Interview on the famous Vocaloid artist Hachi's publicly-streamed studio rehearsal!!
On February 13th, on NicoNico Live, there was a stream titled "Internet Independent Presents "Hachi" Studio Rehearsal Live!!" This broadcast featured a rehearsal for INTERNET INDEPENDENT MUSIC LIVE FES, being held on March 6th at Shinagawa's Stellar Ball. The performers in the stream were Hachi-san, Luschka-san, Captain Mirai-san, acane madder-san, Yumao-san, and Igarashi-san, but there were also gathered additional members from the Vocaloid artist unit "estlabo" as guests: Furukawa-san, wowaka-san, and Toku-P-san.
The songs played in the broadcast included Close and Open, the Rakshasa and the Corpse, Wonderland and the Sheep's Song, Matryoshka, and Panda Hero - songs that NicoNico Douga users are sure to have heard at least once. After watching the rehearsal, I asked Hachi-san his thoughts on the broadcast.
Q. Is playing in a band usual for you?
A. No, I don't do it much. I did it a little in high school, a bit in vocational school.
Q. Personally, I think your songs are pretty band-ish.
A. Really. Well, I listen to band-ish songs, so I often have the desire to make such things.
Q. Your thoughts on the broadcast?
A. This constant feeling of "Wait, aren't all these people watching?" made me horribly anxious the entire time... (laughs) There were a total of 120,000 people (who viewed the stream), I think? It made me mentally exhausted.
Q. Did you read any comments on the stream? If so, did any catch your attention?
A. There was a laptop in the studio, so I took a peek a few times. (Any catch your attention?) Not really catching my attention, but whenever I messed up there were "lolol" comments, which made me phenomenally embarrassed.
Q. Tell us how excited you are for INTERNET INDEPENDENT MUSIC LIVE FES.
A. Hmm... well, I think it's a stage that I've skipped over two or three steps to stand on. When I priorly played in bands, we only had puny concerts with 100 or 200 people at best, and we were total amateurs. But we still did it, so I suppose it was something fun to do, eh? Yeah, I guess, maybe... (long pause) It was fun. Yeah, as long as it's fun, right?
Q. Do you sympathize with the audience that enjoys themselves too?
A. Yeah. I think we're having a ton of fun over here, so I think they should only feel the same.
Q. Excuse me if I may switch the subject. Do you have any favorite writers?
A. I like, uh... Haruki Murakami. Great pretentiousness, I guess? And a way with words. Though that way involves putting things simply.
Q. Has that had an influence on you?
A. I'm sure it has. I think music is something that heavily involves the ability to ponder upon what you see.
Q. Have you thought of writing stories?
A. I have notions of wanting to write, but I sorta lack confidence in my ability to organize logical sentences... that is, I think I suck, terribly. Do I just need to study more, I wonder?
Q. Do you enjoy composing and drawing?
A. Making sound and art is great fun. (Which do you have more fun with?) I usually think of them going together, so I haven't though much about what each is like without the other.
Q. Will you continue doing concerts?
A. Wouldn't you like to know. All I'm thinking about right now is March 6th, so I couldn't tell you what'll happen after that.
Q. Tell us about your relationship with Minakata Laboratory.
A. It's been a rather long while, so we're talking of maybe doing something.
Q. Is working as a team different from going solo?
A. I believe there are things which only (the team) can do, and yet there are things I can only do alone. So I make sure to make a big distinction.
Q. Do you enjoy playing in a band, at least this time around?
A. It's fun. It's really been quite a while, so (at first) we couldn't get any cooperation going at all, but we gradually solidified, got ourselves together, and now it's truly a blast. I blame my utter suckiness for the inability to cooperate, honestly.
Q. What did you do about the cooperation issues? Use body language?
A. I'm not that hardcore! (laughs) It just took time. That's all it could take.
Q. Do the participants all live nearby?
A. The others might have been close to the studio, but I live in Osaka (which isn't).
Q. So you came to a mutual understanding over the net?
A. That process only started when we met, so it didn't happen much online. We could mostly only progress when we met up.
Q. You don't like sending email back and forth?
A. I do not. Although I'm often angry at people who tend to ignore their email.
Q. Phone's easier! Right?
A. Not phones either. I'm so angry at them.
Q. By the way, you're quite tall, and have quite the cool voice.
A. I'm 188 centimeters. Man, I'm so close to 190... Yes, I'm still growing. I actually sorta wish it'd stop already... (About the voice:) Nah, I don't think it's that great...
Q. So, what do you like about yourself?
A. Like about myself...? Nothing much. I only see the bad parts of myself. To put it to an extreme, I'm a man who makes music out of my bad parts.
Q. A word to the Nico users and fans, please.
A. I'm a Vocaloid artist at the moment, but I'm hoping to do a variety of other things in the future. So look at those if you want, I guess, but don't get your hopes up too high.
Though Hachi-san claimed to be a "poor speaker," the way he handled our interview questions gave us the impression that he's a man who places value in words. We also caught another, Furukawa-san, who facilitated and supervised, and asked him what he thought about the broadcast.
Q. Great job! That was wonderful!
A. I was actually wondering how things would go. (laughs) The first part went pretty much to the script, but other things popped up along the way, and it was an ordeal getting it together.
Q. Though you were the facilitator of today's broadcast, tell us what you thought of the stream.
A. The participants surpassed their expectations dramatically... that's what I feel.
From looking at the comments from time to time, you could tell (a rehearsal) wasn't something you saw every day. It was my first time doing actual business in a studio like this, too. We're Vocaloid users and digital musicians, so while there are some who've performed in front of people (on streams or on stage), there are also lots of people thinking "What's going on?" So I thought looking upon the scene would be interesting.
But taking care of it, all on my own, was terrifying. (laughs) I get to watch people doing stuff, so it's fun, right? I had never done any kind of supervising before, so I was worried how it would look. But peeping at the comments showed me there were a lot of people enjoying, so that's a relief.
Q. What interests you about Hachi-san?
A. There's no discounting the greatness of his music and the high quality he always aspires to, but in another way, I guess I would say he's very lucky - he's a man suited to the era.
It's a period perfectly set up with the right circumstances for doing music, and with effort, he's realized his potential at the young age of 19. Not to mention he lives in an era where there's not only places to post music like NicoNico Douga and YouTube, but things like doujin events and concerts also coming into popularity...
Anyway, my point is that the era and the environment support him. Like, that's the result. But of course, his own effort and ability play into them, so what will happen as he simply keeps rolling at full force? There's no reason to regret it, there can only be good things... Well, I just expect promising things from him as one of his fans.
Q. You're getting into a fatherly gaze. (laughs)
A. No, no, no... (laughs) I just think he's great, regardless of age.
Q. Looking back at the broadcast, did you want to focus on any part in particular?
A. I wanted to see Hachi-kun working live with the other members at first, but... then came Jenga. (laughs) I originally bought it for myself, and it somehow got mentioned during the stream, so I figured since I paid for it myself, it would be a good opportunity to enjoy my use of 2800 yen. (laughs)
Q. Thank you very much!
The rehearsal went on through the night, and the interviews were conducted during a break with the energetic performers. Even we got awfully excited watching them. Make sure to keep an eye out for - if not another rehearsal - the main event, INTERNET INDEPENDENT MUSIC LIVE FES.