We’ve had you covered when it comes to sleepyhead from the beginning. We’ve covered two shows (including their first!) and had an interview about their first album. This time around, we dug for details on sleepyhead’s upcoming release “meltbeat.” Takeru tells us about each song on the release, how the past year went, and how he envisions the future of his 3D music project.
-We’d like to start off right away talking about your upcoming release, “meltbeat.” Could you tell us what the title means?
Takeru: This release is more about a natural sort of melting of my past experiences that leaves only the important things behind; it’s not so much about my beliefs or thoughts. That’s what “meltbeat” is.
-It resembles the title of your first album, “DRIPPING.”
Takeru: Yeah. I think so, too.
-Is the “beat” in “meltbeat” supposed to represent a musical beat, or more of a heartbeat?
Takeru: It’s both.
-Could you tell us a bit about each song included on “meltbeat?”
Takeru: phase 2 was originally music used for my clothing brand’s advertisement. I think TeddyLoid made it for me about a year and a half ago? It was made back when I didn’t think I was going to do music anymore, but I think it fits the theme of this release well, so he let me use it.
meltbeat features a guitarist named DURAN, and he made the rhythm of the song awesome. He also made the song not sound super electronic, so even though the song has an EDM beat, the sound of live guitar gives the song a whole other dimension. It turned out really catchy.
heartbreaker is about the experience I had at a club called Berghain in Berlin two years ago. It’s said to have the best club sound system in the world. The sound was amazing, and the music they played there was dark but very high-quality, like an elegant darkness. I’ve wanted to reproduce that kind of sound ever since. Those feelings and that experience I had at Berghain are very prominent in heartbreaker. It’s like your body and the sound of the music melting into one.
akubi_girl is mellow. I wanted all the songs on this release to represent the idea of “melting.” akubi_girl is about sort of melting off to sleep slowly from night to dawn. I didn’t use a lot of sounds when creating this and made the vocals more prominent, so it sounds like a pop song.
I tried to represent the idea of melting in different ways in each song. phase 2 is supposed to depict the melding of body and sound into one, like their separate boundaries blend together. It’s a bit like heartbreaker.
-Are there other songs on “meltbeat” that TeddyLoid wrote?
Takeru: Only the first one. He arranged the songs meltbeat and heartbreaker, but akubi_girl was arranged by PARKGOLF.
-From what we’ve heard so far, “meltbeat” seems to have more pop and electronic elements where “DRIPPING” had more rock elements. Did you do that on purpose?
Takeru: It wasn’t really intentional. I did want to strike a balance between a band sound and an EDM sound, though. With “DRIPPING,” there were some songs that I thought were better performed as a band. When I made “meltbeat,” I wanted to create something that only I could create. I guess it naturally turned out this way.
-Which songs on “meltbeat” were already made before, and which ones were written specifically for this release?
Takeru: The first two songs are from before. The third and fourth songs are brand new.
-Which one was written most recently?
Takeru: The third song, heartbreaker. I wrote it right after I decided the title for this release. I originally made the song with the title “melt,” but then I came up with “meltbeat,” so I ultimately went with “heartbreaker” as the title.
-When did you write the song meltbeat?
Takeru: I made the chorus about two years ago. It was originally a song I made when I was in a band, so that’s why it sounds like a band song. It was arranged fairly recently, though – about three or four months ago, so you could say it’s the song that has the most of my current feelings put into it.
-And what are your most current feelings like?
Takeru: They’re less of a collection of heavy feelings; they’re lighter ones that express my past, present, and future. They’re expressing me. That’s why there are a lot of sounds with lighter and more pleasant tones. But even saying that, I used samples of people shouting and breaking glass for meltbeat. Within those pleasant sounds are occasional moments of something just a little off, or just a little scary.
-The deluxe version of “meltbeat” includes a CD, DVD, moon chip, and a pair of earphones. Why did you decide to include the earphones?
Takeru: I wanted “meltbeat” to be more than just a musical release. I thought it would be interesting if there was an audio brand based off of it as well, so I decided on earphones.
-Do you have any plans to expand the line?
Takeru: I might release headphones as well. Maybe. I’m making a Bluetooth speaker right now.
-Recently, we’ve seen you refer to sleepyhead not as a solo project, but as a “3D music project.” Could you explain what that concept means?
Takeru: 3D movies give movies another dimension, right? You’re not just seeing them. 3D music is like regular music given another dimension to enjoy. You’re not just listening to it. With “meltbeat,” you can enjoy the new music and you also have earphones with the “meltbeat” logo on them. And that same logo will also be on clothes and more. It’s almost like an amusement park with all of the different things you can enjoy.
-But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have everything to enjoy sleepyhead fully, right?
