[Blog Post] 2nd Full Album “in bloom” On Sale!

Original URL: https://ameblo.jp/somasaito/entry-12645179817.html
Published: 2020/12/22

It’s become really wintry now. How are you all spending today—the day after the earth era shifted to the air era?*
I filled my bathtub but got out quickly because it was hot. Around 40°C is the most comfortable. Saito Soma here.

Now then, my second full album “in bloom” is finally out!
Information about it was revealed bit by bit leading up to the release, but it really feels like, “Finally!” I pray that it safely reaches your hands.

Up until now I’ve mainly been singing about the end of the world, but these eleven stories are my imaginings—or perhaps delusions—of life beyond that. I hope you’ll savour them thoroughly and repeatedly.
I think I was able to create a wider variety of songs this time. I know I had fun, but I wonder, what do all of you think? How is it?
I’m looking forward to your impressions!

We still don’t know how the situation will play out, but my tour was scheduled for next year.
That young, teenage Saito who shut himself in his room, longing for “someone who wasn’t him, in a place that wasn’t here,” is now turning thirty next year. I’m still inexperienced in many areas, but now that I’ve realized my place in the larger flow, instead of only being on the receiving end, I’ve started making a conscious effort to bridge to the next step. I wonder if that means I’ve made a bit of progress.
This album is overall more introspective and decadent than the previous one, but despite that, I created it with a pleasure-seeking mood in mind. I wonder if you can sense in it my will to bridge to the next “something.”

I hope everyone who listens to it will spin their own tale of what happens next.
Once again, thank you for all of your support!
Please continue to support me in both my music and my voice acting work!

Well then, that’s all for today!
Take care!

Saito Soma


*TL note: This is referencing the winter solstice and astrology. This year, Jupiter and Saturn are meeting in an air sign for the first time in 200 years (previously they met in earth signs). If you’re interested in the implications, look up “great conjunction.”

[Radio] Kaito Aiko no Mado café (2020/12/20)

Broadcast: 2020/12/20 on TOKYO FM
Original Name: YKK AP presents 皆藤愛子の窓café ~窓辺でcafé time~

Part 2 of 2.

Part 1: https://saitosoma.kouhi.me/2020/12/13/radio-kaito-aiko-no-mado-cafe-2020-12-13/


Highlights:

  • Voice actors tend to be busy right up to and right after New Year’s, but Soma feels grateful for it because it means there’s that much demand for them, and he wants to do as much voice acting as he can.
  • Soma’s favourite movie is Stand By Me. He still rewatches it from time to time.
  • The protagonist of the movie dreams of becoming an author, but his father doesn’t support him. It’s a story of a group of boys spending a summer together, and a character named Chris tells the protagonist, “You have talent at writing, but if no one nurtures that talent, it’ll disappear. And if your parents won’t do it, then I will.”
  • Soma always cries at that part, no matter how many times he watches it. When he first watched the movie in his early teens, he wished he had a friend like that.
  • He does have a lot of close friends, but recently when he rewatched it again, he thought about how he’s turning 30 next year, and it made him want to become a person who can say that kind of line to someone.
  • Now that he’s been a voice actor for ten years and has juniors, he wants to pass on to them what he’s received from others.
  • The heart-throbbing song that Soma requested was “Snow Smile” by BUMP OF CHICKEN.
  • He struggled with the decision since he didn’t think he’d heard one before, but went with a song that made him feel that way in middle school.
  • The part of the lyrics that he likes is: “Etching parallel lines into a spotless blanket of snow with our footprints / A smile escapes from my lips, knowing that that dream will never come true / On this snowless road”
  • Soma likes BUMP OF CHICKEN a lot and thinks that this song has deep, heartrending lyrics. He praises Fujiwara-san’s singing voice and calls it an instrument in itself.
  • in bloom has an omnibus-like format, depicting various different stories taking place after the end of the world.
  • Since he’s a voice actor, he doesn’t have to restrict the songs’ atmosphere, arrangement, singing style, or lyrics. He can approach them as an actor. Instead of singing the songs as “Saito Soma,” he sings them as each song’s protagonist.
  • Since Soma is turning 30 in 2021, his goal for the year is “to become an adult.” Instead of solely receiving from the people around him, he wants to pass things on himself, recognizing his place in the grand flow of things.
  • He also wants to retain his sense of childish wonder at mysterious things that catch his attention. He wants to be “an adult with the heart of a child.”
  • As the lead track of in bloom, “carpool” is supposed to give the sense of a new story/journey beginning.

[Radio] Kaito Aiko no Mado café (2020/12/13)

Broadcast: 2020/12/13 on TOKYO FM
Original Name: YKK AP presents 皆藤愛子の窓café ~窓辺でcafé time~

Part 1 of 2.

Part 2: https://saitosoma.kouhi.me/2020/12/20/radio-kaito-aiko-no-mado-cafe-2020-12-20/


Highlights:

  • Soma likes to make snacks to go along with drinks, like deep-fried eggplant in broth.
  • On Sundays when he has the day off, he’ll simmer things for 2 hours instead of using the pressure cooker. He feels oddly at ease when he’s absorbed in chopping ingredients and simmering them.
  • Simmering takes time, but in this busy society, he thinks it’s a luxury to be able to relax like that on his days off.
  • Soma likes learning new things, so he’s always curious about a lot of things.
  • Since “in bloom” was being released in winter, he wanted to write wintery lyrics. While he was thinking, he realized he hadn’t seen any fireworks that year at all. He likes seasonal things and wondered if there was such a thing as fireworks in winter, and found out that there was a company that makes fireworks designed for the winter air, with a very Japanese-style aesthetic.
  • He actually bought the fireworks, and he hasn’t used them yet, but he thought the idea of winter fireworks was very emotional, so he wrote the song “Saigo no Hanabi” (Last Fireworks) for his album.
  • He wonders if there are a lot of other things that can be nice in seasons other than what you associate them with.
  • The brunchtime song that Soma requested was “Scarlet” by Spitz.
  • When he writes lyrics, he’s inspired by Spitz’s Kusano Masamune’s respectful, cherishing use of the Japanese language.
  • A lot of Soma’s songs have a decadent or “end of the world” motif, and after 2 years of that, he thought he might’ve overdone it.
  • He happened to be reading Dazai Osamu’s story Roman Dourou which is about a group of siblings writing a relay story, and one of them says, “Stories always end with the prince and princess getting together and living happily ever after, but what I really want to know is what happens after that.”
  • Soma completely agreed, and started imagining what kind of life would come after the end of the world.
  • The “in bloom” title evokes the imagery of plants sprouting after the end of the world.
  • People are divided on “Petrichor”—some think it’s upbeat and cute, while others think it’s really scary, which is exactly what Soma hoped for.
  • (He talks some more about it but it’s all stuff he’s said in interviews)

[Interview] Ani-PASS #10 – Saito Soma – in bloom

Released: 2020/12/9

Soma was on the back cover and had a stunning 21-page feature. There is also a laminated artist card inside, as well a postcard that came with purchases from Animate.

※Since this is still a recent release, I will not be providing scans. The magazine is in stock on Amazon Japan.


I decided to stop following physical restrictions and personal rules

Q: Two years from quantum stranger, your long-awaited second full album in bloom is finally being released. Last year in December, you released the mini-album my blue vacation. Every December, Santa Soma delivers a present in the form of an album. *laughs*

Ahaha, you’re right *laughs*. My releases often end up being in June and December. After my blue vacation, I was vaguely planning a full album next, but while I was preparing a single for my third anniversary in June, the world fell into a pandemic, making it so that I couldn’t release a physical CD. In the end, I was able to release the tracks “Petrichor,” “Summerholic!”, and “Palette” (which are also on in bloom) as a series of digital singles starting in June. And then my album would be released in December. The releases have gone mostly as planned, which is a relief.

Q: It’s true that this year has been irregular in every way for the entertainment industry.

It really has been. But for me, there was a positive outcome in that I realized the advantage of digital singles. Normally, my albums always end up being released in December. That makes it really hard to include new songs that are based in the middle of summer. But through digital singles, I was able to link the songs to the seasons and release “Summerholic!” in summer. It’s really good that I was able to do that, since the digital single series was themed around seasons. For us creators, it’s more constructive to think about what we can do based on the current circumstances. Especially in this troubling time, I was able to proactively work on my music.

Q: You were proactive during the stay-home period too, right?

Yes. I bought a new computer for making music, as well as various tools.

Q: You composed and wrote lyrics for all of the songs on in bloom. Come to think of it, during the release interview for my blue vacation, you said that your demos evolved from singing to your own accompaniment to programmed tracks with an iPad and GarageBand.

Yes. And now they’ve evolved even further, to a computer and “Logic Pro”! *laughs*

Q: Finally, the addition of a true DAW (digital audio workstation)!

Indeed. Now I can express my ideas more clearly at the demo stage…and way more of my songs get scrapped now *strained laugh*. I have the production team listen to my idea sketches more often now, which means that there are more fragments that get rejected. But in that sense, it means that we’re working more like a band this time.

Q: Is there anything else that changed about your creation process?

One thing would be that I decided to stop following physical restrictions and personal rules. Before when writing lyrics, I had a personal restriction on myself to not use vocabulary that I already used in another song. But I decided to remove that restriction and not be afraid to use what I felt was most appropriate for each situation. But on the other hand, this resulted in “a restriction of not setting restrictions,” or “a rule to not follow rules,” which made things much more difficult up until halfway through production, especially when it came to writing lyrics. *strained laugh*

I was glad that I was able to write a standard guitar band song

Q: Which was the most difficult?

“Schrödinger Girl,” perhaps. I’m releasing eight new songs this time, and in April, I posted a video of a work-in-progress on Twitter and said, “I’m working on this new song right now!” Since the chord progression was based on Swedish pop, I gave it the tentative title of “Hokuou” (Scandinavia)… but I really could not come up with any lyrics for it *strained laugh* so I put it off for quite a while. The melody ended up having the dry feel of a band in winter, so I think it matches the season. This song was actually a candidate for the lead song until “carpool” was made.

Q: Really?

This time, I mulled over what to use as the lead song up until the very end. At first it was between “Schrödinger Girl” and a song that wasn’t included on this album, but neither of them felt quite right. I wanted the lead song to be a bit dark, something like Spitz or ART-SCHOOL, with a composition you’d see from a traditional Japanese band. I spent about a week thinking of new songs every night, when the melody of “carpool’s” chorus popped into my head. It’s an orthodox chord progression that I like. I quickly sent it over to the producer Kuroda-san and the arranger Saku-san. Saku-san replied with, “I can feel that this is going to be a masterpiece,” and we went through with it… The next day, I finished the song in a flash, lyrics included. It’s a really good song, if I do say so myself *laughs*. A lot of the songs that Saito Soma writes are niche. I intentionally hadn’t written songs that immediately grow on you like this one does, so I was glad that I was able to write a standard guitar band song.

Q: As with your other songs, “carpool” really feels like it tells a story.

I’m always happy that my listeners each visualize their own scenery, but personally, the keyword “carpool” makes me think of adolescence. Like The Notebook by Ágota Kristóf.

To the boy, his “bad friend” was like another version of himself. But that bad friend died in the sea, and after that, the boy felt like he was living out of sheer habit. Then, after growing up into a young man, he drove to the sea where his bad friend passed away. The driver’s seat used to be “your exclusive seat,” but now it’s “my exclusive seat.” And it ends with “I’ll catch up soon, so wait for me there.”

Q: The line that goes “You’re calling out to me from between the waves” is both nostalgic and profound.

Indeed *strained laugh*. That said, this is ultimately only my interpretation, so please don’t restrict yourself to it when you listen to the song.

Q: The song really is like a short film. Do you have a favourite line?

“I never wanted to know what lies beyond the sea’s horizon.” I think I wrote a really good lyric there. Kuroda-san was with us when the song was being mixed down, and when I tried to talk to him, he was so moved by that phrase that he shed tears. *laughs*

Q: It must’ve resonated with him. The MV takes place on a coast too.

Yes. It was filmed at the coast near Helena International Hotel in Fukushima Prefecture, where King Gnu-san’s “Hakujitsu” was filmed. I wanted to have a cut where I walked along the shore, just like in the lyrics, but it was right after a typhoon, so the sea was too stormy. It resulted in good footage though, so that was nice *laughs*. I feel bad singing my own praises, but it’s the first time in a while that I wrote a song that I’m completely satisfied with.

Q: In terms of being like a film, “Kitchen” feels more like a cut from everyday life than a story.

I struggled the least with that song’s lyrics *laughs*. Also, it wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for the stay-home period. I’ve cooked for myself before, but I took this opportunity to get back into it and I bought a lot of appliances. I like casually drinking alcohol in my kitchen while making snacks to go along with it. One of the themes of this album is “delusions,” and this song is a fleshed out “kitchen drinker” delusion from my own experience.

Q: The chic bossa nova arrangement feels fresh too.

