Anime Festival Asia: Singapore 2016 Day Three Field Report

Finally we’ve reached the last day of the convention! With all the panels, futuristic technologies and anime showcases, what can we possibly do to top all that on the final day? Well, lucky for all you readers, we managed to snag an interview with two anisong artists who were going to perform on Day 3 of the I Love Anisong Concert! One of them is a well-known artist, and the other is a rising star in the industry.

We are, of course, talking about Aimer and Alisa Takigawa. While we could talk more about the artists in the intro, we will let the artists talk for themselves in this article. So without further ado, let’s move on to the interviews!

Note: Because both artists were not fluent in English, there was a translator present. However, it cannot be said that everything could be communicated properly. Instead of giving a word for word interview for this article, we will instead give a rough approximation of what they said.

Alisa Takigawa

Alisa Takigawa, also known as Takigawa Arisa, debuted on March 4, 2015 with her single Season. She has since had an active career and is attributed with producing the song for the third ending theme of Nanatsu no Taizai, Seasons, and the ending theme of Owarimonogatari, Sayonara no Yukue.

Alisa has always wanted to be a singer since kindergarten. During junior high school, she joined a light music band under the role of singer and guitarist. They did Beatles covers and had some original song. Unfortunately, the band later disbanded in October 2012. She had thoughts about giving up, but decided that if she couldn’t make it in a band she would do it on her own. This eventually led to her debut.

When Alisa first walked into the room, the disposition that we got from her was generally one of being very humble and down to earth. After a round of greetings from both sides, the interview finally begun. The first thing that was brought up was her general character as a singer.

Alisa communicated that she preferred to always have a band with her when she is performing. This is due in part to her days as a singer in a light music band. It was also said that from the roles of songwriter, singer or composer (all roles that she has taken up), she likes writing lyrics the most. Her greatest inspiration when it comes to writing the lyrics for her songs is the scenery of Japan. She wants to spread the beauty of Japan to people all over the world, so do check out her lyrics while listening to her songs if you can!

When asked about how she made the songs for Nanatsu no Taizai and Owarimonogatari, Alisa stated that rather than just making a random song that is marginally related to the anime, she tries to relate to a character and how they feel. In doing so, Alisa is able to fully incorporate the essence of the anime and its characters into the song, creating a much better feel for the anime’s theme songs.
Alisa’s first album is known as At Film. That’s a pretty out there name, so of course we wanted to know why it was named the way it was. “At Film” is literally what it means. It’s like being at the location of a filming. She wants to capture the four seasons of Japan, the scenery of everything and the scene of riding a bike riding through the streets. What it means in essence, is that she wants her album to be like a film, almost like a documentary that fully showcases the beauty of Japan as a whole to her listeners, whether they be Japanese or those from abroad.

When asked if she faced any challenges with composing her songs for this album, Alisa stated that it’s actually not hard for her at all, as she has had previous experience composing songs in her light music band from before. However, regardless of difficulty, she does put in a considerable effort into composing each song because it is important for her to invoke the feeling that she aspires to.

A lot of her inspirations comes from the artists that she likes in the 80s. Alisa really enjoys 80s music and wants to put that essence into her music, and invoke a feeling of nostalgia. By composing her songs the way that she does, she really hopes to tell stories with her songs.

Of course, she isn’t a one dimensional artist. While she performs plenty with an acoustic guitar, Alisa is very proficient with a firebird electric guitar as well. She even wants to diversify further by learning other instruments, some of which are pretty out there like the Chinese zither (known as a Guzheng). There are even times when she feels that she doesn’t want to be tied down to one style of music, and try out genres like Electronic Dance Music. In doing so, Alisa hopes to create the “Alisa Style”.

alisa-takigawa-copy

Finally, as Alisa is a relatively new solo artist, we inquired further on her experience on performing live. She stated that performing in AFA, whether it be Indonesia, Thailand or Singapore, was an especially nerve wrecking experience for her. Alisa is used to performing with a band, therefore performing solo, especially abroad is difficult for her.

However, Alisa expressed that was happy after the performance because of how responsive and welcoming everyone was to her when she went up on stage, and looked forward to the concert that night.

To end it, Alisa gave some advice to aspiring artists. She suggested to new singers that they should find what they are good at so that they can grow better and faster, rather than to focus in a genre that they are less gifted in.

With that, the interview was ended, and what an interview it was! We wish all the best to Alisa Takigawa, and hope to see her at AFA next year as well!

