Otakon 2013 TM Revolution Q&A
by Bamboo Dong,
Ten years after his Otakon debut, Takanori Nishikawa has returned once again, this time with several more anime themes under his belt. In fact, for the first time ever, all of the anime themes and image songs have been collected in one album, titled Geisha Boy. Although the album is not yet available online or in Japan, convention attendees can pick up a copy at the J-Rock House booth in the exhibition hall. Mr. Nishikawa, better known as T.M. Revolution (short for Takanori Makes Revolution, as everyone knows by now) isn't playing until 4 PM Saturday at Mariner Arena, but he appeared for a Q&A session early Friday afternoon in front of a crowd of hundreds of eager fans.
I'm happy to be back at Otakon after ten years away!
It's been five years since you've been to America, and ten years since you've been in Baltimore. How does it feel seeing all your fans after ten long years?
Ten years ago, I performed my first live performance outside of Japan, here at Otakon. So of course, I was very happy to have been able to perform here ten years ago. I'm even happier now to see that you are even more excited now than you were ten years ago.
Can you tell us some memorable experiences that happened to you back in 2003 when you were here?
Ten years ago, I was really surprised that here in America, the other side of the world from Japan, there were so many people who loved Japanese pop music and pop culture. I was also amazed that there were so many fans and so many people cheering me on overseas in America. Last time I was here, there were lots of fans of mine from countries where I had met people from for the first time, like Chile, Colombia, and many countries in South America. I was amazed that many people from all over the world knew about it.
Can you tell us what you've been doing in Japan over the last ten years?
I've been doing my solo music work, but in addition to that, I was part of Abingdon Boys School. Outside of music, I've been working on charity, and I became the tourism ambassador for my hometown. I organized my own festival.
Can you tell us more about your charity event? Two years ago, a tragic earthquake struck Japan. I hear that you wanted to do something to help. Can you tell us a bit more about what Stand Up Japan is doing?
Stand Up Japan is a charity that a lot of artists are helping me out with. I'm part of the charity, but in addition to myself, many musicians and creators, including creators of anime and manga, are helping me with this charity effort to Stand Up Japan. The charity efforts are going to be required for a long time. In order to make sure artists are helping us over a long period of time, we designed this charity so that they didn't need to do more to really strain themselves to help with the charity.
In terms of events that Stand Up Japan does, once a year, every year, we gather all the artists and creators we have for a very long live performance. In addition, they donate items for an auction, and all the proceeds go towards earthquake efforts. It's something that artists and fans can work together on.
I would like to take this time to thank everyone here. During the earthquake in 2011, a lot of people in America gave many words of encouragement to Japan, and a lot of help. Not just America; everyone around the world. I'd like to thank each and every one of you for helping out.
I hear you are an anime ambassador in Japan. What does that entail?
There is a project by the Japanese government called Anime Mirai. This project is all about cheering on people who create anime— anime artists, manga artists, producers, and directors. Because of Anime Mirai, there are a lot of different anime coming out in Japan. The program supports young, up-and-coming animators. This year at Otakon, there are some guests here from the Anime Mirai project. They will be holding a panel here at Otakon, so please check out their panel as well.
In addition to being an anime ambassador, you're also a tourism ambassador for your hometown in Shiga prefecture. Can you tell us more about that?
I was born in Shiga prefecture, and I wanted to give thanks for my hometown. In order to give back to the my hometown, I organized what's called the Inazuma Rock Fes. It's held every year. This year it will be September 21-22. In Shiga, there's a very big lake called Biwa Lake. It's the largest lake in Japan. Part of the Inazuma Rock Fes is to preserve the environment of this lake, and through this lake, contribute to environmental efforts around the world.
At Inazuma Rock Festival 2013, there's going to be many famous artists performing, including Nana Mizuki. Everyone in the audience knows that you worked with Nana for the opening theme for Valvrave the Liberator. Can you talk more about that collaboration?
I've always to do a collaboration that everyone wanted, but would be hard to do. There were a lot of people in Japan saying, “I wish there was a collaboration like this,” or “I wish there was a collaboration like that.” My dream is to make those collaborations come true. This is the first step towards that.
Last week, you made the announcement that the two of you would be collaborating again in the second theme song for Valvrave the Liberator.
We actually finished recording the song already. With “Preserved Roses,” we invited Miss Nana Mizuki to work with the TM Revolution team. With this new song, we took it the other way around. Nana Mizuki invited me into her team. This new song is producer by her team. It's going to be a different song than you heard with “Preserved Roses.”
What is your favorite PV and live performance outfit?
I always find myself attached to the latest PV outfit, so right now, I'm a big fan of “Preserved Roses.” At the Inazuma Rock Festival, we make a new outfit for the concert. For tomorrow's concert, I chose all my favorite outfits from those.
You have really nice legs. (At this point, Mr. Nishikawa stood up and lifted his leg to show it to the audience) You're always wearing hot pants during the concert. Why is that?
Asking the audience Which do you like? Skinny or wide pants? The audience applauded and yelled “Skinny!” Good choice. Okay, I'll keep wearing skinny pants then.
In the new PV, did you get a lot of inspiration from Michael Jackson? Michael Jackson is definitely one of the greatest artists of our times. For my music, I've received inspiration from many artists all across the world. It's quite possible that Michael Jackson was a great inspiration for my works. But one thing you don't have to worry about, I'm not sick like Michael Jackson was. I'll be here for a while.
You've been in a lot of musicals in Japan that are from America. Are there any more that you'd like to do?
You're probably referring to Rock of Ages. I was in it in Japan. And also Little Shop of Horrors. But back to Rock of Ages, I've always seen the Broadway version of Rock of Ages. The other day I was in Las Vegas, and I saw the Las Vegas version of Rock of Ages. It makes me want to perform it again.
What inspired you to sing in the first place?
My very first experience with singing, I wasn't really impressive in singing at the time. I formed a band with some friends and they told me to sing. I didn't think I was a good singer, and I didn't really want to sing, but they told me to, and I did. That's how I got a start in singing. I never thought it could last this long. I never dreamed I would be performing in the US like this.