Nippon Project Exclusive Interview with Tegomass
To meet Yuuya Tegoshi and Takahisa Masuda in Tegomass during their first visit in Europe made us both nervous and exiting. They are, despite everything, big superstars who we’ve seen performing for enormous audiences and in Japanese TV-programs. Were they going to be sturdy? Spoiled? Or maybe just as cute and nice as they have presented themselves in the Japanese media?
When we entered the press room, we met the whole Johnny’s team; managers, makeup artists, stylists and producers. Everyone welcomed us with big smiles on their faces and visiting cards were exchanged in the typical Japanese way. In the middle of everything one of the idols jumped around the corner shouting: “Hej! Jag heter Takahisa Masuda” (“Hi! My name is Takahisa Masuda”) with a big smile on his face. We started to laugh and he did a gesture of victory and shouted: “Yoshi!” The duo’s other member entered the room with a stylist after him and we started the interview with wishing him in Japanese a happy belated birthday. His face lit up and everyone in the room started to clap their hands and laugh.
Despite my nervousness and slightly shaking hands everything felt fine. Tegoshi and Masuda were just like they are supposed to be - just as cute and wonderful in reality as on TV. Their personalities were like the Japanese idol magazines have described them. Most of the time when Masuda opened his mouth, everyone in the team started to laugh at his silliness. Tegoshi laughed a lot too but he was more serious and thoughtful when he answered our questions. Both of them were completely professional and it was obvious that interviews and photographing is a part of their daily life in Japan.
How do you feel about your visit in Sweden?
Both: We looked forward to the visit!
Are you nervous?
Tegoshi: No, more expectant.
Shuuji to Akira with Seishun Amigo got released here in Sweden last spring and it also had Swedish songwriters. What is the biggest difference between Swedish and Japanese production?
(This question was forwarded to Shusui, one of the songwriters).
Answer: In Japan there is in most cases one person who manages the whole production, but here in Sweden the whole production was done in teamwork. That gave us opportunities to exchange ideas, which have been both stimulating and productive.
Is this your first visit in Europe?
In which class did you fly?
Do you still suffer from jet lag?
What was your first impression of Sweden?
Answer: It’s very clean and beautiful. The scenery looks like one which could be found in a Japanese textbook in school.
What did you know about Sweden before you came here?
Answer: ABBA! And we saw some pictures, and a book about the Swedish language to learn some.
What do you think about the Swedish food?
Answer: We haven’t tried it yet, but we will tomorrow!
What do you think about Swedish girls?
Answer: We have heard that they are very beautiful, and we think so too.
What do you think the Japanese will think of the song? What do your Japanese fans think about the Sweden debut?
Answer: It hasn’t been released in Japan yet; we are going to make a Japanese version which is going to be released in December. We believe that it’s going to be well received and that our fans will continue to support us.
In the song Miso Soup there is a very traditional Swedish instrument called keyed fiddle (Nyckelharpa). How do you think it worked together with the Japanese sound?
Answer: The keyed fiddle has a very warm sound, and it was great to combine Swedish tradition with Japanese tradition in form of miso soup.
What was the last thing you did before you left Japan?
Tegoshi: I changed my cellphone to one that works outside Japan.
Masuda: I drank a sports drink.
Was it good?
Masuda: Yes, and since there was a little left in the bottle, I took it with me on the plane. When we arrived in Sweden the bottle was completely flat!
Isn’t it now with the harder rules prohibited to take fluids with you on the plane?
Masuda: Is it? I didn’t know that... Can we skim that last question? (laugh)
What did the others in Johnny’s say when you left for Sweden?
Answer: The other members in NewS sent us e-mails and wished us good luck. Some of them were a bit jealous.
What part of yourself are you most proud of?
Answer: That I got this chance to stand on stage and develop my musicality together with many talented artists and producers. We, who got this opportunity to perform our thoughts to a big audience, are very well favoured.
It seems like you have a lot to do. What is the longest time you’ve been awake in a row?
Tegoshi: I don’t know, maybe 30 hours?
Masuda: I haven’t thought about it. I try to sleep a little now and then…
Do you have any weird habits?
Masuda: Tegoshi sounds like this sometimes. (Imitates a pig’s sound)
Tegoshi: (Looks a little irritated) Masuda has a habit of repeating the same things over and over again when he has a lot to do.
(Masuda: It’s because I think that it’s very important that all of you get to know what I think)
Was it hard to sing in English?
Answer: It was hard. But in the same time very educational.
Can you speak English, or did you just practise to sing Miso soup?
Tegoshi: We have studied English in school, and also read a little extra by ourselves in the evenings. But both of us are quite bad at talking. We continue studying now, to get better and to have more international cooperation. My dream is to be able to discuss music with international musicians.
How do you see yourself in ten years from now?
Answer: I hope I will have developed as well on a professional as on a personal level.
Did you know that you have fans outside of Japan?
Masuda: When we were on tour with NewS in Asia, it hit me for the first time that there were many fans who weren’t Japanese. I still have a hard time understanding that people exist in a country like Sweden, which is 15 hours by plane away from Japan, who know who we are.
If you didn’t join Johnny’s, what do you think you would have done instead?
Tegoshi: I love music, so I would have tried to work with music anyway. I would have gathered my friends to start a band or something like that.
Masuda: I think I would be a normal student.
Do you have any idol, a person you look up to, within Johnny’s?
Tegoshi: There are many skilful musicians in Johnny’s, but it was mostly due to Takuya Kimura that I started to like Johnny’s.
Masuda: Shingo from SMAP!
What do you do on your spare time?
Masuda: Shopping, cinema, swimming.
Tegoshi: Shopping and football.
Is there anything you want to say to your Swedish fans?
Answer: We are grateful that we got this chance to come here and that people want to listen to our music even in Sweden. We hope we can give something back.
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