NORO Interview by Steph Pockets

フィラデルフィアの女性ラッパーでプロデューサーのSteph Pockets、通算5枚目のアルバムForeverの発売を記念して、Foreverのリード曲”Round&Round”を共同作曲した”NORO”の、StephPocketsによる2ヶ国語スペシャルロングインタビュー!
Female Rapper and Producer Steph Pockets released her 5th album”Forever“. NORO and Steph wrote the lead song “Round & Round” of this album. This is the memorial interview of NORO by Steph Pockets with Japanese subtitles. (Interview Source/出典: StephPockets Official Blog on March12,2012)

Steph Pockets: Below is an interview that I did with an amazing Japanese artist named NORO. I met NORO in 2007 in Tokyo. When we first met, she just released her album Love Sweet Dream. On December 7th 2011 NORO released her new EP “FREEWHEELin e.p.”.Words that come to mind when listening to her music are Dreamy and Pop, Strange but Cool and Dainty but Crazy. It is coquettish and cute like the movies and fashion of the 60′s. Her music consists of Latin, Rock, House, Break Beats and Electro flavors and her sweet voice unifies them. Her music has no border, but it shows a clear picture of her sense of beauty like a scene of a film shot in dreamy sepia.
ステフポケッツ:以下は私が行った、NOROという素晴らしい日本人アーティストのインタビューです。彼女とは2007年に東京で会いました。初めて会った時、彼女はちょうど彼女の1stアルバムLove Sweet Dreamをリリースしていて、2011年の12月7日には新しいEP “FREEWHEELin e.p.“をリリースしました。彼女の音楽を聴くときに頭に浮かぶ言葉は「ドリーミーでポップ、奇妙だけどクール、繊細だけどクレイジー」。60年代の映画やファッションのようにコケティッシュとキュートが同居し、ラテン、ロック、ハウス、ブレイクビーツ、エレクトロなどを取り込んでミクスチュアしたその音楽は、彼女のスウィートなボイスで結合されています。それはボーダレスな音楽だけど、ハッキリとした美意識や映画やドラマの一場面が、ドリーミーなセピア色で思い浮かびます。

1. Hi NORO, could you tell us the meaning behind your name?

NORO: While I was creating the songs for my 1st album, bass player Kengo Koyama (Urban Dance) taught me about the Ryukyu Kingdom (an independent kingdom which ruled most of the Ryukyu Islands, now known as Okinawa, from the 15th century to the 19th century. During this era women were in charge of spiritual life). And Noro is the title of priestess in the Ryukyu Kingdom (they were prized as top advisors because people believed they could communicate with the gods). This isn’t really why I named myself NORO but this became the meaning after I heard about it. Lol. Maybe it was my soul’s dream prediction? Many people remember the norovirus going around, but that is not where my name is derived from. Lol
1stアルバムを作っている頃に、レコーディングにベースで参加して頂いた元アーバンダンスの小山謙吾さんに、沖縄の琉球王国時代に実在したシャーマンの呼称がノロ(神女)だという事を教えて頂いて、元は特に意味なくつけていたのですが、今ではそれが由来になっています。笑 予知夢っ子だしハマっているかも? けして、お腹が痛くなる方のノロではないですよ。ノロウイルスが勢力的な時に私を思い出してくれる人は多いけど。笑

Why are you “Pockets”? I feel you have some cute things like biscuits or candies in your pockets.

I took the name from a character Beah Richards played on the television series, Hunter. Beah Richards played “Pockets” an elderly bag lady. In the last scene of the show “Pockets” says “It may not look like much, but it’s what I am… I’m captain of the ship here. I am somebody.”Although I was a young child when I heard her say those words, and didn’t fully understand what she meant by them, they’ve always stayed with me. My accomplishments might not look like much to you, but they’re mine. I’m in control of my own destiny. I am somebody.

