After 12 hours in a plane and 3 hour in Shinkansen, going to Tokyo, then through the week-end giant crowd in Shibuya, I slowly go to our meeting-point.
Inside the hotel lobby, I see M. D.‘s manager, with whom we speak of JaME and its projects for the future. After 10mns of this conversation, his mobile-phone rings. And yes, he’s M. D. on the phone, waiting for us! His manager introduces everyone, exchange of usual social civilities and cards, and we go to the restaurant of the hotel where the interview finally begins…
KIMKIM: What did you think of when you composed Euphony?
DAITA: The third track on this album, Suna no Shiro actually is the very first I composed and recorded, in order to make a demo that I brought to SONY Record. I was mainly looking for oriental sonorities in this track. There has already been concerts mixing electric guitar and philharmonic orchestra, in order to rearrange famous classical pieces of music, but I had never heard this kind of duet on original compositions until now.
I therefore wanted to be the first one to do it, and composed Euphony. I also thought it would be a good idea to have foreign musicians play for the recordings, and I did it with an orchestra in China. When I compose, I’m careful that the music not only melts with myself but also with the instruments.
NON-NON: We could read in an interview for a magazine that you composed EUPHONY using a keyboard first, then re-transcribed everything to guitar, which was really difficult…
DAITA: As they are tracks where my guitar plays the lead melody, in the middle of an orchestra, I explained the arranger during the arrangements how I was going to play my pieces, so that he could create a sound for my guitar, and insert it the way he would do for a violin or any other string, or brass instrument that you could find in an orchestra. We made arrangements with this idea.Musicians who play a classical music instrument don’t like it when sounds of a scale “hurt” each other (a guitar usually isn’t part of an orchestra, sounds of a scale therefore may superimpose one another when you play a guitar), this is why I was careful that these two kind of sounds harmonised without “hurting” one another.
Finally, when I composed this album, as I first played the piano before learning the guitar, I looked for melodies by strumming on the piano, because if I had directly done it with a guitar, pieces would have had guitar-sonorities. It’s at the very end, during the final arrangements, that I re-transcribed everything to guitar.
NON-NON: From the beginning, you composed everything with a keyboard?
DAITA: Suna no Shiro is the only song that I composed with a guitar.
KIMKIM: Your two albums, Direct Chord and Euphony, have very different styles: do you want to try some new styles again?
DAITA: Next year, I may have a project with a vocal part. On the other hand, I would also like to do a solo album with a different style to what I proposed until now, and even play a new concert. These two projects have no relation at all, but what I want to propose will be different to Euphony.
I would like to play some pure rock stuff. As I absolutely love progressive-rock, I would like recording an album in that style. I think that mixing a prog-rock track, meaning a long and complicated track, with a more compact track in order to make it a “normal time” track, could give a good result.
NON-NON: And for your next album, do you intend to produce everything, as you already did for DIRECT CHORD?
DAITA: I’m not sure, because I’m meeting several musicians, and I believe there is a high probability that we record something together.
NON-NON: Do you think of playing with foreign musicians some day?
DAITA: If I have time I will think of it, and if there are musicians who would like to try it, I’m in!
KIMKIM: Are there musicians with who you would like to work?
DAITA: Phew yes, a lot! (laughs) RUSH for example, a Canadian rock band that I love!
NON-NON: And you recently went to one of their concerts, didn’t you?
DAITA: Yes, I went to see them live in Chicago. But even in Japan there are several persons with who I would like to play, so if I have an occasion… I would like trying with every musician I meet!
KIMKIM: Are there Japanese musicians you especially like?
DAITA: First of all, there’s Kyosuke Himuro (NoJaME: for whom he’s playing right now), and I also have a special affection for musicians with who I was able to work, we understand each other in our music. There are also several artists you can hear or watch on TV or radio that I enjoy listening to. I cannot really give any preference
KIMKIM: Are there European musicians you like?
DAITA: Ummmm (embarrassed) there are a lot… I like U2, as for hard-rock there are Scorpions and Judas Priest that I loved at the same time.
There are also English rock bands that I may listen to once in a while.
KIMKIM: What do you think of J-Rock coming to Europe?
DAITA: Japan is an insular country, a little closed into itself. Japan has its own specific culture and style. The consequence is that, in fashion, music or any other, we arrange it in our own way. We have our own meaning of “beauty” and knowing that Europe understands and appreciates it makes me really glad. And knowing that Europeans like Siam Shade’s music (who kept in Japan a type of music they liked, without any special arrangement for commerce) and understand it also makes me really glad. I would like them to learn more.
