Title / Artist
Interview with Takanori from abingdon boys school
Date: 2009.12.22
Because of their tight schedule of their european tour a.b.s had no time
for an interview with us. Instead we talked with Takanori (the vocal of the band abingdon boys school) via mail about the tour and his future projects.

Nippon Project: Firstly, would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?
Takanori: I formed abingdon boys school, as performing as a solo artist T.M.Revolution, I thought it would be nice to make new music as a band.

Your tour is now finished. What do you conclude from that tour?
13 years have passed since I started performing as T.M.Revolution. As becoming famous in Japan, when I perform in overseas, it needs to have a certain largeness, such a large Anime Convention with a huge stage and large equipments. On the other hand, if it’s a band, we could performe in any kinds of stage, it’s possible to have a club tour in several small venues with small capacities, which we’ve done in the Europe tour. Only three years have passed since we formed the band, so we’re still trying to build up our appearances in more venues in Japan. We were slightly worried in how the fans in Europe would react. Though, we were vey happy to see the fans in Europe were very welcoming us as much as the fans in Japan.

You promised to come back, Which countries you’d like to visit the next time? Would you come back next year?
Yes I would want to. During the performance, so many times I’ve really promised to come back. As soon as possible I would want to go for an Europe tour again. Not only the places that we performed, the fans from other countries, have given us messages that they would want us to come. Our dream in the future would be going out for an world tour.

Just finishing our Europe tour, we are releasing our 2nd album in January in Japan. Would try to let you hear our new music from the stage, as quick as possible, we would promise to tell you when it’s determined.

You were in United Kingdom, did you see the Abingdon school?
As a band, we first had our sound made in Ebisu in Tokyo. It’s like a certain word playing, Ebisu souds like an Ebisu, leads to a.b.s., so we came up with the name a.b.s.. Furthermore, making sense to its meaning, we found out that there is a school called abingdon boys school. In the beginning, when we met at Ebisu, we were thinking of making new music from our roots music, so we thought that usuing the name of the school, the concept would be macthing as we could feel like we have become teenagers again. Also the members are formed by all boys, well we could say we are men, anyways boys, we learn a lot from music so we thought it best matches to our image. That’s why we named ourselves abingdon boys school.

We really wanted to go to Abingdon School. However, because it was a very distinguished school, they didn’t accept us...The next time we’d go to Abingdon School, we would try to become even more famous, so that they would notice us. If it’s possible, we would be honored to have a live at Abingdon School. Anyhow, we went to Abingdon. We weren’t just admitted as a student.

Will you try something different?
Of course, as abingdon boys school, we would constantly want to have performaces in overseas.Besides, touring around Europe, I have been told from many fans and people that they would want me to come to other counrtries, and have concerts overseas. I would want to have concerts in Northern America, Southern America, other European countries, and around Asia, if possible.

This European tour will inspire you for this album?
Right at the moment when we were creating the new album, we were having our Europe tour, so it gave us lots of inspiration. I wrote lyrics, and even considered about the album title. In the meanig of creation, it did give me a lot of effect.

So the title “ABINGDON ROAD” had much of the European tour included?
Yes. When we named ourselves abingdon boys school, Abingdon was a never-before seen place for us, though in theses three years, we finally stood on this place, and felt that this would be our new start again.

A lot of your songs are used as theme for anime, do you think that it contributes to your popularity overseas? Have you felt that while performing?
Japanese is very domestic, and a minority language. We couldn’t imagine how would the overseas fan would listen to our music. When I saw everyone singing in Japanese with their mouth wide open, I was deeply impressed. I believe animation is having great influences in the excport, and culture exchange. We are wanting to give any support to this throughout our music.

Takanori, how do you reconcile your solo career and a.b.s.'s?
It need lots of effort. There are many ways to reconcile, such as deviding by year, term, of playing as a band, or as solo, would be the normal way. In my case, I am participating in both, mentally it is very difficult. Now I am able to switch myself very smoothly. For me, being both T.M.Revolution and abingdon boys school are creating the whole balance in myself.

Takanori ,the genre between a.b.s. and T.M.R. is really different, is it why you created a.b.s. instead of changing the style of T.M.R.?
T.M.Revolution is very much an experimental music. It’s more like a simple emsemble, which is focusing on the vocal. It was a challenge to the genral music, and I guess the project was more focusing on my entertainer characteristic. On the other hand, abingdon boys school, the band is more based on my roots music. Such as creating a new type of music with the band member and other musicians. The targetting point is indeed different. I feel that abingdon boys school is more simply reflecting my core music.

Takanori, you speak French really well, how did you learn? Do you learn the language of every country you visit?
Well, since I’m visiting another country, I belive it’s nice meeting new people, and I wanted to become close to everyone. To be able to speak, I asked the staff, searched, created the sentences, and practiced them many times. I felt that it was very difficult to learn another language, because of the difference in cadances, and the accent from Japanese. I tried very hard, so that the distance between me and the fans would become closer.

You have released the new single "From Dusk Till Dawn", what is the story told in it?
What I wanted to explain in this title was, the sun would rise and tomorrow would come. It’s a very obvious fact that tomorrow comes. Also I think you usually would not recognize the importance of your family. Though, I realized this year that these obvious things are the most imoportatnt thing for me. Especially through the fact that I performed in and origanized a festival in Japan, had live performances out of Japan touring around Europe, which led to myself meeting so many fans. I felt that creating chains through music, taught me so many things, I put all those feelings in this song.

