During S!N’s first European tour, AVO Magazine got the chance to have a small chat before his performance in Belgium.
AVO: It is the first time that we got the chance to interview you, and the reason is that you are in Europe. What did cross your mind when you found out that you got the chance to come to Europe for a tour?
S!N: I felt really happy that I got the chance. I wanted to find out on social media how many fans I have in Europe, so I asked on Twitter and got many replies. So I decided that I should go on a European tour. I never went to Europe in my private life, so going to Europe to tour was a perfect opportunity.
AVO: What was your image about Europe and how do you think about it now?
S!N: The European people are very different compared to the Japanese. They are more outgoing, they know how to describe how they feel and aren’t really shy.
AVO: Let’s talk about how you started as a musician. When did you start to get in touch with music and started to get interested in it so much that you wanted to make music yourself?
S!N: I started with music because I enjoyed it. After a while, I discovered that Nico Nico Douga and YouTube covers became very popular and became bigger and bigger. So I decided to start with making covers myself. First I started with Vocaloid and utattemita (the English translation is “Sang_It”, which means covers of various songs). I really enjoyed making such videos, so much that I decided to make my own songs. I asked someone to make originals, and now I am here!
I don’t see myself as an utaite or a musician.
AVO: Considering you have started your career as an utaite, which is something unique, have you discarded this title entirely, or do you want to discard it? Do you see it as something extraordinary next to the term of ‘musician’?
S!N: I don’t see myself as an utaite or a musician. I am myself. There is a stigma on the utaite. An utaite is someone that does karaoke, and a musician is a bit too professional. So conclusion: I am just myself. Also, people say: “utaite are lazy”. I poke fun at utaite with my ‘troll’ covers.
AVO: What is your favourite part of being a musician, well being yourself? Making new music, performing on stage or something else?
S!N: Performing on stage is my most favourite thing I do. I see many nice comments on my Nico Nico Douga and YouTube videos, but I don’t really see the reactions of the faces of the people who watch my videos. I need to put effort in my performances, and that is really what I enjoy because I can connect with the audience.
AVO: You are extremely popular on the internet, and most of the initial popularity was also because of the internet. But what would it have been like if the internet didn’t exist like we know it today when you first started with music?
S!N: I think there would be nothing, or at least not on the level of how it is now. What would I do if I wouldn’t be making music? Well, I would have been a businessman. I would be having a normal life.
AVO: In today’s modern day and age you are able to communicate with fans a lot and easily due to for example live streams. Which in your case seem to take place during the night (in Japanese time, that is). Does that make you a night owl? Or is this the time when you are the most creative?
S!N: The choice to do this in the night is because it is fun to do it. In the night around 1, 2 or 3 A.M. there are fewer people online. In that time they are alone at home, so maybe they feel a bit lonely. They can look at my live stream and I can be a distraction for them. Because there are fewer people there is more interaction between the fans and me. I don’t live stream at night because I feel more creative.
The Japanese fans asked me “Why is it in English and not in Japanese?”
AVO: How did you learn English and what pushed you to write the lyrics in English. Do you consider the Japanese language as a ‘barrier’ to overseas fans?
S!N: Well, I learned English at school. For the writing of the lyrics, I hired a translator though. With my first debut single with Universal, Salvation, some of the lyrics were in English. The Japanese fans asked me “Why is it in English and not in Japanese?”. Because I was at the Universal label I have chosen to do the lyrics in English.
AVO: If you could perform with any musician, who would you like to perform or collaborate with?
S!N: There are really many musicians I want to collaborate with. I can’t choose a number one, because I would get disappointed if I can’t manage to collaborate with the musician.
Also, it doesn’t really matter if you aren’t very popular. Do you want to work with me to make something fun, you are more than welcome. Popularity doesn’t really matter. So if you are an idol, visual rocker or utaite, I don’t care where you come from, let’s work together.
For example, I worked with yairi. I like his work, and for the mini-album, I contacted him and asked him if he wanted to work with me. With vocal producers it is like this: I pay money for the collaboration, it is part of the business. But I am also friends with him.
AVO: In Japan, you perform with a band, in Europe, you perform solo. Do you feel that it is a challenge to entertain an audience alone?
S!N: A band does give more power to the shows, and performing solo can be seen as a karaoke performance. But it is not a challenge for me. I really want to become better so that everybody will be happy (to see me) and next time I want to bring my band to Europe.
AVO: What plans do you have for the upcoming period?
S!N: I will do with what’s being presented to me. I am almost on a professional level now I have had my debut. At this moment I am a freelancer and I am not under Universal. That means that I have to do a lot alone, I don’t have a manager myself at the moment. I have to make my own new songs, produce it and make a music video, and then I need a team. That is really difficult.
AVO: Do you have a message for the readers of AVO?
S!N: Thank you! I thank AVO for coming to this show in Liege, to everyone who came to all the shows and I want to thank you all for your support. Many thanks.
I want to thank S!N for his time to answer all the questions before the show, HIGHFeeL for making it possible and a thank you for the translators Michael “Yuyu” Pals and Suiren during the interview. Also thanks to the AVO team for their support. You can follow S!N through his personal Twitter account where he will share his updates about new projects and music. Other possibilities are YouTube, Nico Nico Douga, Facebook and Instagram.