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The Emeralds Vital Stats
Kazuya Kazuya - vocal, guitar
Birthday: January 16th
Birthplace: Tokyo
Blood type: Rock'n'Roll O type

Osuke Osuke - bass
Birthday: April 14th
Birthplace: London
Blood type: Rock'n'Roll A type

Akio Akio - drums
Birthday: June 20th
Birthplace: Tokyo
Blood type: Rock'n'Roll A type

Love Is Rolling song sample

DISCOGRAPHY

LOVE IS ROLLING (2008)
SURFING BABY (2005)
TALK ABOUT LOVE (2004)


Andrew Heermans comments on Love Is Rolling:

"I've seen The Emeralds play a few times and also met them in Tokyo on one of my trips there. They're nice guys and easy to work with.

Their CD was very compressed and dry while their show was open and free, filled with crash! boom! bang!!!!. So I gave them their live feel in the mixing. They gave me well recorded tracks to play with so the mixing was fun and it pumped up without much tweaking. It was more old style mixing.... just find the perfect balance (levels) and we were almost home....

I prefer to work with young bands who don't conform, who just make music. I think The Emeralds are in that group of musicians. They like to have fun and make music." Andrew Heermans


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Interview Comments

The Emeralds Interview

Photo courtesy of The Emeralds - click for full size Regardless of the times and regardless of what other forms of music come around good old rock and roll will always be here to stay--or at least it will if the members of The Emeralds have anything to say about it. Kazuya, Osuke and Akio are three men from Yokohama dedicated to filling the world with their take on the music that inspired a generation of kids to don leather jackets, sun glasses and a rebel attitude. So summon that ghost of Elvis that resides in all our hearts and find out what's new in the rocking Japanese world of The Emeralds.

On December 3, 2008 Kazuya from The Emeralds was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of The Emeralds.


In October of this year you released your first full length album "LOVE IS ROLLING" through Apple iTunes stores. What were your thoughts on the day it was released?

LOVE IS ROLLING album cover This CD is a result of all of our efforts from our formation through today and we were really moved that we could release this album worldwide. At the same time, there's the feeling that we've opened the door to the next stage in our progress as a band.

Tell us about some of the songs. What type of sound and feel were you trying to create?

We always want to express the various aspects of love in our songs. For example, the love on the cosmic scale in Love Is Rolling or the kind of love like in All MY LOVE FOR YOU which is a story about a couple talking about their relationship inside a small room. I think love is the most precious thing for us. When I write my lyrics I write about all the things around me I feel affection for, like caramel popcorn, cheesecake, etc. They tell me their stories and I spin them into song, creating a beautiful world. When I sing, I feel as if the world around me gradually changes into this beautiful world.

Andrew Heermans from the Polywog Recording Company worked on the album as well. Tell us a little about him and his involvement.

Photo courtesy of The Emeralds - click for full size We met Andy on our 2005 U.S. Tour. At first he had just listened to our music by CD and after that came to see us live. He felt the CDs we had then didn't express how explosive our live shows are, so Andy asked to work on our next CD. We recorded the raw audio in Japan and sent it to Andy over the internet, who then mixed it in New York. During that time we talked with Andy many times, sending files back and forth and making lots of modifications. As a result, we made the greatest album. In the past, he's work with Japanese artists such as Jerry Lee Phantom and Dreams Come True. You can see a list of the bands he has worked with here: Polywog Studio.

All MY LOVE FOR YOU is a pretty rocking song, with lyrics in both Japanese and English. Can you give us a translation of the song's meaning?

It's about a Japanese Rock 'n' Roller and his girlfriend Mary talking about their relationship. When the Rocker is almost dumped by Mary, he finds a way to express his feelings by the end of the song.

All MY LOVE FOR YOU

Listen to what I have to say, Honey
Since we've met face to face
Just five minutes is fine, Honey
Open up your heart

No matter what you say
I'm not interested in you
Always saying "I Love You" "I Love You"
Whatever, turn on the radio!

Mary, isn't love a gamble between you and me?
If I switch on the radio, we might hear a slow ballad

You are mine
If you would only listen to this ballad
If you would only listen

Look at my fingertips, Honey
I've realized that our fate might completely change

Sorry to hear that this song
Is Asian-style Rock 'n'Roll
Shouting "I Love You" "I Love You"
In that lighting-fast way

Mary, it might be better if we're watching MTV
If I change the channel, a ballad might be there

You are mine
Maybe this slow ballad will float out
Maybe it will flow

All my love for you

You're always doing things like this
Playing guitar and deceiving me
Calling out "I Love You" "I Love You"
And wearing that flower pattern shirt!

Mary, if that's the case give me one last chance
Let me sing this slow ballad for you

You are mine
If I sing this slow ballad
If I can just sing this ballad

All my love for you

© 2008 Lyrics by Kazuya

You released you first mini album "Talk About Love" back in 2004. What stands out in your memories about writing those early songs and recording the music?

At that time we had no technical knowledge about audio recording or mixing, and we were still figuring out which type of sounds would suit our ideal Rock 'n' Roll. I think the direction of the songs was unclear as well.

Your first maxi-single "Surfing Baby" came out the next year. Tell us about the songs.

After "Talk About Love" we went to SXSW for the first time and we grew as a band. I also think the musical direction of the band became clearer. At this point the lyrics were mostly written with another one of our themes: "The Comical Love Story".

You've had a long history of performing at the South By Southwest shows in Austin, Texas. What was your first performance like?

Photo courtesy of The Emeralds - click for full size The first time we played at SXSW was our first time to play in America and in front of people that didn't understand our language; we could only play our music. We didn't think about entertaining the audience as much as we do now.

