SPIV STATES official site
http://spivstates.com/ (in Japanese)
http://ameblo.jp/spivstates-jun/ (in Japanese)
Brief History of SPIV STATES (JUN):
2004-2007 Guitarist of visual kei band Phantasmagoria
2007 Began his solo activity as a guitarist and a vocalist
2008 Appearance at the 10th memorial concert "hide memorial summit" as a member of Phantasmagoria
2008 Guitarist for the "TOSHI with T-EARTH" tour
2009 Founded spiv states, later re-named as SPIV STATES, with IORI
2010 Signed with the label CLOUD
2011 Released "Futari no Hoshi"
SPIV STATES (JUN) Interview
So, you released your 2nd mini album "Futari no Hoshi" on July 13, and this is your first release since you released a single in November last year. Please let us know more about the new mini album.
JUN: Well, I've always been interested in exploring myself, to examine changes and the personal growth I experience. It was something I was definitely interested in when I recorded music previously, but when I recorded this mini album, I wanted to push myself further, and I wanted it to be an expression of my real feelings and also about the new ways of thinking that I've recently discovered as a result of my self- explorations.It was a challenge to form them into actual words, and into an expression that's easily understandable. As soon as I began working on them, I realized how enormous the challenge was, almost to a point where it seemed uncertain whether I'd be able to actually complete the mini album. However, now that it's finished, I feel like I really did it! I feel that it was well worth the effort, and I feel that the experience of making this mini album has broadened my ability to express myself. So, I'm really happy about it.
So, it sounds like it was a tremendous experience to make this mini album. It must mean a lot to you.
JUN: Definitely.Previously, I only played the guitar, and so I used to be interested mainly in being different from singers who started out as singers, and the process of constructing my vocal lines was more like an attempt to come up with unexpected combination of words and how interesting they sounded. It was OK with me as long as there was an edge to how the words sounded.
However, this time, I was more interested in trying to choose words that are real, and I feel they really enabled me to add a lot of depth to my expression.
When I write music, I usually begin mainly by playing the guitar and then I would begin working on lyrics, but then the process of how you write songs really doesn't matter when deciding whether a song is good or bad. I just think now that there should be a good balance of emphasis on music as well as on lyrics, and I think the balance improved, because constructing my vocal lines now feels natural to me.
You describe your music as V-POP. Can you tell us more about it?
JUN: I began playing music because I love rock music. I love everything about it, to a point where I'm completely obsessed with it, especially with sounds. So, the influence is tremendous. My music can never be completely free from it, and I think that type of dedication is an important part of my music. At the same time, I've always loved to listen to popular songs, and I grew up listening to J-pop.To me, pop music is a comforting type of music to listen to, and so it was natural for me to play it, as much as it is to play rock music. I'm a visual kei artist, and I'm thinking that it's great to be able to say that I'm the only one who plays pop music in the scene. So, that's why I describe my music as V-POP, because it's popular music right from the visual kei music scene.
I see! There is definitely no boundary between your expression as a visual kei artist and your pop music. Also, I think V-POP sounds cute.
JUN: True (laughs)! It sounds harmless too.
When you wrote songs for the mini album, were you conscious about making them V-POP?
JUN: Yes. There is no fundamental difference in the way I played music this time compared to how I played music previously, because I still start writing songs by jamming with my guitar, because I love playing the guitar so much. So if I were not conscious about it, my music would be just rock music with lots of guitar riffs. So, I was conscious about making sure that my songs are pop music with a lot of guitar edges and drive.Anyway, there is also a lot more emphasis on my vocals now, and that required me to pay a lot more attention to examining what's really needed and I spent a lot of time removing stuff from songs that didn't need to be there. So, I was conscious about making my music V-POP, but at the same time, it all felt natural to me to do so.
So, this is the first release since IORI left SPIV STATES. It must have been tough to make the mini album on your own.
JUN: Yes, it was. He is actually a very reliable musician, and when we played music together, he made a lot of suggestions, and I realized how helpful they were.It was always meaningful to ask him about his opinion when I was uncertain about something. As for continuing to play music as SPIV STATES, he urged me to do it and so that gave me a lot of courage to continue it on my own. Anyway, as I've said earlier, I wanted to push myself further, and so this really proved to be a meaningful new beginning. So, it was more about trying a lot of new stuff than about being on my own.
JUN: I really enjoyed it. After all, I really like playing music.Futari no Hoshi[w/ DVD, Limited Edition]- The title of the mini album "Futari no Hoshi" is the same as the first song. What does it mean to you?
