Yesterday I posted the first installment of my two-part interview with Keiko Takamura. She’s a virtual celebrity in the world of Second Life and an actual up and coming musician named Amy Te offline. You might have seen her recently in a spotlight on MTV’s award winning True Life series, where she discussed her musical status within the game and gave us a glimpse into her work towards getting her music heard by non-Second Life audiences.
Check out Keiko’s website at http://keikotakamura.com/ where she posts news and media, as well as a page where you can listen to and purchase her music. She’s also online at http://www.myspace.com/keikotakamura and http://keikotakamura.livejournal.com, and you can join her Second Life Group called Keiko Takamura’s Anti-Fan Club.
Here’s part two of the interview with Keiko.
Fandomania: I first became aware of you after seeing your recent episode of True Life on MTV. How did MTV find out about you, and what was it like to find out that you were going to be featured there?
Keiko Takamura: A friend of mine sent me a casting call for the show, and I responded. It was really that simple. The producer and I exchanged some phone calls, and then they sent out a camera guy. My boyfriend, James, was really hesitant about it all. With good reason, of course. MTV reality shows are notorious for pumping up drama and making the people they “document” look pathetic and/or psycho. But I felt, as an aspiring musician, that any publicity was good publicity. So I decided to go for it.
Fandomania: Can you share some of what it was like actually shooting the documentary? How long did the cameras actually follow you around, and how many crew members were with you? It’s hard to imagine from home what the actual production experience is like for that show, so anything you’d be able to share would be great.
Keiko Takamura: They started filming in late December and finished all the final scraps of footage in early April. In between were the heaviest times. The producer would come over (just one person and a camera), set up her camera, mic me, and then they’d have a set schedule of what they wanted to shoot and who they wanted me to talk to. True Life, huh?
Fandomania: Do you think True Life mostly got your story right, or is there anything they got wrong or omitted that you wish had been covered in a better way?
Keiko Takamura: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been a monstrous bitch to the producers because I was afraid of them skewing my story. I really think it paid off, though, because the end result wasn’t too bad at all. A couple things they omitted that I really wish they would have kept: 1. My big show at the Rock-It Room in San Francisco where I got to meet Philip Rosedale (aka Philip Linden, creator of Second Life and former CEO of Linden Lab), 2. The runaway macaw that escaped from my neighbor’s house and was hanging upside down from a phone wire.
Fandomania: Has anything changed for you since making the True Life documentary? How about since it aired?
Keiko Takamura: The only thing that’s changed is that I’m getting a band together now and I’ve got 200 more Myspace friends.
Fandomania: During the episode we got to see you trying out the open mike experience. You obviously had a great experience at the one that was shown toward the end of the episode. How is your live performing going now, and what do you have in the works as far as playing live?
Keiko Takamura: I had two shows at the Rock-It Room in San Francisco since, and I had some Second Life musicians in and out of the Bay Area perform at them. We made it into a Second Life/ Real Life crossover event. One laptop was hooked up to a projector screen so the real audience could see our avatars performing in-world, one laptop was hooked up to the soundboard so our SL fans could hear us in-world, and we had a webcam streaming the entire performance. Good turnout, good tunes, good times!
Fandomania: Can you describe your music for readers who might not have heard you or caught the episode? Who have been your biggest influences?
Keiko Takamura: Currently my music sounds like girl with guitar doing some stuff. Some of my biggest influences are probably Shiina Ringo, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, and 90’s alternative rock bands in general.
Fandomania: You’re approaching the offline music industry in a very unique way, having already built an online fanbase and gotten a lot of experience playing live in Second Life. How do you think the Second Life experience has helped or hurt you in your initial steps into the offline music world?
Keiko Takamura: I’m the type who only tries something if it’s guaranteed I’ll be good at it, so amassing fans and fame in Second Life has built up my confidence to the point where I feel like I can take it over to real life. The only thing I worry about is if I’ll be seen as a gimmicky act or if I’d be lumped into the “novelty musician” genre.
Fandomania: You seem like a person with great dreams and ambitions. What are some of your biggest goals, either in life or in your music (or both, as I suspect they intertwine)?
Keiko Takamura: I want to make music — GOOD music. I want to be part of this changing era, I want to be one of the hands that shapes it. I want to create. If I could make a modest living off doing what I love, that’s all I would need.
Fandomania: What advice would you give to someone just starting out with Second Life? Any tips or directions for getting them into the social experience a bit easier?
Keiko Takamura: This isn’t a passive media, Second Life. If you want to see what it truly has to offer, you have to go out and find it (or make it) yourself. There are tips and suggestions and resources all over the place, but just like real life, Second Life is what you make of it.
Fandomania: On the MTV episode, I noticed your Gir shirt and your boyfriend’s Amazon Kindle. Fandomania is all about being fannish over geek-awesome things, so I was wondering what sorts of fandoms you’re into, aside from Second Life.
Keiko Takamura: Oh, so you didn’t catch my Weighted Companion Cube necklace and my Hello Kitty kitchen appliances? Also there’s a bendable Jack Skellington action figure way in the background in some shots.
Fandomania: Any last thoughts or anything else you’d like to share before we wrap this up?
Keiko Takamura: The song I played at the first open mic is called “Same Sad Tune”. It’s about BioShock.
Picture I drew inspired by song: The Same Sad Tune
Shitty Youtube music video: Keiko Takamura – Same Sad Tune Machinima Music Video
Article about it: BioShock Rock: Keiko’s Witty Spin On The Classic Videogame
Fandomania: It’s been a pleasure talking with you, and I wish you luck in your musical careers, both online and off.
Keiko Takamura: Thank you!