A while ago, I had the opportunity to interview an important head in the VOCALOID universe for one of our associated websites (Vocaloid Chile) but I haven’t read anything similar in English. Now that VNN is live, I think this is the perfect opportunity to show this interesting article to the world.
Naoto Fuuga is a very interesting person. The impression I got from our conversation is that he is a well-educated person with a vast knowledge of and interest in the world music.
In the interview, I not only tried to learn about the creation of the first KAITO voice bank and Naoto’s career as professional singer but also to discover information about his lifestyle and interests.
The interview was done in 2014 via email. Mr. Fuuga was interviewed in English, he replied to me in Japanese, and then I asked a friend (z411) to translate his replies to Spanish. Now, I’m re-translating this to English.
Interviewer: How do you feel about being interviewed from a distant country such as Chile?
Naoto Fuuga: It makes me very happy! I wish I knew more English.
I: What do you know about Chile? Do you want to visit Chile?
N.F: What I know about Chile and the mental image I have of it includes:
It’s far from Japan
Long and narrow
It has several European immigrants
It has a lot of earthquakes
Near the South Pole
They do not have diplomatic relations with Bolivia.
Nobel Prize in Literature for the writer Pablo Neruda (I saw him in a movie named “Il Postino”!)
I like a lot of Andrés de León’s work, especially the song “Si me amaras” ( cover of Leo Sayer’s song “When I need you”). I also know a little of La Ley, I like the song “Más Allá”.
I: How is it where you live?
N.F: You mean how is the place where I live? I live in an apartment in a fairly quiet residential area in Tokyo. I like living here because it is convenient.
I: Tell us about your career! How long have you been a professional singer and voice actor?
N.F: I’ve sung as a professional singer since I was in my second year of my university career (I was 19 years old), so it would be 32-33 years.
I: What do you think about singers in Japan?
N.F: Although Japan is going through a recession, I think the music industry is quite rich compared with other countries. There are many local events that make it easy for people to find places to perform live. I think the Japanese singers and composers are good at expressing themselves. In Japan there are various musical genres and artists so every day you find something new. However, it is possible that singers from other countries have better abilities than those from here.
I: KAITO was one of the first VOCALOID. What did you think when CRYPTON Future Media contacted you to make a VOCALOID?
N.F: At first, Crypton Future Media did not contact me but YAMAHA. Also, when we recorded, there were only YAMAHA people. So I never knew of Crypton until the day KAITO started selling.
Before then, I had recorded voices for vocoders synthesizers using YAMAHA devices so at first, I thought it would be for something similar; It was not very clear to me.
I: How long did it take to record your voice for VOCALOID 1?
N.F: It was quite a while ago so I do not remember very well but I think in the course of a year we recorded about 3 or 4 times.
I: Are you happy with the results? What do you think about KAITO?
N.F: Very happy. The first time I heard songs made with VOCALOID in Nicovideo I didn’t like them. But lately I’ve started to like them. I started liking KAITO a year ago. (Before that it did not interest me much. ^^)
At first I started to like the illustrations and the KAITO character but over some time I started to like the songs too.
I: My favorite VOCALOID is GUMI. Who is your favorite VOCALOID character? Why?
N.F: My favorite is, of course, KAITO. At second place, MEIKO.
KAITO because he’s like my own son. And MEIKO because I like the songs from the original voice provider, Meiko Haigou.
I: Do you know some VOCALOID producers? If so, who is your favorite VOCALOID producer?
I: Do you compose music? Can we listen to something you’ve made?
N.F: Yes, a little. ^^ But I haven’t uploaded videos, so not yet.
I: What are your favorite music genres?
N.F: I like many genres from many countries. (Lately I’ve liked many singers from the Philippines and Indonesia).
(Although I do not really like heavy metal)
I especially like vocal jazz (Even now, I still sing in events venues. I sang twice in February); I also like the label Motawn (Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, etc), and 70’s American pop.
I: Can you recommend us some songs you like?
N.F: There are so many! ^^Here, I put some that came to my mind now:
- キセキノハナ（Kiseki no Hana） by 夏川りみ（Natsukawa Rimi）
- One More Time, One More Chance by 山崎まさよし(Yamazaki Masayoshi)
- Water Me by Bonnie Pink
- それぞれに (Sorezoreni) by 中孝介（Atari Kousuke）
- 天体観測 （Tentai Kansoku） by Bump of Chicken
- いとしい人（Itosii Hito） by Chemistry
- この手のひらで (Kono Tenohira de) by 植村花菜（Uemura Kana）
- Take Your Way by livetune adding Fukase
- Re：NAME by 大塚愛(Otsuka Ai)
From other countries:
- Childhood by Michael Jackson
- One Day in Your Life by Michael Jackson
- Chuck E.’s In Love by Rickie Lee Jones
- Something Real by Phoebe Snow
- You on My Mind by Swing Out Sister
- You’ve Got A Friend by Billy Crawford
- Never Let Her Slip Away by Billy Crawford
- One Last Cry by Billy Crawford
- Let Me Be The One by Jimmy Bondoc
- I’m Sorry I Can’t Laugh for You by 2AM
- Grow Old With You by Daniel Padilla
- Bawalah Cintaku by Afgan
- Forevermore by Side A
I: KAITO is well known by fans because he likes ice cream! What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
N.F: Rum Raisin and Soda.
I:What do you think about VOCALOID’s future? Do you think VOCALOID will be a threat for real singers?
N.F: VOCALOID’s future? ^^^(haha) Hard question!
I think in the near future it could be easily used in real robots.
Now, a threat for real singers? As a studio singer, I think it could be (have decreased jobs where temporary singers have been replaced with VOCALOID). But there are many people who like real voices and these people will continue to exist so I don’t think it will be a threat for real singers.
I: Do you enjoy anime? If you do, which one was the last you saw?
N.F: I don’t watch much anime but lately I’ve liked Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan). It’s been a long time since I‘ve been excited about watching anime again.
And even though I do not watch animations, I like some characters (i.e Moomin).
I: Do you want to say something special for Chile and the world?
If I had the opportunity, I would go to Chile!
I want to keep singing while I’m still alive! I’d love to connect with people from around the world with my songs!!