Recently Iʼve become very spiritual, but “logically”spiritual; everything has a cause and effect, and the best healer is yourself. What you eat makes your body, exercise habits affect your muscles, sleeping habits affect your energy levels, and every word you say or write affects your mind and the behavioral patterns, affecting the world around you and the people surrounding you. It’s basically a ripple-effect, and similarly, lifestyle has a lot to do with music style. Itʼs a very obvious that we easily forget, and I feel like for the first time since Iʼve started songwriting, Iʼve become aware of this.
For the past three years, Iʼve tried electronic-leaning songs, because I thought that was the “current”style. Iʼve worked with brilliant producers and released 2 Eps and 2 singles, which has been amazing. But I realized my lifestyle is not electronic at all; I live in a beautiful countryside listening to birdsongs every morning, smelling the fresh air – the air, I forgot to mention, is another important element like food and sleep. Growing up in Tokyo and living in London during University, this is the first time I really appreciate the clear air and the subtle changes after it rains or when it’s the beginning of spring. I donʼt spend my weekends at clubs or take chemical drugs. I mean, your brain has to be in tune with a certain style of music whether its chemically induced or not. What I meant to say is, that this album IS my lifestyle. Organic and in tune with nature, with a hint of irony for the British rituals seen from a visitorʼs perspective. Emancipation and seclusion, connection and isolation, conformity and idiosyncrasy…a mirrored image of the everyday-British-life. Thereʼs even a song about my husbandʼs daily commute on the M25 (which, of course sounds very frustrated). This is the most true-to-life album Iʼve ever made, without being conscious about the business side of it all…purely for the music. No artificial flavoring or MSG.
I will explain each song;
Ripples – Wider than the ripples of love. This song represents the idea of everything having a cause, and the effect spreading even wider than you think. The core of the ripple-effect should be love, above anything.
Iceland – The funny thing is that I wrote this when I was living in Singapore, thinking of a less-humid location. Such a simple song, but I re-arranged this a dozen times, because it’s easy to over-work a simple song. I got it just right this time, with some multi-lingual section; when I was studying translation at UCL, I asked other students to say “My voice” in their own languages and recorded their voices. There are 10 different languages in this song, and I tried speaking the Icelandic with the help of Google translate.
On Track – “We donʼt know where to place you” was what I had been told over and over ever since I came to the UK, and this song is the counter-attack,“so Iʼll lay down my own track”. Also a song about my commute from Surrey into London, a double-meaning metaphor to the “track” as in “song”.
Soldiers – Talk about counter attacks, this is a fight song, but the type to gently prevail without making a bloody mess. Quiet and a poised soldier, with a strength of an army.
Seasons – I recorded the intro birdsong at 4am, when their chorus is at its peak. Thereʼs also rain, branches as snare and the leaves as hi-hat sounds, collecting audio from the surrounding nature. Thereʼs also sadness and joy, the beautiful cycle of earthʼs creations.
Mirror – the contrasting elements seen from the eyes of a foreigner is reflected in this song. What I see is, once again, the scenes of the nature; “dandelion seed that floats against the green”. I love the dynamic uplift of the chorus, definitely the highlight of this album.
Again – The song about commuting on M25. I wonder how many other songs are about this specific topic? All the sarcasm and irony of the British life is summarized in this track.
The City – A comparison between the urban and the suburban life. Growing up in Tokyo, living in the countryside has been an eye-opening experience. The vibrations of the city, and the tranquility of nature; this whole album attempts to pursue the balance between the two lifestyles.
Pulse – I started making this song from the sound of the dishwasher. When all the pots and pans are in the right place, the water inside creates a certain rhythm, and the humming resonates the rhythm. A new genre, dishwasher trance.
Places – One of the dreams I had was to record at Realworld Studios. It came true thanks to this song, it literally took me to places, all around Asia and Europe, and to Realworld, where I got to play on Peter Gabrielʼs tour piano for this recording. Before going to Realworld, I tried re-recording a dozen times, but never got it right. Iʼve never taken this long to get to a take that Iʼm happy with, but it was certainly worth the journey.
New album “Places” is available here