Tsuyoshi Domoto Interview

Interview: Tsuyoshi Domoto, Part 1 of 2



For more than a year, Funkatopia has been singing the praises of Japanese funk band ENDRECHERI, a solo project of Tsuyoshi Domoto. While the project gained massive notoriety in Japan with droves of adoring fans, the project went relatively unbeknownst to the rest of the world. Funkatopia wanted to remedy that and get the word out to the world.

It was Tsuyoshi’s previous work with another Japanese pop duo group named KinKi Kids with Koichi Domoto starting back in 1993 that helped to establish his fan base. Tsuyoshi proved through his amazing songwriting skills that he could more than stand on his own, and he more than proved that through his funk passion project ENDRECHERI.

Through months of effort, Funkatopia was able to traverse the challenges of a massive language barrier and a myriad of contacts to eventually arrange an exclusive interview with Tsuyoshi Domoto to get to learn about his funk venture. Enjoy this exclusive interview with Tsuyoshi Domoto.

  1. Since we’re speaking to a new audience not familiar with you here in the United States, I want to talk about the name ENDRECHERI. I read that it derives from the name of a prehistoric fish, but tell the story about how you decided that that would be the name of your project?

So basically, the reason why I chose the name ENDRECHERI was that originally, I had a conversation with my mother, and asked her “is there anything that you feel like you haven’t accomplished or haven’t done in your life that you would like to achieve?” And she said that she has never actually had a pet fish before, and she wanted to get a pet fish. So, we went to the pet shop together and they happened to have a very strange, almost dinosaur-like fish in one of the tanks, and we both saw the fish and were intrigued by it, and that was the prehistoric fish, the Endlicheri. We ended up bringing the fish home with us, and it was from the fish that I got the name Endlicheri for my solo project. 

Being in the kind of industry I am, I often feel like people are judged by their appearance, or by what they do, and not necessarily for who they are, and so I’ve often felt this kind of negative pressure in a sense that people would look down on me, and I started to feel really frustrated. With such in mind, I thought about revamping the name Endlicheri and then as I started performing under that name, my nickname became Cheri (pronounced “Keri”). Coming off of that, I was born in Nara, and Nara has a wonderful history over 1300 years old, full of soul and culture, and I wanted to remain close to these roots, and so in tandem with the name change, I wasn’t saying good-bye to the music that I did before, or the person that I was. I wanted to keep the past and my current trajectory together. 

And so, what I did was I changed the spelling of ENDRECHERI, changing the “li” to “re” to imply “re-birth” and to show that I wasn’t saying goodbye to the previous name or what I was doing in the past, but that I was coming forth as a new version of ENDRECHERI. So, it’s basically ending the previous era and starting anew, but the end isn’t a negative thing. I wanted to make sure that I made that transition a positive one. I wanted to express that the change was positive, and let people know that I’m not trying to escape from my previous self, but that I’m trying to evolve as an artist, and I wanted to show that evolution in the name. And so that’s why in the logo I put small a small “l” and a small “i,” the previous (actual, original) spelling of the ancient fish within my new logo, to let people know that “I haven’t forgotten who I am, I’m still here, and this is who I am trying to become.”

  1. Why are you so drawn to funk music and why did you choose this music style? Was it music you grew up with?

I was introduced to a lot of musicians, and they initially told me that I should try playing Blues. It was also suggested I listen to Funk. And then once I got into/started listening to funk music, I really felt a strong connection to it. I kind of felt like there was a freedom in funk music that I hadn’t heard in other genres of music until that point, and I really felt a connection with funk music because that freedom was something that I wanted at the time. I listened to Funk and really felt like, in the music I heard, I felt like I heard my life, and my thoughts about love and I felt the soul and the peace of funk music. To me, funk equaled purity, and I felt like I truly could be myself in my purest form by performing funk music, and it kind of suited my personality. 

So, before I realized it, Funk music kind of became a part of me. That all applies to how I related to funk as much as I did, and as much as I still do. I am a passive listener, and I don’t listen to music at home much. And I don’t really listen to music at home in general because I’ve always been a passive listener and still am.

