You might know 砂月-SATSUKI- as the vocalist of the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) band “Rentrer en Soi”, which was active between 2001 and 2008, but 砂月-SATSUKI- decided to launch his solo career in 2009 to “pierce his own musical aesthetics and create a new world of music”.
Since the start of his solo works he has performed at various events in the United States, but he’s also dabbled into theater and film, and his song “Awake” is part of the soundtrack for the PSP game “Amnesia” (a visual novel by Otomate).
Next to his solo career he is also part of the international project “Moon Stream”, with Tomo Asaha as the guitarist of the project. For this project they want to combine the world of visual rock with the sounds of the New York underground. Additionally, both guys are on other ends of the globe, so… Quite an impressive feat here.
Anyway, tonight we’re only speaking with 砂月-SATSUKI- about his solo project, so let’s dive right in, shall we?
Even though I’ve just introduced you a bit already in the introduction, can you introduce yourself to the readers as well?
砂月-SATSUKI-: I’m 砂月-SATSUKI-. I’m a solo singer from Japan.
Let’s dive right in, then! Being from Japan of course means that your native language is Japanese, but you’ve been overseas so often in the recent years, how does that work with the communication? Because you’re speaking English with me now as well…
砂月-SATSUKI-: I’m feeling the difficulty of it all now. I’m trying to study English, and many other languages now because of it. I feel like it’s very difficult to communicate on a high level outside of Japan, and I really want to bring my work to a broader audience.
You’re currently here in Europe to promote your latest album “Squall of Emotions”, but of course there’s also that language barrier again. How did the audience respond to your new album?
砂月-SATSUKI-: I really want for you to feel more emotions after listening to my songs. I also got a lot of inspiration from this tour because of he energy the fans gave me. I’ve had so many good responses to my work here in Europe. It makes me really happy.
Despite being a solo singer, you have a full support band with you during this tour. How did you select the members for this band?
砂月-SATSUKI-: Last year I also came to Europe, together with SANA (who currently is the guitarist in the support band), and this tour was filled with a lot of good memories for me. The audience really seemed to like our dynamic as well, so I promised them I would come with SANA again. So this year that dream is becoming reality.
I also wanted to introduce Leona (the bassist) to the audience, because I really like his music. I was friends with every single one of the current support members already, so we played together in the studio and it felt good so I wanted to bring them on tour with me.
The life of a solo musician
What inspired you personally to pursue a career in music? Were you inspired by another artist, or was there a different reason?
砂月-SATSUKI-: I actually don’t have anyone I look up to. I just had the desire to sing, so I eventually gave in to it. I cannot listen to music to unwind either, since I analyze all songs, all the time. So I don’t really listen to any music either.
Next to singing you’re also able to play some piano and violin, right? Is there another instrument that you’d like to learn to play, perhaps?
砂月-SATSUKI-: I can’t play drums at all, so I would like to learn how to play them. But I also want to continue practicing the piano more so I will be better at playing it in the future.
Assume inspiration strikes right now and you want to write a new song. What would you need? Do you start with an instrument to write, or do you use another method?
砂月-SATSUKI-: Coffee! (laughs)
雪 (Yuki): Really? Just coffee? (also laughing)
砂月-SATSUKI-: Well… Yeah. Just coffee. And a comfortable environment like a nice room, maybe a nice view and some air-conditioning… But the coffee is the essential part here. (laughs)
Even though you’ve told me you don’t really listen to music to unwind, is there an artist you would like to do a collaboration with, perhaps?
砂月-SATSUKI-: Chester Bennington, the vocalist of Linkin Park. I’ve always wanted to work with him, scream together with him… What can I say, I just love his work!
We’re almost at the end of the interview already, but if you look back on this tour now, what is something that really stands out to you?
砂月-SATSUKI-: In my work as an artist this tour is very important to me, so I will remember everything from it, especially since I got so much inspiration during this tour. But one thing that really stands out is the desire to improve my English, so I can communicate better with everyone outside of Japan.
And sadly, this is the end… At least, of this interview. But there’s one more question left: Do you have a message for everyone who has been reading today’s interview?
砂月-SATSUKI-: Please help me learn more English! And please invite me here again, I really like it here in Europe and The Netherlands, so I really want to come back here. And I hope the fans will continue to support me, since they make everything possible!
Next to an interview there was a little unexpected surprise for me as well. Mid-interview砂月-SATSUKI- got up and said “let’s do something fun!” while pointing at my camera. So next to live photos there are also a few photos which he personally posed for. (And I didn’t even have to bribe him with coffee or anything!)
As you can tell, he’s also very interested in improving his English, so if you have the opportunity to speak to him, then by all means do so in English!
We also took photos of his performance at P60 (Amstelveen, The Netherlands). As an additional bonus we also had a mini-photoshoot before the show. You can find these photos on our photography portfolio, Arlequin Photography, by clicking the images below!
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雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind Arlequin Magazine & Photography.
She started in 2009 as a photographer with Arlequin Photography, but due to a growing interest in journalism, translation and behind-the-scenes work in general the project burst out of it's seams in 2021 and expanded through the addition of Arlequin Magazine.
雪 (Yuki) is a native Dutch speaker and maintains both the English and Dutch sections of both Magazine and Photography with original content, translations and photography as well as all the behind-the-scenes work for both websites.
She speaks Dutch, English, Japanese and German.