Ever since “Ue wo Muite Aruko” in 1961 by Kyu Sakamoto, the tune has touched the hearts of many people around the world. In 2020, the song has inspired hope to those living in Japan and overseas that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lots of musicians in Japan have come together via video to sing this song in order to thank the healthcare workers and to give hope to everyone.
I recently chatted with L.A based rock band Love Ghost, who recently released their own version of this timeless classic. Why did they cover “Ue wo Muite Aruko” and what was the band’s connection to Japan? Find out these answers by reading on!
Make sure to listen to Love Ghost’s version of “Ue wo Muite Aruko” and tell me what you think about it in the comments below!
First of all, please introduce yourself!
[Love Ghost is] Finnegan Bell, (vocals, guitar), Ryan Stevens (bass), Samson Young (drums and beats), Cory Batchler (keys), and Daniel Alcala (guitar).
What are your artistic influences? What artists and genres inspire you?
Our artistic influences are Alice in Chains, N.W.A., Juice Wrld, Linkin Park and Amy Winehouse to name a few.
How would you describe the band’s music?
We are a trap rock band, basically imagine if Nirvana hung out with Ice Cube.
Let’s talk about your single “Ue wo Muite Aruko”. Why did you cover this?
We found out that the song was being shared on Japanese social media during Covid as a song of support for people affected, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to give back to our fans in Japan, as well as everyone else over there.
What is your connection with Japan? What are your impressions of the country, the people, and the music?
Our connection to Japan is that we went on tour there in 2019, also our drummer’s father was Japanese. Japan is a beautiful, sophisticated and very fun country. The Japanese people are very smart, polite and cool. Japanese music is lit.
What was it like to cover the song with a punk rock flavor?
We just wanted to make it our own but also to show our range as musicians. It was fun, but it was crazy because it was at such a high BPM (over 200!) that it became really tricky to nail in the recording. Punk rock is essential to Japanese culture, so we knew we had to come through.
“Ue wo Muite Aruko” has been the theme song of hope during the COVID pandemic here in Japan but also around the world. Lots of musicians have come together via video to sing this song in order to thank the healthcare workers and to give hope to everyone. Although you have mentioned that your song is a love letter to your fans in Japan, do you feel that your cover brings hope to those around the world?
I would hope so. I think despite the language barrier it is a song that has a strong enough message to speak across cultures.
What do you want listeners to listen to when listening to the tune?
We added a lot of raunchy guitar tones and aggressive drums, so hopefully it’ll put people on their feet.
Any future plans?
We are going to be dropping at least 4 more songs within the next month or so. We also have 2 surprise collaborations on the way.
A final message to the readers of ai love music.
We have big plans to come back to Japan when the pandemic ends. We love the people there and we’re incredibly inspired by both the culture and by the Japanese musicians we’ve met and played with.
About the Band: Love Ghost
Love Ghost is an L.A based rock band. The band consists of Finnegan Bell, (vocals, guitar), Ryan Stevens (bass), Samson Young (drums and beats), Cory Batchler (keys), and Daniel Alcala (guitar). They released their first single, entitled “Friday Afternoon” in 2016. Numerous singles and albums have released since then, including “Lonely” with Waynewood.
Love Ghost has played in Tar Fest, The Our Life Festival, Make Music Pasadena, and Echo Park Rising. The band has been the opening act for Irish singer-songwriter Mundy, Smash Mouth, Fuel, The Young Dubliners, Buckcherry, Berlin, Ozomatli, and The Tubes. Love Ghost was named in Music Connection’s Hot 100 Unsigned Bands.
Make sure to follow Love Ghost at the following sites: