4:29 pm - 06/27/2011
Shota talks about his creative process + new seductive pictures
Excite: Your new song, "love" really expresses pain and love.
Shota: This song and the b-side on my new single, "Song for you" were done around the same time. First I did "Song for you" but honestly after finishing and releasing my latest album I was out of ideas for songwriting, and I fell into a creative slump.
Excite: Why was that?
Shota: I couldn't figure out what kind of message I wanted to send… I felt like the album's songs were all a cohesive, complete bunch so I couldn't draw from that, and also the earthquake happened and it made me think about what I should really do as an artist. Along with that, I couldn't gauge the public's reaction toward the album very well due to the earthquake's effects, so I wasn't sure on how it was received.
Thinking about that, I kept thinking about the phrase "Nothing can be seen," which is how I'm sure a lot of people of all walks of life were feeling. I thought a lot during that process, wondering for what purpose and for who am I making music? I think "Song for you" is really an answer to the questions that I was facing after the earthquake.
Excite: So kind of conflict came about.
Shota: Yeah, releasing a love song right now, I'm not sure how that would go as far as timing… or writing a song like, "Nippon, ganbare!"… I wasn't sure what to do.
Excite: For those people who do music as a living, many said after the earthquake there was a sense of helplessness.
Shota: I think so. There were many ways to treat the situation, and there were some people who immediately went to the areas hit by the disaster to perform. And there were so much information and restrictions floating around. Those feelings are formed to become "Song for you," and I recently decided to put it into a single. Even though I think a lot artists will put out songs to rile up and encourage Japan, and even though this is my first single since the album release, I think it's good. "Song for you" is a song that quietly cuddles up with you. I thought it'd be good if I didn't crowd out the song. So, I decided to include it on the single.
Excite: Without changing it from being a love song, you made the song have a really strong message. How did you come up with it?
Shota: When something comes to mind during the song-writing process I always write the line down. In this song, that line was "Clean tears are running down your cheeks" which came to me. The pain that's caused that you can't even recognize. And that even more powerful if you have a special person in your life. And furthermore if the cause of that pain is you, there is great sadness, but hurting the one you love and not being able to realize it is a common thing. With love, you might be hurt and want to give up, and you may hurt the one you love… that heartbreak comes so many times. But you always want to be together. That's what the song is about.
Excite: It's a song about the mix of painfulness and the tenderness of love, but did you have to think of a tangible situation when you wrote it?
Shota: Rather than a tangible situation, this song is more about the emotion. I feel that a lot of people can sympathize with this song. You love him or her, and you don't ever want to hurt that person, but you unintentionally do in some way. That's a very difficult thing, but you can't imagine being without them and you won't survive without that person. That connection is amazing. Even though I wrote the song, the track that I needed to bring my own pain to was "love."
Excite: That song has amazing emotion.
Shota: It does. Generally, we don't want any bothersome things in our lives. But although it hurts, we still want it. That's love.
Excite: Was it due to the powerful emotions that you gave the song such a simple, one-word title?
Shota: I had completed the song, and really thought "This is love," haha. I had a lot of reasons, but I didn't want to really go into the song's subject matter in the title. It depicts such a sensitive emotion, and the more sensitive the contents the simpler I want to make the title. Love takes so many forms, and there are so many ways to express it. In all of those different words and shapes and types of love, I felt "love" itself would be a proper title. Perhaps these lyrics are a reflection of my philosophy of love, and they're kind of a compilation of the previous love songs I've written. It gives off a feeling of Shimizu Shota-ness, and I think it's the most beautiful song I've blended together. Right now this is the "love" that I want to convey to people.
Excite: By the way have you felt any 'love' recently?
Shota: I did, actually. When I returned to my hometown of Osaka and I was taking a taxi the other day.
Excite: Oh, that's kind of an unexpected 'love'.
Shota: The taxi driver said to me, "I think I've seen you on TV before" and he chatted with me the entire time. I felt that's really Osaka style. And when I was going to get out of the taxi the driver said, "It was fun talking to you" and didn't make me pay. That kind of friendly thing is common where I'm from, and in that moment I felt love for those kind of people of Osaka.
Excite: That's a feeling of closeness, right? By the way, as for the sound of your new music, what kind of image did you have in mind when making it?
Shota: I think my new single and my second single, "Aishiteru," have a lot in common musically. They both deal with love that is accompanied by pain, and they both have the feeling of summertime. "Aishiteru" gives the vibe of a sultry, humid summer night, while this song gives off a cool summer freshness in its sound.
Excite: That sparkling feeling is definitely summer-like. The way of singing in the song, specifically the careful word-by-word style, is a bit different than usual.
Shota: Yeah, definitely this time is different. The melody too has a different feeling than anything I've done so far. It's a different step I think. Also there were some creative things that broke me out of the slump that I was in and helped make the song.
Excite: You were able to progress a step above because you were able to make "Song for you."
Shota: That's right. (Through making that song) I think I realized I am unable to completely understand others' sadness or pain, although if I search through my own experiences, I can definitely sympathize. I can't understand things I've never experienced, and I can't carelessly say "ganbare!" I realize what I can do is create music and songs that will get close to your heart.
Excite: Your lyrics have a truthfulness and a warmth that touches you through a common point of view.
Shota: I'd like to see from everyone's point of view… for an artist, that is a theme that cannot be forgotten. I'm not a star, I'm a normal 22 year old. I'd like to to make real music about the same pain, confusion and worry that everyone goes through. In this song, I wrote a lot about my own loneliness and troubles. It's what I could do from my own view point.
Excite: There are a lot of people who will be encouraged by your voice. The other b-side on the single, "Massugu ni" (Straight Ahead) is a really cute song.
Shota: Haha, I can't really say anything about it. It's quite an older song, so the outlook is quite a bit different than the other two songs. It has the feeling of seeing new things. I didn't write the song from my own experiences, so the song is fiction.
Excite: When listening to a song this pure and lovely I feel really relieved.
Shota: You could say that. People who listen to this will probably realize that this is the work of a previous Shimizu Shota. Yeah… I want middle school students to listen to this (haha). Even when I myself listen to it I realize a lot of new things.
Excite: Well, lastly, how do you want people to listen to your new single, "love"?
Shota: I think it's an extension of my last album. I myself upon making that music, relaxed a little bit and with a good feeling became able to make this single. The music in this single has more of the feeling of an adult than anything I've done before, I think. So I'd like people to listen to it this summer at night time and feel it in their hearts. I think I was able to express things that I wasn't on my last album, and it's a more grown-up feeling, so I think it gives a really good, true Shimizu Shota-ish feeling.
Hard work & translation: dookmi
jfc this took me like 3 hrs to translate! anyway, I always forget this perfect bb is so involved with his music. writing, producing, composing, etc. such a legend and better than anyone you listen to.