Kanon Wakeshima Press Conference – July 19, 2009 – 1:00 PM
Kanon: First of all, thank you all for coming in. My name is Kanon Wakeshima. I started playing the cello since I was three years old. And I am a cello vocalist.
Mod: And we would just like to start with the Q&A now. So please raise your hands and ask your question.
What is your inspiration behind your art?
I like paintings by Alphonse Maria Mucha. I also like Japanese art, like Yokoe Sakai. These paintings give me very much inspiration.
I notice that your dress at the concert was very elaborate and I was wondering, do you have a say for what you wear for your concert, or is that the management’s say?
My dress is designed by Mana, it is something that he designs and chooses for my performance.
How did it feel to play to a full room at your concert and what was the experience like for you to meet the American audience?
This was my first time performing in the US. I am really having fun. I am very happy to see the fans and the cosplayers.
What was your impression of the audience in America compared to Paris and even Japan?
The audience in Japan, they tend to focus more on the sound and their main focus is the music. But in fact in America, I noticed that there is a similarity within the audience, in that they want to participate in the music and enjoy the music along with the artist. Now my music is not the kind of music that the audience will really get riled up, but they will be able to enjoy the music and be very happy.
Your first singles, “Still Doll” and “Suna no Oshiro” [were] brought into the Vampire Knight anime. How [were] your songs chosen to be the themes for Vampire Knight?
With “Still Doll” I had already begun composing the song and the song was already done when it was chosen as the ending for Vampire Knight. So I did not have the anime in mind when I composed the song. However, I saw that they used the song with very beautiful animation and I was very happy about it. With “Suna no Oshiro”, when I was writing the lyrics for the song I was unaware that it was going to be used as the ending for Vampire Knight. However, Mr. Mana, the producer, who was actually composing the song, had to host it with the image with Vampire Knight. So the song was composed with the image in mind, but the lyrics were written without my awareness that it was going to be used for the anime. But it ended up being used for the ending and they once again played it to very beautiful animation. And I thought that was wonderful.
Can you tell us more about the art work on your arm?
It is a secret.
Do you wear Lolita costumes offstage?
I don’t usually wear Gothic Lolita fashion on my own, like today. But I think they are very pretty to look at. And in Japan we have a lot of magazines about Gothic Lolita fashion so I like to get those magazines and look at them at home.
During your concert, I know that you included in your MC about your two cats. So I was wondering, they seem very important to you, can you tell us more about them?
The first cat I ever got was when I was in elementary school. And I absolutely loved that cat. But unfortunately it died in an accident, very quickly, and I was just torn from grief. So in memory of my first cat, the new cat that I have right now, I picked the cat of the same color and fortunately he lived a very long time. But I still have a lot of feeling towards that first cat and when I look at cats right now they fill me with feelings of endearment and at the same time the grief of losing my first cat.
You created a truly unique identity for yourself as an artist. What is the best advice that you ever received, and what advice would you give to young girls who are considering careers or would like to but don’t fit in with the main stream pop music?
I’ve been playing the cello since I was three years old. When I was in junior high I decided to try my current form now, where I play the cello while singing. So I created a demo tape, and that is when I met Mr. Mana. And Mr. Mana put his Gothic Lolita fashion into my music to create the image of Kanon that you all know today. I think that persisting at something from a very young age gives you a strength that you can’t obtain in any other way. I had played the cello since I was three years old and there were many times when I wanted to quit and I didn’t want to play anymore. But I think the most important thing to becoming an artist is to persist. So if you are currently persevering to become an artist, my advice is don’t give up on your desire and keep performing and keep persisting.
Through the “Still Doll” video and your stage persona, your image is very doll like. How did this evolve and what are you trying to communicate?
The song “Still Doll” is about having a void in your heart, and what you reach when you go past all the grief that your heart can handle, until you reach a nihilistic state and I think that this creates the image of a doll. So I try to perform like a doll when I perform the song.
You mentioned that you were visiting others cities. I was wondering, what are you planning to do?
Translator: As you know she is visiting LA and San Francisco. She will be leaving tonight actually. First she will be performing in a music store in San Francisco, and then in a café in LA. So she will be mostly working. But she hopes to walk around the area where her hotel is.
You seem to be very inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Your artwork on your website looks like it’s very much inspired by it. And your costume last night at the concert seemed to be like the Queen of Hearts or Red Queen kind of outfit. It seems to be popular story in Japan, at least among the Gothic Lolita subculture. So what is it that draws you into the story?
When I was a little girl of course I liked picture books, so of course I liked Alice in Wonderland. And other than that I read Grimm, Anderson and Mother Goose. These stories, although they were cute stories for children, they also had a dark and mysterious side to them. So when I write my lyrics, I [try] to [imagine] the image that you get from these fairy tales. How they are cute but at the same time dark and mysterious. Through my lyrics I am trying to convey that image.
What music inspires you?
Translator: She mentioned three artists. One from Japan, a jazz singer named Mayumi Kojima. And from America, Lady Gaga. And France, Emily Simms.
“Still Doll” is very popular and well known amongst your fans. Can you take another song of yours, not one of the Vampire Knight songs, and talk to us about how it was like to create lyrics for it and what you feel when you perform it?
Well, when I make my album I put a lot of feeling into each and every one of my songs. So I really can’t pick one song that I like best or one song I like above all others. Every song that I write for my album has a different story and a different feeling that I want to convey. So is there a particular song that you are interested in hearing about?
Let’s go with “Kagami”.
With the song “Kagami”, I made it in the image of one of my favorite stories from the Grimm fairy tales, Snow White. One of the main characters in Snow White is the witch and I think the witch is a very complicated character, because despite the name of being a witch there is something very human about the witch. And everyone has complexes, inferiority complexes and weaknesses and I like to use the word witch to represent the weaknesses within myself. But at the same time the witch, she wanted the people around her to love her and she wanted the other people around her to understand her. So in the song “Kagami” I am [sort of] placing myself in the witch’s place. I am standing in front of the mirror, all alone by myself. And there are few things that I want to tell other people but I can’t tell anyone else. So I tell it to myself in the mirror.
You are very young. How do you deal with the overwhelming fame in such a short period of time and what is your stress release?
It’s not that busy yet! Well music for me, I don’t really think of it as a job, but a place where I can express my feelings. Of course there are tough times when I am working in music. But the way that I perceive my music isn’t [sort of] the way that one will think about work. It really isn’t as stressful to me as you might imagine.
Mod: Let’s give Kanon a round of applause. Thank you.