In July, to celebrate Fashion and Music shop Xenon L.A.'s first anniversary, NAMELESS Group organized Vnited Music Festival, bringing over a number of legendary acts from Japan. VKH had the chance to interview two former members of the legendary band La'Mule, now come together as CELL, Kon and Nao. The two talk about their recent experience in LA, and much more!
VKH: What is it like being able to take part in this kind of event?
Kon: If you ask how we felt, we’ve been playing in Los Angeles every year for the past 3 years, but it’s always been a good inspiration and experience with all the passionate audience at each of our shows. The show was pumped up more than we expected, which made me very excited. It was excellent.
Nao: I was a bit worried for our current situation because CELL haven’t been playing on stage for a while, but everyone who came to our Los Angeles show again were very energetic and I really had a great time.
VKH: You held a contest to choose a fan to play with you. How did you decide on the winner?
Kon: When we were having a meeting with the production team, we discussed having our fans upload themselves on youtube so that we can actually see [them] even if we’re out of the States and choose from there. We actually had many contestants to choose from and were looking at their play level…But after a while, I felt as if it was not fair for everyone if we watched out on the levels too much, so we actually chose through raffle.
Nao: We decided to do a contest through our meeting, but when I actually saw those contestants video clips, I felt so happy that every contestant was serious, and I enjoyed watching them too. I saw several vocal covers and dance covers too which weren’t part of the contest. (laugh). Thank you, though!
VKH: What was the atmosphere like when performing with them?
Kon: It was something I’ve never done before and without any rehearsal; it was the actual show with the winner jumping in, but I enjoyed it a lot. It became a good relaxing time during our serious show mood.
Nao: It was like, “Hi nice to meet you” right on stage without any rehearsal, but without any concerns. It was purely a great enjoyment. It could’ve been one of the highlights of the night.
VKH: What’s the concept behind your digital maxi single for you...?
Kon: We’ve always had the idea of moving into the States from when we first formed. In order to do so, we had to step in and have many people find out about CELL. We created English versions of CELL’s songs in order to better express our band's world, so that as many people as possible can understand and become closer.
Nao: The world and atmosphere of each CELL’s show are always very important. In order for the audiences in the States to easily flow in, we thought English lyrics would work the best.
VKH: What have been your influences when you were recording, especially for the lyrics?
Kon: I try to be as relaxed as possible while recording, without being concerned of anything and to stay the same as usual. In the past, I did too much to stay in good condition and take plenty of nutrition, which came out with bad results..
Nao: There’s not much that I take into concern during recording sessions, but I think I’m only thinking about the songs at that point.
VKH: Vnited Music Fest is your first performance since your hiatus! How did it feel to be able to return to the stage?
Kon: I was very hyped since our first official show after our hiatus announcement was in LA, and many thanks to all the audiences for having a good time at our show without any worries.
Nao: I was a bit worried since our first show in a while was in LA, but on the other hand I was more happy and excited to enjoy our time there in LA.
VKH: How did the fans react when you played your new songs live for the first time?
Kon: We played the song “You looked back” from our new digital maxi single “for you…”. Since the song was medium tempo, I think everyone there was able to enjoy the “LIVE vibe” within that mood.
Nao: We played “You looked back” for the first time and it was the only English song on the set list. While playing it, when I saw everyone flowing into the world of the song, I was able to go into the song more deeply.
VKH: The last time you played on the stage, you were also sharing the stage with other artists, much like Vnited Music Fest. What else felt similar to you, being in Los Angeles as CELL for the second time?
Kon: We couldn’t get much rehearsal time and I felt a bit worried at first, but at the final check there were no problems, so I was able to get on top of it at the actual show. Last year I came alone with back music, so I was able to feel the greatness of being able to play as a raw band.
Nao: For me, compared with the show two years ago, it was only the two of us this time with the original members. Since we couldn’t get much rehearsal time, I was personally really worried, but because everyone in LA helped us I was able to have a great time, as usual.
VKH: Was there anything you wanted to try out that you didn’t get to the last time you were in LA?
Kon: I came last year in 2014 and the schedule was really tight. I only had so much time even to go shopping. We were scheduled to have a photoshoot right when I got back to Japan, so I was bleaching my hair everyday after the show from red to blonde. It was tough! Red colors don’t really come out well, huh…
Nao: Last time I came in 2013, it was my first-ever visit to the States, and I was able to experience a lot. I felt the difficulty of language barriers, but everyone I met in LA is friendly and kind, so I was able to overcome it. This includes everyone who came to our show as well. But you know, the amount of food in the States is huge compared to Japan (laugh). I’m the type that eats a lot so I love AMERICA!!
VKH: Having been to Los Angeles twice now, where else would you like to perform?
Kon: Depending on the members it's a bit different. For me, it’s the 3rd time. I would love to perform in Southern America and Mexico.
Nao: Yes, it’s the 2nd time for me. I would like to play in China, Taiwan, Europe, and Mexico. A lot of places.
VKH: Do you have any future plans that you would like to share?
Kon: I would really like to start up and make a big return with CELL as soon as possible. I have the biggest desire to show CELL’s new look as well as sound and deliver it to everyone.
Nao: CELL’s return. Other than that, we just make our push through the way.
VKH: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! Would you please send a message to our readers and your fans?
Kon: As I mentioned, I just really want to start up CELL again and go see each and everyone of you! Not only Japan, but I will be keeping everyone in the State and the world in our mind and move without stopping. I hope you all expect and wait for us too.
Nao: I’m just very thankful that there are supporters of CELL around the world other than Japan. In order to enjoy our times together again, I ask everyone’s support as well. I’ll be going to see you guys again soon. Wait for us as well.
Special thanks to Kon and Nao for taking the time to answer our questions, and to Japan Culture Creation Inc. for making this interview possible!
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