Birthday: June 7, 1979
Blood type: B
To the Sky song sample
Swimming In Love
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Tokyo Counterpoint Interview
"There is a production concept for Tokyo Counterpoint: 'Make the art more pop' and 'Make the pop music more art.'" - Junichi Hoshino
Sometimes its good to just chill out and take a listen to some soothing tunes. For Junichi Hoshino of Tokyo Counterpoint creating that type of music has been a life's journey. Inspired by the musical styles of artists like Andy Warhol and Steve Reich, Hoshino has crafted a intricate style of music, striving as he says to resonate life's "moments of beauty" into his songs.
His first album, "Oval," was released in 2004 and updated earlier this year as "Oval+" featuring the vocals of Wawa and Kanata Okajima. His resume includes a remix of Kaze ni Hitori de that was featured in the 30th anniversary compilation album of the Gundam soundtracks, and arranging the song SELECT? for the anime series "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya."On October 25, 2009 Junichi Hoshino of "Tokyo Counterpoint" was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of Tokyo Counterpoint.
Let's start with the July 2009 release of "Oval +." Can you tell us how the CD differs from your original 2004 release of "Oval"?
I added 3 tracks and I also re-mastered all the tracks. And rearranged Skyscraper.
How would you describe the album's style of music?
Chill out lounge.
The opening track, To the Sky, is a good introduction to your multi-layered sound. Can you tell us a little about creating this song?
It was the first time to make a singing tune with Wawa, so I was conscious very much about her voice.
This song was also recently included in the compilation album "Lemongrass Garden Vol.4"?
Yes, and it's remixed by Lemongrass.
Twist of fate shows a masterful interplay of instruments, vocals and backing vocals. Can you tell us more about the song?
First, there is a production concept for Tokyo Counterpoint: "Make the art more pop" and "Make the pop music more art." Especially in Twist of fate I was conscious to "Mix into the polyrhythm (from African rhythm) to the classical music, and make it pop too... so that the listener can't notice about that."
When we recorded it, the vocalist listened to the 6/8 click and the percussionist listened to the 4/4 click. After that, I edited the samples to make it groove.
Can you tell us about the message behind the song Grandism?
The first two songs on the album are not mainstream pop music. So this track's importance is "easily accessible to everyone," but still keeps the concept "pop into art and art in pop music."
Which is more important to your writing style, the lyrical meaning of a song or the musical sound?
How long had you been working on the music for Oval? How big of a day was it for you when it was first released?
One month. I was elated!!!
Who all worked on the album with you?
For Oval (2004), Wawa was the featured vocalist for tracks 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8. Naoko Sato did percussion samples for tracks 1, 2, 3 and 5.
For Oval+ (2009) Kanata Okajima was the featured vocalist for track 1, and Wawa for tracks 2, 3, 4, 6, and 9. Naoko Sato did percussion samples on tracks 2, 3, 4 and 6. Miki Sakata played piano on track 8.
Tell us about working with the two vocalist you used.
In Oval, I worked with Wawa. It was very hard. I tried to find her talent and also find a way to make full use of her. On the "Oval+" new song Swimming in Love, the vocalist is Kanata Okajima.
When did you start working together with them?
Wawa is from 2003. Kanata Okajima is from 2008.
What was a typical recording day for Oval like?
Actually, we recorded in a very short time, so every day was so precious. We didn't have so much time to edit/fix too, so the album is very near to improv and it's very much based off of our inspirations at that time.
What type of things inspires your creating process?
The realities behind every day. For example, the same street can smell slightly different after the rain, and when I appreciate that, I'm inspired. I'm trying to steal and resonate those "moments of beauty" into my songs.
Tell us the story behind the song Swimming in Love.
I wanted to make an erotic song. lol
The video features some fabulous animation. Can you tell us more about it?
The theme of the video is "birth + death". The jellyfishes rise from the depths of the ocean and they copulate. After that, the female one continues to rise towards the light of the surface. But the male one falls back down to the bottom of the ocean, and he dies.
Who are some of the visual graphic artists you most admire?
Chris Cunningham & Stanley Kubrick.
Your remix of Kaze ni Hitori de was featured in the 30th anniversary compilation album of the Gundam soundtracks. Have you done any other music for anime shows?
Yes. I worked for "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya." I arranged the song SELECT?
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I'll compose and produce songs for other artists. Also "To the sky" will be release from Mole Listening Pearls on November 27th.
Let's take a trip into the past to get to know you better. Can you describe your hometown and tell us what it was like growing up there?
I was born in Akita prefecture. There were so many musicians around me. It's the north side in Japan so daylight was short. So people tended to live in their own world. Little bit antisocial and negative. haha.
What kind of kid were you? Shy? Outgoing?
Well... I was shy but outgoing too... How do you say... I already had my own world. I was a disgusting kid.
How did you first get into music?
For as long as I can remember, all the time I liked music. When I was a kid, I attempted to take a piano lesson but the first day, everyone was clapping their hands together in the lesson. I was so scared by "clapping kids"!!!! So before beginning lessons, I quite.
Who were your greatest musical inspirations?
Andy Warhol, Steve Reich. Because they used the simple method to express complex thinking. I like it.
When did you decide to make music your life's work?
First, I wanted to be an astronaut when I was in kindergarten. But my right eye was blind so it wasn't possible. Because I was partially blind, my hearing was acute. So I thought it'll work.
What did your family and friends think about your decision?
Everyone told me that I would not make it as a musician and that it would be very tough to succeed against the rest.
Why type of musical training have you had?
Every day was the training.
Tell us about the first songs you wrote and recorded.
In Oval? The first song I wrote and recorded was skyscraper. This is for "sound track for virtual architecture." It was released at 2003.
But the first song I wrote and recorded for Oval (2004) was To the sky.
When and how did you come up with the name "Tokyo Counterpoint"?
I made it when I was composing the album. Check my profile about the name:
"Mainly Junichi Hoshino. Tokyo Counterpoint is a project to aim at production of music and art performance that is associated from various space or an unspecified member.
Innumerable, parabolic set that two or more artists cross each other and invent 0 points named Tokyo. Distorted figure that is unlimited and near globe. That is the brand, scene, of Tokyo Counterpoint."
Outside of music, what do you like to do for fun and relaxation?
Watching movies and walking in the park.
Do you have a final message to all your fans?
Thank you so much for listening to my music and for your support.
For more info checkout Tokyo Counterpoint'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