Shunichi Toki (Voice Animage Vol. 46 2020)

土岐 隼一

Shunichi Toki-san’s first mini album “True Gazer” has been completed! Toki-san himself has a gentle and somewhat nostalgic atmosphere in the music. We will deliver and interview full of episodes with your family. A collection of songs that can be enjoyed and energized.

My father’s influence on music and my own music? Toki: Surprisingly, the atmosphere of this mini album matches perfectly with the situation! I thought it was a continuation of the MV shooing (laughs).

You also wear the overalls outfit in the MV. Toki: I just didn’t have a hamburger (laughs).

Toki-san, what kind of clothes do you usually wear? Toki: I usually wear clothes made of comfortable materials such as linen and cotton. I like the colour indigo. But I also like clothes like the one I wore this time. My father likes country music, so that may be a big influence. I had ten-gallon hats and Texas boots at home. So, the concept of this mini album is inspired by the country music of the 60s and 70s, which my father liked.

It’s a mini album with a different image from the previous two singles. Toki: During my career as an artist, I’ve had many opportunities to look back at the music I like, and I realized that at the root of my life is the music my father listened to. In the midst of this, one of the suggestions I received from the music team for the production of the mini album was a song inspired by Western music from the 60s and 70s, which I always liked. The concept of this mini album was decided after receiving a suggestion to create a song that skilfully fuses that with modern pop music.

You said that your father had a big influence on you, but since you were little?  Toki: Tracing the roots of my music, when I was young, I stumbled upon Western music that was playing while my family was riding in the car. No Japanese songs were played. When I listened to my father’s favourite Western music that I used to listen to when I was a child, I feel very calm. It’s only recently that I’ve come to realize that.

When you were a kid, you probably just enjoyed music because you didn’t understand the meaning of the lyrics. Toki: When I was a child, I think I recognized words as sounds. It wasn’t until I became a high school student that I realized, “This lyric was such a good lyric!” Eagles “Desperado”, when I saw the lyrics on TV, I was shocked, thinking, “You were singing such a wonderful thing.” After that, I tried translated my favourite Western music myself, and I tried to match the translations of various people on the internet, and I played around.

All the songs on the album have a nostalgic feel and are warm. Toki: You can feel the good old things. All my songs so far have been like that. Also “Party Jacker” from “Yakusoku no Overture.” I think that this mini album was attacked in a different direction. Many of the actors my age is active in music. However, everyone has their own individuality in their music activities, and I feel that even among them, “My individuality is this!”

The MV also pays attention to the original expression of admiring retro cars! The title track, “True Gazer”, is an exciting song. Toki: The song was made with the intention of making it an upbeat song, so I’d be happy if you could say that. The songs I’ve done so far have had plenty of preludes, and the sounds of the instruments have been added to it, and there’s an Avant-title part that makes you feel like, “This is the kind of song.” I loved that too, but I thought it would be nice if there was at least one song that started with my voice. If it all started with my voice, I wanted to create a song that would go far beyond anything I’ve ever done before, and I wanted to make “True Gazer” with everyone raising their fists and having fun with all their might. I made it with that theme throughout the album, so I think it turned out to be the best title song! Also, RUCCA-san’s lyrics gave us even more momentum! The lyric “Bun Throw” is also good. Lyrics like this make me want to use my fists (laughs). When I tried it, the staff stopped me saying it was “too much”, so I recorded it so that it would be easy to listen to while keeping it under control. I might not be able to hold back during a live performance (laughs).

The MV also has a retro feel, and the soft colours that make you feel warm are wonderful. Toki: There are things like deliberately adding noise like when playing a VHS videotape, and retro clockwork toys. And the highlight is driving a car (laughs). And a Mini Cooper from the 60s to 70s! It was a manual car, so I practised a little bit before the actual start and started by remembering how to do it. I have a manual driver’s license, but I haven’t driven a manual vehicle since I helped a friend move when I was in college (laughs). It was the first time in seven or eight years, so I was worried, but once you learn it, you won’t forget it. The low ceiling made my head numb inside the car, and the sound of the door slamming shut was good. It was fun. if you watch the scene where I clean the car, you’ll understand, but I was completely attached to it, and I was smiling the whole time (laughs). When I listened to the story of the owner who borrowed the Mini Cooper, it is cute because it takes a lot of work. You’re my child. You said it was a man’s best hobby.

Toki, will you eventually become the owner of such a retro car? Toki: Hmmm… not for a while (laughs). I like toys, so the goal on the extension line may be a retro car. Now I’m cheating on other toys. The recorded songs are connected to one for the reading live.

One of the recorded songs, “Mr. Innocence”, is a challenge for all English lyrics. Toki: I mostly just sing in the bath. Singing at karaoke is a high hurdle. By the way, I have never been to Hito Kara (single karaoke). But when I was little, my family used to sing! My father was very good at playing the guitar, and my father, me, and my older sister would sing songs by the three-member unit Peter, Paul & Mary while playing the guitar.

In the future, not only will you be performing at the live event “P’s LIVE E! Boys Side” on October 17th, but you are also planning a reading live linked to the mini album “True Gazer.” Toki: The project started at the same time as the production of the mini album. I was so excited that I could make a wonderful piece of work with this. The songs on the mini album, which seems to be disjointed at first glance, are connected as one after reading aloud. I can’t make any specific announcements yet, but I’m planning to make it a work that will appeal to all generations, so please look forward to it.

  1. True Gazer:At first, the song “Shodou no Mama”, started with different lyrics. With this word, I feel like “Let’s do something emotional!” Now that the whole world is in a state of stagnation, I wanted to make a song about enjoying it with all you might when you can enjoy it.
  2. Adolescence: A song made with the image of British rock. There is a guitar, and the electronic sound is a sound that was in the 60s and 70s, and it is packed with the musical commitment to using the instruments of the time. The title “Adolescence” means “youth” between adults and children. The idea is to enjoy the moment to the fullest. 
  3. Mr. Innocence: This song was made with the image of “Hotel California” from the 60s and 70s inside me. At first it was Japanese lyrics. But for this song, we thought English lyrics would be better, so we discussed it and said, “Let’s try it together.” After receiving advice on pronunciation and directing when singing, we started recording.
  4. Ashita no arika: A song inspired by Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, where I live tomorrow. From the intro that starts with the guitar, I paid homage to the structure that builds up little by little towards the end. I’ve sung ballads before, but I wanted to sing a song that I was about in terms of production. The nuance of one line was difficult due to the small number of words, but I enjoyed singing it.
  5. Key:A song that successfully fuses the taste of a song from a generation ago with J-Pop. However, because there are so many words, it’s a bit difficult to sing, so at first, I tried to make everything meaningful. Instead, I realized that this song would be better if I sang it with a lighter feeling, so I was able to sing it well.

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