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15 years of heidi., that’s an impressive number! To celebrate this event we had the pleasure of talking with them about their time together, their latest release and about funny stories that happened on tour.
This year heidi. reached their 15th anniversary. It’s great that you’ve been doing this band for 15 years. Are there any differences if you compare heidi. from back when you started and heidi. now?
Yoshihiko: Thank you very much. I think the way we express our songs and our performance has evolved. But the foundation hasn’t changed one bit. That’s probably exactly the reason why the four of us could continue unchangingly during these 15 years.
Nao: I don’t think there is a musical difference, but I think the sound is changing every day.
Kohsuke: First, I‘m happy and actually surprised that we were able to continue for so long. I think that in a good way, the fundamentals of heidi. haven’t changed at all!
Kiri: Thank you. Over these 15 years the connection with my fellow band members has gotten stronger and I think the sound of us four has merged into one.
While being together in a band for 15 years, you probably got to know each other pretty well. Are there still times when the other members surprise you?
Yoshihiko: Due to the coronavirus pandemic I can‘t meet the other members apart from concerts, even if I wanted to, and there are no longer things that surprise me. It feels lonely.
Nao: As expected there are no more.
Kohsuke: I’m surprised that we are still capable of some new evolutions!
Kiri: Even now, listening to inspiring plays and ad libs at the concerts can be amazing.
On Twitter you posted messages you received from other bandmen for your 15th anniversary. Among these messages, was there any one message that was the most touching or made you feel proud the most?
Yoshihiko: I was very impressed with everyone’s message. They made me realize that we have been doing this for 15 years already! I have been together with Dancho from NoGoD since music school and we are also band buddies. I was really happy to receive his message because he also knows about my own hard times.
Nao: As they often say, I’m glad that they appreciate our unique view of music.
Kohsuke: I was impressed and happy with everyone’s message.Among all of them, the message from Dancho (NoGod) resonated with me.
Kiri: I was touched by and grateful for every message. The messages that said the four of us looked good when we stood on the stage were very impressive.
Many bands had it rough because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. How did it affect heidi. and yourselves personally?
Yoshihiko: Even now the coronavirus pandemic is still going on, but last year felt like the longest in our history as a band. Amid the loneliness of not being able to meet our fans we spent our time communicating with them through live streams.
Nao: There were good and bad aspects as a band as well as personally. We had several live streams, and while it’s an advantage that anyone in the world can watch it, it’s impossible to convey the atmosphere that can only be felt at the venue. I think it’s a difficult problem.
Kohsuke: It was challenging, I guess. But the members had lots of conversations during this period and we continued our work. So it definitely wasn’t in vain!
Kiri: Personally and perhaps as well for heidi. I once again felt the value of continuing with our music. The time to enjoy the concert with the fans is the most important thing for the band to continue.
On July 7th, heidi.’s Best-Of “heidi.chronicle -2006～2021-” will be released. It contains songs from heidi’s beginnings up until this year. Deciding on the “Best-Of” out of all the songs you’ve gathered over 15 years is difficult, I suppose. How did you make this decision?
Yoshihiko: Each of us proposed their favorite songs, so it was decided earlier than expected.
Nao: We decided right away that we would concentrate on songs which were mainly singles and songs we often perform at concerts. However, there were others we also wanted to include but couldn’t because the time to place them on the CD was fixed. Such a pity.
Kohsuke: This was all decided through discussions among the band members. There are also many songs each member wanted to include personally!
Kiri: We decided songs that represent our 15 years while discussing with the members.
The Best-Of is split into “Single collection”, “Member’s collection”, and “MV-collection”. Why did you choose this format?
Yoshihiko: For easy understanding.
Nao: This is to summarize our 15-year history in an easy-to-understand manner even for those who do not know us.
Kohsuke: Because we wanted you to enjoy heidi.’s history in various ways!
Kiri: For me, the main reason is that we want to make the theme easy to understand for each disc.
You also added a live digest clip from Shibuya Pleasure Pleasure on June 3rd, 2021. What was your personal highlight during this concert?
Yoshihiko: Because we were able to meet our fans again after such a long time, we wanted you to see and feel our happy expressions and singing voices full of joy.
