[Live Report] 魅世物小屋が暮れてから〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜

Pia
18 July 2021

Text = Okubo Yuka
Photos = Tanaka Seitaro, Watanabe Reina

 

 

This Depraved Dream World BUCK-TICK Invited Us Into

At 21:00 on July 17 was when BUCK-TICK began their streamed concert Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara 〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜. This is its official report.

This show is BUCK-TICK’s first concert in 2021 and their second concert stream without an in-person audience. At last September’s ABRACADABRA LIVE ON THE NET, they performed the songs from their latest album ABRACADABRA according to the CD track order on the day of the album’s release. It was a straightforward livestream that delivered the band’s zeal but this time around, as the title suggests, a conceptual set that brought their audience into a salaciously beautiful world of mellifluous intoxication unfolded.

9 p.m. is usually the time we expect for a usual concert to end. In this day and age where we joke about “shady dealings” and the sort which comes alive after 8 p.m., there lies a tent that quietly puts on a light. It is time for BUCK-TICK’s streamed concert Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara 〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜 to commence.

Enticed by an introduction that invokes a sense of guilty pleasure, we dive in deep, going through the curtains and continuing until a circular stage lit up by strings of electric lights appears before our eyes. Dressed in outfits oozing with personality, the band looked like a troupe belonging to this “Circus of Oddities”. Giving the audience no time to mentally prepare themselves, they immediately began their song. It was a familiar melody but with a completely different groove. This new sensation brings about the awareness that we have stepped into a whole other world.

Today’s show was split into two parts; the first being an acoustic set, and the second, the band set. In the first half, the acoustic set not only consisted of already existing acoustic songs, but also songs which have been specially given newly arranged acoustic versions just for this show.

Highlights among those are Uta which had transformed from garage rock to swing, and JUST ONE MORE KISS which had turned into a refreshing mid-tempo song. The simplicity of this ensemble elevated the songs, making them stand out even more and letting them convey each of their individual “fragrances” through the screen.

In addition, the cabaret box seats set up by the stage, the flames surrounding the stage, the lighting, the camerawork and all that were unlike what you would see in large productions on a big stage. All these minute staging details were what vividly reflected the storytelling of this particular stage.

The band set in the second part was their conventional concert setup, but even here, they’ve added songs with new arrangements that continue to surprise. They’ve said from the very beginning that the setlist for this show was specially selected to match the atmosphere of this stage which looks like a “Circus of Oddities”. And it feels especially so in this second half with a setlist steeped deeply in a world of depravity and fantasy.

In our daily lives where all kinds of exhausting news keep flying at us, this moment alone allows us to forget that reality. It’s like they’re granting us a dazzling, or perhaps a soothing dream to dream. I believe that this is precisely the true value of entertainment.

Their persistence with the concept of putting on a performance of mesmerising songs without speaking even once so as to not dispel this dream for the audience truly left an impression. Yet in spite of this, the message that the band wanted to convey through all of this was clearly told through the show.

Throughout both the first and second parts, Sakurai Atsushi (vocals) crossed his index and middle fingers time and again, displaying the hand sign for “Good Luck”. For those who will be enjoying the archive, do certainly pay attention and look out for this.

It had been showtime that will make us want to keep coming back for more even after the curtains have been drawn. The archive period for this stream will end on Friday, 23 July at 23:59. There is no doubt that you will most certainly get to meet a whole new BUCK-TICK in this show.

Yesterday, after the stream concluded, BUCK-TICK announced that they will be releasing a new single titled Go-Go B-T TRAIN on Wednesday, 22 September. They also announced that they will be going on a national tour starting Monday, 3 October along with the tour schedule.

I suppose the audience who have been immersed in the afterglow of this “Circus of Oddities” must have also been talking about the title of the single which appears to hold the destructive power to break down the image of BUCK-TICK that we’ve held thus far. Next year, in 2022, BUCK-TICK will be celebrating the 35th anniversary of their career since their major debut and yet they are still on the attack. It is truly admirable. Let our hearts swell with the anticipation of looking forward to what kind of new world will be the next one that BUCK-TICK shows us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Pia

The origin of “ISSAY”

Thank you for All -vol.004-
July 2012

Interview text by Masubuchi Kimiko (増渕公子)
Photography by Saori Tsuji [Blue Ash]

 

 

Profile

ISSAY (Issei): Born on the 6th of July in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. A vocalist. After working on the band ISSAY and SUICIDES and his own solo projects, DER ZIBET was formed in 1984. It was around the same time when he appeared in the movie The Legend of the Stardust Brothers and got acquainted with mastermind and showrunner Chikada Haruo. This meeting led to DER ZIBET’s major debut in 1985 with the single Matsu Uta under the label SIXTY RECORDS. Between switching labels to COLUMBIA TRIAD and then BMG Victor ariola later on, the band released a dozen albums before eventually going on an indefinite hiatus in 1996. In that same period, electronic music group HAMLET MACHINE was formed in 1991 and remained active alongside ISSAY’s DER ZIBET activities. He then formed ϕ (Phi) in 1998 with guitarist Hirose “JIMMY” Satoshi (ex. 44MAGNUM) and a few others but it was later disbanded in the year 2000. ISSAY meets DOLLY was then formed in 2002 (active irregularly), along with Lynx in 2005 with HEATH (X JAPAN). His musical career continued through these bands alone until 2006, when DER ZIBET came together again with all 5 original members of the band following the catalyst of HAL’s accident (although it was around 2007 when the band officially regrouped). 2009 saw the release of their first album since reformation, PRIMITIVE and their solo liveshow celebrating their 25th anniversary. They have remained very active since and in 2012, they have announced the release of two full albums, ROMANOID Ⅰ and ROMANOID Ⅱ and will be performing solo live shows in Tokyo and Osaka too. All while racing on towards their 30th anniversary.

 

 

There was no doubt that both my father and mother doted on me.
It’s just that…… I think my father was bad at showing love.

ーー This photoshoot and setting were selected based on ISSAY-san’s image. That said, ISSAY-san, do you often visit the rose garden?

ISSAY (I): During this season (May), I really do feel like going to the rose garden but the moment I thought about how crowded it would get, I had to give up on that idea for this shoot (lol).

ーー Would you visit every year?

 I: More or less every year in this past decade. If I don’t go in May or June, I’d go in October, during the autumn rose season. Y’know, some years ago, I’d even go with our drummer MAYUMI too. And this old Western-style building we had our shoot in, I love those types of buildings. I’d love to live in one (lol).

ーー (Lol). So, to start, I’d like to ask about your childhood. You were born in Shizuoka?

I: Right, Numazu City in Shizuoka Prefecture. Although it’s a coastal town, there are mountains too. It’s a place that’s sandwiched between both the mountains and the sea, but I’m better acquainted with the sea.

ーー Was the sea within walking distance?

I: I kept moving around Numazu City from time to time so it depended on where I lived at that period, y’know? From where the present house is, it’s not impossible to walk [to the sea] if I wanted to, I think.

ーー What do you mean by ‘moving around Numazu City’?

I: My parents were divorced. When I finished kindergarten, my younger brother and I, us two were taken in by our mother, but after that, I was then taken in by my father when I started 4th grade in elementary school. I started living with my father’s new wife, my present mother. And shortly after that, my present mother had a child with my father so I have a brother who’s 10 years younger than me.

ーー How did young ISSAY-san take such a situation?

I: Simply speaking, I hated it. I was a momma’s boy, so since I was being separated from my mother, it’s obvious that I would hate it.

ーー And it was right at the time when you’d miss your mother.

I: Exactly.

ーー I do wonder, what type of child were you when you were young?

I: What type… I’d be a whole other person from one period to the next, but I think I generally tended towards the quiet category. Like, I don’t think I was the type who would create that big a fuss over things. I was certainly often alone. But that’s also because my schooling district changed when I was taken into my father’s house. I went to school in a different district from where I lived, so I didn’t have a single friend near home. That is to say, because of that, I played alone at home. My younger brother was still a baby anyway, and besides, even if I went somewhere nearby to play, I won’t find any friends who went to the same school as I did. Whether I stayed at home or went outside, I was always playing with my own imagination. Like if I went to the river near my house, I’d try walking along the banks while imagining things like, “This river might be a river that leads to 〇〇”. Even when I played at home, in my head, the house would become a jungle or a secret base in space, yeah. Speaking of secret bases, I often dug holes in the garden when I still lived with my birth mother, you know. Using a shovel. Because it was my dream to build an underground kingdom (lol). But no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t dig any deeper than my knees, because the ground gets so hard (lol).

ーー (Lol). Did she get angry with you for digging a huge hole?

I: In the beginning, when I dug out a big hole, my mother said, “Perfect, let’s throw our rubbish in this hole.” Then, when I started digging the next hole, she got angry with me and said, “It’s still too early.” What’s too early?    I had no idea what she meant (lol).

