Interview Conducted With Withyouathome/Cyclamen/Hayato Imanishi
1. Can I get a backstory/biography of your music project and who you are in your own words?
Cyclamen is a project I(Hayato) started in 2008 in UK. After spending first 3 years as a recording solo project, I managed to make it into a band. We toured UK once, then the live band split up almost at the same time as when I moved to Asia Thailand and Japan). After spending 2 years as a solo project again, I formed a new line up in Japan and now we are back playing shows and writing a new release :)
2. What kind of message do you want to send through your music?
Hope I guess. Many songs I write in Cyclamen are about fighting for yourself and overcoming obstacles we face in our lives. I write angry songs too but I am generally a very happy guy and there isn't much to be angry about haha.
3. How have your live performances been going? Do you have any upcoming shows you are excited for?
Good! But Cyclamen had only 2 shows so far with the new lineup and I admit that our performance is still premature. But we're rapidly improving and I cannot wait to do more live shows :) We're planning to hit Thailand in September this year, and that should be fun!
4. What is your favorite and least favorite venue you have performed at?
I'm not really all that fussy about the venue, I get on with the show wherever it is. But the worst show I've personally performed was when I was in the university - We were playing outdoor and the sound engineer did not let us turn up the volume on the stage, and also didn't let us scream into microphones. After we played two songs we refused to play any further.
5. What brand of equipment do you use for your music?
Too many to mention! For Cyclamen we use ESP, Peavey, ENGL :)
6. Are there any major bands that influenced you?
Envy, Thrice and SikTh...Especially Thrice for constantly changing their style of music yet consistently achieving the amazing quality of song writing.
7. Why did you decide to start a band?
I guess from a solo recording project, it was natural progression...But we do live shows because people want to see us live really. I don't enjoy live shows as much as recording.
8. What would you say separates you from every other band?
Erm. Diversity of style, and generally not being so scary and agressive even though we're a heavy band. I'm very happy with my life and there really isn't so much that I want to be angry about.
9. What is your opinion on people posting your music online for downloading?
I don't like it. I agree that CD's are too expensive, so I am selling my albums for $2, singles for $1. I don't think I am asking too much considering the hours and effort I have to put into producing my records. If they are not paying up for the money artists needs to keep producing good music, music will just get worse and worse. You can clearly see from past 10 years or so. The quality of pop music produced right now is abominable, because labels don't help musicians to grow anymore. I hear 80s Japanese pop music and they can all sing so much better, the attitude is professional and they have pride in what they do - I see none of that these days on TV.
10. How did you come up with your band name(s) like Cyclamen and Withyouathome?
Cyclamen was the name given to represent the diversity of music, and Withyouathome was named because the project was originally going to be "living-room performance" project where I visit someone's house and perform. Unfortunately I haven't managed to do shows as much as I hoped for but instead it became a full band and we are regularly performing - I guess that's not a bad thing either.
11. What song do you enjoy playing the most?
Every song! I write all of them with very personal feelings attached, so I can relate to every single one of them just as equally. Having said that Never Ending Dream will always be special in the way that it was the one of the first song I've written for Cyclamen and without it, none of this would have been possible :)
12. What do you like to do in your free time?
Write music, play music. Sleep. You don't really get much free time when you practice, compose and record music!
13. What are your band’s favorite foods?
14. What genre would you classify your music?
It would be silly to try to put Cyclamen into one genre, because some of the songs clearly won't fit in however you try to classify it.
15. How do you feel about other people classifying different genres to bands?
As long as this grouping of the bands helps people to hear more bands they like, it's great. I don't mind what they call my bands really, because they are wrong, and in a way, it doesn't matter.
16. What has been your biggest challenge in your career?
Finding band members that you can have good long lasting relationship.
17. Can you tell us about the touring life of the band, and what kind of experiences you have shared along the road?
Not much - I've only done a couple of tours in my life and they have been great! You just have to take care of your health really well, it's too easy to fill yourself with loads of crap on the road!
18. Can you explain the writing process from your most recent album/EP and how it differs from your other music?
I wrote "Memories, Voices" as somewhat more condensed version of "Senjyu". So it doesn't differ greatly from the previous release really. I just wanted to make something easier(shorter) for people to listen that still had the same diversity "Senjyu" had.
19. At this point in your career are there any major goals you have yet to
attain? And if so, what are the goals you are seeking to conquer? Sustainable lifestyle! I've just about broke even last year but it's a constant struggle to stay afloat doing music as your living!
20. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?
More releases, and hopefully more great live shows...I've been working a lot to improve live shows for past 2 years and the effort is finally starting to show! It's one thing making a good record, and it's completely another thing being able to put a good live show!