Aimer

In the beginning, Aimer worked with various artists rather than going solo full time. She officially debuted in 2011 with Defstar Records with her song Rokutousei no Yoru, the ending theme of No.6. Aimer continued to release song after song, some of which were taken up by various anime as their themes. Some of these anime are especially famous ones, like Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works.

Aimer hardly needs an introduction. Almost anyone who watches anime has at least heard of her. She is well known for her strong vocals and general shyness, constantly clouding her face in darkness during her concerts. While her face was officially revealed for the first time on Music Station with the song Chouchou Musubi, Aimer continues to generally be very elusive.

This can be seen from the opening statement that we were told very firmly before the interview: No autographs or pictures. Don’t even ask. Of course, we fully understood, and refrained from doing so. What’s important are Aimer’s words, not taking pictures of her.

In true Aimer style, she was very soft spoken and generally quite shy in speaking, but that’s just one of the things that we love about Aimer. After a round of greetings, the interview finally begun in earnest.

First off, Aimer was queried about how she feels when performing overseas in front of an unfamiliar audience. She expressed that was quite receptive about the whole thing. It was noticed by her that the audiences that she has are very energetic, and she hopes that she is able to return that energy in kind by providing an excellent concert for them in return. In the future, Aimer hopes to perform internationally more often, and she is hopeful that her next destination is Hong Kong.

Coincidentally, Aimer is performing in Hong Kong on March 10 and Singapore on March 18 for the Anisong Fantasy Live Concert, so grab your tickets now if you want to see her in those places.

When it comes to her character as a singer, the first thing that was touched upon are her song covers. Aimer tries to put her own twist to each song she covers, and make them somewhat jazzy. In this way, she hopes to make them more distinct, yet recognisable as the original song.

It’s pretty well known that Aimer has a lot of English lyrics in her songs, even going so far as to sing full songs in English like When You Wish Upon A Star and Moon River. Aimer has plans to sing in other languages, and the first one that she wants to try is Chinese. She stated that the going is slow however, as she finds the language quite hard. Despite that, she is still going to try her best to sing a cover in Chinese.

Another thing that was touched upon was the many celestial themes in her songs. This is apparent in her songs like Broken Night, Last Stardust and Midnight Sun. Ever since she was young, Aimer has always enjoyed stargazing. She would spend a lot of time at night thinking about life while looking up at the stars. Much of her sense of loneliness stems from this particular habit of hers, and so it translates well into her songs.

It’s not an especially widespread fact, but Aimer did take a break when she was 15 years old because she lost her voice. For a singer, this is an especially big blow, but Aimer overcame it in the end and is touching the heart of millions around the world now. What we wanted to know was how she did just that. It was said by her that losing her voice at that point was indeed a heavy loss for her. It was like a big wall had risen to block her every path in life.

However, it was because of this very obstacle that she started to realise how much she loved to sing, in a way that absence makes the heart fonder. Her desire to sing became so strong, along with her love for music, that she was able to move past the issue and continued her singing career, voice strong as ever.

To cap off the interview, Aimer shared her plans for 2017. With the reveal of her face in 2016, many fans became much more supportive than before. Aimer shared that there are many fans who have told her that they can relate to her, as they are very much hiding in the dark like she does during her concerts. Because she revealed her face, Aimer stepped one step closer into the light. This inspired many of her fans with courage. This in turn inspired her, and so she hopes that in 2017, she is able to step further into the light, and walk together with her fans by getting stronger together.

With that the interview ended, and we were left truly exhausted. Aimer is truly an artist with a lot of depth to her, and we hope to explore this depth more as she steps further into the light. We wish you the best in all your endeavours Aimer, and we’ll be following you closely as you take your first steps into the light!

Final Thoughts

A lot was revealed in these interviews, but the biggest thing that was brought to light was how human these artists are. It is easy to just think about them just as pretty voices that deliver good music to us, but when we realise that there is a human behind the song, and the great depth that encompasses them with it, the music that they bring to us becomes that much more meaningful.

In a way, we enjoyed the interviews with these artists more than the concerts that they performed later that night, because we had an opportunity to experience the human behind the songs first hand. We hope to see them again, and if another opportunity arises, we will share all that we can with our loyal readers!
For our international fans, Alisa Takigawa AND Aimer will be performing in Anisong Fantasy Live on March 10 in Hong Kong and March 18 in Singapore. Do grab tickets if you want to see them live!

Have any thoughts you want to share on these artists? Share them with us in the comments below!

Aria

Writer

Author: Aria

Hi, this is Aria. I have abandoned the 3D world for the 2D one. Occasionally I leave the 2D world to write my thoughts down. With that said and done, it's time for me to depart once more to the forbidden world, my waifus await.

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