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INTERVIEW

Kano releases her new CD album, “yuanfen”, which sings various “En”!

INTERVIEW

Kano made her major debut with her first single CD album “Stella-rium”, which she had posted onto a video-sharing website for the first time in 2010, which later became the theme song of a TV anime, “Wish Upon the Pleiades” (originally “After-School Pleiades” in its Japanese version) in May 2015. She is a very unique singer who can also write lyrics / compose by herself and sing various songs with her impressive super-voice. Her super-voice has flown over oceans to China, where she boasts an overwhelming popularity. The latest CD album she has created by inviting Mr. Hidekazu Tanaka (MONAKA), a hit maker of anime songs, as the producer is “yuanfen”, which means “En” in Chinese (God’s / Buddha’s grace to miraculously connect people); this contains, as its title suggests, songs that signify various “En”. What “En” have been inspired into the CD album which she has woven with all of her might? Kano herself has talked about it for us.

As Kano herself is “made of all the En”, she decided to create the CD album of her with its theme as “En”

Q: I’ve heard that you are very popular not only in Japan but also in China and that the title of your new CD album to be released soon, “yanfen”, means “En” in Chinese.

A (Kano): Right. In producing the CD album, I consulted Mr. Hidekazu Tanaka (MONAKA) first on many issues. Right before the production, I was thinking about quitting singing once and for all…

Q: Very grave!

A: I was very close to a creator (samfree) who produced my first CD album, “Stell-rium”, which turned out to be his last work… (he passed away). At a time, I thought I’d “already” made true what he told me to “create together”; of course I was not engaged in my activities just for his such words, but anyways, I started to be anxious over “whether I should continue my activities that way”. It’s not just about selling well; it is also important to stay principled in your own music. But I seriously wondered if I was fulfilling all those indeed. Then, when I joined a plan for his tribute album, I was already like burning myself out. After mulling many of my such problems, however, I started to feel like singing, again, despite all this. I hoped to sing songs that I only could sing or create my own music. Then, when I was thinking hard about what would constitute “my own songs”, I first came up with a song of mine named “Linaria Girl”, which Mr. Tanaka had created for me in my second CD album, “Alstroemeria”.

Q: Mr. Tanaka has produced your latest CD album, too, right?

A: Exactly. I’ve thought it should be only Mr. Tanaka, also a hit maker of anime songs, that could search for the very music I only could perform. Thus, I asked him for its production, while I was not sure he’d accept it, which he did very willingly. I’ve figured that all these, including his such support, are of “En”: En with my fans; En with my staff; En with my composers and illustrators; En with my family members and friends… I am “made of En with all these people”; so, I decided to create the CD album with its theme as “En”. There is a song of mine called “Cafuné”, which is coupled with my single-CD album “Hikari No Dohyo” (literally meaning “signpost of light”, the ending theme song for a TV anime, “Azurlane”). This is also a work of Mr. Tanaka’s, from which my theme of “En” has stemmed. I’d love to be understood not through words but through my songs. Thus, the title of my songs are mostly ones that are hard to be interpreted in Japanese; the latest one is likewise crowned with such a word, “yuanfen”, a Chinese one which means “En”.

Q: A rather complex but good anecdote. Anyways, “yuanfen” sounds good.

A: I feel it is almost a destiny for me to have met and adopted this word.

Q: As the title suggests, “yuanfen” contains many songs that depict various kinds of “En”, or a variety of stories. Was it difficult to come up with each of the situations?

A: For some I didn’t have any problem, for some I did, a lot. Especially for its leading song, “Gozen Reiji No Kami-sama” (literally meaning “Listless God at 0:00 AM), I had a hard time constructing its story, as it would represent the whole album. After brooding over it for long, I decided to write out my relationship with fans as its lyrics. But it was hard to express it… For example, an artist observed by fans, fans observed by an artist… An artist may look like Goddess to fans; fans may look like Goddess to an artist, where you can’t “see” such Goddess with your own eyes. In a sense, a relationship between an artist and fans can’t be seen with eyes, either, which I think is a miraculous one. With such a feeling, I started to create its lyrics starting with a word “Kami-sama” (meaning God / Goddess), who would disappear without those who pray for Him / Her.

Q: That was the beginning, I understood. But as its melody is “catchy” (relatively “light” compared to its contents of lyrics), fans can just relax and enjoy listening to it.

A: I agree. I’d be glad myself if my fans can enjoy it; I’d be more than glad if they can figure out its contents.

Q: On the other hand, it has cool songs like “Batsu To Batsu” (literally meaning “punishment and punishment”, not guilt), abundant in word and coolly sung, which shows another aspect of yours.

A: This has been made with “Akuen” (literally meaning “bad En”) as its theme. I thought about what would constitute “Akuen”: emotions manifested in “expecting / anticipating too much” in others (friends / boyfriends / girlfriends) like jealousy, with which I tackled making of the song.

Q: Many would empathize with such emotions.

A: Hopefully. I had a very hard time making it, up until the last word of it. Its title, “Batsu To Batsu” or two punishments, means punishment for making someone expect too much and one for expecting too much (by yourself).

Q: Anything else troubling in choosing words?

A: I am not so “quick-tempered”, admittedly. For example, even if I were to get jealous, I would rather “ignore” things or not get so emotional, which was hard to put into actual words.