2. When did you first take an interest in music?

I started learning classical music at 3 years old. But I began taking an interest in popular music after hearing “Holding out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler, as it was being used as a theme song for a TV Drama. I loved the feeling I would get from listening to it. Lol. Then I took an interest in Heavy Metal, Hip-House & Hip-Hop, Major Force products (Japanese Hiphop label) &, Techno Pop Neo Acoustic & Reggae. So I loved Bonnie Tyler, then Yngwie Malmsteen lit my fire, and after that I enjoyed Public Enemy. Lol.
3歳の頃からクラッシックを習っていたので、小さい頃から音楽には多く触れていたけど、ポピュラーミュージックに関して自然に興味を持ったのは、幼少の頃のテレビで流れていたアイドル歌謡。でも目覚めた感があるのは、当時テレビドラマの主題歌になっていた、Bonnie Tylerの「Holding Out For A Hero」かな。 あまりの熱さにハートをこじ開けられた感があります。笑 その後、ヘビーメタル→ヒップハウス&ヒップホップ→メジャーフォース&ネオアコ&レゲエ→テクノポップ…と、興味が移ろったので、ボニータイラーで目覚めて、イングウェイマルムスティーンが火をつけて、パブリックエネミーで面白おかしさを知って…という感じ。笑

I started composing and writing lyrics, by the time I was in junior high school. I taught myself how to play guitar from listening to Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and Flipper’s Guitar. I would be hide in my room playing an acoustic guitar I bought secretly. At that time I was making a lot of songs. I had been schooled strictly in classical music. But at that time I was not really interested in practicing classical. I wanted the freedom to make songs as a reflection of my sense of fashion. Just like how I wanted to make clothes as a reflection of my taste in music. When I left home and started college I even began to make furniture.
作曲と作詞を始めたのは、中学~高校生の頃に聴いたボブ・ディラン、ビートルズ、フリッパーズギターの影響で、こっそり買ったアコースティックギターを部屋で隠れて弾きながら、彼らの曲から独学で コードを覚えてたくさん歌を作っていました。クラッシックを厳しく仕込まれていたトラウマで、当時は曲を「作る」ことに自由を求めていて、練習は好きじゃないしコピーすることにもあまり興味がなく、ファッションの延長線上として音楽を聴いたり作ったりしていました。ファッションという意味では音楽と同じ感覚で洋服も作っていたんですよ。大学生になって独り暮らしを始めてからは家具まで作り始めていました。

3. What type of music do you prefer to listen to?

I like music with a pop feel, regardless of the genre.

4. What producers, songwriters and /or artists do you see as your primary inspirations?

Bjork, Daft Punk, Boards of Canada, Brian Eno, Yukihiro Takahashi, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Cornelius…….and Steph Pockets !

5. What are your strengths, weaknesses?

Strengths = weaknesses = 愛 LOVE

6. What are your immediate music goals?

Give support to people through my music.
自分の音楽で自分を支えられる 又は 人を支えられる

7. What are your long term goals?

Continue to provide support to people through my music. My later, higher goal is to win a Grammy Award!
自分の音楽で人を支えられる 又は 自分を支えられる あと、目標は高く(笑)、グラミー賞!

8. Who do you want to hear your music?

All the music lovers throughout the world.

9. Do you have to be in a particular mind state when you create?

Somehow I often feel like cleaning the room when I work for making songs. I think about the room for a while, but soon I forget it and begin to focus on the job. For me, having two things to do at once might be good to create, kind of the way to escape, haha.
部屋の片づけをしなきゃ…と、思いながら、いつの間にか曲作り作業に集中していることが多いです(笑)。他にしなければいけない事があるときに限ってものすごく集中力を発揮したりするんですよ。 現実逃避みたいなものです。笑

10. What do you have to have with you when you create, record & perform live?

All I need is my computer.

11. Describe your songwriting & recording process?

The way I approach things varies. Sometimes I start with a melody other times with a drum beat. Once I have the melody I come up with a rough concept for the lyrics. Recently I have two favorite ways to make songs. The one is not by sound programming but by playing electric bass. I record myself playing it live and decide the bass melody of the whole track. The other is by using my iPad until the whole picture appears. Since I’m engineering everything myself, it takes time to complete it. A lot of patience to finish the whole process…
メロディーのアイデアがあって作業に取り掛かることが多いですが、時にはビートのブレイクのアイデアだったり、シンセの音色だったり、言葉だったり、とっかかりは色々です。調子がいい時はメロディーも言葉も両方スッと出てきます。 最近のお気に入りの制作方法は、何小節かメロディーと基本のコードができたら、打ち込みではなくエレキベースを弾いて、録音しながら曲全体のベースラインを先に作ってしまう方法と、最初から全体像ができるまでiPadで作る方法。私の場合、エンジニア気質 なので、打ち込みをしていると細かいところが気になって、なかなか全体のデモをつくるところまでたどり着かない事もあるので(笑)自制というか、我慢プレイ的な制作方法というわけです。

12. Do you prefer to work alone?

Sometimes working alone can be really hard. It can become time consuming trying to get things done alone. But it is easier to get your exact ideas across when you work alone. Working with a team would be fun. You see different colors of the ones you work with, and they will show you a new color of yourself, like a chemical reaction. So the answer is yes and no. Well, they don’t have to be always musicians; someone who can manage the business would be nice, too. Lol.
ソロ作品は、一人作業の方が気兼ねなく落ち着いてアイディアが出せるというのはありますが、 一人だとエンジンがかからなかったり、時間がかかりすぎたり煮詰まりすぎたりで本末転倒になることも多いので、チーム作業ができるといいなとよく思います。自分にない感覚に触れて初めて強く前に出てくる個性ってのもあるし。化学反応みたいな。だからこれはYES and NO. 別にミュージシャンじゃなくてもビシビシスケジュール管理してくれる人でもいいのですが。笑

Collaborations can be fun with someone you are dating until the relationship goes bad and then it becomes hard to complete the project. But for the most part, working with others is productive and if I have to, I will do it and not have any problems. 他のアーティストとコラボする事もありますが、やはり人とやるのは楽しいです。感性のぶつかり合いで仲が悪くなる時もありますが(笑)それでも完成までもっていけるぶつかり合いなら建設的だし無問題!

13. What draws you to a song more: lyrics, melody or rhythm?


14. How do you feel about digital music sales, physical CD Sales and illegal downloads?

The amount of people buying CDs has decreased. Pressing them up has become uneconomically but many people complain about the sound quality of digital distribution, I think. But searching the possibilities of digital works could be looked at in a positive way. Digital music will never sell enough unless people treat it as a cheaper substitute for physical CDs. I hope they get out of the old idea such as “music = CD and not any other media, and try to understand digital music. If they do, the music industry will shine and be active again. Illegal downloads, are really a problem. I don’t have any particular idea about it, but we all should have awareness of the problem and find a way to solve it.

15. What do you like to do for fun outside of working on music?

I like to write on twitter and go out drinking with friends. I also like watching movies and exercising, such as jogging and swimming. After the earthquake disaster I started thinking more about how important it was to cherish the time I spend with my friends. But at the same time, time to focus on working should also be important.

16. How important is music to you?

It is very important to me, especially the music that I create. That is because it’s a part of me.

How about you?

I always associate music with friendship. And I think friendship is extremely important. Most of my closet friendships came about somehow through music. I met you NORO because of music. I met my husband at a music studio. I met one of my best friends at a radio station and my other at one of my shows. So I guess I can say music is very important to me. When I 1st started rapping, my friends and I were just doing it because it gave us something to do when we were bored. When I’m working on music now, I still prefer to do it with friends. When we’re creating together it never feels like work. I think it’s more pure when it is done as a hobby rather than as career or a means to make money. But if there weren’t any money involved there wouldn’t be any way to get the music from the musician to the listener.

17. Is there anything else that you would like the world to know about you?

Check out my new EP “FREEWHEELin’ e.p.” When you purchase my EP on iTunesOTOTOY and my official web site, the electronic booklet is attached. And, I’ll be writing in the new electric magazine “Torutaru” series starting in April. I’m planning to introduce my new songs and videos in the magazine every issue. I’ve worked very hard on them, so everyone please support by all means! YOROSHIKU
心をこめて作りました、私の最新EP”FREEWHEELin’ e.p.”は、iTunes他各配信サイトで販売中なので是非チェックしてください。iTunesOTOTOYオフィシャルサイトでは特典電子ブックレットがつきます。あと、4月創刊の電子雑誌トルタルでコラム連載します。雑誌内で新曲&ビデオを紹介していく予定なので是非チェックしてくださいね。 YOROSHIKU

(Thanks Kiupii & Yuka & Tama)
出典:StephPockets Official Blog 2012年3月13日掲載