TeddyLoid is an artist whose name has traversed the world of electronic music. He has been a producer for many of the anime industry’s most popular songs as well. We had the chance to sit down with TeddyLoid to catch up on his feelings around many of the anime conventions throughout the world being canceled as well as what has happened since the last time we talked.
OTAQUEST: Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to talk to us today. Just before we started the interview, you brought up the fact that many of the anime conventions that you were scheduled to perform at have been all canceled, can you share with us your feelings about the situation with conventions being canceled or delayed due to COVID-19?
TeddyLoid: First of all, thanks for this opportunity to let me talk for this interview. Domestically, I still have my career as a music producer, but internationally, I usually performed at 10 to 13 anime conventions per year. However, all of the events that I was scheduled to perform this year got canceled. It’s really unfortunate. But more so than not being able to perform in the States, I feel that the fans are having an troubling time not only with the coronavirus situation, but also of the matters surrounding racism and discrimination. It really makes me worried; I am very concerned of their safety.
OTAQUEST: So, you’re worried about if their day to day lives are affected?
TeddyLoid: Exactly, because if they lose their day to day life or if something along those lines are affected, then effectively I lose my chance to meet the fans in the States. I love the atmosphere of the conventions, and I love the people there. It’ll be too sad if I wouldn’t be able to meet them again.
OTAQUEST: Continuing on that, anime conventions are really diverse and there really isn’t much discrimination. It’s a place for everyone to get together and share a common interest. In regard to this, what are some of the things that you enjoy about anime conventions and what would you like to see more of?
TeddyLoid: Just like you said, anime conventions allow people from all walks of life to share their interests together. I think it’s really great. I myself, love video games and anime. If I wasn’t performing as a DJ at the anime conventions, I would still go there anyway on my own as one of a convention’s fans.
If there was something that I could change, or want to see more of, I would love to be able to introduce more Japanese artists. In “Silent Planet” my album which I released two years ago, there were a bunch of Japanese artists who collaborated with me. I would love to be able to go with those artists and perform with them at the anime convention in the states.
At the last OTAQUEST LIVE event, it was awesome to be able to perform together with ☆Taku Takahashi, and Yasutaka Nakata. The SYNERGY events are great too. They introduce popular DJs from Japan like Kors K. I think it would be even better if singers and rappers could join in on the event as well.
OTAQUEST: There are many artists that are selected by the media and other connections, but I guess your fans will be delighted if you would come to our conventions with artists you recommend, like through a live event.
TeddyLoid: That’s right. Something in-between would be nice. For example, It’ll be awesome if I could perform with my extremely talented friend Virtual Riot, who I released a song with. Maybe do a DJ set from Los Angeles with him, myself, and possibly an anime song singer from Japan. This kind of thing has not been done yet, so I feel that it would be new and sensational.
OTAQUEST: That would be really interesting. You’ve been a guest for 20 or 30 anime conventions so far, what were your impressions of anime conventions when you were first booked? How did you feel?
TeddyLoid: I think the first anime convention that I got booked was Anime Matsuri. The event had 4,000 to 5,000 people attending for the DJ event alone where I performed. That’s a lot of people(laughs). What really resonated with me the most was when I played my own songs and the fans in the front of the crowd sang along, including the rap parts. The amount of energy was amazing.
OTAQUEST: When was that?
TeddyLoid: I think that was in 2015 or 2016. In 2016 I ranked number 5 on Spotify’s most listened Japanese artist playlist. At that time, the number one spot was Radwimps, BabyMetal was in second place, the third was One OK Rock, fourth was Pikotaro, and I was in fifth after these really talented popular artists. It surprised me.
OTAQUEST: That’s an amazing group of people to be among.
TeddyLoid: I felt like it was too good to be true. Then when I got booked to more events all around the world, it felt more real.
OTAQUEST: So, the numbers came out first.
TeddyLoid: That’s correct. I was gaining more traction internationally than in Japan. I think it was the same for Ujico* as well.
OTAQUEST: That must have been really exciting, especially at the event.
TeddyLoid: I was so glad.
OTAQUEST: Before attending your first anime convention, did you realize how popular you were in the States?
TeddyLoid: Because of the ranking on Spotify, I kind of knew that there were people listening to my songs internationally, but I wasn’t expecting that much of response. My autograph sessions lasted for two or three hours straight. I really appreciate it. I never expected that my creations would cross the ocean and become able to be enjoyed at anime conventions. I was interacting with fans internationally through the internet and services like Myspace from quite a while. It makes me happy that when I had finally got the opportunity to visit other countries to perform, they reached out and came to meet me at my performance. It’s always really nice to meet them.
OTAQUEST: But all of those things have been canceled…
TeddyLoid: One of the things that I really want to do is be able to express the amount of hype that the international market has for Japanese artists. I wasn’t able to do that, so I have always felt that doing things like that with OTAQUEST was inspiring. I actually reached out to ☆Taku about doing something like that this year. He was also really positive about it too. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it this year, but its a great idea to do it next time.
OTAQUEST: When you performed for SYNERGY, you did that from your house, right?
TeddyLoid: That wasn’t my house, but rather my private studio.
OTAQUEST: So, you thought of ways to perform at your private studio?
