Q&A with Radwimps

Meet the Japanese trio rock band behind Your Name soundtrack

Sopida Rodsom
Written by
Sopida Rodsom

Indie post-punk band Radwimps is one of the most-known names in Japanese music scene. Inspired by the music of many great rock bands, such as Oasis, Radwimps was formed in 2001 when the band members were still in high school. But it's not until 2006 when the band has reached its fame with popular albums such as Radwimps 4: Okazu no Gohan (2006) and Altocolony no Teiri (2009). Their hit singles like "Order Made" and "Dada" won several music awards, including Best Rock Video from MTV Video Music Awards Japan and Space Shower Music Video Awards. The band, now consisting of Yojiro Noda, Akira Kuwahara and Yusuke Takeda,  was back into the spotlight last year with their latest album, Human Bloom, and their collaboration with a megahit animated movie, Your Name.

If you can describe briefly, who is Radwimps?

Yojiro: We formed this band when we were 15 and it’s been what...16 years? With the current band members, it’s been 12 or 13 years, already. It’s been a long time. We are mainly a rock band with a combination of many genres. We incorporate the music we like and make them into what’s interesting at that time. That’s how we always make our music updated.

You have been in the Japanese music scene for a decade, how has your music changed over time?

Yojiro: We try to breathe in "time" and grasp the "reaction" and react to it. We want to be conscious of "the time" and "atmosphere" and figure out how we can stay ‘new’ and ‘fresh’ as a band.

How did you get involved with Your Name?

Yojiro: The director, Makoto Shinkai, came to us through the movie producer. He has been listening to our songs so we met and, there, he offered us to do the entire soundtrack. We’ve been doing music for more than 10 years and we were just looking for new opportunities and challenges. We simply thought that it would be fun to try.

Are you surprised by the huge success of the movie as well as the soundtrack?

All: Yes! Very much!

What is your favorite song from Your Name and why?

Yojiro: For me, it’s "Nandemonaiya." A lot of people are covering this song and, recently, I found out through twitter that a Thai musician is also covering it. It’s great to see how this song has spread out that far and it makes me very happy.

Takeda: I would say "Sparkle." I love it when I hear the song with the scene of the movie. It’s so magnificent.

Kuwahara: I like "First View of Tokyo." Taki, which is actually Mitsuha inside, visits Tokyo for the first time. That scene is so beautiful and I love it.

Yojiro: That scene is so touching.

Your new album, Human Bloom, has just been released as well. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Yojiro: After 10 years of going round and round, we are back at where we were so this album is like another debut album to us. We still feel very blessed and happy to be able to do music, and all “know-how” from our experience till now has been put into the album. This is such a pure album even after 10 years since debut and 15 years from the formation of the band. It’s full of happiness that we can still feel like this and be a band, creating music. You have to listen to it!

Takeda and Kuwahara: Please!!!

Yojiro: I think it’s the coolest album in Japan now!

"Zenzenzense" and "Sparkle" are also included in your new album, why do you pick these songs?

Yojiro: Well, it’s the record company … LOL

Takeda: Putting that aside … "Zenzenzense" was originally recorded in the version of Your Name's movie soundtrack, but during the movie production process, we’ve decided to add lyrics to it. We all loved the lyrics and wanted to properly record another version. That’s how this complete version ended up in the Human Bloom album. "Sparkle" was also kind of between the movie version in the movie and the complete version so we also wanted to record the complete original version and put it on the new album.

Is there any chance you'll come to visit Thailand in the near future?

All: Yes!! We’ll go!

Lastly, you have been together for 10 years, what or where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

Yojiro: I don’t think we’ll change that much.

Kuwahara: I agree. From being 20 to being 30, it’s a big change. But from here…

Yojiro: Past 10 years, even if we didn’t ask for changes, they all came to us. A lot of stories, accidents and dramas happened. But from here, I think we’ll be like an "old married couple"—try to keep it fresh, care for each other and encourage each other from time to time. I think we’ll have that "old married couple" feel from here on.

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