X Japan's Yoshiki Talks Defying Expectations, Defining Success & Delivering Timeless Music

Yoshiki (musician),X Japan,Japan,Twitter,Classical music,Record chart,Compact disc,We Are X

FACEBOOK TWITTER EMAIL ME Courtesy of Billboard Japan Yoshiki has been renowned as a musical innovator for nearly four decades as the leader and a co-founder of the heavy metal band X Japan, a classical pianist, composer, drummer and music producer. Having shaped his career contrary to conventional "success," he remembers some of his most important moments as those of disproving what anyone told him could not be done. Billboard Japan spoke candidly with the prolific Yoshiki about what he aims to communicate through his music, discussing the what a "hit" looks like in the changing music environment and the legacy by which he hopes to be remembered. The Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart combines eight types of data: physical sales, downloads, streaming, radio airplay, look-up, Twitter, YouTube and GYAO... I was just in New York for the premiere of We Are X and played piano at Billboard’s New York office. We were actually talking about it at the Japan office and watched the performance on Facebook Live. In order to create a music chart that is relatable to consumers, we at Billboard Japan together with Billboard update our metrics to accurately reflect the market. The way in which people listen to music within the last 10 years has changed dramatically. How do you feel about this change? I think the way we make music has changed as how we listen to music has changed. For instance, X Japan’s song “Art of Life” is over 30 minutes long, but it was created due to the invention of the CD. The song can’t fit on vinyl. Although a CD will only hold 80 minutes of music, with downloads and streaming you will be able to put out 90 to 100 minutes worth of music. A long time ago when MTV was in fashion, I wondered why all the songs only lasted three to four minutes. It was to accommodate the broadcasting format of TV. So, I feel that as music distribution platforms and broadcasting media change, it influences the way we make music. How did you listen to music when you were young? When I was young, I listened to classical music records my father would buy for me every month. But your friends probably didn’t listen to classical music, right? That’s right. I think most of them were listening to anime theme songs. I also liked anime music because I used to watch anime on TV, but I mostly listened to classical music until my father passed away. How do you listen to music now? When I listen to classical music, I'll go through my old CDs. I use streaming services like Apple Music when I listen to new music. Any songs that piqued your interest recently? Well, let's see… when an artist like Radiohead, whom I’ve liked for a long time releases a new record, I'll try to check it out. As you said earlier, your father was instrumental when discovering new music during your teens. What about now? Mostly through recommendations from people around me including my friends or even from social networks. If it's a song I hadn't heard of, I'll even look for it on YouTube. Do you keep track of any music charts? I do check the Billboard U.S. chart. Do you think that music charts are necessary? Because new music is being released every day, it serves a benchmark when choosing which songs to listen to. Or rather, "used to." What do you mean? I think one of the roles of the music chart was to show the amount of people listening to a song. I've been living in the U.S. for about 20 years now and up until a few years ago I used to buy songs which hit the top 10 and the Now compilation albums. When you listen to Now, you would be able to pick up on trends like, "There's not much rock this year" or "EDM is getting more popular." I used to listen to the top 10 J-Pop songs too but gradually stopped. I don't mean to discard it but because more people have started to buy multiple physical copies of the same song due to artists releasing various cover designs or...

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