Alpha999 is the solo project of TAKA, the former singer of LEG’end PRIMe. Aside from that he is also a model and has been a radio DJ for a while. Quite an impressive portfolio so far, right? For this interview I wanted to talk about his music project Alpha999 specifically, but for TAKA there is one dream that really stands out above all others…
01. Most people reading this interview will not be familiar with Alpha999 as a project or you as a singer. Instead of me introducing you and your work to the readers, I would like to ask you if you can introduce yourself in your own words. Who is TAKA, and what is Alpha999 exactly according to you?
TAKA: Someone who has been shining as an artist has always taken the name of “star”, and the stars that shine the brightest to me are rock stars. This project started out because I wanted to work on a music project as the one and only rock star that I always longed to be.
02. You refer to your fans as “Alphamily”, but how did you come up with this name? Did you come up with it yourself, or was it a name the fans affectionately gave you and you just started to use it?
TAKA: I learned that all fans considered each other as a family, which made me decide to mix up the name “Alpha” with “family” and came up with “Alphamily” as an end result. The meaning behind this name is the feeling of being “one” that we have created together.
03. Aside from a singer you are also a model, and you’ve done various other things of which we’ll get to some in a moment. What can you tell me about your model career? Is there a specific style or brand you like to, or would like to model for? And what made you decide to become a model? Did someone scout you, or did you just want to do it out of your own?
TAKA: I didn’t think I wanted to be a model at first. But when I was asked for the first time I decided to broaden my perspective on various activities and accepted. I already loved fashion and it was surprisingly fun to shoot, so I decided I wanted to continue to work as a model.
There actually isn’t a particular meaning. (laughs)
04. You’ve started Alpha999 after the previous project LEG’end PRIMe ended, but do you feel that you have more freedom as a solo artist with support members than as a whole band? Would you ever consider becoming a full band again rather than a solo artist?
TAKA: The activities in the previous band have been completely exhausted. And while the band does have the greatness of the band, there are various insults at the same time that actually made me consider to retire from music as a whole. But the opportunity to start again presented itself, and I accepted it. I started with a solo project because I wanted to be able to do all of the music by myself to be able to express myself to the fullest.
It might be a solo project, but I love the style and feel of a band. I have a strong desire to work as a band, but I only want to work with musicians who I respect more than ever. This might actually be the reason that made me decide to start looking for members to join me on stage.
I don’t think I want to have a full band right now, but in time I might be okay with it. I don’t feel like doing a band with the same rock. I think it’s a “kick”, lol. Isn’t it possible to work with a certain sense of pride?
05. Aside from your current work as a singer for your solo project you have quite the list of activities and achievements already, like the radio show “DOUBLE BILLION” where you appeared as a radio personality with 愛沢光 (Aizawa Hikari) for a whole year, as well as ending themes for various TV shows on Chiba TV and your song “The Never Ending Story” was voted into the Top 10 for best wedding songs as well. Did you ever expect that your songs would be so well received?
TAKA: It was great for me that I was selected as a radio MC and was allowed to work there. I remember how difficult it was to communicate, talk and how to proceed with the program. (laughs) But this experience has inspired me a lot.
I also really appreciate how I was involved in the TV program too. Being selected as one of the top 10 wedding songs with “The Never Ending Story” was very surprising to me, but I really do appreciate it. For me it was a very confident piece of work, so finally! (laughs)
06. Your last release as Alpha999, “在る1つの景色 (Aru 1tsu no keshiki) / Unlike Evolution” was at the end of last year. Are you currently working on something new, or have you been more focused on the live shows you’ve done this year?
TAKA: I am always making songs. There are a lot of new songs right now, and we are working on a new song production as well.
Rather than just saying something I want to express, I produce a song about it. I compare this song with the stage and I make a story again. I would like to continue with these exciting stages and music productions.
07. The newest release is actually a collaboration with Ash Berry and is set to release on October 11 of this year, “Orion”. How did this collaboration come to be? Since the announcement for this release was made in August of last year already and it will be released more than a year later. Did you already know what kind of collaboration you wanted to do back then?