The song itself is from the hobby band I was in when I was a student, although the lyrics were written anew. The guitar chords are also my unique chords—they’re strange ones that take a long time to explain how to play. Also worthy of mention is that the rhythm section is made up of kitchen utensil sounds. I created sounds during the stay-home period and Saku-san sampled sounds from things like ladles. The snipping sound is from scissors, and there’s also the sound of a coffee grinder. It’s a playful toy pop song, and when you listen closely to the lyrics, it makes you think there must be something wrong with the protagonist’s head, which is fun too. *laughs*

Q: The unique vocal work that feels like it’s wafting in the air is lovely too. It’s perfect for the bossa nova atmosphere.

I often used to ask the engineers and technicians I met through work, “How does live singing differ from recorded singing?” I was told that I tend to be too loud in front of the mic. I was also taught that singing more softly would make the low harmonics resound more richly. So, I tried to sing softly for “Kitchen.” All of the vocals are double-tracked and I sung in an extremely relaxed way to get that floaty feeling.

Q: You didn’t establish rules for singing style either.

Right. So it was done quickly, probably in about five takes. We recorded “Canary” on the same day, but that one only took around two takes.

Q: That’s fast! “Canary” has a simple accompaniment centered around the acoustic guitar, and the swaying vocals are quite impressive.

I wanted to make the song feel ambiguous, and the lyrics have that kind of setting too. Up until now, I’ve enjoyed singing over and over again to achieve higher accuracy, but for this song, if my pitch wavered, I left it like that. I wanted it to be a bit distorted. Personally, I wanted to do whispery vocals like Elliott Smith.

The chord progression goes Em7, D, C. Everyone likes this kind of progression, right? I love it! It’s a simple composition.

Uchida Kirin-san, who also played the cello for “Rutsubo,” provided a beautiful, emotional solo. It stood out a lot against the stillness in the rest of the song.

Q: The lyrics are also a bit distorted. It feels like you’re drifting through an imaginary dream world.

A lot of the songs on in bloom blur the boundary between dream and reality, or delusion and reality.

Q: As with “carpool,” “Canary” also ends with unsettling words: “poison” and “I lose my senses.”

Indeed *strained laugh*. Actually, there’s a song that didn’t make it onto this album called “Rakuen” (Paradise), which I wanted to use as the last track. “Rakuen” is also about limbo—a place where people go when they leave this world that isn’t heaven. The song says that it’s the final paradise; the garden of beginning and end. I’m sorry for talking about a song you can’t listen to yet, but I think that that “interspace” feeling is present in all of the songs.

Q: The threshold between life and death, fantasy and reality… in bloom’s songs do have those themes. When I listened to this album, I thought, “Saito Soma’s gone all out!” *laughs* How does Saito Soma arrive at these songs?

Hmm… I think it has to be because I’m twisted in some way *laughs*. I find myself drawn to things with a sense of loneliness, though this doesn’t apply to everything, of course. So even though my stance of “not including personal messages in my music” hasn’t changed, I think the number of introspective songs has increased.

Q: You’ve always liked shoegazing music, which is characterized as introspective and floating, right? Since your heart and mind are free from restrictions now, it feels like you’ve dug deep into your true nature.

I really wanted to make “Isana” a shoegazing song. “Isana” is an ancient word for “whale,” and I included a guitar choke in the intro of the demo that sounded just like a foghorn or a whale’s cry. That’s where the whale motif came from, and I decided to sing about a Spaceship Earth-esque world view. So, I think the scope of the song is wider than my previous albums. It’s also spiritual.

Q: Whales are mystical creatures, right?

Indeed. I don’t know why, but they seem very sci-fi. And to me, they feel nostalgic. My mother is from a place that’s famous for whales, so I was very familiar with the word “isana.” And when my grandfather was driving, he’d talk about what happens to whales that stray into the harbour. Whales bring back fond memories for me. The “you” I sing about in this song could be a whale, or it could be something more cosmic… The song is also about the people in each of the in bloom songs. I think this song can be experienced in many ways.

Q: Since the album title is written in hiragana in “Isana’s” lyrics, it did feel like it was depicting a vaster world. And sound-wise, the arrangement was done by The Florist, a well-known artist in the Japanese shoegazing world.

Yes, it was Kuroda-san who introduced me to The Florist-san. My song “Kesshou Sekai” also had strong shoegazing elements, but it was still closer to guitar rock. For “Isana,” rather than going for a thundering sound, the arrangement used a thick reverb to create a wall of sound. There are also elaborate details in the sound. They also slowed the BPM quite a bit from the demo I first created, and said, “We might as well take it past 8 minutes!” *laughs* It’s long as far as pop music goes, but well, the Beatles’s “Hey Jude” is over 7 minutes too *laughs*. I hope that those who don’t usually listen to shoegazing music will find it a pleasant song and see what I was aiming for.

Rain fell upon the world that once ended, leading to the sprouting of new life in “in bloom”

Q: in bloom has a lot of reverb-heavy songs in general, right?

Yes. Saku-san said so too: “There’s reverb on basically everything this time!” *laughs* There’s also frequent use of chorus for spatial effect. “Schrödinger Girl” has chorus all the way through.

Q: It gives off an organic feel, though.

I think it’s because instead of trying to match the BPM exactly, I aimed to give it “fluctuation.” It also used a lot of live, unedited instruments. The only tracks that were fully digital were “Vampire Weekend” and “BOOKMARK.” Oh, but we had live guitar for both of those as well.

Q: “Vampire Weekend” is a light funk song. It gives off an urban scent.

I boldly used an existing band’s name for the title *laughs*. This song implements a strange structure in a different way from “Kitchen.” I made the demo on my iPad with GarageBand, trying the feature that lets you create a song by looping a resource. It’s a Western-style idea of repeating the same chords while changing the melody and creating a groove.

Q: Where did the vampire motif come from?

I was reading a book and it said something along the lines of “living like a vampire.” Vampires’ true nature may deviate from the norm, but instead of denying that they’re deviants, they pose as humans while possessing their own traits. It’s a form of life hack. I was inspired by that and made the protagonist a “vampire” who has an abnormal mentality of not being satisfied with their normal self. In accordance to that, the song’s structure is abnormal too *laughs*. I asked ESME MORI-san, who I worked with in Hypnosis Mic, to handle the arrangement. The guitar is by Morishii-san from Awesome City Club, which ESME MORI-san also provides music for.

Q: The vocals are sexy, too.

I made the lyrics more mature to match the arrangement. My favourite word in them is “damashiai saretai.” It takes “damashiai” (which means to deceive each other) and replaces the “ai” (each other) with “ai” (love). These five syllables “da-ma-shi-a-i” are layered with a whispering voice, and I hope you enjoy the “o-mo-te-na-shi” feeling it gives off *laughs*. I think it’s a danceable song, so the beat feels really nice when you turn up the volume.

(TL note: “o-mo-te-na-shi” refers to a presentation given by Takigawa Christel to the IOC when Japan was bidding for the Olympics. She used “omotenashi” (hospitality) as a key word and stressed each syllable individually, which left a big impression on Japanese people—who proceeded to do the same thing on social media with other five-syllable words.)

Q: The other digital track is “BOOKMARK.” What can you tell us about “J-san” who performed the rapping?

J-san is my friend. He’s not a professional musician, but he’s always been good at rapping and he writes music too. He wanted to try writing a song based on a guitar loop, so we made the track together. I already had the basis for the song itself from back when I wrote “Petrichor,” and when I passed it to J-san to do the arrangement, it came back to me with programming and rapping included *laughs*. It sounded really cool, so I asked the record label to include it on this album.

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of pages flipping in a book, which relates to the “BOOKMARK” title.

Q: So that’s why there’s the sound of turning pages. It’s a stylish presentation. Are the lyrics about a protagonist who’s drinking alcohol?

Yes. It’s rare for me to be so direct, right? *laughs* This song is about a student who stayed up until 4 a.m. and is reminiscing about his youth. It’s about a once-real dream that is now a memory of the past.

Q: This song brings back authors’ names with the line “Kafka, Pelevin, Dick, Vonnegut.” The choices seem a bit student-like too. *laughs*

(Victor) Pelevin is the only one of these that’s still alive, though *laughs*. (Philip K.) Dick and (Kurt) Vonnegut were named because I remembered when J-san asked me for sci-fi novel recommendations, I said he should start with Dick and Vonnegut. That was what led to us becoming good friends.

These lyrics feel like a pair of drunk students having a pointless, immature debate. Like, “Was Dazai writing his stories seriously or abstractly?” *laughs* J-san and I wrote the lyrics together, and I think mine were a bit more nonsensical. I figured that since it’s students singing, I should tone down the rap part because they’d be too embarrassed to go all-out. It’s an early-morning song about someone around 20 years old, who says “I’ve woken up from my dream!” but is actually thinking that he really doesn’t want to wake up. *laughs*

Q: Perhaps that’s why he wants to put a bookmark there—he never wants to forget that memory. Finally, the last track of in bloom is the new song “Saigo no Hanabi” (Last Fireworks).

This is sort of a song about birth. I was allowed to do whatever I wanted for in bloom, and that had its advantages, but I didn’t really think any of the songs were catchy and easy to familiarize with on the first listen. This kind of contradicts what I was talking about earlier, but I wrote a j-pop style song with “happy end” imagery.

…That said, it takes some sharp turns, so you’ll be thinking it’s pop music when suddenly it shifts to rock. That non-straightforwardness is fitting for the end of this album, and I think I was able to write an interesting song.

Q: The lyrics are about fireworks even though it’s winter.

Yes. It seems impossible at first, but there actually are sparklers designed for use in winter. That’s really lyrical in itself. The person in this song is mostly likely setting off winter fireworks by themselves. So, they’re probably pretty eccentric. *strained laugh*

Q: A lot of the in bloom protagonists are people you can’t lower your guard around. *strained laugh*

The line “If a meteorite were to come down today” is conspiratorial…or rather, it’s an absurd thought, right? But that doesn’t mean there’s a zero percent chance of it actually happening. The line “The last fireworks fall in the winter sky” is made up of everyday words, and yet it feels out of place. The things that this person is saying and thinking could all be delusions, but there’s also the possibility that today really is the end of the world. Nothing is happening on a global level, but his personal world could be ending—it’s the scope of his thoughts. But since the ending goes, “Look, they’re lighting up again,” I hope that’ll ease your concerns *laughs*. It’s rare for me to include a message—and this isn’t really to the point of being a “message”—but I hope my feelings of, “Thank you for letting me release this album; I promise there’s more to come” will get across.

Q: Saito Soma’s world of music is unending.

Yes *laughs*. The title in bloom also has a strong nuance of “this is a good period of time” rather than flowers blooming. Up until my blue vacation, the world view was faded and decadent. In “Epilogue,” rain fell, and the rain continued at the start of this year’s “Petrichor.” Rain fell upon the world that once ended, leading to the sprouting of new life in “in bloom”. I hope you thoroughly enjoy this album.


Keyword Q&A

Q1. carpool – Where would you go on a drive? Tell us your recommended drive destination.

I’d like to see the autumn foliage, if there’s a place where you can still do that in December. If not, then… I never thought this at all before, but recently I’ve been wanting to visit the remote islands of Okinawa. I want to drive in a quiet, deserted place with sprawling fields… but I don’t have a driver’s license, so if a big-wig listens to “carpool” or reads this article and starts a TV or YouTube program where I get my license, you might see “Saito Soma is taking action!” *laughs*

(TL note: This is a reference to a phrase “(name) is taking action” which was popularized online by an entertainer.)

Q2. Schrödinger Girl – Schrödinger is associated with cats. Which animal would you compare yourself to?

There are a lot of animal horoscopes on the internet, right? When I did one, it said I was a black panther. Is it a dog or a cat? It’s called both, but I think it’s more often designated as a cat. Personally, I’d like to be a jellyfish, just floating around. That’s how I feel sometimes.

Q3. Kitchen – What’s your favourite part of cooking?

Huh?! It’s…obviously the eating part, right?! *laughs* If I have to pick a part of the actual cooking process, I think it’d be seasoning. When I get the seasoning just right, I think, “Yes!”

Also, while it’s not strictly part of cooking, I used to hate washing the dishes—but since I cooked more often during the stay-home period, I started to enjoy optimizing cooking and washing at the same time, thinking of it as a game. I like it the most when the food’s ready and everything’s clean at the same time.

Q4. Canary “This poison is a bit lukewarm” – Do you eat piping hot things as they are, or do you let them cool first?

I really have a cat’s tongue. I guess that’s why I’m a black panther? *laughs* The skin on my fingers seems to be thin too, so I’m sensitive to hot things. I love piping hot foods like ramen, though… Maybe I’m the type that doesn’t mind getting burnt. I want to eat delicious things in their best state.

Q5. Vampire Weekend – What kind of fantastical person would you want to become?

