Interview: Japanese rock band Cö shu Nie and “Burn The Fire” music video director Kaz Skellington spoke to The Natural Aristocrat® at Anime NYC 2023 about the hit single & much more!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT (NIR REGEV): What was it like filming the “Burn The Fire” music video?
MIKU NAKAMURA: We actually used real fire in the music video! It was really hot while filming. We went to a studio in Japan where we could light the biggest controlled fire allowed in all of Tokyo.
KAZ SKELLINGTON: I directed the “Burn The Fire” Music video and we did a lot of meetings on it. I really wanted to showcase the fire, I didn’t want to just make a fancy music video.
I wanted to pull the listeners and the people who are watching really into the music video. Plus, I wanted to have a side story that makes sense.
Where I can express what they’ve been through all their lives. We use a lot of like masks, like past masks and those actually represented the story and the theme, the message of the song.
So if you really think deeply about the masks and what they represent, what they mean, you’ll kind of feel like you’re in the music video.
The chair is kind of a metaphor. They use a chair saying that this is their stage, this is their life. That society wants to give a chair to you and try to force you to sit down in that chair.
Cö shu Nie are saying they’re gonna make their own chair and they actually have a chair that they use at their live shows. A great chair that’s really fancy.
So in the music video, they just beat up this old chair that they were forced to sit in and then they have a new chair in the fire.
She sits down and that represents how they’re making their own way, they’re furthering their freedom. Just trying to go against like unreasonable bulls**t in society.
SHUNSUKE MATSUMOTO: We’re including “Burn The Fire” in the new album we’re releasing in the fall.
We believe it has a really strong message, as you heard Kaz explaining the backstory of it. And we really wanted to bring out the storytelling part of this music video.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What do you find is the most challenging song to perform live?
MIKU NAKAMURA: I think as a rock band, you gotta get people hyped up and we’re very comfortable in that style. I’d say “No Future” makes me kind of nervous when I play it because it’s more chill & calm compared to our rock style.
Even the lyrics are really chill, like ‘I don’t wanna do anything’. So that one feels untraditional to perform and it’s more challenging from that aspect.
SHUNSUKE MATSUMOTO: “Lamp”. The fingering of the bass, it’s really fast and more technical. It’s more challenging to play.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What’s been your favorite part of New York City?
MIKU NAKAMURA: We went to Time Square and it’s just like what I saw in the movies! I went at night time and it was so bright and beautiful in Times Square it was like it was still day time.
It’s really exciting for me. I’m kind of looking to see if Spider-Man is somewhere hanging around these buildings. They look easy to climb!
SHUNSUKE MATSUMOTO: I got yelled at a pizza place! (laughs) The person who was making the pizza was like, ‘You guys don’t know how to order!’ (laughs) It was very ‘New York’.
MIKU NAKAMURA: I was really surprised that the Coca-Cola is so large, like a really large size! (laughs) Just even looking at the traffic lights here is really cool. It’s our first time in New York City!
On First Instruments:
MIKU NAKAMURA: I started playing piano at 3 years old! I trained with guitar around middle school. I actually quit playing piano in elementary school for personal reasons. So I wasn’t really doing anything musical for a while back then.
But during high school, I walked by a music store and saw a Stratocaster guitar. It looked so cool so I took it and played it. The electric guitar wasn’t even hooked up to anything at the time.
From then on though, it inspired me to play music again. My first year of high school in Japan, I started writing songs. One of the songs I actually used for Cö shu Nie, it’s called “Person.”
In high school as well, I picked up bass. That’s how I learned to play different instruments as well other than guitar.
SHUNSUKE MATSUMOTO: My older brother actually played a big guitar. But when I played at the time, the only thing I was able to play was the F chord. The other chords were very, very hard.
When I looked at the bass and picked it up, it actually was an easy entry for me to play. It kind of fit my style.
And now I’m doing way more advanced, intricate work musically.
On the making of ‘Flos Ex Machina’ compared to now:
MIKU NAKAMURA: Every song we create is a different process. For example, the song called “fujI” used to be a guitar riff demo and then became a full song.
We usually would make a song based on the rhythm or the melody or maybe like a theme. There’s like a skeleton, where you have the chord and then put the melody and you get the theme.
For the recent songs, we focused more on ‘What kind of music do we want to make? Should it sound more like dance music?’
We tend to focus more now on the overall sound and what the message is of the song.
So for example, our newer songs like “no future” and “Burn The Fire” were created in that way.
On “asphyxia” music video:
MIKU NAKAMURA: “asphyxia” was our major debut song and we really wanted to show a band performance. To show us debuting as a band. So that was heavily emphasized.
They used a professional florist so there’s a lot of flowers in it. I think the flowers getting pressed means dating. It was a metaphor for it. That’s the theme of the song.
Editors Note: “asphyxia” is the 1st opening theme of Tokyo Ghoul:re.
On “undress me” music video:
MIKU NAKAMURA: When we worked on “undress me” with the music video director, we took inspiration from a lot of murder mystery novels.
There was an actual murder that happened as well, but it more toward the murder mystery aspect of it.
Editor’s Note: “undress me” is the theme song for the Japanese TV drama series, ‘Women’s War – Bachelor Murder Case -‘.
On doing Anime Theme Songs:
MIKU NAKAMURA: I think of course we make songs for anime, but we also wanna emphasize that it’s our own song.
I think we get a lot of ending theme song requests. We try to put our own life experiences into each song.
And of course, we do read the stories and we learn about them. From there, we try to pull our message and try to tell their message as well at the same time.
It’s kind of similar to when you get into an anime or manga, you fall in love with a character. You kind of get their characteristics.
So I think we try to pull the characteristics from that and the titles as well.
On piano work in song “give it back”:
MIKU NAKAMURA: I was playing the piano and kind of singing at the same time which made the skeleton part of the song.
For this song, I think what was most important was the lyrics. I wanted to make sure the lyrics really stood out.
That was the reason why I really slowed it down. So it would come through! For anime you have an 89 second version.
I was envisioning after you watch Jujutsu Kaisen and our song is playing, what you feel. Does this ending theme song capture your heart?
Because we wanted to capture your heart and encapsulate the theme of Jujutsu Kaisen for this song.
There were certain words in the lyrics we were trying to incorporate. But they were made simultaneously while I was playing the piano.
MIKU NAKAMURA: Everything inspires me. Even daily life stuff like the food that you eat or just the experience you have every day.
The sound when you step on the leaves and it makes the crunch noise. Noises when you walk on gravel. The wind blowing in your ear or when you cover your ear.
Nature sounds really inspire me and I try to incorporate some of that in my music as well. One soundtrack in particular, the Dancer in the Dark OST.
SHUNSUKE MATSUMOTO: For myself. I think a lot of Disney movies actually kind of influenced me. For example, Beauty and The Beast and Aladdin.
A lot of their songs are used in the musicals, those kind of inspired me and then I changed gears. Listening to punk rock bands like Rancid. One album that I took a lot of inspiration from was ‘…And Out Come the Wolves’ from Rancid.
So I think punk and musicals really! (laughs)
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Thank you for all the insight to your creative process!
CÖ SHU NIE: Thank you!
– Check out our exclusive Cö shu Nie: Anime NYC 2023 Concert Photos!
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