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m-flo Releases “the tripod e.p. 2”, Their 1st EP Since The Return Of Founding Member LISA After 15 Years



MARCH 7th, 2018 (Tokyo, Japan) – At the beginning of 2018 Japanese hip-hop pioneers m-flo have announced with much celebration the return of original vocalist LISA. This monumental occurrence comes just in time for the trio's 20 th anniversary later this year. Wasting no time and getting right back into it, the trio is releasing their first EP since the reunion on digital platforms worldwide. “the tripod e.p. 2” features 3 brand new tracks as well as a new exclusive remix of their hit song “prism” from French producer Canblaster.

The leading single of this new release, “No Question”, has already taken the internet by storm with its surprising music video; helping propel the release to #1 on the Japanese iTunes chart during the pre-order period. Also included on this E.P. is “Never”, the theme song of the Japanese film “Last Winter, We Parted” starring Takenori Iwata (Sandaime J Soul Brothers), which had its music video debut on YouTube last week ahead of the E.P.'s release.

Available worldwide on March 7 th , 2018 via iTunes & Spotify, 2 physical editions of the release will be coming out in Japan as well. Available as a CD only, or a special edition which includes a DVD featuring the full music videos for “No Question” and “Never”. First editions of both physical versions will also include a special bonus papercraft toy “The Intergalactic Ton-Ton Sumo” (while supplies last).

Find “the tripod e.p. 2 (Intergalactic Edition)” here: iTunes | Spotify

the tripod e.p. 2 (Intergalactic Edition) Tracklist

01. No Question
02. never
04. prism (Canblaster Synth Harp Remix)

the tripod e.p. 2 Physical Edition Tracklist

01. No Question
02. never
04. prism (Canblaster Synth Harp Remix)
05. No Question -Instrumental-
06. never -Instrumental-
07. MAKE IT BREAK IT -Instrumental-
08. No Question -Acapella-
09. never -Acapella-
10. MAKE IT BREAK IT -Acapella-
11. Prism -Acapella-


01. No Question PV
02. never PV

In honor of their reunion & first new release in 15 years, Taku Takahashi, VERBAL, and LISA have participated in an interview included with this release.

Q: Almost 20 years after the debut of m-flo, why was it that the three of you have now decided to reunite?

Taku Takahashi: It definitely wasn't something that just happened suddenly — it's actually been in the talks for quite a while now. It was a little bit ago now, but I was offered a gig to DJ for LISA at a Christmas event last year for J-Wave, a radio station in Tokyo. This would actually be the first time you and I met properly, if I remember correctly. We performed a few m-flo tracks, and couldn't be more happy with how emotionally the crowd responded. They welcomed us very warmly, both myself and LISA were truly touched. That night both LISA and I agreed that we'd work towards doing something like this again, given the chance. This was the moment the idea of LISA returning to m-flo really started to spark; though, to be honest, VERBAL and I had already discussed it many times.

VERBAL: At the end of last year, during the annual “Universal Countdown Party” held at Universal Studios Japan, I was set to be performing alongside Taku as m-flo, but right before that could happen, I was hospitalized after a car accident in Hokkaido. That was when LISA swooped in and saved the day by filling my spot. Her performance was wild, and it became a pretty trending topic with everyone requesting we start performing as a trio again.

Q: LISA, How'd it feel to get back in the studio after all these years?

LISA: We hadn't been back in the studio together since the “Loves” series, and when we finally got back together, we realized so much time had passed, and we had all matured and become more experience with it. The messages in our lyrics got stronger, and what we would write felt more real than ever before. That's something extremely important to me. As we've gotten older, our messages have too matured -- something I consider precious. I noticed even VERBAL was bringing in coffee for everyone, and being a total gentleman (laughs). I started to realize maybe it isn't bad to get older, and I realized it's always fun to be around Taku and VERBAL.

Q: What would you say the difference in being an m-flo member now is versus the time you were featured in the “Loves” series?

LISA: We always had a role within the original m-flo days -- we knew what we had to do, and it was very natural for us. There was a very similar feeling to that in the “Loves” series too. This time, though, that feeling is even stronger. We have a greater sense of teamwork now than ever before.

Q: So VERBAL, in the new EP, all of the songs contain a blend of classic "tripod era," along with the stuff in-between and a dash of modern music influence. Did the fact that you were tackling a classic sound have an influence on the way you wrote your rap segments in the new songs?