ーー That it was still too early to dig the next hole for trash (lol). Actually, I imagined ISSAY-san to be the quiet type at home.

I: I was like that too. When I was in kindergarten, I wrote letters to the Hakata dolls¹ at home.

ーー Were you in love with the Hakata dolls?

I: No, it’s nothing like that. Day after day, I’d write letters about what happened today and things like that and then put them into the glass display with the Hakata dolls. But since they were words written by a kindergartner, even if my parents did see them, they were indecipherable (lol).

ーー (Lol). It sounded like you were lonely… Did you spend time with your [birth] mother?

I: The family ran a business right next to the family home, so my mother often worked there, but whenever I missed her, I’d go to where my mother was in the company and draw or something so that I wouldn’t get in the way of her work. That’s why, at the time, I didn’t feel lonely, though. I understood that my father and my mother weren’t getting along.

ーー You could hear their marital discord.

I: That, and my father was an eccentric person. There was a bit of a violent side to him too so I was afraid [of him]. Despite that, I think there was no doubt that such a father of mine, and of course, my mother too, doted on me. It’s just that… I think my father was bad at showing love, now that I think about it (wry smile). I’ve only come to think so after growing up, but when I was a child, I couldn’t understand him at all. That’s why, when it was just the three of us; me, my mother, and my younger brother living together, it was a very carefree time for me. Sometimes, my father would get drunk and come to where the three of us lived… There were also times when he scared me very badly, though.

ーー I see…

I: My mother spoiled me, so I do also think that perhaps my father might’ve had his reservations about her parenting style².

ーー That the eldest son and successor has to be brought up strong.

I: I guess that was it.   So, although that was the kind of father he was, he doted on me anyway. You know~ One thing that I remember really well even now is, since both of my parents worked and neither of them would be at home, at the time, my father would buy me open reel tapes~~

ーー Open reel tapes!

I: Because that was a time before cassettes existed (lol). On those tapes, he would record himself reading picture books for me and I, as a kindergartner, would work the open reel tapes on my own and read my picture books while listening to them.

ーー I think the only ones who are capable of doing that now are radio station directors (lol).

I: You won’t get to touch those any more these days, though (lol). I’m grateful for that. Book after book, he made recordings for all of the books we had at home… Maybe he recorded them for me after he came home from work and had dinner or something. He loved alcohol, but it wasn’t as if he drank all the time either. I guess in that sense, he loved me.

ーー Contrary to his scary side, he has a gentle side too, doesn’t he?

I: To say that he was gentle, he wasn’t all that gentle a person, though. But that man’s moods, they’re far too intense. He’s a hundred times more of a rocker than I am (lol).

ーー Speaking of rockers, what kind of exposure to music did you have when you were young?

I: Just a bit of piano, the organ. Now I can’t play them at all (lol). If only I took it a little bit more seriously…

ーー Was it because piano is a girls’ thing?

I: I don’t have such impressions. It’s simply because I didn’t think it was fun. When it comes to music, I just watched those singing programs that they used to broadcast a lot on TV back then. So, you could say that it wasn’t as if I was all that into music. Ah, but I liked him, Ozaki Kiyohiko-san³. And because I liked him, my mother bought the EP⁴ of Mata Au Hi Made for my younger brother and I, and we listened to it on a portable player. That’s why, I was kind of happy when I got to act alongside Ozaki Kiyohiko-san in the movie, The Legend of the Stardust Brothers (lol).

ーー It’s unfortunate that he passed away just recently… But he was a wonderful person, wasn’t he?

I: He was wonderful, he was superb at singing since way back, and when I actually got to meet him, he was a person with an amazing aura about him. Also… I guess that’s pretty much what I liked. It wasn’t as if I was particularly into music anyway.

ーー Nothing about enjoying singing and things like that?

I: I hated it.

ーー Huh!?   Why?

I: Because it’s embarrassing. Standing in front of people to sing and all that, I get too embarrassed to do it. When I attended my father’s company dinners with him, I wouldn’t sing even if everyone was singing. He’d tell me, “Sing!” and I’d say, “No way, I don’t wanna sing,” and I’d end up getting beaten by him, though (lol). Even then, I wouldn’t sing.

ーー Basically, you’d absolutely never do something you didn’t want to do.

I: If I don’t like it, I don’t like it. But, you see, I didn’t understand what was the point of singing anyway.

ーー Mm… Why are you a vocalist now…

I: We’ll get to that afterwards (lol).

ーー It sounds like you often ended up joining your father for events where adults were gathered for drinks because he was running the business.

I: There were year-end parties, new year parties, company recreational trips, and all that. He ran an architecture and design firm, so there were designers, architects, site supervisors, and when there were banquets, the subcontractor carpenters and construction workers and painters would attend too. A lot of adults were nice to me, since, you know, I’m the CEO’s son (lol). But despite what it may sound like, it wasn’t as if we were super duper rich. In my opinion, it’s just that we weren’t poor.

 

I’d keep staring out the window during class while listening to the teacher teach.
Even such a school life was more peaceful than staying at home.

ーー Based on what you’ve told me so far, it sounds like you’ve always been the type to be picky about things since young?   Like when it comes to the clothes you wear, or food, or something.

I: I don’t think I was all that… Ah, I was (lol). I said it to my mother before, things like, “I won’t wear it unless my clothes are of this colour.” The things I was particular about would change from time to time, though. For example, there’d be a period when I’d say, “I don’t want to wear pants that aren’t black,” or, “I don’t want to wear any vest that isn’t burgundy in colour.” I think I used to say such things. But that was also something that only went on until I was about 9 years old; during the time when it was just me, my [biological] mother and my younger brother living together.

ーー Like, if you wore what you liked, you’d look better, or feel better.

I: Yeah, I think that’s what I had in mind. Because I wouldn’t wear clothes⁵ that I didn’t like (lol).

ーー (Lol) You were a fashionista, weren’t you? So, you know how boys, when they’re growing up, tend to have this period in their childhood when they develop an interest towards makeup? Did ISSAY-san have that phase?

I: I did. That was exactly what my interest towards my mother’s makeup products was. For each item, I’d ask, “What does this do?” I think she probably applied lipstick or something on me before. And she’d sometimes tie my hair up for me too (lol).

ーー Was this interest because of the feeling of becoming another you when she ties your hair up or something?

I: What I felt wasn’t that either, but I had fun doing it.

ーー What were you like in school?   Personally, I’ve got this impression that you were a clever child, though.

I: Nah, I wasn’t like that. I was a very very ordinary and quiet student. I think I became part of the class committee because of that, but I tried it, and thought, “Ah, I don’t like this,” and I never did it again, or something (lol). Besides,  I’m not particularly good at things which require me to put myself in the spotlight (lol). My switching between times when I wanted to put myself out there and times when I didn’t was wild, probably. For example, I’d be full of motivation in the first semester of fourth grade in elementary school, but by the second semester, I don’t want to do it anymore. If you looked at my report cards from back then, you’d see me being described as “restless” in the first semester, yet in the second semester, “too quiet, keeps looking outside during class” would be written (lol). The ups and downs were probably extreme.

ーー Were you aware of it?

I: Not at all. It’s only when people tell me about it that I realise it does seem that way. It’s just that there are things I’d be thinking about from one period to the next, and if I’m troubled by something, I’d end up becoming quiet. My personality would change. That’s why, my teacher would get worried and say things like, “You’ve suddenly turned quiet since the start of the 2nd semester, did something happen over summer break?” (lol). I didn’t think that I changed, though. But on the whole, what I’ve often heard them say was that I was often staring out the window while listening to the teacher teach.

ーー Because classes were boring?

I: I enjoyed them when they were about things I was interested in. I’d get very motivated about the things I was interested in, but when I have no interest in it, there’s none of that at all (lol). In terms of subjects, I hated Kanji in Japanese language classes. I didn’t see the point in memorising. If anything, I preferred science and mathematics related subjects. For social sciences, I liked history but I didn’t understand a lick of geography. When it was the term when we studied geography, my grades would be horrendous, but when it was history, I’d get very good grades.

ーー When you have an interest in it, you’d get increasingly absorbed in it.

I: And if I’m not interested in it, I wouldn’t have the slightest shred of interest at all.

ーー What about sports?

I: My motor skills were alright, so I’m usually fast at running. But I’m very bad at throwing balls (lol). I liked high jump, long jump, short distance sprints, but I’m extremely bad at middle-distance runs and throwing. For example, I didn’t like dodgeball because it hurts if you sprain your finger while playing it, but on the other hand, I liked basketball, things like that (lol).

ーー Huh, why is that? I don’t understand the determinant factor (lol).

 I: I guess, maybe I thought it was fun getting the ball into the net for basketball. I can get myself involved if it makes me think, “Ah, this seems like fun,” but otherwise, I wouldn’t want to do it at all. My report card was horrible too. While I’d get a 5⁶ sometimes, there are other times when I’d get 2⁶. That was something that changed between semesters (lol).

