Weathering With You: Award-Winning RADWIMPS On Re-Teaming With Anime Auteur Makoto Shinkai For Score

The Japanese band RADWIMPS gained international fame with their work on the award-winning Kimi no Na wa (Your Name), an anime film that saw its male and female leads switching bodies and influencing each other’s lives. The songs and score came from the band and its frontman Yojiro Noda. Fast forward a few years and that film’s director, Makoto Shinkai, reached out to the band once again for his film Weathering With You. This writer is biased, having fallen in love with RADWIMPS before Your Name hit, but this soundtrack is on a completely different level. LRM Online was privileged to speak with the band about their work on the new film’s soundtrack in an email interview.

Weathering With You is your second collaboration with director Makoto Shinkai, the first being Your Name. How different was your approach to writing and composing for this film compared to the previous? Did you have to prepare yourselves differently going into it?

Kuwahara: We had more to do this time around. But because we were working directly with the director and it was our second collaboration, it went pretty smoothly.

LRM Online: What were you given by Makoto Shinkai to start working on the soundtrack with? Did he provide a script, storyboards, animatics, or just a story treatment?

Noda: I received the script about a year after Your Name was released, in August of 2017. After reading the script, the first song I composed was “Is There Still Anything That Love Can Do?”

LRM Online: Your Name was many Americans’ and other Westerners’ introduction to your band and there is a lot of excitement for Weathering With You in the west as well. Has working on these two films increased your interactions with westerners? If so how has that been for you?

Kuwahara: There is no mistake that many people overseas discovered us and heard our music through Your Name. It makes us really happy.

LRM Online: Yojiro Noda, you have said that writing lyrics can be difficult for you, that you often question what you have written on the page. Does that hold true when writing for a movie soundtrack? For example, does knowing the characters and stories help the lyrics come easier

Noda: It’s beneficial. It’s harder to compose music and write the lyrics from scratch with only what you have inside. Film has story and the emotions of the characters as an entrance to ideas, so it’s easier to compose

LRM Online: I know that the band Oasis was a major influence on Yojiro Noda. Are there any current western musical acts or bands that inspire members of RADWIMPS?

Noda: If I had to give one, it would be the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A while ago, we had the opportunity to perform before the Red Hot Chili Peppers at a Japanese music festival called Summer Sonic, and seeing them on stage again reminded us of how important an influence they’ve been for our band.

LRM Online: Do you require a different approach to composing orchestral music over writing a more traditional RADWIMPS song? Is there a special place you go physically or mentally to compose these pieces?

Noda: A film score has to embody a specific world, which makes it a slightly different experience from producing an original album because we have to challenge ourselves to come up with music that best matches that specific scene. Also, when making music for film, we can use any instruments we like, and it’s our job to choose the most appropriate ones to make the most suitable music. That completely removes the “band” framework and allows us to create music in a much more open field.

Standing out isn’t always the most crucial thing when it comes to movie music. In fact, the ideal might be for the music to melt together seamlessly with the scene’s characters, lines, and scenery and reach the audience as a single experience.

When writing music as a band, the equivalent of a movie’s scenery and characters and lines are all part of the music itself, so the creative process naturally differs. It shows more of the creator’s ego.

Kuwahara: We can put sounds together as we please when creating an original album, but when writing a film score, we can’t just push our own preferences. There’s something novel and interesting about that. We have to match the music to the timing and the images, meaning it’s not just music you experience with your ears. That’s the biggest difference.

LRM Online: Yojiro Noda, you have said you use real-life experiences to write for RADWIMPS’ studio albums. Did writing for Weathering With You Your Name cause any difficulty for you lyrically, or were you able to connect to the characters or story on a personal level to find that real-life inspiration?

Noda: Film has story and the emotions of the characters as an entrance to ideas, so it’s easier to compose.

Weathering With You hits American theaters next week on the 15th and 16th as part of Fathom Events. It will be available in both subtitled and dubbed versions. Look for my review of the film on Monday!

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Kyle Malone

Kyle is a Senior Editor and Multimedia Manager for LRM Online. He is a Retired Soldier and Business School graduate who loves movies, comics, and video games. He shares his passions with his wife & their awesome little geek-in-training.

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