I would like to try being a vampire, but if I was going to become something… It’s not really a fantastical person, but something like a silicon-based lifeform? Or a data lifeform that can’t be confined to 3-D. Something that only exists on the net. I’m a sci-fi fan, after all.

Q6. BOOKMARK – What are your favourite types of alcohol or cocktails, and how do you like to drink them?

I often drink highballs at home. During the stay-home period, I bought a carbonated water maker because I wanted to make delicious highballs…but when it runs out of gas, you have to send it to the manufacturer for an exchange, and it’s annoying so I haven’t done it. Now I’m buying carbonated water from the store like a normal person *laughs*. If I’m not home, I like bottled beer in the winter. I like drinking it at diners and hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants. If they have Sapporo’s “Red Star” beer (Sapporo Lager Beer), that’s the best. It’s good to choose the right alcohol to go with your food.

Q7. Isana “Like a long film” – What’s your favourite feature-length film?

Stanley Kubrick’s works, perhaps. A cliche pick would be 2001: A Space Odyssey. The one I want to watch right now is Eyes Wide Shut. The film itself is great, and there are also a lot of fascinating stories revolving around it. I haven’t been able to watch many films lately, so I’d like to properly settle down and focus on watching some.

Q8. Saigo no Hanabi – Did you see fireworks this summer?

Fireworks, huh… I haven’t seen them or set any off in a while. When I’m out, I might hear the sound of fireworks coming from somewhere and catch a small glimpse of them, but that’s about it. So, I really want to try out the winter sparklers. Summer fireworks have their charm too, but I want to use the sparklers in the winter, when it seems like they can go out at any moment, while saying, “It sure is cold!” Since the winter air is crisp and clear, I’m sure they’ll be beautiful. I’d also like to use fireworks in a place covered in snow, although it might not be possible in Tokyo. I wonder if we can film a “Saigo no Hanabi” MV up north. *laughs*

Q9. in bloom – What’s your favourite flower?

Delicate flowers like violets are nice, but if I had to say, rather than lovely flowers, I prefer peculiar decorative plants like staghorn ferns, or bizarre ones like cacti and carnivorous plants. I often used to use cacti as a motif in lyrics, and the word comes up in “Reminiscence” too. Isn’t that unusual appearance great? *laughs* I like looking at plants, so I might use in bloom as an opportunity to bring some into the house.


Behind the Scenes: Soma-san appeared in two styles for us, one with a long coat and one with a white jacket. The first part of the photo shoot had him holding flowers in a garden, while the second part was in a room with beautiful lighting. There were so many wonderful shots that we struggled until the last minute trying to decide which ones to use and where to put them. By the way, the flowers in the birdcage are themed around “Canary.”


Bonus: Animate-exclusive postcard

Bonus: Off-shots from Soma’s stylist, Honda Yuuki


Extra

[Interview] Seiyuu Grandprix 2020/12 Edition – The scenery changes – Saito Soma’s expanding world

Released: 2020/11/10

※Soma was on the front page cover and had a 12-page feature. There were also two shop-specific bromides.

※Scans not provided because the magazine can easily be bought digitally from sites like Bookwalker.


Throwback 2020

The situation made me realize that I’d become a captive to our ways

—This will be the second time in 2020 that you’re gracing the cover of Seiyuu Grandprix.

Thank you very much. It feels like it’s been quite a while since last time, but when I heard it was February, I thought, “It was still within this year!” *laughs* Still, it’s already been half a year…? It’s not just my situation, but the whole world’s that’s changed. To get straight to the point, even now, it still feels like the things I used to think were normal were actually things I was taking for granted. Before, it was normal to have thirty cast members sharing four mics at a sports anime recording, but now it’s too difficult. The recording environment has completely changed.

—Technique-wise, has recording become more difficult now that you can’t record in large groups?

In American cartoons, it’s standard practice for everyone to record separately, one by one. When you think about it that way, our environment up until now might’ve been a blessing. By the way, when foreigners see us switching in and out in front of the mics while voice acting, apparently many of them get surprised and go, “Ohh! They’re ninjas!” *laughs*

—That means that Japan’s voice acting technique is a culture we should be proud of! *laughs*

Now, we can’t really do recordings like that either. I’ve done recordings by myself in the past before, of course, but personally, I love the acting that comes from live dialogues. This situation made me realize that I’d become addicted to it.

—In scenes with a lot of room for movement, those dialogues can result in something more exciting than you imagined.

Exactly. I was forced to realize just how much I’d been receiving from others’ acting. By the way, in the past, I was bad at listening to other people’s lines. Rather, when you’re just starting out, it’s common to get too caught up in the idea of “I have to say my own lines right.”

—In your case, when did that weakness turn into an “addiction”?

To put it simply, when I properly received someone’s acting and returned with mine, I could sense that I’d succeeded in establishing a conversation, and that felt really good. I don’t think I would’ve noticed it if I’d always been recording alone, so I’m grateful for that. But right now, it’s hard to get the chance to notice that and change my responses accordingly. There’s nothing that can be done about that… but I think that by realizing this and reflecting on myself, I was able to make good use of this stay-home period.

—In these turbulent times, have you been talking to others about the current state of entertainment?

Yes! My personal impression is that there are a lot of people in this industry who are thinking seriously about what we can do and how we should continue going forward. If there are things we can’t do no matter what, then it’s important to proactively consider what we can do—we often talk about that.

—Many voice actors have taken this opportunity to entertain the fans with personal online streams and videos. Are you considering trying something like that?

My primary focus has always been on characters and works. I entered this industry because I wanted to add colour to them with my voice, and I don’t think that central feeling will ever change in my life. That said, today’s world is such that if you stick too closely to that principle, you won’t be able to expand your range of expressions. Ideally you want to be flexible, so I do want to take on expressing myself in various forms. Fortunately, I have my music career as an outlet for that. I think I’m very blessed to have been able to release three digital singles over the course of three months. Also, the stay-home period gave me a lot of time for input. I’m glad that I was able to prepare for my future output as well.

—You’re appearing in many anime this season, including ones that had their broadcast dates pushed back.

The recordings were all at varying times, and I can really feel that I’ve been given the opportunity to play a wide variety of roles. In EX-ARM which airs next year, I play an ordinary high school student who risks his life to save the world, while in Yuukoku no Moriarty, I play a young man who chooses the path of evil for the sake of changing the world… Since I’m playing a lot of unconventional characters, I’m spending more time thinking “What would this character do?” than I used to.

—In a previous interview, you said that you wanted to be associated with unconventional roles. Have you gotten closer to that ideal?

I hope so, but it’s rather difficult… *laughs* There are also more series that I’ve been involved with for a long time, like IDOLiSH7 which can be considered a stable franchise now. There are also works like Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle- Rhyme Anima where, rather than explaining it, I’d rather you watch it first and get a feel for it yourself. In every work, the staff are trying to deliver the best entertainment they can in these circumstances, so I hope you’ll enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Soma Saito ✕ glamb

I aimed for simple clothes that I wanted to wear

—In October, you announced your collaboration with glamb, consisting of pullover knits, berets, and socks.

I like fashion, but I never would’ve expected that I could be involved with clothes in this way, so I was grateful and surprised at the same time. We had several meetings, and the end result was clothes you could wear in everyday life rather than ones that strongly looked like merchandise. A better way to explain it would be clothes that I wanted to wear. *laughs*

—Yes, when I looked at the lineup, I felt that they seemed like clothes you yourself would like. *laughs*

Right?! *laughs* When I first received the collaboration offer, they asked me to choose a brand too… so I requested glamb, a brand that I wear often for work and in my personal life, and they accepted right away.

—They’re warm items that suit the release date.

I considered a cardigan too, but ended up going with the pullover knit first. Then, they suggested an incredible number of materials and designs. They adjusted every little detail for me, such as whether or not the sleeves should be ribbed.

—The logo placement also felt like it was carefully selected.

If it weren’t for the logo, I think it’d be a simpler piece that you could wear more easily, but I had a selfish desire for something a bit unconventional *laughs*. I got to wear it myself too, and the size, material, and logo were all exquisite. I’m definitely going to wear it all the time!

—The socks make for vivid accent colours.

Socks represent an exquisite area—there are times when they aren’t visible, but then they peek out when you sit down. I think it’s nice to have a sense of playfulness for those times.

Also, the berets come in two colours: black which goes with everything, and a stylish beige.

—Berets always seem to match you perfectly.

Before I started this job, I’d never worn a beret before! The first person who put a beret on me was my stylist, Honda-san. Thank you, Honda-san! *laughs*

—Wow… I see!

I like simple clothes where the material feels good on my skin. Shape-wise, I think I’ve been wearing a lot of loose clothes lately. I generally like autumn/winter fashion, like shirts, knits, and cardigans. For photo shoots, I get to wear a lot of clothes that I normally wouldn’t choose, and that’s fun.

—What do you pay attention to when choosing clothes?

Whether clothes suit someone or not is important, but in the end, I think what matters most is what I want to wear. Basically, whether I’m committed to liking how I look when I’m wearing them. In the past, I had an extremely narrow scope for that, and I thought I could only pull off one specific look. I didn’t even think that hats or glasses suited me. But, that scope expanded bit by bit as I encountered new things.

—Did your view change because of doing photo shoots for work?

It did. Up until high school, I hated having my photo taken, but after having it become part of my job, I started thinking, “What feelings can I express when I’m wearing these clothes?” It was really fun, and it felt like it was the clothes that were providing me with that enjoyment.

So, I love encountering styling that I’d never imagined before. While I do value my own preferences, I also want to value things that aren’t to my taste. After all, if it leads to me liking it, there’s nothing more wonderful than that. This applies to acting too—I have more fun when others present me with things I hadn’t expected.

—I think that having those “realizations” enriches your life.

Sometimes the realizations come when I’m not in the right frame of mind, but I do prepare for them… Basically, I keep an open mind and put up an antenna for them. I think there are a lot of things I’ve realized this way.

This year in particular, I realized that many of the things I thought were normal were actually very special, and I should be grateful for them. For example, being able to talk to someone in person and laugh loudly with them was special. By the way, my latest revelation was that yakiniku and sushi are better eaten in restaurants *laughs*. Being able to wander into a store and eat all sorts of things is a special thing I should be grateful for. I want to be thankful for all of these “normal” things and treasure them going forward.

about Soma’s fashion

An interview with Saito Soma’s stylist, Honda Yuuki, who has gained the trust of Saito-san’s fans as well. From the way they enjoy choosing clothes together, we can guess that they have the same values. What’s his secret to maximizing Saito-san’s charm?

—How did you meet Saito Soma-san?

When I was working as a stylist’s assistant, my mentor worked with a number of voice actors, and Saito-san was one of them. I remember that when we first met, I really clicked with his opinions on clothes. Perhaps he remembered too, because when I went independent, my first job was from Saito-san, who requested me as his personal stylist.

—What do you focus on for Saito-san’s styling?

Our taste in clothes is extremely similar and our physiques are also quite close, so it’s easy to imagine outfits on him, which makes styling very easy as well. Plus, Saito-san has an androgynous aura, so he looks good in a wide variety of clothes. As a result, I end up bringing tons of clothes because I want him to try them all on. If it’s for a magazine shoot, then I prepare styles that feel more like “outfits,” but if it’s for an event, he likely has to use his voice a lot, so I focus on functionality—a loose neckline—and add in abstract elements of the role he’s playing… For his artist career, I go for a more sophisticated look. But, it feels like he picks the clothes I want him to wear, so as long as he doesn’t dismiss me, I’d like to continue having fun choosing clothes for him. *laughs*

—What were the styling considerations made this time?

Since he was going to be wearing the collaboration items, I prepared clean styles that would match them. For the one with the jacket, since it’s a magazine shoot, I included a lot of playful, fun clothes.

By the way, it wasn’t used this time, but I also brought something from a brand that Saito-san and I had clicked with before. It was back during my assistant days, and we both agreed that we liked that style. Saito-san remembered too, and he said “This brings back memories, right?” *laughs*

What are “kuumaA” and “glamb”?

kuumaA is a brand collaboration project where an artist (expresser) thinks of what they want and find interesting, and a brand supports them to turn those thoughts into special items. This time, Saito Soma requested to collaborate with glamb, a fashion brand whose concept is “grunge for luxury.” Their style is elegant rock and they’re known for their borderless ideas that aren’t restricted by conventional fashion.

“in bloom” series

Saito Soma composed and wrote lyrics for every song, shaping various worlds!

—Your second album, in bloom, will finally be released on December 23.

So far, in quantum stranger and my blue vacation, I’ve been releasing songs themed around “the end of the world.” This time, I wanted to depict the story of what comes afterwards. Prior to the album, in bloom was announced as a series of digital singles, consisting of the three songs “Petrichor,” “Summerholic!”, and “Palette.” The full album will be a collection of songs related to them that expand on the world views. Rather than having a single concept for the album, it’s more like the songs exist within the same overarching theme, but each represents its own unique story and lifestyle.

