Interview with fhána – Comic Fiesta 2016

We were very honoured to have had the opportunity to speak with fhána, a four-member Japanese pop band, during Comic Fiesta 2016.  fhána is making waves across the world with their indie music and powerful performances. Let’s see what the members have to share!

(Translations were made from Japanese to English)

Q: You made your U.S. debut last year at Anime Weekend Atlanta. What was the most interesting memory from the event?

A: Of course, because the event was in the U.S., we expected everyone to be speaking in English, but it was a pleasant surprise to find that many fans there could speak Japanese. Also, there were so many cosplayers at the hotel that when we looked out from the window, we could see about 20 Luffy cosplayers, the character from One Piece, walking around. One of the most memorable one was a 70-year-old man cosplaying as Hatsune Miku. He walked up to us and said, ‘Here is an illustration of Hatsune Miku. I’ll give it to you!’, and when we looked at it, it was surprisingly a very cute illustration.

When we were performing, our slot was in the middle – we weren’t performing the opening stage nor the closing one. In Japan, the concert culture is that when you play as the ending performance, you usually get called for an encore, but it was very surprising for us during our performance because even though we were one of the acts in the middle, we still got called for an encore during that time. We were already prepared to get off the stage because the next performers were due on stage, but we were called for an encore so it was a very pleasant surprise.


Q: Which song which embodies fhána would you pick to introduce to new fans/listeners?

A: Hoshikuzu no Interlude (Stardust Interlude) and probably also Niji o Ametara.



Q: How did the name fhána come about?

A: This is quite a long story. Before I tell you about it, I will talk about how the band first formed. Initially, the three male members of our band participated in separate activities as part of different indie bands. Over time, we got to know about each other through Twitter and social networks of the sort and we decided that we wanted to meet up and get to know each other. We liked each other’s music. We were also fans of anime and games, and there were a lot of overlapping interests. Out of all the shows we liked to watch, we were particularly big fans of the anime Clannad. It was a very moving show and we thought it would be great if we could make music that can trigger the same kind of reaction among the public, so we decided to form a band together. In terms of looking for a band name, we went and checked the origin of the name “Clannad”. In Gaelic, the ancient Celtic language, the word literally means ‘your connection with your family’. We thought that was very cool and if we were able to find a word with a similar kind of nuance, that would be a nice name to give to the band. After a bit of research, we found the name ‘fhána’, which in the Gaelic dialect, means ‘slope’.

For us, it has a deep and interesting meaning, because if you are climbing up a slope, it is a constant upwards battle and you are constantly heading to the top. Rather than being right at the top, we decided to use this name to embody the meaning that we’re constantly heading to the top and climbing up the slope. Also, in Clannad, there was a school at the top of the hill and at the bottom of it was where the two main characters met. Putting all of that together, in addition to how nice the name sounded, we decided to call the band fhána.


Q: What would you like the Malaysian fans to take away as the experience from the upcoming concert?

A: Everybody has their own preferences, and they’re free to like whatever music genre they prefer, but it would be great if they would be able to take away positive energy from fhána’s music especially after our performance tonight [in Comic Fiesta Day 1]. We would also like to see if people would be moved by our music. If you listen to our music, we have a slightly cool and distant image, but if you watch us during our live performances, we are very passionate and into it. We would like our fans to be able to realize that and see that during our performance.


Q: fhána had a collaboration with Lia this year during Animelo Summer Live 2016. When you first found out about the collaboration, how did you feel about the news?

A: We have no words for it. In a way, we were speechless and it was overwhelming so when we heard about it, we did not know what to say. We were very nervous because it was a very important collaboration. The song had a lot of meaning to us, and the performance had a special place for us. All of that put together gave us a lot of pressure and the expectations were really high. We were wondering if we could perform the song to the best of our potential and make the best out of it so it was a little nerve-wracking for us.

The kinds of music associated with Key, the game company, as well as Lia’s vocals were something I [Kevin] grew up listening to, especially during my teenage years. You could say the music has an impact in forming who I am today. To collaborate with someone who had a hand in making me who I am today…it is very difficult to put it into words. The feeling is indescribable.


Q: How do you feel about performing in Malaysia for the first time and how do you find Malaysia so far?

A: The food is good! We had mee goreng and satay, which we thought were something like yakisoba and yakitori. It is also very hot here. It is very cold in Japan right now, so when we first landed here, we saw a Christmas tree here in this warm country. It was very different and it was a strange feeling.

One thing that was particularly impactful was that we were told that there might be 45,000 people coming for this event, as it was the estimate for last year. The large number of attendees puts a new perspective to things, as we wondered about us performing in front of all these people. It was a very different viewpoint of Comic Fiesta for us.


Q: When performing abroad, do you prepare differently compared to performing in Japan?

A: Essentially we make preparations in a very similar way, but when we perform overseas, there are people who don’t understand Japanese, so we would think about how we could get our emotions across with our songs if our language doesn’t get through. We put a lot more effort into ensuring that we can get our message across during our performances overseas. Also, the fans are different. Japanese fans and overseas fans get into the groove of the performances differently. We would watch the reaction of the crowd and tweak our performance based on the response of the crowd.


fhána’s performance during Comic Fiesta Day 1 was truly unforgettable for everyone who watched it. We truly hope fhána had a great time in Malaysia, and we do look forward to their next new song! To find out more about them, check them out at their Facebook page!

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