By: Jonah Morgan
Most anime fans will know the name Dave Rodgers (www.daverodgers.it) from his massive talent and production contributions to the soundtrack of the Initial D animation. The pairing in 1998 occured as a bit of an experiment which involved drawing music from AVEX’s popular japanese release album series, Super Eurobeat, and an animation adaptation of Shuichi Shigeno drift racing manga, Initial D. Due to this and other promotional efforts Avex made (such as adding eurobeat tracks to Konami’s Para Para Paradise arcade game series) the Eurobeat scene exploded in popularity in Japan like never before. With fresh 18 track album releases occuring nearly monthly, the succes of Eurobeat continues through the present day. In recent months, the national sales charts across Japan showed the special edition release of SEB 150 debuting in the Top 30 at #20.
Dave Rodgers entered the scene relatively early on as the Italodance artist Aleph. This precursor to Eurobeat, the generally slower BPM “Italodance”, began in the 1980’s. the 1990’s saw Eurobeat proper breakout as it’s own form of music, with new studios emerging in Italy dedicated to exclusively producing the music. With lyrics almost exclusively performed in English, music produced in Italy, and albums released in Japan, Eurobeat itself is a bit of a musical experiment. Dave Rodgers took his unique sound as an artist and production qualities and created his own studio, AbeatC in 1990. His studio now produces the lion’s share of track content on Avex’s Super Eurobeat album series and has signed many of the most popular artists of the genre. ANS caught up with the prolific musician for this interview recently:
Anime News Service: Could you tell us about Dave Rodgers the musician? Where did you come from musically, who are some of your influences?
Dave Rodgers: I musically born with the music of seventies: deep purple, led zeppelin, david bowie, quincy jones and so on.
ANS: For those readers who may not be familiar with Super Eurobeat can you tell give us a brief primer on the series as it’s released in Japan? If possible could you elaborate on the philosophy of the series and “Eurobeat” as an artistic and musical expression as you understand it?
DR: I think that Eurobeat, like any other kind of music, is one way to give sensation and good vibration to the audience: It’s not important what you play or the style you choose, but the basic point is to give emotions.
ANS: And so how did you first come into the SEB series?
DR: I’ve been one of the firsts Eurobeat singer and Producer in the early 90’s: I was contacted by Avex and we started together the SEB series.
ANS: The SEB albums are released monthly in Japan by Avex, usually containing a song or 2 per artist. Can you tell us how this works? Where and how the music is recorded etc (Japan, Italy etc..).. How the artists actually do the recording? (ie: Are most of the tracks sent in several months in advance? Do you submit “rough” versions of songs in advance that are selected by AVEX and then rerecorded for the album version?)
DR: Yes, you’re right: the recordings are done in Italy, sometimes also in japan. The versions we send are definitives.
ANS: Now Initial D has been officially licensed for the the American market by Tokyopop with the first TV series released in 2003. A version in release has “localized” the series removing the SEB background music in the show. Do you have any thoughts on this move?
DR: That’s a very bad thing!
ANS: On to the present, There is a new Initial D Video Series being worked on in Japan, do you have any commitments on this new series you can talk about?
DR: Simply I hope to be present in the future for the background music of the new Initial D series.
ANS: SEB releases it’s 150th edition in Japan this month. Could you tell us of your contributions on this volume and reflections on SEB reaching the 150 milestone?
DR: Unfortunately I’m late for this answer: as you know I was in that compilation with some videos too.
ANS: On the Duet songs you’ve done who was your favorite partner?
DR: All the female partners!
ANS: Your name is of course larger than ever in Japan, what do you have taking place there currently, any tours or visits pending?
DR: I was there for the last time in February, in Osaka for the Osaka Automesse. I’m planning to come back there the next February for the same event.
ANS: There have been rumors for many years that AVEX will be bringing SEB to the American market along with alot of it’s music catalog, are you in the postion to comment on this possibility?
DR: No, I’m not so much informed about that.
ANS: Finally, any words to your international fans out there in North and South America and beyond?
DR: Hi everybody, I hope to have in the future the possibility to come there and to make some shows for you.