The main difference from my previous full album is that this time, all of the composition and lyrics were done by me. But rather than making it about me, I think the idea of “having one person present a different world view in every song” is an interesting experiment. Among these songs are lyrics with motifs that I wouldn’t have tried to use in songs before.

—Motifs you haven’t used before?

Earlier, we talked about “realizations.” There were many realizations I had that were only possible because of the coronavirus situation. For example, the song “Kitchen” came from that.

—It’s a bossa nova style song.

But, the chorus is like guitar rock with a sense of speed. I’ve actually had the prototype for this song ever since the time when I was in a band for fun, but it’s so distinctive that it was hard to find a place to use it… Also, normally lyrics come to mind together with the melody, but this song was the only one where that didn’t happen. However, due to COVID, I started cooking for myself again after a while of not being able to, and I thought “kitchen” might make an interesting theme. But the finished lyrics feel the craziest out of these songs. *laughs*

—It’s brimming with paranoia. *laughs*

“Petrichor” and “Summerholic!” were also subjective songs, but it’s even more prominent in “Kitchen.” It’s like the protagonist is cheerful about eating something, but when you look at him from an onlooker’s perspective, his behaviour is abnormal. What I can say is that you’d better not seriously try to follow the recipe in these lyrics. *laughs*

—The abstract lyrics feel very much your style.

Yes. If I restrict lyrics to a single meaning, I don’t feel much meaning from them anymore. Feel free to read too much into this song and think, “The kitchen is a metaphor for an alchemist’s workshop…” *laughs*

—What’s your impression of the leading track, “carpool”?

It was rather difficult to decide what to do with the leading track. The three songs from the “in bloom” series depicted the changing of seasons up until fall, and this album was going to be released in winter, so I wanted to use a darker song with a good melody… but I couldn’t come up with anything. When it was almost time for the MV filming and I was like “Oh no!”, that’s when “carpool” popped out. It’s an orthodox chord progression that I like, sprinkled with my vocals, and the arranger Saku-san and the others liked it too. Writing the lyrics was a struggle at first, but once the song was finalized, it went incredibly quickly. It’s possible that I was too hung up on the idea of “writing songs that are different from what I’ve done before” and that made me too fixated on logic. In the end, the lyrics and the melody are pop with a hint of darkness… It has an aspect that I haven’t had before, so I personally like it too.

—It’s interesting how composing songs based on intuition leads to discovering new ground.

It’s incredibly difficult to decide whether to compose based on logic or feeling… This time, I decided to write songs freely without any restrictions on myself, but I realized that that thought was already restricted by logic. By the way, “carpool” doesn’t have anywhere to breathe at all, so it’s ridiculously hard to sing. *laughs*

I’m interested in how they’ll turn out when I sing them live

—What about “Schrödinger Girl”?

Since I started doing more work at home, I bought a new DAW software. I used that to make a demo of a song called “Hokuou (Kari)” (Scandinavia (Temp)), which I posted on Twitter. The temporary name was that because the melody resembled Scandinavian rock bands. Every now and then, the fans would ask “What happened to that song?”, and at last, that song has become “Schrödinger Girl” *laughs*.

Even though it makes heavy use of bubbly, swaying effects, it became one of my fastest songs. But to tell the truth, it was also the hardest one on this album to come up with lyrics for… The recording was delayed, and I’d write lyrics while commuting. Looking back now, it’s become a fond memory *laughs*. The final result tells a clear story, which is rare for me. So, please listen to it and make your own speculations.

“Canary” is a simple composition without many syllables.

I wanted to do a dark, whispery song like Elliott Smith (an American singer-songwriter). However, even though I like that kind of music, I had to consider whether or not there would be meaning in the voice actor Saito Soma singing it. But ever since around the time of my blue vacation, my desire to sing introspective songs had been growing. This time, I included one with the reasoning that it would expand my range. I hope the lyrics also make it feel like the singer’s consciousness is clouded in fog.

By the way, this song was only recorded in about two takes, and there wasn’t really any pitch correction or whatnot, so I think it really feels like it’s sung live.

—”Vampire Weekend” is another conspicuous song.

I haven’t been following set formats with my songs, but I think this one is by far the strangest structure *laughs*. It began when I found a sound loop in the DAW I started using and I wanted to see if I could make a song out of it. I played the looping sound through my tablet and sung along into a mic, in a haphazard digital-yet-analog way of making a demo. *laughs*

So, the original song sounded like a 70s “looping” song, but when I asked ESME MORI-san (who I worked with in Hypnosis Mic) to do the arrangement, he immediately turned it into the stylish song that we have now.

The lyrics give off a very different impression depending on how you interpret the meaning of the word “vampire”—I think they can also feel perversely humorous.

—At the time of this interview, some of the songs are still in production.

Yes. Please look forward to them… One of them is also an epic that’s over eight minutes long.

—Eight minutes?!

I was originally assuming it’d be around six minutes when I sent in the demo, but the arranger slowed down the tempo, so I figured I might as well make it longer *laughs*. I’ve always loved shoegazing (a type of rock music), and this song has that kind of feel. I hope you enjoy the wonderful flood of tones.

—There really is a lot of variation on this one disc! I’m sure many fans are hoping you’ll be able to sing these songs live one day.

Many of the songs have challenging aspects, like “Kitchen” which includes the sounds of kitchen utensils and “carpool” which will be difficult to sing live in one take [because of the lack of breaks]. So, I’m really curious about how they’ll turn out if I sing them at a concert. Considering my musical style, it’s also possible to use special production techniques on stage, so I’ll save the fun of figuring out the specifics for when the time comes!

This album really does have a wide variety of songs, so I hope you’ll listen to it over and over, savouring the sounds as pure “music.”

Behind the scenes of Saito Soma’s fashion

Saito Soma-san makes his second front cover appearance after the first one in the February 2020 edition! For this photo shoot, he wore the items he produced himself. The day of the shoot was the first time he put on the completed samples. They were designed for everyday use in the first place, but he seemed to very fond of the colouring and size, and said “I really am going to end up wearing these all the time” with a smile.

Also, since the interview was going to focus on Saito-san’s fashion style, we also interviewed his stylist, Honda-san. The outfit on the front cover was his freestyle styling. He always brings many different outfits with him. When he and Saito-san were choosing clothes, you could tell how close they were—they looked like they were going clothes shopping, saying things like “This one looks good too” and “I want to buy this one.” It was a harmonious start to the photo shoot.

We also interviewed him about his second album “in bloom” which comes out on December 23. It’s a must-read for fans who are impatiently waiting for the release!


Shop-specific bromides:

Off-shot from Honda Yuuki:

Extra:

The blue jacket Soma wears in one of the outfits is glamb’s GB0320 / JKT17 in Navy (¥38,500): https://www.glamb-lodge.com/c/jacket/0320jkt17

[Blog Post] Palette / in bloom

Original URL: https://ameblo.jp/somasaito/entry-12626059673.html
Published: 2020/9/19

It’s been quite a while since the last post, but how has everyone been doing? Today felt very much like autumn.
As for me, I’ve still been enjoying books and music alongside doing my work. I wish I could have a chance to talk leisurely somewhere about the things I found interesting.
Hoping that autumn will be long this year while craving meat and saury—Saito Soma here.

⭐︎

At last, the third and final song in the digital series “in bloom” has been released! Thank you!

Also, the issue with the purchase bonuses is currently being investigated! We’re very sorry for the trouble…!
I think updates will be provided on Twitter as they become available, so please wait a little longer…! Sorry!

Now then, I missed my chance to write a blog post back when the second song “Summerholic!” came out.
I’ve talked about it in various places, but “Samahori” is an uptempo rock tune about a luxurious life of not taking a single step out of the house during the peak of summer.
Some might think it feels like surf rock.
This was a straightforward song; a complete change from the first song “Petrichor” which was quite deceptive.
Personally, I think this is a punk song. I’ve always liked this chord progression.

Now, the third song “Palette” is a heavy, heartrending song for the end of summer to the beginning of autumn. Unlike “Samahori,” this one is squarely US emo.
This song is also straightforward in a sense, but it was written so that it could be interpreted in various ways depending on how you read into it. My personal interpretation is that the lyrics tell a clear story!

As an aside, when I was recording a certain part of the song, for some reason, my mic gain (volume) kept dropping at that one part, no matter how many retakes I did. This happens to me a lot.
Anyway, this song has incredible sound pressure. Please listen to it as loudly as you can.

Also, the MV was unveiled!
Thanks to the efforts of all of the wonderful cast and staff, including Okudaira Daiken-san, it became a truly amazing MV.
I’ve always said that my songs are about stories, not myself. I think that this time, I was able to express that really well in video form. The presentation of colors was magnificent, right?!

Once again, thank you to everyone who created the “in bloom” series with me, and everyone who listened to it!
I hope to bring you more music in various ways, so please continue to give me your support!

⭐︎

Well then, that’s all for today!
Take care!

Saito Soma

[Interview] Bessatsu Kadokawa Scene 03 – The Talented Expresser: Saito Soma

Released: 2020/8/31

Soma was on the back cover and had a 16-page feature.

※There was originally a digital version released too, but it seems to be unavailable now. Either way I will not be posting scans for this one. (It’s in stock on Amazon Japan)


Interview #1: Saito Soma’s Roots and Desire for Expression

Saito has charmed many fans through his voice acting, music career, and essay-writing. Here, we explore his roots and creative side.

(1) Voice Acting

Acting is all about how close you can get to that person.

Saito Soma has appeared in many popular series such as IDOLiSH7 (as Kujo Tenn), Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle- (as Yumeno Gentaro), and Haikyuu!! (as Yamaguchi Tadashi). He’s received high praise from anime fans for his diverse yet detailed acting ability. Now that he’s reached the tenth year of his career, we asked him about his stance towards voice acting, his ideal image of a voice actor, and his unique theory.

There are a lot of interesting things about this job. First is the question of “How close can I get to a character that isn’t me?” This applies to all types of acting, not just in anime—acting is all about how close you can get to that person. However, different actors have completely different ways of approaching their characters. Some people link themselves to the character while they act, while others use data to construct the character logically. Even if the approach differs, what’s most important is how well you can synchronize with the character and the project.

I myself go through a lot of trial and error, but if you ask me for my ideal, I think it’s best to be able to act without thinking about anything. In real life, you wouldn’t think, “This is my personality, so this is how I should talk,” right? It’s important to use a logical approach at first, but I want to be able to jump from there to “unconscious” acting. Right now I’m having the most fun pursuing that.

As I gained experience, my perception of time changed. The other day, I was talking to a veteran voice actor and agreed with them that it’s very important how you perceive the duration of “one second.” In everyday life, a second passes before you know it—but when we’re recording and the line is one second too short, they’ll throw in another three words, meaning that it was quite a bit too short *laughs*. This job requires us to have a macro bird’s-eye view of the overall work, and at the same time, a micro awareness of “How do I perceive one second?”

This year, it’ll have been ten years since I debuted as a voice actor, but if you asked me ten years ago, “What do you think one second is?”, I don’t think I would’ve been able to give much of an answer. I think that being able to sense an expansive space in the duration of “one second” now is a sign that I’ve grown at least a bit. The more I continue down the road of anime, the more things I notice, and the more I find myself thinking, “This part is too short.” Voice acting really is a job where you can take pride in your technique. I hope to treasure each and every one of my roles while progressing towards my goal.

But if you ask me whether or not I’m suited for this job, I still don’t know the answer. Of course, I leaped into this world because I admired voice acting, but that doesn’t mean I analyzed myself and thought, “I have these traits and weapons in my arsenal, so I can put up a fight here.” After having the opportunity to be part of so many anime series, I do have my own methodology, but as I said before, it’s not good to be too caught up in analyses and theories. Even if you stick to your ways and use what you’ve learned that way, it’s of no use if it doesn’t match the project.

You need the adaptability to let go of your fixations.

Saito has gained a wide range of expressiveness through the many characters he’s voiced. He’s built up his own voice acting techniques and methods, but sometimes it’s important to discard them.

This is veering into philosophy, but I recently came across the word “non-self” in a book I read, and I thought it was really good. Not “selflessness,” but “non-self.” It’s important to have your own “self,” as in something that forms your axis, but if you adhere too closely to it, you’ll suddenly get left behind by the world which is always in a state of flux. For example, let’s say you get assigned to a character that’s difficult to portray. You read the script and come up with your own interpretation of what kind of person they are. But if you go to the recording and they tell you “That’s not right,” how do you react? Of course, it’s fine if you just think, “Oh, so I was wrong.” But if you don’t have that flexibility and instead think, “That can’t be true!”, then you’ll get bogged down. Everyone has their fixations, but you need the adaptability to let go of them when the time calls for it. When I see my seniors doing that, I think they’re amazing.

