Interview with Aki Rosebud
RK ROSEBUD is an up and coming group from Japan with an unique style and a diverse range of sounds ranging from Goth to Pop to Punk to Rock. Always and ever-changing, RK Rosebud, never fails to entrance their audiences both with their sound and they visuals. Their beautiful ballad “Kanaderu Kami” is featured on the soundtrack album “Nana’s Song Is My Song” released in 2003 and their new CD “Death Education” was just released.
The lead vocalist of RK Rosebud, Aki, fills each song with unending emotions and a soulful presence that most singers cannot begin to approach. She is also admired as a fashion icon setting trends with fans in every performance she takes part in.
Aki, it is a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us a little about your background and when you first became interested in music?
I have always enjoyed singing since I was a little girl. My mother loved music and I remember in out house there was always music playing. My mother also belonged to a chorus group and was taught many songs. She was always singing. I think that my interest in music began there.
Although I had always wanted to play piano I was not really able to learn. When my classmates would play the piano or organ I would watch their fingers and memorize the music. I used to leave for school early in the morning to practice on the organ. I loved to practice. When in High School my father gave me a guitar for doing well in school. I would practice all the time and when I went to University I was able to take one on one piano lessons for the first time. All the wrong things I had taught myself he was able to correct. Although I was not the best student, music was always my best subject!
I sometimes find it difficult to express my feeling by talking but I am able to do it through my music and lyrics!
When you were young what music did you listen to and who were your musical idols?
Folk, Rock, Punk,Pop,children’s songs,classic, Enka of Japan, Russian folk songs … I would listen to everything. I have many many idols, I cannot count them all. There are so many wonderful musicians in my life but if I had to pick some I would choose Ms. Hibari Misora and Mr. Michael Jackson … My mother is a fan of theirs too.
How would you describe your music to new fans?
I want people to listen to my music and decide for themselves because I am not limited to the music I make. However, I’d like them to enjoy it as a really beautiful thing more than a momentary, passing pleasure. Joy is happier than happiness, I think. It is not about one disliking or liking the music. A person who likes one music can dislikes another music, it is nature. However, I always consider myself a musician and a fan of music also. ’I want to create beautiful music that I would want to listen to as I lay dying and beautiful music is the last thing I want to hear.’
Can you tell us how you thought of the name RK Rosebud?
RK is the first and last letter in the word ‘ROCK’. The name was decided on because we always wanted to play ROCK and I wanted three syllables in our band name. For example, like ‘Dead?or? Alive’, ’Nine?Inch?Nails’ or ‘Black?eyed?Peas’ e.t.c…
I felt that the sound was cool.
Although ‘ROSEBUD’ meant ‘the bud of rose’, I found out this word suddenly like agodsend and the rhythm of pronunciation ‘RK-ROSE-BUD’ is cool, I felt. The notation is ‘RK ROSEBUD’.
Afterwards one producer said, ’It is good name. If it is a bud forever then there is always room to evolve.” After I bloom I do not want to ripen. I’d like to continue to practice and polish myself. I wish to always be fresh and new. That is my earnest intention of ‘ROSEBUD’ forever.
The other members of the band are Akira(Guitar),Misa(Bass),and Yuki (Drums). How did you all meet?
When we’re teenagers we all played in different bands but we all knew each other because we came from a small hometown. Originally our leader AKIRA was a bassist but when he began ‘RK ROSEBUD’ with me he converted to the guitarist. Because his guitar has aura, I recommended it.
After that we searched a bassist and found MISA. He joined us as Bassist although MISA was popular vocalist. As a vocalist in another band his looks and his presence were charming. When he stands on the stage he has an aura also. He has out a lot of time and effort into learning and fine tuning his Bass playing.
Finally YUKI joined as a drummer!
Your singing and lyrics seem to come from very deep inside you. What does music mean to you?
Music is not self-expression for me.
For example,as like a channeler I work with the music that wants to be born, and I make or play or sing it. I always want me to be clear and pure. To play and sing without any lies.
Can you tell us why you chose to revive Velvet Eden’s song, “Sad Mask”?
Simply because it is a wonderful song.
Have you ever met Dada, from Velvet Eden? Any chance that you will collaborate in the future?
I played my guitar and sang VELVET EDEN’s “‘SAD MASK” but Mr. DADA and I have not been friends. We have talked only about ‘SAD MASK’ a little bit. I’m a huge fan of VELVET EDEN. Maybe Mr.DADA had known that an unknown musician sang ‘SAD MASK’ by acoustic guitar only but we had not been friends. I want to make efforts to grow as a great musician like Mr.DADA.
I’m glad if Velvet E’den’s fans accept and enjoy this new version of ‘SAD MASK’ because ‘SAD MASK’ is a tune like Sanctuary for Velvet Eden’s fans, I think.
Tell us a little about your new CD “Death Education” and what it was like recording it.
We had thought of the concept and title for the album ‘Death Education’ years ago. In the spring a large earthquake hit Japan. We felt like we were actually making this new work in middle of a life and the death situation. Taking photographs for this CD had been scheduled the day after the earthquake. We had put clothes on that represented Life and Death. We thought we had to make good work that can shine and give hope in the future. ‘Death Education’is death education for us, but this is our prayer for future. We do want to express that we have to live out our lives anew.
You recently performed solo. How was your performance? Were you nervous?
My senior musicians were recommended to me and I sang at their acoustic LIVE with my guitar for the first time. I felt then the air like freedom which had I had not felt with the band. There was no regular metronome there, I felt it like a ripple spread from my step to the water surface. I thought I wanted to be a musician who could stand on the stage even if alone. I wanted the opportunity to sing more, so I began solo stuff.
I am not nervous when I act alone. Though I felt solitary I also felt endlessly free. I was charmed by it so much. Although I love my band ‘RK ROSEBUD’ most, of course
You have a dog named “ICE” that is your good, close companion. When did you get her and what does she enjoy doing?
I have been with her for a nine years. She enjoys eating, playing with her ball, going for walks and sleeping. She loves me and my family. She loves to stay with us. She is happy and we are happy too!
When you are on stage you always appear with a Skull. What does it mean to you?
That Skull is my dearest friends who died suddenly. She was a musician and one of my first band’s members. Of course,that is a fake skull but I always think that I standing on stage with her. For my solo song I sing requiem for her. The decorations on my stage have meaning. There is concept without fail. I think that such stage should be called ‘Visual-Kei’
What do you think of the music industry in Japan for independent artists?
I think that it allows anyone who is interested in music to be able to create their own more easily than in past by change of music environment as far as equipment, development of PC, etc. Although I think that the spirit of being independent is important, I also think that it is important to accept and study mainstream music so we can see points there and to aim at becoming a professional. ‘Independent’ does not = amateur. I think that any musicians as artists must not be content at Class B.
In five years what do you hope to be doing?
I’d like to be a more evolved person and I’d also like to be singing five years from now, it is joy for me.