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Interview: nano Reflects on her Career and Identity as an Artist

#1
Sep 16, 5:27 AM
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Singer/songwriter nano began her career posting covers of Vocaloid and anime songs online, before being signed by major label Flying Dog in 2012. Thanks in part to her fluency in English and Japanese, nano has built a reputation for her bilingual blends of high-energy rock and roll that make fans cry "rock on!"

Over the last seven years, nano has performed nearly 20 theme and insert songs for anime, most notably "No pain, No game" from Btooom!, "Savior of Song" from Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova, and "Born to be" from Mahou Sensou.

Nano was invited to perform at SMASH! (Sydney Manga and Anime Show) 2019's "I Love Anisong" concert, and MyAnimeList had the opportunity to sit down and talk with her before the event.


You were born and raised in New York but moved to Japan when you were a teenager, and you're able to write and sing songs in both English and Japanese. Are there any challenges in using both, and how do you decide which language to use?

In Japan, the main language is, of course, Japanese. I needed to be able to communicate and sing in Japanese as the main language, but English is my native language. I think that's a part of who I am as a person and my individuality, so my director understands that and he wanted me to be able to use that identity as my forte. It's a feeling though, when I choose to do it in English; when I listen to the song and the demo, I think "oh, this song is completely English for me." It's just inspiration.

People who are bilingual sometimes express a feeling of being two different people, depending on the language they are speaking. Have you experienced this yourself, perhaps unexpectedly?

I think so. When I talk in English, I feel more like I'm talking as myself, usually. I feel more natural, I'm laid-back, I'm more casual… but I'm also very Japanese inside. Sometimes it's like the ramming of horns, but now I've really come to appreciate both sides of me.

It's been over seven years since your debut single for the anime Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle - Orpheus Order-hen, "Now or Never." How do you feel about it now, looking back?

I think it's just been a speedy seven years for me. Wow, seven years, that's so quick… but I'm always like that, I'm a "now or never" person, so I don't really look back to the past and I'm always living in the now for the future. It's always "now or never" for me.



A lot of singers eventually make their way into being a voice actor or vice versa. Have you ever considered trying your hand at voice acting?

If I have the talent I'd like to try it, but I don't really have that much confidence in my voice acting skills. But if there's a chance, maybe a sound effect—I'll do a sound effect.

What kind of sound effect would you do?

(Laughs) A cat meowing. I can do that.

Could you do one for us now?

Meow!

Interviewer's Note: It was a very good meow.

Are there any specific artists or songs that have influenced your musical style?

I'm influenced by so many different types of artists from classical to pop to rock to anime songs, so I can't really narrow it down. But definitely if I go way back, I used to really like listening to The Beatles as a kid, and then I listened to a lot of modern pop rock and punk rock: My Chemical Romance, Avril Lavigne, Fall Out Boy, all of those really cool artists. Then I came to Japan and I listened to a lot of J-Rock and J-Pop like stuff from Fullmetal Alchemist, L'Arc~en~Ciel, Miyavi, and T.M.Revolution. There are so many different types of songs that I like.

Your most recent anime song was the opening theme for Kemurikusa (TV), which aired earlier this year. How was the experience of making that song compared to previous works?

That song is probably one of the most difficult and hardest songs I've done to date. It's really a tough song to sing and to perform live on stage. I think it came to me as destiny because it's one of the hardest songs and it's one of the challenges I needed to face then to power up and to be able to level up myself. I'm kind of a masochist; I like to challenge myself and I like the pain of the song.



It's been over two years since the release of your last album, "The Crossing." Can you tell us anything about your next one?

I want to make the next one like one I've never done before and I think that each album, to me, needs to power up and become something even more "me". At the moment, I'm really working hard on trying to move onward and upward, so people can expect my next album to be something they've never heard before.

You'll be performing in the "I Love Anisong" concert later today. Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

No, not at all, actually. I'm a very relaxed person, so I just try to keep in mind to have fun and to make sure above all that the crowd has fun. I'm all about being relaxed and my band and I do a little circle and do a "rock on!' before the show, but that's about it.

You had the opportunity to perform in your hometown this past November for Anime NYC. Are there any other cities or places that you feel a connection with as an artist or individual where you hope to perform in the future?

I just want to go to as many different countries as possible, and I haven't been to many European countries. I've been to Germany, but not to other countries like it, so I definitely want to go to Europe a lot more. On Twitter and stuff, I get a lot of messages from my Latino fans down south, so hopefully someday I'll be able to go back there. Of course, this time in Sydney is my first time and I've always wanted to go to Sydney, in my private time as well. I'm just happy wherever I go.


What was your image of Australia before you came, and how has your experience here so far met that image?

I don't know, but I think I've always had the image that Australia is just a really open and laid-back country with a lot of different cultures and a lot of different types of people. And of course, koalas, koalas, koalas. I love koalas. I was able to go take pictures with the koalas yesterday and I'm really happy about that. I even got a koala stuffed animal to take home with me.


Photo courtesy of nano's Instagram account. Follow her official website and social media for more information and photos.

Official site: http://nanonano.me
Twitter: http://twitter.com/nanonano_me
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nanonano_me

This interview was conducted in a one-on-one setting using English.
Modified by Sakana-san, Sep 16, 10:23 AM
 
#2
Sep 16, 6:47 AM

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Great interview!

Loved that little bit on the meow-ing, I’d love to hear that too lol.

I’ll honest I really do not know who she is. At first I thought it was nano.RIPE actually. Awesome that she can sing and is compatible with both the languages, will most definitely check out some of her songs!
#Anime4Life be my Life Motto! #PrayForKyoAni


 
#3
Sep 16, 7:05 AM

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Thanks for this interview. It was nice to see what nano was up to, I absolutely love her work on anime OPs or EDs.
:3
 
#4
Sep 16, 8:52 AM

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definitely one of my favorite anime song artists! I remember loving Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio so much, partly because of that great song from her, always get me hyped for the episodes.

It's cool that we get to see her face now, remember there was a buzz about her identity because she's always covered up in her songs.
Honobono Log - best slice of life short
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#5
Sep 16, 9:48 AM

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Great interview! I love Nano so much~ Got to know her music back at osu, when she was just starting her career... It's been so long! I hope we get to hear her meowning in some anime lmao - or even acting, who knows?

"Latino fans down south"~~ ♥ I hope she performs in Brazil someday!
 
#6
Sep 16, 10:44 AM

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Good job for the amazing interview. Being a Japanese-American living in Japan sure makes her proud of her.
 
#7
Sep 16, 1:51 PM

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The only Japanese singer whose english I can understand.
 
#8
Sep 16, 3:08 PM

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first time i see her face
she has some really cunning and scary eyes xD

love her music


"
People who are bilingual sometimes express a feeling of being two different people, depending on the language they are speaking. Have you experienced this yourself, perhaps unexpectedly?

I think so. When I talk in English, I feel more like I'm talking as myself, usually. I feel more natural, I'm laid-back, I'm more casual… but I'm also very Japanese inside. Sometimes it's like the ramming of horns, but now I've really come to appreciate both sides of me."

this is so true its not even funny lmao as a bilingual myself
im introverted in one language and speak quitely and extroverted in the other and speak loud as shit its kinda funny tbh
i wonder why
You son of a .. turtle

 
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