Hiro Shimono Voice Animage Vol. 45 2020

下野 紘

Take off with Hiro Shimono on a journey of “WE GO!”. Hiro Shimono’s 1st Album “WE GO!” has been completed! We will deliver a large volume of love songs written and composed by Shimono-san, stories about London where the jacket shooting and MV recording were performed, and introductions to new songs.

Four years after your artist debut, the 1st album will finally be released. How did the concept of “mods” come about? Shimono: Since my debut single until now, I’ve been mainly active in guitar rock music, but this time, the staff members are quite enthusiastic about producing the 1st album. The concept of this time was born from the flow of “Rock” and “The Beatles” and “England”, and “British mods!”

 It all started with the leather jacket for your debut single, “REAL”. Shimono: First, let’s start with the shape (laughs). However, rather than starting from nothing, I feel that it is important for both me and the staff to have a tangible form, as it will make it easier for us to understand the direction in which we are going. “Mods” are visually stylish, and the music has a somewhat nostalgic taste rather than a modern one, so I thought it would be easy to get along with.

And this time, the track down, jacket shooting, and MV recording were done in England. Shimono: From the stage when the album concept was decided, the adults around me wanted to go to London more strongly than I did (laughs). I went to England for the first time, but I was worried about the food, but it was surprisingly delicious! Especially Italian, and fried food! The chicken is also delicious, and as expected of the famous fish and chips, I wonder if they are good at frying (laughs).  

The MV is a wonderful image with various scenes scattered around the city of London. Shimono: I’ve been shooting in Brighton and Seven Sisters, mainly in London. I had a strict image of London, so I thought that it would be the same for the shooting, but there was rain, but there was also sunshine, and I was able to shoot various scenes. During the day, we took pictures at sightseeing spots, and at night, we all had drinks together.

Are there any places that left a strong impression on you? Shimono: Seven Sisters. I climbed up a little bit of mountains to the coastal cliff (laughs). I will never forget the scenery I saw when I arrived. Beautiful like a fantasy world. As someone who loves RPG’s, I was excited. I had heard that it would be used for the last part of the MV, so it was a climax both visually and as a journey. The art on the walls of the Leek Street Tunnel in London was also wonderful. Run through the strongest collaboration with Kenichi Maeyamada!

Please tell us about the thought behind the album title “WE GO!” Shimono: Until now, my artist activities have been created not just by me, but by the staff, fans, and everyone else. So, I decided to title it “WE GO!” There were times when I thought it would be better to give it a more elaborate title, but as the songs on the album got better, I changed my mind, thinking that it was good to keep it simple.

The lead song “WE GO! – On Your Mark” was written by Kenichi Maeyamada. It is said that you have a long relationship with him. Shimono: Producing the lead song for the 1st album, I personally accompanied him. I wanted to ask someone who I know and would like to do music with, among them, I was able to him Maeyamada-san. When I asked for the song, I talked with him about the songs I’ve done so far and the concept of this time, but it seems that mod-style rock was a direction that he had never challenged before. At first it was a pop finish, so I asked them to add the guitar rock sound that I’ve been doing so far, and I was able to create a new direction sound that fused with Maeyamada-san’s sound. I’ve known him for a long time, but recently we’ve both been busy and haven’t had the chance to meet, so I’m glad that we were able to do this together.

Overall, it’s full of boyishness, and it’s a bottomless energetic cheering song. Shimono: Up until now, most of my songs have been minor-type guitar rock songs, so I wanted to include parts that aren’t just that in this 1st album. In that sense, I think that “WE GO! On Your Mark” has become a representative song of the full-blown album.

The last part of the chorus was impressive with dialogue-like singing. Shimono: While searching for what kind of feeling I should sing, I honestly said this as my own words. I sang the last part, “Mirai wa now”, and it felt great. Compared to the past, I think this song was one I could sing honestly while showing a naughty feeling.

It concludes the first love song written and composed by Shimono-san, as well as songs written and composed by Shimono-san himself. Shimono: It’s a song called “Atosaki”. Previously, I wrote and composed the song “Beyond…” I challenged myself to write a song, but this was a song that I made while improvising and singing with chords as the basis. This time, I was alone in the studio with Takahashi-san, who always takes care of me. “Then what kind of lyrics should we add to this?” We made it one day while discussing things like that. It has become a slow ballad.

What is the theme of this song? Shimono: For me, this is my first love song. I’ve never sung a love song before, but I wondered if it would be okay to include it in the 1st album. As an artist, I wanted to express myself in my own words, so I thought it wouldn’t be a good idea to simply sing a love song. Of course, I wrote the lyrics myself, but I consulted with RUCCA-san for a bit, and he gave me some advice. As a song, it is a story about heartbreak that goes from meeting, dating, and then parting. I included the series of events and thoughts in the title. However, I didn’t mind it at all during production, but now that I’m talking about it in this interview, I’m a little embarrassed (laughs).

In addition, songs by RUCCA-san and Takahashi-san, who are familiar with Shimono-san’s songs, and Kyoichi Miyazaki-san, are also included. Shimono-san’s album has a flow of “Departure”, traveling and experiencing various places, and returning to Japan (I’m Home”). Shimono: It’s been my wish since the beginning of my career as an artist to do so, so I’m even more happy when it’s completed. From around “Sympathy”, the degree of freedom in singing expands, and in this album, I change the way I sing for each song. In that sense as well, I think it’s an album that’s rich in variety.

And you celebrated your birthday in April and entered your 40’s. Shimono: I’m 40 years old. It’s been almost 20 years since I started this job. I’ve been a voice actor for half my life. When I think about it, it was really hard and took a long time to get here, but I also think that it went by in the blink of an eye. Since I was 30, I feel like I’m a little more grown-up, but at the same time, there are more things I want to try than when I was younger, and what I thought I was not good at has changed to “I want to try it.” So, I’m looking forward to my 40’s. What I want to do now is climb Mt. Fuji and join the Self-Defence Forces (laughs). I think it will definitely be difficult, but I still want to take on new challenges while valuing my voice acting career.


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