Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on April 2014

Inoran

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Luna Sea—born amid Japan’s answer to glam—the visual-kei movement—is one of the most successful rock acts in the country and, in today’s shrinking world, abroad as well. As Luna Sea’s co-founder in 1986, Inoran is one of the most recognizable Japanese rock musicians—so recognizable, in fact, that when Japan’s government needs someone to serenade an audience of functionaries with the national anthem, they invite Inoran, as the president of Slovenia found out last year.

Since the late 1990s, this industrious musician has also been amassing a separate body of work away from Luna Sea, including his recent contribution to super group Muddy Apes with Feeder’s Dean Tidey, as well as several solo albums. His newest EP, Somewhere, provides evidence that it’s with his solo projects that Inoran is best able to explore his specialty, rhythm guitar. The underlying structure of every song in this collection is quite overt and, fused with the overarching melodies, makes for a catchy final product. Metropolis asked Inoran to tell us more about the album and his plans for the future.

Congratulations on releasing your new solo EP. What were your main goals with this particular work?
Thanks! My main goal was to connect with as many people as possible through my music. I also wanted to share the positive energy.

The music video for your single, “Sakura,” features collaged imagery and seasonal cycles. Is there an overarching theme to the entire EP that ties into these concepts?
Yes, of course it links to these concepts. Everything, including our lives, is cyclical like nature’s seasons, right?

How does the experience of recording this mini-album compare to your previous work?
Everything got groovier. In the studio, I use the same bassist and drummer as I do on tour, so we understand each other quite well. That’s why every track has real vibes, I suppose.

How did you come up with the name for this EP?
Initially, I didn’t think it meant anything specific. However, that word remained in my mind, so I thought it was meaningful. Perhaps I’ll find out the true meaning sometime in the future.

Describe your approach to writing lyrics in English.
The melodies I compose fit English-language lyrics well. That’s all.  I also want to connect with many people all over the world [by using English].

How do you differentiate the creative processes between your band obligations in Luna Sea and solo projects?
I don’t differentiate between them consciously. Normally I follow my instincts.

Is there a certain “lucky” ritual you go through before heading onstage in order to have a successful performance?
Prayer.

What’s your favorite activity during your downtime from writing and playing music?
Well, I normally spend my time listening to my favorite music and watching films. It’s all related to my creative work, though.

In addition to the three concerts announced in celebration of Luna Sea’s 25th anniversary, do you have anything else special planned for the fans this year?
I want to play live as much as I can, and for everyone in attendance to have a good time. If you develop an interest in my music after reading this interview, come and see me on stage. You’ll definitely have fun!

Inoran plays Liquidroom Apr 12-13.