“I want to describe my world by creating albums,” said Amatsuki, who recently released his second major album Hakoniwa Dramatic. A rising star in the Japanese music industry, he started out on Nico Nico Douga, the Japanese equivalent of YouTube, in 2010. He began by releasing cover versions of popular Vocaloid and anime songs, and his popularity grew immensely allowing him to release several albums, including Hello, World! in 2014, his first to feature original songs. Amatsuki made his European debut at MCM London Comic Con in May, and MyM Buzz was on hand to talk to him at his roundtable interview.
How does it feel to be here in London at this wonderful event?
I saw so many cosplayers who were characters from not only anime or manga but also American comics, so I was really surprised.
Is this your first ever Comic Con?
This is my first, yes.
What are you looking forward to seeing at the event?
I want to see many cosplayers!
There are a lot of people cosplaying today, why do you think so many of them are doing this not only in Japan but all over the world?
In my opinion those cosplayers want to take part in animations.
Obviously you became a big hit in Japan because of your covers of anime and Vocaloid songs, how did you first become interested in that?
When I was small I really liked anime, and when I started using the internet I heard Vocaloid songs. Vocaloids are also popular amongst my friends.
What’s your favourite cover song?
What was it like to work on your album Hello, World!?
I want to continue to do my favourite things, so even though I debuted I want to continue making things I want to make like I did with Hello, World!.
A lot of your songs have been written for you, but on Hello, World! you collaborated on the lyrics. Would you like to write more songs?
In this CD there are three songs that I wrote the lyrics for like, “Hello, My Story”. I definitely want to write more.
What do you like about writing music?
When the audience listens to the music they can imagine the world and the story of the songs, and I would like to make those kinds of songs.
What do you base your fashion sense on?
With my name ‘Amatsuki’, ‘tsuki’ means moon in Japanese so my outfit is based on stars and the moon really.
If you could feature in any anime series as a new character, which series would you like to be in and why?
Sora from Kingdom Hearts!
That’s a popular choice, but why for you is that the obvious one?
I really like Disney, and also Final Fantasy, so that’s why I like Kingdom Hearts and chose that character.
Vocaloids are becoming more and more popular outside of Japan, with Hatsune Miku being one that stands out in particular, in Europe and the UK especially. Who do you like most when it comes to vocaloid music?
I like Super Cell a lot, he’s a vocaloid composer that’s really good.
Japanese culture is being celebrated around the world in so many different ways, why do you think people are so fascinated by it?
Maybe Japanese animation is really interesting and attractive to all of them.
The audience in Japan and the UK are completely different. Is there something you want the audience in the UK to take from your music?
My music always uses Japanese lyrics, but I put my feelings in the music. So although the language is different I would like my feelings to carry to the UK audience. That’s why I’d like to continue making music.
Do you have any favourite artists from Japan?
In Japan I like Sekai no Owari, they’re a pop-punk band.
Your first music video was released on Nico Nico Douga. How were the reactions to that? Were you worried about how people would respond to it?
I enjoyed the music video myself, and so many people that I didn’t know enjoyed my music so I was really glad.
With the explosion of YouTube, and with how one of your videos has 1.4 million hits, do you think social media helped you break out as an artist outside of Japan to reach a new audience?
YouTube is used by so many people around the world, so it did help me to be more famous.
Since you debuted on Nico Nico Douga, what has been the most challenging thing for you?
It was really challenging after my debut because I used to use the internet which is free, but I had to sell my CDs, so it was challenging to do that. I enjoyed myself though, so I didn’t have many problems.
Of all of your songs so far, is there one that is special to you?
“Hello, My Story” is one of my favourite songs. I haven’t had dreams, but I continued to sing and make music and so many people followed me, so I put my feelings of gratefulness into this song.
Japanese culture has been adopted all around the world, but some people have been critical of seeing western stars in Japanese stories. How do you feel about that?
I think it’s wonderful. Some Japanese anime background is not set in Japan so I think it’s okay.
A lot of people spend time watching your videos. When you are watching videos on other platforms what do you like to watch?
I always watch many music videos.
What kind of activities do you want to do in the UK and abroad?
At first, I want to go to different places where I haven’t been to, and when I go there I want to say thank you to my fans.
You have so many fans, have you had an experience with them that has meant a lot for you?
In Japan so many earthquakes happen, and my fans told me about how they had to travel a lot but they listen to my music and it always encourages them and cheers them up. I was really glad when someone said that to me.
Interview by Roxy Simons