Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Progressively Aggressive Meets FLOW!


With our recent attendance of ACEN 2011 Progressively Aggressive was given the opportunity to meet up with Japanese rock band FLOW in an intimate press session on Sunday.  For those of you who may not be familiar with the band, Asakawa brothers Koshi (vocals) and Takeshi (guitar) formed the foundation of the group in 1993 when they began playing together.  Then between 1998 and 2000 the remaining three members of the band Keigo Hayaski (vocals), Hiroshi Iwasaki (drums), and Yasutaro Goto (bass) joined.  Since then, FLOW has released twenty singles and seven albums.  Some of their songs such as “GO!” and “Re:member” were featured as opening themes to the popular anime series Naruto (my personal favorite!)   

Read the transcript of the press interview after the jump.

-The band introduces themselves one at a time (with help of their interpreter)

How do you feel about your performance at ACEN and what’s your impression of the fans?
This is the first time that FLOW is in Chicago and attending ACEN, they had an exciting time and a lot of fun with the performance. In the past they’ve been in San Jose and Dallas.  American fans express their excitement, their happiness, everything with their whole body and soul.

You played your new song at the concert, can you tell us anything about the song and the lyrics?
With the harsh situation in Japan with the tsunami/earthquake, everyone in Japan is going through a lot of hardship.  Everyone thought their song could brighten their energy and give them hope for tomorrow.

What inspired you to get into the music industry?
FLOW has always considered their live performances to be very important, through recording their music they were able to meet very nice people. They were able to come to the US thanks to the staff who’s working with them in order to make everything happen.

How would you say that your music has evolved through all of your different albums?
FLOW listens to many different tpyes of music (hip hop, reggae), if anything catches their attention they try to incorporate that into their own music and help that evolve their style.

Your group has done a lot of anime themes over the years. Do the studios approach you first? Can you discuss the process to develop a theme for a particular show?
There are several patterns that they’re asked as a band to make music for, but when they are asked for a production opening/closing theme, if the anime has already been on air then they will watch the show to get an idea for lyrics. If not on air, then they view the manga/comic for inspiration.

Is there any possibility for a tour in the US?
Of course!

What Japanese or American artists do you look up to?
Before their professional debut, they wanted to be like the band “Zebrahead”.

Were there any anime that influenced you when creating music?
Japan is a big country for anime.  Every kid has an anime they watch when growing up, so whatever rock band that plays during the opening for an anime helps develop inspiration.

How do you deal with fans who only know you for your anime covers?
So far FLOW has done 10 songs as themes for animes and they’ve created “FLOW Anime Best” being sold digitally in the US. They’d like these anime songs to be an entrance for fans to get more involved in the band.

Are there any songs you particularly enjoy performing live?

What artists are in your iPod playlist right now?
Many, many many. If it’s a US band, then he (Yasutaro) likes Metallica. When they came to Japan on tour he went to their live performance to watch them.

What are your plans after ACEN?
When they go back to Japan they’ll be doing their recording tour for their new song. But first they are going to San Jose next week.

What’s unique about Chicago compared to San Jose or Dallas?
They will be going out to the city starting tomorrow, so they haven’t been able to look around the city yet, but look forward to it. However, the Chicago deep dish pizza was very impressive. “Amazing.”

You've said you would like to be a manga artist (to Koshi). Do you ever draw when you’re touring?
During tours that aren’t many times he can draw, but back in Japan there’s a magazine he draws a picture for every month. When he was in elementary school he drew his own manga called “Fireball”, when you collect these 7 magical balls… it was a brand new idea that no one had ever seen before. (laughs)

What are your personal favorite anime characters?
It’s from a while ago, but Kaneda from Akira or Shar from Gundam, until a while ago in Tokyo they had  a lifestyle Gundam statue, it was very impressive. 

Koshi developed a ring, do you have any involvement in fashion?
He likes designs with skulls on it and he has a skull tattoo on his back. He likes more colorful attire during performances. It’s going to be a bit off topic, but earlier in the day he halfway dropped into a sewer and his favorite sneakers got dirt all over them - Press room “awww”s. Takeshi likes the Adidas logo (currently on his hat).

Any difference in energy between Japanese fans vs any other (American)?
It might be a difference in cultures, but American audiences are very powerful, jumping around, the sound of their voice, having the time of their life.

Are there any American movies or television shows that you might be inspired by.
Of course. Movies with Leonardo DiCaprio. Romeo and Juliet was almost like a musical and they liked the soundtrack very much. The Dark Knight was a favorite, the ideas and themes of evil and justice inspire them when making music.

Do you ever listen to movie soundtracks?
All the time (Takeshi) – He concentrates on the link between the image and the music. If he likes the music in a movie, he’ll go straight for buying the soundtrack.

Can you tell us the name of the new song?
It’s not done yet. They will start making it later on. He’s going to be writing the lyrics while in the U.S. 

Can you tell us anything about it right now?
Can’t tell you just yet. We’ll come back to the US and do a live performance of it.

Do any of you play video games? 
(Yasutaro) Yes, he owns a PS3, PS2, PSP and Nintendo DS

What have you been playing recently?
Shooting games. Final Fantasy.

Recently American comics have made their way into films. Anything from Marvel (X-Men as an example) that catches your eye?
Spiderman is the coolest.

You started your band in 93’ and named your band in 95’. What was your band’s name before FLOW?
It wasn’t a "real" band before, they did covers and had different members.

What’s the story behind the name of your band?
Flowing water never goes bad, it’s always fresh.

Do you do any community service? Do you work with children or the elderly?
Their music is very loud so it may be harsh on the ears of the elderly, but there is a lot of participation at their concerts from all generations.

Is there an anime or video game that you’d like to write a song for?
We’d like to keep it a secret.

While on tour, is there anything you do to stay healthy and in shape?
Stretch. Keigo is very cautious not to drink the night before a performance, and has a humidifier in the room for vocals.

What’s your favorite food or drink?
Alcohol. Beer and more beer. Yasutaro is starting to miss the taste of green tea. 

Do any of you have a favorite sushi roll?
Tuna, tuna tuna (different parts of the tuna, but still tuna). Eggs. Flounders. Yellowtail. We’re starting to get hungry now.

Is there any American artists that you’d like to collaborate with?
It’s a different genre, but we really love Metallica and would really love to meet the bass player.

Any message you’d like to send to your fans?
This is their first time in Chicago, but they’ve enjoyed their time a lot, and it's one of their best live performances. They want this to just be the start and would love to come back and do more performances and meet more fans. 


  1. Them are some damn sweet pictures!

  2. Can I post this in a fan blog in Tumblr? Of course, we'll credit your website and link back, too.

    Thanks a bunch!


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