It was a very hot weekend at the 2016 edition of Abunai! thanks to the great Summerly weather, but it showed the first time visitors as singer AiRI that the Netherlands is not only cold and wet. Together with AiRI and her band – guitarist Kyoichi Miyazaki, bassist Yuuki Somekawa, keys Hisayuki Shimizu and drummer Minoru Uchida – we sat down for an interesting interview while we were enjoying some ice cold water to keep cool before AiRI had her first performance in the Netherlands as Vonken Stem Koningin!
AVO Blog: First: Welcome to the Netherlands.
All: Thank you!
AVO Blog: This is your first time visiting the Netherlands. Have you been able to see some of what the Netherlands has to offer? What were your first impressions of our country?
AiRI: On Friday I went to Amsterdam with the band. The city and the houses are really beautiful.
Kyoichi Miyazaki: I am the guitarist of the band. Even though it was a normal day, a week day, it seemed like everybody was enjoying themselves, not like in Japan. Maybe it was because of the good weather and beginning of the weekend.
Minoru Uchida: I am the drummer of the band. I love the Netherlands so much, I want to live here. Then I would like to get pizza and beer and enjoy.
Yuuki Somekawa: I am the bass player of the band. My first impressions? Beautiful women and city!
Hisayuki Shimizu: I play the keyboard. We sailed through the canals when we were in Amsterdam, ‘it reminded me of where I live as there is also a river there. I saw that the houses are small and near the canal. I really enjoyed Amsterdam.
AiRI: What was also nice is that the Netherlands re-use the old buildings, that it will be renovated and kept as it is.
AVO Blog: Have you tried out some Dutch treats?
AiRI: Cheese and beer!
AVO Blog: Have you learn some Dutch words?
AiRI: Lekker (Yummie).
AVO Blog: Since this is the first interview with AVO Blog, could tell us a little bit about yourself and tell us which song of yourself is your favorite?
AiRI: My name is AiRU. I have sung many anime and game songs in Japanese. The songs are normally up-tempo and high toned. I like the song Dreamer, that was made for the anime Tari Tari. But that song is not really up-tempo and high toned, haha.
Kyoichi Miyazaki: Welcome to the Jungle! *everybody laughs* Oh, that is a joke. I did compose the songs of today’s setlist, so it is easier for me to play.
Minoru Uchida: 風のように 炎のように (Kaze no youni-en no yooni), I do a drum solo during the liveshow.
Yuuki Somekawa: I like the music of the PC game キラ☆キラ (Kira Kira).
Hisayuki Shimizu: 愛乞う者 (Ai kou mono). At the beginning it is a ballad, then it changes to a heavy ‘rock’ song.
AVO Blog: The theme of this year’s Abunai! is ‘Beyond the stars’. How hard was it for you to become stars or do you not consider yourself stars? How long did it take you to become popular?
AiRI: In the beginning I had another name, that was UR@N. Under that name I made songs for games. Also I was part of a band for a while, this band was called d2b. Since my artist name is AiRI I started to sing anime songs. Eight years ago I had my debut and five years ago I had my first solo performance as AiRI, that was after I changed my name.
AVO Blog: If you could travel through space, would you want to?
AiRI: If there is 100% safety, then I would go!
The rest: There is no 100% safety!
Kyoichi Miyazaki: I get easily carsick, so I don’t want to.
Minoru Uchida: I prefer to stay at home.
Yuuki Somekawa: I’d love to see the outer space, so yes!
Hisayuki Shimizu: Yes, me too. Also because I could see what the earth looks like from outer space.
AVO Blog: There are many cosplayers here at Abunai! Have you been able to see a few that you liked?
AiRI: Not especially a certain cosplayer, but I saw a few cosplayers with big breasts. It is more attractive.
Kyoichi Miyazaki: Before this interview I saw a few nice Love Live cosplayers!
Minoru Uchida: I was surpised when I saw a big person cosplaying Vegeta!
Yuuki Somekawa: I prefer costumes where you can see the line of the body, so tight costumes.
Hisayuki Shimizu: I saw two girls cosplaying the female version of Mario and Luigi.
The rest: Really?
AVO Blog: What’s your favorite anime and/or manga?
AiRI: It is an old one: Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star). The main character is called Kenshiro. Another one is Dragon Ball.
Kyoichi Miyazaki: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Attack on Titan.
Minoru Uchida: My favorite is Cowboy Bebop.
Yuuki Somekawa: Dragon Ball.
Hisayuki Shimizu: Galaxy Express 999 from Leiji Matsumoto, it was about a space train.
AVO Blog: You’ve been in the music business for a pretty long time now. Can you tell us how you got into contact with music?
AiRI: I was first in a high school band, that was a rock band where I found out that I like to sing and then I got asked if I was interested to sing professionally..
AVO Blog: You’ve been active as AiRI for 5 years now, before this you were known as UR@N, in these years, what is the most important thing you have learned?
AiRI: To have fun with the fans!
AVO Blog: For your own songs you usually take on the lyrics and you collaborate with others. One of the names I saw was milktub. How does a collaboration like that work exactly? Do you receive music which you then write lyrics for or do you take charge and create lyrics first, for which music is made afterwards?
AiRI: First we make the music, then we make the lyrics. Most of them were written by Kyoichi Miyazaki. When I write a song for an anime serie, then I first read the scenario before I start writing.
Kyoichi Miyazaki: Sometimes I get pictures from the anime, then I will have a meeting to talk about the image of the anime. After that I start composting. It is difficult, when you get inspiration then it can go very vast, but sometimes it takes a lot of time.
AVO Blog: Are there artists you would love to collaborate with?
AiRI: That is easy: JAM Project!
The rest: Jam Project is a good choice!
AVO Blog: Is there something you haven’t done when it comes to music, but you would love to do? Maybe trying out a different genre?
Kyoichi Miyazaki: You will do it alone!
AVO Blog: You’ve been able to make a lot of music for anime and games, but if I look closely at your discography, it seems like you are now more focused on making your own songs. Is that correct? If so, why is that? Are you not yet satisfied with the original songs you have made?
AiRI: It is both: original and theme songs. It just happened that way. When I get an offer for a theme song, I love to do it, otherwise I will make original songs.
AVO Blog: From 2012 on you’ve released an album every year, Smash was your last release, a mini album. Can we expect a new album from you for 2016?
AiRI: First of all there was focus for the single DREAM×SCRAMBLE! for the anime Keijo!!!!!!!! There are not plans for an album.
AVO Blog: What do you still hope to achieve in the future with AiRI?
AiRI: Normally I perform with the band, but what I really want to achieve is to do an accoustic oneman live, just with accoustic instruments.
AVO Blog: We are at the end of the interview. Do you have a message for the Dutch and Belgian readers of AVO Blog?
AiRI: Last year I was in Germany and I hope to come back, I hope the same for the Netherlands! And maybe a European tour?
Kyoichi Miyazaki: I will try to let the fans know what I do! I don’t only work with AiRI, but also with other bands.
Minoru Uchida: Two years ago I was in Germany for the first time with the band. I was impressed that many people know Japanese songs. You often hear that music connects people without understand the language.
Yuuki Somekawa: I went to Abunai! And felt how much fans love Japanese culture. I will do my best.
Hisayuki Shimizu: I felt the same. I feel like I was in Akihabara!
I want to thank AiRI and the band members for their time for this fun interview, Hiroko voor het live vertalen van het interivew, Abunai! and Antwa for the opportunity, Miyako Studio for lending their camera. Please follow AiRI’s future activities on her official website, but you can also follow her on Twitter!