Q: Generally, there are two types of people: those who will get very emotional and aggressive and those who will “retreat” calmly.

A: I am the latter or one who would back off, totally. But the song had both of types in its depiction, where I wanted to “elicit a hellish atmosphere” (of jealousy, for better or worse).

Q: It does radiate such an aura! Its rhythm is also unique in the album, very impressive indeed.

A: Its arrangement is cool, too, among all.

Your feelings can be conveyed even if your words are not understood; feelings are the first and foremost.

Q: In addition to such “Akuen”, “Ending Note” at the last of it was also exciting… or destabilizing? Ephemeral around birth and death as its notion.

A: Right before production of the album, I momentarily thought about quitting music, very seriously, which led me to making it with “Kano’s death” in mind. “Kano’s death”, or my own virtual death, would come when I quit activities around music. Anyhow, you don’t know when you’ll die. Then, I decided to do what I could while I was living.

Q: Too early for your age!

A: There are some who know my songs already out in the world and some who don’t yet but may. Even if I were gone, my songs would live on in the world of internet…, well, with no more songs coming up. Therefore, Ending Note means what I hoped to leave to my fans on this earth.

Q: While this song may actually mean an “ending note” for you, fans listening to it should have imagined of a bird’s view of a life.

A: I’d be happy if my fans have felt like becoming kinder and more generous to people around them upon listening to it!

Q: Your such remark makes me think that each and every day is very important or more important than we think. Well, the album comes not just with tense songs… “Okaeri” (literally meaning “welcome back home”) should be very moving for fans keeping a pet, without fail, which describes not just En with people but also En with a dog kept.

A: I guess fans keeping a pet would be mostly moved.

Q: Overall, pets age faster than human beings. The song has made me think you are keeping a pet.

A: I did, at my parents’ home. But as I came to Tokyo, I failed to see my dog upon passing away.

Q: Your real experience, isn’t it?

A: Yes. I guess my dog told me “Okaeri” every time I came back. I don’t necessarily or 100% believe in so-called reincarnation but my dog may “someday, in the distant future” come back to me, if in another form. I had that much affection. This song has been, thus, dedicated to my dog in the heaven.

Q: Moving indeed, or actually sorrowful in its lyrics, but the song as a whole is very “warm” and may save fans feeling lonely. At the last part of the song, “Matane” (literally meaning “see you again”) is uttered, which makes us feel we might see people / pets we hope to see, again. Another “En”, isn’t it?

A: Exactly.

Q: Amid all the songs you had a hard time creating, are they any you didn’t, much?

A: The fifth one, “Kiite” (literally meaning, “listen to me”), which is a message to my fans, written out just as I felt, with no frills in its words.

Q: This is “En” with your fans, too, right?

A: I just had failed to think about “En”; as I created those songs, I felt that I had so many “En”, connected to all the things and people.

Q: Now that you have successfully done with a big theme, do you have in mind another theme?

A: While I may have such problems again, as I already know “the music I aspire to create”, I will go my own way without getting worried, for which the latest album was very good. On the other hand, when I think about whether the music that I want to create will be popular or not, it won’t much, in this era, in Japan…

Q: Yours will!

A: While I do hope that “yuanfen” will reach as many people, it was not an “intended” work of mine. I just expressed music I’d aspired to. Until then, I had a period when I was concerned about a possibility that my music wouldn’t be so popular / accepted. But when I turned my view to the world, I’ve found so many people who would for sure love my music. When I concentrated on Japan, only, and struggled with my such anxiety that no one would listen to me, I started to notice the world was much larger with a greater audience than I’d thought. While my activities were rather limited to internet, I had failed to notice such globalism; and just narrowed my scope.

Q: The biggest advantage of internet is that it can disseminate your contents to the entire world!

A: Right. While I am singing in Japanese, there are many overseas who say “my songs are good” for me…, which is indeed great.

Q: There are many songs whose words you don’t understand that sound cool.

A: I hope my songs will be like that, too. After my music has reached fans overseas, I’ve felt that even if words themselves are not understood, feeling can be conveyed. You can enjoy music itself even if you don’t understand lyrics. With feelings, everything can be conveyed. I felt so.

Q: Very convincing! Keep disseminating your messages to the world!

[Interview / article by Atsushi Kaie]

My recommended spot in Japan: Hana-chozu in “Yokoku Temple, Yanagidani Kannon” in Kyoto

I’ve never been there, but I really hope to. Depending on seasons, you can see flowers floating on its Chozu (a place in which you’ll purify your hands and mouth with water before worshipping; Hana-chozu means Chozu with flowers). Not just flowers, you can enjoy seeing fallen colored leaves on it in autumn. I definitely want to visit it. “Transition” of four seasons in Japan is indeed beautiful, which you can sense hands-on there. The jacket of “yuanfen” also features such four seasons as a theme of it, which I hope fans will also enjoy.

ホーム

CD Album
By Kano
“yuanfen”
Produced by Teichiku Entertainment / Imperial Record
[Version limited for the first release]
CD + DVD
3,818 yen (+ tax)
[Normal version]
3,000 yen (+ tax)
On sale: 4th March 2020

https://kano-official.amebaownd.com/