Playing a sadistic real-life villain in the Angelina Jolie film "Unbroken" clearly took its toll on Takamasa Ishihara, who admits he wept and threw up as he prepared for his final scene. Now back in a more familiar role as the enigmatic musician Miyavi, the man known as the "Samurai Guitarist" is flying high once again. The 33-year-old was in a buoyant mood as he sat down with The Japan Times to discuss his experiences on set, his reaction to the film's critics and his new album, "The Others," which came out this week.

"I'm really buzzing about this record," he says, speaking at the Universal Music Japan offices. "Changing to a Telecaster guitar gave it more of an electric sound and, as a result, it's edgier and more aggressive than anything I've done previously. I wrote and recorded a lot of it in Nashville, Tennessee, which was amazing. I'm not really sure how I ended up there, but it was like rehab for me. Up until that point I was all over the place. I had the movie and everything that brings with it, plus a world tour. Honestly speaking, it was overwhelming. As a result I felt a distance growing between myself and music, I just wasn't enjoying it. That changed in Nashville.

"It's such a soulful place. The whole city is musical — you go into restaurants and even the waiters can sing. It was the ideal setting to rediscover my creative side and I think that is what I managed to do with this album. I'm not completely satisfied with it — I know I've got more to give — but I am happy. It's got a real bite; I just can't wait to get on stage and perform these songs for my fans here in Japan."