INSPIRED BY LITERATURE | J-Pop duo Yoasobi draws inspiration from novels


Artists oftentimes draw inspiration from their personal lives. However, there are a few who reap their music inspiration from novels.

Take Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” as an example—inspired by the classic novel of the same name by Emily Brontë. And David Bowie’s “We Are the Dead,” which resonates George Orwell’s panoptical work “1984.” Like these artists, the J-Pop duo, Yoasobi understands the greater meaning of literature and artistically translates it through music.

The duo was recently part of a stellar lineup of Asian performers in the recently concluded Head In The Clouds music and arts festival that took place in both the Philippines and Indonesia.

Composer Ayase shared his process in a recent interview with SoundStrip, “Speaking of inspiration, of course, the main inspiration comes from the original novel or story that I make into the song and so I like to write a song based on what the story is about.”

In 2022, Yoasobi released “好きだ [Sukida],” a song composed of a collaboration of Naoki Award-winning authors such as Rio Shimamoto, Mizuki Tsujimura, Miyuki Miyabe, and Eto Mori.

“好きだ [Sukida],” is based on Mori’s Hikari No Tane (Seed of Light) A Story to Read When You First Profess Your Love. It’s about a high school student confessing her love to her childhood friend.

Ayase explained, “I put myself to the character inside the story, and then I write the song so… the first thing I think of is like what will the character feel and then I also sometimes see like from the outside of the character, maybe like from the other perspective like how will other people think of the character.”

Ayase added that in terms of the lyrics, he will base it upon what the character will speak out. “That’s how I change the mood or the lyrics of my song,” he said speaking in Japanese with an English interpreter.

Vocalist Ikura was also inspired by stories in her music. She specified that it was through anime that she realized she wanted to be a singer.

Ikura narrated, “When I was young, I was very inspired by the main character called ‘Ishima Kidari,’ she was like an idol singer so that’s actually where it grow the thought for the first time that I want to be a singer.”

“Our first message is the same as our story or the original novel so we wanna spread out the message that was put into the novel throughout our songs, of course, and then we also put in some of our actual experience in the song,” Ayase further explained.

Since releasing “E-Side” in 2021, Yoasobi is returning to that EP with an English one titled “E-Side 2.” It is their follow-up to the previous EP.

E-Side 2 features previously released tracks “The Blessing” and “The Swallow,” as well as the new song “If I Could Draw Life.”

Yoasabi’s “E-Side 2” is available on all music streaming platforms.


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