keepsakes. gets up-close and personal with the songstress at August 2018’s Anifes inside SMX Manila.
The highlight of this weekend’s ANIFES 2018 is singer-songwriter Mika Kobayashi who has sung tracks such as “Before my body is dry” (aka DON’T LOSE YOUR WAY) from Kill la Kill, “at’aek ON taitn” from Attack on Titan, “βίος” from Guilty Crown among others.
Prior to the concert, we had an opportunity to talk to her about her musical journey and her current activities.
When Kobayashi arrived in Manila, the wind is very strong, and she assumed that there will be a typhoon coming (it actually exited the country but the heavy rains are still ongoing at this point).
She had ensaymada and cheese roll (Mika loves cheese) and she find it very delicious. For Mika, Filipino bread is very delicious. (I’m guessing that the cheese roll she had is from Mary Grace Cafe).
Mika Kobayashi’s musical journey, her passion and philosophy
Kobayashi has been inclined to music in her high school days, so it was not a hard decision for her to turn it into a career. From junior high to senior high, all she did was to join the Music Club. It was a conscious decision that she made and did not looked back ever since.
Not all songs that she sings are her songs, sometimes it’s a collaboration with record companies. She has collaborated with composers for soundtracks of various series (anime/TV drama/games), among them is Hiroyuki Sawano.
The variation of her musical career is kind of hard to explain because it doesn’t have a single niche. She comes from a complicated musical background, so her activity is very broad.
When asked about her philosophy in music, she said that in all of her musical activities, she exerts 120%. Whether she performs in front of 20 people or in front of 10,000 people, her approach is the same. It’s like she and the song are in a constant battle. Her collaboration songs are more inclined to be used in particular scenes, so she has that constant imagination.
Working with Hiroyuki Sawano
Her most challenging (at the same time interesting) task as a singer was when she was asked by Sawano, “Mika, can you do a giant’s voice — a titan’s voice?,” and she said “I haven’t seen a giant, I haven’t seen a titan in my life so I don’t know what a titan sounds like.”
When she receives a work by Sawano, she receives the work as if it’s almost complete and she is just asked to do the vocals.
Her feeling towards it is that when she does recording with Sawano, it’s as if she does it in a live performance. The passion and effort she puts into doing the song live and in recording is the same.
Keeping that kind of consistency is challenging at the same time interesting for her because not all collaborations can be done in that manner.
Mika’s collaboration with samurai performance group Kengishu KAMUI
Aside from Sawano, Kobayashi is also collaborating with samurai performance group Kengishu KAMUI founded by Tetsuro Shimaguchi (KILL BILL).
She and Kengishu KAMUI have known each other for 15 years but they started the collaboration around 8 years ago, touring the world and making a mark in performance arts with her singing and playing the piano and them doing the samurai acts.
She is hoping to bring the said concept to Manila soon.
What if she was not a singer?
I asked Mika “If you are not a singer today, what could be your occupation?” She doesn’t know what she want to do, so she will probably be an otaku.
Prior to the conference, she had a discussion with her translator wherein she said that she is also an otaku in a way because when she focuses on one thing, that’s it. Her translator added that she will probably join us to watch someone else if that’s the case.
Her Message to Filipino fans
For her performance in Manila, she performed some of her original songs which are also included in her new albums “Mika Type I” and “Mika Type Ro.” These include “毒” (Doku), which become my new favorite song of hers… Yay.
She encourages fans to learn Japanese, saying that if you’re an anime lover, you have to study Japanese language to understand Japanese culture deeper so you get to learn more stuff that you like.
Thank you very much to the organizers of Anifes 2018 for the opportunity. Visit Mika Kobayashi’s English page to know more about her musical journey.