TeddyLoid: Yes, and it was actually pretty fun. I made that studio for myself about a year ago, and initially, I had no intention to do a live stream from there. It was a place for me to get into my own head and do work as well as record vocals anytime. Then I got an offer from MOGRA for their MU2020, an online event that took place in April. Kz, D-YAMA, DJ WILDPARTY also performed for the event. Up until then, for online events people only recorded themselves at DJ booths or just had shots of their hands doing a DJ set. That kind of felt lonely and empty to me…so I added lighting as well as larger speakers so I could really give off the vibe of a DJ performance.
OTAQUEST: This is something that I am personally wondering about. I understand you added lighting for visuals for live streaming, but how about the large speakers? Did you add the large speakers to excite yourself?
TeddyLoid: Well, when people usually do a live stream DJ performance, they do it with a lower volume or even on headphones only. However, I wanted to do it with the full sound.
OTAQUEST: A level of sound that would likely get you in trouble with your neighbors if you did it at home. (laughs)
TeddyLoid: Exactly(laughs) I wanted to be able to provide the viewers with the same type of experience they would get if they saw me perform at an actual venue.
OTAQUEST: Are you able to actually see the viewer’s reactions? There are many reactions that happen during a performance online on the screen. Is that something that matters to you?
TeddyLoid: During the SYNERGY event, there was an amazing amount of people participating during my set, it was a combination of the regular SYNERGY fans as well as new fans watching the event. I had my iPad set up in front of the DJ booth so I could see the comments coming in. So that I was able to see the reactions.
OTAQUEST: You’ve performed in Chicago at SYNERGY with us previously, can you talk a bit about the differences between performing online with STAY HOME Edition and being at a physical SYNERGY event?
TeddyLoid: What’s the best way to put this… I guess it’s the lack of physical presence. I mean, of course they’re present, but it’s sad that I couldn’t feel the atmosphere.
OTAQUEST: So, there was a lack of physical vibes?
TeddyLoid: I guess that would be the biggest difference. I’m just in my own personal space after all, so it’s really different. There is no cheering or screaming, it was a bit lonely (laughs). It kind of feels like a one-sided event.
OTAQUEST: Your studio is prepared and remodeled, but I’d imagine that you have strong feelings that this will become the new normal.
TeddyLoid: That’s true, 10 years ago or even from when I was in third grade, I felt that all instruments would be able to be played on the computer. That’s why I started focusing on computer music. We just need to be prepared for anything we can expect. When the time comes when we can perform outdoors we’ll do it outdoors, but we should always be prepared. No one knows what’s going to happen in the future. I also have outfitted my studio to be able to work remotely. So that I can collaborate with musicians online.
However, I feel that I need to meet the people that I work with in person in some capacity. For now, it’s hard to meet up with people, but communicating is important and we should find a way. For example, I’m a huge gamer, so I sometimes do meetings in a game. For instance, I did a track for Attack The Music with an international vocalist by the name of DELTA. I meet up with her in Animal Crossing and talk about songs that we’re working on together.
OTAQUEST: So, you’re not really against it, there is no negative thoughts surrounding it?
TeddyLoid: Well, it’s just that I try to not think too negatively about it. I try to find and keep positive thoughts. I think my job as a DJ has the power to add joy and keep things moving on each page of my fans’ life too.
OTAQUEST: Changing the topic here, just before synergy you joined the creative studio OTOIRO. As a company that seems to have an equal focus on both audio & visual creators, what attracted you to join them?
TeddyLoid: Last year, I left my previous agency and worked a few months freelance searching for what I should do next. At the beginning of the year, I had a casual talk with the president of OTOIRO, DECO*27. He worked with me on the galaxias! project about 10 years ago with an actress, Kou Shibasaki as a group. As we talked, he invited me to OTOIRO, saying everyone will be very welcome. I went home to seriously think about it as one option. Thinking of my biggest hits with Panty and Stocking, and Me Me Me, I felt like visuals and music are essential especially for the generation that we’re in, and I relied heavily on visuals as well. I am fortunate to have multiple hits, and I wanted to be able to expand on that. So, OTOIRO seemed like a natural decision.
OTAQUEST: So, in other words, you feel that you need to work with people who put love and care into visuals?
TeddyLoid: Exactly. I joined them in April when the coronavirus started to spread, However, I one of the reasons that I still have lots to do during this corona period is because I started to do more V-Tubers and Vocaloid projects. These projects are in some ways special. It’s something that doesn’t get affected by the coronavirus. Rather, because more people stay home and enjoy digital content now, more people are interested in V-tubers and Vocaloids. Thankfully, after collaborating with Kizuna Ai, I started to get more commissions from Vtubers. I’m now working on Vocaloid songs too. Digital content including anime won’t go anywhere. I really enjoy doing these projects, since I love digital content and anime too.
OTAQUEST: As a final question, do you have any message that you would like to share with anime convention-goers or your fans?
TeddyLoid: With the situations we’re in right now, with the problems surrounding the coronavirus and all of the discrimination happening, the world is now in a dark place. I hope that we can get through this darkness together. I hope that after we get through it, we can return to our day to day lives and can connect to each other again. I am waiting for that day to come with all of my heart. For now, I am working on lots of new projects and making new music. Please look forward to it. Thank you!