Refreshingly, T.M. Revolution is a big name absent a big ego. During a brief press conference in Baltimore on the evening of August 9th, he humbly invited members of the press to ask him about his recent activities, from his collaborations with Nana Mizuki to his role as cultural ambassador for his home prefecture to his career in musical theatre. Throughout this group interview, Mr. Revolution remained charming and cheerful, answering questions in full detail despite a clear time crunch.
When asked about his recent work with Nana Mizuki and how the second collaboration will differ from the first, T.M. Revolution revealed that, for “Preserved Roses,” “[Nana Mizuki] had entered my musical world[, but] this time, it will be the other way around,” optimistic that fans will appreciate seeing the rocker step out of his element. Indeed, “Preserved Roses” resulted from Mizuki joining in on a largely T.M. Revolution-produced project, and, as such, the song had a distinct T.M. Revolution flavor. For the next track – the October 23rd release “Kakumei Dualism,” the new theme song for the mecha anime, Valvrave the Liberator – T.M. Revolution revealed he would be lending his talents to a Mizuki-led endeavor, suggesting that the song will have a flavor more like hers than his own. T.M. Revolution expressed no perceptible hesitation to stepping out of his element and, instead, seemed keen to show audiences a new side of himself.
The conversation swiftly moved to T.M. Revolution’s motivations for his UNDER:COVER albums, both of which feature T.M. Revolution covering his own tracks, rather than inviting other artists to do so. He smoothly explained how, at least in the Japanese music industry, tours tend to promote the most recent releases, which means that set lists favor new tracks. While this keeps the lineup fresh, artists and fans alike miss out on opportunities to perform and enjoy classic tracks. In recording UNDER:COVER and UNDER:COVER 2, T.M. Revolution had aimed “to create an opportunity to put the spotlight on the old songs and let people enjoy my classics as well.” Furthermore, he continued, he gave fans a chance to vote on which tracks would appear on the UNDER:COVER albums because he wanted them to, directly, “be part of the revolution” that he already felt they helped make.
T.M. Revolution then touched briefly on his role as a cultural ambassador to his home prefecture of Shiga. Shiga in itself is perhaps not as well-known among international fans, but neighboring Kyoto surely is, so T.M. Revolution asked that fans visiting Kyoto make sure to drop by his hometown as well. Perhaps in the interest of time, he conspicuously neglected to mention Shiga’s major natural attraction, Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, around which center the environmental efforts of T.M. Revolution’s own Inazuma Rock Festival.
Wasting no time, T.M. Revolution fielded a question about the difference between Japanese and American audiences by first clarifying that he values all of his fans, regardless of nationality, the same way, because they all “support [him] very passionately.” He then made the observation that American fans are more individualistic in their support, recounting a notable anecdote of a performance where an older gentleman had begun dancing in the middle of a ballad. In Japan, audiences tend to move more as a collective, and when a ballad begins to play, the atmosphere is of silent and still reverence; to see a fan begin moving to his ballad was, itself, quite “moving” to T.M. Revolution.
Next came an interesting revelation about T.M. Revolution’s other musical project, abingdon boys school. Of course, the dynamic of performing in a band is different than that of performing as a solo artist; you have less freedom and less control, but you have more opportunity for inspiration through collaboration, and T.M. Revolution admitted that, since his musical career began in a band, his work with abingdon boys school is “probably close to my root music.” But when asked about his affinity for UK-alt-rockers Radiohead – operating on the assumption that the group was named for the eponymous institution where the members of Radiohead came together -, T.M. Revolution shyly admitted that he has never actually listened to a Radiohead album, but nonetheless, he holds them in high regard as artists.
The topic abruptly shifted to T.M. Revolution’s acting career, with specific reference to his roles on stage in musicals (such as the Japanese iterations of Rock of Ages and Little Shop of Horrors) and his 2008 role in the film Corazon de Melon, which had been screened at the New York Asian Film Festival. Though musicals can be seen as a natural step for such a theatrical singer as himself, T.M. Revolution linked his very active, creative role in music videos – as a writer and as an actor – to his work in television and film, implying that the transition was smooth because “our music videos are like a short, 5-minute movie.” He humbly expressed doubt in his own acting abilities, to gentle reassurance from his peers, and chuckled when inviting the audience to put him in touch with any Hollywood producers they may know as he moved to the final question.
Wrapping up the session, Shattered-Tranquility.net managed to get answered our own question about T.M. Revolution’s recent campaign with ZEUS Menthol gum. As we reported in July, T.M. Revolution recorded a couple of commercials as well as a brand-spanking-new digital single, “Summer Breeze,” for the LOTTE brand gum line, and on July 29th, he performed at a special event for 600 extremely lucky fans. This event was recorded and the resulting commercial aired in a nationwide television campaign. Thankfully, it was also uploaded to YouTube the following day, fulfilling T.M. Revolution’s own wish of “get[ting] the video to all of you guys” around the world.
In his cream waistcoat and pants suit, T.M. Revolution remained stylish, gracious, and composed through the end of the interview, with his winning smile and unexpected modesty. The following day, this polite, soft-spoken man was transformed into a formidable beast of a rock star with a booming, almost deafening voice that reverberated beyond the walls of the arena where he performed. But for now, he was just a humble man happy to answer some questions for a crowd of curious people.
Tags: T.M. Revolution