Takeru: Right. I’m more like suggesting things that could be interesting in addition to sleepyhead songs, so it doesn’t end at just music.
Takeru: Unlike regular band t-shirts, some of the things I make are 100% original designs and clothes that I make from scratch. You can also see the images on certain things in live shows. There are also other things like snacks, animations…it’s a bit of everything. For instance, I took the animation I created for the song meitei and made other animations based on it. All of it is connected. The voice actors for the characters were chosen by fans in the “online salon” I created recently. I take fan suggestions and I make them into reality. It’s the start of a time where I can create things with sleepyhead fans. That’s another way the 3D music project takes shape.
-Is that why you started S.A.C.T and the online salon?
Takeru: Yes. The online salon finally opened in February of this year.
-When S.A.C.T started, we got the impression that it was almost like a street team, where you were asking fans to help you promote sleepyhead. But now it seems like you started it because you wanted to create things with fans. What’s the reality of it?
Takeru: It’s a bit complicated. S.A.C.T could be considered the street team part, and within S.A.C.T are the online salon members that are actually working for me in a sense. They’re S.A.C.T members that want to do a bit more, so they design things and suggest plans for sleepyhead.
-So you could say S.A.C.T is like VIP, and online salon members are VVIP?
Takeru: Yeah, like that. I’ll tell the online salon members before everyone else, “We’re going to do this kind of event. How do you think we should go about it?” So far, they’ve done things like make Twitter banners.
-We saw those! They were made by fans?
Takeru: Yes. It’s almost like a new way of being an artist. I have no manager and I don’t plan to hire one, and I employ my agents and friends as helpers to help me continue my 3D music project.
-Will S.A.C.T and online salon members have separate events?
Takeru: They’ll probably be together, but my plan is to have the online salon members think of ideas for those events. Right now, I do a livestream once a week for online salon members that are sort of like work meetings to discuss upcoming events and plans.
-How did you come up with the idea for this system?
Takeru: I don’t know…I guess I just thought, “Well, I don’t have staff, so I might as well ask fans to help out.” (laughs) Everyone can enjoy it because they want to do it. If it was their job, they might get tired of it.
-Your upcoming sleepyhead tour offers a U-18 discount for fans under the age of 18. Is that because you have a lot of fans that age?
Takeru: It’s because I don’t have a lot of fans that age right now. There isn’t really a good opportunity to advertise sleepyhead to that age group since I’m not attached to any one genre, and I don’t have a lot of senpai or kouhai to help with that. I figured that I have to start somewhere, so I’m hoping this discount will bring in some younger fans.
-Do you have any special things planned for this tour, like how you had your hair cut on stage at one of your previous shows?
Takeru: Not really…I’m focusing mostly on music and lasers for the final show. This will be my first nationwide tour as sleepyhead, so it’s been hard to plan all of that by myself. I’ll only have one staff member with me for the shows.
-That sounds tough!
Takeru: It’s really tough. There’s a lot of things to plan, like booking and tickets and an endless list of other things. It will be a challenge to put on the tour, but I want to try going places where people don’t know me.
-sleepyhead is approaching its first anniversary on March 17. In this past year, what kinds of challenges have you faced?
Takeru: It was hard to get everything set up, like my company, and there were a lot of things I had to do that I’m not very good at.
-Would you say you’ve grown from those experiences?
Takeru: Yes, I have. I’ve finally put a lot of things into place, like online salon and more, and so this year I can be a little more free and have more fun. I hope I can play shows with other artists this year. I’ll be going to America in May for a festival.
-You won’t have any problems with English over there, right?
Takeru: Hmm…I haven’t been speaking English at all lately…I’ll use this as an opportunity to start studying again. But I’ll be on tour, so it will be difficult. I want to go to Mexico someday again, too. I played there once when I was still in a band. The crowd was great and a lot of people came to say us. I really hope I can play there soon.
-Since things with sleepyhead seem to have fallen into place, what kind of goals do you have from here on out?
Takeru: I want to do more things that only I can do, like 3D music, making clothes, and setting up plans with fans. I want to develop the concept of 3D music more.
-Finally, please give a message to your fans and our readers at Shattered-Tranquility.net.
Takeru: You can see sleepyhead music videos on YouTube and listen to my music with subscription services like Spotify around the world, so I want to challenge myself to be able to bring the other parts of 3D music (like clothes) to the rest of the world as well. I wouldn’t have been able to make “meltbeat” without the experiences I’ve had, so I want to use those experiences to make myself into the kind of artist that will be invited to play around the world.
If you want to catch sleepyhead with TeddyLoid in America, you’ll have to head over to Philadelphia’s Tekko 2019. If you want to see them in Japan, check out their website for tour dates and ticket info.