IA - Kumiko MUrayama
28th November 2016


Can youIA has performed in LA and New York now, and with tonight’s debut in the UK how does it feel to know that she has a following all the way around this side of the world? 
First of all we have to thank the fact that there is this vocaloid culture that has started much before we entered the market, and it’s thanks to the vocaloid culture that we could express ourselves with our product so, first of all we started with the vocaloid 3 which means that we started a bit later with respect to other vocaloid makers and we are happy because we think that there is already a fan base worldwide for the vocaloid and that’s what we saw at the first one we decided to start this project with IA, then obviously it’s our third time we performed in North America and now we are here, and our final goal actually is to find a way through IA, to spread the vocaloid culture even more, so now there is already a fan base but what we want to do by performing in the different markets and see how people react to find a way that this culture might be understood by a wider public, and to make a vocaloid not something of temporary phenomenon but something which is going to last in Japanese music.  

Since the full scale launch of IA in 2013 it’s just gone from strength to strength in Japan, and has  done very well by the looks of it with the Super GT theme and anime and all of this stuff, do you think that she will become as popular, if not more so than Hatsune Miku?
I wouldn’t use the word like to be more than Hatune Miku, like to be in competition with this other vocaloid because it is now what we are planning to do. It is thanks to Yamaha, Hatune Miku and the creator of Hatsune Miku that the vocaloid culture started, so we feel a lot of respect toward the people who opened the path for us and it is thanks to their activity that now we can do what we are doing. I would say rather than our objective, is to widen more what they started a few years ago which is for example you mentioned the Super GT, for example tying up with other entertainment industries, finding out new ways of tying up so that the vocaloid culture can be delivered to people who do not usually enter in touch with such an underground product, and so I’m repeating myself but I won’t use the word competition because it’s a person of respect, so what they did was very important and they were the forerunners, so our task is to widen even more and to contribute to what they did.
This is my personal opinion but what I want to say is that it’s very difficult to make something lasting and create a whole culture around only one artist, so one artist with his or her fan alone cannot create something lasting, so in order to make this vocaloid culture even bigger, even more popular among people who have other interests, it’s necessary to create more stars so not just one vocaloid star, but many vocaloid stars can really contribute to this music scene, and make it last. 

How would you explain the concept of vocaloid to somebody who has never heard of it or isn’t a fan yet?
I don’t know if it’s the right way to say it, but I mean to us vocaloid is an artist, so having a fan base, having activities, as an artist so what I would suggest as a definition to understand vocaloid is to think about the virtual artist, so it’s not made of flesh and bones, but still it’s an artist but it’s virtual, so that’s how I would define the vocaloid.

How did you come up with the character concept of IA, and how many characters do you think will come from the IA brand?
The reason why we started with the concept behind IA, it was that we had this artist on our management called Lia and she’s a very popular artist for Anime and she sings a lot of anime themes but it was difficult to propose her worldwide within the anime scene, while on the other hand our thinking that her voice was very beautiful and it was really a voice to be delivered to the world and that the world would understand, so how would I do it in order to achieve this goal? And I was thinking that the vocaloid would be a solution to have Lia’s voice delivered to the world and that’s why we created this character who’s voice source is exactly Lia, and on the other side there is the importance to me and this is what I wanted to achieve in creating IA, to have a vocaloid who’s voice was easy to understand, I mean most people who listen to vocaloid songs, they don’t understand the lyrics because the pronunciation maybe has some problems, but I wanted to sort this pronunciation problem and to create a vocaloid with a clear pronunciation and is easy to understand. That is linked to the fact that I wanted to reach the public with the beauty of the music and with the performance. The live performance is also another important aspect of IA, she dances and she knows how to stand up on a stage and that’s why we are thinking that the best way to reach fandom is not just the character but the beauty of the music and the quality of the music, and that’s the very first important thing to do.
The reason why I tell you that the quality of the music to me was important, is that when I started this vocaloid adventure let’s say, I realised that actually the vocaloid fans were like closed communities so we were not dealing with communities open to the world, and open to other worlds, so that’s why I was thinking that I wanted to create something not only for the fact of being a character but something who’s music could be delivered to people who like dance music, or rock music, so that’s why I insist the importance of the quality of music because I think this is the key to reach those people who do not usually interact with the vocaloid culture, which I repeat is a closed community of very hard-core fans.

I see that IA is part of the Kaggerou project created by Jin and Suru. How do you go about finding specific music producers to create the music for that project?
Actually the start of that was very simple in the evolution and very natural, we are not looking for famous people doing things in order to make it up. It started because when we created our vocaloid software it was a BETA version, and in order to test the BETA version we asked different kaggerou creators something like, there was almost 20 people who tested the software and in these 20 people Jin, who was the one we found it was like the one to start with, and he wrote this kaggerou project song, this first song, which was a very big hit, and from that moment it’s Jin himself. He liked IA’s voice and he decided that he wanted to continue and work with IA, that’s why then we ended up and IA became the singer of all the kaggerou project songs so what I want to say that it’s really something that started from the people because once in the game, we are not trying to make  something up but to have this spread , so if creators like the software and the idea of working with this software and that they are welcome and then they get the feeling that they can bring the music to us is much more important than the name, so we don’t necessarily work with famous creators. We would rather work with people that like the voice of our software and they think that they can put some feeling into the music they have written down.

How are you feeling about tonight being the debut UK show?  Are you excited? 
It’s a mix of expectation and of fear because actually, I don’t know if it’s right to say that but we are not in the best environment for a vocaloid concert, so there are some technical limitations and physical limitation for the structure of the venue, so we know that we are not going to do the best show ever, but I think that even with these limitations we know we did our best, and I hope that this thing will be transmitted to the English public and that they would love our singer, our artist and appreciate the effort we have put into that, so I’m excited, but I’m also scared.

What songs would you recommend to people who are just coming to IA, what would be your favourite songs.
There are 3 songs, the first is “Silver Lights” , the second is “Shooting Stars” and these will be performed today, and another one which will not be performed today is “We gotta run” and I think that these are the 3 who can express better at least what I think about IA, that is that it’s not just a vocaloid software, but it’s an artist singing, performing and dancing so a 360 degrees artist and I think that this is why I suggest these 3 songs in order to have a total image of what we mean through IA.