メトロノリ “I feel I have some kind of homeland (a background) in me, though I’m not sure where it is; while I’m in bed before I go to sleep, or almost in my dreams.”

Hikari has been producing music as メトロノリ since 2011. Her music comes out quite sporadically on Bandcamp and SoundCloud without any kind of press or attention (she’s already quietly released two new tracks this month), but they always leave a mark. Her music is immediate and personal and entirely at the hands of her improvised technique. Influenced by Juana Molina, Tori Kudo, and Hype Williams, Hikari uses whatever equipment she has at her disposal to elaborate on ideas, dreams, and personal experiences through music.

TMT spoke with Hikari about her methods of composition, her YouTube channel, and her artistic aspirations. For this interview, we are indebted to tamao ninomiya for the translation. It’s no accident that tamao also has a SoundCloud of lo-fi music and “deadpan jpop” that is well worth exploring, and to keep in line with the intimate and personal expressions that soak through both artists’ work, we’ve kept Hikari’s own words below each translation.


メトロノリ could well be the ultimate bedroom pop; where the melodies and effects are so fragmented from the vocals. It creates an intimate atmosphere, like this is only ever meant for one listener at a time. How do you go about producing these tracks and how do you imagine people listening to them?

I feel I have some kind of homeland (a background) in me, though I’m not sure where it is; while I’m in bed before I go to sleep, or almost in my dreams. When I make music, I sometimes think this takes form. I think about how sounds — from an improvised synthesizer’s sound to the noise that occurs in my daily life — merge together as bedroom pop. Perhaps it makes me feel the nostalgia. It was a discovery for me to find that bedroom pop can express those feelings.

I like to listen to music before I go to sleep, and I think maybe people like me listen to my music.

夜眠る前の想像や、ほとんど夢の中に、どこにあるか不可解だけども自分にある故郷を、強烈に感じますが、曲を作ると、それを不思議と浮かび上がらせたとたま に思います。こういう宅録、シンセの即興から自分の発した生活音まで、混じった録音であることでそんな郷愁を感じるのかもと思います。自分では、こういう 形で作れたことで、発見になったので良かったです。私は寝る前に音楽聴くのが好きですが、同じような人が聴いてるかも。

You describe your work as ‘experimental pop’ on your Bandcamp page. What kind of experiments do you conduct and how does that have an impact on what you release?

I make my music on my own — it’s like heaving sighs when I think I make music in such a strange way. When I listen to my music made up, I always think, “This is kind of strange…” So, when I write a tag for my music, I can’t find a way to explain it other than: “Experimental pop.” When I made my first song, “肉色,” on a Macbook (I didn’t work with earphones, and I can’t remember why I did it that way), I recorded and repeated tracks listening from my PC and mixed it down. After I uploaded on Soundcloud, I listened to that song for the first time with my earphones. I was really surprised, and thought “Was my music like this?” I heard bass sounds which I didn’t hear while making my song. Though it was different from what I thought of, it wasn’t bad, so I left it as it was. These kind of things happened often, and felt like I was choked up, and I thought I can’t make music squarely, in a normal way.

It’s hard to explain “what kind” of experiments I do on purpose, in details like “This makes that~.” I feel confused and wonder what I should say. Not only melodies, nor what kind of sounds come after another-making music, showing what I made, a daily life with these kind of lifeworks. I feel like they are all experiments, and so thinking about it makes me feel confused — it’s hard to define.

