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Kaoru is a female visual solo artist who has had years of history in the music scene. She’s been consistently putting out material for years, and most notably she has served as lead vocals in her band SICth (inactive as of now), and recently she has focused on her solo project, “UNKNOWN DEAR FOREST”, which their first released was produced and written by the giant visual scene figurehead, Kisaki (ex. Mirage, Phantasmagoria).
Can you tell us more about your worldview, Kaoru?
I am walking while finding something that attracts me on a rough road. The feelings received while walking the rough road I can turn into sounds and words and singing my lyrics with a voice that comes out naturally which create my world view.
If you were to describe yourself using one of your favorite kanji, which one would it be?
公 (ooyake, exposure to public view)
If you break the kanji in particles you will get ハム (ham)
I like Hamsters (laugh)
Might it could also been Buddha (仏), but that’s imu(イム). (laugh)
What can we tell more about it…
What is the origin and meaning of the project name “UNKNOWN DEAR FOREST“?
The Japanese translation is: 親愛なる未知の森 Shinainaru michi no mori.
I had the image in my mind of a tree being planted in the middle of nowhere and becoming an unknown forest. In addition to the band SICth (which is currently on hiatus), why are you working as a solo artist (UDF)? I wanted to work with a production team I usually don’t work with, I wanted to learn something new that I haven’t done yet before. You said that Kisaki wrote the song for you. How did you get to know him and why did he write a song for you? I don’t remember much because I was in the midst of a tremendously fast changing situation and amount of information …. I just accepted reality straight away and focused on doing the best I could. I realized the power of music by activating a lot of invisible power, It’s still going on.
The lyrics are about “grief“. Why do you choose such a “heavy topic”?
When I was working as a unit with RYU of ex. ART MARJU DUCHAIN, we often talked deeply about sadness while drinking. I don’t know why, but it was fun.
Why did you want to be a singer? What was the trigger?
Only singing heals my heart. Karaoke should also be able to make me happy, but I couldn’t express my inner self, so I started to write and sing my own songs.
Kaoru, you’re a female artist, is there anything in particular that you struggle with in the (visual kei) scene?
I’m struggling with the fact that there is not an established scene for female artists expressing melancholy, so, while joining the same scene as the male visual kei bandmans, I’ll struggle on some points which they simply don’t understand, since they only care about their own “demands” in the scene.
Maybe, I will create my own label to be recognized.
What kind of moments do you feel that you are not understood?
That I have to be like an imaginary lover. Because I don’t stand on stage to give fans such (fake) feelings.
What are the different needs of women?
Well, usually the fans of male bands have a scheme of wanting to make love to their favorite bandman. However, I just want to be purified and perform. I want to express sadness that can only be erased by grief and to save myself or anyone else, that is what I want.
What makes the goth/visual style so appealing to you? What does this style mean to you?
Some people say it is a place of cathartic effect. You will be purified by touching it and you will be able to live. I would like to pursue this meaning.
What kind of feelings do you want to convey through music?
I’m lucky if my feelings are conveyed. I’m just trying to get my message across. I focus on accomplishing the meaning of doing the music.
What kind of music has influenced you?
I wasn’t interested in music at all, I just naturally remembered the hit songs which were played on the TV and sang them. When I was betrayed by a loved one and lost everything, a current big band manager which I happened to meet, taught me about music, fashion and charm on stage, which gave me the power to live and led me into this genre of goth and visuals. I’m influenced by the music of the artist and people around me.
When did you first get into the visual scene?
It was around the time when SICth got formed. We learned about how we could keep our worldview in shape and we got dragged inside. SICth is an indie gothic rock band, and although the genre is different, it feels that we are all in agreement in what we want to express in our worldview.
Will you release new music soon again?
My new single Lost Technology was released at the end of last year. This time too, various things were involved, and it’s a challenge to sell this piece.
Why did you choose “Lost Technology” as a title for this new single?
My long time concept ‘because I’m human, what I can do?‘, is wanted to convey with this single. I dared to make the vocals sound like a human being in this song.
Are there any interesting stories about creating “Lost Technology“?
Everyone who got involved in creating this single has one thing in common; That we were all homeless in the past. We are a wild bunch of people. (laugh) Yet, we are kept alive by technology. I think the current music scene is like this now. I wrote the theme of the song with this in mind; “What did you ask for when you lost something fatal? What did I do in spite of my clumsiness?” I wrote down what I wanted to express with music. The content of the song is a positive heartbreak song. I’m looking for human warmth after all (laughs).
Will we see more heavy songs like “Re:” in the future?
UDF plans to release music that does not cover any genre.
Do you have a routine that you always do before a live show?
Stretch to the crunch. Later, I’ll only smoke one cigarette, as I’m sure it’s meant to be a prayer. I learned this from a past rival.
Your MVs are very artistic, what is the process you follow when creating music videos for your work?
I contacted the production team with my ideas to create an original MV including the current visual kei trends.
For HYPER EXECUTION, we did shoot it at various places to fit the image of the song, my family helped with this.
For Re: I gave my best to play the person who I wanted to convey.
On the shooting day, I try to have my heart filled only with the feelings I want to convey, so that we can catch the real me and my senses while shooting. It really makes me happy if the passion for the music becomes visible in the form of images.
The real thrill of being active as UDF is that I also interact with new audiences, so trying to reach the general public rather than reaching only the core audience. Also I would like to improve my skills and convey humanity and freedom in my works.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have any special interests?
I’d like to spend time in a curry shop, much like spending time in a cafe. My hobby is going out to sing karaoke. It’s not special, but I really like it.
Do you like to travel? Is there a place you’d like to go?
I want to go to India. Ichibanya has opened a restaurant in India, so I wanna go there to try it! I want to go on a long trip for a long time and spend my days relaxing and doing (ethnic things/activities) like riding elephants and buying Asian goods and other everyday things.
What makes you smile?
When kids are funny. I have a son who will go to high school soon, he makes me laugh when he says something funny or surprises me.
What’s your favorite Japanese local food?
I love Tenmon Dou’s dried ginger, with a bit of a spicy taste, which you can get in my hometown Togane.
Are connections with your fans important? What do you do to “keep in touch”?
I continue to send out honest and real messages on social media because I recognize that fans are my friends who support each other in life. If I empathize with them, I’m hands-on with them, no matter who they are. It would be great to be in the same boat when we have the same ambitions.
If you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would it be?
If you ignore all reality, the moon.
What’s your ultimate goal for the future?
It’s about carving out a label where female artists can shine in the world.
Please give a message to your fans and readers.
Kaoru, thank you very much for this interview!