TAKA: I met Ash Berry through a live performance. What is the relationship that I can respect and meet with each other while playing against the stage together because the sound, soul and heat really fit my life exactly? Can you do it?
Then, the story of our collaboration comes out and we went for it. I immediately wrote a song. It’s an amazing collaboration that was born from the live stage.
08. Would you like to do more collaboration releases in the future, or was this unique release with Ash Berry a one time project for now?
TAKA: It may be the second and third bullets. (laugh)
I don’t know at this stage, but I do want to make this collaboration more popular. But as long as I have such premonitions… I think it’s impossible. (laugh)
09. For the live shows of Alpha999 you make use of support members who we know from other bands like for example SuG, G.L.A.M.S, Apes From Nine and アクメ (ACME). But what made you choose these members? Is it because of their skills, or is there a really good personal vibe between you?
TAKA: Of course there are the performance skills, but no matter how popular the members might be, they must respect and value the activities they want to express.
Actually, I’ve tried to work with some people in the past, either live or on the studio, but we didn’t match enough so they turned away. (laughs)
The current members are so good because of their own values in particular, but everyone is always really inspiring and always thinking about how they can make Alpha999 better.
In terms of human relations, can you even know if the current members are a good relationship for me?
10. Depending on the support members you are using for a show, do you feel like there is a difference to the shows themselves? Like is there a difference when Syu plays drums behind you, or when shinpei plays drums behind you? Or when RIKITO or 糀谷拓也 (Kōjitani Takuya) plays bass next to you?
TAKA: Of course there are habits and play styles that are unique to that person. So it’s natural that there is a difference. There is no sense of incongruity. Each member has their own charm, and the current members are wonderful friends as well.
11. Regardless of which members are supporting you as a singer during the live, can you describe what an Alpha999 live show is like for the ones who have never attended one of your lives? What can they expect?
TAKA: I want to experience something fun either way. So for example for the ones that are worried, or the ones who simply want to experience a rock live, that pierces my heart. I want to see an amazing live. Anything!
Anyway, the stage of Alpha999, the stage that gives the simulation and power to the live music, will definitely be delivered from the heart. So I really want you to come and see us play at least once!
12. You’ve started Alpha999 about three years ago and I believe you celebrated your 3rd anniversary with a live show on July 27 of this year. When you look back on those three years with the knowledge you have now, would you have done anything differently? And if yes, what would you have done differently?
TAKA: There isn’t much that I would have changed, but while I am working I don’t think there is any mistake in what I did. There are some small details for me personally, but I think it’s important to grow up and it’s still developing, so would it be too quick to change anything? That’s what I think.
13. What can fans expect from Alpha999 in the future? Do you have anything planned that they can look forward to?
TAKA: I’m always working towards a wonderful scenery such as the Nippon Budokan or the Tokyo Dome, so I want to make Alpha999 stand there to match the expectations.
There are various activity plans, but I don’t dare to share them here just yet. All of the fans are thrilled, I feel more wow… I want to support them more. I am glad I got that… I want to go.
14. Rather than something that’s already in the cards right now for revealing in the near future, do you also have dreams you want to achieve with Alpha999? Like for example an overseas tour or a show at a specific venue in Japan?
TAKA: Like I already said in the previous answer, I would really like to play in Nippon Budokan and Tokyo Dome. But I also dream of participating in an overseas tour and many, many festivals… I really want to go to a festival so I really hope to get more offers!
15. And last but not least, do you have a message for everyone reading this interview?
TAKA: If you have an interest in Alpha999, which is only active in Japan right now, then please use social media to spread the word about us. Come see us live if you can!
And for overseas fans specifically: if you want us to play abroad, let us hear your voices!
Anyway, I want to make the best, cool Alpha999 that can be active all over the country.
Hopefully I will be able to meet you all someday!
Alpha999 – The Never Ending Story (MV):
Ash Berry x Alpha999 – Orion (MV):