[Interview] RADWIMPS in Singapore

If you’ve watched the mega-hit anime, Kimi no Na wa, you’ll recognise the powerful soundtrack that accompanies – and pretty much embodies – the film. With sounds ranging from string orchestra to JRock, the soundtrack hit the #1 spot on Japan’s Oricon weekly album ranking upon its release.

While Kimi no Na wa may have catapulted Radwimps to a global limelight, the band has actually been around since 2003 when the members – Yojiro Noda, Akira Kuwahara, and Yusuke Takeda – were just a group of high school classmates.

It’s impressive that Radwimps have been together for about 14 years – a fact that Noda (lead vocal, guitar) jokingly likens to being in a ‘marriage’, because you have to give up on expectations. Even more impressive is the fact that their popularity has not been propelled by producing soundtracks for anime or TV commercials, as is the usual case with many Japanese bands.

In fact, their very first soundtrack was with Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi no Na wa. While it became a huge success, the band doesn’t have any plans involving another soundtrack in the near future, despite the fact that both Takeda (base, backing vocal) and Kuwahara (guitar, backing vocal) are big-time anime fans; Kuwahara even confesses to collecting One Piece figurines.

Radwimps 2017 Asia Live Tour in Singapore. Photo by Alvin Ho

However, Noda himself was recently revealed to be involved with the soundtrack for the upcoming live-action film, Tokyo Ghoul, which is based on the wildly popular manga of the same name. Scheduled for release in Japan this year, Noda will be working on this project as a solo artist under the name ‘Illion’.

For a band who’s no stranger to topping Japanese music charts, each member had drastically different preferences when asked for their recent music playlist.

Takeda has revealed himself to be sort of Renaissance man – not only does he listen to his vinyl collection of classical music, he’s a big fan of Japanese sake. It’s quite the opposite for Kuwahara, who confesses his guilty pleasure of listening to Zayn (although he admits that it wasn’t as ‘cool’ as 1D) and lists lemon sour as his drink of choice. Noda himself is a whiskey soda man.

When asked which member was the least likely to pick up a bar tab, fingers unanimously point to Kuwahara. “He’ll live the longest,” says Noda.

Radwimps with Campus mascot, Ah Boon

This month, the band’s busy on their RADWIMPS 2017 Asia Live Tour which kicked off in Singapore last Sunday, and will see them perform in Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taipei, and Shanghai.