ーー How did your parents react when they looked at it?

I: My father was a person who was strict when it came to education so I got beaten to a pulp. He’d say, “It’s because you don’t concentrate!” (lol). My mother never really said much. My father was a noisy person anyway, so maybe that made my mother not want to say anything too harsh.

ーー It seems to me that you were very particular about things, but what was the criteria for these preferences?   Like, did you want to only do things that were cool to you, or something like that?

I: I care to consider whether something was cool or not, but if I was going to be late for school, I wouldn’t want to go. I’d just think, well, since I wouldn’t make it in time even if I went to school today, I want to rest. But this decision isn’t based on whether it’s a cool thing to do or not. School lunches were a pain too. I, basically, can’t eat much, so, why is everyone capable of eating so much? I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

ーー So your appetite has always been small.

I: Also, I’ve always had this thing where I can’t eat much if I’m eating in a place where lots of people are around. I think I didn’t like the idea of everyone being fed the same way. And it simply didn’t taste good either (lol).

ーー There were times when the school lunch menus were awful back in the day, weren’t there? (Lol). Considering this, I guess school wasn’t a very happy place for you, was it?

I: It was better than being at home. I didn’t want to stay at home. Because as a child, I hated my father.

ーー So, it was more peaceful in school.

I: That’s right, it was peaceful.

ーー I see… So, when did ISSAY-san start getting into music?

I: Since the end of elementary school or around the time when I was in junior high school, I was listening to movie soundtracks. I’d buy omnibus cassette tapes of old movie soundtracks of films like Purple Noon⁷. Speaking of which, I think it would be classified as a rock song in today’s terms but I liked Tubular Bells, the theme song of the movie Exorcist⁸ and similar music. I definitely did buy a radio-cassette player when I entered junior high school and listened to these in my own room. Although, there was a stereo at home but it was too old so it couldn’t be used. At the same time, I didn’t want to listen using it because that would mean that I’d have to listen in a place where the rest of my family was. In any case, I’ve always been the type who’d stay in my room and never leave (lol). So the music that I listened to on the cassette player in my own room was pretty much just movie soundtracks. I also more or less listened to the rock and pop music broadcast on radio, but I wasn’t really into it.

ーー What about borrowing from your friends?

I: Well, I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my friends. Because my home was far [away from school] so I didn’t normally have friends to hang out with. Things remained that way when I was in junior high school too.

I didn’t want to be controlled so I didn’t belong to any group. But for some reason, I was favoured by delinquents. They’d say to me, “I’ll treat you to coffee jelly.”

ーー After-school activities?

I: Kendo club. I joined because it seemed like fun, and I was even properly present for club activities. I reached first-dan⁹ in high school, so, I attended two different high schools, but in my second high school, they made it compulsory for me to join a club or something. That was when I joined the kendo club and achieved dan⁹ level.

ーー lSSAY-san practicing kendo… I didn’t expect that (lol).

I: And, you know, the armour was huge. Because when I first started junior high, I was so small that I was positioned second from the front¹⁰. Then, in those three years of junior high, I grew about 26cm taller and after that, I grew another 10cm taller.

ーー Did things change as a result of your growth spurt? Like suddenly becoming popular with the girls?   Or getting more chocolates on Valentines’ Day?

I: In those days, obligatory chocolates and all that didn’t exist which meant that you got anything, it was for real. So I remember receiving only one when I was a 6th grader in elementary school and feeling all troubled, like, “Ah, this is serious.” Though, I think that might’ve been a junior who was with me as part of the library committee.

ーー So, you were on the library committee.

I: Because I loved books. You see… If I’m alone in my room, the only thing I can do is read books, right?

ーー Ah, that’s true. Those were the days when the only TV in the house was in the living room too.

I: Yeah, and I hated going to the living room where my father was. So I’d just hole myself up in my room and read Edogawa Ranpo¹¹, mystery, fantasy, stories about ghouls and fairies. You could only borrow one book a day from the library, you see. Since that was the case, I decided that on weekdays, I’d borrow an easy book and finish it within the day. On Saturdays, I’d borrow a thick book and read it on Saturday and Sunday, over two days.

ーー So, 6 books a week.

I: Yeah.

ーー That’s a ton of reading!

I: But you see, that includes random books that I could finish in a day.

ーー What kind of student were you in junior high?

I: I might’ve been considered to be a bit of a delinquent (lol), but it wasn’t anything like doing this or that with my uniform. You know how there’d somehow always be those friends or seniors who are bad company?   I was favoured by those people, though I really don’t know why. So, I had to go through town to get home. And when I meet those slightly delinquent fellow classmates while walking down the shopping district, they’d call out to me saying things like, “I’ll treat you to coffee jelly at the coffee shop.”

ーー Were they looking for something in return?

I: Nope, not particularly. I wonder why. Maybe it’s because I was aimlessly wandering around.

ーー Were they thinking of getting ISSAY-san into their own group since you didn’t belong to any?

I: But even if they did invite me, I still won’t belong to any particular group anyway. Somehow, I don’t like the idea of my actions being controlled. But I was hiding in my room because of that, so there’s also the question of whether that’s freedom or not though.

ーー But there must’ve been a reason why they took such notice of you. Maybe it was something you weren’t aware of.

I: I guess… For example, wasn’t there a trend of piercing a hole in your ear with a safety pin?

ーー Ah, was there?

I: It was right around the time when punk appeared. So, I happened to be there right when the delinquents were going about whether to put a hole in their ear or not. And they asked me, “Hey, can you pierce a hole?” and I said, “I can,” and straight up stuck the safety pin in and pierced a hole myself. 

ーー Without numbing it with ice first?

I: Uhhuh. That hurt (lol). Contrarily, to pierce your ear, it wasn’t particularly realistic for students in the countryside to do, you know? And we didn’t have any concept of having piercings either. So that was just a matter of whether you can pierce a hole here or not (lol).

ーー Like, touch this thing to see whether it’s hot or not?

I: I wouldn’t have liked it hot, though (lol), but well, it was something like, I guess it’s fine to pierce a hole since it could turn into a fashion statement too? (lol).

ーー Because you had an interest in rock and punk fashion anyway?

I: I suppose, in a roundabout way, but I wasn’t all that interested in rock itself.

ーー So, when you did that, they just said, “Good on you”?

I: I don’t think there was anything like that either. Probably just a, “Huh, that guy really pierced his ear” (lol).

ーー So you made nothing but losses from piercing your ear (lol).

I: (Lol).

ーー Did you put a stud or something into that hole?

I: No, no, I didn’t. We only had safety pins there. So, I just made a hole and removed the pin… Wait, isn’t that self-harm! (Lol)

ーー Thank you for playing along (lol).

I: I didn’t even think of that. So, I didn’t do anything particularly bad in those days; that was the kind of junior high life I had.

 

 

At the boarding high school it was study, study, study everyday. It was so uncomfortable there that I couldn’t take it and snuck out of the dormitory every Saturday night. Right then, that incident happened……

ーー What about your high school entrance exams?

I: Well, I went to a preparatory school, but by that time, I had already lost interest in studying for school and my grades were steadily dropping, so I attended cram school for a time during summer break of my third year in junior high. Though, when I skipped those classes too and got caught for it, I was badly beaten for it. To a point where I felt like my life was in danger, really.

ーー From your father.

I: Yea. So, I decided that I’d just study anyway, and when I did, my grades came back, but you know… My transcripts¹² weren’t good, were they? Since they consisted of all 3 years starting from my first year in junior high. So I entered a barely-acceptable high school that didn’t really care about those things, but. That place was the worst.

ーー The worst?

I: It was a private boarding school where we were split into classes based on our grades. It was awful. Absolutely awful. Like after dinner, we weren’t allowed to go into other students’ rooms after 7 p.m., and we had to stay up until 11 p.m. at night to study. Then, we had 7 hours of classes in school which were then followed by another 2 hours of class in the prep school next to the dormitories which were run by the high school.

ーー Cram and cram and cram.

I: Yeah. It was extremely strict and they’ll post everyone’s grades up so there’s bullying in that sense too. Because I couldn’t tolerate that sort of thing.

ーー And there’s nowhere to escape to because it’s a boarding school…

I: But. It was better than going home. When I snuck out of the dormitory, I went drinking. We targeted Saturday nights when surveillance wasn’t as strict. Whenever I went to our usual bar, someone would always buy me a drink. So, I’d only drink there every week. Though, it wasn’t as if I understood or appreciated the taste of alcohol, it just looked cool, you know? Well, at a different place, an incident which involved more than half of the dormitory occurred when I was in my second year of high school. Juniors somehow got caught but all of the blame was placed on me.

ーー Because it involved alcohol?

