O-PARTS is a two-man unit that started in June of 2009, formed by vocalist sho-ka (ex. Vogus Image) and bassist Jun (GaGaaalinG, ex. WAIVE). On August 20th, they released their first maxi-single entitled 「向日葵」 (Himawari) which included four tracks, all of which made it into the top ten of the Oricon Indies ranking. On May 26th, their second maxi-single, 「煌[kou]」 was released and will be available through JapanFiles from June 6th.
Both sho-ka and Jun took time out of their busy schedules to answer a few questions from Shattered-Tranquility.net. We’d like to thank sho-ka and Jun, as well as JapanFiles for the opportunity for this interview!
1. Please introduce yourselves and what part you play in O-PARTS.
sho-ka: I’m sho-ka, and my part is vocals.
Jun: I’m Jun, and I play the bass.
2. What is the origin behind the name O-PARTS?
sho-ka: At the beginning, Jun told me “I want the letter P!” I looked up many things, and I suggested O-PARTS because I thought it fits perfectly to my feelings about my own existence.
Jun: One of the ideas was “POOL” but sho-ka had another idea. So I said, “That’s cool!” and we decided on this.
3. How did you decide to work together?
sho-ka: I was in a band called Vogus Image before, and Jun was in Waive at that time. We were often in the same tour, but we were only acquaintances… Then we were reunited after 4 years, and Jun helped my solo activity. After my solo release, we started O-PARTS last year.
Jun: We promised to work together, but only after having a solo release. Since it’s so hard in many aspects to work alone, I thought it was better to start after those experiences. So we started after the solo release because of our promise.
4. Your new maxi-single “kou” is coming out on JapanFiles on June 6th. Could you tell us a little bit about the title track?
Jun: I had a complete vision already when I was composing “kou” so it was finished very quickly. During recording, sho-ka and I went through a trial and error process for the chorus work, and we’re pretty happy with the end result.
5. How do the second and third tracks “circus” and “microcosm” fit together with the title track?
sho-ka: They’re completely different sounds. It’s an intentional contrast.
Jun: “circus” and “microcosm” were sho-ka’s original tracks. I think they express a strong mix of many different sounds – sort of like static and dynamic. In my opinion, all the songs on “kou” match well because sho-ka makes any song “sho-ka-color.”
6. What process did you go through when creating “kou”?
Jun: I was talking with sho-ka and we wanted something up-tempo. The ideas came to us fast and pretty clearly right off the bat, so we just made the recordings spur of the moment. The bass parts were done in just one day.
7. Can you each tell us your current musical influences (Japanese and English)?
sho-ka: Recently, I get most influence from musicians around me, including Jun and the support musicians. I really feel that they are all great artists. They make certain sounds or they speak certain words for certain reasons. That excites me when I think about it, especially these days.
Jun: I also get influenced by musicians around me! Besides them, I listen to jazz and classical music. Bach is the greatest!
8. Where do you draw your inspiration from when creating music?
sho-ka: Movies, scenery, words from other people, my own emotional changes… sometimes I run across situations where I get very emotional. It’s hard…but I just get stimulated!
Jun: It’s when I’m moved. For me, it comes from outside rather than inside. I get influenced from daily life.
9. sho-ka, about a year ago, you released your first solo mini-album, “portable rain”. On August 9th, you’ll also be releasing a live-house limited single. What are your goals for yourself as a solo artist?
sho-ka: I’d like to express what I like, from a different point than O-PARTS. Even if it’s not with a band, I want to do something that shows my connections to other people.
10. Jun, you are not only in O-PARTS, but also in GaGaalinG, Waive, rice, and the god and death stars. You seem really busy! How do you manage all these activities?
Jun: There are many times when things overlap. It’s manageable if I take care of one thing at a time rather than trying to do everything at once. There are also matters related to live shows and the management, but I think I still can do more. Seems like I’d stop if I set a limit… Also, I just don’t play when my schedule gets too busy. (laugh)
11. Compared to working with bands or working solo, what differences are there when you work as a two-member unit? What are the biggest challenges?
sho-ka: The biggest challenge is tardiness.
Jun: Tardiness…?! (laugh) The challenge for two-member unit is for both of us to draw strength from each other. Another challenge is to accomplish small things one by one.
12. On June 9th, O-PARTS will be celebrating its one year anniversary! What other plans do you have for O-PARTS?
Jun: Nothing particular for now. We just take things moment by moment.
13. When you’re not working on music, what will you be doing this summer?
sho-ka: I want to go to the beach and relax, have fun.
Jun: I want to travel. Or I want to stay home all the time and do things I can’t do normally.
14. Do you have any current plans for live shows overseas? Where would you most like to perform?
sho-ka: No plans for now… I’d like to perform at a live house in UK.
Jun: I want to perform in UK, too!
15. So that the fans can get to know you a little more, could you tell us a secret about the other member?
sho-ka: Jun is…kind of like…I don’t know…lonely, maybe? He might cry when he’s able to laugh from the bottom of his heart. It’s like… I feel like I’m talking about my own secret…!
Jun: sho-ka is talking about his own secret! (laugh) Indeed, I do have a lonely side, even thought I might not look so. But, I like being alone too. sho-ka has a great smile when he laughs!
16. Please give a message to your fans!
sho-ka: Thank you for reading our interview. It must be fate. See you again somewhere.
Jun: Thank you for reading! I think music is the common language worldwide. I’m happy if you feel something when you listen to O-PARTS. When I receive fan mails from overseas, it makes me very happy. Please keep supporting us.
O-PARTS filmed a comment video for their overseas fans:
Also available at JapanFiles:
sho-ka – “portable rain”