From Indie Japanese Studio to Worldwide Recognition
Interview with Animators Kota & Totori
Winners of the Radiohead In Rainbows Music Video Contest
Creators of "15 Steps"
Watch it now!
One of four finalists selected by Radiohead for their music video submission to the In Rainbows Animated Music Video Competition, they won $10,000 and the respect of animators around the globe. The icing on the cake? Meeting the band backstage at their concert in Japan.
Watch "15 Steps"!>>
What motivated you to participate in the Radiohead contest?
I guess Tower Records’ web magazine gave us the main idea to participate.
Mr. Kota told me: “There is this contest…” and I immediately said to myself that we must be in it.
What was the process like?
producer and script
director, character design, content and script
First we discussed topics such as daily frustrations or graphics that we would implement. We mainly took ideas from common everyday life. As a result, contemporary culture and the social environment got incorporated with nature. From the outside, it looks as if Japanese culture is complete and full of life, but I think that in terms of social environment it is very chaotic. And there are a lot of weird crimes…so we are discussing topics like these…but we also talk a lot of crap :)
Then we immediately turned the ideas into drawings. First was the character design. We simply drew, drew, drew. For our character this time we had more than 100 ideas and drawings.
Then came the drawing contents. Here we didn’t have a special theory; we just fantasized and created the drawing at once. I believe that in this way, the outcomes were much more original.
After these few levels, came the core – the concept and the story board. It’s not that we had some secret box full of ideas. In fact, we implemented our life experience and the social environment of contemporary Japan, and that’s how this work came to life.
Give us your opinion about Radiohead’s music.
Their music creates some balance between the existing chaos and the pop that from time to time puts up barriers. It’s like a lullaby for me. The texts and the melody are so poetic, as if you are in a fable.
I think that that the greatest thing about such a big and world renowned band as Radiohead is that they are not absorbed by the surrounding environment, but know to follow their own muse and progress the way they want.
In particular, the combination of the way this album was released, aniboom’s promo video and the remix of the tracks were very good. The album was not just released, there was a special influence on the fans and the listeners that made them think deeply. Last, but not least, the tracks and the music as an enterprise are revolutionary.
What was it like to win?
First of all, I was very happy. I pray that this animation will become some kind of a step in life for the viewers, since for us the contest prize became a step in our souls. We would like to thank all the people that took part in this project. Thank you!
First of all I am grateful! Thank you all!! I would like to thank all the people in charge, and the one who voted for us.
View Kota & Totori's Portfolio>>
How was Radiohead’s concert at Saitama’s Super Arena? Did you meet the band?
It was a wonderful live show. There was very strong feeling of “band morphology”, more than I had imagined. This brought a fascinating performance sense. And the most shining thing was Thom Yorke’s voice. Some people might say: didn’t you know about it? But I rediscovered it, and it was a very good feeling for me to hear it. Just a good feeling. I can even call it “the magical voice falling from the sky”.
After the concert we met the band members backstage and talked to them. They came to greet us in person and we spoke to each one of them. I was fascinated by them as gentlemen and it was very impressive that they spoke about their children. Their children even saw our video! I was so glad! We also gave the band members a poster with the animation characters.
It was extremely good! From the first song the whole arena was taken in by Radiohead’s groove. I even noticed my self crying several times.:)
All the members are such great gentlemen. We spoke about simple things such as Japanese food, and the members that have children were talking about their kids. We heard their kids liked our promo video.
What’s next for you?
We would like to implement new ideas that are based on this work’s sequel or its side story. We would also like to continue overseas communication about the graphic design of this work and the new projects.
In particular, we would like to brand the Japanese animation under the motto “Japanese Anime as Art”. I wish we could get to collaborate with Björk and Madonna at next year’s MOMA and TATE MODAN exhibition.:)
I would be happy to create a sequel. The main character will be a girl this time. :)
After that, I would like to start working on a kids program such as “Yo Gabba Gabba!” and “Pancake Mountain”.
is currently working as an art director in the following fields: company (enterprise) CI design, commercials, web, visual, branding. He’s looking for assistants!
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is currently working in a wide range of fields, including: music /visual mixed projects, production, creation of CM, TV animation series and many others.
Visit his Homepage
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Watch winning video “15 Steps”