あまり知識がないので自己流なのですが、自分でもとても変な作り方だなと、ため息つきながらやっていました。出来上がるものを聴いても、いつも「変だな~」 と思い、タグを付ける際、エクスペリメンタルポップと言うほかなかったです。初めてMacで『肉色』という曲を作った時は、なんでそうしたか分からないの ですが……イヤホンをささず、Macbookのスピーカーで流しながらトラックを重ね、ミックスダウンしてsoundcloudに公開してしまってから、 やっと初めてイヤホンで聴きました。すると「こんな曲だったんだ!」とびっくりしました。それまで低音が聞こえてなかったんです。思っていたのとは違うけ ど悪くなくて、そのままにしました。そんなことばかりで、うんざりするというか、私はまともには作れないなと思いました。
 自分なりに意識して重ねている実験は、”こうすると、こんなふう”というものは、やっぱり説明するのが難しいです。何を言っていいのか分からなくなります……。つまりメロディーとか、音の次にくる音の実験のことを考えると、曲の実験、音楽をやって発表してることの実験、それのある生活の実験……みたいに拡大してごっちゃになってしまいます……。

I’m capricious and I want to stop doing things impulsively and immediately. Making music makes me worn out; it requires a lot of energy in a strange way, so I think I will not be able to work actively for a long time. When I can make music, like now, I want to do my best.

From what I understand, your first recording came out in 2011 as a CD-R. Since then you’ve released 5 EPs as メトロノリin less than a year. How important do you think it is to continue releasing so regularly?

I made my first CD-R expecting only my closest friends to listen. But after I released the album “回り”on band camp, some people introduced me on internet music articles. And also, around this time, I was in a better condition than before to spare my time on making music. I had a lot of inspiration in sequence of what I want to make, so I increased my productivity.

As making music became a part of my life, I had more feelings and thoughts than before, even while listening to music and reading books. So it was a good opportunity for me. But I think it is something temporary. I’m capricious and I want to stop doing things impulsively and immediately. Making music makes me worn out; it requires a lot of energy in a strange way, so I think I will not be able to work actively for a long time. When I can make music, like now, I want to do my best.

To release music continuously isn’t very important for me. I have very much uneasiness to continue something for the sake of it.

CDRは、周りの友達などに聴いてもらう想定で作っていましたが、『回り』というアルバムをbandcampで出してから、ネットで紹介してもらったりして、前 より多くの知らない人に自分の音楽を聴いてもらう機会が増えたのと、その頃から生活に余裕ができて制作に使える時間も増えていて、次々作りたいものが浮か んで、一時ペースが早まりました。曲作りが日常の一つになってから、音楽聴いても、本読んでも、以前より色んな事を感じたり考えられるようになったので、 そういう面では始められて良かったです。でも一時的なものに感じます。何でもすぐ衝動的にやめたくなったり、むら気なほうです。音楽にはすごく妙にエネル ギーが消耗させられるし、ずっと活動的にはできないと思います。今みたいに作れるときは頑張りたいです。
 定期的にリリースすることは重要と思えないです。何かを続けることにすごく不安があります。

As a nonspeaker of Japanese, the vocals are still an essential component within the sound. They are hushed and quieted, which really adds to the depth and the intimacy of the recordings, particularly on メテオール and ヴェール. Having said that, there also is a sense of curiosity behind what you are whispering. Are there any specific themes or ideas you sing about frequently?

Yes, there is. Something I feel in my daily life, a[n] impression of vague boundary, or as I said, like the atmosphere of a dream [in] which I feel like that there is and I know. I’m concerned with the words I use, but it is hard to grant my ideal, so I want to work on it more. Even if I had the words (lyrics) first, when I put words together with my music, there are some words that don’t fit at all, so I make changes while singing. I want to make efforts to portray what I want to express by music and words.

あります。日常で感じる、境界の曖昧になっている印象とか、さっき言ったような、どこかにあると自分が知っているような夢の雰囲気というか……。言葉に拘っ ているのですがなかなか理想を叶えるのは難しいので、もっとがんばりたいです。詩を作っても、いざ曲に合わせてみると歌うにはまったく良くない言葉が結構 あるので、歌いながら変更が加わります。もっと描きたい事を曲と言葉で表現出来るよう努力します。

You also include little moments, like interludes in the material (I’m thinking of “点き絵” in particular) wherein you play a delicate melody, while the heaviness of the equipment also can be heard. How do you come to these juxtapositions, and when do you decide to include them?

