Young and talented guitarist Rei started playing classical acoustic guitar at just four years old. Her first mini-album BLU released just a year ago and, with a touch of blues and impressively bilingual lyrics, she’s gained great praise throughout Japan, performing at major events such as Fuji Rock. Her latest mini-album released November 4. Find out more about this up and coming artist after the break.
Artist Name: Rei
Introductions: Please tell us a little about yourselves. What makes your band unique? Are there any interesting facts about the band or its members that might surprise us?
I’ve been listening to a lot of blues music through out my teenage years and also have been brought up in an English-speaking environment. But in the other hand I have a Japanese Nationality and I’ve been playing classical guitar for a long time. These things seem like very peculiar combinations, but have been a big part of my life and it has had effect on how my original music is. It has a fusion of musical elements that are rather odd but comforting.
Favorites: What is your favorite thing about making music? What are some of your favorite tools to use when writing or composing?
Once I start recording songs, it is almost like I’m under water. That extreme concentration is soothing; I guess I’m under the music’s spell. Experimenting with different amplifiers and vacuum tubes inside of amps trigger inspiration for me during composition.
Influences: Was there a particular moment in your life where you knew you wanted to make music? What artists have influenced you on your journey?
I started classical guitar when I was 4 years old, and so I don’t really remember much from then. But as long as I remember, I’ve always wanted to be a professional musician, a super star! The Beatles are my heroes forever, and so is Johnny Winter.
Food: Is there any food you can’t live without? When you are away from your country, what food do you miss most? What new foods are you most excited to try?
I guess I’d say blue cheese. Goes well with hot coffee, it sounds kind of bizarre but it is worth giving it a try. Brown rice and pickled cucumbers, I miss when I’m away from home. I heard Texas brisket is good, so I’d like to try some.
Performance: Besides the music itself, what do you feel is the most important element of a live performance? How do you ensure that this element is present in your performances? Have you ever had a performance where it felt like everything went wrong?
I’d say a live performance is like telling a story. It has to have an introduction, a rising action, the climax, the falling action and the resolution. Of course not all shows are like that, but sketching an outline of it sure does make the performance more refined and bold, convincing. Sometimes, because music is “alive”, things don’t go as planned, but hey, that is the fun of improvisation.
Past: How did your band come into existence? Was it much different than the way it is today?
I’ve always wanted to be a musician. Primarily, it was just a feeling of excitement, sinking amongst the notes and the rhythm and that hasn’t changed.
Present: What important lessons have you learned in your journey as a musician? If you could go back and give your younger self any advice, what would it be?
It was hard breaking the habit of a bad posture when playing the guitar, and I suffered from it afterwards. Playing the guitar in the wrong angle can damage your wrist in the long term and I neglected a lot of that, so I’d like to tell elementary me to sit up straight and relax.
Future: Where do you see your music in the future? What role will changing technologies have in the evolution of your music and the music industry in general?
The development of You Tube and music streaming services have and will have an impact on the industry, but then again, I hear vinyl’s are starting to gain attention amongst the younger generation. I hope I can use both the visible and the invisible media accordingly; using the one that better fits the material that I want to present.
Survivor: It’s the zombie apocalypse! Name three things you would need to survive.
A guitar, a friend and a notebook (and a pen, squeeze that 4th one in)
Last words: Do you have any final message for your current and potential fans? What makes this Japan Nite experience special?
Japan Nite is a bridge between Japan and Austin. Let’s enjoy SXSW together!
Special thanks to Audrey Kimura of Benten, Sheryl of Sony Music Artists, and Rei.
Wednesday 16 March 2016 6:00pm
Elephant Room, Austin, TX
Thursday 17 March 2016 1:00pm
Japan Preview Day Show @Valhalla, Austin, TX
Friday 18 March 2016 4:50pm
Street Legal Guitars @Austin, TX
Friday 18 March 2016 11:00pm
Japan Nite SXSW 2016 @Elysium, Austin, TX
Additional US Tour Dates
Sunday 20 March 2:00pm
Amoeba Music, San Francisco, CA, US