Nao: Since it was the first live performance with an audience after a long time, I want you to see how we were enjoying ourselves.
Kohsuke: We reached our 15th anniversary during the coronavirus pandemic. Because we hadn’t been able to meet our fans in a while I hope you can see the members’ expressions when we were finally able to meet them.
Kiri: Since it was a concert with an audience after a long time and our 15th anniversary concert, too, it would be great if you could feel the emotions and sounds of how we were enjoying it with all our hearts.
Because you’ve played in this band over a long period of time, there are probably many funny stories. Please tell us about your personal funniest incident!
Yoshihiko: In Russia, the first day of the overseas tour, all guitar picks Nao had prepared for the tour were taken by fans after the concert. It was interesting to see him in trouble with the enthusiastic fans who came up to the stage. The next day he went alone to buy guitar picks.
Nao: It’s not really funny, but while we were driving on the express highway our car broke down. The feeling of despair of that time, since it was before we had to board a ferry, left a peculiar impression.
Kohsuke: That’s difficult! When we went overseas I shared a room with Kiri, but there was only one double-bed. When we woke up in the morning we had been sleeping while hugging each other. We must have been lonely, right?
Kiri: When we participated in the hide summit event, which took place at the Ajinomoto Stadium in 2008, the tempo of one of our songs called REM (レム) became fast due to the excitement and tension I felt while performing on such a big stage that I have never experienced before. On one hand incidents like this are the really thrilling part of playing live, but it was just too fast …
What is your greatest motivation to carry on creating music even now?
Yoshihiko: Not everything is bad about corona. It seems to me that we want to cherish our fans more now because we weren’t able to meet them. Playing a concert in front of our fans is the greatest motivation for me after all.
Nao: I like to compose songs and make people who listen to them happy.
Kohsuke: All our fans who are supporting us are everything to me!!
Kiri: When we finish a new music composition, I’m excited and wonder what kind of expression all of our fans will have while listening to it. And I look forward to seeing what kind of face everyone will make when we let them hear it at our concert. That becomes a big motivation.
You have played concerts overseas too, right? For example during your European tour in 2014 or at the Pacific Media Expo in Los Angeles. What comes to your mind when looking back at those concerts?
Yoshihiko: It was a very hard schedule (laughs). At Helsinki, the semifinal of the tour, the excitement of the fans was awfully impressive. It became very hot and was so much fun. I want to go there again!
Nao: Especially on our European tours a lot of things happened. It was impressive that I got robbed of all guitar picks I brought with me at our second performance in Moscow.
Kohsuke: This is the same for every country, but the power of the local audience is always overwhelming and very delightful!
Kiri: From what I experienced at the concerts overseas, there are a lot of people regardless of the language barrier who wait in excitement for heidi.‘s music and concerts and enjoy them. This surprised me and made me really happy.
Right now this is probably difficult, but would you like to go overseas again? Is there maybe even a place you especially want to go to?
Yoshihiko: This isn’t related to concerts, but the castle of Prague in the Czech Republic had the best spectacular view. The tiredness of the concert was blown away at once.
Nao: I want to go overseas. I also want to go to places we haven’t been to before. If there is a country that welcomes us, please let us know!
Kohsuke: We went to various countries, but Russia was really intense! I had so much fun! But every country where we perform is fun in their very own way.
Kiri: If we get a chance, I definitely want to go. Because the concerts were fantastic, no matter which country we went to. I also want to go to the countries we have already been to again. Of course, I also want to go to countries we haven’t been to.
Finally, please leave a message for your fans!
Yoshihiko: When the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end, I want to quickly rush off to meet everyone!! I want to have fun with everyone at a concert again. Please stay safe and wait until this day by all means! Thank you.
Nao: At the present moment it is very difficult to go overseas, but I look forward to meeting everyone in your countries someday.
Kohsuke: I’m looking forward to meeting everyone again someday! Let’s get over this difficult situation. Thanks for your support!
Kiri: I think it is a very good time to deliver music and videos to the world through the internet. We will continue to energetically deliver new music and concerts, so please look forward to it. Thank you for always supporting heidi.!
English Edit: Franzi