The scene awaited the arrival of the first Lil Soft Tennis (@lil_soft_tennis) album. After drawing attention with his SoundCloud music and gaining a good number of fans all over Japan with his mixtape “Season”, this album promised to be his consecration. But for this Osaka artist member of the Heaven collective (@heaven_2020_), the album “Bedroom Rockstar Confused” has meant much more than that; it is the album that has allowed him to overcome a crisis and see the light.
This album is, at the same time, the result and the process to arrive at it. It was the goal that the artist wanted to achieve in order to consolidate himself, but it was also through the creation of it, of gradually spreading it and visualizing it, that Lil Soft Tennis learned that the path is made by walking. When you don’t know where to go or how to get there, it is best to move forward step by step, always driving the wheel.
“Bedroom Rockstar Confused” talks about the moonlight, about tears. About music or the city as shelters. About alcohol as escapism and the craving for a cure. From beginning to end the album is a progression of mental and emotional states — loneliness, despair, longing, liberation … — and also a string of musical genres, with voices and guitars distorted in different directions towards grunge, pop, trap …
An album of relief and growth, healer. “Bedroom Rockstar Confused” is the way Lil Soft Tennis has had of asking for medicine, but also of procuring it, of being present to see the world when it’s dark to end up driving away the darkness.
To guide other bedroom stars who may be confused right now, I posed him these questions.
Chorareii: Both the title of the album and the first homonymous song are a statement where you define yourself as a rockstar —someone who wants a life of pleasure and success achieved through his creativity, in this case through music— but who lives trapped in his bedroom with fears and feelings of loneliness.
Do you think that today, in our generations, there are many “Bedroom Rockstars Confused”, young people who feel the same as you?
Lil Soft Tennis: I think there are many Bedroom Rockstars Confused. Anyone who comes to realize that has a motivation in life will surely experience that kind of fear. It’s hard to keep driving a car that doesn’t stop.
On the other hand, some young people continue to live without any fear. I think the majority do, so there’s a serious gap between these two realities in conflict.
In your album, I see a progression. You start out by declaring yourself a Bedroom Rockstar Confused who misses pre-adulthood, feels lost and drowned, and is looking for medicine.
However, towards the end of the album, you seem to be more clear about what you want, what you are looking for with your music, the wishes that you show to the oracle. In the last song of the album you declare that you are no longer afraid.
Was this your progression when creating the album? Is Lil Soft Tennis less confused now than that Bedroom Rockstar from the beginning?
Yes, I’m not too confused right now. The progress of this album is my progress. In April 2020 I was in a terrible state. I couldn’t focus on anything. I turned my eyes away from the anxiety that was growing inside me, but there was constant anxiety beyond my eyes.
I was struggling to keep a balance between the pandemic situation, my career formation, and production. I had never thought about becoming a rock star until two years ago, so I didn’t know what to do.
I thought I had to focus on one thing at a time. First of all, I had no choice but to focus on production. As I started production in May and drew the story of the album, I was convinced that I would make progress.
When I was able to envision the final drawing of the album, I realized that I truly knew what I wanted to do and what I had to do. I was able to know myself by making it. Now that the story is complete, my situation is better.
In “Lucid Dreams”, the last track of the album, you declare not to be afraid, but because you feel that you are living in a lucid dream. However, dreams are not real, so it is easier to feel safe. Do you think that in today’s times it’s better to live dreaming than to live in reality?
It’s impossible to live in a dream.
In this song, as if I were in a lucid dream, I take a bird’s eye view of reality and notice that I’m in a state where I can move freely. In the first half of the production, I was dreaming and my vision remained blurred. At some point, though, I recognized my self-consciousness and expressed the feeling that I was able to grasp the steering wheel myself.
I have the impression that in all the songs in the album, there is a repeated image; that of sleepless nights. Do you ever sleep, Lil Soft Tennis? [laughs]
Yes, surprisingly I love the morning!! I like getting in the sun, too. However, during the production period, I was shocked because I had anxiety one day after another and spent many sleepless nights.
I usually start making music in the morning, so I used to have a lot of songs with that vibe, but this time I was quite happy to be able to make songs about the night. I haven’t made many sad chord songs or songs about the night before.
Not only at that time, but usually, I’m able to sleep well if I listen to the radio or read comics. I had the radio, and comics had helped me a lot during my life.
The bedroom has become a very important creative space for our generations, even more in times of pandemic. What does your bedroom mean to you? I think I’ve read somewhere that until recently you didn’t have a bedroom of your own!!
Yes, that’s true!! However, my brother left my parents’ house around March last year, so I took over the room that used to be his bedroom.
This made it possible for me to create songs that were embarrassing and impossible to sing in the living room, such as ‘Bedroom Rockstar Confused.‘
I work hard in my bedroom from the morning. Only when I make music I feel special and that feeling saves me.
Two key collectives from Kansai are represented on your album. Not only your own, Heaven, of which RY0N4 is also present, but also Pure Voyage, for the collaboration with Le Makeup. What unites both colectives from the city, what vision do you share?
Is it the mixture of feelings and a consciousness of the atmosphere? I’m guessing because I don’t know if I understand everyone’s perceptions …
What was in the air when the wind blew? How did the whistle of a ship get blurred in the air? How did the rock that slipped and couldn’t be grasped shine at the edge of the eye?
I think we can express those feelings both with sound and words. Actually, I think it’s because we share the landscape.
You are usually between Osaka and Nara. I have the feeling that they are very different; Osaka looks like a very active and lively city while Nara seems to have more spiritual energy. Is that so? Do you feel that these two places have influenced you as an artist?
I’m from Osaka, but I often go to Nara. In my opinion, the atmosphere in the north of Osaka, where I live, is similar to the atmosphere in Nara. It seems that the huge energy of Mount Ikoma in Nara flows along the Yodo River to Osaka. Isn’t this great? I think I’m making music influenced by the texture of the local air.
When I visited Tokyo, I thought that Eifuku-cho had a similar atmosphere to Osaka and Nara.
You used to have a band. Tell me about it! Would you consider having a band again in the future?
I think it’s getting harder to be in a band. I like things that aren’t popular, that’s why I formed a band, because I was only listening to hip-hop. Bands are still in that situation, so I still find it fascinating to play in a band. If I find a good idea and members, I think I will form a band again.
Don’t assume that you’re being your true self only because you’re living with a personality that once felt comfortable.Lil Soft Tennis
Lastly, is there anything you want to say to all those Bedroom Rockstar Confused who might be reading this?
It’s important to do things and it’s important to do nothing.
Responding to what your friends and followers are looking for can give a pretty positive effect.
Don’t assume that you’re being your true self only because you’re living with a personality that once felt comfortable.