The VOCALOID Assortment, also referred to as VocaColle, is a biannual occasion that includes Vocaloid submissions, held each spring and autumn. Entrants compete to assert high rankings in 5 completely different classes: “TOP100,” “Rookies,” “REMIX,” “Enso Shitemita,” and “MMD&3DCG.” The primary songs within the TOP100 and the Rookies classes are included within the “Undertaking SEKAI Colourful Stage! feat. Hatsune Miku” smartphone recreation. There may be additionally a Chokaigi 2023 Theme Tune contest, a VocaColle & UtaColle & OdoColle collaborative undertaking, and lots of different methods to get pleasure from Vocaloid tradition.
We interviewed Yuri Kuriyama, a Vocaloid producer and a member of Van de Store, within the days main as much as this yr’s VocaColle. He talked concerning the Vocaloid songs and producers that influenced him, the way forward for the Vocaloid scene, and extra.
We requested you to pick which of the numerous Vocaloid songs have made a giant impression on you and influenced your personal work. One track you talked about was “Soften” (2007). This was the track that led to the formation of supercell, a gaggle of creators led by Vocaloid producer ryo.
Yuri Kuriyama: Numerous the primary Vocaloid songs had actually quick vocals or had vocal melodies that hit notes human singers couldn’t attain. In different phrases, there have been points of them that leveraged the distinctive capabilities of the software program. “Soften” was completely different. It was a considerably laid again track. It’s an exquisite track that will be nice even when sung by a human singer, and I believe it actually reveals what makes ryo such a gifted producer. Hatsune Miku’s pitch within the track can be great. Within the early days of the scene, there have been a number of songs the place the pitch was just a little bit off, and that all the time felt awkward to me. There’s none of that in “Soften.” It feels very pure. Amongst supercell’s songs, I notably like “Juuzoku Ningen” and “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari.” ryo was one of many first artists to interrupt out from the Vocaloid scene to the key music scene.
“final Evening good Evening” (2008) is a track from livetune, kz’s solo unit. “Matryoshka” (2010) is one in every of Hachi’s most well-known songs. Hachi later started releasing songs as Kenshi Yonezu, turning into one in every of Japan’s high artists.
Kuriyama: With “final Evening good Evening,” kz utilized Auto-Tune to Hatsune Miku. Once I met him in particular person and requested him why he used Auto-Tune, he instructed me “as a result of the pitch was bothering me,” which made a number of sense. This track is what made me like Hatsune Miku’s voice, and what acquired me actually into the Vocaloid scene. It influenced me quite a bit, to the purpose that I believe it might be honest to say that if this track hadn’t existed, I wouldn’t have listened to Vocaloid music.
Hachi’s “Matoryoshka” is, for me, the platonic best of the type of Vocaloid track I like. It makes use of the “MaruSa chord development” (a chord development continuously utilized in J-pop songs like Shiina Ringo’s “Marunouchi Sadistic”), but it surely’s doing one thing actually new with it.
I believe the drum line of “THE WORLD END UMBRELLA” is absolutely fascinating.
You’d want 4 arms to truly play it stay (laughs). The association is one which’s solely doable as a result of it was made on a pc. I like how the feelings of the track come throughout so instantly. “Wonderland to Histujinouta” is one other instance of how a lot of an influence Hachi has had on the Vocaloid scene.
There’s additionally “Nihonbashi Koukashita R Keikaku” (2012) by Shizen no Teki-P (Jin) and “Kimi no Taion” by Kuwagata-P.
Kuriyama: Jin’s Kagerou Undertaking was simply superb. (The Kagerou Undertaking is a mixed-media undertaking with novels, comics, and anime all based mostly on Jin’s music.) Plus, not one of the songs sound alike. The chord progressions are completely different, the sounds are completely different, and so they’re all nice songs. “Nihonbashi Koukashita R Keikaku” was an exquisite fusion of a track and an anime music video. The music movies for the Vocaloid songs that got here out earlier than that had been usually single static illustrations or very handmade-feeling animations, and I imply that in a great way. Once I noticed the “Nihonbashi Koukashita R Keikaku” music video, I believed “Wow, that’s skilled!” (laughs)
“Kimi no Taion” featured each piano and guitar. I believe it additionally used the MaruSa chord development, but it surely put the piano half out in entrance, and that confirmed me a brand new method. I believe that it affected my very own preparations.
You additionally listed Sasanomaly and sasakure.UK as artists from the Vocaloid producer scene that you simply favored.
Kuriyama: Sasanomaly was a Vocaloid producer going by the title Neko Boro. His songs are nice, however so is his sound manufacturing and mixing. Mixing includes a number of phases, and if you do it you’re fascinated by other ways the music shall be heard — from earphones, headphones, audio system, and so forth. Sasanomaly sounds good regardless of the way you’re listening. I like a number of his songs, however final summer season I had “recreation of life feat. Boku no Lyric no Boyomi” on repeat. He was additionally in a band referred to as Dios, and I’ve been impressed by the breadth of his musical actions.
I additionally love sasakure.UK! All people in our band (Van de Store) actually likes UK Rampage (the band headed by sasakure.UK). He’s each a Vocaloid producer and a band member, and his method in each is nice. I’ve all the time needed do the sorts of issues Sasakure.UK is doing, and I had so many questions for him once I really met him. (laughs)
You additionally stated that syudou, Yoh Kamiyama, nulut, and Harumaki Gohan resonate with you.
Kuriyama: They’re lively Vocaloid producers, lively as soloists utilizing the identical title, creating new models with completely different names, and the like. They’ve all acquired their very own completely different approaches, however what all of them share in widespread is that they write and sing their very own songs.
