RIKIMARU Reflects on the Themes and Struggles Behind His Enchanting Album ‘CLOWN OR CROWN’



Billboard Japan

On Sept. 7, RIKIMARU launched his initial complete cd, CLOWN OR CROWN. After working as a participant of young boy band INTO1 via the WARPs task, it’s the initial launch from the solo job he released this summertime which likewise shares the very same name. In this meeting, Billboard Japan talked with RIKIMARU extensive concerning the virtuosity his followers can anticipate from his solo job and also cd.

You’ve claimed that your freshly released solo job would certainly be a “mutual sharing of philosophies between you and listeners as well as an embodiment of the reasons you create as an artist and a way to pursue your goals.” What led you to try this?

In the past, the photos connected with my songs were “freshness” and also “youth.” That was enjoyable, in its very own method, yet taking a look at myself as an individual, it seemed like that picture didn’t genuinely attach to the genuine me. I seemed like a picture of “craziness” would certainly be a better healthy. That’s why I chose to make a cd whose picture is extra along those lines. Through my tracks, I wished to take a look at social concerns and also social connections, not love. I wished to make tracks whose styles would certainly reverberate with audiences, which is why I released the job.

You’ve launched your initial complete cd, CLOWN OR CROWN. Why did you select that name for the cd?

I had this psychological picture of a deaf clown and also a blind king. The deaf clown is an icon of liberty and also insaneness. He is completely submersed in his very own globe, which is why he can’t listen to others. The king stays in a dark castle, and also he doesn’t recognize what type of lives individuals outside his castle are living. The cd’s styles focuses on these 2 individuals, whose expectations on life and also whose viewpoints on the globe are so completely various from each various other. Based on that particular structure, I created tracks as tales of what I myself have actually seen and also really felt, and also what I’ve spoken with others.

So it’s something of a social witticism.

Right. But it’s not simply a deep, hefty cd — it has a great deal that will certainly likewise reverberate with audiences. The tales can be analyzed in different ways if absorbed various means. CLOWN OR CROWN has this deaf clown and also this blind king sharing info and also their very own perceptiveness, so I desire audiences to likewise share their very own concepts and also perceptions.

I’m obtaining the sensation that cd is motivating individuals to widen their viewpoints.

Right. For instance, I think of 80% of what I review online is phony (laughs). The bulk point of view isn’t constantly the reality. Sometimes the minority sight is appropriate. And not every little thing you see is genuine. It’s approximately you to identify what to approve and also what to deny, and also if you alter your point of view, you can obtain understandings right into all type of various globes. That’s among the important things I intend to share via the cd.

I recognize precisely what you imply.

And the distinction in between “CLOWN” and also “CROWN” is simply the distinction in between an “L” and also an “R.” In China, I’m called “Liwan,” and also in Japanese my name is “RIKIMARU.” I frequently listen to that “When you’re just chatting, you’re ‘Liwan,’ but when you dance you’re “RIKIMARU’.” Looking at the initial letters of the names I pass, it’s an “L” and also an “R.” I just saw that after that, yet it’s an intriguing coincidence.

It seems like a cd that supplies individuals with understandings right into numerous facets of your personality. You launched “TALKIN’BOUT,” a solitary from CLOWN OR CROWN, on July 27, prior to the cd was launched. What is the definition behind the track?

Recently there have actually been a great deal of individuals having problem with intimidation or physical violence online. It’s likewise typical for individuals making these violent remarks to be faceless. You frequently don’t recognize that they are. Even if individuals around you are claiming favorable, uplifting points, occasionally it simply doesn’t survive. The style of this track is that you require to transform your interest to the favorable. If individuals intend to slam, allow them slam.

That’s a trouble that’s ended up being especially popular since late. So on the cd, you’re concentrating on that problem.

Some of individuals that slam others on-line are doing it due to the fact that they’re stressed out. If you enter their crosshairs, it’s virtually like a crash. I recognize it’s much easier claimed than done, yet I believe one of the most essential point is to not allow it reach you. If you allow on your own obtain impacted by negative thoughts, you forget on your own, right? That’s what I wished to interact. I desire audiences to make their highest possible concern cling themselves.

It seems like this is a signature tune for your whole solo job.

That’s real. I wished to make it type of a tabulation, a statement that “I’m going to talk about things that are going on today.” That’s why I made it the initial track on the cd.

I listened to that you’ve made countless alterations to the track, improving it right into its last kind.

Until I began working with the cd, my voice seemed…childlike, I think? Lacking in virtuosity. It seemed like I was simply vocal singing. When I played it to individuals I recognized in the songs sector, they claimed “Your singing technique has improved, but there’s no emotion in your voice.” I didn’t really feel that my voice was imaginative, either, so throughout the recording of the track, I videotaped each line, line by line, over and also over once again. In the past, it took me concerning 3 hrs to tape-record a whole track, consisting of the carolers, yet this moment it took me 5 hrs simply to tape-record the tune line alone.

You were actually a nit-picker.

We just had 10 days to tape-record the entire cd. So there were times when I’d enter to the workshop a little after lunch, document all evening till 10:00 the following early morning, obtain 4 hrs of rest, and after that return right into the workshop once again. I did the recording in the United States, and also the manufacturer claimed “I’ve never had a recording session continue through the entire night before” (laughs). But every person gathered and also added, making the tape-recording a success.

You’ve likewise submitted a video for “TALKIN’BOUT” to YouTube. What are the highlights of the video clip?

The professional dancers are blindfolded, which stands for the faceless individuals I spoke about previously. There are scenes where the professional dancers are approaching me from behind, or in which it resembles they’re taking a look at me, yet they don’t genuinely see me. They’re simply haunting me. It’s intriguing seeing the responses of individuals that see the video, reviewing their unique analyses.

One of the allures of the track is just how much deepness there is to discover its definition. The choreography was done by YUMEKI, right?

YUMEKI’s been doing a great deal of magnum opus recently, and also his dance is actually awesome, so I asked him to choreograph the track. I desire individuals to pay particularly very close attention to the dance in the carolers and also in the dancing break that adheres to. This was a brand-new experience for me — it was the very first time I had among my graduates do my choreography. I assumed it would certainly be ideal for offering my dance a various feeling and also revealing a brand-new side of me.

The lead track is “I am Riki.”

This track remains in a completely various category than my previous tracks. In the past, I’d danced directly via all my video clips, yet this video has absolutely no dance. Instead, it’s like a brief movie of a tale I produced, and also I did a great deal of acting.

What was your tale concerning?

When I obtain stressed, I occasionally believe “What am I? Who am I?” I don’t genuinely comprehend myself. When that occurs, it’s like the globe goes dark. I obtain dizzy. “Why am I here, doing what I’m doing?” My tale illustrated that sensation.

I’m sure that prior to creating the tale, you’d considered simply that you were. What type of verdicts did you reach?

I didn’t reach any kind of verdicts (laughs). I never ever reached an understanding of that I was, or what my very own perfect self would certainly resemble. But I did recognize that a darker strategy, like CLOWN OR CROWN, was an excellent suitable for me. Also, I’m actually unpredictable. Who recognizes, perhaps when I pay attention to the cd once again later on it’ll seem like a funny (laughs). But I intend to focus on myself as I am present moment, and also I intend to take pleasure in the minute, without thinking of the future.

All of your tracks, consisting of both that we’ve gone over, have actually plainly specified styles. I’m sure there were a great deal of points that you paid unique interest to, and also you encountered a great deal of difficulties.

I actually concentrated on the styles. Even if a cd has a total style, it’s unusual for every private track to have a feeling of tale and also to match the general cd style. I invested concerning half a year thinking of that.

 As much as difficulties go, the English was an obstacle. With this cd, I desired for individuals around the globe to uncover me, so a lot of the verses remain in English. When you sing, if your accent’s off, the feeling doesn’t discover. The subtlety could alter, also. So I sang with an American, that offered input like “If you sing it this way, the singing matches the story” or “The emotion doesn’t really communicate well if you do it that way.” Making all those modifications was challenging.

You actually place your all right into the cd. In closing, do you have any kind of message you’d like to show to your cd audiences?

This cd resembles a fairy tale. Each track narrates, so I’d enjoy it if you paid attention to it similarly you’d review a storybook.

This meeting by Azusa Takahashi initially showed up on Billboard Japan



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