Visual kei artist Sana Takizawa held two performances at Anime Los Angeles on both Friday and Saturday. JROCK NEWS had the privilege of attending the Saturday show and sitting down with him for an interview.

During the Saturday show, Sana appeared on stage with his glittering gold guitar. His performance included a mix of both original songs and covers. He catered to the Anime Los Angeles crowd by performing covers of popular anime songs, such as “KICK BACK” from “Chainsaw Man”, originally by Kenshi Yonezu.

He initially referred to his audience as “Barbies and Kens” since that was the impression he had of Los Angeles before arriving, but then he realized there was an even better term hidden in the city name itself“Angels”. He modified the lyrics of his song “WHERE iS MY HONEY?” to “WHERE iS MY ANGEL?”, adding a personal touch to his performance.

During the Saturday afternoon Q&A panel, he discussed how he got into music. He recalled developing an interest in visual kei during middle school and shared that he worked at the post office to afford his first guitar. Additionally, he mentioned that he learned to play by watching tutorials on YouTube.

In the final moments of the Q&A session, he pulled out his guitar and experimented with playing “WHERE iS MY Angel?” in different styles like blues and gospel, letting fans pick the genre. When someone suggested electronic “Hatsune Miku style”, he admitted that one might be a bit difficult, but he would learn it for next time. He joked, “Thanks for giving me homework”.

Sana aims to explore a wide variety of musical genres, without limits. In this interview, get to know the musician with boundless inspiration, Sana Takizawa.

Solo musician Sana Takizawa strikes a pose before a graffiti backdrop.Chaotic Harmony Imports

I hope you’ve been enjoying Anime Los Angeles! To start, please introduce yourself to our readers.

Nice to meet you JROCK NEWS, this is Sana Takizawa. I changed my artist name this year. It was “SANA”, but starting this year I’ll take my family name. So “Sana Takizawa” is my artist name.

For our readers who may be just now learning about you, how would you describe your music?

Now, it is like really “Jrock” because of my rootsmy career started in 2006, which was a great time for visual kei. It’s like the most beautiful visual age to me. Last year I released my self-cover album, “i”, which was originally released in 2006 as well.

If someone were to ask “Who is Sana?” which song would you recommend they start with to get an idea of who you are as an artist?

A more popular one is “WAKE ME UP From the Cage”. “WHERE iS MY HONEY?” is pretty good, too. Those are two of my strongest works. When I play them, people feel them.

When I was in Ukraine, I played a cover of Kenshi Yonezu’s song “KICK BACK” from “Chainsaw Man”. I also played a cover of “S-Class” (특) by Stray Kids. If I play guitar, people say they notice me. It depends on the place, tooin some other countries when I play someone’s song, people feel thankful.

WAKE ME UP From the Cage

You performed at Anime Los Angeles on Friday and also Saturday. How did that go?

It was one of my dreams to perform in Los Angeles. I had my first concert here in 2021, and finally, I can play a concert in Los Angeles.

On Friday, the first night, I tried a Jrock style from 2006, like myself. Then on Saturday, I performed after an idol group, so I tried a “visual kei idol” style. It was really differentkind of funnybut I tried. It was a really good experience for Sana Takizawa. I tried two ways. In the past, it was always just one way, but this year I changed my name so I want to experiment and try to find different styles.

During the Q&A Panel, I asked people “What should I sing?”. People said “Hatsune Miku”, or someone said “gospel” and “country music”.

That’s a wide range!

Yes! Or maybe R&B. Maybe this year will become something new.

Last year in 2023 you released the self-cover single “ai” in addition to the album “i”. What can you tell us about these releases and what did you want to convey with these songs?

“I” means “me”, or “watashi” (私) in Japanese. But in Japanese “ai” (愛) also means “love”. This was my first song from 2006. Then I decided the album title must be the same. But this “i” meaning myself, everyone uses it. I felt like it was nothing new, so I was thinking about the kanji [Japanese character]. Kanji can have the same sound, but a different meaning. Sometimes I choose a kanji with a deep meaning. For example, the character “ai” has the radicals for “tree” and “eye” so the meaning is “to look at a tree carefully”. That’s why I chose it.

In addition to your original songs, you’ve played covers of songs from a variety of genres, such as BTS’s “Fake Love”. What draws you to a particular song?

When I just play my songs, people usually just notice “WAKE ME UP From the Cage” and “WHERE iS MY HONEY?”, but the other songs, people feel are a little bit boring or not as interesting. People want to see original Asian music, but when I play original Asian music, it’s too original [laughs].

My organizer and my manager recommended the anime “Chainsaw Man” to me, so I watched it. If I love an anime series, then I’ll play the opening theme song from it. I watched “Chainsaw Man” and “Demon Slayer”, and they both made me cry, so I decided to perform their theme songs.