I’m positive they’ve assorted causes for that, however for me there have been positively sounds I might be taught whereas working with Vocaloid and sounds I might be taught from altering my method and atmosphere, which made me understand that I can get pleasure from music at an excellent deeper degree.
I believe the broader your music horizons are, the higher. I wish to create Vocaloid songs that replicate what I’ve realized, not simply following some template.
For models made up of a Vocaloid producer and a feminine singer, like YOASOBI or DUSTCELL, in case you merely take a look at their construction, it’s the identical as a music producer and the Vocaloid software program, but it surely seems like they’re creating new sounds which you could’t hear in typical Vocaloid songs. If individuals acquire an appreciation for Vocaloid by studying of it by them, that will be great.
Who is aware of, at some point Yonezu may be like, “I’m again!” and launch one other Vocaloid track. The Vocaloid scene is a extremely free, enjoyable scene proper now.
The variety of Vocaloid producers who’re making music for idols and bands is on the rise, and we’re seeing a number of style crossovers.
Kuriyama: Proper. Once I’m writing music for my band, I’m typically pondering “I wish to make a Vocaloid track,” and vice versa. It’s enjoyable bouncing forwards and backwards between the expressive types of individuals and the expressive types of software program. It’s like switching forwards and backwards between consuming potato chips and chocolate. (laughs)
Let’s speak a bit about your personal music. First, there’s “Limelight” (2017). You posted this beneath the artist title “Hachiya Nanashi,” and it was your first track to achieve a million performs. It’s an electroswing track, a style you’re notably keen on.
Kuriyama: Electroswing was initially made by taking swing jazz samples or new songs based mostly in swing jazz after which transforming them with an electro really feel. Just lately, there’s been a number of pop with a swing really feel that’s created fully on the pc, however I’m extra within the former method. I like really performing the music, utilizing an previous mic to document it, after which deliberately degrading the sound high quality. I made “Limelight” that method, alone. After all, I acquired assist from some musician colleagues, however I needed to tackle the challenges of songwriting and association alone, working off solely my very own concepts. There are parts of glitch hop and dubstep, and I believe it got here out as an fascinating track.
If you uploaded “Neurosis” (2019), you commented that it was your “old flame track.” “Jitterbug” (2019) was a enjoyable track, a brand new evolution in electroswing.
Kuriyama: I wrote “Neurosis” once I was affected by a damaged coronary heart. So far as genres go, it’s 200 BPM rock. I didn’t actually assume too deeply about it, I simply did what I felt like once I made the track. I used a Les Paul guitar, and it had a little bit of an odd tone.
With “Jitterbug,” I made a decision to again to electroswing once more, based mostly on what I’d performed with “Limelight.” The rhythm was actually tough, and when the track was included within the recreation “Undertaking DIVA MEGA39’s,” there have been individuals complaining on Twitter that “Jitterbug” was too arduous. I’m not superb at rhythm video games, so I used to be pondering “I understand how you’re feeling!” (laughs)
In March 2022, you uploaded “Pheles,” which had parts of each jazz and rock. The mysterious lyrics and feeling additionally actually stand out.
Kuriyama: I wrote the track for “GABULI,” a masked battle manga undertaking, and I believe I actually conveyed the sensation of GABULI’s world. I put distorted guitars entrance and middle, and gave the track a swing really feel. It’s acquired a “rock-swing” groove, so I believe I used to be in a position to obtain one thing new with it. I don’t wish to repeat myself if in any respect doable. I wish to strive new approaches, and if there’s one thing I used to be unable to do prior to now, I wish to overcome that hurdle.
You may have a number of songs with a stay instrumental really feel to them, which should take a number of time and price a bit of cash.
Kuriyama: I may be a little bit of an outlier within the Vocaloid world. My associates will inform me, “As a substitute of going into the studio for hours and paying all that cash to document stay elements, wouldn’t or not it’s higher to simply log on and search for samples?” Or they’ll say, “You’re actually focusing and dealing on that half, however do you actually assume listeners will even discover?” I find yourself pondering, “Yeah, possibly,” and I typically really feel a bit dumb for focusing a lot on some particulars (laughs), however I’m assured that there are individuals on the market who will perceive what I’m doing.
What future do you see for the Vocaloid scene?
Kuriyama: I really feel like Vocaloid fads and “meta” templates change in two yr cycles. After all, there are some great chords and types that by no means change. Over the previous few years, I’ve been feeling like there’s been a number of programmed melodies and EDM-like songs, and never a lot stay instrumentation. However recently there’s been an increase within the variety of songs which might be attempting new issues, and I’m discovering songs that match my present tastes. I like the sensation proper now that everybody’s doing what they do as a result of they really wish to. They’re all bringing their ardour and placing out what they actually like. I really feel like we’re going to be seeing much more new issues popping out quickly.
In closing, might you share your personal expectations for VocaColle?
Kuriyama: I’ve all the time felt that Nico Nico Douga is the true residence of Vocaloid. I’m joyful that this occasion that sprang from Niconico Chokaigi remains to be being held. Nevertheless, it’s additionally come to really feel like a gateway to success for individuals who wish to make a dwelling by music, and getting all uptight and specializing in views and likes takes away from the enjoyable magic of the occasion. It takes the joys away. Individuals can get pleasure from it nonetheless they wish to, after all, however I’d prefer it to be extra of a carnival, extra of an uninhibited celebration.
I like carnivals myself, and when individuals who like Vocaloid come collectively as a result of they assume one thing’s enjoyable or fascinating, it actually makes the ambiance electrical.
—This interview by Tomoyuki Mori first appeared on Fakazakamp Japan
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