(6 votes)

Here's to the End of the World

Japanese Band SEKAI NO OWARI

Reaching No.1 with “Snow Magic Fantasy” (2014), and No.2 with both “RPG” (2013) and “Forest Fire Carnival” (2014), SEKAI NO OWARI have fast become leaders of the Japanese music scene. The band talked to Tokyo Journal’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie, charting its astronomical rise from an audience of zero to a sell-out super-arena tour.

TJ: Tell me about yourselves.
NAKAJIN: I’m Nakajin. I’m such a serious person that I almost get tired of it. I’m from the Ota ward of Tokyo.
SAORI: I’m Saori. I play the piano and do stage and general production for our live shows. I’m also from Ota. We were all childhood friends actually, so we lived very close to each other. I met Fukase when I was four.
FUKASE: I’m the vocalist Fukase. My hair has been red for a long time.
DJ LOVE: My name is DJ LOVE. I like eating.

TJ: What kind of food?
DJ LOVE: I like rice.

TJ: Why do you use the clown mask?
DJ LOVE: Before me there was another band member who wore it, so I took it over.

TJ: How did you choose the name SEKAI NO OWARI [End of the World]?
FUKASE: When I was 19 I had a major setback and thought, “The world is over.” Then I found music in the world that I thought was over, so I named the band SEKAI NO OWARI.

TJ: So when did you start the band?
FUKASE: When we were 20; seven years ago.

TJ: So has your band’s style change a lot over seven years?
FUKASE: For the same reason you don’t wear your clothes from high school after you have grown up, it’s changed along with the times. But our feelings have never changed.

TJ: Have your fans increased a lot since then?
FUKASE: Yes – we didn’t have fans at first! Once, not a single person turned up to our show.

TJ: Really? Where did you start playing?
FUKASE: We reformed a printing factory, made a concert house [“club EARTH”], and performed there.

TJ: Where was your biggest concert in Japan?
FUKASE: We had 60,000 people during three days, at a festival [Tokyo Fantasy Treeland] in a theme park called Fuji-Q Highland.

TJ: Do you still enjoy every concert?
FUKASE: Yes, it’s still fun, always.

TJ: Have you ever performed overseas?
FUKASE: Yes, a few times.

TJ: Where overseas did you have the most fans?
FUKASE: Maybe in South Korea. Do you know the Jisan Rock Festival?

TJ: Oh, Jisan World Rock Festival? That’s a big one. Would you like to play in the U.S.?
FUKASE: Yes. Maybe at Madison Square Garden? I heard it’s the biggest arena. I want to perform in big places, like the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

TJ: What is your dream as a band?
FUKASE: That’s a difficult question. We want to keep working together; keep going for the top without getting sick of it.

TJ: How do you maintain a good relationship?
SAORI: We live in together in one house.

TJ: What is your favorite part of being in this band?
FUKASE: I like listening to the music that I wrote, while I’m drinking.
SAORI: Me too – we drink together and listen to our music. I also like live performances very much, when everyone is enjoying themselves.
NAKAJIN: I write music, arrange the songs, do sound producing, and send music files to the members. I like it when they say they like the music. It only happens once in a while though.
DJ LOVE: I enjoy the catering after the show.

TJ: Where are you touring at the moment?
SAORI: Nine cities in Japan: We are currently touring Japan. We will be playing in Hokkaido, Fukuoka, Niigata, Saitama, Nagoya, Osaka, Sendai, Tokushima, and Hiroshima.

TJ: What are your blood types?
NAKAJIN: I don’t know. AB or O.

TJ: What kind of music do you listen to?
FUKASE: Japanese hip-hop, like Dragon Ash.

TJ: What genre is your music?
SAORI: It’s a mixture, sometimes rock, pop, and techno.

TJ: Does your music have a strong message?
FUKASE: Not really. We are more entertainers than messengers. It’s very important for us that everyone says it’s fun.

TJ: That’s important. In the 2014 tour, wasn’t there a video in which a young man almost killed himself?
SAORI: That was my idea. The song is called “Nightmare on Galaxy Street (Gingagai no Akumu),” and in it a young man can’t sleep and is suffering. He thinks he wants to die, and comes one step away from death, can’t do it and goes home.

TJ: What is your favorite song?
FUKASE: “Nightmare on Galaxy Street.” It’s about my experience, so whenever I sing it I rediscover myself.
NAKAJIN: After we’ve made a new song I always make it my best, so now it’s “Fire Forest Carnival.”
SAORI: “RPG.” I wrote the lyrics for the melody, and now three or four-year-old children are singing it on the street. That makes me very happy.
DJ LOVE: For me it depends on the day. Today’s… well, I like “Instant Radio” mostly. It used to always be in my head.
FUKASE: I wrote “Instant Radio” for the opening of his Internet radio program, called “Instant Radio.”

TJ: What are your hobbies, other than music?
FUKASE: I like cycling.
SAORI: Reading books and I’m interested in space.
NAKAJIN: I like indoor climbing.
DJ LOVE: Well, I have a lot… but I’ve been into kendama, recently.

TJ: Why do you sometimes use English in your lyrics?
FUKASE: Well, it’s because I like English. I attended an American high school, and since then I’ve been interested in English. Saori’s recently started studying hard too.

TJ: Who writes all the lyrics?
FUKASE: Except for DJ LOVE, all of us write music and lyrics.

TJ: So here’s a personal question. Fukase, are you dating Kyary Pamyu Pamyu?
FUKASE: We’re really good friends.

TJ: So what do you like about her?
FUKASE: She’s cheerful and very lively. She’s also smart.

TJ: What is her blood type?

TJ: How long have you and Kyary been friends?
FUKASE: It’s been a year and a half.

TJ: How did you meet?
FUKASE: She came to my concert.

TJ: So as a band, is there a big project you are working on now?
FUKASE: We are making music with foreigners now, and that’s the biggest project for us.

TJ: What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a member of this band?
FUKASE: I think I would have never come out of the mental hospital. I’m strong when I’m in the band. But I’m very scared when I’m alone.

TJ: Fukase, you said you came out of the hospital and your life is going well again? So, what have you learned from this experience?
FUKASE: I learned that we can’t blame others – our family, our girlfriend or boyfriend, or our age – as it’s all because of ourselves. So, I learned that we can control everything by ourselves.

TJ: Do you have any advice to someone who’s having a problem?
FUKASE: Well, we sing it in “Nightmare on Galaxy Street.” It’s important to be strong. I think that’s it. tj

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The complete article can be found in Issue #275 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.

Written By:

Anthony Al-Jamie

Anthony Al-Jamie lived and worked in Japan for over 20 years. His in-depth understanding of Japanese language and culture has allowed him to carry out interviews with many of the most renowned individuals in Japan. He first began writing for the Tokyo Journal in the 1990s as Education Editor, later he was promoted to Senior Editor, and eventually International Editor and Executive Editor. He currently serves the Tokyo Journal as Editor-in-Chief.


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