The subtle parts of my music are kind of improvised. So the reason it is made is from pleasure listening back to the implosive recording. It is enjoyable to to listen to sounds that are unrelated and not meant to be to the structure of melodies and rhythms.

I decide to make those intervals while putting it all together.

そういう箇所は即興性が強いというか、どういうところから生まれたかというと、即興の録音を聴き返す楽しみからです。メロディーやリズムの構成に元々無関係な音を、音楽として聴くのは楽しいです。

作りながらそういう間を設けて行きます。

Who produces the artwork for each EP and what can you tell me about the images you use?

I make my own artwork from pictures by taken by iPhone.

 自分でiPhoneなどで撮って作っています。

What do you make of ASMR?

I’m interested. I wasn’t familiar with it, so I searched about it a little. I found many ASMR videos on Youtube. I feel sympathies with people who love listening to sounds in these ways. I’ve needed music to help me sleep since a long time ago, and I thought I might sometimes want to choose an ASMR kind of feeling music to go to sleep.

When I made my first song, ‘肉色,’ on a Macbook (I didn’t work with earphones, and I can’t remember why I did it that way), I recorded and repeated tracks listening from my PC and mixed it down. After I uploaded on Soundcloud, I listened to that song for the first time with my earphones. I was really surprised, and thought ‘Was my music like this?’

The video for “働く日” (2011) has an ASMR feel to it, where the camera acts as an instrument in picking up the sound of fabrics, materials, music, and your voice. It’s a fascinating video and an exceptional approach to lo-­fi production. How strong is the relationship between music and video for you?

Thank you about my video. I didn’t give the video too much thought back then (now I have some interest). The reason I made that video was because I didn’t have a PC at the time. I made “働く日” with MTR, and wanted to show it, but I was troubled how to upload it. I came up with a idea to play the song from a speaker and take a video by iPhone, and upload it on Youtube. I made a rustling sound by a plastic bag while taking it. As I felt during making the song “働く日,” the poorly lacked and lonesome feeling came out in the video too.

ありがとうございます。私はビデオを作ろうとは、考えたことなかったです(今は少し興味が出てきました)。わけを話させてもらうと、その時パソコンを持って いませんでした、MTRで『働く日』の曲を作ったので、公開したかったのですが、どうアップロードしたものか悩みました。部屋で曲をスピーカーで流した所をiPhoneで動画に撮って、YouTubeにアップすればいいかと思いつき、そうしました。ビニール袋を撮りながらがさがさ動かしました。曲を作った 時の気持ちと同じく、部屋での貧しく寂しい感じが出ました。

はい。知らなかったのでちょっと検索しました。Youtubeに沢山あるんですね。その愛好者たちに、音の聴き方で共感するところがあります。昔から、眠るために何か聞くというのが音楽鑑賞のほとんどなので、たまにそういうのを選ぼうと思うかも。

In spite of the intimate design of your recordings, there is a feeling of anonymity behind each EP. Was it at all significant for you to appear in the video of “夏の アンビエント”?

The girl in the video is not me, my friend. I played the song ”夏のアンビエント” from the speaker in my room, and I took a video of my friend cooking. It is very private, but not anonymous. I don’t have strong feelings about anonymity.

 あれは私ではなくて、友人です。部屋でその曲を流して、そこで彼女がご飯を作ってるところを、私が撮りました。でもそれもすごく私生活ですよね。匿名性については実際はあまり考えていないです。

All of your EPs are available for ‘Name Your Price’ on Bandcamp. What made you decide to do this? Is it something you plan on changing in the future?

Many people release their music free or NYP, so I’m taking this way too. I would like to release my music in physical editions someday.

 フリーや投げ銭でいろんな人が出しているし、私もそんなふうに、という感じです。いつかフィジカルリリースしたいです。

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