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Flehmann Discusses His Musical Journey and Latest Hit “Save My Love”

Discover the inspirations behind Flehmann’s music, his creative process, and the story of his latest release “Save My Love.” This interview delves into his early influences, challenges, and future projects.

Interview with Flehmann: Early Career, Inspirations, and “Save My Love”

In this exclusive interview, Flehmann opens up about his journey in the music industry, from his early days experimenting with a used synthesizer to the influences that shaped his unique sound. Inspired by techno, house, and electronica, Flehmann‘s music blends international electronic beats with the catchy melodies of J-Pop.

Reflecting on his career, Flehmann shares how the COVID-19 pandemic reignited his passion for composing music, leading to the creation of “Save My Love,” a track that seamlessly merges English and Japanese lyrics using vocal synthesis software. He discusses his creative process, emphasizing the importance of sound quality and his efforts to keep his music both fresh and recognizable.

As Flehmann continues to evolve, he looks forward to new collaborations and exploring different genres, while maintaining his signature style. Whether working with vocalists, VTubers, or illustrators, he remains dedicated to producing music that resonates with fans and captures his distinct artistic vision.

Early Career and Inspirations

Can you tell us about your early days in music? What inspired you to become a music artist?

The inspiration to become a music artist came when I got my first used synthesizer in junior high school. Initially, I would play around with the sounds and buy sheet music for popular J-Pop songs to play on the piano. Gradually, I started using the built-in sequencer function on the synthesizer to create original songs (though they were terrible and hardly songs at that point). From that time on, I began to dream of one day sharing my own music with the world.

Who were your musical influences growing up, and how have they shaped your music style?

During my teenage years, I was particularly influenced by electronic music, mainly techno, house, and electronica. I enjoyed listening to techno artists like Derrick May and Ken Ishii, drum and bass artists like 4Hero and Goldie, and electronica artists like Matthew Herbert and Mouse on Mars. I especially loved French touch/filter house artists like Daft Punk and Cassius because their songs were so poppy and catchy. Of course, I also loved J-Pop and listened to all the major popular artists. My love for both international electronic music and J-Pop is reflected in my current musical style, especially in my melodies, song structures, and beats.

What was the moment you realized that music was the path you wanted to pursue professionally?

I have a different job as my main occupation, so I’m not a professional music artist, but I’m currently enjoying making music very much. I’ve been composing music and releasing tracks through indie labels in Japan since I was a student, but I stopped making music for a long time after I started working. I began my activities as “Flehmann” in July 2020, four years ago. The catalyst was the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited outings, so I decided to start composing music again as something I could do at home, and that brings me to where I am now.

Creative Process and Music Style

Can you walk us through your creative process when producing a new track?

When creating a new song, I usually start by deciding on a core sound idea. For example, I might think it would be interesting if the chord backing sound changed with each beat, or I might decide to base a song around a good recording of birdsong I captured in a park. Instead of starting with a concept based on words or images, I often begin with a specific sound, timbre, or beat pattern and build the song from there.

How do you balance your personal style with current music trends in Japan?

Today’s music, including Japanese music, involves a mix of various genres, which get subdivided and then mixed with other genres, leading to an incredible number of categories. Keeping up with trends in genres is quite challenging, so I focus more on ensuring the sound quality doesn’t become outdated. I pay attention to elements like the low-end frequencies, the use of reverb and delay, and the balance in vocal mixing. With these aspects in mind, I create songs in the genres I love, using the structures I prefer.

What themes or messages do you try to convey through your music?

My music doesn’t have a consistent message, but I want to be the kind of artist whose songs you can recognize just by listening to them and think, “Oh, that’s a Flehmann track.” Therefore, even when I change genres, I try to retain my characteristic melody phrases and rhythm patterns. It’s a bit embarrassing to objectively acknowledge my own quirks, but it’s also interesting. These quirks are like verbal tics or the strange doodles you unconsciously draw on a notepad. I believe I have quirks in my music-making as well, like melodies I tend to play or the way I arrange beats. I try to understand these quirks and incorporate them into every song I create.

Latest Release “Save My Love”

“Save My Love” has been selected as one of the best tracks of 2024 by J-POP Streaming. Can you share the story behind this song? How did the collaboration and production process for “Save My Love” differ from your previous releases?

I’m truly honored that “Save my love” was selected as one of the best tracks of 2024 by J-POP Streaming on Spotify! Thank you so much!

This song features vocals, but instead of collaborating with a vocalist, I used the vocal synthesis software “Synthesizer V AI Sheena.” This software can pronounce both English and Japanese beautifully, so I wanted to create a song that seamlessly blends both languages.

What do you hope listeners take away from “Save My Love”?

The lyrics tell a slightly blue story of parting rather than a happy one. I hope listeners can enjoy the borderless feel of mixing English and Japanese, along with the pop sensibility of my favorite French touch Disco House.

Experiences and Challenges

What has been the most challenging aspect of your music career so far? Can you share a memorable experience or milestone that stands out in your career?

Collaborating with vocalists has been a challenging yet incredibly enjoyable experience for me! Although I primarily release vocal-centric tracks now, I had never created vocal music before I started working as Flehmann. So, collaborating with vocalists was always a vague goal of mine, something I hoped to try one day. After releasing instrumental tracks and gradually gaining recognition, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with vocalists through social media. Recently, I’ve even had the chance to work with VTubers and VSingers, which has been truly inspiring and exciting.

In addition to working with vocalists, I’ve also started collaborating with illustrators for cover art and music video illustrations. For example, the cover art for “Save my love,” which led to this interview, was created by an illustrator named Naoyoshi. The emotional illustration perfectly matches the story of the lyrics, so I hope people will enjoy both the music and the artwork together!

Moreover, some of my recent tracks have been selected for official playlists on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music. It’s been a great honor to see my songs featured in J-POP Streaming playlists and various others. The increasing recognition through these playlists has been incredibly motivating for my music production.

How do you handle the pressure and expectations that come with being a successful artist?

As a music artist, I still have a long way to go in terms of achievements and experience, so I don’t feel much pressure. However, I will continue to work hard to release new music regularly!

Future Plans and Projects

What can fans expect from you in the near future? Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you can talk about?

In July 2024, I’m set to release a collaboration track with vocalist Megumi Ebina. This song incorporates garage elements, a style I haven’t explored much in my previous work. Megumi Ebina’s clear, transparent vocals over the fast-paced beat are truly amazing, so I hope you’ll give it a listen!

How do you see your music evolving over the next few years?

I plan to continue focusing on collaborations with vocalists, VTubers, and VSingers. Although it’s been challenging to find opportunities, I would love to collaborate with overseas vocalists and artists if the chance arises! Additionally, my songs, including collaboration tracks, are available for royalty-free use in commercial projects. I intend to keep this initiative going in the future.

Are there any genres or styles you haven’t explored yet that you would like to try in the future?

I primarily produce all my music on my own, but with the advancements in software instruments, it’s now possible to achieve realistic sounds even with digital production. Someday, I’d like to try my hand at rock or band-style pop music!

Bonus Questions

If you could have dinner with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

It’s a difficult question because there are so many artists I admire and would love to talk to! If I had to choose one, it would be Matthew Herbert. I’ve listened to his album “Bodily Functions” countless times. It’s a concept album with social and dark messages, but it’s presented in a way that’s not preachy—it’s catchy, beautiful, unique, and playful. I would love to hear how he comes up with his musical ideas.

What is the most unusual place or situation where inspiration for a song struck you?

I love gaming, so when I hit a creative block with my music, I take a break and play games. This usually refreshes my mind and often sparks new inspiration for my music. Maybe I just want an excuse to play games, though.

Thank you very much to Flehmann fro this interview.

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