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Sound Decision
the Indigo Interview

by Jonathan Mays,
The Indigo stole the show at Anime Expo without ever leaving the Geneon booth, performing twice a day to hundreds of intrigued onlookers. There were probably a few Ai Yori Aoshi and Someday's Dreamers fans in the crowd, but most everybody was simply drawn to the oasis of calm in the middle of the expo hall's chaos.

A few minutes after their final Saturday performance, singer Miki Taoka and guitarist Yuichi Ichikawa sat down for a fast-paced interview, discussing their upcoming album and a number of considerably less relevant items.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Nanawa

Miki Taoka: Have you been doing well?
Yeah. It's been a long day...Well, longer for you, I guess. And you guys are doing the same thing tomorrow and Monday?
M: Yeah. Once we've got experience with one concert, then it'll be okay.

Have you done this many concerts before?
Both: Yeah, in Japan.

How do you do it in Japan? Because you don't have big anime conventions over there.
Yuichi Ichikawa: In Japan, we don't really do any anime-related events.

Oh, okay, just like big concert festivals?
Y: Yeah, just regular touring.

So have you been enjoying California?
Y: Yes. Yesterday, we went to a baseball game at Anaheim Stadium.

Oh, cool! Sorry about the weather, it's usually better.
M: What's the weather usually like?

M: Well, this is actually better because right now in Japan it's very hot, humid and damp.

Where are you guys from again?
Y: Tokyo. Near Yokosuka Base. Do you know where that is?

Yeah, my dad was in the Navy. So I guess it's been about a year since we've talked, and you've released a couple of albums since then. Want to talk about your latest music? You just had an album come out last month...
M: Are you talking about the covers album?

I'm not sure, since it just came out last month. It takes a long time to get over here.
M: Yeah, last month we had a J-Pop covers album come out, and then last autumn we had "Once More."

How'd you pull that one together?
Y: We've been releasing covers albums once every two years, so we just wanted to keep on working with that. To put a new twist compared to the last two, we wanted to cover artists that are from our country instead of outside.

What were some of the big ones you did this time? I'm sorry I don't have the list with me.
Y: Are you talking about famous ones that Japanese people would know, or something everyone would know?

Whatever's on the last album. I'm wondering about how you picked the ones for the last album or any favorites you have or anything like that. I think you said Seiko Matsuda last time.
Y: Ah, you know Seiko Matsuda? I'm surprised that you know Seiko.

Well, you mentioned her last time. Anybody else?
M: Maybe the opening theme song from an anime a long time ago.
Y: Like maybe the '70s.

Have any new favorites?
Y: They're rather old songs; the latest song on that album is probably from '94.

Well, I think we can still talk about that a bit. Y'know, educate people.
M: You're talking about the latest album?

Any of them, really. It's all up to you.
Y: Right now we're in the process of recording a new album, we're kind of under the pressure. [laughs] My producer told me that I have to start making songs even at the hotel room! [laughs]

So what else are you working on for that album?
Y: We're still in the process of creating the songs, so we're not even at the stage of recording any vocals yet.

Do you have any theme that you're working towards?
Y: Something that will reflect ourselves, The Indigo.

Anything more specific?
Y: We haven't even written the songs yet, so it's hard to say! [laughs] We're still at the beginning of the process. It's not like I've decided on a particular theme and started moving based on the theme...

Just going to kind of see what happens?
Y: Yeah.

Where do you get these ideas most of the time?
Y: Right now we're looking for what The Indigo is like. By looking at our past releases and pulling what would be our feelings out of them and turning them into something new.

Are there any ones in particular?
Y: The first album.

So if somebody hears you in Someday's Dreamers, what is first album they should import from Japan if they want to know more about you?
Y: Probably the latest one, the one we put out last year.

Okay. Wanna talk about that one?
Y: Well...

Well, how about your writing routine?
Y: There were a lot of magical moments where I'd catch a really short phrase or sentence and from there everything would blow up into a full song in a matter of minutes. And an entire song would be completed like that.

Can you remember one certain example where that came together?
M: "Flare."
Y: Yeah, the title song, "Flare." It seems like all of the songs on that album were very similar in that nature, where she would say something and that would trigger something, let me go build on that, and create a song. It was difficult to find those little things that would cause that whole chain reaction.

Do you think that it's getting easier, now that you've done this for a while? Or is it getting harder?
Y: It's getting harder.
M: The more you make, the harder it gets.

