Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Band Feature: Girls Rock Duo Rovin

Born in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, Jin and Tomoe formed girls rock duo Rovin in 2009. Their sound is said to be "cool", and they are increasing their listener base, particularly overseas.

In 2010, Rovin uploaded their first song on myspace, and their first music video was released on YouTube in 2012. In 2013, Rovin was performing at local TV program live events in Japan, and they appeared on a TV music program on NHK. Rovin ranked # 3 in summer sonic 2013 Google+ audition at that time. 

In November, Rovin was # 1 for the fourth consecutive month in local area artists on 'music ru TV' website of TV asahi (Japanese television station), and also their the music video was published on NHK WORLD TV website.

Currently, their 2nd Download Single 'imitation' is available now. 

Meet the members and read the interview after the break!

Vocal (High), Lyrics, Music, Arrangement

Vocal (Low), Lyrics, Music, Arrangement 

Having just released their latest single 'imitation' this July, I had a chance to talk to Jin and Tomoe about where they came from, what they've been up to and their views on the reception of their music world-wide. Both very passionate about what they do, they were open and honest as we took a 'walk' through their music.

Q. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. Would you please introduce yourselves to those reading about you for the first time and also tell me your favorite childhood memory?

Jin - Hello! I'm Jin from Rovin. When I was a little kid, I used to sing by myself at home a lot. Although, that hasn't really changed.

Tomoe - Thank you very much for having me. I'm Tomoe from Rovin. Born and raised in Japan. One of my favorite childhood memories is when I went to Disney Land when I was a little kid, and I got onto a scary ride without anyone noticing.
こちらこそありがとうございます。初めまして。ガールズロックデュオ Rovin のTomoeです。日本出身在住です。一番懐かしい子供の頃の記憶は、私が小さい子供の頃、東京ディズニーランドに行ったときに怖いアトラクションに知らない間に乗ってしまっていたことです。

Q. Girls Rock duo "Rovin" formed in June 2009. How did the 2 of you meet and form this band? Were either of you involved in projects before forming Rovin?

Jin - Tomoe invited me. Back then, we would have a good time going to karaoke. We could relax, and we got along with each other, so we thought it would be okay. Before forming Rovin, I had a regular job.

Tomoe - We've been friends since middle school. Until we formed Rovin in 2009, music and careers were separate things for us. When we would hang out, we'd often go sing karaoke. From there, we naturally started thinking about doing music together, I proposed the idea to Jin, and in 2009 Rovin was formed.

Q. Prior to 2011 your discography holds no releases, what were you up to during that time?

Jin - Because I had never made music before forming the band, at the beginning I had no idea what to do. So, in our own way, I think we composed music, went to voice training, and while considering everything, began our activities little by little. 

Tomoe - I had no experience in making music before forming Rovin. So firstly, I went about making music. I was a member of the wind instrument club when I was a student, so I could read music. So, I wrote music by playing it on the piano and then writing the score out on my computer. Even now, I use a piano and computer when I make music.
Q. Once 2011 hit, you quickly started releasing many singles, a trend which has continued to this present year. If you were to describe each year of your music, what words would you use? Where do you think the next year will take you?

Jin - Our music has been called melancholy. Recently more people have been saying that it's beautiful. Now, and in the future, I think I'd like to do more lives and such, and make Rovin more well known to those around me, and have more people listen to us.

Tomoe - The music we make has "strength and fragility." And I'm happy that our listeners tell us that Rovin's music is "cool" and "beautiful." Next year, I'd like the charm that our music has to more strongly spread to those around us, through our images and lives.

Q. You've just released 'imitation', which is available worldwide for download. This single release actually contains 3 tracks: 'imitation', 'splash bubble' and 'WONDERLAND'. Why was imitation chosen to be the title track?
最近、「imitation」という全世界でダウンロードできるシングルを発売しましたね。この作品は3曲(imitation・splash bubble・WONDERLAND)ですが、どうして「imitation」をタイトル曲にしましたか?

Jin - It's the most shady song, don't you think? We wanted to captivate our listeners with a dark tune.
一番怪しげでしょう? ダークな楽曲で魅せたかったのだと思います。

Tomoe - The title track of our previous work, "Shadow," was a hard rock song. So to change from our previous work, we chose a ballad, "imitation."

