When you’re American, you tend to forget that artists like Justin Bieber, The Game and other mainstream mainstays are not the only ones in existence.
The truth is – there is a world of talent out there and each country has their superstars and for Japan, there is no doubt that Sekai No Owari are among the most popular.
They played one of the biggest stages in their country, an arena that’d likely house one of the US’ Super Bowls, and now they’re planning on scaling things way down for their bis stateside debut. With two shows planned on either coast, Sekai No Owari will be hitting California first before heading to New York. So before they take full control of The Roxy on August 17, make sure to learn more about these childhood friends who grew up to be not only business partners, but musical companions for life.
Kendra: Having had the gift of growing up together, do you think that has made you a stronger unit as a band?
Saori: By spending time together as a group we go through the same experiences and make memories together. Those experiences nurture similar perspectives and sense in terms of how we understand things, with that said, I believe that’s our strength.
Kendra: When did you guys decide to start managing a venue with one another?
Fukase: It was back in 2006, we decided to play music. We would go in to studios but the hours were set, and sometimes it was hard to make reservations. In the beginning we just thought of making our own studio where we can make music without having to bother about the hours, and that’s why we rented the basement. But that’s not exactly what we wanted because when it was a studio, our friends were hesitant to stop by, and we didn’t get the help we needed. Instead, we decided to turn this place into a venue so friends can gather and feel the music however they want. Then all of a sudden there comes a lighting tech, a PA, and music fans all started to gather and joined us. Our circle of friends grew bigger and that’s how our venue came to a completion.
Kendra: Did each of you take on a different role or did you all wear the same hats in terms of responsibilities?
Nakajin: We built the DIY venue all by ourselves from scratch – without knowing what roles we needed to make this happen. We scraped off the walls, painted, installed soundproof insulation, and built the stage. Because we didn’t know anything we literally continuously tried and failed many times and figured it out by ourselves. It was not easy at all but was a very good time for us.
Kendra: Now onto the band. DJ Love. Was being a clown always part of the act?
DJ LOVE: Without a mask I would get nervous so it’s relaxing to have a mask. It feels totally natural to me than to put it as part of the act.
Kendra: You guys say you have a Tokyo Fantasy style. We can tell that by the look and the productions, but what does that mean to you to have that look?
Fukase: We put our thoughts in TOKYO FANTASY as our distinct creativity only produced by us, originating in Tokyo, Japan our mother country.
Kendra: Honestly, before I heard you – I thought you were going to be a metal band. Instead what I heard was a very serene, pop sound. Did you play around at all with what genre you wanted to move forward with as a band when you were starting out?
Nakajin: At first, we just did whatever we liked to do, but it seemed that our friends and families didn’t have as much fun as we did when they came see us play. We realized that if people around us didn’t enjoy much and we can’t fully enjoy it either. We are who we are today because we wanted to make changes, and create something that everyone appreciates.
Kendra: Fans obviously love you back home in Japan. You guys sold out Nissan Stadium. What did you do when you found out you had done that? Did you have the same reaction when you stepped out on the stage that night as well?
Saori: Stadium is the largest venue in Japan. It was a great pleasure to be able to perform 2 days for a total of 140,000 people because we were used to have only 3 or 4 people in the audience when we started. We didn’t give up our dreams to perform on a big stage and to deliver our music to as many people as possible. It was the moment we were sure that if we always kept a strong hope in mind as we move forward, we could make it come true.
Kendra: You guys will be scaling down when you play in LA and New York this month. How much does the show change when you switch to a smaller venue?
Saori: There are various things that we can do at different size venues, and they should be different from one another. In Japan, we’ve been fortunate to have concerts at bigger venues, which allows us to have more control over the stage production, and we always think of the overall view from the back end seats so they can still enjoy even if they have to sit far from the stage. However it’s sad that we have more distance between the audience and us in larger venues. This US debut shows will be a lot closer to the crowd and we are very excited to perform, and be able to feel the energy from the audience. It’s been awhile since we played in an intimate setting though; it’s going to be exciting. I hope I don’t get too nervous.
Kendra: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Fukase: We are working on a new album all songs in English so we want to finish it first. Then come back to America as soon as we can.
Kendra: Over in Japan, who is an up and coming artist you think our readers would just love to hear more of?