Lost And Found: END OF THE WORLD Are Building Their Own Path
J-pop supergroup END OF THE WORLD (SEKAI NO OWARI) are currently one of the biggest musical acts from Japan; with nine Top 10 singles on the Billboard Japan Hot 100, sold-out stadium tours, and collaborations with DNCE and Marvel Comics under their belt.
But first and foremost, they are childhood friends – bonded by their love for music - who want to help people through their music. Speaking of the impact they hope to make on people with their music, leader and vocalist of the quartet, Shinichi Nakajima (aka Nakajin), says:
“All I want listeners to do is simply enjoy our music. I have loved music since I was little, and it has helped me through my life a lot, so I would be honoured if our music can help cure or encourage listeners in any way.”
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It’s perhaps this open-minded, healing outlook to music that has made the group such a success among a wide demography of fans in Japan - with families often attending their shows. But the band hope to achieve the same outside of their own country. Asked what was on their bucket list, they exclaim: “To create an award-winning music outside of Japan!”
They’ve already made a strong beginning, having toured the US – and collaborated- with Clean Bandit recently. Elaborating on the experience, Nakajin reveals:
“It was really interesting to learn that we have a very similar creative style and that each member has a clear role within the band. In our case, I stay in the studio all throughout and take care of all the details of producing, with Fukase and Saori - who are in and out of the studio – coming back each time with fresh ideas. In Clean Bandit, Jack plays a role similar to mine and Grace brings the new ideas. I believe that the teamwork like this, is very important to create good music.”
And good music is definitely what they’ve managed to make with Clean Bandit collaboration ‘Lost’. Talking about what inspired the track, lead vocalist and bassist Fukase, says: “The song is about the feeling of missing something in life to complete it. It represents the ‘lost’ feeling in one’s heart.”
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With ‘Lost’ the foursome who were formed in 2005, have found a sound that’s unique to them - a sentimental yet uplifting pop soundscape. But the journey to finding their sound was one of trial and errors. Delving deeper into the evolution of their sound, Nakajin elaborates:
“We’ve been repeating the ‘two steps forward one step back’ with discovering our sound for six or seven years. “In the past we’ve tried to follow the trend in the charts, but we noticed that if the music is not YOURS then it’s not fun. So now we try to remember to make our songs pop but infuse our own colour in them. We want our songs to be timeless and not be swept away by trends.”
It might be because of this past of falling into the trap of 'trends', that member DJ Love says that the one piece of advice they’d give their younger selves is “Listen to all kinds of music, even the ones you don’t favour!”
This openness towards all genres and artists is further highlighted by pianist Saori and Nakajin who fire off a list of dream collaborations - aside from the amazing ones they’ve already managed to bag. Saori recently saw Ed Sheeran’s one-man show in Japan and was left thoroughly impressed by his talent, while Nakajin adds: “I'd love to collaborate with Disclosure, Zedd, Daft Punk. I’ve always liked these artists, and it would also be great to collaborate with Billie Eilish.”
Moving on from collaborations they’d like in the future, to the ones they’ve already done – from working with DNCE, Owl City to collaborating with Korean alt-hip-hop trio Epik High on their most recent single ‘Sleeping Beauty’ - we talk about the comics they created with Marvel.
Speaking on the “insanely thrilling” experience, DJ Love says: “First and foremost, I’m a huge Marvel fan and my favourite quote is ‘With great power comes great responsibility‘ from Spiderman. Based on this and the fact that Marvel heroes are not about just having superpowers, we tried to incorporate each band members weaknesses into the comics.”
“We brainstormed to find ideas of each member’s superpower. Some of us actually turned our pet peeves into our superpowers – with some of our characters bringing out the superpowers in return for losing what’s precious to them. The creative team then named each character after those superpowers.”
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To SEAKI NO OWARI, the most exciting and rewarding part of making new music is being able to listen to their final creation together as a band - it’s therefore not surprising they’ve shared many amazing moments with each other in their long career. Recalling their most memorable moment as a band, Saori says: ”Performing twice at Nissan Stadium, the biggest stadium in Japan, in front 140,000 people was definitely a great moment.”
Having undeniably conquered their homeland, the band is now ready to take the international platform by storm with their imaginative music, and they’re hoping to start by performing in the UK next.
Poised to take over the world, the group might be named END OF THE WORLD, but all they have to look forward to are new and successful beginnings.
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Keep in touch with END OF THE WORLD HERE.
Words: Malvika Padin
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