Ryuichi Kawamura's new album is decisively titled “Life”. This is the first of his solo albums to stand in opposition to the “ROCK” that he has worked so hard as a vocalist throughout his life to tirelessly create, going back to his roots. How does this Ryuichi Kawamura view “rock” now as a man of such substance in the genre? We will find out in this interview...
This is the second half of the interview. You can read the first part HERE.
■I want to break through the minds of young people who would give up on their lives.
■I think that we have to do what we do as ourselves now with a sense of purpose.
──Of course. So, are there any messages from you, Ryuichi, in “Life”'s lyrics?
Kawamura：The time we're in now is full of insecurity, right? But, the eighties, when we grew up, was brimming with hope. It was really easy to dash toward very simple goals, like mine to start a band, and be cool with girls; it was so easy to have so many material desires, like wanting to just be a cool guy or drive an awesome car, and to move toward those goals. In my life, to just go for the home run suddenly didn't mean that you were stuck in that forever. But, young people now, they give up on those kinds of dreams from the very start. I sing about this in “the earth ~Mirai no Kaze~”, but we have a responsibility as well. You can't go through life thinking that you have to grow up before you do anything. When we as young people decide to start a rock band, if we don't give it all we've got, our dreams will end up half-finished. And so, we really have to do what we do as ourselves now with a sense of purpose. Even if it's in my rock band, I want to break through the minds of young people who would give up on their lives, like those who would say that in this day and age, you have to be wealthy, or that they're fine taking the Yamanote Line every day instead of having a car they love to drive, or that having luxuries in life doesn't mean that you've actually become someone who accomplishes anything. And so, even in my title track for this album, I have a line that goes: “It's not like that. There's still fun things out there. You can be the arbiters of miracles more amazing than just thinking like adults do.” I really want to express that feeling through this album.
──You're sending a call out to the young people in that song, saying “Don't just go for mundane results, bring dreams to life that no one else even knows”.
Kawamura：The reason why is that I believe I would have had a completely different path in life, had I followed where I was going at a time when I wasn't doing music, compared to my life now when I am. When I discovered music, that was when my life became about hitting the home run that would put me ahead of the game. Since the reality of that is right before my eyes, I think having that kind of drive in one's life is incredibly important.
──I get the feeling that “My Love” is an important song in the framework of this album.
Kawamura：It was constructed first with my guitar arpeggios, then Hayama added in his own modulations. We didn't decide on an A melody, or a chorus, and the singing itself is just an improvised melody we put together while we were creating it and giving our okay as we went along. So, I thought it went well for myself personally, too. The singing was mostly done in one take, as well.
──However, this is some vocalization that we've never heard from you up until this point in your solo work.
Kawamura：That's true. After all, it's a song that you can see LUNA SEA doing, if the members changed the arrangement around. The lyrics are about the fact that no matter where anyone is in life, they have their own battles to fight. I think there are very few people who are actually satisfied with who they are. There are many battles out there to be fought, and there are times when living is so hard. At times like that, we suddenly turn aggressive and angry, thinking “I don't care if I just drop dead” instead of thinking of how to live on. This is a song that shows what I would be like at those times, with the thought that it's certainly one way to live to just take life as it comes, not caring what happens, and just doing what you have to do.
──So, lastly, I'd like to hear once again how you've put your “rock vision” into this work.
Kawamura：In the rock music I like, there's probably a lot of rock artists from the '80s and first half of the '90s. David Bowie and Bryan Ferry in particular have this sort of...languid ennui. They're not really trying, but they are, and there's an unexplainable atmosphere that they've created. I think there's something of that in “Life” as well.
Kawamura：My style of rock isn't American rock, or British; and it's not heavy metal or hard rock, either. If you try to call it punk, it's not really that, either. It's really sharp to show brief glimpses of the effort that you've taken, but come off as cool and collected. I really love that. I'm not playing live, but the temperature in the room is perfect, that feeling?
──This current work also shows this, but your style of rock isn't just energetic, is it.
Kawamura：Right. That's why LUNA SEA is what it is. If we didn't chase after surrealism, it wouldn't be what it is. There's plenty of music in other parts of the industry that's nothing but “Put those fists in the air!” Of course the lyrics of LUNA SEA show that surrealism, and the world view based in the ideology that there's delicacy in the unrefined, and I think that's how it became a component of LUNA SEA as a whole. Our “MOTHER” and “LOVELESS”, aren't typical ballads, right? You don't really know if the lyrics are being sung by another woman, or by the earth itself. The worldview in lyrics like those wouldn't have come about if not for our love of the rock of Roxy Music, David Bowie, and Bouhous. So, I don't think it ever really felt like, “Come on, baby, ROCK 'N' ROLL!”, even if we called it rock ourselves. At least not the rock I liked to listen to.
──Though you've refrained from doing national tours, you did do a “No Mic, No Speakers” concert before, didn't you?
Kawamura：Yes. A no mic performance is really hard on a vocalist, but there's a huge gain in terms of staging. Unlike LUNA SEA fans, the fans of my solo work had this one chance to hear my actual voice. I really want to use places like that to showcase my life's work.
──Also, for your album tour, you're getting a band together, so will these shows be a chance to see the rocker Ryuichi Kawamura?
Kawamura：That's true. It might turn out that it will feel like the Rocker Kawamura, all grown up. With that in mind, I want to do a tour that will allow everyone to return home afterward feeling good.
──Moreover, we've heard that you're preparing for special “Ballad Man” events between tour shows?
Kawamura：I've done shows where I've switched between uptempo songs and acoustic arrangements, but this will be the first time I've done a show that's all ballads. Since the fanclub members are in a poll to select the songs, I really want to give them my best performance.