Archive of Damn Writer’s Block Kalafina interview at Anime Boston.
Enjoying the Memorial Day Weekend with a Kalafina Concert and Surprise
Kalafina performing @ Anime Boston 2009Among my list of reasons for visiting Boston was a concert that was held over the Memorial Day weekend. The performance from the hometown-based Video Game Orchestra proved to be as charismatic in reflection of its founder, Shota Nakama.
However, that was only the “appetizer” to set up the main course. Kalafina was the headlining act; all three young women—singing with a harmonious flair and possessing a fairy tale elegance—captured the audience . It was quite impressive considering they made a go of it without the backing of live instruments. That is, until the encore surprise of a two-song acoustic piano collaboration with their producer, mentor, renowned Japanese pop-culture composer, and the cause of my shelling out 9000 yen on those limited edition NOIR OSTs, Yuki Kajiura.
The day following the concert, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the Japanese songstress trio, and their composer about their blog, busy schedule and the mother of Kajiura’s interest in a guitar? I hope that inquiring minds and Kajiuran fans will be satiated, so on with the interview.
Interview with Kalafina and Yuki Kajiura @ Anime Boston 2009
First off, I’d like to say that it was an enjoyable concert and good surprise at the end once I saw the Roland keyboard show up.
— For Kalafina —
What were your impressions of the American audience at the concert?
Keiko: It was really fun. You get really direct feedback from the audience here [in the US].
Wakana: Amazing! I was very happy that so many came to see our concert. The audience was very warm and welcoming.
How has your visit to Boston been so far?
Keiko: I really like this town. It’s really beautiful! There are so many trees and lot of a “green” atmosphere [to see].
Wakana: The buildings here are amazing and wonderful. The hotel that we are staying in is really nice; we can see a great view of the city from our room. How should I say…it’s like a scene from a movie?
I remember reading from Wakana’s blog that she decided to switch from iced latte to water to keep hydrated for your performances. I am curious what other methods do you all use to keep your voices strong?
Hikaru: I try to avoid carbonated drinks or even anything with milk in it.
Keiko: I try not to have too much ice [with my drink].
What are some of your favorite artists and bands that you listen to?
Wakana: Deniece Williams
As in the singer from “Footloose?”
Wakana: Yeah, the R&B, gospel singer.
Ryu (SME publicist): How about Yuki?
Well, I pretty much know so many of her favorites from her bio. I know that she’s quite the Beatles fan.
Yuki Kajiura: (laughs) Ah! That is true.
How has it been like to work with each other?
Wakana: Being an artist, we get to spend a lot of time together and know each other personally. Through a year and a half, we’ve been able to understand each other even more and feel more comfortable [with our styles].
Hikaru: For me it’s been a really calm experience to be a part of this. The fact that there are three of us, we get to motivate each other, and reach higher levels as artists.
— For Yuki Kajiura —
From an old interview, you mentioned that your mother bought a guitar. How has she been doing with learning?
She’s still learning and practicing, but not getting much better. (laughs) It’s really fun though that she’s learning.
Are there any authors’ books that you’ve been reading lately that are inspiring your compositions?
Yoko Ogawa, a famous Japanese author. I am very impressed by her and inspired by the novels that she writes.
With Mashimo (Beetrain) you’re given a theme and with that, you had free reign to create whatever music you felt worked with the theme. Was it similar with the Kara no Kyoukai (Garden of Sinners) directors?
With Mashimo, he would direct the TV series, so I would write music in advance which the director would pick from. That would be the process [with Mashimo], but with Garden of Sinners [directors], since they are films, it was vice-versa. I would get to see those films at first and then specifically write music for them. So the process is totally different in comparison.
You once said, “The secret to your continuing is your inability to stop.” Was there a person or moment that you realized that about yourself, or would you say that motivation was always in you?
I think that it’s actually difficult to continue, but I believe [the secret is] if you can keep yourself motivated each day, being your best 24/7, being professional at your work, and also just hoping and striving to be your best.
— For Kajiura & Kalafina —
So I hear you all will have another set of live sessions throughout Japan this summer such as Animelo, kalafina’s live and Kajiura having a few live sessions. Do you guys ever have time for a break?
We’ve been very busy lately, but we feel very happy about being able to perform and practice. It’s not so much that we need a break either. We try to do that as well, but we are just happy to be here and be able to perform.
What do you do on your spare time?
Keiko: Playing tennis.
Hikaru: Trying to sleep (laughs).
Wakana: Also sleeping, but also taking a bath.
Yuki: Sleeping also. It’s a coincidence isn’t it? (everyone laughs)
— For Yuki Kajiura —
In one of your blog posts, I read that you were playing Chrono Trigger.
Yes, I was playing. (laughs)
Ah ok, I think I read that it was frustrating you and you asked about other DS games that you could play.
Actually, it because it’s a game I’ve played often, so I know it inside out. I remembered everything in the storyline so it was not fun as before.
Ah, I see. Then I’d like to recommend Monster Hunter?
— For Kajiura & Kalafina —
What other plans are in store for everyone?
Hikaru: We have a new release single [Storia for NHK show, “Rekishi Hiwa Historia”] coming in July.
Wakana: The rest of the year we’re going to really focus on performing and various stages. Also, start writing more on our blog and keeping current on that.
I’ll make sure to keep up with your blog updates and best wishes to all your future endeavors.
Thanks to Yuki Kajiura, Wakana, Keiko and Hikaru for their time to do this interview and Ryu from Sony Music Entertainment for making this interview happen. You can check out kalafina’s latest album, “Seventh Heaven” digitally on iTunes and other online music stores.