VERBAL: Actually, us getting back together was already a total vibe. It was kind of nostalgic but fresh at the same time because over the years Taku and I had been doing our thing, and LISA was doing her thing. Then, of course, everything in our respective fields we do according to the different kinds of work that we do. When it comes to m-flo, we've known each other for a while and we're just open about everything.

Going back to the question, it really did, but what set me off was when LISA told me was that my rap as of late was kind of “not up to par” and “kinda boring.” She was like “You know you can be crazier than that, how come you're writing lyrics so conservatively?” I didn't even think about it that way, I was like “Really? Okay.” So I pulled out my old lyric books, I have pads and pads of lyrics from back in the late 90s and early 2000s -- I would write mad lyrics. So I was just looking back, trying to get that groove back. Getting bits and pieces from the kind of words I used to use, the kind of flow I used to have, so when I hit the studio I was feeling her vibe in the studio watching her sing. It's been a minute since we got in the studio, you know? And after seeing her sing “No Question” I was like “Okay, I got it.” and I started writing the rap for the song. Then I told LISA “Watch me.” and I went into the studio...

LISA: I was like “YES. NICE.”

VERBAL: So like, we went to international school and naturally we speak English and Japanese, but our Japanese is not so perfect and that's how it was on our first two albums. It's Japanese, but it doesn't really sound Japanese; my grammar was wrong, and it wasn't intentional, but it created kind of a fun vibe. I think that's what she referred to as being kind of crazy or fun, so now that I speak Japanese better than before I deliberately kind of use certain words and plug them in so it sounds kind of awkward in a fun way. I sound passive aggressive on my verses. So that was the intention, I think that's what really triggered the laughter in the studio. Taku loved it too.

LISA: I loved it, I just stood up and went “FANTASTIC!”

Q: So during the recording process on the new EP, you came to LA and did a bunch of songwriting. Now that you've got some new songs released, how are you feeling about the process for everything and where you're moving towards with this upcoming album?

LISA: Well I'm just very happy that we're finally going to be able to release this EP because it feels like it's been a while that we've been working on this. I don't know what it is? Like 8 months to a year? Trying to get everything together, trying to get us together, getting things set up with the company and getting our staff together. It's not just the music, it's everything else that comes around it too. So to me, it's like “Hey, I've been waiting for this.” I'm just truly happy that it's coming out finally. It felt really long for me until we put this together.

VERBAL: Yeah, so this EP coming together is kind of like for the fans. This kind of diverts from the question but, with all of the logistics we had to take care of, that was nothing for us because we really look forward to bringing this back for the fans who have been telling us on separate occasions “Why don't you get back together with LISA?” or “When are you gonna do m-flo again?,” “Stop doing these other projects”.

LISA: Me too, people are like “I don't want to hear your solo, I want to hear you back in m-flo!”

VERBAL: But those are very important and very brave messages that fans would tell us. Some people have even been saying things since we came out with our first record. They would come to the clubs that we DJ at and be like “Yo man, so when are you gonna come out with the next m-flo record?” and I'm like “Okay, here we go again!” Because they're also like “Yo VERBAL, you should rap more like this!” or “You should tell LISA to come back!” and I'm like “We're working on it!”

I kind of consider our getting back together almost like Lauryn Hill getting back together with The Fugees. Not to toot our own horn, but I think it's something that people thought “Wow, that would be cool if that happens but we don't think it's going to really happen.” We're excited about it, for sure.

Taku Takahashi: Jumping back to the original question real quick, we actually made a lot of tunes during the LA songwriting camp, but we're still not certain when our album is coming out. We might even be releasing another EP. We'll just have to wait and see. The experience at LA was awesome, we tried different things and now we see something that we can do more.

Q: Talking about the EP and the development of the songs, having a newer sound along with the classic style -- was there any difference to how you got together creatively when you're putting a song together? Or anything that has influenced the way everything comes together versus the way it used to be?