I: Well, that’s what it was though. That incident, although there was no such thing as a mastermind or anything like that, all of it was blamed on me. I guess, maybe the school sort of knew about what I was doing and they were just looking for a chance. But even though this incident involved more than half the students in the dormitory, all of the blame was pinned on me and I was the only one who was made to drop out… Because of that, I became sick and tired of everything. I dropped out around autumn of my second year in high school, but since my father had some level of reputation, I couldn’t be at home, could I? Because other people would find out about this if I was in my hometown. And so, I was sent to Yotsuya¹³ where I was a live-in newspaper delivery boy.

ーー Huh, your parents made that decision?

I: Yeah. They say that newspaper delivery is tough, but once you’ve gotten used to it, it’s fine. To the high schooler that I was, that was better than being at home anyway. Actually, they also raised the possibility of transferring me into a high school in Tokyo, but no matter the school, they had no reason to take in a kid who wanted to transfer at such an awkward time in the school year for some unknown reason. I was also at the point when I didn’t want to go to school, so…… In any case, I was angry at the backstabbing by the juniors in that high school I was expelled from, at the school for trying to cover up the incident which involved more than half the dormitory by blaming it on me alone, and at all my classmates who said nothing against it. Because that happened, I believed that people couldn’t be trusted anymore.

ーー Not a single person told the truth… That must’ve been quite a blow.

I: Yeah. So while delivering newspapers in Yotsuya, I got acquainted with people from a particular left-wing group, and my parents caught wind of me hanging out there so I got taken back into their home (lol). In the end, I was only in Yotsuya for 2 or 3 months before they brought me back. And because they said, “You’re not allowed to go anywhere,” I was essentially under house arrest. I had no money at 17, so I couldn’t go out and have fun anyway, right? There was nowhere for me to go. At home, my parents would keep saying all sorts of things to me whenever we met. Also, I’d be subjected to forced labour at my father’s construction sites on occasion. He’d say, “Understand what it means to work!” Aside from that, I’d be in my room all the time, reading the books I have there. It was around that time when I started writing. Starting from a diary, and gradually into poetry. Every evening, I’d say I’m going out for a walk and go towards the sea to take a breather. I’d spend about an hour there by the seaside, passing time before going back into my room to listen to music. Actually, it was at my first high school where I first encountered rock music.

ーー What was rock at the time?

I: I think the very first one was David Bowie. A classmate had me listen to Station to Station¹⁴. When I heard it, I thought, “Ah, so rock can be expressed in this manner too.” I didn’t like rock at all at the time, but after that, I loved it. I think that one was released in 1976. When David Bowie slicked his hair back.

ーー Was it after you encountered David Bowie that you got inspired to start a band?

I: When you hear such complex music you won’t get the urge to do music, yeah. I just listened to it, thinking that it’s amazing. It was after that when I started to listen to rock and all sorts of music, though. At the time, Japan¹⁵ came about, so I listened to Japan. Then there was Gary Numan¹⁶ and Public Image¹⁷… That was the kind of music I was listening to. I even took my radio-cassette player with me when I was living in Yotsuya.

ーー So, for how long did that confinement in your parents’ home continue?

I: Around February of my supposed second year in high school, I thought, this is bad, I can’t keep going on like this. I wanted to talk to people in my age group. So, I said I wanted to go to school and got myself enrolled into my second high school. I had to drop a grade from high school year 2, which meant that while I should have been in year 3 [at my age], I transferred into year 2 at a high school with more freedom (lol). But as you’d expect, I couldn’t bring myself to trust anyone in the beginning. That untrusting period went on for quite a while. But with a change of environment, I, too, gained the ability to change myself. I doubted and suspected and couldn’t trust, didn’t trust, wouldn’t trust until at the very end, I ultimately decided to try and trust these people who made me feel like I could trust them. And so, during my time in my second high school, I managed to make friends with people who I could call my best friends¹⁸.

ーー Through rock?

I: We did talk about rock too. It was during that time, when I was borrowing all sorts of music from friends to listen to that I found T-REX¹⁹ and Sex Pistols²⁰. And it was then when I made the big mistake of thinking that I might be able to pull it off if I were to make music like theirs (lol). Like, I could probably do it if it was this sort of simple rock’n’roll. If it was that somewhat aloof sort of singing, rather than the high-toned shouting kind of music I hated, maybe I could do it too. You see, I thought that this was the fastest shortcut. Although I had started writing poetry, it wasn’t as if I did it because I thought I was talented anyway. I just did it by following the methodology without the idea that I had the talent for poetry. So, that’s how I felt, yeah. That, maybe I could do it, singing… Although I’ve never sung in front of anyone before (lol).

 

I have to drink, or I can’t sing!   I just get so incredibly embarrassed. Despite that, we believed that we’d go pro, even though we were such a fraud of a band (lol).

ーー Were you in an actual band even in high school?

I: Nope, because I haven’t decided to start a band at the time. When I became a year 3 student, among the graduating students; students the same age as me but one school year ahead of me, were those who I would eventually start a band with and some of them were headed towards Tokyo, so I sent them off with the words, “I’ll be heading there next year too, so if you’re going there and want to start a band, keep practicing, yeah?” And a year later, I went to Tokyo too.

ーー You studied crazy hard and took the university entrance exams.

I: Well, I didn’t study. Any university was fine. As long as I could get in.

ーー As long as you could get into university, you could live in Tokyo, away from your parents.

I: Exactly. And I got into the university’s economics faculty. I actually wanted to join the literature faculty but I got asked, “What’s the point of that?” I didn’t really want to argue about it so I just said, “I’ll go for economics then.”

ーー Was living in Tokyo like paradise, a fresh new start?

I: It wasn’t exactly paradise there. Anyway, the only thing I had decided on was what I was going to do. That I would, in any case, make music.

ーー So you started a band with those who came to Tokyo first?

I: The guitarist and bassist were my hometown friends, but we only lacked a drummer so I tricked a drummer at my university (lol) into joining the band and named it ISSAY and SUICIDES (SUICIDES). We already composed an original even before we had our first studio session. I went to the guitarist’s place, had him put chords to the melody I came up with and composed it together. I then wrote the lyrics later.

ーー What was your first studio session like?

I: I couldn’t do it unless I drank.

ーー Hah?

I: But, you see, I can’t sing in front of people when I’m sober. I just get so incredibly embarrassed. That’s why  I don’t even know whether what I did at the time can even be called singing though. But the fact that we thought that we’d go ahead and perform live with that, and that none of us thought that we couldn’t do a live show… Even though we were such a, fraud of a band (lol).

ーー Calling yourselves a fraud of a band (lol).

I: Really, now that I think about it, we were an awful band (lol). No matter how you look at it, we were such a hoax that I’m wondering how we ever thought that band could go pro.

ーー Where did you perform your show?

I: The first was at a tiny live house in Koenji. It’s not there anymore but, hm… I think it was called Red House²¹. It was a strange live house; there’s a bar counter, and a performance space in the back, and for some reason, there was a seating area floored with tatami mats next to it. That was where we performed live. I was 20 when I first took to the stage, you know. So, shortly after we started performing shows, our audience also gradually grew.

ーー Because you did some sort of advertising?

I: So, before we played our first show, at the time, an acquaintance made a recommendation for me to JUNE²² (ジュネ) and ALLAN²³ (アラン), which were what you’d now refer to as BL²⁴ magazines. They then published a few pages worth of photos of me so people who read those magazines were the ones who came to our performances. From the first or second show.

ーー So that’s how it happened. Um… Did you know what kind of magazines they were before you agreed to appear in them?

I: I did. They posted information for me numerous times after too, and I even had a feature in JUNE. Don’t misunderstand me, but ever since high school, I’ve been going to those establishments to drink.

ーー So you’re immune.

I: Not at all. Rather, I’m comfortable. It’s not… Anyway, it’s like, say, I thought it was fine either way (lol).

ーー Mm~ Freedom (lol). It appears that you were also modelling while being in a band?

I: Modelling, that just happened by chance.

ーー Ah, was it also around this period when you started pantomime?

I: Just before I turned 21, yes. So, there’s a beauty salon back in my hometown that I used to go to when I was a high schooler, and the people there took a liking to me so they asked me to be a hair model. It was there where I met my pantomime teacher, just by chance. At the time, we only greeted each other, but a year later, we happened to meet again at the same beauty salon. Because even after I turned 20 and moved to Tokyo, I still go to that beauty salon on occasion to cut or dye my hair.

ーー The both of you came from the same hometown?

I: Yeah, it just so happened. So, we exchanged greetings and my teacher left the beauty salon, but right after that, he made a phone call to the beauty salon. “It’s ISSAY-kun’s call,” the staff said, right before adding, “It’s the pantomime guy from earlier. He said that he’d be performing his next show in [unknown month], and asked if you’d perform?” He asked whether I would perform, but I’ve never done anything like that before, and besides, I didn’t know whether I was capable of it or not, so I said, “I don’t think I can,” and declined, but then, he said, “No, don’t worry, I’ll only let you do things within your ability.” I thought, if that’s the case, then it wouldn’t hurt to try. And after 2 months of special training, I performed in that show.

