I saw many Chinese people. The whole town was packed. I was stuck in my car for two hours, from 4 am to 6 am, to just reach the valet parking.
JRR: So you were in the car for 2 hours just waiting?
Miyavi: Yes. ….Actually that’s not true. I escaped, went clubbing, and came back to the car again. Then finally we reached the valet parking.
JRR: Where do you get your inspiration for your music?
Miyavi: My life. Everything in and from my life gives me inspiration: my driving, my way to a studio, a business man on the street, and everything.
JRR: What is your ultimate goal? Do you want to be famous as a musician or as a multi-artist?
Miyavi: That’s a secret, but I can promise you that I will perform great lives and make good music. I want to try everything!
JRR: Message for American fans:
Miyavi: Hello, this is my first time actually performing on stage. I want you to enjoy my show and look forward to my future plans!