The Japanese indie band 1000say (A THOUSAND SAY) made their US debut at the first Japan Expo USA, held on August 23rd-25th in Santa Clara, California. Undoubtedly the coolest musical guests in attendance, 1000say has been featured at Japan Expo since 2011’s Japan Expo Paris. JPHiP’s Tris-chan and Slack caught up to the band on the last day of the convention to interview their members, vocalist/guitarist MAN, vocalist/bassist API, keyboardist MICHELLE, and drummer NON.
Unless stated, all answers given by MAN.
Where did your name come from and what does it mean?
We wanted to incorporate 1000 emotions and feelings into our sound, and deliver that to our listeners.
Can you tell us a little more about your stage names? Were they nicknames from school, or did you come up with them just for the band?
(laughter) They’re nicknames from student days–mostly junior high… or perhaps from birth?
How would you characterize your sound?
We think of it as a next-generation fantasy band. We used to be a straight rock band, but then we changed by adding electronica to our rock. We also added API’s female vocal to my (MAN’s) male vocal for a new sound.
Individually, what are your musical influences?
MICHELLE – I’ve always liked video game music. My influences would probably be that and techno, but the bigger influence is game music.
API – For me, it’s the Japanese band Supercar. My whole band involvement is inspired by them.
MAN – I love various genres of music, including heavy metal, techno, electronica, EDM, classical, and of course pop. However the inspiration for my songs doesn’t necessarily come from other music. It comes from things like reading books or seeing movies, and translating that into sound. All of my experiences are influences for my song writing.
NON – For me, I really love the Red Hot Chili Peppers! They’re a California band, so I’m really happy that we got to perform here in California.
Is this your first time in America?
(all nod) Yes, it’s our first time.
NON – It’s my second time.
We know that you’ve also attended the Japan Expo in Paris – can you talk a little bit about the differences between here and there?
One of the biggest differences would be the atmosphere. The Japan Expo in Paris has a 10 year history while Japan Expo USA is in it’s first year, and I think everyone is still trying to figure out how to enjoy the event here. We got to perform for 30 minutes on Saturday and 45 Sunday morning, and people weren’t fully into the performance for the first few songs. But by the third song they opened up, and we were all together. The feelings of the audience though, once they opened up, were the same in both France and here.
As an indie band you do some of your music distribution on the internet. How do you feel that the internet is helping to get your name out there?
Traditionally in the Japanese rock music scene, publishing the music was a collaborative effort between the band, the label, and production companies. However with the internet, artists can have much more direct input on getting their work published, and it goes directly to the world. So far we’ve performed twice in France, one time in Belgium, and once here in the US and it’s been a pleasant discovery that some people have already heard of us, heard our music, or even purchased our merchandise. It’s a very enabling medium.
Is there anything you would like everyone in the world to know about 1000say that they may not know already?
We’d like to have our music reach… well, let’s say there’s a class in school. Some students are good at sports, other students are good at studies, but there may be students who aren’t good at either or students who have no friends. We’d like our music to reach everyone, especially those who need the encouragement.
On behalf of JPHiP and our readers around the world, thank you for your time and for answering our questions!
Special thanks to Japan Expo’s Sarah and 1000say’s NON for helping to set up up this interview.