ーー Did you have fun?

I: I was nervous. But pantomime was interesting. Actually, rather than pantomime itself being interesting, it was the many things that my teacher taught me about, things which I never knew prior. The way we think about things, music, the arts… There was so much to know and learn from my teacher that it felt as if my world expanded all at once. That was really interesting, you know? And it’s still going on even now, though.

ーー The band and pantomime, you were absorbed in these two activities, so school…?

I: I barely went.

ーー Because you were engrossed in having fun.

I: Mm… Regarding the band, rather than it being something I did because I enjoyed it, to me, it was more of a thing that I felt I absolutely had to do. It’s definitely not something I was doing just because it’s fun. Because I felt that I couldn’t go without doing it.

ーー Because the version of you who writes lyrics and performs on stage is the real you?

I: Yeah, because I really strongly felt that I’d be nothing if I didn’t do this. You know, I’ve rarely ever thought that being in a band was fun.

ーー But were you happy when your audience grew?

I: Well, that. See, the magazines were posting news about our band as usual too. And because that was the new wave era, the ones with the ideas were the ones who would win. It was a time when it was fine for things like technique to come later. Generally speaking, whether you’re faking it musically or whatever, you’d come out on top as long as you could make the audience think what you wanted them to think. And for some reason, I had nothing but confidence for that, you know.

ーー You were particular with your image too, and even dyed your hair. 

I: Every month, my hair would turn a different colour. I’d go to an acquaintance’s beauty salon every month and change colours… Because I get tired of things easily (lol). I was blond before, made it resemble the colour of wakame²⁵ where it looks black at a glance but when the sun shines on my hair, it turns green (lol).

ーー Wakame-coloured (lol). So that you could attract people’s attention with your stage style.

I: Yeah, that was my intention. Although our audience grew bit by bit as we performed as a band, musically, we weren’t quite anywhere… So, I think it was either in 1982 or 1983, SUICIDES disbanded. Because I decided that I wanted things to be a little more solid musically. I started up my own solo project anew, and HAL, the bassist who I’m still performing with even now, was in it, you know. SUICIDES’ guitarist said he had a friend who was a great bassist, and introduced him to me. Also, by that time, it became absolutely essential to have a keyboardist in your band, so Morioka Ken-kun²⁶ (ex. SOFT BALLET²⁷) joined me for a time. Basically, the innocent high schooler Morioka Ken was tricked (lol) and pulled in. I actually think Morioka-kun’s very first time on stage was as a part of my band. So the guitarist and drummer positions were filled by the remnants of SUICIDES but once Morioka-kun quit, the band members kept getting replaced time and time again… You know, around 1984, we actually found ourselves in a situation where we didn’t know who was going to be part of the lineup for our next show. Besides, I don’t really listen to what people say (lol). After all, when it comes to working together, if it wasn’t with you clicked with, you’d definitely soon come to hate each other.

ーー Since you’re in a band with HAL-san even now, does it mean that you clicked?

I: We did. All the other band members came and went, but HAL had always been with me. So, since we had to look for new members again, we went everywhere approaching people and auditioning. And the members who we gathered back then are the present band members of DER ZIBET. When this current group of band members came together and made music together for the first time, I thought, it might be better if I didn’t do this under my solo project any more, we should start a band. We called it DER ZIBET.

 

DER ZIBET debuted one year after its formation. When I got to the point where I was going to put my all into music, my controlling father never said anything again.

ーー Wasn’t that right about the same time when you appeared in the movie, The Legend of the Stardust Brothers?

I: A little bit before that. At the end of my solo work.

ーー So, why were you in the movie?

I: This is a true story that sounds like a lie, but when I was looking for band members to join my solo project, there was someone who was bringing my profile around to do that for me. And it just so happened that this person was involved in that movie too. So, they were at a point where they couldn’t find someone they liked to play the role I was eventually given in The Legend of the Stardust Brothers, and what I heard was, they had a meeting to evaluate if there were any more candidates. During that meeting, the person who was helping me with the band member search said, “I’ve got something else to handle, so if you’ll excuse me,” and he was about to leave the room when my information slipped out. The others saw it and asked, “Who’s this?” That person had been caught with something unrelated to work, so he started panicking and said, “Please pretend that you didn’t see this,” but they decided, “It’s fine, call this kid over,” and that’s how I got the call.

ーー To think such a drama-like string of events actually happened.

I: Yeah. And from what they told me, although it was a movie, it was also a rock music, and Macoto Tezuka²⁸ was the director while Chikada Haruo²⁹ was the one behind the original idea and the mastermind of the production. I thought it all sounded like it could get very interesting.

ーー Chikada Haruo-san, as in, Vibrastone’s³⁰?

I: That’s right. At the time, I had a manager who was more of a theatre person than a music person so I took part without having much of a full picture of what was going on… Really, I’m so ashamed for doing that (wry smile).

ーー But your meeting Chikada Haruo-san had a lot to do with what was to come for DER ZIBET, right?

I: You’re right. I met Chikada-san, did the movie, and when the movie was done, my band became DER ZIBET. So, DER ZIBET was asked to perform at the live event before the movie preview. Other famous indie artists at the time, like Kubota Shingo³¹ and Takagi Kan³² and a bunch of others performed too. Chikada Haruo-san was watching that event and it was then when he took an interest in DER ZIBET. Soon after, he brought the president of an upcoming record label to our show and asked us if we were interested in being his label’s first artist. That label was Sixty Records.

ーー Didn’t things move extremely quickly? From the time of your formation to your debut?

I: It was. Besides, it was only about a year after DER ZIBET’s formation that we debuted.

ーー Fast (lol). Sounds exciting for the band members too.

I: We were aloofly excited, right.

ーー Aloofly excited (lol). Blood type doesn’t say everything, but I’m guessing that the number of blood type ABs in DER ZIBET must be high (lol).

I: HAL and HIKARU and I are blood type AB (lol).

ーー How unusual (lol). Were there a lot of different elements in your music from that time?

I: Yeah. Because we’re a gathering of musicians with different backgrounds. You know,  “french pop is interesting” and “movie soundtracks are interesting” were the only things that all of us agreed on (lol).

ーー Vague (lol).

I: See, MAHITO was originally a bassist but switched to being a keyboardist halfway through. I believe he’s been playing the keyboard since he was a child so he can even play classical music, but I think the genre he was into at the time was techno. I liked Roxy Music³³ so that was where we got along. MAYUMI was a mysterious guy who played unbelievable drums (lol). He’d have a ridiculous number of tom toms set up too. I think he probably liked the drummer Terry Bozzio³⁴ so he might’ve been influenced by him. So, you know, I think he probably listened to Frank Zappa³⁵, for sure, and Missing Persons³⁶ and the sort of pop genre music. Him and HAL, they liked progressive rock so they talked a lot in that area. And, then there’s HIKARU who listened to a wide range of music; anything from jazz to punk to hard rock and everything in between.

ーー Even your music preferences were all over the place; they don’t really come together (lol).

I: But you see, that’s because it was the new wave era; the time when techniques of combining musical genres were established. As my words suggest, we mix a bunch of things together to acquire new techniques which we then try to apply to old music to create something new altogether. From this perspective, I think that DER ZIBET’s experimental nature fit right into that era. That was the strategy of our record label back then; to put that sort of DER ZIBET out just as we were to make it look a little more upscale, y’know?

ーー Did you ever produce any demo tapes prior to your debut?

I: We did. We had actually been scouted by another record label and we worked with that label to the point of recording a demo tape, but for one reason or another, all of us, the band members felt that it would probably take us quite some time before we could actually debut if we stuck with that label. So we took the demo tape we recorded there and brought it to Sixty Records (lol). Aren’t we such an ungrateful bunch (lol).

ーー (Lol). Was the very first release of DER ZIBET’s debut like the culmination of everything you’ve been doing up till then?

I: Yeah.

ーー Did the relationship between ISSAY-san and your family change at that time?

I: Once I said, “Well, I’m going to have my debut,” they gave up, y’know. Up until that point, they kept saying all sorts of things like, “Music is just a thing you’re doing as a hobby,” or that they wouldn’t send me any allowance if I didn’t go back during the summer vacations, and all that. So that’s why no one had anything to say when I managed to make my debut in the middle of my university education.

ーー It’s great that your debut went without a hitch.

I: Or rather, it was probably more like a form of recognition that I’m finally making my move. Ever since that incident in high school, the way I looked at things had changed drastically, and that’s why I think that my life only truly started at age 17. The person I was prior to that and after that are… How should I put this…… I guess you could say that to me, there’s a severance between them. Everything changed when I was 17. How I thought about things, the way I looked at them, everything. At the same time, that was also when I established my own view of my life, things like my reason for living, you know. And that’s why, even now, the very first question I’d ask myself when considering something is, “What would I think about this if I were my 17-year-old self?” Because to me, that incident which happened when I was 17 was my personal test of faith³⁷.