Many people right here think that Japanese are a little crazy :-) Could you think of any crazy things or attitudes of Japan?
Well Japanese cannot drink until we say “Kanpai”(toast). Until everyone gets a drink, even if it’s not an alcohol, Japanese would not start drinking, would wait to say toast together. I think Japanese are sad species.

Were you puzzled when you came to that situation?
No absolutely not. There were many Japanese crews, so the local staffs were actually puzzled as “why don’t you drink when your drink arrives?” They also seemed to feel that it’s hard to pronounce toast as same tone as Japanese.

When visiting Europe, did you experience culture shock? Did anything in particular stand out to you?
In Japan it is very normal that the toilet seat is warm, and the warm water comes out and washes your bot. This type of toilet is very popular in Japan. Being surprised in overseas, we saw that there weren’t even a toilet seat to sit on. I just felt that the culture is very different just taking an example of toilet. Also, in Japan, it should be a private room with a door that you cannot see through, but in overseas, the door doesn’t cover the top and the bottom. I’m not very used to it, and seeing other staff suffering, I felt some sympathy, too.

I didn’t suffer much in the difference of food. We know it’s very natural in Europe eating bread and cereal instead of rice, but thinking about that, we kind of thought that eating rice may be a typical Japanese thing. Also when I went to the cafe in the morning to eat breakfast, I ordered a one plate breakfast with a combo of sausage and bread and pretzel. When I saw the person next to me, I was very surprised to see that the most of the German people are drinking beer. Very surprised. In Japan, that never happens. A beer at breakfast. We were shocked.

I was longing to see the autobahn. Of course I am a great fan of motor sports and cars, I was very happy to be able to run that road by bus. Japan is a very small country, though we have a road called freeway, but it takes money, and it’s even much paved. It’s not even close to the autobahn.

People in Europe, speaks their second languages very fluently. Varieties in English, French, Italian, and any other language, everyone has a second language. They are having communication very naturally. In Japan literacy may seem high, it’s not really as it seems. In terms of language, I believe that if we try harder, Japanese and the people around the world would become much closer.

Some elements of your album reminded me (somehow) of Loudness. Have you ever listened to this band that used to be very successful for a Japanese band in Europe?
I myself do not have much inspiration from them, but the band members and the people at same age seems to be listening to LOUDNESS a lot. Like LOUDNESS, we would be very happy if there would be people in Europe who would start to get into Japanese music by listening to abingdon boys school’s music. If we could become a good catalyst like them, and people gets familiar to Japanese music, we would be much appreciated.

Through the forum of Nolife, your fans could influence your set list in Paris. Was it your idea and would you do it for other concerts?
We had so many songs that we wanted to play. However, while we were thinking of a line-up for an exact set-list, we wanted the fans in Europe to be happy, so we looked at the Nolife survey, and Myspace comments from the fans such as “I like this song”. Also our songs are available on MySpace for just a minimum time length that could be listened, and we took it as a referencce of the number of times accessed for each songs. We changed the set-list based on that, and we were very happy about those changes. As if we could go to even more countries, we would want to try on many other things as well.

The fans seemed to be very excited at Paris, what song seemed to be the most excited song?
In Paris, the third song in the set-list, HOWLING is meant to be an initial explosure, which encourages us as well. We were very happy to see that all the fans were very excited, and singing the song out loud. In Japan usually everyone sings the main melody line, though in Europe, everyone sang not only the Japanese part but also the English lyrics, together with the back vocal, I was very amuzed. Especially the song JAP has a chorus with the backing vocal in English, such as “untamed”,“somewhere”, and “out there”. This song was made to be a call and response song, so I actually felt the unity I never felt before in Europe. In every country there were various ways that the fans express their excitements, and I got surprised in the welcoming reaction the European fans have made for us during the lives. I enjoyed very much.

Your formation is really atypical, why didn't you include a drummer or bassist in your formation?
Although the live sounds of the drums and bass has its own goodness, but seeking for something more, we wanted to have the taste of house or techno, with a different kind of beat. So that’s why we have our band formed with the twin guitar and the programer. This is what I think is the best band style now. Because of this, we were able to combine all heavy sounds and the drum, bass, and club sounds at the same time. Without any boarders of the instruments we were able to create an ensemble by various types of music. That’s how it came out to be like this.

You participated at Live Earth concert in Japan. Are you concerned by the environmental protection? What advice can you give us to help the Earth?
I am very much concerned by the environmental protection. I’ve just had a festival in my hometown at September in Shiga. The funding raised at the festival, a part of the money were donated to ensure the water quality of Shiga. Shiga has a largest lake in Japan, called Lake Biwa. The water of the lake is used as the drinking water for the people living around Shiga, so under the philosophy of protecting water, we have planned to do so. We believe it is very difficult to help the earth. We would try to do various activities to help, and would want to become a help for you and everyone as well.

Please introduce your new album.
2009, we have had our recording and lives throughout the year, and felt that we became flexible enough to make new types of abingdon boys school music. We were able to make wider rage of beats, new ensembe, which allowed us to come back to where we wanted to be at the very beginning. 2nd album has so much included, so please listen to it.
Recently we had a release in Europe as well. Although, it is not just an album, we tried to make somethong special for the Europe fans, and came up with a more like a European special compilation of our songs. For the next time, we would want to release our 2nd album and deliever them to your country. By releasing the 2nd album, we would like to have a world tour or another Europe tour. Please keep an eye on us.

And finally, do you have a message for your fans that will be reading this interview?
Well, we promised to come back to our European fans, we would try the best as we can to come back, so please send more cheers to us. Thank you!

Thank you very much for this interview and good luck with all your endeavors.

Nippon Project would like to thank Takanori and his management for this interview
Author: mikki
last update: 2009-12-24