To the delight of all anime fans, Makoto Shinkai’s latest film Weathering with You is coming to theaters for a two-day special engagement January 15th and 16th in both subbed and dubbed versions. One of the highlights of the film is the music done by the Japanese band RADWIMPS. We were able to talk to band members Yojiro Noda, Akira Kuwahara, and Yusuke Takeda to learn more about their creative process and experience working with Shinkai on two of his films.
How did you meet each other and form your band?
Yusuke Takeda: During high school, the current members Noda (vocals) and Kuwahara (guitar) created a five-person band with local friends. After that, Takeda (bass) and Yamaguchi (drums) joined to become the shape it is today.
How did you come up with the name RADWIMPS?
Akira Kuwahara: The name of our band, RADWIMPS, is a combination of two contrasting words: “Rad,” which means “cool” or “awesome,” and “wimp,” which refers to someone who is cowardly and timid.
What is the difference in your process between making a traditional album and writing a score for a movie?
Yojiro Noda: A film score has to embody a specific world, which makes it a slightly different experience from producing an original album because we have to challenge ourselves to come up with music that best matches that specific scene. Also, when making music for film, we can use any instruments we like, and it’s our job to choose the most appropriate ones to make the most suitable music. That completely removes the “band” framework and allows us to create music in a much more open field.
Standing out isn’t always the most crucial thing when it comes to movie music. In fact, the ideal might be for the music to melt together seamlessly with the scene’s characters, lines, and scenery and reach the audience as a single experience.
When writing music as a band, the equivalent of a movie’s scenery and characters and lines are all part of the music itself, so the creative process naturally differs. It shows more of the creator’s ego.
AK: We can put sounds together as we please when creating an original album, but when writing a film score, we can’t just push our own preferences. There’s something novel and interesting about that. We have to match the music to the timing and the images, meaning it’s not just music you experience with your ears. That’s the biggest difference.
How did you get involved in Your Name and what was it like working with Makoto Shinkai?
AK & YT: Director Shinkai has initially been a fan of RADWIMPS, and, when Your Name was greenlit, he suggested us to compose the music. Producer Kawamura contacted Yojiro, and we got the offer.
Are you surprised the film and soundtrack to Your Name became such a phenomenon?
YN: During the first week after the movie was released Shinkai-san and I were exchanging e-mails, and he expressed that he was thrilled that our intentions had reached the audience. But, as we began entering the third and fourth weeks after release, we started to talk about how the movie might have become bigger than us. By the time it had become a worldwide hit, it almost felt like it wasn’t even happening.
I think things turned out the way they did thanks to the movie’s quality and integrity, as well as several miracles that tied everything together along the way.
Was it intimidating going into writing music for Weathering with You after the success of Your Name?
AK: Compared to last time, the process was smoother because of the trust we built with Director Shinkai. But there were just so many pieces to compose, so we had a lot more work, lol. We didn’t feel pressure, but it was more like, “We’ll do our best to get the work done!”
What are the main differences between Your Name and Weathering With You scores/soundtracks?
YT: We composed for a film for the first time for Your Name, and learned and experienced a lot then.
During that time, there were so many firsts for us, and it was a little overwhelming. But for Weathering With You, the experience we gained last time was utilized, and we were able to share the world Director Shinkai imagined to collaborate further.
Do you have a favorite song or sequence from either film?
AK: I like the scene where “Sparkle” plays and the meteor falls in Your Name.
In Weathering With You, I like the scene where “Is There Still Anything Love Can Do” plays while Hodaka runs up the building.
YT: For Your Name I like the part in the latter half where “Sparkle” starts to play.
For Weathering With You I like the last scene, where the song ” Daijobu” starts to play. I get goosebumps every time I watch it.
Congratulations on finishing both films. Do you have any new projects coming up in the future?
AK: In 2020, we’re going to have a Dome tour in Japan. And we’re considering a tour overseas.
Have you listened to RADWIMPS’ music? Let us know!
Edited by: Kelly Conley