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Satoko Shibata and Tomoyuki Natsume’s Musical Metamorphosis

2024.3.13

#MUSIC

Satoko Shibata has released her seventh album titled “Your Favorite Things.” The dance music and R&B inclinations that surfaced in her previous album “Bochibochi Ginga” have further blossomed vividly through collaborative production with Takuro Okada, who performs with her live. This album marks a new turning point in Shibata’s career. Additionally, the delicate sound production has been further refined, achieving an unprecedented level of completeness as an album.

Furthermore, her singing now harbors nuances that were previously unheard of, and the subtleties of the words carried by her voice have gained even sharper clarity, indicating that she has entered a new “zone” as a singer-songwriter.

Satoko Shibata’s talent has long been highly regarded, and one who has frequently collaborated with her since their days in the band ShyamCats is Tomoyuki Natsume. He, too, made a significant shift towards dance music with his debut album “Daikichi” under his solo project Summer Eye, surprising fans. Like Shibata, he is also known for his unique lyrical compositions, which have garnered high praise.

To commemorate the release of “Your Favorite Things,” a conversation between the two (which seemed unlikely until now) was realized. From their initial encounter to discussions about each other’s works, singing, and lyrics, their conversation delved broadly and deeply into various topics. We bring you the full details of their exchange.

Natsume’s Acclaim for Shibata’s Lyricism

Satoko Shibata
Singer-songwriter/poet. In 2010, she began her career after being encouraged by a college mentor. In 2012, she made her album debut with “Shibata Satoko Island.” In 2022, she released her sixth original album, “Bocchibochi Ginga.” In 2016, she published her first poetry collection, “Sabaku.” She has contributed to various publications including poetry, essays, and children’s stories. In 2023, she published an essay collection titled “Kiregire no Diary,” compiling her serialized work in the literary magazine “Bungakukai” over seven years. She has gained attention as a poet as well. On February 28, 2024, she released her seventh album, “Your Favorite Things.”
Tomoyuki Natsume
Debuted in 2009 as the vocalist and guitarist for the band Sham Cats. Despite garnering support from many young people through their exploration of Japanese rock and independent activities, the band disbanded in 2020. In December 2021, he made his solo debut under the name Summer Eye with the release of his first single “Life.” In 2022, he released a split 7-inch with Taiwan’s DSPS Amy and his second single, “Proposal.” In February 2023, he gained attention with the release of his third single “Failure” and a remix by XTAL. On March 21, he released his first album “Daikichi.” The lead track “White Whale” became a drama theme song. Engaged in collage production, songwriting, and DJing among other endeavors, he contributes to the world’s diversity through his unrestricted artistic expression.

-How did you two get to know each other?

Shibata: Probably around 2011 before I made my debut. I think we first met when I went to see Siamese Cats perform at “OPPA-LA” in Enoshima.

Natsume: Oh, that’s right.

Shibata: At that time, I went to see the show with a mutual friend. I remember thinking, “What a scary guy! (Laughs.) At that time, Natsume was already a star for us. Not only the music, but also the lyrics, the way the band was, everything seemed to shine.

Natsume: No, no, no (laughs). After Mr. Shibata made his debut, we often played together at events. We played with each other.

Shibata: Yes, we did. The turnout was bad and the organizer said, “We can’t pay you the promised fee.” I was still a novice, so I said, “Oh, that’s OK! But Natsume responded firmly. I remember Natsume was very firm in his response.

Natsume: That was about 10 years ago (laughs). We’ve never gone out drinking together, but whenever we meet, we always talk about TWICE or K-POP (laughs).

Shibata: Yes, yes (laughs). But this is the first time for us to talk at length in an interview like this, so it’s fresh.

-I remember you analyzing the lyrics of Shibata’s song “I got married” at a talk event titled “10 Years of Songs and Words by Tomoyuki Natsume of Siamese Cats” in 2019. It was also published in CINRA at the time, and was very interesting because it was a sharp commentary from a unique point of view. Did you read that article as well?

Shibata: Of course I read it.

Natsume: I am sorry for analyzing it (laughs). I remember praising it to the hilt.

Satoko Shibata – I got married (Official Music Video)

Shibata: I was really happy. It was refreshing to have a musician read my lyrics in such a way. I was very impressed by the expression, “You’re fast on the run. The point that there is a third party’s point of view in this song is exactly right, and I thought it was as I expected. On the other hand, there were also some interpretations that I had never thought of from this point of view, which was very interesting.

Natsume: Ever since I first heard your song, I have had the impression that your lyrics do not go in a straight line, but rather have various points of view running side by side or branching out, which I feel is very unique. It gives me the impression that the lyrics do not proceed in a straight line, but rather, they run parallel to and branch off from various points of view, and I feel that this is very unique. I can’t do that myself, so I think it’s even more impressive.

-What did you think of Natsume’s lyrics?

Shibata: As I said before, he was a star for me from the very beginning, so my initial feeling of “wow, that’s amazing” came first (laughs). (laughs) Not only Natsume’s words, but basically, I am not at all capable of calmly reading lyrics written by others. I just say, “Wow, that’s great!” or “That’s wonderful! (laughs) Conversely, I don’t really think, “I want to write like this person! I just feel like I am writing my own words.

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