The last time I got to speak to 龍 (RYU) was a little over two years ago already, in 2016 when he was at the OshareCon convention in Nieuwegein (The Netherlands). But 龍 (RYU) certainly hasn’t gone silent since that show. Instead he has started a new project, but instead of only making it available to Japan, everyone all over the world is able to join in and enjoy this project.
So this is a very good reason to ask 龍 (RYU) for a new interview to learn some more about his ideas and motivations for this new project, don’t you think? Let’s not waste any more time and,
It has been a while since the readers have last seen you here on Arlequin Magazine, so can I ask you to introduce yourself once more, to make sure everyone knows who you are?
龍 (RYU): I am 龍 (RYU), I’m a solo artist, a singer, and I make a mixture of rock and traditional Japanese music. For my project I play the electric guitar, bass, keyboards and the traditional instruments (mainly the koto, shinobue and nohkan), but that’s only for recording. On stage I’m the singer.
Like I just said, it has been a while. The last time I saw you was in 2016, so can you update us on what you have been up to since then?
龍 (RYU): I’m currently making a new CD and I’m composing new songs. As a solo artist I play every instrument myself, so it takes ages to create something this way! I’m ready to go on another European tour anytime though, so just invite me! (wink wink)
Let’s get down to today’s business and talk a bit about what you’re currently doing next to the recording phase: you’re also doing livestreams that everyone from all over the world can attend! What is the story behind this? And what is it like for you?
龍 (RYU): It’s very fun for me as well. Many fans from overseas aren’t able to visit my shows for a long time, either because I’m not going to their countries or because they can’t come to Japan to see me play here. I get a lot of messages from fans in Europe who are hoping for me to bring my shows to their countries as well. I can’t go to Europe every single year, but an online performance like this does allow me to connect with my audience and for them to see me. Even if it’s through a screen rather than in person.
I hope a lot of people will visit these online lives so we can have a lot of fun together!
During our last interview two years ago you said you wanted to close the gap between Japan and the world overseas through your music, do you feel like this online option helps you with that goal?
龍 (RYU): Oh yeah, I really think this is happening! We are one, the world is one!
Introducing new works
Actually, you also revealed a snippet of one of the new songs you’re working on. Can you tell me a little more about it already?
龍 (RYU): The mini-album I’m currently creating will be named “Sakurasaku hana no michi”. There are beautiful sakura blossoms in the streets of Kyoto. The first song is named “Kodo”, which means “heart movement” in English. This song expresses anger and worry.
The second song, “Rinne” (or “reborn reincarnation” in English) tells the story of a couple who meet in a bar and fall in love. Afterwards they notice they have been together in a previous life as well. This song is an old Japanese style of Jazz. So not exactly like the Jazz music you’re familiar with, but people who lived about 80 years ago made this style of music back then. It contains a brass section and Japanese instruments like the koto and shinobue.
And finally, the third song, “Sakurasaku hana no michi”, is about a poor girl and a man who fall in love. They flee from the town at night. This is something that actually happened a lot in ancient Japan.
So you’re currently working on a whole mini-album then! Is this the first new release, or will you release a single or something before it as well?
龍 (RYU): Yes. The single will be titled “Chimi-mouryo”, which means “Ghost and Beast” in English. The song will have the same name as the single, and it’s a really heavy and dark song, but at the same time it’s also very melodious.
Fans of course have their own favorite songs they like to hear from each artist, but what about you? Do you have a song that you like to play more than others? And why this one?
龍 (RYU): Absolutely! My favorite song without a doubt is “螺旋 (RASEN)”! It’s inspired by an old Japanese novel titled “蜘蛛の糸 (Kumo no Ito)”, or “The Spider’s Thread” in English. In this novel a guy tries to escape from hell, but fails. There’s a Wikipedia page about the original story, so if you read it I feel like you can understand the music I created for this song more deeply. This song also has a music video, so please check it out on YouTube!
Let’s also talk about your plans for the future for a moment. Next to the new releases, do you have any other plans?
龍 (RYU): Well… Artists need a promoter to be able to go on tour. I’ve never organized a tour all by myself, since it needs so much support from different sides to become a success. But to be entirely honest, I’m always ready to go on a tour. So just invite me!
Since we’re currently in the middle of the holiday season with Halloween, Christmas and New Years following in short succession, do you have anything special planned for the remaining holidays?
龍 (RYU): I’m actually not doing any special lives this year! Right now I’m concentrating on recording, but I hope I can do something special next year. I’ll make a great movement!
And with that question we’ve actually reached the end of the interview already… Is there something you’d like to say to wrap up today’s interview?
龍 (RYU): Thank you so much for reading this interview! If you have any further questions for me, please write to me on my Twitter account. I’ll definitely reply to it!
Unlike last time, today’s interview was actually listed as “龍 (RYU)” rather than “大蛇 (OROCHI)”. While 大蛇 (OROCHI) still exists, in Japan 龍 (RYU) is usually referred to by his name rather than the name of his project, because he has been a solo singer for a long time.
Addtionally, I also want to use this space to show you the music video for 龍 (RYU)’s personal favorite song mentioned in the interview already:
Follow 龍 (RYU) on social media
雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind both Arlequin Magazine and Arlequin 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.