INTERVIEW : KOUSUKE MUTO
Mizuta) Hello, it's been a while. I rarely meet a NAGASHI musician at a bar or other drinking places (NAGASHI : it is a term used in Japan to identify freelance musician who takes requests from customers and plays them for money) and you know, and i thought NAGASHI musician like you only exists in movies so I'm really excited to meet you today! Let me start by asking you how did you start the NAGASHI style? What was the kick-off?
Muto) Well, I've been playing trumpet in a brass band since middle school and I just kept on playing. Then my high-school friend started a bar in Noge and let me play live there. That was the start. It was like 7 years ago and the NAGASHI style started about 5 years ago.
Mizuta) Oh I see. You were already playing official lives in bars! What was the turning point for you to start a NAGASHI style.
Muto)I was also playing on the streets but most people don't really stop and really listen in. Also I always had to worry about getting complains about the noise but hey, if someone says it is too loud then I just relocate! I mean I play unplugged so I'm free to move and play anywhere.
I think that was the start of this Nagashi style.
Mizuta)That's true! It is an instrument you can move around with and yea, that is a good idea. Still though, how does it start and feel, when you first play in bars and places. Do some places actually not welcome you?
Muto)Of course! I actually got banned before!! But in order to avoid that kind of trouble I go in as a regular customer first. Then I just talk with people about anything and I eventually find out their most memorable song. I play it for them and if the customer is happy then the place has no complains. Some customers really like it and even take me to their other usual drinking places.
Mizuta) Connecting through people to people! Wonderful.
Muto)Yeah, drinking with them, get drunk with them and just go with the flow. Sometimes it gets a bit out of control but NAGSHI style is just thrilling and fun for me. Meeting new people and run into new accidents! I know it is not well-behaved way to perform but this NAGASHI style is just so thrilling.
Mizuta)I guess you originally like communicating with people?
Muto)Well, I'm actually not a real outgoing type but when I'm holding the trumpet, it somehow soothes me. Music gives me the opportunity to interact with people and it is a tool of communication of mine.
Mizuta)I see. So let me ask, the money is not a huge factor here, it is like something that comes along with your interaction?
Muto)Well, not exactly true. I originally was going for a pro. I wanted to earn my living by playing music. I got married then left my company to really concentrate on that road but I got stuck... 2 years ago, I left the band to re-think what I can really do in life. If I wanted to proceed and become a true professional musician, I could've chosen to be single again to pursue my goal. But by then, I already had something as important as my music.
Mizuta)Yea, family is that huh. You hit the wall and changed how you view music. Did that bring any changes in your heart?
Muto)Well actually, just recently, I started to figure things out. Of course my family was important but I just wasn't treating the family right. My wife went through difficult times but as much difficulties she has experienced, that's as much gratitude I had to show for.
Mizuta)Yeah, showing gratitude is so important but we tend to forget.
Muto)It is getting more convenient everyday. You don't really have to get out of your room to go through a day. Sometimes I feel like am I living in this world by myself. I mean, I am not against the idea of this whole modernization but it's somewhat unnatural. This NAGASHI style also gives me the chance to appreciate the meaning of cash again.
Mizuta)hmm. Meaning of cash??
Muto) Well, when I leave the house to go earn by NAGASHI music, I feel like "alright kids! daddy is gonna go make some money!" like in some movies you know. Then I come home with the earnings from NAGASHI and feel the actual weight of the money and coins, it is a very satisfying and pleasing feeling.
Mizuta)Yeah, we really don't get to feel the weight of cash these days. All we do is deposit through banks!
Muto)It's like I really went out there and put myself on the line to earn! That feeling justifies my life and who I am.
Mizuta)For you, NAGASHI music is not just to reach people, It gives you confidence on who you are in life! Thank you so much for letting us interview today and we can't wait to have you play at YHV!
Muto)Anytime! Let's make it happen!