The unique style of ADAMS and their special music makes them stand out in the electro pop / rock scene. You can hear them in a private space, a large music scene or any festival. The Japanese «placebo» can initially seem strange with the Neosexual «identity», but is the way they perceive the love, a kind of love which is not limited to clichés, stereotypes and gender. The Japanese Adams, consisting of singer Adam and guitarist Shota, shatter stereotypes and offer a different musical spectacle.
The ADAMS were in Athens – Greece for a unique Live at GHOST HOUSE -where the shooting took place- as part of their European tour “SEXPLOSION”.
Your band represents love without sex, ethnicity, sterotypes etc. Is it difficult for a Japanese artist to express himself freely in Japan?
>Well it’s true, our concept is about “Universal Love”, we try to erase the borders of genders, as you said. We call it Neosexual, it means for us something like “unisex”. In Japan, we somehow have a large freedom of speech as artists and performers. People are curious. The gender gap is not the same as here in Europe, especially in the artistic/fashion scene. It’s different in the daily/normal life. In the 90’s, for instance, the music genre “visual kei” was very popular. Several bands became legendary in Japan. That scene influenced us a lot, as it’s our generation’s music. In that scene, men wear make up, long colored hair, feminine dresses and costumes. It worked because it was original, transgressive, and revolutionary. That’s what we try, in our style, to do. We want to create something new in the Japanese music scene.
As a band you care a lot for the visual you give to your listeners. Your visual image is always sophisticated/elegant/refined but also strong, for example your 2 previous covers of the albums “Six Nine“and “Neosexual” . Do you do on your own the concepts and subjects of your videos and photo shoots? How easy it is for you to accomplish them?
>Shota: actually, I created the global concept of the band, what I called “Neosexual” previously, but I gave the full art direction of ADAMS to our cameraman and director Ryota Sakai. He’s a photographer, image-journalist and film maker, quite famous in Japan. He’s working for many TV programs, commercials, but also for ADAMS. He’s essential for us, as he created all our pictures, videos, CD covers so far. And we are both very fond of fashion, so we care a lot about style.
Are there any taboos in art field in your country?
>Shota : As I told before, it’s not so much about taboos. When I created ADAMS, I knew I had to find a “niche market”. In Japan, we have visual kei, and a “boy’s love” movement. Both are kind of transgressive, so I chose at the beginning to target exactly those 2 scenes. That’s why we have this transgressive image/videos, a little bit of erotism in the performance on stage, as we wanted to find a small, but hot and solid market. Then, I moved half time to Europe, so I found the club scene there, the European styles and music, and my mind changed a little bit, that’s why our new album SEXPLOSION is more close to club music than Japanese rock.
How easy it is for a band like you to make your music famous in Japan?
>Shota : The main difficulty in Japan, as a band, is to find its place in the huge “J-Pop/idols” market. Majors companies here don’t bring any new blood to the scene. We see and hear the same things, over and over again. No money, no time is dedicated to other music genres. If you’re lucky enough to join a major label, you may be disappointed about the lack of visibility, or promotion, and finally leave with nothing. My “teacher”, before I was a producer myself, is the producer of some of the biggest bands in Japan. I saw everything about that business. That’s why I decided to “fight” in a smaller scene. I created my own label, HIGHFeeL, both in Japan and Europe, and I produce all our music and records. We are a very small team, but very strong. All our booking, our promotion and distribution, is done by our company. It’s finally, I think, the best way to keep the exact control on what we do, and our scene.
Are there any difficulties in creating art in Japan and what are the opportunities for new bands there? What does an artist need in order to achieve acceptance from the Japanese public?
Well as I said, there are 2 ways: the major J-pop scene, or the indie/creative scene. In both we can find audience and success, that’s just 2 different paths, and clearly I chose the second one. The future will decide if it was right 😉
It’s been 4 years since the first inception of ADAMS. What have you learned through that path? How has your musical style changed?
>Last year, we decided to evolve to a more “club” sound, more danceable, and more “dangerous”. The lyrics, videos, images of SEXPLOSION are much more adult than what we did before.
Currently what is the song or album, besides your work that speaks most to you or that represents mostly your feelings?
>Shota: Out of our work, I’d say…forever “Guns n’Roses, Appetite for Destruction”. But currently, on tour, or at the radio, I listen to a lot of French and European musicians, producers, DJ’s, like David Guetta, his latest album “Listen”, or all Daft Punk, Sam Smith… It’s easy to listen and it teaches me a lot about the European charts and music tastes. I went to see Avicii live too, Icona Pop in showcase, but I love a lot of artists, from the punk, metal, electro, house scenes… It inspires me a lot.
>Adam: my answer is always the album CorkScrew, from the Japanese artist Kuroyume.
Given the style of your music, does it take a long time to create your albums? Where do you get the energy and the inspiration to create songs? How do you keep your imagination and inspiration evolving?
>Shota: actually it’s quite fast. I spend around 6 months to 1 year for an album. I do 90% of the work in my home studio, completely alone, then we record the vocal parts in another studio in Tokyo, with Adam. Most of our songs are love songs, talking about lost love, passion, sex. Finally these topics are influencing everyone…
So, when you are thinking about music, when you are writing, composing music, do you have a certain image in your head? You don’t have lyrics in your music that can help tell a story… What do you think the audience gets from your music?
>When I write and compose, I already have like “all” the song. The lyrics come after, like an accessory. I think our audience feels exactly what we want to express. Even if we speak different languages. They feel when a ballad is sad, when the tension is high, wherever in the world we play.
ADAMS started in 2011 and in 2021 you will stop the band. How that idea arose? Why you did you take this decision from the beginning?
>In Japan, many bands start and end within one or 2 years. It’s quite common. I didn’t want that. So I decided to make a 10-years planning. It can evolve, it can change, but I think 10 years of activities is long and short at the same time. We have time, but we must achieve targets according to our planning. It’s a challenge, a game to keep our motivation up.
Let’s say at 2021 a huge proposal is coming for ADAMS, what you will do? Will you keep on your final decision or maybe you will think further?
> h ah it’s difficult! Well I think we’ll keep our decision. We can continue, but separately, or in another project. ADAMS has a life-span of 10 years.
You are almost close to finishing your huge European tour. Which was the country that you will definitely like to visit again and in which country the acceptance of the world was more than expected? Have you noticed any differences between people from one country to the other?
>Everywhere, we can see slight differences, but finally our audience is quite similar: kind girls, nice boys. We are lucky. We had a huge reaction in Hungary, and also in your country Greece. We played in a small club, we didn’t know what to expect, and it was full of people! Everyone was nice and friendly. We’ll be back.
Special Thanxs to Olga Kolisoglou for her valuable help in carrying out the interview and photo shoot of ADAMS.