It’s a matter of calmly looking at the work as a whole and maintaining a balance—sometimes I do it my way and sometimes I express what I sense around me. So when interviewers ask me, “What is voice acting?”, I can only say, “Right now it’s like this.” I want to be able to enjoy all of the changes.

Voice actors actually have a lot of freedom thanks to the nature of animation. For example, when it comes to gasping, there are subtle differences depending on whether it’s from a sudden realization, surprise, or shock, making for countless ways to do it. Since we’re free from the restrictions of 3-D, more detail is expected from us. I think that’s one of the characteristics of anime.

Even in a live play, I think the principles are the same as voice acting. You have a script and you connect your heart’s movements with your body’s movements… I don’t have experience with acting in traditional plays, but I think the essence is the same: getting as close to a character in a fictional world as you can. Of course, due to the medium, the way you express yourself is different—a live play has the advantage of being able to use your body—so I’m personally really interested in it. I’m turning thirty next year, and I want to challenge new things.

My favourite movies? When I was a student, I watched more indie films than Hollywood blockbusters. I was interested in surrealism because of Nakajima Ramo, so I’d watch things like Un Chien Andalou. I also like sci-fi, so I watched everything from esoteric films like Donnie Darko to staples like A Clockwork Orange. After starting this line of work, I also began watching dubs of action and comedy films. I think that translation is amazing, and it’s educational from a voice acting perspective too.

(2) Music

I was seeking something different from everyone else.

Saito’s artist career began in 2017 with the single “Fish Story.” In 2018, he showed off his talent for composition, lyrics, and even CD cover design with his first album “quantum stranger.” His style combined his deep musical sense with “the voice actor Saito Soma’s” pop music. Now, he’s evolving that style even further. First, let’s take a look at his musical journey.

Rather than listening to music from specific periods or listening in a systematic way, it feels more like I reach out to whatever I like or am interested in. In elementary school, it was centered around what my parents listened to in the car: Yuming-san (Matsutoya Yumi), Inoue Yosui-san, Spitz. They also played a lot of the Beatles. I still like those songs, and I think they’re reflected in the music I write now.

I fully got into music in my first year of middle school because of a friend I made. His whole family was into subculture—his parents and older brother were all knowledgeable about pop culture and subcultures. He put his recommended songs on a MiniDisc for me, and on it was U2; “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Marilyn Manson; and Kinniku Shoujo-tai. Those varying genres of bands were my gateway, and I delved deeper from there. As for the current music at the time, my middle school years happened to coincide with the rock ‘n’ roll revival period. Some of the bands I liked were the Stripes, the Libertines, and Bloc Party. I listened to their songs a lot.

Looking back now, I think I was seeking something different from everyone else. It wasn’t that I was trying to reach farther, but rather, I proactively took in things that other people didn’t know about and weren’t interested in. I was looking for “someone who isn’t me, in a place that isn’t here.” I think it was music and fictional works such as novels, movies, and animation that satisfied that longing of mine.

I think I realized that it was important to absorb different things, contemplate them by myself, and decide what to do.

In elementary school, I was aware that I was living as a model student. As a child, I lived my life thinking about how I should act to get adults to accept me… So when I learned about rock, punk, and literature, I think I was shocked to discover that those things existed in the world. They were vulgar in a good way, and very free. They made me think that maybe I’d been living my life not thinking about anything. I didn’t rebel against my actual lifestyle, but I wrote songs and prose, trying to become a me who wasn’t a model student. I think I realized that it was important to absorb different things, contemplate them by myself, and decide what to do.

I prioritize entertainment value above all else.

Considering that he’s been delving deep into music ever since middle school, it was inevitable that he’d start his own artist career. Just like with voice acting, he has his own unique stance when it comes to music too. His central principle is entertainment value that a wide variety of listeners can enjoy.

When it comes to the music career of “the voice actor Saito Soma,” I prioritize entertainment value above all else. My voice acting work came first, and the various connections I made through there gave me the opportunity to release songs and perform live. But I don’t exactly try to show my true colours there in a “listen to what I have to say” way. In all of the songs I’ve released so far, there hasn’t been a single message song or love song. I’d say I’m more similar to Pete Doherty (from the Libertines) who also often wrote lyrics about fictional settings. Although as a listener, I do enjoy message songs too, and there are love songs that tug at my heartstrings.

Also, rather than songs that say “You’re not alone,” I’m more drawn to songs that say “It’s okay to be alone.” Like Elliott Smith’s lyrics, or in terms of Japanese bands, ART-SCHOOL, BURGER NUDS, GRAPEVINE…that kind of introspective mood. I want to mix that element into the voice actor Saito Soma’s pop music.

My songs don’t have any of that “Happy! Yay!” stuff in them, so they might not be suited for live concerts *laughs*. I was in a band when I was a teenager, but at that time, I was already thinking, “I want to create the best music” instead of “I want to perform live.” That hasn’t changed, so when I’m composing, I don’t think about whether I’ll be able to reproduce the songs at a concert. For example, “Waltz” and “Lemming, Ai, Obelisk” have a ton of layered vocals. It becomes a question of “How are you going to perform this live?” *laughs*

I also like albums that have concepts, and I’m fussy about CD jacket designs too. CDs are more than just music—you can put them on display and the lyrics cards are fun to read. I suspect that we’ll be the last generation to experience the appeal of CDs, so I want to provide the enjoyment of holding music in a physical form. For the packaging, I work together with the record label’s producer and designer. While I do present my own design direction, the staff also suggest a lot of ideas that I think are great. I love how it feels like we’re creating it as a team, and it’s a lot of fun.

(3) Writing

I don’t include any personal messages in my writing at all.

Saito Soma is also known as a writer. In 2018 he released his first essay collection, Kenkou de Bunkateki na Saitei Gendo no Seikatsu, and he actively does writing work. We asked him about his history as a reader and how he feels about writing.

Writing was my first interest, not acting or music. Everyone in my family was a different type of reader, so our house had lots of books and I naturally ended up reading from a lot of genres. My tastes were probably closest to my grandmother. Her bookshelf had the first edition of Kojima Nobuo-san’s Zankou, and it was just amazing. In middle school, I liked reading Dazai Osamu-san, Oken-san (Otsuki Kenji), and Tsutsui Yasutaka-san, among others. I also liked South American literature like Borges and García Márquez.

I wrote as a hobby in university, and after working as a voice actor, I received an offer to write an essay serialization. The serialization was published as a book in 2018, and circumstances permitting, I’d like to release a second one.

I consider essays a form of entertainment too, so I hope the readers have fun reading them. If I were to write fiction, I’d like to write a curious and bizarre story.

One time, the editor in charge of my essay collection read me a short story. It was about someone who regularly drank in Kichijoji, and at some point he accidentally wandered into an ogres’ feast, where he was made to gamble by guessing which of nine fingers was a human finger and licking it. I’d like to turn that kind of thing into an entertaining pop story, but I haven’t been able to find the time… I hope to be able to plug away at it.

Just like with my music, I don’t include any personal messages in my writing at all. I don’t think there’s any connection whatsoever between my creative works and my own thoughts and beliefs. I think that’s probably because…creating is a hobby for me. I’m not doing it with the intent of expressing my feelings… For example, I might walk outside and think, “It sure is bright,” and when the wind blows, “This feels nice.” Even if I directly convert those situations into my creations, I don’t add my own emotions to them. If there was something I really wanted to assert, I think it’d be better to say it straight out instead of going through a creative work.

Column: Tell us your recommended autumn entertainment!

First is Dazai Osamu’s “A, Aki” which can be read on Aozora Bunko. It’s about a professional poet who keeps notes on poetry materials because “you never know what kind of request will come in.” When they flip to the page for “autumn,” what’s written there is “Dragonfly. Transparent.” It shows how genius Dazai was.

Also, though the genre is horror, Tsunekawa Kotaro’s Aki no Rougoku (Autumn Prison) has a peculiar setting but is very easy to read. I often say that I like bizarre stories, and I recommend this to people who wonder what I mean by that.

As for anime, Zettai Shounen. For me, autumn is the season for sci-fi, and this anime does a great job at blending slice of life and sci-fi elements. I own the DVD boxset and have watched it many times. *laughs*

Interview #2: Saito Soma’s Artist Career – Chapter 2

The second chapter of Saito’s artist career has begun with the “in bloom” series (three digital releases) themed around “the changing of seasons” and “what comes after the end of the world.” We asked about his preferences when it comes to lyrics and producing his own music.

I feel that I can be bolder now.

Saito Soma completed Chapter 1 of his music career with his first album quantum stranger (2018) and his mini-album my blue vacation (2019). The “in bloom” series that marks the start of Chapter 2 consists of three songs: “Petrichor,” “Summerholic!”, and “Palette,” which are themed around “the changing of seasons” and “what comes after the end of the world.” Entering this new phase, he said he thought that he could be bolder music-wise. In this interview, he reflects on his career so far and speaks about where he currently stands as an artist.

My personal music career began with my debut single Fish Story, which Oishi Masayoshi-san wrote for me. Then came my second single which was centered around “the end of the world” (Yoake wa Mada / Hikari Tatsu Ame), my third single Date which I composed and wrote lyrics for by myself, my first album quantum stranger, and then my first live concert (quantum stranger(s)). With that, I felt that I’d reached a milestone. I hadn’t done everything yet, but the two years since my debut had flowed very nicely, so I thought that I could call that “Chapter 1.” The final part of that chapter was a song called “Epilogue” that was released in March this year.

Up until now, I strongly felt that “as long as I’m a voice actor, I want to produce music that has entertainment value.” That still hasn’t changed, but when I heard what my listeners had to say, I also felt that I could be bolder now. There were things that I’d originally decided not to do, but in the EP I released last year (my blue vacation), there was a song with a darker atmosphere than anything I’d released before. I’m also trying new things with “in bloom” which will be the start of Chapter 2.

As for the title “in bloom” itself… at first, I didn’t plan on giving it a name. But the producer at the record label told me to give it one because it’d be easier to promote it that way *laughs*. “in bloom” was originally going to be a song title. To put it simply, it means “after the rain, flowers bloom”—it relates to the theme of “after the end of the world.” Dazai Osamu wrote a story called Roman Dourou. It’s about five siblings that like books, and there’s a part that goes, “It says that everyone lived happily ever after, but what we want to know is what actually happened after that, right?” and I thought, “True!” I wanted to depict what happens after my “end of the world,” and that was going to be the song called “in bloom.” After the rain, beautiful flowers bloom. It also has the imagery of changing seasons.

Saito Soma’s second chapter is starting with the three songs in the “in bloom” series: Petrichor, Summerholic!, and Palette. From the lyrics to the sound production to the vocals, every song is packed with new expressions.

“Petrichor” is a shuffle beat song. The rhythm has a swing to it, and when you first listen to it, it sounds like a normal pop song—but when you look at it from a different angle, you see that it’s more than what it seems. In that sense, I think it’s a bold song. As for the lyrics, technique-wise, at first I wanted to write it without a single foreign loanword. I wanted it to feel like the “new music” genre from the 70s and 80s. But as I was writing, I thought, “There isn’t much point in imposing this restriction by myself” *laughs*. The tentative title back then was “Amadare” (raindrops dripping from eaves/etc), which led me to “Petrichor.” Petrichor is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on soil. I chose it because it’s a song themed around rain.

“Summerholic!” seems like it’ll be exciting at a concert, I think? It’s an up-tempo song with a cheerful melody. Although the lyrics are about spending summer cooped up in your room *laughs*. I put a lot of homages into this song. Specifically, the Libertines, the Cribs, and Ojamajo Doremi. The chord progression is commonly used by English rock bands, so it has a UK rock aesthetic. The melody has a summery atmosphere. The lyrics are about not going outside to play, instead eating ice cream and drinking beer in an air-conditioned room. Even though it’s bright and sunny outside, the protagonist chooses to enjoy spending their time at home.

“Petrichor” is about the rainy season, “Summerholic!” is about summer, and the third song “Palette” is about the transition from summer to fall. It tends to be a sentimental time of year, but instead of giving it a name, I decided to try turning it into a song. The lyrics are quite optimistic. At first I wanted to make them darker, but my mind changed bit by bit as I was writing. Before you realize it, summer is gone and the season has changed—and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. I was rewriting the lyrics up until the day of the recording, and it became a song that expresses painful feelings within grandiose sound. I want “Palette” to be heard in the loudest volume that your environment will allow for. I think it’s an immersive song, so you can even pretend you’re the MV’s protagonist when you listen to it. *laughs*

For all three songs, we were joined by amazing musicians. “Petrichor” was done quite experimentally, while I could really feel the band’s groove in “Summerholic!” and “Palette.” Ono Takemasa-san’s (from KEYTALK) guitar solos greatly exceeded the scope of the demos. That’s the thrill of creating music as a team, and I’m thankful for it.