How did it compare with the shows since?

In the past, we approached our shows with the thought of "We are doing Rock 'n' Roll music seriously." But now our focus is "Let's enjoy Rock 'n' Roll together!"

You've also become a regular feature touring the US with Japan Nite alongside groups like GO!GO!7188 and Peelander-Z. What has that been like?

For bands that think about doing shows in America, a lot of them have a well established character and performance style. Also, we might not have the opportunities to play with very famous bands like GO!GO!7188 in Japan. We always look forward to playing with those kinds of bands and learning from the experience. Hopefully we'll have the chance to play together again in Japan.

You performed in front of an impressive 10,000 strong crowd at Korea's Ssamzie Sound Festival. Was this your largest audience to date?

Photo courtesy of The Emeralds - click for full size Yes, it was the largest show we've ever done! It was the first time anyone in the crowd has seen us live, but from the first song Love Fire everyone went wild. It was unbelievable! We did our MC in Korean as well as the call and response. After the last song, Talk About Love, everyone called for an encore and it was a really amazing feeling.

You recently completed the "2008 US God Speed Tour." How did it compare to your earlier experiences?

The older U.S. Tours were very special and rare. Now touring the US has become part of our important regular activities.

Now that you've toured overseas so many times do you see yourself approaching the traveling and shows with a different attitude than the first few years?

We used to need extra time to prepare ourselves for the time difference when coming to America, now if we don't do a show on the day we arrive we regret it later.

Things rarely go exactly according to plan during tours. Do you have any stories of spectacular mishaps to tell us?

Osuke - Photo courtesy of The Emeralds - click for full size In October we were scheduled to play at CMJ in New York City. We each had to fly separately and had planned to meet at the club in NYC. But 30 minutes before I got on my plane, our drummer Akio called me and said he couldn't make it. I thought we had to go to New York, even if it was only Osuke and I, because everyone was waiting for us. So I made some international phone calls to try to find a drummer before my plane took off. When I arrived in New York, I learned that Bryan, the owner of our U.S. label Australian Cattle God Records, had decided to play drums for us. We rehearsed in the van before the show, only listening to our CD and tapping out the rhythms. Finally we did an exciting show! It was a really thrilling experience!

One reward (or curse) of traveling to other countries is the opportunity to sample different foods and drinks for the first time. Do any meals or drinking sessions stand out?

Anytime we visit another country we want to try the foods that can only be found there. That's always a fun thing to do and we have quite a few favorites, such as Boston Clam Chowder, Chicago Hot Dogs and Philly Cheesesteaks. However, we have yet to face the challenge of eating crawfish in Austin.

The language barrier and cultural differences can also be a source of both amusement and frustration. Can you recall the biggest misunderstanding you've encountered on the road?

When we can't by beer in the middle of the night we wander around. Now Akio always goes out and buys lots of beer during the day.

If you were to pick one artist or group to perform a tribute album for, who would you pick?

New York Dolls

Kazuya - Photo courtesy of The Emeralds - click for full size Looking at you today I'd guess you were all more than a handful when you were kids. So what kind of grade school student were you? Perfect students? Painfully shy? Teacher's nightmare?

In kindergarten I was a lone wolf and would get into a lot of fights. There was this group of kids that was out to get me. One guy would come at me, and then the next day a stronger guy would fight me, and so on and so on. Eventually my parents were called and they were mad. But I think I'm not a bad boy, right? I'm more like a shy punk. Of course now I don't get into fights.

Did you think you'd play rock music after you graduated from school, or did you have your sights on other occupations?

I wanted to be a soccer player but unfortunately I have never played.

What did you parents want you to be?

A fine adult

What do your friends and family think of your rock star status now?

Everyone is very proud of us and enjoys our activities.

Now the question so many of your fans are wondering about: tell us about the romantic life of Kazuya. Dating? Engaged?

100 years in the future I have a girlfriend, however when we were coming to this era we were separated. One day I'll return to the future and look for her.

Do you ever take or make girlfriends on the road?

We meet lots of lovely girls but never have any free time, so we say "See you somewhere in the world!" and head to the next town.

Could you ever date someone who wasn't into rock music?

No. We aren't popular with girls who are into pop music.

Akio - Photo courtesy of The Emeralds - click for full size Let's learn about your instruments of choice--that's a music question now. How did you all gravitate toward the guitar, bass and drums?

At first I was interested in playing keyboards, but when I was 14 my father gave me a guitar for Christmas. From then on I loved the guitar. Osuke originally played guitar but when we started a band together there was no bassist so he switched. Akio wasn't suited for the guitar or bass, so he decided to play drums.

Who can jump as high (higher?) than Seiji of Guitar Wolf?

We've played with Guitar Wolf once before, but I don't think I can compare our jumps. But I think I spin around on stage more than Seiji.

Rumor has it that a few years ago the group actually took a break. What caused the (thankfully) temporary pause and what brought you all back playing together again?

I haven't heard that rumor. That must have been when we were considering our stage outfits. We decided on the look we have now and resumed playing shows.

Can you imagine not having rock music as a major part of your lives?

That's unimaginable. But if I didn't have rock music, I would have probably tried to be a soccer player.

What are your plans for 2009?

We want to tour the U.S. and Korea and make lots of cool songs. We'll give every show everything we've got!

Do you have a final message to all your fans?

Thank you for your support! Please listen to our first full-length album "Love Is Rolling" and come to our shows! Let's have fun and have a fantastic time together! Rock 'n' Roll!!


For more info checkout The Emerald'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