Interview: Music Unit GARNiDELiA [1/2]

1st single ambiguous First Edition jacket

After their major debut last year, the music unit GARNiDELiA has been busy with many “tie-in” collaborations with anime series. This time, we were able to talk with the two as they prepare for their concert at Sakura-Con 2015 in Seattle, USA (They'll perform on April 4.).

[GARNiDELiA Profile]
The duo unit consists of female vocalist MARiA and composer toku. MARiA, who started musical activities at the age of 13, is a talented vocalist. She has sung solos for anime theme songs, and performed live as a guest vocalist for other artists. toku on the other hand, has arranged music for a great number of artists including LiSA, and has great experience with sound production. GARNiDELiA was formed in 2010, and in March 2014, they made their major debut with the new opening theme song, “ambiguous,” for the anime Kill la Kill. After that, they were also responsible for the opening theme songs for The Irregular at Magic High School and Gundam Reconguista in G. Subsequently, on Jan. 21, 2015, GARNiDELiA’s first major album was released.

MARiA, the Naruto otaku, & toku, the former Hatsune Miku Vocaloid song producer

──You two are often involved with anime “tie-in” songs, so are you otaku?

MARiA: I do watch anime. I’m a Naruto otaku, and I have the entire set of manga. I love Kakashi-sensei! The other day I even watched The Last: Naruto the Movie. I cried so much! If I continue with this story, we’ll definitely run out of time for the interview. (Laughs)

toku: My interest in anime started due to my work with Hatsune Miku Vocaloid songs and Macross F. And in turn, an urge to create anisong-type music began to grow. I think that even when GARNiDELiA was formed, the anime influence was strong. Around that time, I watched late night anime 1 for the first time. It felt like I was debuting late, in my 30s.

── What are both of your roles?

M: Basically, toku produces the musical composition. As a composer, he creates and arranges. Also, the keyboard. I do lyrics, vocals, and dance. (Laughs)

t: MARiA does the parts that appear up front, while I work behind.

M: Not behind! toku is also on stage together with me!

Main artist photo for 1st single, ambiguous

──GARNiDELiA’s music - does toku compose all of it?

t: Yes, that’s right. Until now, I had been arranging music. I worked as a musical arranger for a long time. It was with Vocaloid that I began composing. And now, I produce all of GARNiDELiA’s songs. I feel like doing Vocaloid was an important step to making original music. In the beginning, I didn’t start out feeling like I wanted to compose music, so we are probably a little different from the usual process.

──What feeling do you have when making music, or when you’re inspired to make music?

t: “Tie-in” songs become a type of banner if they are used as opening songs. We read the script from start to end, and then, I think while adding some of our own style and color, we create music that matches the story.

Limited Edition jacket for 1st single, ambiguous

──Up to now, you have worked with series such as Kill la Kill, The Irregular at Magic High School, and Gundam Reconguista in G, which all have unique worlds. What are some of the hardships of dealing with these different worlds?

M: The world of Kill la Kill has that nostalgic taste of the Showa period 2. We had to take into account the work’s very unique illustrations and “out there” content. The music we made before our debut was more along the lines of stylish and cool, but for the collaboration with Kill la Kill, we thought about how to express “passion.”

t: To put it one way, I consciously imbued old Japanese popular songs and a riff with Showa tastes for Kill la Kill, but attempted to create a more digital feel for The Irregular at Magic High School. I think that in this way, we approach each work one by one.

**TV Anime Kill la Kill New Opening Theme Song “ambiguous” Short Ver.**

M: As for Gundam Reconguista in G, we directly met with director Tomino, and talked about the music.

──Weren’t you nervous to meet the master creator of the Gundam series?

M: I was so nervous! Director Tomino is like a god, and the atmosphere of the scene was so tense that even all of the staff were nervous as well. “I want a classic element to be incorporated,” is what director Tomino requested, so the intro to “BLAZING” splendidly leads in with a classical touch. Changing the tempo from there makes the work become a more opening-like and intense song.

3rd single BLAZING First Limited Edition jacket

t: Production for a tie-in song is always done in a week or less, however, we spent more than a month’s time on Gundam Reconguista in G. Director Tomino is someone who is very particular when it comes to poetry, so even for the lyrics, whatever I wrote I would get back after director Tomino would check it line by line with a red pen. We would repeat this exchange five or six times per chorus before the song was produced. But without giving up, we were able to make “BLAZING.”

**TV Anime Gundam Reconguista in G Opening Theme Song, “BLAZING”**

Live at Seattle’s Sakura-Con 2015

──In regard to live performances, you’ve done shows in Singapore and Indonesia. What were your impressions?

M: Both Singapore and Indonesia were amazing.

t: Because, everyone sang.

M: Since they were Japanese songs, I was so surprised, “You can sing that well!?” Even without asking them to “sing,” everyone sang Kill la Kill’s “ambiguous” from the intro.

──That’s wonderful for a musician.

M: Yes, it is. They understood the Japanese. To like our music that much - it made me really happy.

t: We got the impression that how they participate at a concert is different from how Japanese fans do so. We could feel their passion. It was very humbling to see their enthusiasm.

