Manatsu Nagahara - Vocal
Yutaka Iida - Bass
Ryota Okiyama - Drums
Ariri Kudo - Keyboard
Wonderful World (11-6-2009)
LIFE VS LIFE (8-17-2008)
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SEBASTIAN X Interview
"I wanted to be that boy who grew up very ordinarily, played in a band, knew the live music houses. Now I can say that I have become that man who does music seriously." - Ryota Okiyama
From the moment we saw the exuberant vocals of Manatsu Nagahara we wanted to learn more about the four person group SEBASTIAN X... and we're glad we did. Their music is filled with an upbeat fun that's hard to resist, something of a mixture of a pop version of Shonen Knife and a Ska band.
Now on their third album, the band shows every sign of being here to stay. So come take a listen to the sights and sounds of SEBASTIAN X, you'll be glad you did.On September 6, 2010 the members of SEBASTIAN X were kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of SEBASTIAN X.
Tell us the story of how the band formed.
Ariri Kudo: We started the band together with other friends about five years ago. Many things were different then as we developed into SEBASTIAN X.
Ryota Okiyama: I'd say it was a natural outcome of chance encounters.
How would you describe the band's musical style?
Kudo: I think Pop.
Manatsu Nagahara: I think the band is playing songs and music equally well.
In 2008 you released your first independent album, "LIFE VS LIFE". What was that year like for the band?
Yutaka Iida: It was one year that we spent doing music at our own pace.
Okiyama: It was the time that transformed our band into SEBASTIAN X.
You released "Wonderful World" in 2009. Tell us about the music.
Nagahara: On our older album "LIFE VS LIFE" the themes were a more narrow view of life. "Wonderful World" is the reverse -- looking at one's life from a much broader world.
Iida: And it's wonderful!
Okiyama: I tried to capture our band's development as we cultivated our live sound. Then we brought it to the studio, taking every effort to make our SEBASTIAN X sound the way we wanted it to be.
What were the recording sessions like?
Okiyama: I take the basic musical instruments and record them all at once. Then we add the vocals with all the members all at once also.
Iida: For me... while reading Manga!
Who writes the music and lyrics?
Nagahara: I start with words and a melody. The making of music begins from that point, then attaching various cords to it for each song.
Your music videos have a wonderfully fun feel to them. Who comes up with the ideas for them?
Nagahara: I talk with Elizabeth Miyaji, the director, many times to strengthen our image.
Iida: I am sometimes pleased by our music videos, too.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Kudo: We are doing the release tour. We want to make it a success.
Let's get to know everyone better. Can you each tell us about your hometown and what it was like growing up there?
Nagahara: In the town where I was born and grew up, there was a big park. It was so big, when the window was opened you could easily smell the grass and trees. I played by catching insects and remembering the names of flowers. Inside, I played video games.
And, I really liked Manga. Though I still like it now!!!
Iida: I was born and grew up in Nerima, Tokyo. Okiyama is the same. I was smart, rich in creativity, funny, but oh so crooked.
Okiyama: I was born and grew up outside of Tokyo. I don't know what kind of child I was. I did what I wanted to do mostly.
Kudo: I was born and grow up in Tokyo. Because there was a forest nearby, I played with insects and played a lot in the mud.
How did you first get into music?
Nagahara: It started from watching a cover band of some high school students when I was still in elementary school.
Iida: It might be that. However, when starting, I vaguely thought, "This is what has been missing up to now!"
Okiyama: The start was just another part of all the new challenges of adolescence for me. I think that my keeping active in music owes a lot of thanks to the friends that I meet.
Kudo: I learned to play the piano and considered going into music because my mother is a piano teacher.
What type of career did you think you would have while growing up?
Okiyama: I wanted to be that boy who grew up very ordinarily, played in a band, knew the live music houses. Now I can say that I have become that man who does music seriously.
What do your family and friends think of your musical activities?
Nagahara: I think that they assist us.
Outside of music what do you do for fun and relaxation?
Nagahara: I like Manga and shopping, and... eating.
Iida: It is sleep. Sleep is wonderful.
Okiyama: Programming, reading, movies...
Kudo: Watching TV.
Does anyone have a side project they also work on?
Nagahara: I am also part of the unit 'OTOSATA' with Ariri. It is only a piano and a song.
What does being a member of SEBASTIAN X mean to each of you?
Nagahara: I am glad and proud for a long time to be a part of it.
Iida: It is my only title now for the time being.
Okiyama: It is a tender question. I have the satisfaction of sharing with them.
Kudo: I recognized that I will play music as long as I am SEBASTIAN X's member.
Do you have anything else you want to bring up or comment on?
Nagahara: I want all of you to read Japanese Manga!
Do you have a final message to all your fans?
Nagahara: Wherever in the world you are, hear our music! And I'd love to meet you all sometime.
Iida: I love you!!
Okiyama: Please come to the Japanese live music house to see us play by all means! And please support SEBASTIAN X abroad!Kudo: I'm glad if you'd listen to our music. Thanking you in advance!
For more info checkout SEBASTIAN X's official site and MySpace page. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments