HITT has been to Europe for shows before, but it has been a while since we have been able to admire him here, in the intimate space of the no longer existing 330live. For the visitors of Abunai! 2018: Tales of Kitsunia it was possible to see the solo artist in action in the late afternoon of the second day of the convention. Before the show, AVO got the opportunity to sit down with HITT for an interview, in which music, memories, games and his growth as a musician were discussed.
AVO: It has been a while since you’ve last been in Europe for a tour. What have you done in the meantime?
HITT: Since I last came to Europe I went to Mexico as part of my world tour, but when I am in Japan I am always thinking about music. I’ve written many songs in the meantime and I’ve tried to act in the theatre. I’ve also been thinking about and working on promoting this current tour I am on right now and I’ve written songs for the two girls I work with. So basically I’ve mostly been busy with music in different ways. When I am writing songs I always try to imagine the reactions of the European audience to them.
AVO: In the meantime, you’ve been all over the world with your shows, meaning you’ve seen a lot of different countries, people and their cultures. But what kind of influence did this have on you? Was there something so weird or special that you’ll never forget it?
HITT: I had the chance to go to a lot of countries worldwide, so I can see my own home country from a different perspective. I feel like I understand the good points and bad points of Japan now and feel like I am really lucky to be able to do so. Because of these experiences I have been given the ability to judge my own country from an outsider perspective.
AVO: You’re currently at the Abunai! convention in The Netherlands, but you have played in The Netherlands several times before. What have you missed the most about this country?
HITT: I remember being in the very small stage of 330LIVE, but I haven’t seen much of the country itself, there was no time for sightseeing or anything. But what amazed me most here was the way 330LIVE was constructed. With the coffee shop upstairs and the downstairs being a small venue. I was very surprised when I first saw it!
AVO: The theme of Abunai! this year is Tales of Kitsunia, a direct reference to the various games coming from Japan. But what about you? Are you a gamer yourself?
HITT: I never really developed an interest in games like I did with music. When I was younger I would play casually sometimes, but ever since I reached the age of a teenager I couldn’t really get into it anymore.
AVO: Japan has a huge gaming community, and of course developers have to promote their work just like a musician has to do with their music. A big part of that is through visual media (posters, commercials), and a lot of people see that promotion. Have you ever seen a promotion that caught your interest enough to make you want to see more of the game?
HITT: Usually I don’t care about games. But several years ago someone made an AMV and uploaded this to YouTube. It was with characters from Final Fantasy and my song Sakura Romance. I was so amazed by this that I hope to be able to compose a song for a video game someday!
AVO: And what kind of game would you like to make music for then?
HITT: Since I reached the age of 10 I didn’t play games anymore. But before that, I liked them more than I did since then. I’ve played Super Mario Brothers for example, but I wouldn’t know what kind of game I would like to create music for.
AVO: Back to the music, because that’s what we’re here for! Do you have any plans for after this European tour?
HITT: I don’t have anything planned for when this tour ends. I don’t really have a planning ever actually, I live every day as it comes and I don’t know what will happen in the future until it does. It’s a strange life really, living step by step.
AVO: You have been active as a musician for many years now, but what motivates and inspires you to create new music still?
HITT: I don’t know why I still continue, but when people invite me to come and play music somewhere it makes me feel like I am needed. It makes me happy, because I want to be recognised, I want to be loved, and I want to be needed. It gives me a purpose, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else. As long as people keep asking for me to bring my music to them, I will continue to make it.
Everyone needs something in their life, and for me, it’s the need to be needed. If I wouldn’t feel like I am needed anymore I might actually stop with music completely.
AVO: Speaking of new music, you’ve released a digital single (Arigatou Aishiteru) just before the start of this tour. But what is the idea behind this single exactly? Is it a thank you towards your fans which have supported you all this time? After all, you’re approaching your 15th year as a solo musician!
HITT: It’s a secret, actually. My music knows almost no fiction, but this question is one I can’t answer. For the people, and for the fans.
AVO: How do you look back on all these years?
HITT: Of course I have friends outside of my world of music. Like friends I’ve made when I was still a child. They all name me Hiro-kun, of course, they don’t name me HITT. I’ve started with music when I was 21 years old, as music is my life. It’s my identity, and I was never able to find a hobby that I enjoyed more than music. I do have a big dream, however. Are you familiar with the Budokan and Tokyo Dome venues? My dream is to play there, so ever since the beginning, I have imagined myself playing there.
I want to say so many things as an answer to this question, as it’s a very important one to me since music has helped me for a long time. For example, even now while my English is still poor, I have learned the English that I know through my music. Without music I would never have started talking or writing in English, which in turn gives me the opportunity to meet people in different countries. Music has given me so many things over the years…
AVO: Do you want to do something special to celebrate these 15 years?
HITT: Honestly, it’s more of a major label thing to celebrate a milestone. Like let’s say “15 years after the major debut”. I’m not signed to a major label so I don’t have anything special planned. It’s not that I don’t care about it, it’s just that I don’t have anything especially for it. I can’t believe that I forgot that it’s 15 years already… But I am glad that you (all the fans, ed.) learned about my work and allowed me to be able to play music for so long already. I’m not saying that I won’t do anything to celebrate ever, but right now I don’t have anything special planned in order to celebrate this milestone.
AVO: You’ve also released a best of album recently, which is, of course, a collection of your best songs. Did you pick these songs for this album yourself, or did the fans live reactions during your shows help you with this?
HITT: Yes, I chose all the songs myself. But I picked the songs based on my own likes and how the fans liked them.
AVO: After these recent releases you’re on the road to promote them through a tour now, but are you already thinking of the next release?
HITT: No,I actually don’t have anything planned for my next release. I have written a lot of new songs already though. As time goes by you might see them, but I might also create something else by then.
AVO: Aside from your own work, you’ve also formed an idol group, which came as quite a surprise to some fans. What was your idea behind this?
HITT: They actually came to me and offered their skills! I have never asked them or anyone else if they wanted to work with me, because that’s not my style. They came up to me, knowing my techniques and how I compose the music I make, so they offered their collaboration to me and I accepted.
AVO: A few videos from this duo can be found on your YouTube channel and Instagram pages, in which they perform “girls versions” of a few of your songs. Do you have any plans to write something original for these ladies, or would you rather stick to the “girls version” like it is now?
HITT: I don’t have any plans to write anything original for them yet. Maybe I will in the future, as I hope I can do so. But I will only do it if they want me to.
AVO: And with that, we’ve reached the end of the interview, so as a final question: is there anything you’d like to say to the readers of AVO Magazine?
HITT: Thank you, AVO! Thank you for this opportunity, and I hope, or actually, I wish, that we can stay in touch in the future as well!
A big thank you to HITT for his time, REALive and Abunai! for the opportunity to make this interview possible and Francisca for the support. Stay up-to-date with HITT through his official website and his social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.