Title : I’m here… #05
Location : Kyoto, Japan
Date : 22nd/May./2020
Guest : Kosuke Shimizu (mama!milk)
This time, we decided to catch up with musician, Kosuke Shimizu, who is active in projects such as mama!milk. It’s been over a decade since I started working around music, and a part of me has always been wondering; what is mama!milk up to, and how are they creating their sounds? We’ve come across one another many times, but only greeted each other without much of a chance to talk. However, the disorder brought by the coronavirus served as the right opportunity for me to get to know him better.
The question to think about here is; how much can we do with many of the added values scraped off? Nothing will probably change for mama!milk.
– Tell me about the current situation (May 22nd 2020, at the time of recording) of your music projects.
– With your plans being canceled so extensively, I imagine that it’s had more than just minor effects on you. Is that so?
My schedule’s been cleared, but I have a lot to do. Since the year before last, I’ve been making a solo album in my spare time, but I didn’t have the space to really focus on it. So I’ve been finishing it up all at once. During this time, I’m thinking of doing things that I haven’t been able to do, so I’ve been working on the album since around the end of March. There are many musicians like me with unexpected time on their hands, so we would record remotely, or if they are based in Kyoto, I would visit them to record together. Actually, other than the fact that money hasn’t been flowing in, I’ve been really busy.
– I also feel that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to catch up with you if it weren’t for this whole situation. One day, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw your post, which said, ‘As for myself, I am not refraining from anything. It’s like I’ve unexpectedly found the right timing to sit down and focus in Kyoto. I’ve been accelerating my music production.’
– I imagine that your live performances so far have been fairly influenced by your interaction with the audience. Now that you’ve started streaming, how do you feel about this?
With mama!milk, it’s not that it’s unrelated to this issue, but we usually just start playing when the performance begins and that’s it, so there hasn’t been much of a change. But with live streaming, we’ve promised to put effort into creating the space, making it somewhat picturesque so that rather than moving on from the stream after it has ended, we can archive it and save the recording. In live performances, even if you get experimental and fail, the mistakes can be swept away by the next performance. Archiving can make me tense because I do it as if I’m recording a live album every time. It’s also kind of hard to make the performances more distinct when there are fewer opportunities to perform.
– What kind of changes do you think will happen in the coming future regarding music and live performances?
Maybe it’ll be harder to give many types of added value to things. The question to think about here is; how much can we do with many of the added values scraped off? Nothing will probably change for mama!milk. Not a lot of people gather to see us in the first place, and the venues usually accommodate them quite comfortably. Also, our audience is the type to enjoy the music on their own, rather than cheer on during the performances. In this way, it’s kind of similar to going to the movie theater by yourself. Some people might even appreciate having two meter spaces between the seats. Whether it be streaming or performing live, there might not be that big of a difference in what we do and our relationship with the audience.
When the earthquake hit, it felt like the world was going to flip upside down. I thought that something might change, but in the end, nothing much happened. Although this time, compared to back then, I think people are more self-aware regardless of what community they come from. Doing the right thing might not always be easy, but I feel that at least some of our voices are being heard. We won’t be able to adapt to change unless everybody raises their awareness and knowledge.
I don’t see a set path in how I’m going to release my works and move forward, but I do know that it’s going to be different from before. I’m not sure about what will happen, but maybe I should just try the things I come up with. Well, fortunately, nobody is going to scold us when we fail, so for now I’ll do anything that looks fun.
translated by Michika Kageyama
The state of emergency in all prefectures was lifted during the process of editing this article. I’ve even been hearing about concerts gradually making a comeback in each area. Despite this, I’m not convinced that audiences will return to live events as before. From the perspective of musicians, what does it even mean to do live performances? How will musicians and artists find their balance and continue to output their works in a society that’s experienced the coronavirus? With these questions, keep an eye on mama!milk as they look forward to experiment as frontrunners.
PROFILE : Kosuke Shimizu