[Exclusive] JpopAsia Interviews MIYAVI

5yr ago   ·   Saturday 10 Jun, 2017 - 12:40pm UTC   ·   Keia   ·   11 upvotes   ·   2 comments   ·   5,739 views
[Exclusive] JpopAsia Interviews MIYAVI

Last month solo artist MIYAVI visited Asia, North-America and Europe for quite a couple of concerts. JPopAsia attended his concert in Munich, Germany, and also met the guitarist before the show to get to know more about his work and life. In an interesting conversation he shared his opinion on refugee camps, talked about his movie roles and explained what his Best Album is all about.

Enjoy reading our English interview with MIYAVI!


Let’s start with you latest release! Your “Best of” album is called ALL TIME BEST “Day 2”. What is the meaning of the title?
I was supposed to name this album “reincarnation”. Because I wanted to make all the tracks being reborn. But it’s too complicated for the audience in Japan because the word “reincarnation” is not popular. “Day 2” was the second idea. The meaning is, of course, a little different.
At the same time, I didn’t want to make this album just a “Best of” album. And people will be like (in sarcastic voice:) “Old tracks – yay”. I didn’t want to make an album like that. Because MIYAVI is moving forward. Even if it is a “Best of” album, I wanted that the audience can feel the future. Now we are facing to the new phase, the new level. That is what I want the audience to feel.
And it's also to celebrate the 15th anniversary. The memory – I didn’t want to be just a nostalgic, you know. It is beautiful, but you can’t turn back. You are always moving forward. The earth is always spinning. So, to enjoy every single moment and every day is really really important. When you feel the future… that is when you can really enjoy the moment.

Was it hard for you to decide which songs to put on the album?
Hard? No, it was not hard at all. To be honest I actually wanted to put more songs from the indie times but the rights are really complicated. Basically I just wanted to put everything on the album. And then we rearranged the final tracks. The tracks we still play on stage. I wanted to do everything but you know. No time, no budget.

The song “What a wonderful World” is in two versions on the album – the old version and a new one. Why did you put this song twice on it and not another one?
This track is really special to me. I play this song and my fans all over the world sing in Japanese.
Music is invisible. You can not see music but you feel it. Because of that music can be tied with a memory. That song resonated with so many people and even with me.
There is also the saying that the world is spinning, moving forward. There is no time to regret. I really like the lyrics and I really like the moment when my fans are singing along to the track with us at the show.

Last year you shot your video “The Others”. There is also an UN Refugee Agency version for the song. Please tell us a bit more about it. Where did you shoot it and what did you feel during that time? 
Mainly we shot the UN Refugee Agency version in Lebanon at a refugee camp. But the video crew went to Mali, Afghanistan, Jordan and Thailand to also visit the refugee camps in those countries. That was really really important in order to capture the moment. You know, the word "refugee" sounds really dark and especially for you guys [in Europe], it is really close. You guys are facing that problem. That word sounds burdened and it is really heavy. But the thing is, they are just like us. They had a home, job, life. And then they had to flee, they had to run away from their situation. And even in the camps they are struggling to survive. So it was really important to capture the moments when they sing, they dance, they smile so that we can feel their strength.
Japan is having a hard time to accept those refugee people. But those people are really strong to survive and really really motivated to live. So that was kind of the basic concept to make this music video.

You also went to a camp in Thailand a few months ago. How was it there to perform in front of them?
Every time I get inspired by their energy and motivation. Even the kids. In Japan, America – even my kids say sometimes “I don’t want go to the school!” But those kids are dying. They really want to go to school to learn something. And their power is really really huge. Before I went to the camps, I was really nervous because I was not as famous as Angie [Angelina Jolie]. I was introduced to UNHCR by Angie and I was not as famous as she is. But when I played the guitar, the kids were like “Wow!”. They’ve got so excited and then I’ve felt that there is something that I can do and there is a power in music.
The reason I visited the camp in Thailand was, that as an Asian I wanted to see the refugee crisis in Asia. And I realized that we shouldn’t look away from that – because it has been 20 years.
The case in Thailand became successful which means that they found solutions and can be a role model for the Syrian refugee crisis. But of course there are many twisted issues in the camps because it is a temporary camp – but for already 20 years. The kids were born there and they can not even go outside. That is the world they know. And even the old people don’t want to leave because that is their life already. But the government itself can not accept it because of political and many many other reasons. So it is pretty complicated. But I felt that the community was working, especially the government, the local community, that was run by young people. They seem like a really really energetic ally to me. That is really important. I want to go back to the camp.