As for the sound, I consciously produced the songs in the style of Western music. By not increasing the number of notes, it creates gaps where you can feel the groove. I also emphasized listenability, but they did end up being quite bold. Also, I obtained quite a lot of equipment during the stay-home period. I used to create my demo tracks by recording myself singing to my own guitar, but now I can do some of the programming myself too. I want to combine the best aspects of analog and digital.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are restrictions on all artist concerts. Saito is no exception, but he seems to have an idea of what kind of live performance he can do.

Live concerts aren’t possible in the current situation, but there’s nothing that can be done about that. If the situation improves, I’d like to try an acoustic concert. My songs aren’t the kind where everyone gets loud and hyped up anyway *laughs*. I think it’d be nice to have people listen to them carefully in acoustic form. Dirty Pretty Things’ first album Waterloo to Anywhere had an acoustic version of one of the songs as a bonus track ((note: Japanese edition only)), and I suspect that it was recorded in a big area, which sounds really fun. I think it’d be nice to have a fun acoustic concert with the musicians for everyone to see. It’s only a thought, though—nothing’s been decided yet.

I’m actually not that comfortable with my own concerts. When I’m standing in front of people as Saito Soma, rather than a character, I don’t know how I should act. But I gain very much from it. Brainstorming with all of the staff, spending time to prepare, and then putting on the show itself—the sense of accomplishment after making it through isn’t something that you can feel just anywhere. Year by year, the joy of concerts is budding within me.

Staff Interview: Saku

Saku is a composer, lyricist, arranger, and guitarist who has been deeply involved with Saito’s music. We asked him about Saito’s songs, lyrics, and nature.

It’s my role to organize Soma-kun’s ideas and brush them up.

Saku has been the main arranger supporting Saito Soma’s music from his third single “Date” up until now with the “in bloom” series. He’s also done composing and guitar work for artists like Kanjani∞, Aoi Eir, Haruna Luna, Amamiya Sora, and Kito Akari. We asked him about how he met Saito, as well as the nature of Saito’s music and character.

I met Soma-kun in 2018 when the record label producer introduced us to each other. I joined them when they were drinking and we talked about various things. We hit it off right away because of our similar tastes, like how we both liked GRAPEVINE. He showed me the song “Reminiscence” that later became part of his third single Date. It had a bit of a GRAPEVINE feel to it, and after listening to it once, I really liked it. From there, I got to be the arranger for his songs. It was right when he started doing his own compositions and lyrics.

Soma-kun’s songs are a bit unusual. The chord progressions and melodies have unexpected parts that make you think, “It’s going that way?”—anyway, they’re unique. For example, “Summerholic!” has parts where the chords and melody don’t match up, but when you try to change the chords to the right ones, something feels wrong. That’s Soma-kun’s characteristic quirk. Building up his songs as an arranger is extremely stimulating, and I’ve gained a lot from the experience.

His lyrics also have a unique world view. Every time he sends me a song, I look up word definitions *laughs*. I understand the content, but I’d never be able to write these lyrics myself.

It seems that at first he used his iPhone to record himself singing to his guitar, but lately he’s been able to do his own programming and the quality of his demos has greatly improved. He also sends me reference tracks, saying things like, “I want the rhythm to be like this song” and “the guitar should sound like this song,” and they’ll be songs that only an enthusiast would know. The noise guitar reference for “Petrichor” was an artist named Arto Lindsay, and I didn’t know who that was *laughs*. Soma-kun really is knowledgeable about a lot of different music.

We’re trying new things with the “in bloom” series. The saxophone phrase in the intro to “Petrichor” was Soma-kun’s idea. In the demo he played it with guitar and asked to use a saxophone for it. It’s my role to organize Soma-kun’s ideas and brush them up.

He’s also an amazing vocalist. He has the strength you’d expect from a male vocalist, but his high notes also feel like a woman’s vocals. He also has a clean falsetto, so we often layer the chorus melody with one an octave higher. Soma-kun seems to like doing that too. When we’re recording, he doesn’t just sing the way that was planned—he also gives suggestions, like, “How about this way?” It’s really fun to make changes on the spot like that.

Soma-kun’s human nature? How do I put this… He’s really a good kid *laughs*. He’s polite to everyone, he’s friendly, and everyone loves him. It comes really naturally too. It doesn’t feel like we’re just work associates—it feels like Soma-kun, the producer, the engineer, and I are in a band together. He often sends me LINE messages like, “I hadn’t given Foo Fighters a proper listen, but they’re cool, huh?” *laughs*

I hope that Soma-kun will continue to demonstrate more of his individuality. He already has a lot of dark songs, but I think he can step into his dark side even more. But since Soma-kun’s really nice, I think he’ll also compose songs that will make his fans happy.


Bonus: Off-shots from the photo shoot (2 per tweet GIF)

[Interview] SPICE – Saito Soma – Chapter 2, “Summerholic!” and “Palette”

Published: 2020/8/27
Original URL: https://spice.eplus.jp/articles/274703

Saito Soma has started his “in bloom” series, which marks the second chapter of his artist career. The three digital singles with the themes “changing of seasons” and “after the end of the world” are currently in the process of being released. Following the first single “Petrichor,” the second single “Summerholic!” was released on August 19th, and the third single “Palette” is coming out on September 19th. We interviewed Saito about the “in bloom” series and his thoughts about the three songs, and he said “When I created these three songs, I could tell that I’d be writing more songs like these in the future.” We’re highly anticipating the second chapter and what kind of expressions he’ll entertain us with now that he’s unleashed himself.


Q: What thoughts did the artist Saito Soma put into Chapter 2?

There wasn’t anything too definite at first, but I started with the intent of writing songs that would yet again be different from what I’ve released so far. The mini-album I released in December 2019, my blue vacation, was entirely themed around “traveling” and “the end of the world,” and it felt satisfying when it went well. That being the case, I decided in my heart that I would start expressing the musical styles and compositions that I’d been “restricting” up until now. It was the fans that made me think that way—many of them wrote letters to me saying, “Even if you do deeper music, I’ll still listen to it.” Up until then, I’d been restricting myself, thinking “This song would be too dark for the voice actor Saito Soma to sing” or “A song sung by the voice actor Saito Soma needs to have some degree of entertainment, so I’ll give up on this one.” But going forward, I think it’ll be okay to clear away those thoughts.

Q: How did you feel about the requests for deeper music?

I was genuinely thankful. None of my songs are so-called “message songs,” whether they were written by me or someone else. My songs aren’t about things I want to say–for example, my first single “Fish Story” is simply the story titled “Fish Story.” It doesn’t have anything to do with my own feelings. Since each and every one of my songs so far has a story to it, it’s not so much that I wanted people to accept the deeper parts of myself, but rather that it seemed like they’d accept music that was less pop-style, so I felt it’d be safe to try that. These three songs are an example of that, but I think my future releases will have even deeper elements. So, these three songs are still a bit more on “this” side.

Q: Up until now you’ve been releasing your conceptual works as CDs, but are there any benefits that you can only get from digital releases?

The advantage of being able to release one song at a time is that I can release songs that align with the real seasons. For example, if I’m releasing an album in December, it’s hard to include summer songs. I feel that this is a major strength, and I’m glad that the listeners felt the “currentness” of the song.

From the “Petrichor” MV

Q: The first song in the series, “Petrichor” (released June 27) was extremely fitting for the rainy season.

Since this June was going to be the third anniversary since my debut, I wanted to release a single at that time. However, due to various circumstances, it had to be a digital release. “Petrichor” already existed by then, and I really wanted to release it in June to coincide with the rainy season. And if I was going to do that, then the second song would be released in summer and the third song would be in the transition between summer and fall. In that case, it would be interesting to sing about the changing of seasons between June and September. That’s how I came up with the theme for these three songs.

The “in bloom” songs are very individual and introspective

Q: The second song, “Summerholic!” (released August 19) is extremely fitting for summer, but when you pay attention to the lyrics, it’s a surprisingly peculiar summer song.

“Petrichor” is the type of song that grows on you as you listen to it over and over, so for the second song, I wanted to do the reverse—an upbeat song that you can get right into, that feels like summer. “Summerholic!” was the result of that. But, everyone has their own ways of enjoying summer. Just like the protagonist of “Summerholic!”, I like to think “The weather’s really nice today” and then proceed to stay in my room watching movies, drinking, and reading books. That’s one of my personal indulgent ways of spending time during the summer *laughs*. But that probably doesn’t quite align with the average person’s way of thinking. Normally, they’d think “It’s sunny, so why won’t you go outside?” but for me, I’m completely satisfied with this positive, luxurious way of enjoying the summer. So you could say that this song is twisted in an honest way. When I wrote it, I thought that that might be an interesting aspect of it.

Q: So it’s full of your personal ways of enjoying summer.

When I watched the MV from an objective point of view, I thought “He looks like he’s having a lot of fun, but he’s all alone in that room, huh…” and I didn’t know if it was funny or scary *laughs*. I’ve written songs like that before, but the three “in bloom” songs in particular are all immersed in their own worlds. So, the songs’ protagonists are really enjoying themselves, but someone watching from an outside perspective might think they’re suspicious. For example, “memento” (from my blue vacation) was a direct interpretation of “the end of the world.” But that wasn’t in the sense of a “personal” world, but “this entire world.” Compared to that, the “in bloom” songs are very individual and introspective. When I created these three songs, I could tell that I’d be writing more songs like these in the future.

Q: Even though the world views are becoming more introspective, the songs are upbeat with interesting compositions.

It’s important for music to be upbeat and fun to listen to, so I kept that in mind for all three songs. Also, the songs were intentionally structured to make you wonder “What do you call this part of the song?” J-pop often follows the A-Melody → B-Melody → Chorus structure, but that doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Thinking about it from another angle, a lot of the songs that I like don’t follow that template. In “Summerholic!”, the chords themselves don’t change much; it’s the same set looping over and over. But by changing the melody on top of them, they sound completely different, which is interesting, right? It’s a Western concept that I tried using.

Q: What variations can you introduce that way?

For example, the traditional A-Melody → B-Melody → Chorus structure has a sense of security to it, because when you listen to it, you’re prepared, like “oh, the chorus is coming next.” But when you listen to songs with changing structures, it’s exciting because you don’t know what’ll come next. Both are valid ways to compose music, but personally, I like it more when a single song can surprise me with how many twists it has, so I prioritized that excitement. This is one of my tastes.

From the “Summerholic!” MV

Q: The intro phrase had a really good flavour to it.

I played the intro guitar phrase on loop in the DAW software while looking for chord progressions that would go well with it, and finished the song without a hitch. This chord progression is made up of seventh chords, which come from classical English music. It has a band aesthetic and just the right “dusk” feeling. It’s fun but has a hint of loneliness, which I think is perfect for this song.

Q: It was intriguing how the feeling of loneliness instantly went up just by adding a harmonica to the same melody.

The harmonica comes in at a good time, right? That was the arranger, Saku-san’s suggestion. But when I think about it calmly, I suddenly realize, “Is this person playing the harmonica in his room by himself…?” *laughs* This song has that kind of off-beat feeling… a “feigning ignorance” kind of humour. Those who thought it was a summery, happy song should try listening to it again with this perspective. I think you’ll enjoy the different impression it gives off.

Q: On that note, it’s also strange that there’s so many people shouting “Cheers!” with him even though he’s supposed to be alone in his room.

When I listened to the completed song, I went, “Wait, who is he shouting ‘Cheers!’ with?” *laughs* Naturally, the creator Saito Soma has his own idea of the song, but it’s also fun to interpret the song from a third person point of view as the listener Saito Soma. Also, if I can sing this song at a concert one day, I’m sure the call & response for that part will be fun.

Watching a movie at night… Saito Soma’s summer anecdote

Q: What was your interpretation, by the way?

There are actually hints in the lyrics. At the beginning of the vocals, it goes “yuurei datte hashaijaisou dayo ne” (even the ghosts are making merry), and in the latter half, he’s going “Cheers!” with people, which means…?

Q: Oh, that’s scary. *laughs*

Indeed. Well, it’s summer after all! It’s a song that’s fun to listen to while also having room for speculation.

Q: Is “Summerholic!” your ideal way of spending summer?

When I was little, I often did summer-like things such as going to the mountain or catching bugs. But I was always more of the indoor type, so I never really did the stereotypical, “It’s summer, so let’s go to the beach!” thing. However, I think summer is the most emotional season. Fireworks, watermelons, wind chimes, pools… Out of all four seasons, summer is the one with the most things that remind me of it.

From the “Summerholic!” MV

Q: Do you have a summer fright story?

The other day, I was watching a movie at night. I was really engrossed in it, but suddenly I realized that something was going bang, bang, hitting my window. I looked outside and nothing was there, so I went back to watching the movie, but the banging sound was still there. Naturally, I went “Really…?” and fearfully opened the window. There was a cicada on the balcony *laughs*. It appeared that it got lost in there and couldn’t get out because it was fenced in. I knew I had to set it free somehow, so I grabbed my quickle wiper ((it’s like a Swiffer)) and scooped it up like I was playing cricket *laughs*. It was scary.

