Entertainment21 October 2021
ONE OK ROCK is a Japanese rock band that is critically acclaimed across the globe and was formed in 2005 and debuted in 2007. The band has been expanding their music career both in Japan and overseas, including the production of Renegades with Ed Sheeran and producing the theme songs for all of the Rurouni Kenshin live action films. The band held their very first online live show, ‘ONE OK ROCK 2020 “Field of Wonder” at Stadium Live Streaming supported by au 5G LIVE’ last year, in the middle of the pandemic.
Now a new documentary Flip a Coin -ONE OK ROCK Documentary- shows the three months leading up to the live show and the backstage scenes of the online live event, from the rehearsal studio to the members’ daily lives. Ahead of the feature debut on October 21, we talked to Taka, the frontman of the band who's currently working on a new album in LA, about the documentary.
What made you decide to produce this documentary?
What we usually do is perform live and make music. We came to realize that a documentary film is the only way to fill in the missing gaps. I believe that fans understand our personality and ideas, but we’ve never given them a look behind the scenes, which is what we’re trying to do now. I really wanted to capture the period from the beginning of the pandemic to our first online live event, regardless of when it’s released.
The documentary made me wonder: 'Is it ok to show this much?’ The camera captured rehearsal scenes at the studio, production meetings about direction, and how ONE OK ROCK’s sound and live performance have been produced. We can even see how the members spent their private time during the pandemic…
Director Amazutsumi has been working with us for a long time, so we felt very relaxed and open when working with him.
The feature tells what’s on all of the ONE OK ROCK members’ minds at that time. It felt very real because it reflects on my own life a year ago.
During the pandemic, I feel that people all over the world had the same feelings, something that has never happened before. We had to stop our activities and give up on many things, so we went through some sad and painful moments. But in this documentary, we wanted to show people that we look ahead and are ready to start running towards the future, and we wanted to keep a record of it. We asked ourselves some fundamental questions, such as the value of life, why we live, why we chase our dreams. We didn’t want to forget what we felt during this time, and we don’t want everyone to forget this experience either.
Now I really want to watch the online live show and listen to the new song “Wonder”. In the documentary, all members comment that they don’t want to do an online live show ever again (laughs). Now looking back, what does this project mean to you?
I really don’t want to do it again (laughs). Having said that, delivering positive and strong emotions to people in front of you is the greatest thing I can do as an entertainer. Someone like me, who is competitive and stubborn, just happened to be born in this world and happened to be in a position where I might save someone with my own expressions and words. So why not share this core part of me with others. If people receive our message and get encouraged to live and cheer themselves up, then that might be the only thing I can be proud of. I wanted to do the online live event with this sense of 'responsibility'.
In the documentary, one of the most impressive scenes for me was when Ryota (Base) said, “I have never done this kind of live event…”, and you said, “That’s why we are doing it!”. That was a moment where I could get a glimpse of the real ONE OK ROCK spirit.
I feel so grateful for what I have. We are a group of people with totally different personalities and thoughts. Something special needs to drive us all, when such unique characters are working together towards the same goal. Luckily, we have that special something in common, and managed to share the same goals so that we could accomplish this online live event in a way that has never been done before. I know that not everyone can do it, but if I can do it, so can you.
This documentary will be released globally simultaneously. How do you feel about your film being released on Netflix?
I enjoy Netflix and I often watch a lot of different titles. It’s a great feeling to know that people all over the world will watch our documentary and experience it at the same time on Netflix.I am grateful for it.
I think it’s also an introduction for overseas fans and those who are still new to ONE OK ROCK to get to know the band even deeper?
I agree. It’s hard to tell how much we are known in the world, but we are beginning to feel something happening around us. If people just learnt about ONE OK ROCK and get a deeper understanding about us through this documentary, it would be beneficial for our future activities.
We are still under the influence of COVID-19. I was very moved by what you said at the end of the film. Could you tell me how you see the future of ONE OK ROCK?
There is only one thing I can say for certain in my 33 years of life which is when we get into difficulties, we cannot get over them without blaming someone. When the ‘blame someone’ period is over, then we can finally move on to the next phase.
It might not be appropriate to say, but we need to retain the hungry spirit all the time. We should take this opportunity to be greedy in what we are pursuing and do our best to hold on to each other. If we miss this chance, it will not come back again for a while. I believe all we can do is to stick to our beliefs until the day comes when the next generation turns up and tells us “you guys aren’t cool anymore, its our time now” but until then we have to try our very best.
A Netflix Documentary Flip a Coin -ONE OK ROCK Documentary- is now on streaming only on Netflix.
Patrick Sebastian Henkel