Sho Okamoto—of the Japanese rock band Okamotos—has been writing songs since the band was signed back in 2010… but it wasn’t until relatively recently that he started diving into the process with more artistic intention than ever before.
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“We’re not the type of band that has some kind of deep message or lesson behind every song—we play music because we love music—so, it’s always difficult to decide where to land when we’re writing,” the 30-year-old explained. But when Sho went over to the house of guitarist Koki Okamoto (the band uses the same last name as a way to pay homage to Japanese artist Taro Okamoto and punk legends the Ramones), the two decided to take a crack at trying to write about the one thing they know for sure: “We love our music,” Sho said, “so we just sang that truth.”
The end result was the band’s latest single, “Sprite,” an alt-rock ode to their passion for creating music together. The single comes ahead of the band’s new full-length LP: KNO WHERE out September 29 via Ariola Japan (Sony Music Japan).
See, “Sprite” was born out of some conversations and planning on the parts of Koki and Sho, but in the past, Okamoto’s relied on an older, more traditional method for songwriting. “We are a rock band that is inspired by classic rock legends like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Ramones, and The Stooges,” Sho explained. “So, we used to emulate their processes and write songs through our jam sessions. After we made several albums, I started to think that we shouldn’t just write based off of the vibes from our sessions and that we should be more deliberate, meticulous, and thoughtful about every detail of our songs.”
In the end, “Sprite” doesn’t quite embody the sonics of some of Okamotos’ heroes, but it does embrace the rock’n’roll spirit… even down to the actual playing of the parts. “At our core, we just want to feel good playing together,” Sho said. “Even if the melody and lyrics are good, if we don’t enjoy playing it together, the song just won’t work for us. In this ‘post-desktop music’ world though, I think this emphasis on the ‘playability’—the ‘funness’ of the music for the performer—is increasingly rare. All four of us love the energy of live music and just how much fun many of our idols clearly had when they were performing, and we want to bring that energy to 2021.”
Okamotos’ new album KNO WHERE is out September 29—listen to the single “Sprite” below: