||[Mar. 19th, 2007|12:01 am]
日本まで... Where it's made...
Who: Kaoru and Tohma (bet you were never expecting that XD )|
When: Sunday March 18
Where: N-G Studios
What: Kaoru goes to make a business deal with Tohma
Warnings: Big blocks of text and a semi-long log
Kaoru ran a hand down the front of his suit before walking into the studio. His mother decided he and Hikaru were finally ready to start handling the family businesses. His twin was off at a computer company and he, had decided to start here.
While his mother's (and eventually Hikaru and his) clothes-line was fashionable and certainly quick to sell, it needed a mass appeal as well. If only the rich and those who desired to be rich bought the clothing, than it was only a matter of time before copy-cats sold them cheaper, in mass-production, and of a lesser quality.
So, decision in mind, Kaoru (with the final go ahead from his mother) had arranged for a meeting with the head of the studio to see if a deal for certain bands to be outfitted in Hitachiin new clothes could be arranged.
Tohma picked up the daily planner his secretary had left for him and let his eyes scan over the details quickly. His first appointment was quite different from the rest of his day. He had been a little uncertain about scheduling the meeting, but figured it couldn't hurt. Some of his bands could use a bit of a face lift after all. He had one band in particular in mind when he agreed to the meeting with the clothing executive.
He set down the list and stood up, walking over to the window to stare out at the city. He had always tried to make sure his own fashion choices fit with the roles he played, but he wondered what the current trends were and how they would fit with the image his company already had. Tohma glanced at his watch, noticing that the time for his meeting was near.
A knock at the door signaled the arrival of the clothing executive and Kaoru smiled warmly at the secretary, causing her to blush. He had an idea what she was thinking, probably along the lines that he was so young but, he didn't bother as he turned and watched the door open.
"Seguchi Tohma-sama, a pleasure to meet you," he stated as he bowed at the waist when he saw the head of the N-G recording company come out.
Tohma smiled warmly as he stepped out of his office to greet his guest. He was a bit younger then Tohma had expected but he didn't let his expression change. Age didn't mean anything in business any more, Tohma knew that from experience. He gave a slight bow in response.
"Welcome to N-G. It is nice to meet you as well. Please come inside and let us begin our meeting." Tohma held the large door open for his young guest. "Please have a seat on the couch and make yourself comfortable."
Kaoru did as asked, setting his portfolio and briefcase beside him on the couch.
He smiled at him, a bit nervous without his mother guiding him or his brother there for support.
"I'm very honored you would allow this meeting, Seguchi-sama. Your company was on top of the Hitachiin Label list for our newest endeavor."
Tohma seated himself on the opposite couch, the coffee table between them. He studied the boy across from him as he spoke.
"It's my pleasure. N-G is very conscious of the voice of the public and staying with trends is always important when you are in the spotlight as our artists are. I am curious to see what it is your company could do to enhance the image of some of our bands."
"Well the Hitachiin's hope that this newest project will be profitable for both parties. The idea is for one or several of the bands under your recording label to wear our clothes for interviews, public affairs, and even concerts. Our newest line is being aimed, at the moment, at a less formal and lower income demographic. We are constantly attempting to beat the competition, I'm sure you can understand, and this particular move in business is meant to cease any future attempts at lesser quality fake-brands."
Tohma nodded and sat back against the chair. His face now changed from the friendly smile to the stern look of a businessman. It was time to get to work.
"I understand what your aim is, but how can I be certain that the apparel you will be presenting to my groups will be appropriate? There is a certain image that N-G must uphold and since we already appeal to a wide range of ages, I must be certain that your company would stay true to our company's standards of appealing to everyone"
Kaoru nodded his head and picked up his portfolio of his and his mother's sketches, sliding it across the table.
"Of course, Seguchi-sama, your concern is understandable. Here, these are but a few of the 100 newest designs in line for production. They range from classic designs of the Hitachiin brand to our more couture. I can have all one hundred sent here immediately if you'd like. But the intention was for you or the bands under your recording label to decide from these outfits. Even if only two or three designs are chosen we can either create more with those choices in mind or, if you wish, outfit the bands in our popular, but classic clothes."
Tohma picked up the portfolio and scanned through the images.
"Sending everything won't be necessary." He tried to picture his singers in some of the outfits as he looked over the sketches. "Some of my artists have...unique...tastes. What are the possibilities of working together with them to create designs? Some do need a lot of work as far as their look, but doing a complete 360 with your designs would be almost impossible. How would your company go about 'making over' these bands without them losing their individual identity?"
"Hitachiin is more than willing to work with the artists. If you are inclined, we can make individual appointments with each artist to fit them with a wardrobe that is unique to their personality but still following a cohesive to the rest of the band and the trends as well as containing a style that is solely Hitachiin brand. Creating an outfit they find appealing from our selection is not as difficult a task as, as you said, from a complete alteration of our already designed and scheduled clothing line. As to "making over" the bands and making them lose their individuality, it is not our intent to destroy the image or personality of the artists, some of our sketches were in fact made with them in mind, they are among those sketches near the bottom, Seguchi-sama, I apologize for not putting them closer to the front."
Tohma's attention was on the man before him as he was speaking, but once he was finished Tohma turned his attention back to the sketches. After one final glance he set the sketches back down on the table and folded his hands in his lap.
"I am not one to dwell on decisions and so I will present this to you now. I am willing to try out the clothing line on a trial basis. I will give you one of my bands to work with and should I be pleased with the results then I will look into signing a more permanent contract with your company. Would this be a satisfactory agreement for you and your company?"
Kaoru mulled it over in his head. It wasn't exactly what he wanted, but at least it wasn't a flat-out decline. And even if they did fail in this endeavor, though it felt unlikely, then even the one band and the trial tests would get the Hitachiin label out into the demographic they were striving to hit. So really it was a matter of what band they were working with. Not long after Tohma presented the ultimatum, Kaoru nodded his head in consent.
"Indeed, Seguchi-sama, that sounds agreeable, and if it proves to be a success than more details can be decided upon later."
Tohma smiled brightly, the friendliness of before reappearing on his face.
"Excellent. I can't wait to begin the trial." Tohma stood up and walked over to his desk. He picked up a small folder and brought it over to Kaoru. "This will be your band. Their name is Bad Luck and as you can see from the images inside...their concert outfits are rather...different. These are images of not only concert clothes, but everyday and album covers. They are one of our hottest bands right now. I'm sure they will bring much publicity to your company. When should we set up a meeting?"
Kaoru gazed at the file, looking through some of the pictures, and tilting his head before putting them back into the folder for much more extensive detail later and in the privacy of his home.
"Anytime the next three weeks is acceptable, Seguchi-sama, but please understand that if the band is going on tour soon than sooner is better than later to allow for the making and fitting and tailoring of the outfits."
"That is understandable. Their tour will not be starting until the late spring so there is no rush. They will have a photo shoot for their new album prior to that however." Tohma walked over to his desk and looked over his schedule. "The band will have a break again next Wednesday. Would that be acceptable?"
Kaoru pulled out his own planner that his mother had provided, since he himself would be in school it would be given to his mother and his assistants.
"Is it acceptable that the task be given to Hitachiin assistants and some of our top tailors, Seguchi-sama? For I'm afraid that neither my mother, nor myself will be able to do a Wednesday appointment until much later in the evening."
Tohma nodded and walked back over.
"That will be fine. I'll make sure the band is ready for their arrival. I do hope this proves to be beneficial for both parties. I look forward to working with your company."
Kaoru bowed again, a smile on his lips making him look his actual age.
"We at Hitachiin are very pleased about this possible relationship with your company, Seguchi-sama. We also look forward with working with you and your artists."
Tohma smiled warmly and bowed as well. When he stood up he gestured towards the door.
"Now that business is taken care of you need not be so formal. Please drop the -sama from now on. I don't need such a title." He started towards the door, "I am sure you are quite busy, but if you have time would you like a tour of the studios?"
Kaoru let out a shaky breath with a chuckle, a smile again on his lips.
"No, no, I'd love a tour, I already finished my assignments before coming here today," Kaoru chuckled.
"Excellent! Come along then and I will give you the grand tour." Tohma exited the office with a wave to his secretary who stood up with a stack of memos and phone messages. He told her they could wait. Once he was out of earshot, "Actually I wanted an excuse to leave my office anyway. Things have been quite busy, but they always are this time of year." He looked over at Kaoru, "Do you know much about N-G, Hitachiin-san?"
Kaoru laughed again, at Tohma's overall casual attitude.
"I'm sad to say I don't Seguchi-san, though I do listen to some of the bands under your label."
"There really isn't much to know. It is like any other company. We strive by putting out a product that people like." Tohma raised his hand and gestured to the rooms they were passing. "Mostly this floor is only offices. We'll go down to where things are a bit more interesting." They reached the elevator and pressed the down button. Once inside they headed towards the ground floor. "What is it you like to do, Hitachiin-san? You are young so I'm sure you have activities besides work."
He laughed, scratching the bridge of his nose.
"Going to school can certainly have its interesting days, Seguchi-san, but, I guess just hanging out with my twin and friends. We usually go out of the country with our parents on business though, that certainly proves entertaining."
