A dreamy, peaceful world awaits all of those who tune into Lycoriscoris’ latest craft in electronica, ‘Chiyu.’
Stream: ‘Chiyu’ – Lycoriscoris
Japan is a nation known for its many beautiful flowers. But not all of them are so revered as the lovely cherry blossoms and lavenders. Lycoris radiate, also known by its more common names such as the “red spider lily” and “equinox flower,” is one specimen that tends to grow near cemeteries and thus gets an ominous connotation with mortality. Yet Yunosuke Senoo was able to get some valuable insight– as well as the inspiration for a new stage name– when he gave the Lycoris a second chance.
“I discovered that besides being connected to unpleasant things like death, [‘Lycoris’] also means ‘I’m looking forward to seeing you again,’ and so I realized how this flower also hides a beautiful and positive meaning,” says Senoo– or, as he is now known professionally, Lycoriscoris. “I think my music, including this album, has the same kind of dualism as Lycoris.”
Lycoriscoris has been testing that dualism in his music throughout the dozen years since he began producing in 2009. His proper debut album, Until then, was released in 2013, and he has continued to test the mergence of electronica music and dream-pop ever since. That career-long experiment has yielded some of its most soothing and hypnotic fruits yet with Chiyu, released on March 26th. It’s incredibly therapeutic music, as reflected by the album’s title, which means “recovery” or “healing” in Japanese.
“I wanted to portray that process [of healing],” Lycoriscoris explains. “I think I’m implicitly seeking sympathy, so if I can ‘recover’ with this album, I think it will have the same effect if someone sympathizes with me.”
Atwood spoke with Lycoriscoris to hear how a 50-minute healing session for all was achieved through the making of Chiyu.
A CONVERSATION WITH LYCORISCORIS
Atwood Magazine: It's been a dozen years since you first began making electronica music in 2009. In what important ways has the world of EDM evolved in that time, from your perspective, and how has your own craft developed accordingly?
Lycoriscoris: It seems to me that you have diversified into more different genres. The way I make music has changed a lot. When I started making music under this name in 2009, I think the percentage of live sound was bigger and the BPM was slor than now. I think because I became more aware of the world’s music trends.
You say your new album, Chiyu, ''documents your journey of reflection and recovery.'' What are some ways in which that narrative comes through on the finished project?
Lycoriscoris: I think this album Chiyu is an expression of my current wishes. It’s difficult to answer everything because it contains personal content, but moving from Tokyo to my hometown Okayama this year has given me more opportunities to face my memories. I think it expresses my wish for recovery and purification from my personal problems.
I find your music to be incredibly soothing. What are some steps you take in order to achieve this therapeutic effect in your craft?
Lycoriscoris: Thank you very much. I don’t know if I do anything special, but once I have a rough idea of what the music is going to sound like, I try to make it as relaxing as possible by cooking incense, looking at my photos that I took and trying to remember what I felt when I was in the scene.
From a technical point of view, I try to create a sound image that is aware of saturation and overtones. In the mix, I try to focus on the texture of the individual sounds rather than the full frequency balance.
''Memories and retrospection are the fundamental concepts that inspire my music,'' according to your press release. What are some ways in which that has been true in the past, and how does it remain true on Chiyu?
Lycoriscoris: Chiyu is an album with a dark atmosphere, but I hope that by confronting myself with my past, I can find some positive possibilities. All the songs on the album hint at a little bit of hope.
A good number of extended mixes accompany the main cuts on the album. What sort of additional creative freedom do you feel you achieve in the extended cuts? What are some of the cuts in which you feel you achieve this to the most satisfactory extent?
Lycoriscoris: I hope that the extended mix will be used mainly as a DJ tool. I like the extended mix of “Shizumu” the best.
You're an experienced photographer as well as a musician. Out of the many photos you surely must have taken, what made you ultimately select the one you did as the album cover that best reflects the thematic content of the accompanying record?
Lycoriscoris: The reason I take photos is simply to clip my feelings at the time. So I didn’t choose the photos to reflect the theme of the album, I made the music to go with the photos.
Given that you've had a variety of Japanese and Western influences throughout your career, how have both sets of them balanced out to form your own creative persona?
Lycoriscoris: To be honest, most of my music is influenced by the West. I have been exposed to western music from a very early age and my music is based on western music theory. But on the other hand, I remember growing up in an old traditional Japanese house, in an environment where there were traditional festivals in the neighbourhood. I began to question the fact that I had always wanted to make music that portrayed my memories, but that the methods were completely Western. I have been influenced immensely by western music, but my future theme is to mix it with the music that I must have listened to as a child, such as folk songs and kagura. I’m still searching for my true sound, and this album is a first step in that direction, with all the titles in Japanese.
What would you like to focus on now that production on Chiyu has wrapped up?
Lycoriscoris: Making an album can be quite draining, so I’d like to take it easy and release EPs in the future.
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