Additional Photos: Lee Lay Na, Mediacorp VizPro International
“You might feel that what you see when we perform is really good, but in actual fact, we know that there are so many flaws and we’re far, far away from perfection,” DRUM TAO’s Taro Harasaki mused, with the other six members present nodding their agreement.
This was hardly what we expected from the team that was sent down for Mediacorp’s new campus opening on Dec 8. After touching down on the afternoon of Dec 6, they headed straight to practice and didn’t stop until midnight. The next morning, they were up bright and early once again to get themselves ready to greet the media, which included preparing their instruments for a short performance.
“The ropes on the drums have to be removed every night and we tune them according to conditions on the day itself – factors such as the venue and humidity will affect the sound so we make sure we can present the best performance possible every day,” the ensemble explained.
Even after their immaculate tuning was complete, the members whipped out a measuring tape and spent a good 15 minutes moving their instruments around “in order to present the best visual for everyone”. Taro, the only English-speaking member of the group, explained, “It’s not enough that we sound the best that we can – we need to present ourselves the best visually as well.”
This was evident when we had to assure them – multiple times – that they could put on a jacket over their performance outfits during our interview as their attire was a little too scant for the freezing cold theatre hallway.
The Official Opening (MediaCorp: See Us In A New Light) Ep18 MCTL0151208007030813
For a team that spends most of their time in their picturesque mountain home when they aren’t touring the world to perform, they don’t have the lifestyle you’d imagine. “The TAO has a hierarchy which is made up of trainees, junior members and senior members. Trainees have one year to prove themselves and be worthy of becoming a junior member, otherwise, they’ll be asked to leave,” Taro shared.
“During that time, they’re kept away from the world – they can’t have boyfriends, girlfriends, alcohol, mobile phones, Internet (…) they have to focus on their training,” he continued. While this seems a little too extreme to some – although similar guidelines exist in the world of K-Pop and J-Pop – it is, he mused, all in the name of perfection.
Their never-ending pursuit of perfection will take the stage with a 21-member team making their way to Singapore next month for DRUM TAO 2016 HYAKKARYORAN HANABI presented by organisers Mediacorp VizPro International – a brand new show by the team that has dazzled our little red dot on more than one occasion.
For those that were here this time, however, they chuckled and rated their individual performances from a meagre four to a modest eight out of ten – to us, however, we can only hold our breaths to see how much closer to their idea of perfection they can get.
DRUM TAO 2016 HYAKKARYORAN HANABI details
Dates: Jan 7 - 9, 2016 (Thurs - Sat)
Time: 7.30pm on all three nights with an additional session at 1.30pm on Jan 9 (Sat)
Venue: The Theatre @ MediaCorp, 1 Stars Avenue
Ticket Prices: S$128, S$108, S$88, S$68 (excluding booking fees)
Tickets are now on sale on all SISTIC channels.