Her voice will relax our shoulders and straighten our spine. Above all, I love her simple melodies and the sound mixture of piano, violin, accordion, trumpet and drums. Her music is like a balmy breeze in a plain field – just as her name Kaoru Noda (野田薫) would suggest.
She held events with many great musicians, including Mai Mishio from MANNERS, Risa Nakagawa from The natsuyasumi band, Tomoko Ishizaka from Wakusei no Kazoekata. She also paired with James Blackshaw for his latest album. Apparently, she’s an important musician loved many people.
As she’s just released her new album, “Kono Sekai” (この世界), Toyokazu Mori asked her about it, as well as her stay in London and collaboration with James Blackshaw.
Between 2010-2012 you lived in London. How did it influence your music, and your view of Japan?
Kaoru Noda: I longed for life in Britain. When I arrived there for a visit, I felt that I fit in well. I wanted to learn more about Britain and its music. So I dared to move there for one and a half year.
I met a lot of interesting people and found great places and things in London when I was living in there. But I also realized that all of that is, in a sense, already connected with my past life and it would stay with me even if I move to anywhere else. It won’t change the things that are fundamentally important to me.
From that feeling, I’ve written the song “Chiisana Sekai” (“小さな世界”, or “Small World”), and then the album title “Kono Sekai”, meaning “This World”.
How about the video for “Chiisana Sekai”?
I completely relied on the director, Kenji Iwaisawa. I did what he said. I didn’t know how the shooting was going on… (laugh).
Parts of this video were shot in different weather, different time, and then we made a collage. But I just sang only one song, again and again, and walked on. Somehow it reminded me of the feelings I experienced in Britain that I mentioned above.
Can you tell me about Reisaburo Adachi (あだち麗三郎) and other musicians who supported you in the studio?
I can’t imagine that I would make an album without the musicians who played with me. They gave me a fresh perspective and that was an important thing for me. Mr. Adachi, a great player, he always gives me totally unexpected ideas about sound and bring my music to another level.
From this influence, I often got new ideas for my songs. He always breaks stereotypes, he is a musical magician for me. But it applies to all musicians and the engineer who joined us for this album.
And how about your collaboration “Towa No Yume” with James Blackshaw on his new album?
I met James Blackshaw thanks to my friend, Ai, who is now James’ wife. At that time, I was a volunteer at a venue called Cafe OTO in London. There, I met Ai and some other Japanese women who all loved music.
I remember that Ai introduced us to James, and we went out for drink. He knew my music and invited me to join his album. He sent me demo and said that he hoped I would write lyrics in Japanese as simple as possible. I was astonished by his good Japanese pronunciation, and worried how to choose Japanese words, because I had never written for someone else’s melody.
At first, I had an anxiety that my words might impose the song’s character. But after listening his demo again and again, words naturally came to my head, and i tried to choose those that fit his melody.
• Read the interview in Japanese/日本語