The theme of “Palette” is “the colours of emotions”

Q: On September 19, the third song “Palette” will be released.

I made this song when I was writing “Petrichor.” What I always do first is make a demo for the staff to listen to, about 90 seconds long, and if they like it, I’ll work on the full version. When I was doing that, I got stuck on the lyrics for “Petrichor” and wanted to take a break.

“Petrichor” is a song that builds groove using a refrain, so I found myself wanting to play the reverse: powerful, distortion-heavy phrases. I thought something like American emo music would be good, so I played some riffs and ended up easily finishing the first verse or so of “Palette.”

Music-wise, “Palette” has a quite direct sound. I was originally also thinking of releasing it after “Petrichor,” because an emotional song would be good for summer. But then this and that happened, “Summerholic!” was created, and I decided to sing “Palette” as an emotional band song representing the transition from summer to fall. So, the creation time was rather short, and I spent more time on the lyrics instead. The arranger Saku-san also spent a long time on “Petrichor,” but for “Palette” he said, “But this one was done instantly!” I think that’s probably because “Palette” is packed with elements that we band kids love.

Q: It sounds like something you’d want to hear at an outdoor concert at the end of summer.

With an explosive sound, right? I think it’s a striking song for both the performers and the listeners.

Q: What did you focus on with the lyrics?

For this song, as the title “Palette” implies, I wanted to sing about the “colours of emotions.” For example, during the time between summer and fall, you can feel both seasons, but there isn’t a precise name for that period. Similarly, there isn’t a name for transforming emotions. Rather than giving that scene a name, I wanted to express it through music and song, and I wrote the lyrics as such.

The lyrics are straightforward, so it should be relatively easy to understand. The last chorus also ends in a way that’s somewhat hopeful. Originally, the lyrics were a bit more destructive. Instead of the word “melt,” I had “break.” But, I settled on music and lyrics that leave a refreshing, positive aftertaste instead.

Q: It’s rare for a song of yours to have straightforward lyrics.

Directness is a virtue, and I think it’s important to be able to be direct and sing directly. But personally, I’d have to say that it’s embarrassing for me, so I prefer to deliberately distort, hide, and use humour to deceive. But rather than what I want to do, I prioritize what kind of lyrics the song needs. I felt that “Palette” called for direct lyrics, and personally I think I did a good job.

Q: The straightforward lyrics are a great match for the song’s noisiness.

When I made the demo, I requested that they make it loud and distort all of the sound. The orchestra is concentrated in the low notes, so I put the vocals in the medium to high range, and for the harmony, only the upper harmony was recorded. Since the powerful notes are in the low range, it’s a song where the vocals escape into the high range. It’s a good match for the opening lyrics that have the words “rooftop” and “return.”

Q: It’s a Saito Soma song that’s also brimming with band energy.

I try to leave as much to the participating musicians as I can. “Petrichor” is a song that values subtraction, and they brought out a wonderful groove with that. On the other hand, “Summerholic!” and “Palette” have something that only a live band can bring out. They’re different types of songs, but they both showcase how amazing and entertaining bands are, and I feel that the performers made the songs even more wonderful.

For Chapter 2 onwards, I’m freeing myself from the rules

Q: What style of music do you want to pursue after this?

What I like about music is imperfections. For example, if the pitch doesn’t match, or the rhythm is a bit too fast. I actually think that those aspects have an unparalleled appeal, and that’s what’s interesting about pop music. So, moving forward, I want to continue working with a variety of people.

The good thing about making music as an individual is that I don’t have to put restrictions on my musical style. I don’t have to say “The artist Saito Soma will absolutely only sing this genre.” I’m extremely grateful that I can change my way of singing or even my vocalization to suit the song. That’s exactly why I want to try forming bands with different musicians and pursue the grooves born from those combinations. The one thing is that I think the band style will always be at the heart of my music, because that’s what I mainly grew up listening to.

Aside from that, I’m also interested in more introspective music; the kind that I could even do the arrangement and mixing for by myself. Especially something that doesn’t even have a chorus…like acid folk and electronica. I don’t know if I’d actually do that under the name Saito Soma, though. I realized that I’d been putting restrictions on my music up until Chapter 1.5, so I’d like to free myself from those rules and release even better songs.

Q: I’m looking forward to hearing songs that are even more uninhibited than these three.

I’m still working on new songs right now, and I think I’ll be able to release something that goes in a different direction from anything I’ve done so far. There’s also a song that’s so completely different that if you ask, “Is this Saito Soma?” the answer is well, I think you’ll understand, maybe? *laughs* If I were to liken it to something… It’s like the result of cooking with the mindset from “Date.” The temporary name of the song is “Kitchen,” so please look forward to it. After creating “Petrichor,” “Summerholic!”, and “Palette,” I wanted to stray even further from the rules, so the plan is to spread out farther and farther from here on out.

What the fans’ analyses made me realize

Q: On the other hand, what do you think is the axis of your music, that will always be there no matter what surprises you bring?

I think it’d be pop. No matter what kind of difficult or high-level songs I do, it’s important that they’re enjoyable to listen to, so I don’t want to stray from that. I do think I’m going to be releasing more experimental songs, but that doesn’t mean all of the songs on an album would take that route. I want to maintain a balance between experimental songs and familiar pop songs. I hope that as a result, when you listen through an album, you’ll be able to enjoy both sides.

I do think that there’s a clear axis for which you could say “This is Saito Soma’s music.” But I think I’d like it if it were more, “There is, but there isn’t.” In Buddhism, there’s a doctrine called anatman, or “non-self.” It means that while people do have something like a “true nature,” it’s constantly in flux and can’t be defined concretely. For example, sometimes I’m cool and collected, but sometimes I’m impassioned, so you can’t say with confidence that “Saito Soma’s true nature is calm and collected.” But, my true nature does exist. After reading about it, it made sense to me. So, it might be ideal to use different presentations depending on the song.

Ultimately, I think I’d be happy if people said “I couldn’t tell that it was Saito Soma’s song.” I say this about voice acting too: the ideal actor erases himself and becomes the character. Perhaps the same goes for music. I want to keep transforming my musical style and release different kinds of songs.

Q: It’s good that your fans are also hoping for that.

Yes. There are a lot of people who analyze my songs while they listen to them, and I like looking at their analyses. It’s fun to examine my songs from various angles with the listeners, and I’m thankful that they do that.

Q: We have faith that “Since it’s Saito-san, there must be some kind of intent behind it.”

When I’m reading people’s analyses, there are times when even I go “Oh, I see!” I think that when you’re creating something, no matter what your intent is, you’ll always unconsciously link something else to it. So, these analyses make me notice the unintentional connections that were there. I wouldn’t have found them with my perspective alone. I’m sure I’d unconsciously made those connections, but I couldn’t have done so intentionally. It’s really interesting how I can finally see them thanks to everyone’s analyses.

Q: You’ve produced so many diverse musical styles so far. I’m looking forward to seeing what’ll come next!

Thank you! The themes of the “in bloom” series are “the changing of seasons” and “after the end of the world,” and I tried singing about them from different perspectives. I’m happy that the listeners enjoyed coming up with their own interpretations of the songs. Saito Soma’s second chapter has begun, and I want to explore new directions with my music that I haven’t before. I don’t know what I’ll be able to pull off, but I have a lot of ideas prepared, so please wait until they’re ready to be announced. I’ll be continuing to work at my own pace, so please watch over me gently and enjoy the journey with me. Thank you for your support!

[Interview] Harajuku Pop Web – Saito Soma – “Petrichor” and “in bloom”

Published: 2020/7/8
Original URL: https://harajuku-pop.com/21129


“I’m the type that pays attention to the visual nuances of words”

Q: Like flipping pages in a book, your artist career has entered Chapter 2 with the “in bloom” series. I’m interested in the reason why you’ve separated it into “Chapter 1” and “Chapter 2.” Was it done deliberately to make a clear distinction about what you’ll be presenting next?

It’s not that deep—It’d been about two years since the label asked me if I was interested in a music career, and after releasing an album and performing a live concert, I felt that I’d reached a sort of milestone. Looking back, there was a nice flow from “Fish Story,” the amazing song Oishi Masayoshi-san wrote for me, until my album quantum stranger. Many of the songs were themed around “traveling” or “the end of the world.” But since I was a voice actor doing a singing career, I thought that pop entertainment would have to be at the core no matter what. However, I couldn’t stop my desires from building, and I started wanting to do darker, more incomprehensible songs. So from now on, I’m going to create more varied music, so please lend me your support. Although it kind of feels like I’m trying to show off, and it’s a bit embarrassing… *laughs*

Q: I was also intrigued by the name of this series, “in bloom.” What was the reason behind that?

I didn’t really think there was a need to give it a name, but the producer asked me to give it one so that the connection would be easier to understand *laughs*. The original plan was to release a single in June, but due to various circumstances, it had to be turned into digital releases instead. So, when I was putting together the songs I had in reserve, I noticed that many of them had a seasonal feel to them. I was originally thinking of using “in bloom” as a song name, but I realized that it was perfect for this series and decided on it right away. It had a nice ring to it, and personally, I’m the type that pays attention to the appearance—or rather, the visual nuances of words. “in bloom” was both visually and audibly appealing. So it’s not like I chose this title from the very beginning to form the overall concept. It’s more like it dawned upon me.

Q: You say that the themes for this series are “the changing of seasons” and “what comes after the end of the world.” I can feel romance and emotion in “the changing of seasons,” but what I’m really interested in is “what comes after the end of the world.” Could you tell us the reason behind these two themes?

I’ve always liked the process of change as well as ambiguity. So, I wanted to write songs that gave off the feeling of the rainy season or that brief moment between summer and fall. I enjoy turning nameless concepts into songs rather than simply giving them names. I still have yet to write a coherent message song—my approach is to express certain situations or feelings in the form of music. In that sense, the three songs in this series express the changing of seasons in their own separate ways.

As for “what comes after the end of the world,” I mentioned earlier that many of my songs so far had “the end of the world” as a motif. When I was reading Dazai Osamu’s Roman Dourou, I encountered a phrase that left an impression on me: “The real story always begins after the dance of love has ended. Most films end with the formation of a happy couple, but what we want to know is what kind of life they live afterwards.” There are two themes I’ve chosen not to write about for the time being: message songs (as mentioned earlier) and love songs. Setting that aside, I very much agreed with that passage. So far, I’ve been writing stories about how people would receive the end of the world, but now, it’s a question of what happens next. Is the world completely over, or…? I wanted to try writing songs about that. This theme will continue beyond the scope of these three songs, too.

“I like the scent of rain. I also like both the sound and appearance of the word ‘petrichor.'”

Q: The first digital song in the series is “Petrichor.” The word refers to the scent that rises from the ground when it rains, and I thought the word had a lovely aesthetic. I’m very interested in what led you to it.

I don’t remember how I learned this word, but… At first, I had a sort of prototype for the song, and when I came up with it, I knew it was going to have rain. And originally, I didn’t want to use katakana for the title—I wanted to give it a bit more of a Japanese setting. But I got stuck, and when I was brainstorming, I suddenly remembered this word and decided to lift the restriction on katakana. From there, it was a relatively smooth path to the overall image. I like the scent of rain. I also like both the sound and appearance of the word “petrichor.”

Q: Since the “in bloom” series is about the changing of seasons, will the next songs also take place in specific seasons? I’m also interested in why you chose to begin with a season about rain.

“in bloom” is currently expected to be three songs, so that’s the plan.

Many of my songs already have rain or nighttime as a motif, and since this June marked my third anniversary since my debut, I was planning on releasing a single with all three songs about rain. The title was going to be “Ame no Sanbusaku” (Trilogy of Rain), an homage to Yoru no Sanbusaku (Trilogy of Night) by the author Fukunaga Takehito. That was the original plan. However, due to various circumstances, that became difficult to achieve, but I really wanted to release Petrichor in June no matter what. So, it became a series of digital releases. The other songs don’t have a rain theme and originally weren’t going to be used here, but since the new theme was the changing of seasons, I thought they’d be perfect. Come to think of it, “Reminiscence,” the coupling song on my Date single, was also originally titled “Ame” (Rain).

Q: “Petrichor” has a light, pleasant feeling that makes you want to go out in a raincoat with an umbrella and strut around in the rain. What did you keep in mind when you were composing this song?

Bringing out the nuance of splashing raindrops while not making it too upbeat.

The recurring sax riff is somewhat off key, but that’s because I was aiming for a sound that can’t be expressed on the musical scale. “Blue notes” are the same way, but I really wanted to express something “ambiguous” or “unclear” here too. So, people who listen to music from a logical perspective might feel that something is off. But when I created the riff, I hoped that it’d continue to linger in people’s ears after the song was over.

