Location: Anime Boston 2019
Interview Date: 4/21/2019
Anime Herald: The joke from This Is Spinal Tap was that their amps went up to 11. I saw you live at Tokyo X Brooklyn. Your amps went up to 12. Why do you rock so ****ing hard?
MIYAVI: The thing is, I didn’t know that rule! That was the problem. That event was pretty interesting. Unfortunately, the weather was horrible.
Once I go outside of Japan, I feel like I represent my country. I’m introduced as a Japanese guitarist. I feel responsible. Now I’m here. I’m really happy to see people outside of Japan embracing and enjoying the culture and the manga and anime. People all over the world are growing that culture. The people here know anime and manga way more than me. I always feel I need to study more.
Even last night, the audience gave me great energy. By the end of the show, I was really tired before I came back on stage for the encore. But I can’t stop.
Of course, as a professional, I don’t stop. I’m representing my country. I do everything I can. My meals, my rehearsal, the sound check. Even if it’s a small club, or a large arena, I do the same thing. That’s my life and my responsibility as a rock star.
Anime Herald: What drives you to stay so focused, waking up a 4-5 AM every morning to work out?
MIYAVI: Because my kids need to up at six AM, that’s why. I need to get up first. (laughs)
Recently, with the time difference traveling from Kenya, it can be hard. Sometimes, I’m not able to be at my best without my routing. No matter where you are, the sun comes up. We are all affected by the sun. When I travel, it’s very important to stay in the cycle with the sun.
In LA, you feel the sun a lot, sometimes a bit too much. I think the sunlight in LA is pretty special. Sometimes we hate it; [it’s] too hot, too dry. But I love to feel the sun.
Anime Herald: Angelina Jolie chose you to play a very tough role in Unbroken. Since then, you’re starting to put together a bit of a side career with roles in Kong: Skull Island, Bleach, and the upcoming Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Is acting something you think might become a larger part of your life going forward?
MIYAVI: I think so. The thing is, the schedule and the commitment is a bit different than making an album. Memorizing all the dialogue, especially in English, or even in Japanese. I’ve been learning a lot from the experience of being an actor. It’s affecting my music a lot.
I’ve never tried to be somebody else. Being a musician is like having one role in your life. I’m MIYAVI my whole life. At home, I’m a dad, [and] on stage I’m a musician. But I’m always MIYAVI. I’m one character. It’s really easy to go back and forth.
Onstage or on screen, you need to study someone else’s life. The path he or she went through. Especially playing villains, it’s a totally different experience. [There’s] way more humanity and [it’s] way more complicated. It’s really important to show how a person became like that. To be a part of creation, I like that. I can dedicate myself toward the creation. Whether playing at a fashion show, walking down the runway as a model, or making music for a movie, or being part of the movie as an actor., it’s really fun.
MIYAVI’s newest album , titled No Sleep Til Tokyo, hit stores on 7.24.2019: