Interview with Marilou of Masato Chiwa
Despite having sent out numerous written interviews in 2014 – it’s been a while since we’ve had one returned with answers back to us! Believe me, I can assure you from the callouses on the tips of my typing-fingers – these interviews still go out all the time…but we all know I ramble on so much that answering can sometimes take a little bravery…a little depth…and a lot of typing.
BUT – if you HAVE been absent like we have been through our written interviews lately – the least you can do is make a HUGE comeback with something truly special. And here it is.
I would like to personally invite you all to meet this genius of our electronic musical future. Coming to us all the way from France – Marilou, age TWENTY, is here on our pages to talk about her solo project known as Masato Chiwa, aka Machi.
Now…fully knowing that she’s of a young age, and that she herself has admitted to only having been a musician for around two years – I was fairly prepared to meet an artist I’d presume was still developing her skill-set, but when I actually listened to the music I realized I was dead wrong. Though Marilou herself would be the first to tell you she has a long way to go in terms of what she personally wants to achieve musically – a listening ear would tell you immediately that this is an artist that comes already fully assembled, with all the right pieces of the puzzle.
She seems to be writing music well beyond her years of experience…and after reading this interview and her responses, you’ll see she is also incredibly wise beyond her years on Earth. Again – understand, this is not only an interview that Marilou has taken on, but one coming to her in an entirely different language than her own; to communicate to us as well as she has at her age…to provide these REAL and INSIGHTFUL comments into what music is REALLY all about…what can I say – it’s a fantastic and beautiful thing.
If you are a grumpy curmudgeon, who believes all hope is lost on today’s youth – you NEED to read this. Not only is she making incredibly skillful & melodic electronic music, but her enthusiastic & humble spirit will INSPIRE you to get your own asses out of bed and get to the studio to push record. Her positive attitude and willingness to make this the rest of her life, her dedication to continuing to practice, learn more and experience LIFE have all certainly inspired me.
This is an artist I am truly proud to have met and discovered at such an early point in their career, from all the way over here in Canada. The electronic and musical future of Marilou making music as Masato Chiwa is extremely bright and I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll all have a chance to hear her work one day in all kinds of different ways…soundtracks…movies, tv…your car stereo… It’s the kind of music that has a time and a place almost everywhere, for everyone. How’s THAT for an endorsement?
Believe me – she’s earned it. Read on!
Jer @ SBS
Interview with Masato Chiwa
SBS: Masato Chiwa! Machi! Marilou! Whichever name of yours we end up calling you through this interview – just know we’re STOKED to have someone with your talents take some time out of your day to talk to us! I’ve been listening to you and learning about your music throughout the week – but for the people out there that haven’t heard your music yet – how would you personally describe it?
Marilou: Aw thank you! I didn’t know someone could love my music so much! But you know, I’m not so talented, I just work hard on it… It’s difficult for me to describe my own music; every song is an experience that I set to music. There’s no lyrics, no singer, just instruments, but I’m sure you can feel what the song is talking about just by listen to it. I can’t describe a feeling, my songs are feelings.
SBS: You’ve currently released a ton of music of this past year, currently promoting your work from The Other Half EP. I think it’s incredibly important for people to know you’ve accomplished all of what you have by 20 years old – once they hear your music, they’ll understand what a bright future you have ahead of you! Now…from reading past interviews with you – you mentioned that you basically “woke up” and decided to make your own music. I pictured that as a true and literal statement – like you were lying there in bed, maybe thought about long the nights before, one morning you laid there, opened your eyes and immediately went to push record. Go into that moment a little more for us – that’s where the moment started, yes, but what instruments did you decide to grab first and how quickly into that first recording did you realize you possessed the necessary talents to make not only make great music for others, but songs that you’d want to listen to yourself?
Marilou: Wow. This is the greatest questions I’ve had in my life! Let me explain to you – I’ll remember that day ALL-MY-LIFE. Even today I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a crazy story. This is not a picture – I really woke up one morning with this feeling of wanting to make music. I jumped out of my bed, sat facing my synth and I played… It’s maybe not surprising, but you have to know that I had absolutely no idea of how I was supposed to play. I never learned music! I was just thinking: “if anyone can do it, I can do it too.” So I played something really simple, and I worked on it with FL studio. And it sounded great to me! It was in August 2012, and that day I made my first song called “A Perfect Day.” And yes it was a perfect day. I made a lot of songs that summer! A few months later (October or November) I realized that making music can help me to convey my feelings, and if it can relieve me, maybe it can help someone else? I mean…
Everyone was saved once by music. So I decided to REALLY work on my songs and not just “play” – to make something really good, more “professional.” Something which makes you feel better; a song who says: “I know how much you’re sad, and you’re not alone, this is a song made for you.” I really wanted to help with my music. This song is called “La Princesse De Larmes” (princess of tears in English) and it was my first single. I never feel talented and even today I think I’m not, I’m maybe too rude with myself but the fact is that I don’t know music theory so I can’t tell myself “it’s ok now I make good stuff,” I need to improve more and more. You know I just want to put a feeling in all the music I make. It’s a part of me. It’s a story. I’m always and I’ll always be working on it.
SBS: I would imagine at 20 years old…I know for myself I had already been making music for about three years recording-wise…and you’re already creating songs far beyond the level I was at that time…but I’d imagine at only 20 years of change that struggle to know which paths to truly follow in life must all still seem endless and full of possibilities. Some people choose many to experience as much as they can, others choose to focus hard on one specific path and learn everything they can – but even knowing which of those two options will work for you personally later in life is tough. As the attention to your music grows, as your passion and love and dedication to your work continues…those “life” decisions all become more difficult in the background. What have you noticed has changed in your life since you’ve made this decision to make music and how have you dealt with those changes?
Marilou: I know my priorities… I love music and I will continue to make songs, I know it’s not just a period in my life. But I am focused on my studies. Of course I’m always surprised to see how many people love my music! But I’m not famous, I think I will never be and I really don’t mind. I’ve changed since 2013, I know it’s a short time but so many things happened… I’ve talked with a lot of artists, I worked with an Australian band, I’ve learned a lot of things about music… I put myself on question almost every day because I really want to progress. I don’t notice the changes until we talk about them. This interview is one of the greatest thing that happened to me. Music always bring great things and makes me meet amazing people. It’s amazing.
SBS: One of those up-coming changes in your life – is the release of No Destiny, your new album. I didn’t see a release date – so I’m hoping you’ll tell us it’s coming out this year! But from what I’ve read, you sound extremely excited about it. You’re even collaborating with a guest vocalist – David King! All in all, it looks as if this might have been a stretch for you creatively, to work with new people and try new things…but that’s good isn’t it? Isn’t the point of making music to NOT simply make the same songs and sounds over and over again? I like to think so. I like to think it’s all about doing as many things as you can, working with other talents out there and collaborating like you apparently will be on this new album. So I’m assuming you believe the same as I do…BUT…I also know it’s not always the easiest thing to just open up to new people on a musical level after starting out as a solo artist. How easy was it for you to adapt to playing with other musicians and artists like David for this upcoming album? Was it comfortable right away or did it take some time to get that chemistry right for the recording?
Marilou: Yeah I’m excited about this new album! There’s a song called “You’re Someone” it’s my first song with a singer! It’s very interesting to work with David, we’ve known each other since last year. We worked together on a single, he was very nice and patient with me. I can imagine it’s hard to work with people who don’t know anything about music. You’re right, it’s difficult to work with someone… That’s why for the moment I don’t want to work with someone else. It’s hard to be on the same page with another artist, Dave is the most perfect singer AND composer I’ve ever met. He’s awesome. I love every song he’s made & how he made it, so I have a blind faith in him.
SBS: The addition of vocals into your instrumental music will change the feel of it for sure. And people of course, gravitate largely towards what they can sing along to most easily…daily passing over and right on by a ton of amazing instrumental acts out there. But still, as an artist with a mostly instrumental catalog – the adding of any lyrics also allows you to express your thoughts in a different way. Did you have any input into the ones upcoming on No Destiny – or did you feel like the words of David King were similar to what you feel yourself in the atmosphere of those songs?
Marilou: When I made “You’re Someone” I wanted to turn it into a song with lyrics from the beginning. I wanted David King as singer, so I asked him if he wanted to be the singer of one of my songs… He said yes ! Then I composed the music, wrote the lyrics, sent them all to David and I told him “If something sounds bad, change it. If a sentence is hard to sing, change it.” I’m sure it will be amazing.
SBS: No sooner am I asking you about vocals, then a song called “Afraid Of The Dark” comes on from your soundcloud channel that made me look immediately to see if I had jumped to another page! What a DIFFERENT song that is in your catalog here – and don’t think I mean different in a bad way at all – I like everything I’ve heard from you Marilou, no joke! But here we are with some incredible female vocals – and well…I mean…if this is YOU singing (I’m not sure…) I’m truly surprised you went in a more instrumental route as you have a great voice! Whoever is singing that song has a great voice!!! So if that IS you Marilou – then I definitely want to know more about why you choose to go the instrumental route rather than use this other talent you have on a more regular basis!
Marilou: Oh sorry… I’m not the singer! This is the single I’ve been working on with the amazing Australian band “The Contagious” (The David’s band). It was a big step for me; I had to make an instrumental you could sing on… I learned to be more organized. The Contagious experience was amazing. I think it would be nice to make more songs.
SBS: Hearing a song like your track “Seulement Toi” was a pure joy for me. I’ve been listening to indie music for soooooo long my friend, that I STILL have my initial favorites from way back when….artists just like yourself that I was finding overseas making amazing music. And this particular track sure reminded me of this one band, still one of my favorites to this day, called Lyua Dust. Probably about time I looked them up again to see what else, if anything they’ve been up to…
But a lot of their catalog was dark, mystic & melodic electro, much like your own music. And of course, the track we just talked about, “Afraid Of The Dark” is a sharp rock tune…I’m now half-expecting to hear you rapping on one of these upcoming tracks!
What I’m saying is, you seem to be unafraid to try out and experiment in all kinds of musical ways and you’re getting fantastic results. Is there anything you’d like to try doing specifically in music that you haven’t had a chance to yet? And to the opposite – is there a style of music or a musical task you could never see yourself taking on?
Marilou: It goes straight to my heart, thanks a million! Lyua Dust sounds good, I really like it! Thank you for sharing this. Yeah, I’m the first surprised when I finish a song in a new kind of music, it’s like “oh wow it sounds good?! How did I do this???” But anyway I’m not scared at all – I got nothing to lose by trying something new. I love trying different things but I don’t want to work on a rap song… It’s not music to me, I respect it but I don’t want to make this kind of music. Anything else it’s good!
SBS: I know I’m talking a lot about your past work as well here Marilou – that’s my bad for not being too “current” and only just discovering you now! But I’m listening to “Final Fantasy 7 – Cloud’s Changes” and it got me thinking about just how awesomely your music would work as the soundtrack or score for um…just about a million films and movies out there! Would soundtrack work be something you’d ever consider? Suppose someone approached you with a movie or TV show idea and wanted your music to be a part of it…would it be important for you to know about the content of the show itself and where your music would be placed in it – or would it just be something you would or wouldn’t want to do no matter what?
Marilou: I really want to make the soundtrack of a movie. Of course I need to know about the content, I can’t make a music without know what it supposed to talk about. And even if it’s a million-dollar movie project, if the story don’t interest me I will refuse. I don’t want to do something just for money or fame; I have to enjoy working on it! Also I want “Machi” to stay the same person from the beginning to the end. If I start to work for everyone and everything, I could not look at myself in the mirror again. “Machi” is the closest thing of what I am, I should not sell it.
SBS: Honestly – I think one of the hardest things to do in music is to achieve that swelling of overwhelming emotions in a listener through instrumental music. I think singers have it extremely easy, armed with words that can be written like knives to the heart and in the next verse twist it or split you in two…emotionally. But YOU Marilou…you really have that true gift. There are countless songs I could cite in reference to the sheer amount of beauty and melody and genuine FEELING in your work – but I’d have to say that “I Realize I’m Gone Forever” was probably one of the tracks that “got me” the most. Like…damn near tears close…
But I love that. And again – that’s the POINT of it all isn’t it? Music should make us FEEL something and embrace it, good or bad. You have that magic Marilou…and I hope you never let it go.
But after hearing all this great music…it made me actually go and look up that old electro artist I loved so much, Lyua Dust…and I can’t see any activity past 2008. And now I’m worried. About you.
Convince me you’ll still be making music thirty years from now! Seriously. You have to hear this like I do. You’ve been making music for only TWO years and this is where you’re STARTING. Honestly Marilou – I can only hope there’s countless others out there that confirm your amazing talent and validity in the music scene. Tell me I’m not going to look you up in ten years and find you stopped making music!
Marilou: I don’t even have the words in French to explain what I feel right now…just thank you. You have no idea how much it touches my heart. As I said I know I will NEVER stop making music, it’s not just a period. I really love and I enjoy making music. I’m so happy I woke up that day with this crazy idea to make music just to hear you saying that today. Thank you. Really. Be sure I will continue. I want to progress, I’m sure in a few years I will work on big projects.
SBS: “Ecstasy” off the No Destiny maxi-single is a great example of why I personally never want you to stop. The combinations of sounds you come up with are so creative and unique, so melodic and beautiful to the ear. I have to know – when you’re making music…how often do you feel like you’re “getting it right?” With these amazing recordings, I’d damn near have to assume you had a huge grin on your face after putting each one together, no matter how sad the song or subject content. But when you’re actually there recording…can you FEEL it? Without listening back to it – what’s the difference between “getting it right” versus simply catching a recording? People have argued all the time that synth pads or electronic music can’t BE played with passion – help me prove them wrong!
