Dear readers, we are pleased to offer you an interview with an eclectic artist of the Japanese Experimental Prog scene, Chihiro S. His new album “The Chronicle Of Mr. Chaos & Dr. Avant-Garde,” is reviewed and appreciated among our pages.
> Hi Chihiro how are you?
Thanks, Progressive Rock Journal.
> You are a multi-instrumentalist and composer, how did your passion for music come about?
Music is better to listen to than to play. It is easy.
But I had a style of music that I wished I really had. It doesn’t really exist, so I made it up myself.
> Your genre is a blend of Prog, Experimental, Japanese tradition, exploring the many nuances of these genres, what are your main sources of inspiration?
Yes, I like different genres of music. Other Psychedelic, Acid Folk, Krautrock.
Contemporary music (especially Olivier Messiaen), and the divisiveness of Hector Berlioz. World folk music and world pop music. In Jazz, I liked George Russell and Don Ellis. Film music, Japanese ’70s songs.
In recent years, Medieval Rock& Folk……..
Japanese tradition has been mentioned about my musical style from time to time in foreign countries for a long time.
Unfortunately, I am not a musician of Japanese traditional style. Is it my sense of timing or something and my vocal style that makes me feel that way?
Well, I would be delighted if it did not end up being an imitation of foreign music.
Japanese people like music that is purely completed in one style, jazz for jazz, psychedelic for psychedelic, but I try to mix various styles as much as possible. Or rather, I find myself mixing them (laughs).
> The new album is a highly sought after sound project, how would you describe this record?
For the last 10-15 years I have been playing with Maboroshi Paganz (half Paganz), Lacrymosa Pagan (this is an attempt to play Lacrymosa melodies with saz and minimal musicians) and solo. This time, I tried to make a collection album of my own. The album naturally turned out to be a compilation of the bands I play with.
So I think it is both my solo album and a compilation album of the bands I play with. I would like to thank all the musicians who participated.
> You have many years of experience behind you in Lacrymosa and Maboroshi Paganz bands, how does the sound of this project differ?
Lacrymosa, which I started in ’82, was intended to be music in which simple, beautiful melodies and contemporary musical passages intermingle over a discontinuous irregular beat.
Maboroshi Paganz, which I started in 2009, was intended to be Acid Folk with Turkish and Arabic instruments and Mellotron sounds. I also added a dull beat with a discontinuous irregular beat. I think it was still a mixture of contemporary music and various other elements because it was made by the same person.
Basically, this album follows the Maboroshi Paganz line. Some of the solo-ish tracks in between may be contemporary music styleI Rock also added a dull beat with a discontinuous irregular beat.
The last track on the album, by Lacrymosa Paganz, is an attempt to bring the sound of Lacrymosa back to life in the modern age, with a minimum number of musicians. It is a sound that could only be achieved by these four musicians.
> There are many artists involved, how did the compositional phase of the album come about and what did the different musicians bring to the sound?
I write the full score in Encore, a music notation software.
For the main melody, I listen the counter-melody and other parts in my head, which I then score.
Sometimes I rehearse the score and make corrections. Sometimes I adopt the ideas of the members.
For “Intoroduction,” “The Spectacle Of The Dragonfly,” and “Troika”, I even write percussion parts, but I often do not write percussion parts. The more Junya Yoshie is left to his own devices, the more original and unexpected his performances are.He will be an excellent drummer/percussion player to watch in the near future.
He will be an excellent drummer/percussion player to watch in the near future.
Sometimes I leave it up to the musicians depending on the part. For example, I wrote neither the percussion part nor the oud part for “Shogun Assassin”.
I think Keiichi Satow’s oud brought a Middle Eastern mood to the piece.
Tarot Tsuzuki is the musician I have worked with most often in recent years. His violin has become a central part of my arrangements.
Originally, I was going to use a guitarist who was a member of Maboroshi Paganz, but it turned out that he had been under medical treatment since before the covid riots, so Shingo Terashima was hired on short notice. In “Tom O’Bedlam”, he plays the Greek bouzouki. The parts he improvised over and above the original score are wonderful.
When the album was almost finished, I decided to create a section that would be softened by a feminine element, so I added a chorus part.
I was producing a unit called “Akiramenonai Sekai(World Without Give Up)” at the same time, so I used Elena Shiratori from the unit. If you are happy with her performance, it means that it was a success.
Akiramenonai Sekai link:
En Tée suggested me to take over for oboe as well as piano. It turned out to be a brilliant showing.
Mia Chisa is not only a singer of immense talent. When she heard my title description, she brought in an effects device and applied it to her own singing. Great understanding.
> Many of our readers and your fans will ask themselves if there will be the possibility, pandemic permitting, to listen to your music live, do you have any plans in this regard?
I am not in very good health. I would like to do shows in various places, but it may be difficult. At any rate, I think I can prepare a net distribution for the May 15 show in Tokyo.
> You are an artist who does a lot of research and a lot of work to get to produce your music, how difficult is it nowadays to propose a certain type of sound?
In this day and age, does the world appreciate music with a fast beat and bright music? Certainly my music is the opposite. But I think it is important to throw that out to the public. There are people who need that kind of sound.
> What advice do you feel you can give to young artists who want to propose more refined and less commercial genres of music?
This is a difficult question. For starters, I think they need to listen to different genres of music. And to think about what they want and should do.
> As usual, I leave the last question free to give you the opportunity to talk about one of your topics at will not covered in the previous questions.
If the answers so far have generated any new questions, please say so.
I thank Chihiro for his availability and for the beautiful and interesting interview, wishing him the best for the continuation of his musical career.