 

My parents secretly came to watch my show. I think this father of mine who I so feared had been supporting me in the shadows until the end of his life.

ーー Hmn. So how were things after going pro?

I: It was uncharted grounds, but while we didn’t know anything, I think we had some sort of unfounded confidence (lol). Because I hadn’t really watched all that many people performing live before at the time. And besides, even music, I started doing it only because of my own wilful idea that it was something I could do if I did it that particular way. So it was only of course that prior to debuting, I didn’t even know what it entailed. Neither did I have any background knowledge at all. If, back then, I knew that this is the kind of music that would be popular in today’s world, that Japan’s music industry would end up in this state… If I knew these sorts of things, I would’ve probably chosen not to do music. You know, I think I could do it only because I didn’t know things.

ーー But even if you didn’t know, wasn’t it huge to ISSAY-san that you got to a place where you could make music you wanted to make?

I: Yeah. Because I thought I’d probably die if I couldn’t do music.

ーー Huh!?

I: Because even if I couldn’t make music for a living and had to earn money and feed myself with part-time jobs or whatever, it was fine with me. Above all, I felt that if I ever got myself into a situation where I couldn’t put all of myself into music, I’d be as good as gone.

ーー You believed so strongly that music was all you had.

I: Yeah.

ーー That you wanted to give your life to what you love.

I: Is it something I love? That’s something I ask myself even now… Although, there must be something about it that suits my personality if someone as fickle as I am has kept at it for as long as I have (lol). But have I been doing this because I love it?   On this point, I said that I didn’t particularly enjoy singing by nature. And that I absolutely hated singing in front of people.

ーー Mm… If that’s the case, then it makes me wonder all the more, why music?

I: I suppose, maybe it’s because the first time I stood on stage was the very first time in my life when I was called “cool” instead of “gross”.

ーー You were called words like gross?

I: Well, it’s gross, isn’t it, for a male to wear makeup on the regular. Back in those days.

ーー Huh, you wore makeup regularly?

I: Yeah, in high school. Although, as you might expect, I didn’t wear it all the time in my high school days. Since, you know, my parents could see me.

ーー What led to that?

I: It wasn’t that I wanted to be a woman, or that I wanted to be perceived as a woman so much that I started wearing makeup or anything like that. I forgot what started it, but I got into an argument with a friend when I was in junior high. And it was then when he said, “You queer bastard³⁸!” But I didn’t understand the reason behind why he called me that. Like, on what basis was he calling me that? So I asked him back, “What do you mean by that?” and he said, “You’re so much like a girl that it’s gross!” All I thought was, oh, I see. That turned into a preoccupation of mine for the longest time. So after that, sometime after I started high school, a thought crossed my mind, y’know, that, “If I really am that feminine, then I’d probably look good with makeup. And since that’s the case, then I should wear makeup. No one’s going to have anything to complain about if I wear makeup anyway.” And so, I started wearing makeup similar to how it is now. I have been ever since I was a high schooler.

ーー Even when you went to school?

I: That’s right. They thought I had mental problems at the time (lol), so my teachers didn’t say anything either. When we were doing push-ups during phys ed, the teacher saw my nails and asked, “What’s this?” so I answered, “Manicure,” and to that, he said, “You’re into that sort of thing?” It’d be too troublesome for me to explain properly right there and then, so I just replied with, “Yes.” And he said, “I see.” And that was it (lol).

ーー (Lol).

I: After that, the phys ed teacher called my friend, like, “Hey, come here,” and then asked him, “That kid’s a little different, isn’t he?   Doesn’t he seem a bit like That (gay)?” And I think my friend answered with, “Yeah, he does. He seems to be kind of That.” (Lol).

ーー You weren’t bothered by the reactions of the people around you?

I: People who walk past would often do a double-take, but (lol) I thought that compared to forcing myself to hunch and walk around like a guy in a sorry state, this was far better, wearing makeup and walking tall with my chest out.

ーー It’s cooler to wear makeup the way you like it and walk around proudly.

I: I didn’t exactly wear makeup because I liked it, though… Ah, I guess I did like it (lol).

ーー I don’t think you’d wear makeup you didn’t like (lol).

I: Yeah, I wouldn’t (lol). But really, getting called a queer bastard really shocked me.

ーー I wonder if it’s because you were mild-mannered?   Like sticking out your pinky finger?

I: No, no (lol). But, well, with the way my face looks and how my body is shaped like this.

ーー To ISSAY-san back then, wasn’t that the highest form of insult in the limited vocabulary of a junior high schooler?

I: Probably. Well, but when we look at the generations who came later, I think I’m the one who won, though (lol). Now, even if high school boys wear makeup, people would think that they’re trying to look cool and that’s the end of it, right? (Lol). 

ーー That’s true.

I: So, going back to the topic at hand, this me who seems to be like That (lol) was called cool for the first time when I stood on stage just the way I was, and that’s why I thought, music is what I should be doing. Things happened as usual in my daily life, though. During DER ZIBET’s Kyushu tour, I crashed³⁹ at a relative’s house for a night and went drinking with my uncle when his friends saw me looking the way I was. It turned out those people mistook me for my uncle’s paramour (lol). Because at the time, I was blond and the locks at my nape were long. That was a story I heard at my father’s funeral.

ーー Your father, he’d passed away?

I: Right around HOMO DEMENS (1990). He was a father I feared but he never said anything more after I made my debut, y’know, since I’m earning my own money and feeding myself. And it was only later on that I also heard that he apparently snuck over to watch my show (lol). They said he secretly came to my show at Shibuya Public Hall⁴⁰, him and my mother, together.

ーー I guess it’s because of your father’s pride that he did it in secret.

I: Perhaps…   Although, he did say, “That was amazing. It was so loud it felt like my insides were getting torn out.” (Lol). Then when I asked my mother, “Did you come and watch?”, she said, “I certainly did.” (Lol). Our family’s really quite formal and reserved with each other so that’s about it. I’m going a little off topic, but my alcohol-loving father got affected with liver disease so he stopped drinking ever since I was in high school. But we didn’t think he was going to die yet at the time, y’know. So, one day when I was in my final year of high school, my father called me to his room. I was apprehensive, thinking in the back of my mind, “What could it be?   Is he going to get angry and hit me again?” but instead, he said, “There’s a liquor called 〇〇〇〇 on the first floor. Bring it here.” After I went and brought it back, he said, “Fill this glass,” so I did, and then he said, “Drink,” so I drank. Then he said, “This is expensive stuff so taste it and drink,” so I drank it bit by bit, but then he said, “How would you know the taste of the liquor when you sip like that!!”, so I downed it all in one gulp and slammed the glass on the table. Then he said, “Good, you, me and your mother will finish this bottle today.” The bottle I just opened was brandy, so I drank, thinking I’ll be fine since both my parents will be drinking too, but before I knew it, my father was drinking shochu and my mother was drinking whiskey (lol). In the end, I emptied that bottle of brandy on my own, in one night (lol).

ーー Strong (lol). It sounded as if there was something your father wanted to say.

I: Maybe he wanted to drink with me at least once because he knew that he’d never be able to drink with me again for the rest of his life…… was what I only realised later. Because it never happened before and never happened again, so that was the one and only time…

ーー Ah…

I: Even after that, there were times when my father had to go to Tokyo for get-togethers⁴¹ because of work. On those occasions, he’d tell me, “Come pick me up,” and I would go and pick him up, though. Just so that he could use the excuse, “I have to go because my son has come to pick me up”. But it doesn’t make sense that someone looking like this picks him up, right? My father’s friends all made a huge fuss, y’know (lol). Like, “What’s up with you?” (lol).

ーー I’d expect that (lol). Could it be that he wanted to show off a little bit too?

I: Nah, there’s nothing to be proud of, is there? A guy like me.

ーー No way, you’ve made your debut, released CDs, performed live shows; even if he didn’t say it directly, I’m very sure he was proud of you.

