--First of all, what were your thoughts as you transitioned from production work to having the finished product?
Kaela: I had a lot of different thoughts, but the number one thought hasn’t changed. I’ve given birth to my son, so the feelings and sense of responsibility that I have for my child have changed from what they were before. But the love that I have for music and singing hasn’t changed, and that’s good. It’s been very fun to be both “Kimura Kaela” and “Mother” without having to change who I am. Now, when I go home, ready or not, I step into my role as a mother, so there’s a very clear division there. And when I get to be Kimura Kaela [the performer] I do it with all my strength.
--I can see you putting everything into the performance of your new song, “Kidoairaku Plus Ai,” which is definitely a violent rock tune.
K: I’d decided to do a live because it’s summer, so I said to Shinoppi (Watanabe Shinobu), “Give me something crazy.” I’d been in a soft, tender mode, so I wanted to go hard instead. I asked him to give me something hard that I could sing during the climax of a live.
--What was your impression when you first heard it?
K: I thought, “Oh my god, this is so cool!” I wanted to write the lyrics right away, and I wanted to sing it. With the lyrics, I had a theme going of expressing love, which has no form, and other things that we don’t really understand. In my mind I had the image of joy, wrath, grief, and pleasure entering into love. My idea was that everything changes when you come into contact with someone if you add love to the equation.
--What specifically changes?
K: When you only think of yourself, it’s hard to find the right words, and I think it’s easy to hurt other people. But when you become aware of something like love, everything changes... How do I put it? It’s hard to put into words... Even if I don’t say what I want to say, a lot of people will understand anyway. But there are also a lot of people who would understand what I want to say and muddy it with unnecessary words. There are a lot of people who can’t perfectly express who they are, but I think that’s obvious... But if you’re not all about “me me me” and you listen to other people, then I think it’s a bit easier for you to get your point across. Explaining it is a little hard.
--So what you’re trying to say is that, if you realize that it’s not all about you and that if you think about other people and listen to what they have to say and conduct yourself well, then it’s that much easier to show who you are?
K: No, it’s more than thinking about other people, it’s about adding love to your words and actions. If you want to understand someone and have kindness in your heart, then the words you say will be different than if you hadn’t. You have love for yourself, and you’re able to redeem yourself. So I’m saying that we should all be people who can spit out the thoughts they’re keeping to themselves.
--So did you write the song envisioning what it would be like to reach the climax of a live, like you did with “Magic Music?”
K: I did. I chose words like “I want pop!” and “I want to fly!” because I sensed they’d be good live. ...I know! To put my idea simply, it’s “I want to live to help others.” There are a lot of people who have trouble conveying their problems and their baggage, even though they want to live to help others. I mean, even if you’re not all right, you still say, “I’m fine, I’m fine.” Just by listening to the person talk you know that they’re telling you the opposite of what’s really happening with them, and why they won’t just say it the way it is... I think some people can’t say it the way it is. So then, if you give love to yourself as well, you’d be able to say, “Actually, I really need some help,” and I think it would be better to say things straight like that. Well, I don’t know if the word “love” is exactly right, but in the context of the lyrics, if you wrap yourself in love and kindness and just spit out what you really mean to say, then you’ll be able to convey yourself to people, and establish a connection with them, and you’ll be able to understand one another.
--The importance of having a connection with other people is also the theme of the song “orange,” from your previous single, but in “Kodoairaku Plus Ai” there’s even more of the feeling of breaking into it. Especially the line “Kokoro komete / Ai shiteru tte iwanakucha” [“You have to say ‘I love you’ / With your whole heart”].*
K: There’s a lot of power in those words, but I don’t think they express it all. They’re words that don’t even have to be said, but it makes me feel good that they’re written down. I go deep into myself when I write, so there are big parts of me that speak and are heard. Angry, sad, or pleased, if I have the people that I love, that’s enough. If I have the people I love, I’ll be okay no matter what happens, and I feel that having the people I love is what saves me. So then, in my heart of hearts, even though I sometimes write about sad things, if I think about the people that I love then I can write it well.
--When was the B-side, “Hoshi no Tane,” written?
K: At the same time [as “Kodoairaku Plus Ai”], and with the same intent. To be honest, when I asked Shinoppi for a song that would be great at the climax of a live, he gave me this song first.
--Shinoppi thought this song would be good for the climax of a live!?
K: Yeah. Shinoppi imagined this song, but I imaged “Kodoairaku Plus Ai.” Shinoppi and I have totally different ideas of what makes a cool song, a sad song, a fun song, or a cute song. He gave me this song first,and I said, “It’s really good, but the hook is just so heartrending. I want something tougher,” and he wrote “Kodoairaku Plus Ai.” But “Hoshi no Tane” is also a really great song. And it was written at the same time, going to be on the same single, with the same theme and the same intent; it felt like we couldn’t write anything outside the concept of it being a live climax song.
--You sing the line “Egao no ura no namida ha kakusazu ni, zenbu, watshi ni choudai” [“Don’t hide the tears on the other side of your smiles, give me everything”].
K: This is the part that most speaks to the idea of joy, wrath, grief, and pleasure. Even though someone is crying on the inside, they’re always smiling. I’m saying that we can overcome the pain of loss if we don’t hide our tears. We constantly have sad meetings and partings in life, but to laugh and cry are perfectly natural. We of course want to be a source of strength for our loved one, and this song is about the importance of those people.
--What do you think you’ve achieved with these two songs?
K: I think this is a really cool single. Until now I’ve been making music however I want, but I’ve started thinking again that making a quality song is important. I want a song that sounds good, that’s hard and interesting all the way through, and that has balance. The songs I’ve done with Shinoppi are reminiscent of the band that he has in his head, and we balance that by listening to the songs and creating them together as friends. Because of that we can try new sounds, and different kind of songs and lyrics. After I gave birth to my son, I felt like I wanted to sing; I felt like should do something ridiculous. (laugh) Even outside these two songs, with the old and the new, with the cool and the cute, I’m expressing my true self and I’m still making good music, and I’m so happy that I can do that. And I just keep feeling like I want to do a live soon.
*The interviewer has the line slightly wrong. The actual line is “Ai shiteru wa tte iwanakucha / Kokoro komete.” Thankfully, the meaning is still the same.
Check out Erin's review of "Kidoairaku Plus Ai" on JMusic365