Marilou: This is a very good question and dilemma! “Ecstasy” is one of the more interesting song I made. It was the first time I tried to make a song with a violin (I used 4 violins actually) as the principal instrument but not just because I wanted to test myself, I wanted to do it and somewhere I knew I can do it. I really enjoyed making this song! It was a kind of test of what I can do “different.” When I make music, I don’t already know what I want to do. I make a song when I want to make one and it’s like a puzzle, like if the notes are the words of my heart and it chose them. I make the sentence, I listen to it, and if something is wrong or missing I feel it and I fix it. It doesn’t mean the song is perfect, it just means that is exactly what I want to say. Of course sometimes I have to replay the same 5-second part because something is wrong and I have to fix it, but I never feel “bored” because I’ve listened to it more than 100 times. Even if the song is sad I’m always satisfied to listen to the progress and the result of the song. I always feel something when I make music, even if I’m not playing on my synth or on a piano. You can’t compare a program with an instrument. It’s a different way to work, but the result is the same! It’s the song you wanted to make… You play with passion no matter how you made it!
SBS: As a solo instrumental and largely electro-artist…you also have a TON of freedom as to WHEN you can push record! You can CRANK IT UP at noon or in the middle of the day – but where every other band in the world has to turn it down for the nighttime hours – all you have to do is turn your equipment down, or keep it in the headphones at full volume and continue to work! You NEVER have to stop!
And from what I can see by the sheer amount of beautiful work you’ve put out over the last two years – you kinda haven’t stopped! But I am curious – I know most of what I do personally is done in the wee A.M. hours of the morning…but when do YOU find you’re at your most creative? What makes the atmosphere at that time work so well for you and your music and what’s the set up like to make you comfortable where you record?
Marilou: I can’t go a day without thinking about music that’s why I know I will never stop. And I’m an owl. I make my music at night when there’s no noise… Just me, my headphones and the silence. But you know I’m always making music in my head. It’s like a non-stop radio! I feel when I need to sit and think about why I feel, what’s going on, and if it’s too much for me I turn it into a song. It helps me a lot. But when I make a song I need to be alone.
SBS: Over time…the catalog of songs you post on the internet will tell a somewhat autobiographical tale of your life to others. For serious listeners out there buying and downloading everything you do…all of that will be on the table…the triumphs…moments where you might have tried something new…moments where that worked and maybe moments where it doesn’t…but it’ll all be out there. Is it important to be careful and choosy with what you post? Suppose something you wrote didn’t represent you as much musically down the road as it might today – would you take it down or would you still leave it up to tell part of your story overall? You never know – that one song might mean the world to someone else…and once it’s “given” out there into the world like that, even though we all have that ability to recall our work somewhat…would that ever be right to do?
Marilou: Of course – I think I’ve made something like 60 songs until today. So yes I decide what I put on the internet and what I don’t. Maybe the songs I made last year are not as good as the one I make today, but it’s also a part of the story! It’s important to keep it at the mind, even if people don’t appreciate it anymore maybe someone else will enjoy it. I enjoyed making all of my songs, I think it’s nice to see the difference today, and it will be the same thing next year! Also, I continue to evolve as a human, I see things differently everyday so yeah it’s sure my songs will continue to change and it’s a really good thing. It’s nice to listen to my music and remember why I made it.
SBS: One last question before I offer you a place to say anything else that comes to your mind we didn’t include….
People often just plainly don’t “get” instrumental music. They don’t hear it as anything other than background, soundtrack-y type stuff. But I believe every artist makes music through their need to express SOMETHING…and whether or not it’s in instrumental form – that reason, whatever it may be is always clearer to the artist in question rather than to the listening ears. And titles can only do so much!
So tell me Marilou – tell all of us, as direct as you can – what is it you’re looking to express through your music? What do you want us to feel? Where do you hope it will take us in our minds when we listen?
Marilou: I think it’s important to share emotion, feelings. Everything the words can’t explain. I just want to convey what I’m feeling, thinking. We all have our way of thinking and feeling things that happen to us, it’s important for me to share it. It’s like I put a part of me on a screen.
SBS: Marilou – I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to you for putting up with all my ramblings and giving us your time through this interview. You have incredible talents and we’re definitely always going to be listening from this side of the water! Personally, I can’t wait for your new album, No Destiny – make sure you drop us a line when that hits the internet! For now – please take this opportunity to say anything else you like – this is the SBS “Open Floor,” where anything on your mind is fair game to say to us all! Wishing you all the best in Masato Chiwa, Marilou – be well!
Marilou: What can I say… I never learned how to make music, play an instrument, then a lot of people told me things like “you will never succeed” and “it’s just a dream” – anyway it made me much trouble, but in a way it made me work hard on this to become more than a dream. When I released my first single I was like, “I did it!”. But I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone, I just do what I want to do. When you make music you have to listen to people’s opinions and keep working on your music. A lot of people will try to get you down because they don’t realize how much you love it or maybe they are just jealous… Sure it will never be perfect, but never give up and work until you’ll be satisfied!
Thank you for this amazing interview, you touched my heart many times! It’s nice to see people supporting my work. I’ll send you a dedicated CD!
Check Masato Chiwa out further at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Machi-MasatoChiwa/547120931999665