A new challenge, backed by a veteran staff
The music video for Kagerou, JOSUKE project's fourth single release, has been completed. High Kick Entertainment, a creative group that has composed songs for artists such as AKB48 and Arashi, provided an electro pop sound in line with JOSUKE's previous releases.
The song was arranged by Yocke, whose numerous composition works include "Fatima" (Kanako Itō), the opening song to the anime Steins;Gate, and the dance vocal group SUPER☆DRAGON. Mixing was handled by Takeshi Takizawa, a veteran who has long worked with singer-songwriter Noriyuki Makihara. The staff is composed of experienced members that align with the sound JOSUKE wants.
"I was very interested to see the quality that would result from using composers with successful careers, who have worked on noteworthy songs. It was a bit of an experiment in that regard. I hope everyone will check out the finished product."
Comparing a summer love to the short lifespan of the mayfly
Like the previous releases, "Yume no nakade", "Serenade", and "Hanageshou", Kagerou is a rearrangement of a song by SINSEMILLA, a band that was active from 2005-2008. The song is about love with someone whose name is unknown, that lasts a single summer. The title, "Kagerou", which translates to the short-lived Mayfly, also expresses this sentiment of brevity.
"When I was considering what song to release next, I looked back on the songs of mine that I liked. The two that came to mind were Hanageshou, which was the previous release, and Kagerou. The timing was perfect given the season, and I was strongly interested in seeing how rearranging it to fit the JOSUKE sound would turn out, since it had such a beautiful melody. It goes without saying that this is a song that contains a lot of memories."
A trip to Suishohama beach in Fukui Prefecture with friends and the woman he was in love with in his 20s inspired JOSUKE to compose this song. The music video was shot in the same location for this reason.
Finding inspiration from all different kinds of sources
The creative process of JOSUKE, who also personally serves as director, always begins with visualization. A beautiful sunset descending upon the white beach and clear, blue sea. The scenery that came to mind resembled that of the Mediterranean Sea.
"I decided on a VEDUTA yukata for the outfit, and then had a flash of inspiration that it could look amazing paired with beach scenery. It fit perfectly with the memories I had of Suishohama beach."
JOSUKE uses the term "abnormal" to describe the amount of time he spends preparing reference material. For this project, he used numerous video sources, personally editing them together to make footage that would help inspire him.
"The idea was to have an adult JOSUKE sing about memories of the past. We were able to have Natsumi Matsubara, a model for VOCE, play the role of the beautiful woman being remembered in the flashback scenes. My first impression was that she looked younger than I expected, but when she got in front of the camera after having makeup applied, she perfectly fit the mature image I had in my mind. Professional models are truly amazing."
Expression made possible by JOSUKE's maturation
Filming took a total of 14 hours. While it had been raining for the two days prior, the weather on the day of filming was miraculously cooperative.
"It's hard to believe, but the rain returned in days following the shoot. That was probably the only day we could have gotten the footage I had in mind. We went looking for a location to shoot the day before, and found an outcrop that was perfect, so we used it for filming. The evening sun there couldn't have been any more beautiful; we were able to get some great footage."
This marks the fourth installment of JOSUKE's solo project, where he refashions songs he wrote in his youth from a new perspective.
"Being able to rerelease SINSEMILLA songs as JOSUKE is proof of how I've carried on from SINSEMILLA to ARTORY."
The finished product should provide deeper insight into the meaning of this quote by JOSUKE.
A mature JOSUKE is now able to express the fleeting yet vivid memories of past love. Kagerou comes back to life with a new arrangement and concept.
Written interview: Hiroaki Morino / Editing: Taiyo Tajima