Kirin Works spoke to Shinya, leader of the Visual Kei band QUALIA, about plans for the future and his love for the UK...

Please introduce yourself and tell us what the band means to you?

Shinya: Greetings to everyone in England! I’m Shinya, leader and guitarist of the Japanese rock band Qualia. I’m sincerely honoured to be able to have the people of a country 6,200 miles away from Japan see us like this.  For me, Qualia is my raison d’etre and gives and gives my life a sense of purpose. More than anything else, my greatest joy is that my band mates all understand my vision for the band.


Who picked your band name and what does it mean?

Shinya: Hmm… I can’t recall. I called and asked the other band members earlier, but they don’t remember. Those absentminded guys really put me on the spot! The meaning of Qualia itself is the “quality and sensibility” of us as individuals. In my mind, the band’s name incorporates the idea that we play a sound that represents our own personalities and sensibilities.


How did you all meet?

Shinya: On a Japanese SNS. We were five people who shared the same tastes and favourite bands and just happened to be friends with each other. I still can’t believe the five of us met on the web, even now.  In Japan, it’s a world where you don’t even recognize the face of the person living in the apartment next door, so running into each other like that was a miracle.


What is the weirdest thing that ever happened to you?

Shinya: Probably the weirdest thing is that the band members and staff all get along disturbingly well. Because even on days when there are no rehearsals or meetings and we’re completely free, we’ll make up excuses to get together and hang out. We get along so well, other bands we know are mystified. I think that for a band to stay together, it’s extremely important for the band’s members to share the same feelings.


What do you do in your spare time?

Shinya: I take my dog to the neighbourhood park a lot. When I’m writing music or lyrics lately, I often take my iPad down to the park or a cafe to write songs. Or if I’m out somewhere when a phrase comes to mind, if I’ve got my iPad I can just open up DAW and jot down the idea, if I have a wifi connection I can connect to my home PC remotely, and if I upload the finished demo song to online storage, I can share it with the other band members. This really is an incredible time to be alive. On days off, my dog and my iPad are my must-haves.


If you could have one wish what would it be?

Shinya: I want to go to the UK.


Do you have a role model in the music world?

Shinya: I think the Irish band the Corrs, who are also popular in England, had a huge influence on me. They made me realize that the melody line is the most important thing in composition. In my mind, they’re an outstanding band. I also think it’s incredible that the band members are all siblings.


If you could be any of your band mates, who would it be?

Shinya: I’d rather ask if anyone would be able to stand in for me. Because thanks to the song writing work every evening, I only get two hours of sleep a night.


What other talents do you have that isn’t music related?

Shinya: Hmm… Well, for a start, I don’t think I have any particular talent for music. I think it’s important to realize that talent is just an opportunity and the real question is how much effort can you put forth to make something big out of that small opportunity. I think that if I had decided to go down some other path instead of music, I’d definitely put my heart and soul into achieving those goals, so talent isn’t something I need. There are a lot of people who say they don’t have any talent, but I think that’s only something that a person can say after doing a lot of hard work.


What would you do if you weren’t in a band?

Shinya: I haven’t ever really thought about that. Just imagining a life without the band makes me bored. I feel joy that I’m able to make music like I am now.


Would you ever like to do a tour in Europe?

Shinya: Of course! One of my dreams is to play live overseas. Personally, the country I’d like to visit most of all is England. I want to see the beautiful cityscape firsthand and go out for some authentic fish and chips some time. With some Guinness, right?


What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the UK?

Shinya: Gentlemen and Harry Potter.


What does 2012 hold for Qualia, any new releases planed?

Shinya: I think this year is going to be a very important one for Qualia. As a matter of fact, we’re in the middle of recording our new release right now. We haven’t settled on the details yet, but we’re planning to release a maxi single with three or four songs in March 2012. Until then, we’re showing some of Qualia’s demos on YouTube right now. Please be sure to check it out.


Finally could you give a message to your UK fans?

Shinya: First, I hope you’ll be looking forward to Qualia’s new release. You’ll be able to experience new J-Rock like you’ve never heard before. I’m looking forward to the day when I’ll be able to meet you in England.