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Ota09: Kanon Wakeshima on Music, Drawing, and Voice Acting

I got to sit down with Kanon Wakeshima, an incredibly adorable and very talented singer/cellist from Japan.

If you've been keeping tabs on Otakon, you already know who Kanon Wakeshima is. For those of you who don't know: Wakeshima is a singer and cellist who is currently being produced by Mana (of Malice Mizer fame). With a gothic lolita aesthetic both visually and musically, Wakeshima is also completely adorable.  (You can also hit up her MySpace page here.)
 
I got to sit down with her for a little while and we hashed out a few questions, from her music to her fashion to her favorite food (cod roll spaghetti). Without further ado: Kanon!
 
 
Anime Vice: You began playing the cello at three. What made you pick this instrument?

Kanon Wakeshima: It was actually my parents who decided for me to pick up the cello. Regardless of whether it was a boy or a girl, they wanted their child to play the cello. So that's how I got started.

 
 
AV: Did you ever want to rebel against your parents and play something else or stop playing cello?

KW: I never really wanted to swap instruments but I thought about stopping playing a lot.

AV: I read that you were playing with the piano for your Sony audition, before you changed your mind and played the cello instead.

KW: How do you know that about the piano?

AV: It was on Wikipedia.

KW: Ahh. But really, my piano skills are pretty basic. The only reason is that I started playing cello by ear, so I couldn't really read music, so the piano became a tool for me to start learning to read before I entered middle school.

AV: I see. I can only play "Pop goes the Weasel."

KW: Poppu...?

AV: Da-nuh da-nuh da-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh...

KW: Ahh!

AV: But that's it. At the tea party on Friday, one of your managers told me that you draw on your blog a lot. I went and looked at the pictures and they're really cute! I also noticed they're very fashionable-- are you interested in fashion design, especially given your own gothic lolita attire?

KW: Yes, definitely yes! One inspiration for me drawing was doing fashion designs. I have an obsession with one-pieces (dresses), so I'd like to do a line dedicated just to one-piece dresses.

AV: I would love to see that! The style of the drawings is rather manga-like; do you read much manga?

KW: Yes. I love Ai Yazawa (Nana, Paradise Kiss).

 
 
AV: Since your songs were in Vampire Knight-- have you read it?

KW: Of course, I love it.

AV: Who do you like better-- Kaname or Zero?

KW: Yuuki!

AV: But if you had to pick a boyfriend for Yuuki, who would it be?

KW: They're both really cool guys, so I can't choose.

AV: Most of your music has been on the goth side; will you be staying mostly with that kind of sound or will you experiment in the future?

KW: I'm working on my new songs-- my new single comes out in Japan in the fall --and Mana-sama is producing, so it'll have the same vibe. But I'm not sticking with the whole gothic theme, it's just what Mana is producing right now, so you get that world view...but perhaps some experimentation later on with genres would be good.

(Kanon's manager jumps in to say: Kanon is writing her own music as well, which will take things to another world. It might evolve into another type of music genre, so she's definitely trying that.)

AV: Great! Now, you've already gotten to work with Mana-sama...but are there any other musicians you'd like to work with, in the US or Japan, on production or like a duet?

KW: I've never worked with anyone but Mana-sama so far, but if anyone is interested I'm open to collaboration!

AV: You're moving on to California for two more live events-- will you have any time to play tourist?

 
 
KW: I don't know! (to managers) Is there time?...I want to try eating a California roll because we don't get that in Japan.

AV: They're very tasty. But is there anything specific you want to do? Disneyland?

KW: Ah! Now that you mention it!...What I want the most right now is an annual pass for Disneyland Tokyo. I wanted to go before I came here but couldn't make it.

AV: I haven't gotten to go to Disneyland in years and I love it, so I can relate. Anyway, now that the con is more or less over-- what do you think about your American fans compared to your Japanese fans?

KW: I think the main difference is that in Japan the audience is more settled, more musically-focused. Here in America it's more enjoyable, more participatory in the live concert. Here in America it's more like a different approach to enjoying it.

AV: And a louder one?

KW: Yes.

AV: You're well-known for dressing as a gothic lolita, but you mentioned one-piece dresses earlier; is that what you wear at home mostly?

KW: Yes, usually one-piece dresses are what I usually wear. I have a lot.

AV: At the tea party on Friday, you were pretty busy talking to the contest winners-- did you get to have the tea and snacks? Did you like them?

KW: Tropical White tea...it was good!

AV: I had that one too! Did you get to try any of the scones or biscuits?

KW: They looked cute, but I didn't have time to try them. The management team got them, just not me...

AV: What was it like talking to your American fans one-on-one? Anyone particularly interesting?

KW: I didn't know I had this much of a fan base in America, so that was surprising, but it was fun, especially during the signing sessions. Some people actually brought their cellos or violins for me to sign, which made me a little nervous, but it was nice to see all of them and communicate with them.

AV: You also had a small voice-acting role in the Vampire Knight anime. Is that something you enjoyed? Would you pursue it?

KW: It was very difficult and I was very nervous at first! But it was definitely a good experience, sort of similar to music and writing lyrics, how to adapt your feelings into voice-acting. If I ever got a chance to do it again, I'd look forward to it!

AV: What kind of music do you listen to at home?

KW: As a child I listened to a lot of classical music, that's what I grew up with. But recently I've been listening to jazz more often.

AV: Modern jazz from Japan, or classics from America?...

KW: Mainly piano jazz. I really like one artist, Le Frere, a duo of jazz pianists from Japan.

AV: Let's just do a few favorites! First: food?

KW: It's a pasta dish, tarashipa. It's a cod roll spaghetti. Please bring it to America and make it popular!

AV: You got it! *salute* How about colors?

KW: Red. White. Gold. Silver.

AV: I love that red dress you wear in some of your promo shots. How about movie?

KW: Phantom of the Opera.

AV: That's my favorite musical! Do you have a favorite TV show?

KW: I don't really watch that much TV...

AV: Books?

KW: The Japanese writers Mayumi Nagano and Eto Mori, and the Austrian author Ben Rice.

AV: Sweet. Thank you very much!

KW: (In English) Thank you!
darkcyderon July 21, 2009 at 1:12 p.m.
I glee'd when she said Phantom of the Opera. Anyone who loves that is cool in my book.

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