Interview Date: October 15, 2019 (6 PM EST, 7 AM Tokyo Time)
As part of 2019 Anime Weekend Atlanta’s lineup, IA will be performing “Aria”, the first musical featuring a Vocaloid act. Selective Hearing was able to sit down with the creators behind IA prior to this week’s performance to get a sneak peak of what fans can expect.
Thank you so much for speaking with us. Would you mind introducing yourself for our audience?
Hi, I am Kumiko Murayama, IA’s producer. Thank you for having us today.
Since IA first debuted, you have achieved so many great things. What would you say was one of your favorite collaborations or memories since your debut?
It is worthwhile for us to achieve the activities of stepping into an area in where no one has been before. This whole new journey has brought and will bring us IA’s accomplishment as well as our contribution to Japanese culture.
IA has been actively collaborating with many real artists since her debut. We worked with Teddy Loid, who has been active in the U.S., for the collaboration on music, live performances and TV programs. We made a new song and music video remix with Teddy Loid and a rapper KOHH. It was a very interesting development for all of us.
It was a breathtaking opportunity when IA became the “first virtual” image girl for SUPER GT, one of the largest motor sports competition in Japan for two years since 2013. In 2018, IA was in charge of public relations as “the first virtual” member of the executive committee of the IOI International Informatic Olympiad for an entire year.
Also, one of the most forgettable experience for me was to be able to get in touch with fans of more than twelve cities through “PARTY A GO-GO WORLD TOUR” in the world. This opportunity gave us more encouragement to our entire IA team afterwards.
Vtubers are now becoming the next major thing. What do you think about this development, and how has that impacted both your relationship with your fans as well as how you think about music overall?
IA was meant to be born having two distinguished aspects such as IA as “a Vocaloid software” and IA as” a music artist with a human heart”.
However, the early days, the concept of “Vocaloid” in general, was gaining a power in the market. Having said that, we had a very hard time to penetrate the other concept of IA being “a music artist with a human heart” by “creator’s creation”.
Because the concepts, such as “virtual talent “and “virtual singer, have been lately emerged in the market, IA’s significance of existence and her mission has been finally clarified and adopted to the market. Thanks to that IA is now expanding the area of activities.
Our market couldn’t be survived being obstructed by the monopolization or the limitations. Even it couldn’t be spread as a culture if you resist those monopolization and limitations. I have this belief from the very beginning of my journey and will never change.
We’re continually giving it a challenge, believing not only to provide an entertainment brilliance created by human being, but also to provide an entertainment utilizing virtual concepts, having a strong bond with fans.
Hopefully the virtual artist market will have much more characters one after another to become proactive. I would be very happy if our team could contribute it.
Looking forward to your upcoming US tour: For those who have not yet seen IA live, could you tell us how IA the performer is different from IA the singer? What aspects of yourself do you like to show at live concerts?
“IA as the singer” and “IA as the performer.”
You’d say, in other words, “IA as the Vocaloid by a creator’s creation” and “IA as the music artist with a human heart. “
“IA as the Vocaloid by a creator’s creation” means that she is an expression as “a character / an image “using voice synthesizer software such as Vocaloid and CeVIO.
We have ultimately insisted of IA’s qualities of software capability, singing voice and pronunciations. As a result, IA has been welcomed as a vocalist by many creators. In addition, even the creativities being spread not only in the music area but also for illustrations, videos and cos players. We’re very happy for all these progresses.
Secondly there is a “IA as a music artist with a human heart”. IA’s songs are categorized for the following two types. One is the song uniquely produced by individual creators, and the other is the song created as IA’s own branding. The latter music and music video are called the “OFFICIAL”.
One of the most important activities of IA, as a music artist, is a live performance. In live performance, mainly IA’s official music is performed, but some of the individual creator’s works are performed as well. We are always striving to produce, direct and perform the show by making the most effort possible to make full use of characteristics of IA.
As an example, the songs of “Kagerou Project” are the creator’s work. Various characters are appeared in the story and there is an interesting storyline. However, IA will be performing those songs simply as “an artist IA” in live, not being involved any of those concepts of “Kagerou Project”.
The quintessence of IA’s performance is “co-starring of the virtual and human” in live. IA’s live makes the best moment ever together with fans at one of each live show. Having said that, IA and ONE are not the only ones who perform on stage. All those dance performers, bands are united with IA and ONE on stage. That is how the show has been received such a high reputation.
And speaking of concerts, what inspired you to create ARIA? How is ARIA different from Party A Go Go?
The title of the Vocaloid software released in 2012 is named “IA – ARIA ON THE PLANETES – “with the key visual expressed “the sky of “Planet ARIA “. In fact, the concepts of ARIA were born even before then. IA has a mission, described later, to have come to the Earth from the planet “ARIA”.
I was blessed to have the opportunity for the first World Tour “PARTY A GO-GO (PAGG) “when I was experimenting how to transmit IA’s mission to the fans. We were very lucky to receive a lot of messages from fans through the PAGG tour. Some of those messages are such serious as; “If IA wouldn’t exist, I couldn’t have a worthwhile life.” or “ IA saved my life. You mean everything to me.”
I was deeply impressed to see the most contentment smile of fans in the live performance, a space of extraordinariness. IA’s mission is “Bringing harmony to all life on Earth.” It was not my initial intention to share it in public. However, through the World PAGG Tour, I became not be able to help it to think how to continuedly connect and have more happy time with fans. On top of that, I couldn’t resist the desire of sharing IA’s mission. This was the reason why the “IA – ARIA Musical & Live Show “was born.
If I have to explain about the difference between “ PAGG” and “ IA-ARIA Musical & Live Show”, The former is the live compilation as a music artist IA and the latter is the entertainment show of Musical and Live, which express IA’s story, her mission and her message to all.
Our consistent intention of ARIA show is to deliver the heart felt message to each of our fans. Even after going back to your everyday life, we hope IA’s message would remain in a part of your heart.
On the other hand, ARIA show is a whole new concept with a merging of “Technology, Music and Art” on the aspect of show direction. At the same time, the show will never stop evolving. For your reference, ARIA includes a live PAGG performance in the show. You’ll be enjoying both parts if you go see ARIA show. Hope you’ll enjoy it.
Are there any exciting new plans you have for the upcoming year on the horizon?
Absolutely. In addition to conducting a full-scale ARIA tour, we’re hoping to release IA’s music in the U.S. as our new challenge. Please keep an eye on our updates.
Do you have a closing message for your fans?
Thank you always for your support to IA and our team. We are receiving a lot of courage and motivations from your thoughtful support and message. We, IA, ONE and the team, will continue to do our best and seek for the challenges so that we can deliver more exciting experiences to each of you.
I am looking forward to seeing you at the “ARIA” performance in Atlanta on October 31st!
Aria will hit Atlanta to kick off Anime Weekend Atlanta 2019 this Thursday, with tickets available at https://awa-con.com/aria-concert/