Click for larger version. Tomiko Van
"Van" Interview

Enter dialogue here.

(Original interview here. Translated by shidosan. Click the pictures for larger version.)
-Special thanks to jan_koller and ANNA for posting the Japanese interview at DAIForum!

Click for larger version.

On September 29, 2008, Do As Infinity reunited after nearly 3 years.
Amidst the buzz surrounding the band's new activities, vocalist Tomiko Van will release her second original album, entitled "Van."

As a solo artist, she has had an energetic run, which featured a solo album, two cover albums, and a performance in a musical. What does she have in store for her fans this time?

---- How would you describe those 3 years as a solo artist?
Van: I was able to face all sorts of challenges in music and other activities. In regards to music, the next release will be my second solo album. Although I was inactive for a little while, I think that this album exists because I had that break, and in looking back, I don't think there was a minute or second of time wasted.

---- "Van." includes recordings of all your singles, beginning with "Flower". What kind of album do you feel you've created?
Van: I think it has 3 years worth of my feelings in it. Even the title "Van." was something we felt "could be the only title" for this album.

---- Were you the one who proposed the title?
Van: It was decided after having some discussions with the director. There are many albums out there that use the artist's name as its title, right? So there wasn't really anyone against this decision. There are a lot of nuances in the title, like the characters for "Van." can refer to "vanguard". It's easy to understand, and very representative of me! So we decided to go with it. There may be some people who wonder why I use "V" instead of "B", but there's a reason for it!

---- You've been using "V" since your debut with Do As, right?
Van: Yes. I spelled my name with a "V" in the demo tape I sent to the company..... At the time, I thought "maybe there'd be more impact if I used 'V' instead", and that custom continues today. (laughs)

---- Is there any meaning to the "." (dot)?
Van: From a design perspective, having the dot closed it better. Also, whenever I sign something, I often end it with a period, so I thought it might be better this way.

---- You wrote most of the lyrics, right? Were they based on personal experiences?
Van: If I had to say yes or no, then I'd say yes. But, I usually don't take notes of my experiences. I write lyrics after hearing the song, so I mostly write based on my impressions after hearing it for the first time.

---- Do the words come out smoothly?
Van: It's painful. Almost like giving birth.... Words are so important, so it's the thing I'm most worried about. But, it is worthwhile. I'd like to begin to write while studying.

---- "message" was the first song you composed, right?
Van: Yes, it was the first one I wrote. In the past, I always said "I want to write, I want to write", and now here I am. You can only count on yourself to start the action, so I recorded myself humming the melody, and gave it to the director. The process of adding to the sound, and putting everything together was interesting. I'd like to continue to do this from now on.

---- Any song in particular that stands out?
Van: I think each song has it's own feeling or impact. When I listen to it again, it's like "ah, so that's how I felt back then".... like I can see the passing of time or into my own mind.

---- What kind of music would you like to do from now on?
Van: Since I just finished a project..... I think this release will be the end of a chapter in regards to my solo work. I'll think about it for a while, and take my time to weave a new strategy for my next project.
This is what I think gives meaning to doing solo activities. As a solo artist, I can put out a sound that I'm unable to with Do As, and express a personal side of me that's normally hidden - as a single individual, a single woman. I want to continue to break the mold and experiment with my own sound.

---- Last but not least, please give a message to your fans!
Van: It's my first album in a while, and I think it covers a variety of emotions, so I'd be happy if everyone listened to it.

photos: Kyoko Katsumaru
text: naomi.k
Special Thanks: Nudie Jeans Co.