M: I have the impression that Japanese people move their body rather than raise their voice, but people in the foreign countries I’ve visited so far, they have a culture of raising their voice and singing together. I felt the intense enthusiasm with which concert-goers ate up our performance.

t: It was so great. When you make music, you are very conscious of how your fans will react to it at a concert. Seeing how fans in other countries reacted was a very good experience. While making music, I constantly am thinking about how fans will respond to it, and I’m able to get the answer to this for the first time during concerts.

──From your live performances, we can see that you are very particular about many things, such as the presentation of your ideas, choice of costumes, and so on.

M: Based on inspiration we get from the music, I make something like a proposal for logo designs, costumes, and so on. And then, we consult the stylist and designer before deciding. I loved fashion originally, and I think that costuming is a necessary element to help express and make music easier to understand. There’s a strong relation between music and costume. I want GARNiDELiA’s stage performances to be fun for the eyes, too.

──What kind of image do you have for the Sakura-Con concert in America that will take place in April?

M: I’ve never been to America, even privately on my own.

t: Me neither.

M: Since it will be our first time over there, I don’t know what the atmosphere will be like, or the reaction - it makes me nervous. It’s not just about getting people excited with high tension music, but rather, I want it to be a place where our songs are properly heard.

t: I think that everyone knows of the anime tie-in songs. But beyond that, how they will enjoy and receive our work is something I’m thinking about at the moment.

3rd single BLAZING First Edition jacket

── What impressions do you have in regard to America?

M: For America, the image of dance music is strong. That is something we’d also like to show, I think. EDM (Electronic Dance Music) abroad is, I think, different from the J-pop and EDM of Japan. I’m nervous about how they will react to dance music that comes from Japan.

Also, I have the impression that there are many people with a discerning ear for music, so I think we’ll get a straightforward reaction. If they find it boring, they will express to us that it’s boring. If they find it fun, they will show us that it’s fun. The image is that there are many honest people, so I’m both looking forward to and anxious about their reaction.

At any rate, this upcoming concert is going to be a challenge. I’m pondering now about how to do our stage performance so that the audience won’t lose interest, and how to get them to enjoy songs that they don’t know.

t: I’m thinking that for the setlist and the stage, we should do something surprising.

M: We don’t really do cover songs, but this time we are going to have a little surprise up our sleeves. I don’t think that the audience will expect a cover song. Since it is something we don’t do at concerts in Japan, that is one thing we hope the concert-goers will look forward to. I want to do a song that will make us closer to this first-time audience.

──Aside from the concert, is there anything else you want to do in America?

M: I definitely want to eat a hamburger! I’m also thinking it would be fun to go to the first Starbuck’s shop in Seattle.

──Lastly, please offer a message to those who will be at Sakura-Con.

M: It will be our first time coming to America, so I think that for many it will be the first time to see us in person. Please remember our name and let’s fire up the stage. Let’s all have a great time together!

t: We, GARNiDELiA, are influenced by Peter Gabriel, Pet Shop Boys, and early ‘90s electro music. Since it will be the first opportunity for us to bring you our music, and for you to go and listen to our work, we’ll give our all to share with you a spectacular show.

^1^ Late-night anime in general, refers to animated works on late-night shows broadcast by Japanese TV stations.

^2^ Showa is one of the Japanese era names for a period in the 20th century. It refers to the rule of the Showa emperor, which spanned from Dec. 25, 1926 to Jan. 7, 1989. The term “Showa taste” is generally used to refer to the melodies, designs, and more that were popular during the Showa period.

GARNiDELiA’s Official Site
toku’s Official Twitter
MARiA’s Official Twitter

Sakura-Con 2015
Date: April 3-5 
Location: Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place Seattle, WA 98101-2350


Win a Poster Signed by GARNiDELiA!

**From among those who click the “Suki” button for both this first article and the upcoming second article featuring TOM’s interview with GARNiDELiA, 3 people will be randomly selected to receive a poster signed by GARNiDELiA. Don’t miss out!**
*Deadline: April 8, 8PM (PDT)
Only winners will be contacted.

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article.

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1st single *Ambiguous*
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3rd single *Blazing*
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1st single *ambiguous* First Edition jacket
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1st single *ambiguous* Limited Edition jacket
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1st single *ambiguous* Regular Edition jacket
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1st single *ambiguous* main artist photo
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2nd single *grilletto* Regular Edition jacket
2nd single grilletto Limited Edition jacket
2nd single *grilletto* Limited Edition jacket
2nd single grilletto First Edition jacket
2nd single *grilletto* First Edition jacket
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2nd single *grilletto* main artist photo
3rd Single BLAZING Regular Edition | First Edition jacket
3rd Single *BLAZING* Regular Edition | First Edition jacket
3rd single BLAZING First Press Limited Edition jacket
3rd single *BLAZING* First Press Limited Edition jacket
3rd single BLAZING Limited Edition | First Edition jacket
3rd single *BLAZING* Limited Edition | First Edition jacket
3rd single BLAZING main artist photo
3rd single *BLAZING* main artist photo
3rd single BLAZING main artist photo
3rd single *BLAZING* main artist photo
Win a Poster Signed by GARNiDELiA!
Win a Poster Signed by GARNiDELiA!

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