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We all share the desire and the need to be lead into new and strange worlds, to assume the role of the hero who saves the princess, to get lost in our fantasy. The musician and Twitch streamer YU PHOENIX is one of those people who regularly introduce their audience to new and foreign worlds. In this interview, which we conducted during his time in the EMPERIAL SOUND Studios, he talks about his experiences, plans and why gaming and music always belong together for him.
Once again, huge thanks to the talented lightinmirror.de for the amazing pictures!
Shieldmaiden’s Voice: Why is music important to you?
Yu Phoenix: That’s a good question! Music is important to me because it’s a medium that’s timeless somehow. You can listen to it a hundred years from now. Music can also evoke memories that you might not have yet and thereby share emotions, experiences and events with people that haven’t experienced them yet but can now relate to them. I think that that’s more insightful than comparable media.
SV: What does it mean to you to be a musician?
YP: Being a musician means to me that you can live out your passions and thereby also acting out you own personal freedom. You try to bring your innermost feelings to the outside. If you are kind of closed up, especially in these dissonant times, you’ll still get the feeling of being a part of the art and you’re still able to transport that feeling even though you might not be performing or meeting up with other musicians.
SV: What influences you and your music the most?
YP: Honestly? Video games! Video games are the main reason why I became a musician in the first place. Due to the fact that many of the games that I played, especially Final Fantasy, contained songs that were immensely thrilling and also made the games more tangible. These songs conflated the games in a sense and every time I hear them, I feel reminded of these in-game moments and can therefore relate to the feeling I had so many years ago.
SV: What role do the experiences, you made in the music business so far, play?
YP: I certainly have the feeling that I learned a lot over these last years and feel more grown-up in that regard and I am also more self-confident in what I can do and want to do. I especially feel that I have more control over what I want to do instead of just going where my passion led me, I can direct that passion more.
SV: Is there an album, song or artist that has had a special impact on you?
YP: I think that would be the song Under The Same Sky by MIYAVI. Great Song! There is this feeling of freedom and belonging I get every time I’m listening to it.
SV: Would you say that your musical influences are mostly rooted in J-Rock or is European music more important?
YP: Definitely J-Rock. At least 90% J-Rock, I’d guess. I never really listend to European music. That is not because it is bad in any way, we have a lot of great musicians, especially here in Germany, but I prefer exotic things and J-Rock always managed to capture me.
SV: Is that in any way related to your love for gaming?
YP: Absolutely! These passions more or less merged over time. It began with manga, anime followed and via the music in the animes I got to J-Rock and via J-Rock i got into music itself and so on and so forth with eventually arriving at the games. It just happened somehow.
SV: What is the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
YP: Mhm… The most exciting… I currently work on a lot of things. First of, I am recording new music and want to try out some new things. Secondly, I want to work on some Voice-Acting, for which I also have some interested parties for in terms of gaming. Interestingly, it’s in English and not in German because I feel more confident in this by now.
And then there are my Live-Streams on Twitch which are still happening and there are a number game releases that I will present in cooperation with the developers so that the people have a better insight into them.
SV: Does streaming give you opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise?
YP: For sure! I was lucky enough, for example, to perform the Devil Trigger Song from the Game DEVIL MAY CRY 5 live for CAPCOM during GamesCon and I repeated that during the German release party for that game. By doing these appearances, I may get the opportunity to do other things in the future.
SV: How did the pandemic impact your artistic process? A lot of artists say that they feel clogged by it.
YP: Everything slowed down. Most people have more to do in their workplace, but lack the opportunity to go out and therefore everything has somehow come to a halt. For me personally, there hasn’t been that much change, in theory, because I’m working from home anyways due to the stream and the music. Naturally, everything else wasn’t possible which is why I’m doing this now.
SV: What can your fans look forward to the most with your new music?
YP: I think they can be most excited for music that is very true to me, it is more in a direction that I personally wanted and I was able to transport more personal messages. So far, there has only been one song that I previously released which was called Moonflower (2011). Now it’s 2021 and I’m debating to do a new version of Moonflower. Recently, I debuted the song Save Me during a stream. It’s not yet released, so it was more of a special for the stream and many more songs are supposed to follow that also have video-game-contents. The people watching the streams and who know what happens in the games may be able to recognize the influences and will thereby have a feeling of being part of that experience.
SV: What are the messages that you are trying to transport with your music?
YP: Definitely that the people shouldn’t be afraid to be themselves, to look like they want or to be what they want. These are modern times and the people should be able to do whatever they please as long as they don’t hurt anyone else. In theory, that is a given but I feel like it isn’t practiced enough. The people should have the courage to be themselves. It’s something important that I want to convey to the people that they are encouraged to see themselves as a real person and realize their potential and don’t let anyone or anything confine them.
SV: That seems to be a very personal message that you want to spread…
YP: Absolutely! For instance, when I started doing music, I always imagined what I wanted Yu Phoenix to be which is why I stared calling myself „Yu“ in the first place which means „Courage“ in Japanese. It obviously has more meanings and the idea originated from the thought that this name sound cool, because back then everyone needed a cool name. When I researched the meaning and origins further, I thought that „courage“ in Japanese was quite fitting and I wanted to become Yu Phoenix to evoke that courage within myself which wasn’t previously there.
SV: If you had one message to give to your fans, which would it be?
YP: I have one old motto which originated in a manga. I read that manga in German the motto was „Unter dem Himmel kein Zweiter“ and the manga was named Vagabond. I translated that motto somewhat clumsily into „Under heaven no second“ [originally the motto is „Invincible under the sun“; Editor’s note] and that is what I want to convey to people that you are truly unique in what you do. You don’t have to the best or something, but simply unique, that you stay true to you and realize that potential.
Got curios? YU PHOENIX streams almost daily on his Twitch-Channel and the single Save Me will be released on Nov. 11th!