KIMKIM: Right now, there are some young guitarists in Europe who try to play your tracks, what advice could give them for composing?
DAITA: When I compose, technique of course is important, but as I’m a melodic guitarist, I give a lot of importance to the melody, the atmosphere of the song, the imagination. Train until you feel the guitar live inside the song. Listen to as much music as you can, learn from what you listen to, and you will see that mixing what you listen to and your own sensitivity will give birth to a new music.
As for me, it’s by listening to European music that I created EUPHONY, therefore I would feel really happy if, in the opposite way, a European musician influenced by Japanese music could create something, like I did with EUPHONY.
NON-NON: A friend of mine is getting cramps by dint of playing your songs in tapping (N.of June: guitar technique based on getting a sound -pluck- but from fret) what exercises could you recommend to him so that he could strengthen his fingers and wrist?
DAITA: The best is to play as often as possible, as much as possible. Whenever you have a free moment play again and again, muscles of a guitarist will develop and you will quickly improve. As for the wrist, try playing very quickly, and playing difficult rhythms. It’s good for the wrist… But you mustn’t do too much of it, because you know, playing too much hurts your wrist! (laughs)
KIMKIM: By the way, we can regularly see photos of your trips, meals,…: have you ever been in France? Do you like our cooking?
DAITA: French cooking is a luxury in Japan you know… (laughs)
Of course I already went to a French restaurant, but not very often. You know, Japanese people see French cooking as a very luxurious and delicate cooking, a lot of Japanese people therefore daren’t going to French restaurants. It’s a little like the Japanese Kaiseki (laughs) (N.ofJaME: luxurious traditional Japanese meals). I also have a friend who just opened a French restaurant, I think of going there but I’m not a specialist.
NON-NON: Have you ever been in France?
DAITA: No not yet, but I would like to! But I have a friend who went there for a while for his studies.
NON-NON: You like going abroad, don’t you?
DAITA: As I’ve never been in Europe, I would like to go there.
NON-NON: What do you like when you go abroad?
DAITA: Of course cultures, country-sides in towns,… Each of them inspire me, a little as if I went abroad in order to compose.
NON-NON: You enjoyed having trips ever since you were a child?
DAITA: Ever since high-school actually, we had had a lot of trips with my high-school mates.
NON-NON: And you composed during these trips?
DAITA: Woooh no no, not yet! (laughs)
NON-NON: It looks like you like GYOZAS. (N.ofJaME: “grilled raviolis”, or such) (laughs)
DAITA: Ha ha ha! GYOZAS are a good match with a good beer!
KIMKIM: I heard you like Ramen: could you recommend some to French people?
DAITA: You may eat RAMEN in France??? (very surprised)
KIMKIM:Yes of course! There’s even a street in Paris dedicated to Japanese food!
DAITA: Reaaaaallyyyy—– (in admiration)
KIMKIM:Do you watch French sports a little?
DAITA: I like the French soccer team a lot, especially Henry and Zidane.
KIMKIM: Did you know that European fans also visit your official website on the net?
DAITA: What?! What do you mean?
KIMKIM: It’s easy, thanks to the Internet. But as everything is written in Japanese, they unfortunately cannot read. Do you think of making an English version of it?
DAITA: Yes, we briefly talked of making one.
NON-NON: Adding a lot of photos like you do is a very good thing!
DAITA: On the internet, if you don’t add photos, I think it’s not really interesting. At least this is how I feel when I surf on the net.
NON-NON: Another subject now: I went to your concert at Shibuya O-East, it was absolutely great. I would have never thought that a concert of instrumental rock could be that good, it was a huge success. You had been preparing it for a long time?
DAITA: Preparation was rather quick, but rehearsals began only two weeks before the show.
NON-NON: You immediately chose what musicians would play with you for this concert?
DAITA: From May. I began asking several musicians to play at this concert in February, but as they are very popular musicians, they had to respect the planning for their own concerts in addition to our rehearsals: they were working for this concert and others at once, it was going well but slowly.
NON-NON: This concert was on a Monday, meaning a lot of fans who live far from big towns couldn’t come, it’s sad.
DAITA: Yes I know… Therefore watch my DVD!
NON-NON: I’m really happy because nothing was cut for this DVD, we can watch all of the concert.
