PEOPLEText: Kyota Hamaya

Steve Eto plays an active part as the only Japanese-American metal rock percussionist living in Japan and also active as a member of the mixture-music band ‘DEMI SEMI QUAVER‘. He also shows his unusual talents as a fashion model and video creator.

On March, he did the U.S. tour as ‘DEMI SEMI QUAVER’. We approached to his real face just before he went to America.

How about the reaction to mixture-musics such like ‘DEMI SEMI QUAVER’ in U.S.?

It’s the same as in Japan. Some people look like having an aversion to us and other people are amazing. I think the reaction is not so different.

You have worked with many artists. Haven’t you never released a solo work by yourself?

This time is the first. I’ve released many cds as a member of some bands, but this is the first for me to release a solo album of myself.

Why didn’t you produce your solo album until now?

I couldn’t image that I’m standing in the center. It’s the main reason. I’ve thought what a main vocalist should do and I didn’t like instrumental musics so much. I think the song is important including from DEMI SEMI QUAVER to popular songs. I’ve associated with Fumiya (Fujii) since he started to work as a solo. If I haven’t had a major tour not only DEMI SEMI QUAVER, I might get out of shape. (laughs)

You’re standing on quite extreme balances, aren’t you?

Even so, I won’t change my own way and they’re the same stances for my feeling.

I felt that your music links to STOMP on the street in NYC, etc.

Yes, I think so, too. But we cannot see such performances in Japan. Do you know a group ‘BLUE MAN‘? They’re a performance group in Manhattan, more comical and more elaborate than STOMP. STOMP is nothing but a music. It looks just like a session of percussions in the end and I cannot satisfied with it. But ‘BLUE MAN’ is a performance, of course it includes music. There’re three skin-headed men just like me painting their faces and hands in blue so that they’re just ‘BLUE MAN’. They perform using oil drums, twisted instruments and so on. It’s so amusing. They perform in rather smaller place, but it’s well maded and their show has continued for years.

I went to there two years ago then I had an impression that the permissible range of music is broad in NYC.

I think so, the performers in grand central station yard are booked regularly. They perform in good order. I think the public have very much understanding of music in NYC. In Japan, Karaoke is main thing in general. It maybe one of the way of enjoying music, but I want to say it’s a little different. I wonder whether people go to Karaoke to alleviate their stresses just like a sports.

It’s a sports, a kind of trials.

I don’t intend to deny it but to tell the truth, I feel relieved when I touch the music in U.S. or other country rather than in Japan. I can feel that people really love musics in other country. In Japan, people seems to say, “I cannot understand well about music.” or “Music is very difficult for me, so I cannot understand.” in general. To top it all, they kick off music with Karaoke. But the views of young people of today become to change. They feel music with an unassuming stance and they have good tastes of music.

Of course the threshold should be laid in some degree. To say exaggerated, music is a gift from Heaven. A singer who does not have any charisma or aura cannot attract people.

By the way, why do you use metals in your music?

At first, I’ve used samplers. But I felt emptiness to make loud sounds beating a rubber. I realized that I should beat a hard object just like a metal if I want to make hard sounds. At that time a bumper came off during the tour by chance then I put it on the stand and started to beat it. I think it was the start as a metal percussionist.

Read more ...

[Help wanted] Inviting volunteer staff / pro bono for contribution and translation. Please e-mail to us.
Sneha Divias