They brought out some emotions.

Yes. They made me feel like I wanted to perform more. I want to play better to share the emotions with the audience as if I’m promoting the series.

Also, in terms of “what draws me to a song”, I get a really good feeling listening to BTS and Kpop. The lyrics are really good. BTS’s “Fake Love” is really meaningful for me, I almost felt like the lyrics could be mine, or “maybe I could write something like this”. I felt like BTS and I are the same.

Maybe you’re the missing member of BTS.

[Laughs] Yeah!

WHERE iS MY HONEY? (I'm Here Mix)

In 2023 you were part of the “Wish Upon a Star Tour” which toured in cities in Ukraine and Georgia. Can you tell us more about this project and why you chose to visit these countries?

Well, just this year it became like a “project”. 2014 was the first time I went to Ukraine, it was my first overseas concert in my solo career. Then in 2022, Ukraine got into a bad situation. My agent and my friends over there said “Let’s have one concert in Ukraine”. It was in Lviv, the Western part of Ukraine. I said, “No, let’s try to make everything possible”. It became a 22-concert tour across 21 cities.

You wanted to reach as many people as you could.

Yes, so people can feel joynot like a party, but to help them forget the situation right now. It was really meaningful.

I played a tribute to Ukraine this weekend as well. Yesterday I played a Ukrainian song. For the crowd here it might mean nothing, but for me, it’s really meaningful. I felt so sorry for the audience because they were all watching and then suddenly the Ukrainian anthem was playing [laughs]. But they listened. I hope that soon, the war will stop, and we will hear the Ukranian anthem on TV everywhere. That’s my wish.

You’re a very talented guitarist and vocalist, but you usually perform solo with a backing track. Would you consider collaborating with or joining a band in the future? What sort of artists would you want to collaborate with?

Oh yeah! When I went to Kyiv, I was always doing sessions with local bands. If musicians are together with me, I want to always make something or be on the same stage. When I was in Orlando, I collaborated with a rapper. He was rapping while I was playing guitar. As far as someone I’d want to collaborate with… maybe MIYAVI?

Are all these different artists the reason you want to experiment so much?

The most important thing is that they are interesting to me. Then we can start working on something together.

Is there anything coming up that you can share with us? Perhaps new music or a new tour?

I’m already working on new music. I made three songs last night! I’m always recording like this [gestures to a small microphone he’s wearing]. So it’s definitely coming.

We might tour Ukraine again, and maybe around the Baltic States, like Latvia, and Estonia. Also Georgia, and Azerbaijan. If possible, we’ll go to Europe, but I don’t know yet.

We’ll look forward to more details! What other cities or countries would you like to perform in in the future?

Las Vegas! And Tennessee, because of Jack Daniels. I’m a fan of it, and I want to drink Jack Daniels, so I want to do a concert in Tennessee. I’d also like to perform in Los Angeles again! My angels are here, so I promised some people that I’ll make a “WHERE iS MY ANGEL?” song or something with “angels” as a motif. Maybe my next album will have something referring to “angels”, about my time here in Los Angeles.

So a Los Angeles-inspired “angel” theme?

Yes! I will have to come back to Los Angeles, just not right away. I need time. Maybe next year.

We’ll look forward to it!

I’ll do my best.

How has your visit to California been so far? Did you get the opportunity to look around the convention or are there any other places you’d like to visit while you’re here?

I wanted to go to Little Tokyo, but my friend James said Skid Row is closer. This was my first time in Los Angeles, so I bought a guidebook that told me to avoid three dangerous placesand Skid Row was one of them. Then I remembered that Skid Row is a band, but no, James said Skid Row is basically Little Tokyo. So, I decided to visit Chinatown instead.

I went to Chinatown and Santa Monica Beach. It was really beautiful. I saw musicians’ hands in the stars at the Chinese Theater. I wanted to see all of Los Angeles. We tried to go to Griffith Observatory, to see it all from the top of Mount Hollywood, but there was no parking.

Sana Takizawa basks in the neon glow of Chinatown, Los Angeles.Chaotic Harmony Imports

Typical Los Angeles!

Yes, so we went to the top, but there was no parking, so we went back down. My impression of Los Angeles is that it’s always rush hour [laughs].

Is there anywhere you still want to visit?

I’d like to go around Long Beach to see the ocean and the waves crashing.

Any final words you’d like to say to your international fans?

From last year and this year, my goal is to try lots of new things and new music, and I’m hoping to tour again. But I think I’ve already been talking too much [laughs]. So I’ll just say thank you very much!

JROCK NEWS thanks Chaotic Harmony Imports and Anime Los Angeles for making this interview possible.

Sana Takizawa presents a personalized autographed CD to JROCK NEWS.Bri (JROCK NEWS)

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