You are living in the United States now. What was the reason why you moved there?
There are two reasons: One is the education of my kids. Second one is creation.
So education – I had hard times to study English and also to get to know the global kind of vibes like communication or economy, so I didn’t want my kids to walk the same path. That was the first reason.
The second one was the creation, to be able to work with the people who make history. Because in Japan everthing comes through the media. It means, whatever you see is all from the media. And once you get in, people in the US are making history every single day. So I thought it is important to get closer to that.

Often Japanese artists are being asked it there are differences between concerts in Japan and concerts abroad. But you are already living abroad and went on many tours overseas. Are you used to the differences between Japan and other countries?
Yes, I’m good. There are still transitions to get new sounds and a new crew. Bobo and my guys from my Japanese company are the only Japanese. So everyone else from my team is American. The tour manager is British.
The language is still… and there is a different rhythm [lifestyle] actually. In Japan we don’t have a big bus like that. Last year’s tour, right before this tour, we were traveling by plane. So every morning going to the gate and security. That is pretty tough.
In Japan there is a fast train called Shinkansen. It is a different rhythm. I like this big bus. But in the same time we get to the venue and when you wake up you are surrounded by your fans. And the fans are waiting for me even while it’s raining. And this makes me kind of worried. But you know… it’s fun!

After this tour you will go to Japan and celebrate your 15th anniversary. You’re performing concerts with many other artists. How did you decide for the artists? Are they artists you personally listen to or like?
They are upcoming or exciting artists in Japan. The hottest artists in Japan. There are a many artists but basically they are NOW.

You’re not only making music anymore but also became an actor. After your role in “Unbroken” you will appear in “King Kong” soon. How did it happen that you are in the cast of “King Kong”? Were you ask or did you apply for it?
Both. I’ve got an offer for “Unbroken” and after that it just happened. The schedule was really tough. The tempo is different. A movie happens really quickly but still takes long time. Music is more… the tour, the venue and everything. But it’s kind of a different cycle.
A movie shoot starts in the early morning at 3, 4 or 5 am. But music is the opposite. We make music until 4 or 5 am.
But Kong was kind of an interesting opportunity for me.

What kind of character are you playing?
It’s just a soldier. Only in the beginning but it’s kind of a crucial role for the story. There aren’t many scenes I’m in. It took only a few days in Hawaii and Australia. Just a couple days so I was able to do recording and prepare for the tour.
I really want to try more but the thing is that I’m not a professional actor so … it is also important to keep the definition as MIYAVI. I enjoyed playing the villain because the bad guy always has a path to become a bad guy. Kinda twisted. It’s really really important and interesting.

We're looking forward to see it. Thank you for this interview! In the end please send a message for the readers of Jpopasia!
Is music from other Asian countries also a part of JPopAsia?
It is!
So it doesn’t matter where artists are from. The thing with music or even movies or culture is that we are kind of breaking the wall and we're getting closer and closer. That is what I feel. Even in the movie industry many Asians are there. And KPop is getting popular in the whole world.
As a Japanese, it is really meaningful to keep doing this. It is not easy but it is really meaningful.
And I am really really glad with my fans. The support is huge. I mean not a huge crowd but the strength and the power is really intense. That is what I always feel on stage. Especially this time. I have four shows in Germany. I was actually not expecting that but thanks to my fans support we are able to do this. And I’m so happy to be back. I want you guys to enjoy my music and the show. And even the show – I can’t make it by myself. With the audience we make it together. We make the future. Something new. I need you guys and I’m really really happy. Thank you.

Source: Special thanks to MIYAVI, the organizers and management for this interview!
Shared by: Keia
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  • 0
    Juuzou 5yr ago

    Great interview <3 <3 <3 !!! I am happy because, like MIYAVI, I think music connects people regardless of their origin, age or gender. MIYAVI has a wonderful show of 'refugees' who, despite their difficult life situation, are able to for a moment forget what's wrong and to grab the music as seen on the attached video THE OTHERS. Huge ARIGATO for this wonderful interview and I warmly greet :)

  • 0
    solangelvp 5yr ago

    MIYAVI is really amazing on live shows, I had a chance to go to one of his concerts and he really connects with the audience and tries to make them feel part of the show. The energy he has on stage is absolutely amazing and you don't only listen to the music or watch a show, you feel it and live it. He is mesmerizing and charming on the stage and you don't want it to end at all. He breaks music barriers and has a huge heart as he shows on the interview!

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