"Traveling can always be fun. I always enjoy going on tour." The elevator reached the bottom floor and they stepped out into the main lobby of the building. Tohma headed off to the left, waving to people who called out to him. "Why is it you have decided to start working so early?"
Kaoru tilted his head.
"Well, it's rather the norm at my school, going with our parents on business or doing the business transactions outside of the actual negotiations. But I enjoy the work, or what I've experienced so far, anyways. And our mother is preparing us for taking over the business once we graduate and go into a university."
"That makes sense. It is good that you are getting the experience now. It shows that your mother is an intelligent businesswoman. Please forgive my questions. I don't mean to pry into your life. You do seem much more relaxed now however. You were wound quite tightly in my office." Tohma smiled pleasantly at the boy then gestured to his left. "These rooms here are the recording studios. All work on the albums happens in the various rooms on this hallway."
"No, it's fine Seguchi-san, I don't mind the questions," Kaoru laughed, "I was wound up, I admit, but it was also my first time going solo on a business meeting, though I probably shouldn't have told you that," Kaoru blushed. He looked at the studios and tilted his head. "Is there a specific studio for each band or is it any studio for any artist?"
"You did very well for your first solo meeting. You should be proud. If I meet your mother in the future I will make sure you receive a good review. As for the studios, they are semi-private. Each room is basically set to the standards of one particular band. Since each band has a unique sound, it is necessary that they have their own room set to get the best out of that particular sound.
"Since only one album gets put out a year it is only necessary to keep the room set for that band for a few months out of each year. So on average, 2 bands will use each room, but never at the same time. One band will have it for the first half of the year, and the other band will have it for the second half."
Kaoru blushed, his mother would gush over the idea of a "good review" if she met Seguchi-san.
"Ah, souka, are there a lot of bands under the N-G label?"
"Bands and solo artists. This is a rather turbulent industry with the number of artists flocculating almost constantly. But there are also artists that N-G will help produce records for but will not actually be considered an N-G artist. To give you an idea, on this bottom floor alone there are 20 recording studios, all of which have the potential to be active at any given time." Tohma reached the end of the hallway and opened a large door leading Kaoru into a large performance hall.
"This is where we have bands do test performances for us. They can also rehearse or have small concerts here. Many times this is where we will interview bands to see if we want them a part of our company."
Kaoru gazed at the stage and then around at the seats and then up at the sound booth.
"Do they rehearse anything large-scale in here?" he asked, still looking up at the lights and cat-walks.
Tohma gestured towards the stage.
"Most of the tour rehearsals take place here. Normally a band will select their song choices for a concert and test them here to see how they want the live versions to sound and look. All lightning and sound rehearsals are done here before going out on tour. It gives the bands a chance to change up their song list before committing to it."
"How often is it used for an audition of a band?" he asked and wondered if it was less or more intimidating to give a performance to a small audience in such a large room.
"Not very often. At N-G we don't accept a lot of new bands. We...or I suppose I should say that I... am very selective. We usually hold an open audition once a year. Sometimes I make special exceptions throughout the year if someone catches my eye."
"What is it you usually look for, beyond vocal talent and music ability? Is something more important to you than something else? Like crowd interaction over stage performance?"
Tohma smiled slightly.
"All of those things are important. But mostly I want to see that the singer has heart. One can not be a true star if they do not have the drive to put everything on the line for it. That will set a band above any other." He looked over at Kaoru, "I suppose that is true for any profession. But in music when you interact with the public on such an emotional level, it is extremely important that you be passionate about the music and the message you are trying to convey."
Kaoru nodded, looking at the stage again, he then remembered Lobelia and how they had such large scale performances as well as the extremely devoted fans. He also remembered how they had "saved" Haruhi from them. He coughed quickly to cover a snicker. He then smiled back at Tohma.
"It's very impressive, Seguchi-san."
Tohma smiled and ushered Kaoru out of the room.
"It is just another stage to perform on for the artists." He led Kaoru back to the main lobby. "Well, Hitachiin-san, I should probably return to my office before my secretary quits on me for abandoning her." Tohma smiled, "Feel free to continue your tour however."
Kaoru bowed again, smiling.
"Thank you, Seguchi-san, but I have to leave myself so I can relate to my mother what was agreed upon in the meeting."
Tohma returned the bow.
"Very well. It was a pleasure meeting you, Hitachiin-san. Feel free to return at any time. I look forward to seeing what your company can do."
"Likewise, Seguchi-san, it was a pleasure meeting you as well, thank you for your time."
"You are very welcome. Have a pleasant evening." Tohma waved as he turned and headed to the elevator that would take him back to the pile of paperwork now awaiting him.