Interview by David Cirone
March 15, 2011
TAIA’s logo says quite clearly that you’re from Okinawa, so obviously you’re proud of that association. How does Okinawa affect your music?
YASHA (bass): Since we’re comfortable in this place, it’s a great environment for us. We can be our natural selves while we work on our music.
SEIKA (vocals): TAKA and I weren’t born in Okinawa, but we’re strongly influenced by Okinawa’s rich nature and calm climate.
FUGA (keyboard): Our music, even down to the instruments and editing we use, are mainly based on Western music. But I think Okinawa influences us unconsciously during the creative stage, like composing or imagining the lyrics. I can’t say whether it’s the local folks or the history or customs, but I’m happy if you feel something from Okinawa in our music.
TAIA’s music contains some very precise composition. Who is the main composer for the group? How much of the final song is written before rehearsals, and what usually changes when the whole band gets involved?
FUGA: The main composer is the guitarist, TAKA. There are times when the guitarist (URA) and I will compose, too. It depends on the composer how much of the final song is written before rehearsals.
TAKA (left-side guitar): Right. When I’m composing, I just have the guitar riffs and I make a report like “I made a song like this,” at the first rehearsal. Then each member adds things they want. I bring the idea, and the band completes the song.
FUGA: If TAKA is composing, almost all of guitar riffs are complete, but for other parts, we each add arrangements in the studio as we listen to TAKA’s directions. Sometimes, the early structure of a song can change a lot if we feel it going in a different direction. For me, when I’m composing, it’s a bit different. I add all the arrangements and complete most of the song before we go into a rehearsal. We’ll work on the details for all the members in the studio, but the main structure of the song doesn’t change that often.
What about URA? Is his style more like TAKA or FUGA?
URA (right-side guitar): Yeah, that’s about right.
FUGA: If URA is composing, right in-between TAKA and me. He creates the guitar parts, main phrases, and general rhythm before the rehearsal, and we add more in the studio. The general structure is already made, but it can be changed if a better idea comes up.
TAKA: The unique thing is that we don’t decide on a certain image or style. Each player adds their own feeling to each song.
FUGA: Sometimes, even if the structure isn’t changed, a song can develop a different mood or personality just based on each member’s performance. I enjoy those changes when I’m working as a composer.
TAKA: You might think this sounds disorganized, but it comes out nicely for some reason. What happens when the whole band participates? It becomes like TAIA.
URA: I like the sense that things are changing. New sounds are born and the song becomes more magnificent during the process where all of us play together. That’s what’s interesting.
Many of TAIA’s songs change tempo at almost exactly the halfway point. Why is this type of change so consistent?
TAKA: The phrases that come into my mind just naturally change tempo, I guess.
FUGA: It’s not like we absolutely try to change tempo when we compose. We want to include many scenes and emotions within one song, and we try to keep it all connected so it’s not unpleasant for the listeners. What do you all think?