March 24, 2013

CMW Interview with Takashi Kamide

I believe that the element that makes musicians very attractive is the passion toward music. Who cares about missing one key during the set. When their enthusiasm transmits through their soulful performance, it spices up the live show.

 When I first watched a YouTube video channel of  Japanese accordionist, Takashi Kamide, where he has recorded his original songs and covered various Japanese pop songs, I was withdrawn to the computer screen and proceeded with one after another for a while. Even though they were self-recorded on his iPhone, the quality of the videos didn't bother me at all (it's retro and artistic anyways,) and rather, I couldn't help noticing the joy of playing music that he was expressing through the melodies that he seamed together.

So who is Takashi Kamide?  He is an accordion player /songwriter from Nara, Japan, who explores the possibility of what this traditional instrument can do in collaboration with various genre. His international experience including SXSW (2010 and 2011) has raised up his profile internationally and he has participated in this year's Canadian Music festival for the first time. Not only the defeat of illness in early his life, (You can find out more about that from his biography.), but also his positive attitude toward life enhances the taste of his music. His unique style of the combination of organic musical instrument and adaptation of today's technology is a must-listen. In short, he is a true music geek that embraces music from the bottom of his heart and enjoys it at the fullest in every respect. 

Kamide started playing accordion aside from jazz piano when he was a teenager. " When I was practicing jazz piano, I struggled with it a couple of times and wanted to play other instruments to take a break from it. I picked an accordion as it has the keys like a piano so it was easy for me to play. Gradually I started being very interested in it and I discovered lots of talented artists and it thought it would very interesting for me to try it out. I was already writing songs as a hobby when I was in middle school. Composing songs came to me very naturally without any instructions by anyone."

Kamide has just released a mini album called, Reborn on March 20th"The title of the song is related to a song off the record, Tomorrow" Said Kamide. "A dog that I had for about 10 years passed away two years ago and this song reminds me of the happiest time that I had with him. I wrote this song before the incidence, but I was so depressed about his passing and I didn't feel like making any music or performing. So I just did a few works to make living. However, around last year, I finally felt like I was ready to start making music all over again a little by little and I started recording songs. So I felt like my mind was "reborn" in that way. I used to write songs that were hard to understand by most listeners.( It was very experimental and it didn't have a clear melody line so it was hard for the listeners to follow.) Musicians like to create songs like that, but I was advised that my music can only be understood by music geeks, so it might be a good idea for me to try something more melodious for people to understand. I used to write songs like that in the past. It was after the fact that my participation for CMW was finalized and I was writing songs that were very geeky. So I wanted to try something new after receiving the advice. In this way, the title,  Reborn  made sense to me. These songs contains a sold melody line that people can sing along with after their first listen, but still interesting for musicians to perform. This change in the style of the album forced me to postpone the release of the album. ( Originally it was scheduled to be released last year.)"

This 5 song mini album contains a very unique album illustration as well. " It was done by Satoko Takahashi, an engraving artist. The image of the person holding the egg looks like playing an accordion. Also I thought the egg in the art implies reborn."

One of the songs off the album, Pure and Dark  features this interesting instrument called accordina, which he has used a couple of times during CMW. "The reaction that I got from the audience was good." Said Kamide as he eagerly showed me the French instrument that I'd never seen in my life. The challenges that he takes to make traditional instruments as an artist are something that you don't wanna miss out. 

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