NAQT VANE Interview on New Single ‘Break Free’  – Billboard

NAQT VANE Interview on New Single ‘Break Free’  – Billboard

Hiroyuki SAWANO, a composer of music for various video productions, continues to be the center of attention due to his “SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]” project, which is focused on vocal music. Harukaze is an up-and-coming singer who Hiroyuki has nothing but praise for, calling her “constantly captivating.”

Today, we take a look at NAQT VANE, the new music project that brings together these two unparalleled talents.

What led to you two meeting each other?

Hiroyuki SAWANO: I was talking to a producer from Avex who I met when I was producing music for Do As Infinity. I said that I wanted to create a new music project, and they helped me out, which is how I discovered Harukaze. Harukaze had been uploading cover versions of Western songs on Instagram. Her voice was spellbinding, and when I talked to her I found that she spoke English like a native. I’d been wanting to use a lot of English in my new project, so she was a perfect fit.

What was your impression of Hiroyuki before you actually met him?

Harukaze: I’d heard a lot of the incidental music he’d made for anime, so I had this really strong image of him as someone who makes music that gets you fired up. I knew how impressive it was when his music matched up with what was on screen, so being chosen by him as the vocalist for a new project was a tremendous honor. However, he’s really fast and he’s a perfectionist, so I thought I’d have to work really hard to match up to his level.

Hiroyuki SAWANO: And, for my part, I was enthralled by her singing voice. When we did the first vocal check, I realized that we could go with this kind of emotional approach, so I was like, “Yes!” The more I listened to her singing the more it moved me and the more I discovered new appeal. I find her to be a vocalist that is constantly captivating.

Now you two have formed a new project, NAQT VANE. What kind of music do you want to create, Hiroyuki?

Hiroyuki SAWANO: I want NAQT VANE to reach people in new ways using Harukaze’s singing voice and our power as a team. That’s what makes NAQT VANE stand out. I want us to share our joy like a band does, like “we took that opportunity and ran with it!” or “we succeeded together!” I want to have fun creating things led by that spirit of working as a team, and I want listeners to enjoy that same feeling.

The lyrics to your first streaming single, “Break Free,” include the phrase “searching for freedom.” It feels like you’re making a statement about the world, where it’s become so hard to express yourself freely.

Harukaze: I’ve always wanted to walk a different path than other people, but I’ve felt what it’s like to be buffeted around by society, to be unable to be true to my own sensibilities, to lose my freedom. But now, with what we’re doing with NAQT VANE, I’ve had several friends come up to me and say “You’ve made me want to forge my own trail, too,” or “You’re trying so hard, so I’ll try hard, too.” If my own decisions have had that kind of influence, even if just a little, then I think if we took an even bigger approach through NAQT VANE, we could have a positive impact on countless people who feel trapped. There are a lot of ways in which my own experiences and ideas overlap with “Break Free,” so I’m going to put my heart into singing it and sharing its message.

“Break Free” is NAQT VANE’s starting point. What kind of people do you think it’s going to resonate with?

Harukaze: We’re not targeting any specific kinds of fans. We want everyone to listen to it. In fact, we don’t even use the word “fans.” If someone likes a NAQT VANE song, they’re NAQT VANE. If someone likes our music — if it resonates with them — then they’re part of the NAQT VANE team. So we don’t have any kind of concrete image of who will respond to our music, but we want NAQT VANE to grow.

You want to expand NAQT VANE overseas, too, right?

Hiroyuki SAWANO: People all around the world — not just Japan, but overseas, too — listen to streaming music. I’m influenced by foreign music, too, so I hope our music reaches people in lots of different countries. I want to make music that people find cool. I don’t want there to be any kind of weird “…because they’re a Japanese artist” thing attached. I want to get rid of that and have people in different countries find our music cool just as music.

NAQT VANE has a lot of foreign influence, so I wonder how it will be received overseas.

Hiroyuki SAWANO: I feel like overseas, people are always looking for cool music. That’s true for soundtracks and it’s true for songs. I wonder what they’ll think of NAQT VANE’s music, which was influenced by that. We’ve made a completely English version of “Break Free” as well, so I hope they enjoy it, and I hope they enjoy Harukaze’s approach.

In closing, does NAQT VANE have any dreams it wants to see come true?

Harukaze: I want to go on a world tour and pack stadiums. I don’t just want to play at big venues, I want to see stadiums packed with people who create NAQT VANE together with us. I want to expand our team so it’s big enough to make that, and our world tour, a reality. Also, since I was a little kid, my dream has been to be one of the world’s top entertainers. (laughs)

If you achieve your dreams of a world tour and packed stadiums, I think you’re qualified to be called one of the world’s top entertainers.

Harukaze: At my elementary school graduation, when I said “I want to be one of the world’s top entertainers,” the parents in the audience erupted in laughter, maybe because what I said was so unexpected. But if I really did stadium shows, those people who were laughing that day might be like, “She really made her dream come true! I’ve gotta go see this!” So I don’t want to let go of my dreams. I’ve got to keep working to make them come true.

Hiroyuki SAWANO: For me, too, what I’m looking forward to the most is seeing how big we can make this project. That’s my dream. The more experienced you get, and the older you get, the more you grounded and realistic you become. I’d like to just reset my mentality and really dream big, with the kind of dream that makes people think, “What’s wrong with that guy, is he an idiot?” That’s why if we go on a world tour, I don’t want to play in tiny venues but on big stages. I think dreaming big like that gives you more energy to achieve those dreams. We’re going to keep writing cool music so that NAQT VANE resonates with more and more people!

This interview by Tetsuo Hiraga first appeared on Billboard Japan.

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