SCREEN mode is a two-piece band consisting of YOU (vocals) and Masatomo (guitar and sound producer). They debuted in 2013 with the song “Moonlight STORY” featured as the ending theme for the anime series Gingensen. While composing and performing several anime songs for LOVE STAGE!!, Bungo Stray Dogs 2, Food Wars! The Second Plate, and Myriad Colors Phantom World, among others, they released their first album titled “Discovery Collection” in 2015.
In 2017 it was announced that SCREEN mode will perform the opening theme song "MYSTERIUM" for the anime series Vatican Miracle Examiner (Vatican Kiseki Chōsakan). And in 2018 they are releasing their second studio album titled "1/1." This revelation was noticed by Bombón who claimed to be a huge fan of the duo, she went looking for Honey-chan and off they flew to find the boys and ask them about this new album.
SCREEN mode is a relatively new unit, but both of you have been working in the anime and music industry for a while (Masatomo as a music producer and YOU as a voice actor). Can you tell us what motivated you to form a band?
I have been doing voice acting work since I was a child. As for music, it was always something more for myself, rather than professionally. While I was aiming towards a professional debut, I had a chance encounter with Masatomo through a musician I knew, and from there, it spurred me on to form SCREEN mode.
It all started when I realized that I did not want to simply provide music for others as a composer. Instead, I wanted to express what I wanted to say through musical performance.
Which artists, in both the Japanese and overseas music industry, have had a big impact on your career as musicians?
Hironobu Kageyama has been a massive influence on me. In the anisong world, he is like a mentor who has continued to deliver passionate songs. He’s a legend by now. I want to continue to produce hot, passionate songs for everyone, so I greatly respect singers like him.
The Four Freshmen, Al Di Meola, Chage and Aska, and B’z.
Your second album is on the way! We heard that it will be released on January 24, 2018. Can you tell us about the concept of this album? What are the ideas behind its title?
It means “life-sized.” It also does mean coming back to a starting point. However, for me, the reason that I chose this title was because I put all of my emotions that I feel currently–positive and negative–into it and devoted myself to it wholly.
We created it by reevaluating what our “life-sized” selves really are.
What different elements did you put into the second album that make it different from your first album “Discovery Collection” released in 2015?
For this album, we challenged ourselves by adding ska influenced songs, blues songs, and jazz songs as well. The standout characteristic of this album compared to “Discovery Collection” is that there is a wider variation of new songs included.
We made our music across various genres as well as songs having more freedom.
Can you tell us about the writing and recording process for this album?
We collaborated to write the lyrics taking care to include as many words as possible that we wanted. It would have not been possible to express everything that we wanted to in our lyrics without the help of songwriters. Thanks to them, we were able to expand our world view. Of all of our songs, “Tuberose” was the one that was worth doing the most. It’s a jazzy song with a newer melody, and I tried scat-singing for the first time. So, that is the one song I want to mention the most.
We created a lot of tunes, and only those who passed a careful screening were added to the album.
SCREEN mode has written and performed several successful anime tie-up songs. We can then assume that you are anime fans. Which anime series are your favorite of all time, and which ones inspired you to work in this industry?
It has to be Dragon Ball Z. It was the anime that I watched the most as a child. I reminisce about the past when I listen to the tunes from Dragon Ball, and even now, it encourages me.
For me, it would be Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie and Patalliro!.
So far, you have released quite a few anime tie-up singles which have become very popular overseas. Does having a growing audience overseas make you change the way you write songs for anime series? Can you tell us about your writing process for anisongs?
I had the opportunity to perform both “Naked Dive” and “ROUGH DIAMONDS” in English in order to appeal to the international audience more and so they could come to know how good SCREEN mode is.
It isn’t that we change how we make the music in order to appeal to different audiences, but I do make sure to take care of an ubiquitous melody.
[Official Video] SCREEN mode - ROUGH DIAMONDS Short English Version -
Please send a message to all of your fans around the world who are looking forward to listening more music from you!
I am deeply moved to hear that the joy of anime is spreading to many countries. To sing the theme song for anything is to become the face of it. I am going to continue to sing and perform with all of my might to not only be able to show how wonderful those works are that I am in charge of, but also to more powerfully show the appeal of anisongs themselves. I want to hold live performances in countries around the world and bring our music to them, so when I do, please, let’s enjoy them together!
I am continuing in pursuit of a melody that only a Japanese person can make, so please look forward to it!
That’s exactly the appeal of SCREEN mode Masamoto-san; that it sounds and feels Japanese. That is what fans abroad are responding to
Well yeah, even if the lyrics are sung in English, the melody is the typical Japanese style. I am very happy we could catch them up to do this interview Honey-chan. Who is going to be our next victim? More male musicians?