To go back to the reason why I don’t really listen to music at home, it’s because I kind of input sounds very quickly, and remember things like a sponge. So, I really try not to listen to music at home as I worry it’ll have an impact on my own original songs when I’m creating. I don’t really want to have anything that sounds too much like one person or one band, I want to make sure that everything that I make is an original idea and true to myself and how I feel. When I do create music, I might take an element of a guitar riff and try to make it sound more Japanese, (for example) making an electric guitar sound like a shamisen or bringing that sort of Japanese element back into Funk music so it’s a combination of Funk and Japanese traditional music, but also completely representing myself.

  1. What are some great funk bands in Japan and even around the world that have been a big influence on ENDRECHERI and also, who is your favorite music artist for you personally and why?

As for who I listen to, specifically, as far as musicians that I respect or enjoy, the first CD that was given to me by my musician friends who recommended I try listening to Funk Music was a Sly and the Family Stone CD. They were one of the first artists I listened to, as well as P-Funk All Stars. I also wanted to work with Prince, but unfortunately due to his untimely passing that was a dream that ended up unfulfilled. Just like Prince, I also love purple and the reason why I use the theme color of purple for my solo project is the combination of red and blue. In Japan, the image for red for Japanese people is an image of passion, of anger, of aggression to a certain extent, and blue has a cool image of rain, of water, of tears, of calmness. I want to kind of take both of those colors, the red in one hand, the blue in the other, and put both hands together, and the energy that comes from putting red and blue together, on the color scale it becomes purple. I wanted my music to represent those two things, the passion and the calmness and the coolness of both elements, the passion of the red and the coolness of the blue. In real life you can’t necessarily add fire and water together, but in your own heart and in your own spirit you have those elements in your personality and your being, so I want that image of red and blue equaling purple to represent all of those emotions and feelings that come through in seeing those colors, and feeling those colors, and that is something I want to express in the music that I create. Also, within all the musicians I have done jam sessions with and tours with, they each had either or both of those elements. So one of my band members would be really passionate, the other would be really cool and reserved, and the combination of that fiery passion and that kind of water-like stillness I have seen in every band member that I have worked with. I want to have all of those elements combined together. It was basically what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard around me combined into that color purple, and that is why I chose that as my theme color, and how I came up with that theme color for myself and for ENDRECHERI. 

  1. We were surprised that ENDRECHERI was not known much at all in the United States. Are you and your management currently taking any steps to expand more into this market?

I would love to go to America and have always wanted to!! I can’t really speak English, but I don’t really worry about that as much as I did before because I would love to hear my music played in the U.S. My hope is that even if the listener does not understand or speak Japanese, they will be able to feel my message and what I’m trying to convey in the sound of my music. So, when I write songs, I like to play with the sound of words, like using Japanese that sounds kind of like English, or English to make it kind of sounds like Japanese, just kind of playing with the different syllables and things to kind of make things interesting. My next album is basically a representation of all this music exploration from the beginning up until now, and I would really like the listeners in America to get a chance to listen to my album, and my music in general. 

I am happy that Funkatopia approached me for this interview, and I’m hoping that it’s a good starting point to bring new listeners from America, and other English speakers around the world to my music. Hopefully one day, the people at Funkatopia can come to Japan and enjoy in particular the show that I do every year at Heian Jingu in Kyoto. Every year I do a special concert for a select number of fans. It would be very nice if somehow, I guess once things calm down if the staff at Funkatopia were able to come to Japan and see it firsthand. They would really enjoy it.



ファンカトピアは、堂本剛のソロプロジェクトである日本のファンクバンドENDRECHERIを1年以上にわたって称賛してきました。 このプロジェクトは、熱狂的なファンの群れで日本で大きな評判を得ましたが、プロジェクトは世界の他の地域には比較的知られていませんでした。 Funkatopiaはそれを改善し、世界に広めたいと考えていました。

1993年に始まった堂本光一とのKinKiKidsという別の日本のポップデュオグループとのTsuyoshiの前の作品は、彼のファンベースを確立するのに役立ちました。 堂本剛は彼の素晴らしい作詞作曲スキルを通して、彼が自立する以上のことができることを証明しました、そして彼は彼のファンク情熱プロジェクトENDRECHERIを通してそれ以上のものを証明しました。



1. アメリカには、ENDRECHERIを初めて聞いた方々が沢山いると思いますので、まず「ENDRECHERI」のお名前についてお伺いします。何故そのお名前を選びましたか?

数十年前に母親へ、人生の中で叶えられていない夢はある?と聞いたことがあるんです。すると母親が、魚を飼ってみたかったのよねと言いました。その夢なら叶えてあげられるなと思い、数日後に2人で熱帯魚ショップへと向かったんです。そのお店の水槽にいたのが、古代魚エンドリケリーエンドリケリー(ENDLICHERI ENDLICHERI)でした。ルックスが恐竜のような魚に一目惚れをした僕と母親は数分悩んだ結果、僕の家で一緒に飼おうという事に決めました。そんな時間を過ごした事もあって、母親の「夢を叶えてくれた魚」エンドリケリーエンドリケリーを名前にしました。それから数年間活動をしたんですが、一度休んでいて、そして数年前に活動を再会したんです。その時にスペルをエンドリケリー(ENDRECHERI)へとチェンジしました。

理由は、僕は自然と生きていても、他人が決めつけてくる僕へのイメージや、理想とされる僕を生きるという人生に疲れてしまって、本当の自分を生きていたいと想いが強くなって。ポジティブにエンド、終わらせて、リスタートする事を選択したかったんです。そういう想いを込めてENDRECHERIという名前へと生まれ変わりました。終わるってネガティブなイメージがあるかもしれないけれど、誰かが終わらせた訳ではなくて、自分から終わらせたというポジティブなエンド、イコール、スタート。そういう意味でエンド、リ、ケリー、という名前にしたんです。ケリーは僕のニックネームです。公式のブランドロゴには、エンドリケリーの元々のスペル、LがRの中に入っていて、 IがEの中に混ざっている。昔のスペルLIをREにジョイントさせて作っているんですが、このアートワークにも、今までの人生をすべて無かった事にするというわけではなくて、過去も未来へと連れて行くという想いが込められています。僕は約1300年前の日本の首都だった「奈良」という場所に生まれました。古代の建築や文化や日本の心が、奈良にはいまも息づいている。そういう場所に生まれた僕は、過去を未来へと繋げるという気持ちが自然と強い。ファンクのマナーとして故郷やソウル、ルーツは大事なポイントだし、古代の都市に生まれた僕は、古代の魚に乗って、現在へと辿り着き、未来へと泳いでいる。そんな感じです。












5 thoughts on “Interview: Tsuyoshi Domoto, Part 1 of 2

  1. Thank you for continuing to offer with love and passion. Thanks for the nice interview!
    The fourth question and answer was particularly impressive. I hope ENDRECHERI’s music will spread to the world from now on.
    I hope you can go to his live in the near future.

    1. Glad you enjoyed! We think the fourth question was important as well, since we would LOVE to have him here! We agree, his music should be heard all over the world.

  2. It’s a great interview. As an ENDRECHERI fan living abroad, I rarely have the chance to hear his music in the live. It would be nice if he would like to come to the United States. Thank you so much for providing this opportunity to communicate with him.

  3. Thank you so much Mr.Christopher ,and Mr. Jeff Page
    I was glad to you were exciting for ENDRECHERI’s music.
    And two ENDRECHERI fan’s translated the radio.Thank you very much them also.
    I was impressed with Tsuyoshi-kun answer.I wish read it all over the world listener of FUNKATOPIA . And I wish all over the world listener will listen ENDRECHERI’s music and Tsuyoshi-kun’s performance .Thank you so much that waiting long time.
    We’d like to listen ENDRECHERI’s music on air next time. Thank you.

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