Kanon Wakeshima, a beloved gothic Lolita model and protégé of Mana, keeps busy. She released her second album Shoujo Jikake no Libretto – Lolitawork Libretto last July. It’s a fairy tale and coming-of-age story that carefully works love, frustration and hidden messages into its pop sound. Wakeshima collaborated with another Kanon, the former bassist of An Café, and released the single Calendula Requiem in November. During a short break from her 2011 tour, Kanon answered questions about fashion, her sophomore album and Kanon x Kanon via e-mail.
What was the inspiration behind Shoujo Jikake no Libretto?
Picture books that I liked in my childhood inspired me while I was creating this album. In every song on this album, I tried to express the feelings as if you and I were the lead characters of the story, and I hope you can feel that excitement. Another motif of this album is a pair of girls. One of them is a shy girl reading the story, and the other is a girl who enjoys traveling freely inside the picture book. Both roles are inherent in yourself and myself. Using them, I tried to describe the place between dreams and reality.
How did you end up collaborating with French singer Solita?
Since my debut, I have formed many good memories of France and connections with the country. For example, I held a concert and participated in an event in Paris [to celebrate the French release of Shinshoku Dolce]. Also, I met many fans there. So, it was kind of natural that I decided to collaborate with Solita, who is a lovely French singer.
Do you speak any French?
I studied it a little! Bonjour! Je suis japonaise. Vous aimez bien la cuisine japonaise?
One of the themes I noticed on this album is “hidden love.” Have you ever had a crush on someone and couldn’t tell them?
Yes–many times! This may be a bit different from a crush in an ordinary person’s life, though. For example, there are some artists who create great drawings or sing great songs. I admire them–almost love them–but I don’t want them to notice me. Because I also create drawings and songs as an artist, I am a bit afraid that they know who I am and how I express myself through my works.
In “Princess Charleston” you sing, “There’s nothing good about being a girl!”. Have you ever thought this yourself?
I sometimes wish I were born a boy. I guess boys face many difficulties in their lives just like girls do, but I think girls have much more tough lives!
Did you need to take any vocal training for your new album?
I usually take vocal training. During live shows, I sing and play the cello simultaneously, but it’s difficult–so I train for that, too. In this new album, several songs have particularly difficult phrases to play on the cello. Accordingly, I had to practice those phrases so that I can play them standing and singing!
In the CD art, you wear a red dress and a black one. What does this symbolize?
The girl with the black dress symbolizes the girl in the real world, who is a bit shy and loves reading books and stories. That girl always imagines she is the protagonist of the stories she reads and fantasizes about becoming a person like that character–capable, able to go anywhere, free to express herself and living as she chooses. The girl in the red dress represents this idealized version of herself. These girls are two sides of one character, and each of them represents her in the real world and in her dream.
Did the designer for Alice and the Pirates [a sub-label of Baby, the Stars Shine Bright] make those dresses especially for you?
Yes, Alice and the Pirates’ designer based those dresses based on my illustration of what those girls would look like. Later, the “black” one was added to the Alice and the Pirates’ dress line, and I noticed some fans wearing that dress at my concerts. I was so glad!
I saw your PV for “Calendula Requiem,” the opening theme to the anime Shiki. In the video, you wear traditional Japanese clothes, and the song also has Japanese influences. Were you interested in traditional Japanese culture before?
Yes, I have been. My father is also an artist. He makes traditional Japanese lacquer crafts and works with Japanese paintings. So I have been familiar with traditional Japanese arts since my childhood. I love Japanese kimono in the Edo era. Many of them are really splendid.
Please give us a message for people you want to hear your album.
First of all, I want to thank you for your warm support to me. I hope you like this new album. I would love to go abroad again, and I hope I can see you all there!