I: Who knows, really?   Although, I do think that he was supportive of me. With those circumstances, I was prepared to watch this person who I so feared as a child grow weaker and weaker so…… I didn’t feel anything special but… Mmm…… I didn’t see him die, y’know. When I got home and turned on my answering machine, message after message after message was recorded from the moment he fell into critical condition until he passed and I rushed back to my parents’ home as fast as I could but…… I think there were 2 times when I cried. Once was when I visited him in the hospital and I saw him struggling desperately, trying to get up even though he couldn’t. I guess my father wanted to show his dignity… That manly spirit⁴² made me cry, and after that was when my father died, and I arrived at my parents’ home and saw my father’s corpse. When I went back into my room, the tears came. Why did I cry?   I have absolutely no clue, though. During the funeral, I had a lot of trouble because I had extensions in my hair which made it so long that it reached my ankles, y’know. Even though my mother was already peeved when I visited my father at the hospital with that hair, I still showed up at his funeral with it so she was half-mad with rage, scolding me, “I can’t believe you dare show up with that head.” She gave me the silent treatment for a good half year after that (lol). But it wasn’t as if I could do anything about it, you know? It took 2 people 20 hours a day over more than 3 days to do that, I couldn’t take it off just like that. My mother was angry at me the whole time, saying things like, “Look at you, coming home dressed like that altar⁴³,” but when my father’s magnificent-looking altar was brought to the house, she turned to the craftsman, pointed at my head and said, “My, that’s splendid. Gold leaf pasted on black lacquer, just the way my son likes it, don’t you think?   Look at this head of his.” (Lol). Though, as you’d expect, that struck a nerve at the time (lol).

ーー (Lol).

I: That’s how my mother was, but a year after my father passed away, I began sending my mother flowers every year on her birthday. It’s like, part of it is letting her know that I love her. Because, although she’s my stepmother, I’ve been with her longer than with my biological mother. I think that she really took care of me and brought me up well. So I really have to take my hat off to her for that, y’know.

ーー From a mother’s standpoint, I think you’d have been considered as a difficult child. You were sensitive and a bit of an oddball.

I: And to top it off, my feelings of being victimised were all out on full display (lol). I guess she probably had a really hard time. Furthermore, she hadn’t had any kids yet when she became my mother too. So considering that she suddenly had to become a mother to a 9 or 10 year-old boy, I think it’s understandable that she wouldn’t have any idea how to raise a child. There was once when she got mad angry at me when I went home after playing in mud near the house (lol). So, I thought, “Ah, I can’t play in the mud if I’m living with this person,” and since then, I never played with mud ever again.

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ーー You were thoughtful even as a child.

I: Well, that’s of course. Because, you see, she’s looking out for me too from her end. But, you know, we get along well now. Sometimes, when I take my mother out for a meal or something, the madam⁴⁴ there would even say, “Why, you look just like your mother.⁴⁵” It appears that somehow, we give off similar vibes.

ーー Do you look alike too?

I: Our facial features are similar too, in the sense that there’s this air of some unknown foreign ancestry or something like that (lol). I’ve been to that place together with my younger brother and my mother too, but on that occasion, the madam commented, “The younger brother looks like the father, but the older brother looks exactly like the mother, doesn’t he?” and both of us could only laugh helplessly  with troubled expressions (lol).

ーー Could it be that your mother’s facial features were your father’s type?

I: You know, that’s what I thought in the beginning too. But if my mother’s face was my father’s type, then it begs the most disturbing question of, “Does that mean my face, which resembles my mothers’, is also my father’s type?” (Lol). But after giving it a lot of thought, and comparing my biological mother and my stepmother, they don’t look much like each other though (lol).

 

I used to quarrel with HIKARU a lot, though, now we joke about it.
I guess we couldn’t understand or accept each other when we were young.

ーー (Lol). Going back to what you said, it sounds difficult to live with extensions so long that they reach your ankles.

I: It was super hard to deal with in daily life. I had to be extremely cautious because it’s dangerous when I board taxis or get on escalators and elevators. Because if my hair gets caught between the doors, it’s the end. You know, I’ve even been chased by elementary schoolers when I’m walking along the streets (lol). They’d be yelling, “What’s that?   Look at that guy!” and come running towards me from 20 meters away, and when I realise it and turn around, they’d all stop (lol). It’s like, are we playing “Red light, Green light⁴⁶”? (Lol). Also, when I went to a friend’s house, their kitten kept playing with it so excitedly, y’know. When I said, “Right, I’m going home,” and stood up to leave, there was this weight pulling at my head and when I turned to see what it was, I found the kitten dangling from my hair (lol).

ーー (Lol). Right at the time when you had those extensions for that album HOMO DEMENS, it caused quite a stir in the editorial department I worked in back then. That picture on the album cover where you looked like you were breaking out of a shell made a huge impression.

I: That husk of mine (lol) was made by pouring resin in a mould of me which took a day to make and cast from my head to my toes so it was a lot of work. You know, I think the person who made it didn’t think that they were doing something bizarre though. The idea got presented, and it sounded interesting so we just did it. Although, I wonder what the other band members thought of it…? (Lol).

ーー I suppose the members’ reactions were rather dry?

I: Yeah, quite. Logically they understand that this is how I naturally am, but… Maybe that’s precisely it? You know, I do think there are times when I don’t really feel like wearing makeup, things like that. Back then, if you look at us as a whole, everyone was absurdly dressed, so (lol).

 

ーー Absurdly dressed (lol). HOMO DEMENS was an album you released when you were still with Columbia, but you changed labels after that, right?

I: We debuted with Sixty in 1985, then moved to Columbia Triad, and then to BMG Victor over our 11 active years since debut.

ーー Ah, before that, MAHITO-san left the band right before your major debut, didn’t he? Did something happen?

I: Before we started recording prior to our debut, MAHITO said, “There’s a lot I want to do and it’d be tough for me to only focus on DER ZIBET. I want to do things from a position with more freedom,” and left the band. Although, that topic just came up recently and he teased with, “What a prick you were.” (Lol). Well, I understood how MAHITO felt, and besides, he continued to help out for quite a while after he quit, and even after that, he often came to watch our shows and showed up at our after-parties to drink with us anyway. We’ve always had a good relationship. Actually, he said the same thing as I thought; his leaving DER ZIBET was a good decision because of how he’s now turned out to be in really great form.  Because he got to see and experience all types of bands during that time, y’know. So after MAHITO stopped playing with us, there was a period of time when other supporting keyboardists joined us, and there was even a time when we had a horn section, but the band was mainly made up of the 4 of us.

ーー While the 4 of you continued to maintain a certain level of distance between each other.

I: That’s right. Even now, when HIKARU gets drunk, just for kicks, he’d often say, “Me and ISSAY were on bad terms, though.“ (Lol). Although, just recently, we spoke about that on an internet TV thing, and I said, “But you see, about that, it wasn’t that me and you were on bad terms, we just weren’t on good terms.” (Lol).

ーー You can joke about it now (lol). Were the 2 of you at loggerheads back then?

I: That, and we couldn’t accept each other; as you’d expect, we both had that “I am who I am” attitude when we were young. The biggest problem we had might’ve been that we couldn’t understand each other, I think. Like, when we spoke, I didn’t try to express myself properly and neither did he express himself properly, and that’s when our opinions would clash. And the one who would always get caught in the middle in distress was HAL-chan (lol). Because HAL’s like the one thing that kept the band together, yeah. Whether I quarreled with MAYUMI, or I quarreled with HIKARU, or HIKARU and MAYUMI quarreled, he was always the one coming between us. Because HAL-chan’s the mother figure of our band.

ーー That’s very typical of a bassist.

I: That’s really how it felt. Less of a jack-of-all-trades⁴⁷ than the glue that binds⁴⁷.  He’s the kind of person who brings together those who are far apart. Even if we’re all on different wavelengths and our rhythms don’t match, HAL-chan will make it work, something like that.

ーー For such an invaluable person to have met with an accident…

I: After DER ZIBET went on hiatus in 1996, HAL and I and guitarist Jimmy (Hirose Satoshi, ex. 44MAGNUM) and drummer MINORU started the band Φ (PhI) in 1997 or 1998. That band broke up after 2 or 3 years of activity, and after that, I called on HAL-chan to do ISSAY meets DOLLY with me. It was in the middle of that when he had an accident.

ーー I heard that it was quite a serious one.

I: So much so that I thought that was it for him. It was so bad that I wasn’t sure that he would survive, or even if they managed to save him, that he would probably become a vegetable. That’s why, at that time, I couldn’t even think about going up on stage or doing anything like that.

ーー I see…

I: I did visit him in the hospital every now and then, though. Even after he regained consciousness, he had a long period of hospitalisation, going through rehabilitation as he slowly recovered. Eventually he got discharged to recuperate at home, and not even six months after, he called me. He left a message on my answering machine: “It’s HAL. Call me.” So, wondering what happened, I called HAL’s parents’ home, and he said, “Well, I wanna play in a band. So, you know, I’d be really happy if ISSAY would sing for me.” And I was like, “Ooh, let’s do this. So, who are the other members?” I asked him that, and he said, “MAHITO.” So I said, “Then shall I come to HAL’s home with MAHITO next time? We’ll compose something and figure out who’ll make up the rest of the members.” And when I dropped by HAL’s place, he was already holding his bass guitar and playing it. Then, he said, “HIKARU will be the guitarist.” As for drums, he said MAYUMI got admitted into hospital because he wasn’t doing well, so shall we ask MINORU? But by the time all of us entered the studio, MAYUMI had been discharged, y’know. Knowing that, MINORU said, “MAYUMI-san can drum now, so I’ll step aside. Please go ahead and play as DER ZIBET.”

