During his visit to TomoCon 2018 SATSUKI found some time to sit down with AVO for a chat about the process of creating his latest release REBOOT, but also to look back on answers to some earlier interviews when he was still starting out as a solo artist.
AVO: The first time you did an interview with AVO Magazine was in 2014, right before your Dutch date of the Squall of Emotions tour. It’s safe to say that it has been a while! When you look back at those four years now, do you feel like you have grown and “matured” as a solo musician music wise?
SATSUKI: For sure, yes. Right now it’s more honest and clear what I want opposed to back then. It seems easy, but it’s very hard to find what I am and what I want as a musician. So now I’m starting to find it, and I feel like I’ve grown up.
AVO: You’re currently touring Europe to promote your latest release REBOOT. The word “reboot” usually means that something has to be, well, rebooted. What made you decide to use this title for your new mini-album? (Aka “what exactly had to be rebooted?”)
SATSUKI: Because I’ve been in the music industry as a musician for many years, I feel a bit like a computer. When a computer needs to clean up or update it has to be rebooted, and I felt now was the time for my reboot, so I decided on this title.
AVO: Now we know about the idea behind the title, we, of course, want to know about the music too. What were your inspirations for these songs individually? And what was the biggest challenge you ran into during the writing and recording of the mini-album?
SATSUKI: My past works mostly come from sound. But the recent works come from the lyrics. I wrote the lyrics first, like a sort of diary. I wrote a diary during the EPOCALIPSE tour, which existed out of three months in Europe and then in South America. When I did a show in Japan afterwards it felt so wrong. It was a two-years concept and I kept a diary all this time. I picked some topics from this diary and created REBOOT based on those. So this work has more of my personality in it.
For me it’s super easy to make music. But it’s a bit worrying for me too. I want to show my audience something new, because the audience is easy to follow my previous image but I want something new, and shock them in a good way. So that’s the most worrying for me. Yet making music itself is super easy for me. It takes less time, and it takes less time because it’s more direct.
AVO: REBOOT takes a completely different turn than your previous album EPOCALIPSE, in the sense of the overall feel of REBOOT being much darker in tone and melody. What made you decide to take this turn?
SATSUKI: I don’t think it’s dark. Like I said, it’s more honest and it comes more natural, from deep inside of me. During the EPOCALIPSE era I needed energy and aggressiveness. Something to fight against, so it was harder to make, because I need energy, I need fire, I need oil. So I decided on the title of BURNING OUT because I needed fire to break the “system”. So after I broke the system I needed a “REBOOT” to change. It wasn’t like I went to the dark side, at least it doesn’t feel like that at all from my point of view.
AVO: You’ve composed a Japanese and an English version for the song “SOCIAL NETWORK SERVICE”, and both can be found on the album. In real life you communicate in English and Japanese through your own social media networks, does that mean that the message in this song is so powerful that you aim to reach everyone (including the people that don’t understand Japanese very well)?
SATSUKI: I don’t think about it so much. I just did what I wanted. Like I said, it was created from my diary, so it wasn’t aimed at the feelings of the audience or the message in the song. It’s just my daily life.
AVO: The album also includes your single release “VAMPIRE’S MOON”, which has a different overall feel compared to the rest of the album. Was this the reason you decided to release this song as a single prior to the release of the album?
SATSUKI: This song is more of my essence, more of my value. And, I really love vampires! (laughs) This is what I love, so this is what I’ve picked. There’s no special meaning behind it. It’s a different style, yes, but I just followed my feelings.
AVO: REBOOT has 7 songs recorded on it, and like mentioned earlier in this interview it’s a completely different direction than EPOCALIPSE. Did you originally intend for this release to have only 7 songs rather than being a full album? Are you perhaps preparing your fans for a completely different direction with a small glimpse through REBOOT?
SATSUKI: It was kind of a challenge. I made a lot of songs, over 30 or 40 as demos. So I picked the good ones. I made a lot, and it could be a full album, but this time I only picked 7 tracks because it suits the concept better.
AVO: In the past, you’ve worked with various different artists, but this time it’s all your own work, isn’t it? Are you planning on working with other artists again in the future, or do you have any wishes regarding which artists you’d like to collaborate with?
SATSUKI: I think I need to improve my skills by myself as a vocalist more, so I don’t have any plans to collaborate with anyone else at this very moment. Maybe in the future, I will, but for now, it’s just me.
AVO: If you had to choose one song from your new album which would be your personal favourite to perform, which one would that be?
SATSUKI: My favourite song to perform from REBOOT is WITH BEAT I GO ON. I can sense something with this song.
AVO: During one of the previous interviews with AVO you mentioned that TWILIGHT and Lily-月影に魅せられて- (Lily-tsukikagenimiserarete) were your favourite songs to perform from your “older” works. Are they still your favourite songs to perform, or have they changed into a different song/songs? Speaking of old answers to old interviews, what about your music for on the road? Still HYDE’s album ROENTGEN, or do you have a different album you prefer to listen to now?
SATSUKI: Oh… I said I liked this before? (laugh) Oh… Well, right now I listen to more trap music. I don’t listen to HYDE’s music very often anymore.
(Note: During the live show after the interview SATSUKI did perform both TWILIGHT and Lily-月影に魅せられて- (Lily-tsukikagenimiserarete).)
AVO: You’re currently halfway down the line with the promotion tour. How did the fans receive your newest work throughout Europe so far?
SATSUKI: They are so kind, they are enjoying my new work so I’m so glad!
AVO: Throughout the years you have changed a lot as an artist, and I’m sure you think you’ve changed as a person as well. How do you see yourself as an artist? Do you consider yourself to be a part of the VK genre (or do you feel you have ever been a part of it)? Where would you categorize yourself as an artist, instead of others categorizing you for you?
SATSUKI: First of all, I am enjoying music. I like music, and I create music. I don’t introduce like anything because I don’t know what I am. I’m trying to find out what I am through the music I created.
AVO: Even though you’ve just released your newest works, do you have any future plans already for any of your projects (S.T.K.M./Moon Stream/art/painting)? And if so, can you give us a sneak peak?
SATSUKI: I follow my senses, but right now it’s most comfortable for me to make new songs. So even while I’m on this tour I’ve started to make demo tracks. I’ve made some lyrics, and they will come. Soon. When I’m in the zone, I will create. I can’t create anything on command, and right now I’m mostly drawn to making music, so I will do that. Everything else comes second.
AVO: This year AVO is celebrating its 15th anniversary, and that’s quite a milestone for a European-based project about Japan. Is there anything you’d like to say to AVO?
SATSUKI: Congratulations! Amazing! We need media to go into “activate mode”! So stay in “activate mode”! Please! We really need the promotion so I really appreciate everything you do, thank you AVO! I’m a reader of AVO Magazine, so I will definitely check!
AVO: And with that, we’ve reached the end of the interview. Is there anything you’d like to share with the readers of AVO Magazine?
SATSUKI: Thank you for always loving my art. So please keep supporting me, it’s one of the biggest reasons I create my work. I hope to see you during the live shows!
I want to thank SATSUKI for his time, REALive for making the interview possible and Francisca for helping out with the interview. For all the updates of SATSUKI, you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and check out his official website.