A bit of jazz and a spoonful of rap: Indigo la End and pH-1 it's all about «Love»
English. Japanese. Korean. A mix of different cultures and sounds create «Love», a song by the Japanese group Indigo la End featuring pH-1, the well-known Korean-American rapper under H1GHR MUSIC. The track, published on October 1st, is the perfect combination of the indie-rock sounds of Indigo la End and the old-style jazz you can listen to at night while drinking whiskey in a small club in Tokyo. But «Love» also features a powerful rap, all in English, by pH-1.
Panorama.it spoke in a double interview with Enon Kawatani, the frontman of Indigo la End and pH-1, about their first collaboration.
Congratulations on this collaboration. Can you tell us how did you come up with it?
E.K: «When we first played a show abroad, we were touched that there are actually fans out there and it made us want to get our music heard more internationally. So as a way to do so, with advice from Warner Music, we made an offer to pH-1 and he kindly said yes».
pH-1: «Enon and his label contacted me to collaborate on his upcoming project. When I heard his music, I immediately wanted to participate. I actively gave my own ideas to Enon about what kind of sound would be most interesting for both of us».
The track «Love» has a unique sound. It mixes the jazz vibes with a powerful rap session. Which was the main difficulty in creating this song?
E.K: «I've never wrote a song with a rap section in mind so it took me a long time for the arrangement of the rhythm section to come into shape. It was difficult to do an arrangement to take in the Japanese fusion element into the song which pH-1 loves but also keep the rap stand out. As for other band members, I believe the toughest part was the irregular rhythm on the outro. Guitar and rhythm section are playing with different rhythm so it took us time to really understand what is going on as the big picture of the song».
pH-1: «One obvious hurdle was the distance. Due to COVID-19, we were not able to meet in person, so all of our discussions/brainstorming sessions were done over Zoom. But I still had a lot of fun making the song with Enon».
«Love» is a trilingual song. Japanese, Korean and English blend together like liquors in a perfect drink. What is Love in this song?
E.K.: «I think that being flexible in understanding others is also a form of "love." One can find love only by understanding. But it is difficult. That is the message of the song».
pH-1: «Love is overcoming all barriers, whether it'd be different languages, cultures, or upbringing. Love does not see colors, races, ages, genders, etc.»
A swinging guitar, quickly drumming, and a few words that hit the spot: "we both forgot how to love/Love shouldn't be difficult". Can you dig deeper and explain to us the lyrics of the song?
E.K.: «To ask for understanding before trying to understand the other can cause friction. By simply reversing that order, you can find love. But why is that so hard for us? That is the message of the lyrics on this song».
pH-1: «When we were younger, it was not hard to love each other. We did not care about one's ethnicity, languages, ages, or financial situations. It is only after we grew up that we started to care more about all those things. It's almost like we lost some of our innocence when it comes to loving one another as an equal human being. I wanted to remind everyone, including myself, that we should stop "calculating" all these factors and just simply love with our hearts.»
When I first listened to this song, it was like walking around Tokyo at night again. It's able to bring back lots of memories to those who hear it. And then, suddenly, I found myself somewhere else, wrapped into pH-1 voice. What were your trying to tell those who listen to this song?pH-1: «The main theme of this song was to say that love can often be misunderstood because of different languages, cultural backgrounds, etc. I wanted to tell people that "love" should not be so difficult, and we should always try to understand one another».
Indigo la End, this is your first overseas collaboration. Enon Kawatani, you said that you had to work a lot on this song to make it perfect. Can you share with us some details of the creative process?
E.K.: «To collaborate with pH-1, I first wrote a looping track so it would be easy to rap over it. But during the meeting with pH-1 in the song writing process, the word "fusion" came up and I decided to rewrite the entire song. My goal was to just create a song that he can rap to and have fun with. I wanted to write our version of fusion and I kept rewriting the code progression over and over. We took time to record each of the instrument as well. I thought that the song will complete after pH-1's rap was added, but his rap was so groovy that I couldn't stop myself from rewriting the melody of my own vocal chorus part to give it more momentum. The song was finally complete after so many rewrites and edits».
pH-1, you said that you always wanted to work with a Japanese band. How did you come up working with Indigo la End, and what does it mean to you, musically speaking?
pH-1: «It was a big pleasure to work with Indigo la End. Enon and his band brought back memories when I used to listen to Casiopea and T-Square. Indigo la End has a unique sound and energy that I really loved, and I believe that is why our collaboration was a success. Our different styles of music brought synergy and created something beautiful».
The MV features both pH-1 and Indigo la End band members stuck in clear glass boxes with different patterns framing them. How did you come up with the idea?
E.K.: «The idea came from the director and the staffs but I think it was a perfect way to express the difficulty of love with a wall/glass in between us».
pH-1: «It was actually the MV director's idea. He told me that it represents people being trapped inside the house without human to human connection due to COVID. We are not able to communicate in person but only through our mobile devices. That is where misunderstanding happens, and we forget to love each other».
If you could choose just one word to define this collaboration, which would it be?
E.K.: «Elegant combat sport».