DAITA: Yes, I wanted to do this DVD not for “general sales” but for those who couldn’t come to the concert.
(NOJ: He speaks the truth here, and it explains why this DVD wasn’t available in music shops but could only be bought through his website.)
NON-NON: Were you able of deciding of the set-list for the concert straight away?
DAITA: One or two months before the show, we had to think of the program for the concert at least once or twice. Especially choosing what tracks to play, in what order,… We didn’t have to choose within a lot of songs anyway! (laughs)
NON-NON: You played all tracks of your own albums and three from Volcano High.
DAITA: At first, I didn’t intend to play tracks from this album. But when I saw the reactions on my website, where fans said they wanted me to play some of them, I decided to play a few, and chose musicians who could play them.
NON-NON: And they are the same musicians who played with you for the presentation of VOLCANO HIGH.
DAITA: M. Saino on drums and Okanda on bass. Also M. Saito on keyboards, I also played with him on the Himuro tour last year. And finally M. Nakano as technician, who wasn’t one of these musicians.
KIMKIM: Your DVD isn’t on sale in Europe yet some fans were able to get a copy of it, what do you think of it?
DAITA: I’m really glad! (laughs) My solo-live began this year and I absolutely didn’t know how it was going to be after that.
NON-NON: You definitely have to come play a concert in Europe! Some Japanese rock bands already come play some concerts in Europe.
DAITA: Yes, it would be absolutely great!
(…Reading concert dates on JaME website: ) Hey, in 10 years I should try to dress up in the style of visual-kei, to see! (bursts out laughing)
NON-NON: As a soloist musician, within a band or in a studio, I think there are several forms of musical activities to explore: how do you see the ideal artist?
DAITA: Even today, I’m trying to be the one and only in my style, different of everyone, whom no one can imitate.
When I chose my guitar for the first time and tried to play it, all musicians who inspired me shared this point of view. I would like to become like them. It’s rare to find unique musicians nowadays, who have their own important originality.
To go on doing something we like and be successful in show-business is something really difficult, but a band like RUSH for example, a band that I love, is one of these unique artists who achieve it, while keeping their own originality and image. I hope I can also be part of these exceptional people.
NON-NON: And this idea didn’t change, even today?
DAITA: No it didn’t change, and even at the time of SIAM SHADE I had this idea in mind, thinking inside of me that this was just a way to try to reach this aim. I think a life wouldn’t be enough to do all that I want to do musically, but, as long as I can, I would like to learn more, see, do what I like and live exciting experiences. I’m of an impatient nature and it’s not easy to stop me. A little like in Rugby, when you keep on running to the front without anyone being able to stop you, you see? (laughs)
KIMKIM: Finally, would you like to tell a few words to your European fans?
DAITA: I’m really surprised by the success of SIAM SHADE in Europe, although we splitted. Every member of the band now has a solo career and we all have a different style and sound from what we did in the band.
I grew up listening to a lot of classical music, I have therefore always been interested in European music. This is why mixing this music with mine is something natural to me, because it inspired me, and it would be great if, thanks to music, we could create a kind of little bridge between Europe and Japan.
If I’m given the chance to play a concert in Europe, I will come with pleasure. Keep on listening to my music!
KIMKIM, with the kind collaboration of NON-NON
Translation: Polochon – 23/12/2004
Exclusive Interview borrowed from JaME: JmusicEuropa.com
I got something important to write here, still I was called downstairs so I forgot. Anyways… This is the very first interview that I translate (Spanish version), incredible things on them is how much you can learn from the professional experience of a particular someone, in my opinion DAITA as an artist has improved so much and is getting close to the ideal he’s proposed to himself, even though, as he says, there might not be enough time to achieve it, but improving is got with every step taken, and as a prove of that there was that enormous recognition being invited to share stage by and with the legendary G-3 in their Japan Tour past April (2005), you bet that standing side to side with Steve Vai, Eric Johnson and Joe Satriani, world renowned rock guitarists, sure is a great incentive to his professional career! I must say he made up one of my dreams by playing along with Shinya (ex-Luna Sea) even though I couldn’t listen to them, neither see him, but you just can’t lose the hope ^^… As you see, he doesn’t mention SIAM too much, I felt a sharp pain anytime he did though, he doesn’t seem like retaking the band career with the other guys, even though he showed much respect by the work they developed together in the past and the one in their solos now. It took me a lot of unexpected time to finish the translation so I really hope you’ve enjoyed it.