ーー In the end, DER ZIBET’s reunion was again the hard work of the glue that binds HAL-san.

I: It really was. That was probably around 2006. I was shocked when HAL came into the studio and played his bass because he did it so solidly, y’know. Like, I didn’t expect that humans really had such an amazing hidden recovery ability. At the same time, I also thought that the power of music was truly astounding. People often talk about music therapy, but HAL proved its effects to me with his own body, y’know.

ーー Truly. So after that, you started performing live too.

I: Yeah. It’s just that in the beginning, we’d be worried for HAL’s body, right? Say, for example, even if we were to do a show about 40 minutes long, we’d be worried about whether he’d be able to bear the whole 40 minutes too. There was a chance that we might have to cut the show short too and we felt that we shouldn’t say that it’s a DER ZIBET show because of that, so we decided to perform a live show under a band name that would only make people think of DER ZIBET when they looked at it. This name was “RED BITEZ”. It was advertised with the words, “ISSAY will be the vocalist of this band.” No matter how you looked at that name, it was obviously an anagram of DER ZlBET anyway, and people may not know who the other band members were going to be, but I suppose they’d have speculated that I’d probably sing at least a DER ZIBET song or two.

ーー I’d assume that the relationship between the members of DER ZIBET wasn’t great when the band first went on hiatus, but what was it like when all 5 of you gathered again after that much time had passed?

I: Though, y’know, there was one more cushion between that time and our reunion. I was in the band LYNX since 2005 with HEATH⁴⁸ (X JAPAN) on bass, SAY→ICHIRO on guitar, and Matarow (廣嶋-HIROSHIMA-) on drums, right?   So, during the period of that band’s activity, the other members proposed, “We want to celebrate ISSAY-san’s 20th debut anniversary, so let’s perform DER ZIBET songs.” I declined, saying I didn’t want to. But y’know, it was partly also because I was thinking, how was DER ZIBET going to sound like with HEATH playing bass?   Would it really be okay?   But they asked, “What if we did it in a livehouse in Numazu instead of Tokyo?” and I thought, maybe it would be alright if we were doing this somewhere outside of Tokyo. Because I didn’t like the idea of people coming to watch us just for fun on a whim⁴⁹, and I figured that if we held it in Numazu, only those who really wanted to come and watch us would make their way there. Then, they said, “Since we’re doing this, and it’s been such a long while, why not try asking HIKARU-san too,” and coincidentally, I met HIKARU at the wedding celebration of our manager’s at the time, so, y’know, I asked, “Actually, you know, it’s gonna be my 20th debut anniversary, and LYNX wants to hold a DER ZIBET songs-only show, so I was wondering if it’s a good idea?” He said, “Yeah.” So, going along with the flow of that conversation, I asked, “So, would HIKARU join too?” and to that, he said, “Tch… I suppose it’s ‘cuz DER ZIBET’s songs are tough.” His reaction wasn’t as bad as I thought, you know? So, in the end, he agreed to perform with us. I guess it was after that time when I started to think that maybe it would be possible for me and HIKARU to play together in a band again. It could also be that we became mellower too after HAL-chan’s accident happened. Because we understood HAL-chan’s desire to play in a band together again.

ーー In other words, the Numazu show brought about the resumption of DER ZIBET?

I: Mm… Well, I suppose one of the initiators, the fact that HIKARU and I were doing something together again. Because, you see, I think HIKARU didn’t say no when HAL-chan said he wanted us to play in a band together again because this had happened. Though, well, I suppose he mightn’t have turned HAL-chan down even if that Numazu show didn’t happen… Hm. That’s why, although people are calling this recent period a reunion boom, it wasn’t as if we came back together because we specifically wanted to, y’know? It’s just that we ended up coming back together before we knew it (lol). It just so happened that the members turned out to be DER ZIBET again when HAL gathered the people he most wanted to play in the band with. I guess that’s probably because in the end, what he wanted to do the most was play as DER ZIBET again.

ーー That does sound like it. It seems like a number of miracles happened behind the scenes to let DER ZIBET restart activities despite the uncertainties and now hold solo one-man concerts like its business as usual.

I: Right? Because no one would’ve imagined that [HAL] would recover like that.

 

We only reunited because we felt that we could do something new among the 5 of us. Besides, we’re living in the present.

ーー Did it feel different to stand on stage with all the original members of DER ZIBET?

I: No, actually, y’know, the moment that moved me the most was when all of us made music in the studio, more so than when we performed on stage. Watching a scene that I knew so very well unfolding before my eyes… It was moving. Besides, HAL-chan hadn’t yet fully recovered from his injuries and MAYUMI had been living a life away from music too, so we definitely weren’t at our best, but there was nothing more moving than having the 5 of us make music together, y’know.

ーー Then, in 2009, you held your 25th anniversary show, and still continued your activities after that. And now, this year, you’re releasing two original, full albums, ROMANOID Ⅰ and ROMANOID Ⅱ!   You sure are working tirelessly.

I: Ah, well, I don’t really know why we ended up working so hard this time (lol). Although, HIKARU’s laughing at this, like, “We’ve made a reckless plan, huh.” (Lol). But you know, I suppose it’s because our relationship is really at its best right now, between all of us in the band. Besides, it’s also fun to discover new things about each other being in a band together again after a little over 27 years. Like this time, it also just struck me that, “Ah, so HIKARU writes this type of songs too.” I do think HIKARU thinks the same of me in HIKARU’s own way, though.

ーー I wonder if that was how he felt when he received lyrics from you?

I: Perhaps. I can really feel the reflections of how each of us spent our time during those 11 years of inactivity.

ーー That all of you were definitely not the same person that you were at the start of your hiatus 11 years ago.

I: I think if we remained the same as we were back then, we definitely wouldn’t do this. Because, you see, there’s no point, is there? We only reunited because we felt that we could do something new among the 5 of us. It’s not that we don’t enjoy making our fans happy by playing old songs, but what’s more important than that is the possibility of doing something new again with these band members. Besides, DER ZIBET isn’t an oldies band. We’re living in the present.

ーー Do you feel that unlike before, you’re now doing music a little more comfortably?

I: I do think so, especially between me and HIKARU, we two who fought the most fiercely (lol). Well, the one who was most on edge was probably me, though (lol). Because in the later half of those years, for a good few years until we went on a break, music was the only reason we ever spoke to each other, y’know. That said, in the first place, DER ZIBET wasn’t a band that came about because a group of friends came together anyway. “If I work with this guy, we might be able to come up with something interesting.” That was what we thought of each other, and that was why we became a band. So, we weren’t friends or anything. Although, somehow, we’ve most definitely become friends now (lol).

ーー (Lol). In all your years being in bands, is this now the most enjoyable, or the best state things have ever been?

I: Yeah. It’d be even better if MAYUMI recovers⁵¹. I think he’s really eager to come back, and we’ll wait for him, no rush.

ーー And 2 years later, it’ll be the 30th anniversary of the band’s formation.

I: In 3 years, it’ll be our 30th debut anniversary. It’s soon, isn’t it? Since we’re releasing 2 albums this year, shall we not release anything until the anniversary? (Lol).

ーー Please don’t idle (lol).

I: For real (lol).

ーー Because there are lots of people, from your fans to the many musicians, who support DER ZIBET’s activities and admire the band and each individual member. This was before, but I started listening to DER ZIBET because BUCK-TICK’s Sakurai Atsushi-san took part in DER ZIBET and ISSAY-san’s album for duets and because he said that he was a fan of ISSAY-san.

I: It makes me so happy to hear that he said that. You know, in the very beginning, the first time we met was at the recording session for a live TV program. The broadcast was meant for another week, but the recordings were done all in one go, so we ended up backstage together at Meguro Rokumeikan where the recording was being done. That was where we spoke for the first time. He said, “I like DER ZIBET and I’ve been to see your show,” and I said, “Ahh, thank you!” (Lol). They’re very polite people, aren’t they? So, we continued to keep in touch even after that. There was also the time when it just so happened that BUCK-TICK and DER ZIBET went to London for recording in the same period. He told me that they were going to do a show in London, so I went to watch with HIKARU too. I was there for about a month, but you know, throughout that time, the only live performance that I watched in London was BUCK-TICK’s (lol).

ーー (Lol). But there are also many other people apart from the aforementioned Sakurai-san who admire both ISSAY-san and DER ZIBET so––.

I: Oh, is that so?   But I don’t do anything.

ーー Then what have you been doing for almost 30 years (lol). 

I: I’ve only been singing (lol).

ーー And that’s precisely what’s been drawing people in.

I: If that’s true then I’m glad. There’s a payoff to my efforts. But I think the biggest reason why we can continue like this is because we got the feeling that it’d be fun to work with each other. