UMake! Kent Itou & Yoshiki Nakajima (Voice Animage Vol. 45 2020)

伊東 健人 & 中島 ヨシキ

A live distribution of the Osaka performance without an audience that was possible only because of this team – 3rd Live Trippers!! Blue-ray and DVD containing the Tokyo performance will be released on 26 June. Once again, please tell us about the thoughts you put into this live. Nakajima: Up until now, we’ve only performed live in the Kanto region, so we’ve received a lot of requests to do more regional performances, and it’s time for us to take on the challenge of a tour. I put up a live tour for the first time. At first, we were planning to do Tokyo, Osaka, and even an additional performance in Tokyo, but due to various circumstances, we had to make a big change. Itou: I will make a trip to Osaka again! We would be very happy if you could come to our schedule rerun in Osaka.

How did you feel when the Osaka performance was streamed live without an audience? Nakajima: There was no audience. It was Itou-san who suggested it. Itou: It seems so. Nakajima: After receiving a report that the club decided to broadcast live without an audience the day before the live, I thought, “Isn’t there such an option?” Itou: Last year, during the typhoon, X Japan was doing the same. I was doing a customer live. I suggested based on the information provided. Nakajima: That choice may be due to ego that it was frustrating to postpone it. But if there’s anything I can do for the people who are looking forward to it, it’s only live performances. I was grateful that no one, not only the staff but also the band members, told us to quit. Itou: The development from there was quick. When we first put together the set list, there wasn’t much of a difference between Tokyo and Osaka in terms of production, but after it was decided that there would be no audience, we asked, “Can we turn the audience into a stage?” But it was at the stage of Genepro. Itou: In other words, two days before the performance (laughs). Nakajima: I asked Shomei and the camera team if equipment could be installed in the audience. I want to create a scene where everyone on the team can freely express their opinions, and I think that’s what’s happening.

How did you feel after experiencing performances in Tokyo and Osaka? Nakajima: In Tokyo, there were a lot of people. Itou: Because the size of the venue was the largest ever. I think that the people who came to see us were very careful taking measures to prevent the spread of infection. I’m thankful to you. Nakajima: Osaka felt very tired after the live. It wasn’t normal. It may be because I used something like a thought process that I don’t usually use. Itou: I skipped too much from the rehearsals, and it was the 1st and 2nd songs that I couldn’t speak the most (laughs). Nakajima: (laughs) Itou: Tokyo Live, Osaka over the screen. When it comes to distribution, I think there are various listening environments such as speakers and headphones, but I got the impression that there are parts where everyone feels harsh about the sound because there is no sense of presence. It was interesting for me personally that the reaction was different in Tokyo and Osaka. Nakajima: I think live distribution is a high hurdle for performers. I can’t put out something half-baked, and there is a possibility that it will remain as it is. Personally, I strongly feel that way, but I still think there was meaning in doing this concert without an audience. It was wonderful.

On the day of the concert without an audience, UMake’s name was trending on SNS from an early stage, so I think the fans had high expectations. Nakajima: I wanted to use this as an opportunity to get people interested in UMake, so I proposed the idea to the team that we should stream the first 30 minutes of the live for free. I think going to a live is a high hurdle. Especially where are our lives are standing from. That’s why, to make it easier for many people to watch, we adopted a new format called YouTube Live, as well as Nico Nico Douga. In the end, more people than the capacity of the venue watched it, so I think it was a great success.

What kind of feedback did you get from this live performance? Nakajima: From around the 3rd single, to song production, recording, and live performances, the whole team works together, so I feel that the team bond has become stronger. I felt a great response to the fact that everyone was enjoying what we were doing for fun. Itou: When I performed an old song at a live, when I heard everyone say, “a good song”, I thought that my selfishness of telling the staff, “I want to do a live with a live band” also had some meaning. I think, and the feeling for the next song will be tightened. In fact, when I headed to the general production in Osaka, I was making a gori gori love song. Nakajima: Yes, on the Shinkansen… Itou: The tentative title is “Nozomi” after the Shinkansen I was on (laughs).

Gori Gori love song born in the Shinkansen Gori Gori… So, you’re working on a new single. Nakajima: That’s right. I made a song in the Shinkansen, I’m sorry. By the time I got to Nagoya, the lyrics had been completed, and Itou-san made the song from Nagoya (laughs). Itou: As expected, I can’t play the guitar on the bullet train, so I borrowed a mini-keyboard and a computer from Yuna Hirata-san, the keyboardist who accompanied me, and the three of us created the melody while thinking about the rhythm. When I arrived in Osaka, I was able to do about two lines. Nakajima: Itou-san said, “I didn’t make it in time.” I asked Yuna-san to stop the work, saying, “Yes, I got the code. You work fast.”

Where did the idea of a love song come from in the first place? Nakajima: After the 2nd album came out, I noticed that there wasn’t a single love song in it. I think it’s also a factor that the nuances of “I want you to push me” have increased since I became a singer. Itou: That’s how we decided, “Let’s make a gori gori love song.”

What other songs will be included in the new single? Nakajima: I’m still adjusting, but I’m thinking of rearranging the four songs that were split into two singles and recorded on a CD called “Bushi Utashu ~ First~”. The staff has changed since then, and there is a desire among us to say, “I want to do this a little more.” Itou: At this stage, there are a lot of ideas as to whether it will be recorded in that order. Nakajima: Add 3 songs to the 4 songs in the songbook and make it a mini. It’s already an album (laughs). Itou: The story developed too much, and I said, “Wait a minute.” (laughs) Nakajima: If I originally said, “I’m going to do it!” I get a lot of music ideas from the listeners, so it’s a strength that I never run out of ideas, but no matter what, the pace is too fast (laughs).

(laughs) Of course, can we expect a hand for “Nozomi”? Nakajima: I don’t think gori gori’s love song ends with bad (laughs). Itou: In that case, the jacket and MV are not cool, they are smiling? Two men. Haha, why don’t we just support the characters in the dora? Nakajima: I agree, the two of us believe in dora, a love song, a bit… (laughs). Itou: I don’t know yet, but if I take care of the direction of the song, I think that’s one way to do it.

What was the performance of the other party that you felt was amazing during the live? Itou: Facial expressions and movements. I feel that they are having a lot of fun. there are times when I can’t help but smile when I see it. Nakajima: Do ad-libs that you don’t do on CD. At first, I was surprised, thinking, “Oh, are we going to harmonize here?”

At the radio recording, what is the behaviour of the other person who thinks “Eh?” Itou: Yoshiki laughs at my words so much that I think, “Huh?” In my own way, I was like, “Is it really that funny?” (laughs) Nakajima: There are so many (laughs).  Itou-san sometimes makes mistakes like, “You’ve done this radio show more than 80 times, haven’t you?” For example, saying the title of the previous corner when closing the corner, or making a mistake in the number of times…

What part of the other person do you think is cool? Nakajima: A place where you can play an instrument. I’m also practicing guitar now, but when I start to take a bite, there are many things that I think, “Wow, that was amazing.” Itou: Well, I just started playing the guitar! (laughs) It’s hard for people to get their hands on an instrument when they grow up, so I’m happy to be doing it.

UMake, what do you think was good about these two? Itou: Yoshiki is quick-witted, so he takes the lead in areas that I’m not good at. It may not be my intention, but I am very grateful. Nakajima: Making songs. Even now that I have touched the guitar, I still don’t know what it means to make songs.

What items does the other person own that you think “I want it!” Itou: Oh, are you going to give me the sneakers Yoshiki collects? Well then, please match the size of my feet and give me a pair. (laughs) Nakajima: Itou-san, you have a nice guitar, right? I’m the type to look at the shape, so please give me a guitar. Acoustic guitar that you have played at UMake live.

If you compare your partner to an animal? Nakajima: Large dog! I know what the fans are saying (laughs). Itou-san and I are often compared to a dog and a cat, but it’s the opposite. Itou-san is super self-paced! Before the performance, he would suddenly disappear. On the other hand, I’m fast in everything, so I stand alone on-stage during rehearsals (laughs). Itou: That’s right, I’m a cat inside (laughs). I wonder what Yoshiki is… Let’s call it Black Panther here. You’re from Yokohama, so Hama’s black leopard… Eh, lame?


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