We have an exciting interview for you today: this time with TORIENA! Now, TORIENA isn’t an idol, but she’s an awesome artist that deserves to be featured. She’s also done some work with idols, remixing Yanakoto Sotto Mute’s HOLY GRAiL for April Fool’s this year and touring with Oyasumi Hologram in America next month. Keep reading to see us talk with TORIENA about her music, how she got into chiptune, her new album, who she wants to collaborate with, and more!
Thank you for joining us here at Yes Tiger! Please introduce yourself and your music.
I’m TORIENA, a chiptune artist and singer-songwriter.
In 2013, I started Japan’s first chiptune label, “MADMILKY RECORDS”. I self-produce the lyrics, composition, arrangement, and vocals for all of my songs. I also specialize in drawing illustrations, so the artwork on many of my CDs and goods is done by me.
Chiptune is a method of making songs using things like retro games and chips inside of computers. I use Game Boys to make my music.
How did you get interested in composing music and how did you get interested in the chiptune genre?
Originally, I liked music and listened to a wide variety of music, but I started to compose music when I entered college. I was addicted to Donpisha and thought “I want to make music”. I became interested in electronic music when I went to a club for the first time in my last year of high school and was shocked by how cool the music was.
In college, I joined a club where we made original music. At first, the genres of music that I wanted to make were hard minimal and electronica, but my friend in the club taught me about chiptune and took me to Kyoto’s cafe la siesta (a retro game themed cafe that is a sacred place for chiptune fans). I thought that there were parts that were similar to minimal techno and hearing the brazen, powerful sound come out from machines amazed me, therefore I obtained an LSDj cartridge and started doing performances.
What other producers/artists do you like? Do you have any musical influences?
I’m particularly fond of Chris Clark, however, frankly, I don’t really have anyone who I feel influenced me musically. When it comes to my style and other activities, people like the illustrator Junko Mizuno (for example) moved me deeply with their visuals.
You use a Game Boy to make music, right? Do you like Game Boy games? If you do, are there any that you recommend?
My favorite Game Boy games are Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal. I don’t play very many games, but there’s a lot of music in retro games that I like.
This month, you will release a new album titled “SIXTHSENSE RIOT”. Can you tell us about the album? Which songs off the album do you recommend?
I turned 25 years old this year and felt something like a chapter closing in my life. I think that this is an album that is filled with not just my experiences as an artist, but various emotions that I have felt up until this point in my life.
Positive emotions such as joy tend to be affirmed. On the other hand, I think that it is believed by many that negative emotions such as anger and sadness should rarely be shown. However, I believe that anger and sadness are feelings that everyone has, so I want to affirm them along with positive emotions. I sought out to affirm and express all emotions in this album.
I honestly recommend all of the songs (lol), but if I’m forced to choose, I think that “Boku wa Futsuu no Ko” is the core of this album. The themes of the song are a little bit dark, but it was the song where I was most able to let out my emotions. However, I would like you to listen to the album entirely, from the first song to the last.
Last year, you performed at HYPER JAPAN in England and this year, you performed at MAGFEST 2018 in America. What was it like performing at those events? What did you like about England and America?
They were really fun! Last year’s HYPER JAPAN was my second time in England, but I’ve liked the UK’s hardcore and rock music for a long time, so I was really happy that I could perform in such a place. I also enjoyed shopping on Camden Street.
When I performed in America, it was winter, so the events were held inside a resort hotel and I stayed inside the whole time. As I expected, though, the energy was amazing. I felt that all of the attendees were filled with excitement and it was really fun. I wasn’t able to walk around the city last time, so this time, I want to visit the local shops and enjoy the cityscape.
Next month, you will perform with Oyasumi Hologram in America on their WORLD 27 TOUR. Are you looking forward to it? Is there anything you’d like to do in America that you didn’t do last time?
MAGFest took place in a hotel, but this time I will be performing in livehouses, so the live environment will be closer to what I’m used to. So, instead of doing something special, I would like my American audiences to enjoy the atmosphere of my usual performances in Japan. I released a new album this October, so I would like to perform a lot of songs from it.
In April, you remixed Yanakoto Sotto Mute’s song “HOLY GRAiL”. It’s a really good remix! Are there any other idol groups that you would like to collaborate with?
Yanamyu’s remix was for April Fools’, so I decided to make something that was freely dyed in my colors. I’m a girl, but I don’t want to limit myself to collaborating with girl groups. I would like to try collaborating with guys. I collaborated with the male rapper MC8bit for the song “RAT RACE” and thought that it was great that I got to do that. I think that it’s interesting to collaborate with people who have entirely different voices than me.
Do you have any advice for people who would like to make music, but don’t know where to start?
Don’t aim for perfection when you start. I think it’s hard to make a full 3-4 minute song at the beginning, so start by trying to make one loop (a small section of sound that repeats seamlessly) and connecting it with other things. If you start little by little like that, you will decrease your hurdles and it will become easier to try to start.
Could you please give a message to your international fans, especially your fans attending the WORLD 27 TOUR?
It will be my first time going to the West Coast. I think there will also be a lot of people who are seeing me perform for the first time. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope we can all have a good time together!
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. We hope you have a great time in America!
I’d like to thank TORIENA again for working with Yes Tiger! and answering all of my questions, as well as Derek Vasconi for setting up this interview and giving me the chance to interview TORIENA.
TORIENA will be joining Oyasumi Hologram on their first world tour, the Oyasumi Hologram WORLD 27 TOUR. The tour will run from November 1st-November 11th and TORIENA will be a guest performer from November 1st-November 4th. November 4th will be a special VIP show where TORIENA will hold a class teaching you how to make music. Interested? Learn more about the tour and how to get tickets below!