In my last text about TORIENA, I talked about her 2020 album “PURE FIRE”, which I described as “a hard electronic album, full of instrumental rave music that seems to have no limits to its heaviness”. PURE FIRE was such a unique album and an intense experience from start to finish, so when I heard that a new album was on its way I was thrilled!
And instead of analyzing and speculating about her music like I did in the last text, this time I went right to the source and talked to TORIENA herself about it (note that the answers are translated from Japanese):
“TORIENA makes me smile” and “PURE FIRE” have a pretty similar sound. What is the biggest difference between the two albums? Did you have a new mindset when making “TORIENA makes me smile”?
On PURE FIRE, I was aware of the rave sound that gabber and Thunder Dome would play. At that time, I became independent1 and was freed from the curse of having to make music that would sell, so I channeled my frustrations and what I wanted to do into it.
“TORIENA makes me smile” adds elements of hard minimal, trance, and Gothic music.
In “TORIENA makes me smile”, I wanted to enrich the spread of the sound.
Due to the influence of Covid 19, I got into VRChat, and I think that the experience with VRChat is also reflected.
Interesting! How has VRChat affected the music? Have you found a new way to perform music live in VRChat?
It’s virtual, but I feel it’s organic. Also, I think it’s good that everyone is enjoying themselves. I think there are rules, suffocating things, appearance and gender complex that you should be like in reality, but you can feel the freedom to be released a little from that.
Live at VRChat has no physical limits, so I think it’s easier to take on experimental challenges.
Your music has changed very much in the last 5 years. How do you want to change your music in the next 5 years?
As a result of living honestly and making music, I think it seems to have changed naturally. It hasn’t changed by calculation. I’m thinking of doing what I want to do from time to time. My music is a way of life.
“TORIENA makes me smile” is a truly hard electronic album that I really enjoy. It’s got the same high energy as PURE FIRE, a bit more emphasis on melodies, some chiptune sounds remeniscing of TORIENA’s earlier career, and at times it’s almost groovy and heavy in a hard rock kind of way. TORIENA’s songs are structured in a more fun, shifting and creative way than electronic music normally is, which makes them digestible for people outside of the genre, but still they’re among the most uncompromising ones out there.
1(Translator note: She doesn’t say that she “became independent” right out. The words themselves seem to mean “left the office” or “quit job”, but I’m pretty sure “left label/music company” is more correct in the context, so I wrote “became independent” to be more accurate.)