Naoryu is from Fukui Prefecture, Japan.
She’s a determined female singer and songwriter for determined people!
She’s produced by Takashi Nakajo (Theatre Brook).
She’s the 1st Prize winner at the Japan Boss Loop Station World Championship.
She got the 2nd place ar Boss Loop Station World Championship.
She has performed at big music festivals and events.
The origin of the name “Naoryu” :
Naoryu’s real name is Naoko. The Japanese letter meaning “style” (流) is pronounced “Ryu.” Naoko removed “ko” from her name and added “Ryu.” In this way, Naoko created her own individual style through her name Naoryu!
What is “loop machine” or “looper”?
In electro-acoustic music, a loop is a repeating section of sound materials.
If you use a loop machine(looper), short sections of materials can be recorded and repeated to make it sounds as it’s played in a concert band.
When did you start using a loop machine?
I think it was in 2007.
There were many reasons for that, but the biggest reason was because I thought I would be able to play the guitar and the flute at the same time.
I can play the guitar and the flute, but since I could never play them at the same time, it was a little sad for me. I really wanted to play the flute to the rhythm of the guitar.
Then had an encounter with the loop machine. I was like “This is it!”, and bought the one right away.
I tried to use it at my concert just 3 days after I bought it, and it was a failure since it wasn’t that easy, but it’s now a good memory lol
Why do you do “Namaryu” mainly in Fukui?
When I do “Namaryu”, I do it at local restaurants, cafes and bars in Japan or in other countries.
Since I don’t charge for “Namaryu”, some people think I do it for volunteer, but it’s not a volunteer work.
I go to local shops to perform and I sell my CDs there. That’s how I make living.
So I have to go to as many shops as possible in a day since I need to sell them.
Performing at different places is also a good promotion of myself.
But I never force the audience to buy my CDs.
I really want to make good relationships with the shops and the audience.
So making living isn’t easy for me. I have to perform at many places and it’s very hard.
If I just play and sing, it won’t be that hard, but sometimes people who come to the shops without knowing that I perform there say something unfriendly, or some smart-arses who don’t know that I’m a professional musician try to give some weird advice.
I choose to do it, so I just accept the reactions, but it is the hardest part for me.
However, this is actually the most beneficial way for musicians.
It combines practicality with beauty.
Unfortunately, it has become harder for Japanese musicians to do such beneficial and practical things. Live houses have become less active and less interesting.
I was really worried about the music industry in Japan. I thought it would die if it kept getting dull since musicians who would dislike the situations might go abroad and perform there, not in Japan.
So I decided to make the new trend for musicians, hoping that this would be one of the ways of making living. I knew it was going to be challenging and tough for me, but I wanted to do it to protect the music industry in Japan.
When this style becomes popular, no one won’t say something bad to the musicians.
Until then, it’s not going to be easy for me, but I do it to protect the future of Japanese music industry.
And another reason to do “Namaryu” is to make people hang out and revitalize local economies. When I do “Namaryu”, people get together. Recently some people go one place to another to see my performances. It’s vibrant, isn’t it?
And if people get together to see my performances or just come to the place because there is something going on, it’s good for the stores too.
It’s not a big thing, but I can help the local economies a little that way.
I really hope to have good relationships with the stores and also with the communities, and this is the best way to help each other.
I have some other reasons too but those are the main reasons.
Some people may think I do “Namaryu” mainly is Fukui because I love my hometown, but it’s not really true.
I’m actually interested in whole Japan, not only in Fukui.
As I said, good musicians will be gone from Japan if the music industry here remains the same.
It’s not only about the music industry, but many talented people will just go abroad and stop performing in Japan if they can’t make living here.
The economic power of Japan might be gone too.
I don’t want Japan to be a sunken ship. This is what I hope.
So we need to do something to stop it now.
It’s sad but Tokyo has lost the positive feeling of wanting to push ahead with something, but local cities still have.
And my hometown Fukui has some good industries that we are proud of.
But things they make, including food, are just materials and those things will probably just remain there if we don’t promote well, and as a result, people outside will never know about them if we don’t do anything.
But music and the local people with enthusiasm can help it. It can help the economies of the local cities and it can also help promoting the things they have.
I hope this is going to be in fashion and many artists from many places will do the same. And I want to be a successful example of that. That’s why I do it mainly in Fukui.
If you wanted me to say “I mainly perform in Fukui because I love my hometown!” or something like that, I’m sorry that my answers weren’t what you expected.
But I don’t actually care about where I go or live.
And I’m not a material girl at all, so I do not care about the things I have or we have that much. But I’m really interested in people.
Things can’t have feelings like happiness, sadness and things like that. Those feelings are for people. That’s what I’m the most interested in.
When people love their hometowns or something in their hometowns, you might call it “local patriotism”, but I don’t think I have that.
I might look as a cold person, and I know I’m different from other people. But because I’m different (and strange), I can think what kind of things I can do for the communities in stride. This is how I was born and this is what I can do.
I think most town renewal projects rely on the materials too much.
But if we rely on them too much and don’t focus about who make them, that doesn’t help much.
I want to focus on people and believe it will help the local communities and people more.
So “Namaryu” is one of the ways to make living for musicians and it’s also a way to help the local economic growth, and it also creates healthy relationships with people there. It’s very different compared to the ways that other people have tried, but hope it’ll be a new trend.
Naoryu sings about the places she performs and she introduces the local products in her songs, but her main themes are always people, not the things they have there.
What is music for you?
This question has become harder to answer for me, since I’m with music everyday.
But music is my best friend who always have fun with me, and hope it stays as my friend forever.
Tell us about your latest CD!
“四.二疊のRhapsody” (yon ten nijou no Rhapsody) is my 4th album and I can perform all the songs in it with the loop machine.
It’s very simple and it’s so me, so I hope you will listen to my songs.
Where are the places you recommend for people who go to Fukui for the first time?
I shouldn’t answer since I said I’m actually not interested where I go or live?! So I’m not going to introduce seightseeing spots… Someone, please do it instead of me! haha
But I really love the places where I do “Namaryu”.
People who get together at those places will welcome you even you don’t speak Japanese, and if you come to the places (restaurants, cafes and bars) and meet local people, you will learn about Fukui from them.
I perform at many other cities but people in Fukui are more friendly than other places.
They are a little shy, but it’s just for the beginning.
If you say “Hello” to them, I’m pretty sue you can be friends with them!
I publish a free newspaper called “Namaryu Guide” and I’m thinking about making it in English, so when I publish the English one, I hope you get it and go to one of the places I introduce.