1. Hello ! I ‘m happy to get to know you guys. Please , could you tell us a few words about yourselves ?
Hello, nice to meet you. We are Soul Kitchen. We have been active for 4 years since 2013! We play songs composed by the vocalist Shunsuke Tanaka, with powerful bass and drums by Iori Furukawa and Kuniharu Tsujioka.
2. Personally , I love the anisongs and I was very pleased to listen your music. Shunsuke , your vocal range somehow remembers me about Spitz ‘s Masamune Kusano. Is he by chance one of the artists that put a mark on you ?
Shunsuke: I also love anime! Every week, I follow several anime series and that’s something I never fail to do. For the question about Spitz, the first record I bought in my life was actually their album. I have covered some of their songs, too.
3. In a interview you affirmed that all of you met through the social networking service , Mixi. How was your encounter? Is there any memorable occurance from your first meeting?
Kuniharu: We formed a cover band of Western music through a social network and that’s when the three of us first met. I told them that I wanted to form a band with a vocalist, and then Shunsuke said “Well, I have some original songs in Japanese!” (laughs) So I immediately emailed to the bassist Iori saying “I found an amazing vocalist! This guy is real!” (laughs)
Shunsuke: What was impressive was that Kuniharu told me that he wanted to play original songs. Without his suggestion, Soul Kitchen wouldn’t have existed.
4. One of your songs was entitled “ What if Cinderella was a witch “? Sounds intriguing .What if your own child would ask you the same thing ? What would be your answer ?
Shunsuke: That’s a song called “MOONDANCE” in our first album “a:la:carte.” I would tell my kids that Cinderella was really a witch, to stimulate their imagination. (laughs)
Kuniharu: I would tell them “Adults are scary, aren’t they?” (laughs)
5. You made yourselves known in in the musical world in 2013 releasing the single “ Soul Kitchen “ . What actually “ Soul Kitchen “ stands for ? And what ‘s the idea behind the single ?
Shunsuke: We named our band after a song by the American band The Doors, just because we liked the way it sounded. (laughs) Needless to say, we love The Doors!
Kuniharu: We chose the songs in the first single “Soul Kitchen” from the first songs we played in the studio. We still play those songs in our shows.
6. Your pieces are enjoyable and easy to listen to . For some reason , listening to your songs feels like reading a story. Speaking about stories , could you tell us which are the musical motifs you based on when you composed “ Stardust ?”
Shunsuke: When I composed the song “Stardust,” I started with the chorus. The lyrics and the melodies in the chorus came to my mind. It somehow made me think of a Japanese legend — a love story of Orihime and Hikoboshi and their first meeting. The lyrics “Like a dolphin swimming in the auroral ocean” and “The glowing shooting star, burning out its life” were inspired by the stars, the night sky and Tanabata. (*Tanabata is a Japanese traditional festival in July, originating from the legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi.)
7.How does it feel being a Jpop band among so many famous artists and bands? Is it challenging ?
Shunsuke: We are always doing music thinking “We want to catch up with those successful bands sometime!” However, at the same time, I think it is quite challenging to do that in the time when there are this many kinds of music. But I think you could say you are successful as a musician if someone listens to your music and it stays in his or her mind.
Kuniharu: It is true that there are a lot of famous artists in the scene. However, I think Shunsuke’s songs could definitely compete with their songs. In my opinion, whether you are famous or not is just a matter of chance or luck — comparing Shunsuke’s songs with other artists’ songs, I think that way. I am totally sure that his songs deserve recognition.
Iori: I think J-pop is something that’s easy to listen to and stays in your mind, like we could hum those songs in our daily lives. Soul Kitchen is a band doing that kind of natural thing, I think.
8. What could you tell us about your 3rd single “ Puzzle “?
Shunsuke: The songs included in the single are “Kibou No Uta,” “Puzzle” and “Natsuzora.” I composed the song “Kibou No Uta” thinking of a little parrot I used to have in my home. That song is my wish for that bird, that I want him to fly freely in the sky even if it is challenging. The song is “Puzzle” is a song written about a time when my ex girlfriend dumped me. Well, that’s my specialty. (laughs) I think it sounds uplifting and refreshing though. “Natsuzora” is a song inspired by the scenery of the neighborhood I used to live in — A sea view from a slope. I had this image of myself riding a bike with full energy on a slope, feeling the summery sunshine. I think each of these three songs has a different sound to it and they make you want to listen to them over and over again.
9. Iori and Kuniharu , you two have been part before of Canopus . Which are your best memories with your former band ?
Iori: The band Canopus was so active that if all the members had two days off in a row, we would travel to a far city to have a show. Although the period of time where I was in the band with Kuniharu was short, it was quite fun to travel around, from East to West. But most of all, I started to play music with Kuniharu since that time, so it’s a band of our beginning. (laughs)
10.Since you ‘re a big anime lover , Shunsuke , tell us which are your favorite animes and what anime represented in a way a big inspiration for you .
Shunsuke: It’s a tough question since it’s hard to choose favorites. (laughs) I would say one of my favorites is “K-On!” because the same guitar as the one I am using appears in the anime series. (laughs) However, I rather get inspired by serious anime series. Especially “Your Lie In April” inspired me a lot.
11. Once you hear the word “ music “ , what do you guys think about ? What does come to your mind ?
Shunsuke: Partying with friends, enjoying drinking and food!
Iori: Drinking after shows.
Kuniharu: Something fun to listen to and play.
12. Kuniharu what do you see in Tony Williams , Keith Carlock and Buddy Rich ? Do you find yourself in them ? What do you mostly like about them ?
Kuniharu: I think what these artists have in common is that their performance is emotional. They are not trying to play neatly but they express emotions by drums. They are unique and have their own styles, so they are my role models. I would also like to be a drummer who can express feelings and emotions by drums.
13. Which do you consider was your biggest achievement as band ?
Kuniharu: In December 2015, we participated in a contest and we were chosen as a winner from among 7500 bands. We got an award called “Judges’ Special Award” and we performed with some big names on stage in a concert hall which has a capacity of more than 1000 people. One of the famous artists we performed together talked to us and we started collaborating with them since. I was convinced that Soul Kitchen’s performance and Shunsuke’s songs deserve drecognition.
14. Sometimes it is hard to choose the music that fits to your own character. How do you find the music that suits you ? How did you find yours?
Shunsuke: I used to read books like “500 best Western records” and I would grab any record that was on the magazines. Among them, I would find something that fitted my taste and I would also look for another records that were mentioned in the liner notes. That’s how my library expanded.
15. Our time stops here . What would you like to transmit to everyone out here , in Romania ?
Shunsuke: I am so touched that even though we span oceans, you listen to our music! I hope we can visit Romania for a show, not just for sightseeing. Please give us a warm welcome, if it comes true one day! I will also work hard so that one of our songs will be used as an anime theme song. (laughs)
Iori: Thank you for finding Soul Kitchen even in a foreign country far from Japan. I hope I will get the chance to perform in your country.
Kuniharu: I will go to Romania for sure! In order to do that, I will first get a passport. (laughs)
All: Thank you very much!
*Thank you to Soul Kitchen for the cooperation and their time *