Q. The second track 'splash bubble', combined with the teaser PV seems to evoke a light-hearted, fun feeling. What is the story behind this track?
第二の曲、「splash bubble」は、PVのプレビューと気軽な感じを持っていると思います。この曲の影響を説明してください

Jin - For Rovin, this is an invigorating song, but we thought it was a song that people could move to together, get pumped up, and enjoy together in the summer.

Tomoe - We made this song with the image of "people's emotions in the summer." At first glance, it might seem like a pop song, but  Rovin's "strength and fragility," is mixed in, so it became a "Rovin-like summer song." Actually, last summer we announced on our official YouTube channel that there would be a "splash bubble" music video. At that time, we only announced a music video and we didn't sell anything containing  "splash bubble," but since imitation was a July release, we compiled it with this single.
この曲は「ひと夏の想い」をイメージして作りました。一見ポップなサウンドですが、その中にも私たちの「強さと儚さ」をミックスさせたRovinらしいサマーソングになっています。実は「splash bubble」は昨年の夏に私たちのオフィシャルYouTubeでミュージックビデオを発表したんです。そのときはミュージックビデオだけの発表で販売はしなかったのですが、

Q. WONDERLAND definitely has a stronger feel to it, and as the chorus hits and almost searching expression. What is the 'wonderland' that you allude to in this song?

Jin - The song means to stop for nothing, and never stop going forward.

Tomoe - This song was inspired by "Alice in Wonderland." However,  rather than referring to a different place, "WONDERLAND" refers to "life," to the fact that we're alive right now.  We strengthened the message with a hard rock arrangement.

Q. With all these single releases, is there an album in the near future? Any upcoming projects you can tell us a bit about?

Jin - We're right in the middle of starting a new project. 次の作品にとりかかっている最中です。

Tomoe - In August of this year, we will be performing at a local Japanese indies music festival. And we're also preparing a new release for either this winter or next year.

Q. On your website, you mention that your listeners have been increasing, especially overseas. What do you think draws foreign listeners to your music? What areas do you see them most response from?

Jin - I think maybe Rovin's music is different from "popular" Japanese music. Of course, I like Japanese music, but I particularly like overseas music, so it's influenced us. I think that's why.

Tomoe -We've lived in Japan our whole lives, but our music is different from the kind of music that you hear in Japan, and the kind of music that 's popular in Japan. With the internet, we live in an age where it's so easy to listen to music from all around the world, that  people who live in faraway places like America, Europe, and Asia can become familiar with and listen to our music. And, it gives me a feeling of pure joy when people tell us that they enjoy our music.

Q. Your social media channels hold an equal sharing of English and Japanese written language. Do you feel this is something that is needed for the more global audience musicians are seeing today? How important do you feel it is to reach your music out beyond your country's borders?
Rovinさんのソーシャルメディアチャンネルは英語と日本語の対訳ですね。それは世界の視聴者には必要な事だと思いますか?外国に音楽を広めるのはどの程度に重要 だと思いますか? 

Jin - Rather than only connecting with Japanese people, we want to connect to people all around the world, so we deliberately used English. Although, I think there are many times when we don't know for certain how to translate things...

Tomoe - The reason that we use both English and Japanese is because we want people all around the world to know our music, and we also want Japanese people, and people who are studying Japanese, to know us. And also, it would be a great honor if we influenced someone's interest in Japan.

Q. If your music could take you anywhere in the world, or perhaps to anytime in the past of future, where would you go?

Jin - That's a difficult question. Personally, I'd like to experience the time when Sly & The Family Stone and Jimi Hendrix were around.
難しい質問ですね。個人的には、Sly & The Family StoneやJimi Hendrixが居る時代で生の空間を体感したいです。

Tomoe - I'd like to bring our music directly to our listeners all over the world. And I'd love to meet our future listeners as well!

 ~Project: Lixx~

A HUGE thank you to Girls Rock Duo Rovin: Jin and Tomoe for participating in this feature!

Be sure to check them out through their official links below: