During the 2017 edition of Abunai! the musician haru (from the band universe) was the special guest of the convention. AVO could get the chance to exclusively interview the musician.
AVO: Welcome to The Netherlands. It’s the first time for you in this country, what was your first impression?
haru: I love soccer, so my image about The Netherlands is a country with many great soccer players. And a country of freedom, with warm and kind people. That is what I like about The Netherlands.
AVO: It’s also the first time for you to do a European tour, but not the first time in Europe. You’ve performed in Germany on a convention before with the band universe. How are you liking the touring through Europe by yourself?
haru: Touring solo can prove to be a big challenge. Despite all that, I enjoy the experience quite much and it is fantastic.
AVO: If you look at performing solo and performing with a band, which would have your preference?
haru: I have always performed in a band. So, performing solo is quite new and refreshing. Now, I like it very much.
AVO: At the moment you are at the convention Abunai!, which attracts a diverse crowd of visitors from cosplayers to people who wear Japanese fashion. Did you ever do anything with cosplay?
haru: In Japan cosplay is a cultural aspect. So we cosplay at events and parties. In my case, I too sometimes cosplay. I did go as “Ichigo” from Bleach.
AVO: The theme of Abunai! This year is History in the Making, and the focus is on the interesting parts of the history of Japan like the samurai, geisha and bushido. What do you think about a convention like this one focusing their attention on the history of Japan as their theme? Do you think it’s interesting?
haru: Personally, I love history. For example, I enjoy visiting old castles. Thus, to see an anime convention themed around history, makes me quite happy.
AVO: Let’s return to the history of your music career: what is your background in music? How did you first came into contact with music?
haru: From an early age, I came into contact with music. Also, I was influenced by my mother who actually was a singer. So, you can say, from that moment I enjoy singing a lot, including karaoke. Furthermore, American songs caught my attention. It fueled my interest even more. Singing has always been a part of me.
To answer your question, it all started when I played baseball at junior high school. I was quite serious about it. Because I wanted to be a professional baseball player at that time. One day, a band member of universe, heard a rumour about a boy who has a loud and high pitch voice. And universe went looking for that boy. You guessed it, that boy was me. That is how I met with the group universe.
AVO: 15 years ago the band universe started, and meanwhile, the band has achieved quite some things! The releases, winning contests (like ‘Haru iro’ for Lotte’s Ghana Milk Chocolate), making a song for the anime series BLEACH, the amount of performances in Japan, but also outside of Japan. How do you look back at this time, and what are the most important things you’ve learned?
haru: Winning the contest and producing the theme song for Bleach was important to me. However, if I have to pick one, what impressed me the most was during my first tour in Germany. I was able to see many people from different cultures and backgrounds, understanding, enjoying and go ‘crazy’ about my music. That impressed me the most.
AVO: A lot of cosplay is based on anime, and the cosplayers at Abunai! are no exception, I’m sure you’ve seen some already? But how about you? Do you have a favourite anime and are you currently following an anime series? If yes, which one?
haru: I saw a lot of Naruto, Pokemon, a variety of Pokemon characters and monsters. It is very interesting. As for me, which anime I like the most? There are a lot. One Piece, Dragon Ball and Bleach are my favourite anime.
AVO: Is it true that at the moment all members of the band universe are doing projects of their own? You’re currently active as a solo artist. What’s the reason for this and is there any information for us about universe joining together again and for example release a new album?
haru: The reason behind the solo projects is, each universe member would like to explore their potential and new chances. As for the band universe now, I do not know whether we form the group universe again or not.
To come together again as universe. Maybe if we crossed roads again and there is a great opportunity. Then, I guess the answer is, yes.
AVO: You’re planning to release a solo album yourself. Can you tell us anything about the album already? Do you already have a concept in mind?
haru: I want to produce an album that is for a broad audience. Currently, I am forming a new band and that is quite challenging for me allocating time and effort. Thus, my new album would probably be ready next year.
AVO: Do you have favourite places or times where you like to write?
haru: At home. At home, I am at my best.
AVO: Who is your biggest source of inspiration? Is there anyone you look up to?
haru: My greatest influences, that is Aretha Franklin. Since I have a complex voice, when there was a musical or play at school, the teachers made me often pick a role as a girl. This was due to my high tonal and pitch voice that I have. It was difficult for me to play a role as a boy. So in a way my voice is naturally more biased to a girl.
AVO: If you could collaborate with anyone, no matter who, who would you like to collaborate with and what would you like to create with this person?
haru: If I could collaborate with a band, that would be, X Japan. That is because I am inspired by X Japan. Perhaps working or performing together with Hideaki Anno, the director of the anime Evangelion. To produce a music video together would be great.
AVO: The interview is now at its final question. Is there something you’d like to say to your European fans?
haru: To be able to meet you all really touched me. Because seeing everyone enjoying my music, I am deeply humbled and thank you. I promise to come back soon again! Thank you.
I want to thank haru for his time to answer the questions, REALive and Abunai! to make the interview possible and Miyako Studio for their big help to make a video out of it! Please follow haru on Facebook and Twitter.