Back to J-Pop World Homepage

J-Pop World Home

SPiRiTRiAL Vital Stats
Takeaki Itoh
Takeaki Itoh - Vocal/Bass/Keys
Birthday: March 18th 1976
Birthplace: Murone, Iwate JP
Bloodtype: A

Show-ichi Kuramochi
Show-ichi Kuramochi - Guitars
Birthday: January 31th, 1973
Birthplace: Funabashi, Chiba JP
Bloodtype: A

Masami Chiba
Masami Chiba - Drums/support
Birthday: February 2nd, 1969
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Bloodtype: O

Anthem song sample

Divide the World


Calling


Song List

Anthem
Calling
Divide the World
Love/Hate


Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link:
Interview Comments

SPiRiTRiAL Interview

Start running quietly before dawn
Footsteps and breathing are all I hear in the night
Rushing sweats sharpen and purify my soul
I will be free from distrust and fear when the sun rises
SPiRiTRiAL - click for full size

That is the English translation of the opening to Anthem, a song by the band SPiRiTRiAL. With lyrics about love, politics and spirituality, this local trio from Saitama, Japan bring a genuine sense of honest emotions to their music. So come say hello to Takeaki Itoh on vocals and bass, Show-ichi Kuramochi on guitar and Masami Chiba on drums and learn about the music they’ve made so far and their hopes for the future.

On July 7, 2009 the members of SPiRiTRiAL were kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of SPiRiTRiAL.


Lets start with the formation of the group. Can you tell us how you all met?

Takeaki Itoh - click for full size

T.I.: In 1998 I founded this band. After several member changes Chiba-san joined in 2003. He was a professional session drummer and applied for this amateur band through the internet. I really appreciated it!

Show-san joined in 2008. At first, I was introduced to Show-san by a friend, and we founded a cover band for a rock club party called CATHOUSE JAPAN. We did gigs together several times. I was impressed by his style of playing and personality, so I told him to join.

What other groups had you been in before?

T.I.: I had been in some amateur bands, but they are nothing remarkable. This band is always priority for me.

Chiba: I've been supporting various artists, both professional and amateur.

How would you describe your style of music?

T.I.: I had some concepts when I founded this band. Those are:

Trio band. Some of my favorite bands are trios and I also like the style itself, so I wanted to do a trio band.

Hard rock with programmings, mixing various musical elements into the songs. It's what I like and also what I'm good at.

Songs should be melodic and vocal-oriented. I don't want the band to be listened to only by musical maniacs.

Tell us about the first year together as a band. Where did you play?

T.I.: We played at Ohtsuka CAVE and Roppongi club EDGE very often.

Do you have a favorite place to perform?

T.I.: Roppongi club EDGE is my favorite. Nice atmosphere and the staff are very kind.

Divide the World has a bit of a classic rock feel to it. Can you tell us about writing and recording it?

T.I.: This session was recorded in 2004. The guitar part was played by one of my friends, not by Show-san.

I had a concept about the arranging. That is "SPiRiTRiAL meets Nine Inch Nails and Jamiroquai at the same time". You also can hear inspirations from Black Sabbath in the chorus guitar part. The song contains some Arabic vibes too.

This song is about conflicts between nations, religions, civilizations. If this world united without respecting each other, it would rather be divided. This is not an anti-globalization song. This is an anti-ignorance song.

Love/Hate is more of a mellow, contemplative song. Can you tell us what the song means to you?

Takeaki Itoh - click for full size

T.I.: This is also in 2004 and the guitar was not done by Show-san.

At first I tried to write a song like Come Together in the Morning by Free, and added inspirations from Marillion, Glenn Hughes and Muse.

This song is a love song (I hardly wrote it!). A man in this song is walking around the town all night, at a loss if his love is to end or last. And a new day comes...

This song is so long. It's expressing how long he spent alone till morning. Not just a happy song but it has deep emotion I think.

Would you let me tell you about two new songs too?

Anthem is a rather old song and my favorite song I ever wrote. I wrote this back in 2000 but I didn't have the opportunity to record it correctly till 2009.

I really love the melodies and the piano part in this song. It came out of nowhere to me when I was playing keyboards one morning.

This song is a hymn to life, a hymn to the purity of souls. Its a literal anthem for people who never give up their dream, to believe, to challenge something worthy. This song also express scenes of a dawning. It starts rather quietly, and gradually becomes louder. It's inspired by the sights I saw when I was jogging around my town.

Every time I sing this song, always some special emotion hits me. Even if it's just a rehearsal.

ANTHEM

Start running quietly before dawn
Footsteps and breathing are all I hear in the night
Rushing sweats sharpen and purify my soul
I will be free from distrust and fear when the sun rises

Shine
Shine on innocence
Beyond the closed door
Hang
Hang on to the sense
I will be there with joy of life

Trying to picture some answers with no shape
to myself again and again
Time goes by, spent lonely for so long
But an inspiration from somewhere in my memory is calling
All of my emotions shall be united as one in my hand someday
I will sing the song that never fades

Shine
Shine on innocence
Hold on to the heartbeat
Run straight through emptiness
I will be there to make sure of it
Found the universe in my mind

Shine
Shine on innocence
Beyond the closed door
Hang
Hang on to the sense
I will go on till the day I die

Found the universe in my mind

© Takeaki Itoh

Calling is one of the most progressive songs for this band. Written in 2004. You might hear some inspirations from Ryuichi Sakamoto or Steve Reich. When I completed this song, I felt it will be some kind of milestone for SPiRiTRiAL. This song also contains flavors of bossa and Asian music at the same time. The lyrics are about a person who has gone spiritually too far from where he or she came from, and goes back.

