Artists meet KENWOOD
Interview with INORAN on KENWOOD’s Headphones
In his first solo album “Sou,” a collaboration with the world-famous artist DJ KRUSH, he received high acclaims for the cutting-edge music incorporating hip-hop, which was still not main stream in Japan.
In 2011, he released the single “Hide and Seek,” which ranked 10th in the first week.
As LUNA SEA resumed activities in November 2012, he has attracted public attention not only in Japan but also overseas.
KENWOOD: First of all, what’s your impression of the KENWOOD brand?
INORAN: It’s made in Japan. Products are elaborately designed, with a serious approach. I used to have a pair of headphones some time ago.
KENWOOD: One of the concepts of KENWOOD’s headphones is “enjoy extraordinary moments in everyday life.” So in your case, when are the extraordinary moments?
INORAN: Well, live concerts are extraordinary. As I’m always surrounded with music, and I’m living for music, a live concert with fans all around you in a large stadium is the most extraordinary moment for me.
KENWOOD: What do you think of the KENWOOD’s headphone design?
INORAN: They remind me of cool motorcars. I’m a fan of Formula 1 car race, and I know KENWOOD has been involved with Formula 1.
KENWOOD: Yes, we’ve supported and sponsored motor sports for many years.
INORAN: I love the design with a hard touch, which is in line with motor sports.
KENWOOD: You released a new album this August. It seems that there are positive lyrics throughout the album, with an encouraging nudge. For example, in the song “BEAUTIFUL NOW,” the words ”Keep chasing your dreams and live the beautiful now,” and “Cause everyone in their own way is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful now” somehow strikes the cord within. What made you write these lyrics?
INORAN: I guess it comes down to chasing dreams. What I’ve been doing is fine, and as a musician, I should be continuously going after my dreams. Besides, I’m here because it has kept me going.
KENWOOD: I see.
INORAN: I wanted to share with my fans what felt really good to me, and the lyrics came out naturally.
KENWOOD: The album cover is also very beautiful. You can tell that an artist with a really fulfilling life created the album; a work that results from various experiences.
INORAN: Thank you. Since I’m being supported by my fans, I want to continue to live life to the fullest, and those thoughts and hopeful feelings, they just flow into the music.
KENWOOD: The album is really worth buying. Listeners will feel fulfilled by your positive feelings. Have you listened to the album with KENWOOD’s headphones?INORAN: Yes, I listened to my favorite songs as well as my albums, and the sound was really good—absolutely awesome; it makes you happy. Like those times when you heard something cool, and the music is great, or you just love it, and you want to tell someone, “Hey, listen to this!” It gave me that old time feeling.
A lot of recent headphones enhance the bass, which kind of distorts the higher tones. But with this, it keeps a good balance between the bass and the drums. Actually, I like these headphones in many ways. So I’m a guitarist. Explaining it in my own way, the fingerpicked sound is the first note. The middle note is a thrumming sound, and the last note is like resonance. And you can hear all that with the KENWOOD headphones.
KENWOOD: Do you mean you hear just what you intended?
INORAN: Exactly. It’s the same with the vocals. You can actually hear the breaths—the live sensation. I loved how you can even tell the difference in the breaths...really exciting. It relates to the mastering session.
KENWOOD: As the manufacturer, we believe that the key for the sound quality in headphones is to faithfully reproduce and convey the artist’s emotions.
INORAN: In that respect, they’re absolutely great. These days, you can store compressed CD audio, and various formats are available, so you’re not sure what the real sound really is. But these headphones get across the musician’s intentions to the listener.
KENWOOD: We care about artists’ comments on sound quality, because even if we incorporate the best technologies, the headphones wouldn’t serve the purpose if artists don’t acknowledge the reproduced sound.
INORAN: Of course. I would say the headphones have a supple sound quality. Carefully crafted, with made-in-Japan quality.
KENWOOD: Thank you. By the way, when do you listen to music when you want unwind?
INORAN: I guess while I’m traveling, and backstage.
KENWOOD: Do you listen to your own music to relax?
INORAN: Not really, because I heard enough of it at work. I might listen to it while driving.
KENWOOD: Do you get impressed with your own songs?
INORAN: Eh, yes..a bit embarrassing.
KENWOOD: You recorded “BEAUTIFUL NOW” overseas. Could you tell us about the impressions or episodes of your overseas recording?
INORAN: I wanted to go to a place with a stable climate. In Japan, we have long rainy days. It’s wonderful to have the four seasons, but it’s rather volatile, and this time, I wanted to go where it’s warm and stable, and create songs with the feel of the summer breeze.
KENWOOD: What did you feel in the expansive environment?
INORAN: I appreciated subtle things—grateful for the rising and the falling of the sun, the cool wind, the sunshine during the day, the beauty of the sea, and so on. I became aware of things I almost forgot, something very basic, like plants grow with the blessing of the rain, the wind cools off the summer heat.
KENWOOD: We may surely be forgetting those things.
INORAN: Exactly. So since I returned from the recording, I’ve come to think that fun or happiness can be felt anywhere; it’s just up to you. So I want to tell people that with a positive view, you can have lots of fun.
KENWOOD: Your fans must be happy to share those feelings. Finally, please give a message to your fans.
INORAN: Well, this is really a great album. I hope listeners will take the music out with them and listen in various places, while on the move, and so on. And I would also like you to come to the live concerts and share the wonderful and happy time!
KENWOOD: Thank you for coming today.
INORAN’s new solo album “BEAUTIFUL NOW” now on sale.
His first album in three years, and the 10th solo album.