Y: To be honest, it is a business. [laughs] So, the music creation is for yourself, but at the same time it's for the record company, and it's also for the fans as well. It's not a simple kind of subject to discuss. If it's something kind of simple in the concept of just making songs, then it's probably difficult if you want to become a professional. Maybe you're better off in the subway. [laughs]

Speaking of pros, HYDE was here this morning, and he said he was at the peak of his happiness. And he felt he was going downhill. Are you guys that way with music, or is it still going up?
Y: It's kind of similar in a way. There was a period where we went through a lot of change, and the period of change kind of came to an end. And after that period of change, we're just trying to keep what we've got.

M: But HYDE, he's by himself so it might be a little more difficult.

Y: As a musician, probably the most difficult thing is to have some constant sort of motivation to keep you going. It should always be something for yourself, although it is a business.

I'm trying to think of an analogy, but since we're on the coast, do you think we could say that you approach music like a wave? Where you start, and you build it up, and then it crashes, and then once it's done, you have to build it up all over again?
Y: Yeah, that's true. For me personally, the way I see it, there's the release of the very first album we did. But before that, I was just a regular person, so I'm trying to find that feeling of being that regular person who's trying to release that first album. I'm trying to get back to that feeling. So it could possibly be that analogy of that wave.

Or I could be wrong, you know.
Y: Or you can't tell where the wave is coming from. [laughs]

All right, I'll go with that one.
Y: Yeah, nobody knows where the wave's coming from.

Miki, I think last time you said that you were practicing Korean. How's that going?
M: I'm still learning it, still getting better. I've made a few appearances on Japanese TV shows that teach Korean language. [laughs]

Well, if you're laughing about it, you ought to elaborate!
M: For that TV show, I actually went to Seoul and a camera crew just followed behind me and I would just bring up conversations with people. And during that process there were a lot of little events that happened.

Can you give an example?
Y: Have you been to Korea?
Y: It's like a giant theme park! [everyone laughs]

M: There are a lot of episodes. I went to a place to go look at cherry blossoms; they're called "hanami" in Japan. So I did the same thing in Korea, and naturally people would go and gather and eat and drink. Then there was this one time when a Korean man approached me. He was drunk and said, "Hey, girl, why don't you have a drink with me?" [laughs] But everyone was nice.

Well, have you any new hobbies? Anything else new going on?
M: We went to China for a live performance for a couple weeks, so maybe I'll pick up Chinese. Though maybe English would be something I should learn! [laughs]

Y: And maybe Spanish too! Adios! [everyone laughs]

M: There are a lot of people who speak English, so...maybe Chinese...

What did you see in China?
M: We were in Beijing, so we went to see some pandas.

They have pandas in California, too...
M: Really?

Yeah, San Diego. They just had a baby panda born less than a year ago, too.
M: Really? Cool!

Y: Have you been to China?
Y: You should go! What about Japan?

Yes. I guess we're getting pretty close here, but I think you guys said that LiSA Loeb was one of your inspirations. She now has a TV show in the US.
M: I didn't know that. Is that on MTV?

I dunno. It's maybe on E! or something.
Y: Is that local in California?

No, it's cable. If you had an Indigo TV show, how would that play out?
Y: We'd bring a lot of guests.
M: Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Y: But not musicians, just friends. [laughs] Not just Americans, but like all sorts of people, like some Chinese friends... [laughs]
M: I'm kind of curious about LiSA Loeb's TV show now.

I'll go look it up. Anything else on your mind?
Both: We'd like to come again next year, too.

I hope you do, too.
M: So last year we saw you at Otakon and we said, "See you next year!" and we were able to see you here at AX.

Y: Next time when we come, we'd like to bring our band with us. And go around to small clubs and do a little...with a van, drive around from place to place.

M: Maybe travel through all the anime events in the country.

All right, I'll look forward to it.

M: Do you live in California?
No, I grew up in San Diego, but my college is in Missouri. Like three hours by plane.

M: Is it okay if I ask you some things? Anything new for you in the past year?
Oh, man, that's hard.

M: What about girlfriends?
Yeah, not right now.

M: You have a younger sister?
Yes, she's about to go to college.

M: How's she doing?
She's doing well. She's playing golf.
Y: Really? Golf?

Well, thanks very much for your time!

Both: Thanks for having us!

Transcribed by Trace Wilson

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