Can you tell us more about how you write songs? What inspires you?

T.I.: Usually I write most of the songs and direct arrangements. But sometimes other members suggest ideas at the studio. I hope to write more with members.

It's hard to say what is the best inspiration to write correctly. Maybe… it's what I feel, think, see, smell, taste, touch, hear, in daily life. I think to write songs is to record my life (or someone's I met) in music to share with others. It's not just about lyrics but also the sound itself. I hope 1000 years from now some people might enjoy our music and share the same emotions with us. And of course inspiration comes from the great music of the past and nowadays.

Tell us about Date Course Records and how you got hooked up with them.

T.I.: Date Course Records is a label founded by Wataru Yamada. He is a famous drummer and member of the Japanese rock band Fence of Defense.

Fence of Defense is my favorite band ever, almost an idol for me, so when the label was founded in 2003 I sent demos and got hooked up with them. Now they are doing distributions on downloads for this band.

When can fans hope to see a full album?

T.I.: To say honestly, I want to go to the studio right now to make albums (yes, not just once!) if it's possible!!! We already have many more songs to record. But now what we got to do is promote the new download singles. And above all, this band should do more live I think.

I hope an album would be recorded for 2010 or 2011. Off course it will be a physical CD!!!

What are the band's plans for the rest of the year?

T.I.: Live and more recordings. Shows will soon be announced. And new download singles will be available till winter hopefully.

Let's get to know everyone better. Can you each describe the hometown you grew up in?

Show-ichi Kuramochi - click for full size

T.I.: I was born in Murone of Iwate, my mother's homeland. Its countryside in northern Japan. I grew up in Urawa, Saitama. I still live in Saitama now. Urawa is very close to Tokyo.

Show: Funabashi city in Chiba that has a view of the sea.

What kinds of students were you in high school? What did you like to do?

T.I.: I was absorbed in music and martial arts all the time.

Show: I usually played guitar when I was a high school student.

Chiba: I was a punk (musically).

How did you first get into music?

T.I.: Music was always very close to me since I was a baby because my mother taught music in primary school.

Show: From the radio.

Chiba: I always loved listening to music since childhood.

Who have been your biggest musical inspirations?

Masami Chiba

T.I.: Fence of Defense and Glenn Hughes. And many more.

Show: Eddie Van Halen.

Chiba: POLICE.

When and how did you decide to become professional musicians?

T.I.: I always thought of it from childhood but I couldn't make up my mind. I decided when I was a university student at last. I was 20 or 21.

Show: Maybe... 17 or 18 years old.

Chiba: I can't remember when, but I became one naturally.

What did your family and friends think of your decision?

T.I.: My family might have thought it would be no good decision for me, but they supported me. They knew I would carry through if I decided to do it.

Show: Opposed at first. But they support me now.

Chiba: They said just enjoy.

How did you pick the musical instrument you play?

T.I.: I liked to sing from childhood so naturally I became a vocalist. And also I liked synthesizer sounds and fat sounds, so I picked keyboards and bass. It was quite simple.

Show: My uncle gave me a guitar.

Do you have a favorite guitar, bass or drum set you always use?

SPiRiTRiAL

T.I.: My favorite bass guitar is Yamaha BB ltd 5. And keyboard is Yamaha motif 8.

Show: Yes, I've some favorite guitars. Musicman, Gibson, Fender... and more.

Chiba: No favorite. Anything would be welcome.

What do you think of the music industry today?

Show: I think its better now than in the past.

T.I.: There are many more ways to provide music than before and much cheaper. And so much amazing music. It's quite great. But sometimes I wonder if some people in this industry have respect for music and fans. I hope they have.

Anyone married? Kids?

T.I.: I've been married for 4 years. I have a son.

Show: I'm single and haven't had kids yet. But I want to marry and have kids in the near future.

Other than music, what do you do for fun and relaxation?

T.I.: Being with family and friends. Martial arts. I have a blackbelt in Shorinji Kempo. And also enjoy watching movies, reading books about history. But actually, I can't do almost anything but music and things with this band these days!

Show: Riding motorcycles.

Chiba: Mountain climbing to enjoy fresh air.

Btw we first heard about you through Luvasiagal, the person who runs your US Street Team. Do you want to give her a shout out?

T.I.: I already said it again and again, but still I'm ready and willing to say it now.

HUGE THANKS FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP, SUPPORT AND DEVOTION! WE REALLY APPRECIATE THAT YOU FOUND US AND LIKED US!!!

Do you have anything else you want to bring up or comment on?

T.I.: Please visit our official MySpace page. Checkout our information and blogs. And also we'd appreciated it if you joined the SPiRiTRiAL Street Team.

Do you have a final message to all your fans?

T.I.: Thank you all so much for the support!!! You are the SPIRIT that keeps us going. Please enjoy our music and share the good life with us!!!

Chiba: Please come to our shows. Surely you will have a good time!


Like they said, for more info checkout SPiRiTRiAL's MySpace page and the SPiRiTRiAL Street Team. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments