It could also be a little bit of a cliché, however time actually does fly by rapidly, doesn’t it? It felt prefer it wasn’t too way back that I heard Konomi Suzuki’s highly effective vocals for the primary time in “This game,” the opening theme for No Game No Life, as a highschool pupil. Yet the truth is that, after I acquired to interview Suzuki in late December 2022, it has been eight years for the reason that music’s release and, extra impressively, a decade for the reason that anisong singer’s debut on the age of 15.
2022 wasn’t simply Suzuki’s tenth anniversary as an artist. May noticed the release of her fifth album ULTRA FLASH, which options a mixture of stand-alone tunes and anime theme songs like “Realize” (from Re: Zero Season 2), “PROUD STARS” (from Shin Ikkitousen), and “Theater of Life” (from Deca-Dence). In the next months, Suzuki introduced the founding of her personal firm, 115 (Ichiichigo), and launched her newest single “Love? Reason Why!!,” the opening for Fall 2022’s Love Flops. And, in December, Suzuki carried out a live performance at Comic Fiesta — one of many greatest ACG occasions in Southeast Asia — that served to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Malaysia’s Look East Policy.
Thanks to the Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur and the workers of Comic Fiesta, I used to be granted the possibility to talk with Suzuki the day after her energizing live performance. In the hour earlier than the primary of Suzuki’s two fan greeting classes, we mentioned her new album, the explanations behind 115’s title, the songs from her repertoire that left an impression on her, and extra.
This interview has been edited for readability.
Anime Trending: Congratulations on the release of ULTRA FLASH! Can you share how you are feeling about having launched your fifth album?
Konomi Suzuki: This yr, I used to be in a position to rejoice my tenth anniversary because of everybody’s help. I’m actually completely satisfied to have made an album that commemorates that.
This album was crafted with care with the theme of, “Shine now.” We launched a great album that may be credited for making this complete yr doable.
AT: And, along with your album, you additionally went impartial earlier this yr once you shaped 115 (Ichiichigo). Can you share what impressed you to go impartial and group up with CAT leisure for the administration aspect?
Suzuki: I’m a extremely grasping particular person. *laughs* There had been quite a lot of issues that I wished to do extra of.
[For CAT entertainment], it’s an workplace that makes me really feel very reassured as a result of there are lots of individuals there who’re very near me, like [singer-songwriter] Masayoshi Ooishi-san and [singer-songwriter] Kayoko Kusano-san.
AT: What impressed you to decide on “115” because the title of the corporate?
Suzuki: My birthday is on November 5. *laughs* Besides that, it represents having the ability to have a great begin, “go,” at any time. I wished to do issues with that feeling as effectively.
Note: As a results of Japanese wordplay, November in Japan incorporates a number of commemorative days that embrace the phrase “good” (“いい”) of their names, equivalent to “Good Married Couples Day” and “Good Encounters Day.” Similarly, the numbers “11” in “115” will be seen as “いい .” Meanwhile, the Japanese pronunciation of “5” appears like “go.”
AT: That’s very attention-grabbing. Going again to ULTRA FLASH, the title music has references to your earlier songs like “Love is MY RAIL” and “This game.” I used to be questioning why you included the references to these particular songs within the lyrics for “ULTRA FLASH.”
Suzuki: So truly, the music “ULTRA FLASH” incorporates the titles of exactly 10 of my songs from through the years.
To be sincere, I didn’t count on their inclusion as effectively. The one who composed the music with me — Kayoko Kusano-san, who I discussed earlier — thought, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to include them?” through the manufacturing stage. I, too, felt like I’d been given a shock current after I came upon.
AT: Does every [referenced] music come from a selected yr [of your current 10 years]?
Suzuki: Ah, that’s not the case. At first, Kusano-san, who was writing the lyrics, requested that I ship her songs that left a deep impression on me, resulting in these kinds of songs being inserted all through [ULTRA FLASH].
AT: What are the explanations that these songs are necessary to you?
Suzuki: Somehow, singing these songs strongly brings out reminiscences of these instances. “DAYS of DASH,” for instance. It was my second single, and I bear in mind crying quite a bit throughout its recording.
AT: And amongst your more moderen anisongs, which might you say has the most important impression or impression on you?
Suzuki: Wow, I really feel like all of them had been impactful. *laughs* I’m torn! I feel I might speak about all of them.
However, “Bursty Greedy Spider,” which I sang ultimately night time’s live performance, was a music I recorded proper earlier than I had surgical procedure for my throat, so I’ve a deep attachment to it. To be capable of carry out this music abroad for the primary time, I really feel actually completely satisfied about that. It actually has been some time since my final abroad live performance, so I’m glad that I used to be lastly in a position to ship this music to everybody.
AT: Yesterday, you additionally sang “Love? Reason Why!” from Love Flops. What was your impression of the music and the anime once you first acquired the supply [to perform the song]?
Suzuki: “Cute!” *laughs* My first impression was that the anime and music had been actually cute. However, after I acquired to higher know them, after I developed a deeper understanding, I noticed that that they had a little bit of poignancy as effectively. I assumed that was great.
AT: Going again to ULTRA FLASH — let’s begin with the music “HELLO.” I used to be stunned by the variability within the album, particularly as a result of “HELLO” is R&B-styled, so I used to be questioning what led to that music being created and chosen for the album.
Suzuki: Thank you very a lot for listening to the album quite a bit. Before I aimed to be an anime singer, I truly wished to be a dance vocalist. I used to be considering that I wished to sing whereas dancing. After that, I got here throughout Macross Frontier and have become smitten with anime, so I firmly determined that I’d develop into an anisong singer.
But though I like anime songs, “HELLO” resembles, maybe unexpectedly, what I used to sing earlier than my debut. I didn’t present a lot of this aspect after my debut, however I really feel that this music lies with my former roots.
AT: Speaking of going again to your roots, I consider the music 「ダメージ小でした」 (Damage Shou Deshita) was your making an attempt to reconnect together with your Osakan origins. Can you share how the music was created?
Suzuki: I used to be born in Osaka, and I’d sing my songs in Osaka dialect fairly a bit at fan membership occasions. It drastically entertains my followers after I achieve this. *laughs* It was actually enjoyable, and later I felt like singing in Osaka dialect and requested (comic) COOKIE!-san to pen the lyrics [for 「ダメージ小でした」 (Damage Shou Deshita)].
AT: Are there any plans for future Osaka dialect songs?
Suzuki: Hm, I’m wondering! *laughs* But definitely, if there’s a requirement for it…
AT: Did the pandemic have any impact on the creation of ULTRA FLASH and its theme?
Suzuki: Yes, there positively was. Naturally, there have been limits on the variety of individuals [in the studio], so there was extra working from house. And on the day of the recording, I immediately couldn’t are available in due to a detailed contact. So such direct obstacles definitely existed.
Throughout the making of the album, I solely entered the studio roughly a few times per week, and it was like I by no means went anyplace however the studio and my house. If I went out, I wouldn’t be capable of work on the album. I bear in mind steeling myself all through that interval. Also, since I needed to restrain myself a little bit from going out, I ended up having to take care of the album on a regular basis.
At the very finish, when the lyrics had been inserted and the composition needed to be accomplished, I felt like I’d explode. Because of that, I made up my thoughts and went out alone to locations with little individuals.
More than something, in a method, the theme of “Shine now” happened due to my expertise through the pandemic. Because the times of not having the ability to meet everybody the best way I can now continued on and on, I spent quite a lot of time eager about how I’d proceed with my life as a singer, and one reply got here to thoughts. I made this album with the hope of conveying the message that even when you can’t anticipate the long run, you need to attempt your finest to shine within the current.
AT: And that’s additionally the explanation why it’s known as ULTRA FLASH?
Suzuki: That’s proper! *laughs* At the start, I made a decision that I wished to title the album, Flash, however I felt that simply “flash” wasn’t attention-grabbing. So I considered attaching an amusingly bombastic phrase to the title.
“Super” didn’t look like sufficient, and “extreme” felt too prolonged. But after I stated “ULTRA FLASH,” it clicked strongly with me. It was instinct.
AT: It’s definitely a really memorable title.
Suzuki: Thank you. I’m glad it was titled “ULTRA FLASH.” *laughs*
AT: Earlier, you talked about that you simply had surgical procedure to your vocal twine nodules. Did it have any impact in your routine?
Suzuki: From the beginning, I used to be already consuming quantities of water that might shock others. *laughs* There weren’t actually massive adjustments to my routine.
[However], I form of used to assume that I might use my voice as a lot as I wished. But in some unspecified time in the future, I noticed that that’s after all not the case. Now I remember that I ought to proceed in a wholesome method for each my thoughts and physique, as a result of if I don’t regulate them, some areas will certainly cease functioning effectively.
AT: It’s been 10 years because you debuted. What do you are feeling has modified probably the most about your self personally?
Suzuki: I feel I’ve develop into resilient. *chortle* After all, I debuted at 15, which was actually early. Because of that, I used to be able the place I didn’t know a lot and would solely deal with doing my finest at what the adults advised me to do.
At first, I repeatedly gave all my effort on mastering no matter somebody thought was attention-grabbing and assigned to me. Now, on the subject of each music manufacturing and dwell performances, I need to uncover attention-grabbing issues on my own. Mostly, I need to do enjoyable issues and contain many others in them.
AT: And what about adjustments within the trade?
Suzuki: I don’t assume I’m able but the place I can proudly touch upon such issues. *laughs* However — this can be a bit troublesome to place into phrases, however — I really feel that the circulate of time is remarkably quick. And so, I’m continuously and strongly conscious that I’ve to maintain up with the circulate of the instances. As somebody whose slogan is “a continuously evolving anisong singer,” now that I’m at my tenth anniversary, I as soon as once more really feel that.
AT: In ULTRA FLASH, the music “Melodic Road Movie” was a duet with Kashitarou [Itou]-san. What was the expertise of collaborating with him like?
Suzuki: It felt like we had been singing the identical but utterly totally different songs. I don’t actually get to expertise listening to one other singer singing the identical phrases, so I grew to become very pumped up and was in a position to be taught quite a bit.
AT: Since it’s been 10 years because you began, and now you might have 115 and such, what are your aspirations for the long run?
Suzuki: Since I’m grasping… *laughs* [If I were to tell you everything], the whole day would most likely be over by then. But, I wish to return to Malaysia once more. I’d definitely need to intention for and take a look at my finest to have a fourth go to.
AT: Final query. What message would you want to present to your followers?
Suzuki: Firstly, I’m really grateful for all of your help and love. Because I wasn’t in a position to instantly expertise your enthusiasm for some time, to have the ability to instantly really feel my followers’ ardour on this go to, I really feel very motivated.