Also, it was the correct choice to add the noise guitar to the intro and outro—I’m talking about the sound coming from around the left side. I showed the arranger, Saku-san, a video of a no wave guitarist named Arto Lindsay, and selfishly asked him, “Please do it like this, playing the rhythm with noise instead of melody.” *laughs* I’m sorry for always making such complicated requests. Thank you for yet another wonderful arrangement, Saku-san!

As for the vocals, I like how the harmony in the hook has an Elliot Smith feel to it. Whenever we’re recording, everyone will be playing the keyboard or guitar and saying, “Wouldn’t this way sound more urban and stylish?” while making changes to the melody, and it’s enjoyable having that sense of teamwork.

The song takes a rather peculiar turn from the second verse. It’s presumptuous of me to say this, but personally I think the part that goes “kuruizaku you na…” is reminiscent of Inoue Yosui. I also like that the part afterwards has a spoken sound rather than rap or song.

“For some reason, I’m incredibly drawn towards things relating to ‘rain.'”

Q: When I listen to “Petrichor,” I feel romance in Japan’s damp and humid season. What is your personal impression of the rainy season, Soma-san?

I’m not good with humidity, so I can’t say I love it, but for some reason, I’m incredibly drawn towards things relating to ‘rain,’ whether it be the shape of the kanji (雨), the rhythm of rainfall, or the scent and colour. It’s like everything is quietly hidden away rather than shown in detail. Isn’t it exciting when you pass by someone whose face is hidden behind an umbrella, and you can only see their mouth?

Q: In “Petrichor,” we see the protagonist walking on the street against a rainy backdrop with colours being painted in, depicting the lyrics of the song. Was there anything you kept in mind or aimed for when writing the lyrics?

Madness and enchantment… The listeners’ interpretations of this song are quite divided. There’s no correct answer, so thank you all for ending up exactly as I’d hoped *laughed*.

My personal interpretation is that it’s definitely not only an upbeat, light song. This is ultimately only my perspective, but while this song has a Singin’ in the Rain-like feeling, it’s closer to A Clockwork Orange, in my opinion. This person might seem like they’re in a really good mood, but how does it look to a third party? When writing a novel, there’s a technique called the “unreliable narrator,” and this is it.

But, what’s most important is to interpret it the way you want to. Have confidence in your interpretation—believe in it and assume responsibility for it. I think that’s the best way to enjoy the song, and I hope people will come up with all sorts of interpretations.

Q: I always try to avoid going outside on rainy days, but after listening to “Petrichor,” I got the feeling that it could lead to something dramatic. In the lyrics, there’s a part about “taking a little detour”—when do you feel like doing that, Soma-san?

I do it pretty much all the time. I love going for walks, and I’ve always enjoyed taking a different route every time. Even when I was a student, I’d constantly take different routes home. But, unlike the person in “Petrichor,” on rainy days I’d run straight home *laughs*. Then again, we don’t know where this person is coming from and where he’s going. He’s insane, in a way. So to be honest, it makes me think “this person looks like he’s having a lot of fun, but he’s kind of scary.” Going back to the original topic, I really love taking unknown roads and being inspired by what I see there.

Q: In “Petrichor,” I could sense the emotional “changing of seasons.” Are there hints of the other theme, “what comes after the end of the world,” hidden in the song as well?

I think it might be inelegant to explain too much of that, but… hmm, perhaps there isn’t that much in this song. I think this song is really introspective and subjective. Rather, since it’s about the rainy season and the changing of seasons, you’d think the person would be emotional, but he actually seems extremely ephemeral. It feels like he’s really enjoying what he’s doing.

That said, just because I wrote the song doesn’t mean I’m going to openly explain everything, although I’m not going to tell any crazy lies either, of course. There might be something hidden in smoke, so please listen to the song while keeping that in mind.

The “world” is another tricky aspect, though. Is it referring to the whole world, or this person’s world? I hope that the various interpretations will blend in with the raindrops.

Q: The recording members were: Bass – Ochi Shunsuke (CRCK/LCKS), Sax – Fujita Junnosuke (TRI4TH), Piano – Watanabe Shunsuke (Schroeder-Headz). Were you looking for a band arrangement?

No, I wasn’t. In fact, I wanted to reduce the amount of sounds as much as possible. Japanese pop music always ends up increasing the sound density and filling the gaps in the songs. It’s an additive process, whereas I wanted subtraction—a song where you could hear empty space. So, I didn’t ask for anyone specific. Since it’s also a jazzy song, I requested people who would perform this subtraction while preserving the song’s groove. In the end, everyone performed wonderfully and I was extremely happy with the result. Their performance was especially great in the outro, so please listen closely to it.

“Rain in slow motion is truly beautiful, don’t you think?”

Q: The MV for “Petrichor” was also lovely like a watercolour painting. Was there anything you were aiming for in particular with it?

Filming MVs in these times is rather difficult, and this was the result of researching what would be possible. I’m truly thankful to the movie team for creating something beautiful under such limited time constraints. When I gave them the general idea of what I wanted and they came back with the watercolour aesthetic, I thought, “This is it!” It really is a stylish video that matches the song. I asked the usual two to do the fashion styling and makeup, and of course, they did a wonderful job as always. Yet again, I felt how blessed I was to be able to create something with a team.

Q: Do you have any interesting stories from the filming? Also, what would you say the highlight of the MV is?

I remember that on the filming day, it just barely didn’t rain, but right after we finished filming, it suddenly started pouring. The movie team really did a wonderful job, so please watch it several times. Rain in slow motion is truly beautiful, don’t you think? As an aside, there’s a cut where I was snapping my fingers as I walked, but I actually can’t get any sound to come out at all *laughs*.

Q: What does the completed song mean to you now?

I think that once a song is out, it no longer belongs to me—it’s been released into the atmosphere. Personally, this time I’m very satisfied that I was able to express a hidden madness appearing and disappearing from behind the upbeat-ness, but when it comes to music, the most important thing is that it’s being listened to. There’s no greater happiness than having your song listened to by one more person, one more time. But if I may say an additional thing, it’s that I’m glad it became a song with a suspicious air, fitting for the opening to my new series.

Q: I’m also curious as to why this series is taking the form of digital releases.

As I wrote above, it was originally going to be a CD single. Currently, physical and digital releases coexist, and both sides have their advantages. But I grew up in the era of buying CDs in my hometown’s used record shop based on their covers, excitedly listening to them at home, and feeling overjoyed when there was a secret track after the last song. So, next time, I definitely want to release a CD.

Q: I’m very interested in what form the rest of the “in bloom” series will take. Is there anything you’re allowed to tell us right now?

The second song is called “Summerholic!” and it’ll be released on August 19th. It’s an “upper” band tune for the height of summer. This one is rather simple; I think it’s an honest song that’s only been “twisted” once. That said, there are still tricks inserted throughout, so I think it’ll be fun to listen to. As I said for “Petrichor,” this one might also have a horror vibe depending on the listener. Well, it’s summer after all *laughs*.

The third song takes place between summer and fall. It features an emotional band sound and sentimental lyrics. This one has more of the “end of the world” motif, but the perspective is still a bit different from my previous songs. We just finished recording it the other day, so I’m looking forward to hearing the completed version.

Anyway, I have an infinite number of written songs in reserve… In the past, I showed part of the demo for a song called “Hokuou (Kari)” (Scandinavia (Temp)) on Twitter, and I have a lot of other materials stocked up too. The temporary titles are “Oasis Miss,” “Bossa Nova,” “VW,” “Marilyn Manson,” “Kujira” (Whale), etc… I want to do my best so that these songs will have the chance to see the light of day.

Q: What kind of situation do you want people to listen to “Petrichor” in?

I think one of the best things about this generation is that you can listen to music at any time. So, please enjoy the song in any situation you like. My personal recommendation is while taking a walk. It’s really fun listening to it at night and copying the MV, although people might think you’re strange *laughs*. I didn’t have any exact time of day in mind when I wrote the song, but I think it might be an unexpectedly good fit for the morning. After waking up in the morning, you could listen to it on the veranda while watching the drizzling rain.

“Books and sleep are my idea fountains.”

Q: Please tell us about your favourite fashion style.

I like relatively simple clothes as well as French style clothes. In the past, I didn’t like wearing rings or watches, but tastes sure do change as years pass. For watches, rather than expensive ones or mechanically-impressive ones, I prefer ones that feel right for my body, and I’m still searching for the best one.

As for colours, I’d say I have a lot of green or black items. I often voice blue-type characters which leads to wearing costumes with cool colours, but if I had to state my preference, it’d be autumnal colours such as deep burgundy. I’m also attracted to pale tones; in other words, items with ambiguous colours. I love sweaters and cardigans too.

Q: Is there anything you’re particular about when it comes to fashion? Do you have any favourite brands?

How the clothes feel on my skin. Not getting tired when wearing them—when I’m recording and have to talk for a long time, I often wear loose clothes that won’t feel tight against my body.

I have a lot of favourite brands, but I’m the type that likes to enjoy my fashion quietly, so it’s a secret *laughs*. Even if you know what brands I like, please keep it to yourself.

If I have to name something, I wear Dr. Martens shoes quite often. I own several pairs, and they fit the shape of my feet and are comfortable to walk in on any surface. I like Paraboot for the same reason. My latest concern is that caps don’t look good on me because I have a round face *laughs*. I like using nice things for a long time.

Q: What’s essential to your lifestyle, Soma-san?

Books and sleep. Both of them are my idea fountains.

By the way, “lifestyle” is a very important keyword for beyond the “in bloom” series. That said, it’s still in the planning stage, so I don’t know how it’s going to turn out… Even when the world ends, life continues (or does it?). Keep that in the back of your mind, and someday the connection will be made.

Also, something nice I bought recently was a Le Creuset bowl. You can serve any type of food nicely in it, and it’s easy to clean. All I have to do is move the food from the frying pan to the bowl, eat, then wash the bowl, dry, and put it back. I’ve been cooking for myself more often lately, but I’m pretty much only using this bowl *laughs*.

I also bought a carbonated water maker-type thing, which has proven to be very valuable as well. It’s strange, because I used to not like carbonated drinks.

I also want a funnily-shaped guitar. Something with a really peaky sound… I should stop, because I could go on forever *laughs*.

Q: Lastly, please give us a message of your choice.

Thank you for reading all the way here! I hope you’ll listen to “Petrichor” many times! I plan on bringing you lots of songs this year, so please support my musical activities in addition to my voice acting work!

[Blog Post] Petrichor

Original URL: https://ameblo.jp/somasaito/entry-12607039774.html
Published: 2020/6/26

A friend recommended me Yagi Nagaharu-san’s manga, and I absolutely loved them…!
It’s to the point where I’m lamenting, “Why didn’t I read these earlier?” Mugendai no Hibi and Wakusei no Kage Sasu Toki were both amazing. There was a bit of a resemblance to papanya-san’s works.
Music-wise, I’ve been listening to a lot of Mystery Jets, from their second release onward. I really do love this band. I’m producing serotonin. Saito Soma here.

⭐︎

Now then, tomorrow… or rather, in a few hours, the digital single “Petrichor” will go on sale!
I had to release this song during the rainy season no matter what. I actually wanted to release it on a CD, but due to various circumstances, I settled for a digital release. I think that means you’ll be able to listen to it on various media though, so please do!

Next, I’d like to do a simple, informal introduction to the song. It might be best to listen to it without any prior information, so if you want to go that route, please wait a little longer and read this after it’s been released!

It’s the rainy season, and amidst the gently falling rain, a lone figure walks with a sway on the wet stone pavement, perhaps taking a stroll or returning home. He’s in a dreamy, or perhaps enjoyable state of mind. The lyrics feel about the same as usual, but I chose words with stems that are like raindrops—they feel round and light. The MV ends at just the right time, but I personally love what happens next in the song as well. Please listen to it.

On the music side, the most important thing to point out is the sax riff. I remember that once I came up with it, I swiftly obtained a grasp of the entire song’s image. Aside from that, the bass and kick drum are fairly emphasized, making for a strong rhythm section like what you’d hear in hip hop. Also, if you listen closely, you can hear the messy noise guitar in the far background, which blends and blurs in with the rain sounds. I think there are various ways to listen to the song.

Personally, I don’t really like getting wet from the rain, but I very much enjoy listening closely to the sound of raindrops from inside my room and spacing out. I hope that this becomes a song that gives you a different outlook on rain. Please enjoy it tranquilly with the rain.

And from here on, it’s a surge of consecutive releases!
The next song is quite summery and has a pop sound, but there’s playfulness all throughout and I think it’s a direction I haven’t done much of before.
The third song… I don’t want to say anything yet *laughs*
I think it’ll be about the progression from the end of summer to autumn, so it’s naturally going to be emotional.
And beyond that… I want to write a lot of songs, so that I can bring you more interesting music!

I went on for a long time there, but please listen to my new song “Petrichor”!

⭐︎

That’s all for today!
See you!

Saito Soma