JUN: I named this mini album after that song, because "Futari no Hoshi" is my favorite song. I'm confident that everything is perfect with it, and so I included it as the first song and I also named the mini album after it. Anyway, when IORI left SPIV STATES, it was something that was totally against my wish, and I found myself in a situation that's so far away from how I wished thing to be. Even then, I just needed to move forward, practically speaking, to take one step forward at a time, to continue playing music. Through that process, I began to feel a tremendous amount of appreciations for people around me.
When I was going through the hard time, it was all just a struggle to try to take care of myself, and I was so confused, but when I looked back to it later, I realized how much support people gave me. What I learned from this experience is that when you wish for something, it's often something so far away from where you are, but rather than just thinking about it, it's better to take each step forward in that direction.
When I talk about these things now, I think it may sound like they are something that everyone goes through, but it was a tremendous experience for me to realize these things, and so I wanted to make sure that music is an expression about them.
I'm just hoping that my example gives people some perspective when they think about their relationships with people around them. Also, I want them to experience how meaningful it is take each step forward together with someone special, towards something they wish for. Then I wanted to symbolize the wish with the word Hoshi (star) and so that's how I named the song "Futari no Hoshi."
That's wonderful. In that song, you sing about going to be there for someone, and the third song on the mini album "Heart" is also about being there for someone. Is that a message for your fans?
JUN: Yes, it is. It's also a part of moving forward. There are a lot of wish on my part about how I would like to relate to my fans, and I'm sure there are a lot of wish on their part as well, and being there for each other is am example of moving forward.
"Charon" is a mellow song, and I wonder where the song title comes from.
JUN: To be honest, I had a very hard time deciding how to name this song (laughs).However, I wanted to name it after a heavenly body, preferably with a name that sounds sweet. When I looked through a list of names of stars and planets, I came across Charon. I thought it was such a beautiful name. So, I did a quick research and learned that it is a satellite of the planet Pluto. It was very difficult to discover it, because it was so hard to tell the satellite apart from the planet when observing them from Earth, because they are on a synchronous orbit.
I immediately felt that it was perfectly suitable for the theme of the song, and so that's how I named the song.
That's really interesting!
JUN: Yes, it's romantic and it was surprisingly suitable for the song.
I heard that you began writing the song "Always" right after the earthquake on March 11. What types of thoughts did you have back then?
JUN: Actually, I experienced the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995 when I was little, and the fear was so enormous, but then I don't think I completely understood the consequences fully back then. Now that I'm a fully-grown adult, I completely understand what it means for something enormous like that to happen.Then there was a call to Pray for Japan everywhere around the world, and I strongly felt that I needed to do whatever I can, and for me, what I do best is music, and I have my fans who like to listen to my songs, and so I hoped that writing a song might help to make a difference. So, I began working on the song right away, and I did it as a human being, rather than as a musician named JUN or as SPIV STATES.
You're such a sincere person and it's definitely expressed in your music, too. After I listed to that song, my eyes became teary, and I now understand why it was.
JUN: Thank you.
I really hope you continue to play this song live for a long time to come.
JUN: Yes, I will. The song is so important to me, especially when I think about what inspired me to write it.
You made an English version of this song, too. It's your first attempt at English lyrics, right?
JUN: Yes, it is!
That's wonderful. What motivated you to sing the song in English?
JUN: It was because of my fans overseas. A lot of people talk to me on twitter and facebook and I'm really happy and excited to know that so many people around the world are interested in my music, because I was born in Japan, and I grew up listening to Japanese music, and I write my songs in Japanese. So, it's really amazing! It's like wow, I'm so happy!So, fans overseas helped me understand a lot of things, and that enabled me to break down all types of boundaries that previously existed inside of me. The earthquake affected not only Japan, but also the entire world itself, and everyone is trying to help. Differences in countries and cultures no longer mean anything and so I wanted to sing the English version of the song.
Great. Was it hard?
JUN: In the beginning, it was scary (laughs)But then I just really wanted to do it, and that's all. I began working on the English version of the song at the time when I was extremely busy with the recording of the mini album and so I tired to squeeze in the effort to memorize it every night after coming home from the recording, and I needed to practice my English a lot too (laughs).
Anyway, I have some experience of singing a bit of English as a part of songs, but they were not really proper English. This time, it was different, because the purpose of this song is to send a message and so I wanted my English to be in a proper shape. So, I tired my best with pronunciations.
