Updated: Feb 13, 2021
It’s a cold night in February when I have this conversation with Daniel Kobayashi, an artist that has made noise recently with his music being noticed for its angst-channeled romanticism. His video for the latest song to catch the ears of listeners ”BLUE” just released and after taking in the amazing visuals, I needed to ask him a few things. This our conversation.
Ghost Town Media: First off, the song “Blue” is amazing. Did you know you had something this special when you wrote it?
Daniel Kobayashi: Thank you! Truthfully no. When I wrote blue, I was writing it at the same time as several other songs. It was a very natural, quiet process. It wasn't until weeks after I released it where I was like - "oh okay, I can see how someone else would be into this."
GTM: Have you had moments like that before like with your song “Russian”?
DK: Russian was definitely the first time that happened for me, I think that's why I adopted a pop/rock/hip hop sound. This song is like the perfect example actually - I just let it rip when I was recording and the energy came across and reached out to people. I'm looking forward to writing more music like that, but maybe lightening up a bit ! I don't feel nearly as intense now haha.
GTM: Speaking of rock music, do you think you will experiment with a live band in the future?
DK: Of course ! I've worked with a live band before for some of my music and I loved the energy.
GTM: There seems to be a big emphasis on colors throughout the video, was that something you and the director wanted to stand out?
DK: I have an obsession with the relationship between colors and emotion. Colors our a powerful way to communicate. When Louie and I say down to write out this video, we knew right away that we wanted it to be colorful.
GTM: Has that always been something you’ve wanted to keep in mind while creating your visuals?
DK: 2. Absolutely 100% yes. I have a very specific range of colors I work with, I am very particular about the use of colors in my art.
GTM: On a slightly personal note, what is your favorite color?
DK: Haha, I’m a big fan of crimson red.
GTM: Does the triangle in the video have any symbolic meaning?
DK: No. None at all.
GTM: Do you think the talent involved in the video might be so talented that they don’t even realize that they are creating any underlying symbolism?
DK: Truthfully yes, and at some point Louie (the director) even mentioned to me that the neon structure I was inside of (ya know, the large neon cube) was meant to symbolize the imprisonment we feel inside of toxic relationships. I was kind of blown away by that.
GTM: Is the direction of your videos something you have more of an oversight with and how much do you ask from the director?
DK: Because I have a background in photo editing and design, I like to have an in depth involvement with the editing process. I don't like bossing people around because I feel like that'll stifle their creativity, but I do like to steer the direction a little bit. I try to make it a 50/50 experience.
GTM: How far back does that experience go? Was that a passion before music?
DK: Oh I've had an interest in being able to edit and design for as long as I can remember - like - 12? 13? 14? It's been a long, long time. My admiration for those two things were always hand in hand. I remember the definitive moment: the music video for 'all of the lights' by Ye dropped - and after I saw the intro that Hype Williams made - I KNEW I had to be able to make stuff like that.
GTM: So you would credit Hype Williams as your inspiration? What other artist/directors inspire you?
DK: Oh man - visually? Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, Kanye West, Marina Abramovic, The Neighbourhood, George Lucas, Stanley Kubrick, Lana Del Rey, Yung Blud, I could go on. I'm a pop culture freak! Haha.
GTM: You’ve got an eclectic set of influences. That’s amazing. So back to something a little closer to home. Did or does the song ever feel too real at times? Do you, or maybe even other artists, get a little freaked out at the idea of such a personal thing being on display?
DK: It's funny you ask that! I was just thinking the other day about how personal some of my music has gotten. I haven't gotten used to that yet, but I've noticed the more personal and real my music gets, the more people can relate. I don't get freaked out about being honest on some of these tracks per say, I think I've gotten pretty good about just saying what I feel. It's the aftermath that always makes me cringe! Haha.
GTM: When you say aftermath do you mean the end product itself or the response it gets?
DK: Oh I for sure mean the response it gets. You never know how people are gonna take one thing or another, and on top of that, everyone is a keyboard warrior nowadays. Hopefully it's all love for this song and video but we'll see !
We wrapped up the conversation with well wishes and me racing back to my YouTube app to watch the video for “BLUE” again after I gained a deeper appreciation for a song I already had on repeat.
by: Steven Sandage