Live at Shimokitazawa (Club 251), Tokyo, full show
Of The Makin' & Breakin'
Welcome back to our tale of the lost, little bean in far-away Japan.
A lot of thoughts have been on my mind lately, regarding how to tell the stories of this winter tour, but to be honest, whenever I tried to sit down and put events in order, one thing kept creeping up on me. An incident, that marked an early end to this tour and affected my health - mentally and physically - a lot.
Normally, I'd shake anything off and move on with my work. I had invested 3 years and more into it, just giving up two months into tour? What? Did I lose it completely?
Sad truth be told, I never thought it would come that far as to cutting off people who had bought tickets and long-time friends who took their weekends off for the last two concerts. But it happened.
It sat with me in the ER and it sat with me on a plane to Europe for the holidays. It sat with me the past weeks, days and nights, endlessly hoping for a solution that didn't come to my mind until I finally realized: There was none. What had happened, happened.
I know this isn't any regular low and it might hunt me forever that I let people down, but mostly myself. The first thing I wanted to do when I had a minute off was go back to writing, go and listen back on old ideas and think of something new, something bigger.
But I was left in the quiet, old place I had left 6 years ago, with the same old regrets and the same dreams. I felt like I had done nothing that I would have been proud of, even back then.
An Emotional Tour
I started tour overly excited and without any doubt in my music, but that changed drastically. It's no secret some venues - even when I joined events - were dead end boring. Despite going on tour without any of my music releasing prior to it, I soon had to put my expectations lower and actually give a fuck about certain parts of managing myself.
Luckily it took a turn for the better in Shimokitazawa, which I'm endlessly grateful for. It was a hard road to find the right part of the city, and right type of people, who genuinely enjoyed my music. My favourites were without a doubt Shibuya Vuenos and Club 251 in Shimokitazawa, though a lot of it felt rushed and I wish I could remember more at moments like now, where everything is just one big blur of moments.
One of my favourite moments was winning people over in Shibuya. It started horribly, even at the soundcheck, I was performing two songs that are difficult for me, that I cried about while recording, because they tell the two saddest stories of my life.
Actually, at this point, I want to add, I had to chance to even practice "You Tore Me Apart" and "Can't Die Tonight" in their original, English version without crying and having my voice howl in the nasty mess that goes along with it.
Up to this tour it felt great to tell the story, but reliving it on stage would have probably washed away the audience members in a sweep emotional turmoil of a barely-rested German mess, trying to just overcome a bad day.
Back to Vuenos. I came in with pretty low expectations, ready to pack and leave without selling goods or anything really, right after I was done. But for a brief moment, while I was on stage I realized that I had actually won them over. It was an event stage, and most of the audience members were there for their respective idol in their respective brightly pastel colored shirt. Yet, after I finished through two songs already, I realized they weren't just standing around anymore, but actually enjoyed my music.
It was a unlucky day, falling on my butt while getting off stage and receiving blurry footage from my cameraman the same night, but it was worth the effort.
New Future Plans
Though any of you could probably come up with a way closer guess to what the future is holding for me, I'd like to say that my plans have changed massively.
I was shoved from niche to niche by past managers and wild guesses on 'what could be trending this year?'. I'm tired of the experience that comes with leaving your life and career up to others, there is no right way to go about it, but trying where you can to make something... Anything of it. Even now, that I'm physically incapable of doing much at all, I just try to roll my body to the lighter end of the tunnel, wherever that might be.
I already talked about Japan not being my end goal, and I hope all of you are open to that idea, because I definitely have some different plans for this year. I was already heading a different direction with English music the past year, with a better reaction than I anticipated.
What the future will bring, be it another tour, new music or a completely new genre, I'll be just as freaked out about as you.
My next performance will be held at Messehalle Dresden, as part of DeDeCo, Sat. 17th at 20:00.
I don't know whether or not this will be a first of x or just a single performance in Germany, but for now I was able to set up a full set concert, I'll be adding it to the event page shortly.
Welcome back to an exciting end of the year, today I get to announce the release of my first ever album, but also the release of my first music video in two years!
"SPADES & STARS" is available now on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and in japanese record stores (Tower Records, HMV, Neowing, CD Japan, etc.)
The Road So Far
I wanted to use this opportunity to reflect on the progress of myself as an artist & producing my first ever record.
Back in 2015 I already made a single with the label "Grow Seeds Record" in Tokyo, sadly the licensing and getting it pressed into an actual CD were too expensive for me to cover, barely working part-time and having no experience in the music industry. However thanks to generous patreon donators I was able to save up and practise with my vocal coach during my hiatus.
I was able to perform at cosplay events and model in the meantime, but since I left my previous agencies I had to look for every performance opportunity myself. Which doesn't mean I don't have agency offers coming in, but I have learned a lot out of my bad experiences and rather not put myself in the same position of handing my entire life, schedule, image, etc. to a company I met once, if I can't see them giving me freedom in what I create. I made an entire video about this topic titled "Why I am not an idol anymore" during #VEDA.
The first discussion for my album happened at the Grow Seeds office in May this year.
Shortly after (on the same day) I contacted Flaviyake, if she would be interested in a collaboration, then contacted my vocal coach to set me up a schedule, and things were in the making shortly after.
Because the release month was set on December from the very beginning there wasn't as much time to prepare my vocals and most of the lyrics were written within the rush of one week. The recording was done during 4 days in August, I also vlogged some of it.
Also during August, before even starting recording I got to perform a preview of the songs that were finished at that time at Ueno Summer Festival (Vlog, Full Performance). It was my first time performing at an outdoor music festival and it's something I'll probably never forget.
Mixing and mastering was done at JAM Studios and after that my team and I completed the CD, packaging, and booklet design and submitted everything to the licensing company & distributor.
Then I was left to wait and start planning music videos and tour.
I decided to put my tour around December, even tough it meant most people wouldn't know the songs yet, and set a lot of dates within events of live houses, one of them being the 10th Anniversary Event of Broken Doll in Shimokitazawa. Touring and also documenting the whole tour with a professional (not just vlogging from my perspective) was a whole different experience.
The live recordings of separate songs, a BTS as well as full shows will be out throughout the next few weeks on my channel.
Plans For The Future
To be absolutely honest, I have no idea what my next few years or even months will look like, all I know is that making music, performing live and writing lyrics are a passion I am not going to give up on so easily, and even though I already have a lot of non-music projects lined up for the coming season, this will definitely not be my last release.
I am looking forward to future performances, I still got two days left on my tour and I am excited to meet a lot of you guys again. And if you are watching from behind the screen, I'm glad you're there, on this journey with me.
I recently had the chance to give an interview for my home state newspaper "Der Neue Tag" which actually ended up in today's front page article!
I'm very excited to receive the news and wanted to share the news with my English speaking audience.
Translations once more have been done by fiuefey!
If you're interested in the online version of the article you can find an archived version HERE (German)
姫沢 • ヒメザワ