You really worked hard on it.
JUN: I enjoyed it, though (laugh). Whenever I felt like my English sounded genuine, it made me so happy! So, I was really interested in singing in English, and it was a meaningful experience for me.
So, perhaps you should include an English version of a song in each of your future albums.
JUN: That's like, umm, I'll probably be exhausted doing so, though (laughs).
It will probably make you fluent in English.
JUN: Hopefully. Right now, I cannot speak English as much as I'd like, but I would like to study English so I can communicate better with people overseas. So, I need to start studying it.
Anyway, I can see that you really pushed yourself further when you made this mini album. So, the feeling of achievement must be great. I'm sure it's an important mini album for you.
So, if you were to rate the mini album "Futari no Hoshi" what would be the score?
JUN: It would be 100. I mean, in terms of how I completed everything, it's 100, no doubt. However, when I look at it from my current perspectives, it would be 80. As a result of everything I learned and discovered during the recording, there are some things I feel that I would be able to do better now.
It sounds like you are completely satisfied with the mini album, and you're also ready to take another step forward.
Now, let's change the subject. What sets SPIV STATES apart from other bands and artists?
JUN: As I've said in the beginning, I bean playing music because I love rock music so much. So, playing the type of music I love and to give people the same inspiration as it gave me is one of the main reasons I play music. Interpreting rock music in my own way and expressing my interpretations is an important part of it.So, perhaps my music cannot be described as something that's completely new and different, but then I believe the way I'm totally focused on music I love sets SPIV STATES apart from others.
Tell us what you would like to do in the future.
JUN: There are all kinds of ways to stage concerts, and you have to think about a lot of things such as decorations and what have you. In case of SPIV STATES, the notable thing is how guest musicians came together to play music, and I think it is a wonderful thing for each artist to find some meaning in his own way about playing particular songs. There are definitely a lot of benefits for musicians to stay together as a band to play music, and when I began playing music, that was an important part of it. However, right now, what I'm interested in is seeing unexpectedly interesting things happening as musicians come together to play music just because they want to play particular songs at that specific moment. I think that would make each SPIV STATES concert truly a unique experience.Each concert is supposed to show something about the way the artists are, and that's why they are important and interesting. What I would like to be doing in the future is to ensure that each experience of SPIV STATES concert is truly unique and make sure it's something that's possible to be experienced only at that moment.
If I were in the audience, I think I would be more thrilled if I had not idea what the show is going to be like. So, that's the type of thing I'd love to do in the future. Maybe what I just said might have sounded a bit random, but I just want SPIV STATES to exist as a band that's capable of doing anything.
It sounds like it will be a lot of fun.
JUN: Yes. Also, I would definitely love to perform on a big stage, because I feel that a lot of my songs are suitable to be played in front of a large audience. So, that's something I'd like to do in the future, too.
We'd love to see you perform live on a big stage.
JUN: I would love to sing "Always" on a big stage.
JUN: I'd say, "Let's all sing it together!"
I'm sure everyone would love to sing that song together. Now the interview is almost over. Do you have any message for your fans?
JUN: My music is power pop with lots of guitars, and I'm convinced that it is the type of music I'd always like to play for the rest of my life.I believe that the songs I wrote mean something to a lot of people regardless of what type of music they normally like to listen to, as long as they love music. So, I really hope that a lot of people will get to listen to them and enjoy them, and that's really the main thing I'm thinking about.
I think everyone will find something in my songs that means something, because that's how I wrote them. I really hope that people are brought together because of SPIV STATES, and I hope it will make a difference in making the world a more interesting place. Let's share special moments together that are completely unique.
Stay tuned to what SPIV STATES has to offer in the future.
JUN: Thank you.
(text by takahashi)
Items from SPIV STATES
CD Album Futari no Hoshi [w/ DVD, Limited Edition]SPIV STATES2000yen
- July 13, 2011
- Backorder: 2-4 weeks
CD Maxi Glider [w/ DVD, Limited Edition]spiv states1800yen
- November 17, 2010
- Backorder: 2-4 weeks
CD Maxi Glider [Regular Edition]spiv states1500yen
- November 17, 2010
- Backorder: 2-4 weeks
CD Maxi Flavor [w/ DVD, Limited Edition]spiv states1800yen
- August 25, 2010
- Backorder: 2-4 weeks
CD Maxi Flaver [Regular Edition]spiv states1500yen
- August 25, 2010
- Backorder: 2-4 weeks