VERBAL: Taku was mentioning this, but because of the technological advances everyone can sound exactly like Skrillex if they felt like it. It's easy, you have all of the presets going and everyone has every type of resource at their fingertips. So he deliberately went back to using specific equipment, stuff that wasn't necessarily efficient, but it kinda brought back that sound. It brought back that vibe. Me too, going back to what I was saying about bringing back my old lyric books, I was kind of going back to the analog vibe rather than researching online and getting ideas. I'm just going back to myself and going back to the roots. And then with LISA, she was really quick with it. Even back in LA when she had the flu, she was pumping out songs and getting mad at me for not working quickly!

LISA: I was like “Where's your rap!” Every time I see him I'd ask him!

Taku: When it comes to trends, most think music creativity is about speed; but I think the complete opposite. I think patience is the most important factor when creating music. I build it and break it over and over until I get it done. Sometimes it works, and most of the time it doesn't. I just keep on doing trial and error until I find the right one. Sure, it'd be easy to create something trendy, but what we're creating is totally different -- I can't just put a benchmark to it.

Q: You have all been up to your own things over the past 15 years with a pretty varied set of experiences between the 3 of you. How is that impacting the development of everything going on, from like the creative side, the songwriting side, etc? Has there been any major change in how you do anything as a result of your experience?

LISA: What's kind of clear is that what I make for m-flo, it sounds like it's just for m-flo. It's so weird because it's the same me making this and making that, but when I make it with them it's just some magic that comes in. I don't know what it is, it's just fit and customized for m-flo. To me, it's just a mystery where it comes from, but when I do stuff for myself versus doing stuff with them there's just something very different about it. And what's for them is just for them, I wouldn't even want to take it back and sing it myself. It's like “Take it, and if you don't take it then I dunno, let it sit.”

VERBAL: For me just working on different projects made me realize that I like being in groups rather than my own solo thing. I had done that before a couple times with the underground projects like L Universe or my other solo projects. And it was because people were like “You should do your solo thing.” and I'm like “Okay, I'll try it.” But it didn't really last long because that's that and it's cool, and there are people who enjoy that, but I just like working in groups. I get inspired, you know? Like LISA said, when I work with m-flo it's totally m-flo and I'm like that guy who gives the killer pass, I'm not the striker. LISA is definitely the striker in the group.

I like getting the projects up and running and just producing the content around it. The more I work on different projects, the more I know what I'm good at and what lane I'm good staying in, so when it came time to doing m-flo I knew exactly what to do. It took a long time to explain to LISA why I come in at the very end *laughs*, because I wanted to make sure everything's up and running and she's got the vocals laid down. I like to make sure I'm supporting the whole song through the rap or whatever I do.

Taku: Well, one thing for sure is I re-discovered myself through meeting people in the US. It is so cool to actually interact with people who liked what I was doing back then. Five years ago was about myself creating perfect dance/electronic music, but now I'm into creating perfect m-flo music.

Q: I have one last question to wrap things up, I don't know if you've really paid attention to the fan response to everything so far. I'm talking about things like the teaser, the announcement, everything surrounding that. How do you feel about the fan response so far and do you have any messages for your fans?

LISA: I'm just very happy that they're happy, and we're very happy that they're happy. I can't wait to do the concerts and have them come and see us, have a good time with us, and sing our songs together with us. Because you know, we don't just perform, we like to have our fans make the whole stage with us. I really just can't wait until we do our tour, or concerts, or whatever it might be. We gotta get out there fast for them.

Overall I'm just really happy about everything. I thank the lord every day that he gave me the chance to come back in this group and that our staff is still supporting us. It's the same people that did m-flo originally, they're still here with us so this is not just an everyday kind of thing that happens. I truly believe it's a miracle.

VERBAL: I would say the same thing, I'm just happy. You don't understand, when we broke the news about m-flo so many people, random people from random fields, wrote me that hour when the news broke. Like Becky wrote to me, the CEO of YG Entertainment Japan wrote me and was like “I always loved m-flo!”, real estate moguls, artists wrote me. J Soul Brothers Omi wrote me and was like “I was always a fan, can I do something with you guys?” This really random set of people, and not just from Japan but even people from the states. I didn't even know they knew m-flo so it was really nice. And fans online too, the stuff they write is really encouraging and it's a testament that this is right thing we're doing. We're really excited to make more songs, for them.

Taku: The cool thing I realized in the YouTube comments was that there are both Japanese and English reactions to it. So many positive and encouraging comments from all around the world. It really means a lot to us and we are seriously trying to go around the world to meet you guys.
Thank you so much for your support.

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