The Japanese musician is an artist of the digital age

TOKYO – The Japanese artist known as Hyadain is in demand. Popular idols commissioned songs from him, and now at the height of his popularity, he was frequently invited to appear on television variety shows. His success is typical of the time: he popularized his music through video sharing sites.

Hyadain, real name Kenichi Maeyamada, has created pieces for J-pop idols such as Momo iro Clover Z, AKB48 and Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku, in addition to numerous songs for anime.

A native of Osaka Prefecture born July 4, 1980, Hyadain began playing the piano at the age of 3. A graduate of Kyoto University, he launched his musical career in 2007.

He posted his pieces mostly on NicoNico and other video sharing sites under the Hyadain name. Its unique lyrics, catchy melodies and unusual chants featuring male and female voices have attracted many fans. He has been nicknamed “a mysterious artist”.

In 2009, two of his songs released under the name Kenichi Maeyamada each made consecutive firsts on the Oricon charts.

In a recent interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun, Hyadain explained where he finds musical inspiration, his ambitions and the secret to successfully singing female roles.

Q: When did you start making music and what was it like?

A: I was 6 years old. I called it “A Song of the Breaking Wind”. His words were something like “Family members get along, but cut the wind, poot, poot, poot.”

Q: Why are you using “Hyadain” as your stage name?

A: “Hyadain” is a magic word used in the third and fourth versions of the Dragon Quest video game. I was sympathetic to the word because it quickly fell into disuse.

Q: When were you sure you could become a professional musician?

A: That’s when my song “Share The World” for Tohoshinki in 2009 became a hit. I thought I could make a living even if I quit my part-time job.

Q: Is there a musician you admire?

A: I admire Mr. Yasuharu Ko nishi. He usually creates mainstream music, but he can also create other types of songs, such as “Shingo Mama no Oha Rokku”. He’s really entertaining.

Q: Where do you make music?

A: In my studio, a room of six tatami mats, in my house.

Q: When do you find creative inspiration?

A: Usually when I’m hanging out in my neighborhood on my bike, or when I’m moved by the beauty of nature.

Q: What do you think is your masterpiece?

A: Personally, I like “Tan Tan Taan!”, A theme song for the anime “Kirarin Revolution”, which airs on TV Tokyo. It is sung by MilkyWay, including Miss Koharu Kusumi, a former AKB48 member, and others. It was the first song I made entirely for idol singers – I was songwriter, songwriter and arranger. I must have revised it a hundred times. It was difficult, but it helped me shape who I am now.

Q: Who do you want to create music for?

A: Ms. Maasa Takahashi, a former Fuji TV presenter. I am a huge fan of her. Her choice of music, outfits and dancing – everything is excellent.

Q: How many song orders do you currently have? [mid-April]?

A: About thirteen. I just submitted one this morning.

Q: Can you recognize which songs will be successful?

A: No. But I always make an effort to make entertaining music to meet people’s expectations.

Q: What do you think makes good music?

A: It depends on the individual. Personally, I like cheerful and uplifting music. I think there is still some good music that will be forgotten after 10 or 20 years.

Q: What do you pay attention to when appearing on TV shows?

A: The people who appear in the TV shows are all professionals and follow unwritten rules when filming. So I try not to “break into their space with dirty shoes”.

Q: You created music for NHK’s “Rekishi ni Dokiri” history program. What do you think of Mr. Shido Nakamura, a Kabuki actor who appears in the program?

A: I was nervous with him at first. But after talking with him I found him to be a very sweet and caring person.

Q: You are appearing in “Kubo Hyada Kojirase Night” on Fuji TV, which has become very popular. Its third version was released in early June. What do you think of manga creator Mitsuro Kubo, who appears with you?

A: He’s shy and interesting. He has a large vocabulary and always likes flights of fantasy.

Q: How long does it take to create a piece of music?

A: It depends. Sometimes a whole month. The shortest was about an hour after receiving the lyrics. It is a piece of about 90 seconds for the live performance of Mr. Baka rhythm.

I would say I have an “zone”, when I am concentrating very hard. I did 30 songs a day, although the length of the songs varies and I cannot easily compare.

Q: What do you pay attention to when making songs for idols?

A: I try to make them emphasize the characteristics of the singers. Also, I make them exciting when sung at concerts. For example, in “Hokago Getabako Rock’n’roll MX” for Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku, I designed it for singers to jump with their hands crossed above their heads.

Q: Who is the most impressive person you’ve worked with so far?

A: I must say Yuzu. I created “Reason” with them. Their requests for changes were spot on and made the piece better and better. It was a refreshing experience.

Q: What does your new piece look like, “Warai no Kamisama ga Orite kita! “?

A: We all pretend to be cool when it comes to love and at work. But this song suggests that we all act naturally. Part of the song is like a musical. It also has violin sounds. He understands everything that interests me now.

Q: What do you want to do from now on?

A: I want to make music for children. We say, “As for the boy, so for the man. I want to create pieces that can be one of the first moments of happiness for children, to help them grow into brilliant adults.

Q: You sing female parts under the name “Hyadaruko”. What is the key to singing female parts?

A: The key is to forget about me. When I’m Hyadaruko, no one should be looking at me.

Q: Please talk about NicoNico.

A: He trained me. I am very grateful to him for that. I even created a tribute song for NicoNico.

Q: What is music for you?

A: It’s always with me naturally. It’s the most important thing for me, the only thing that hasn’t bothered me.

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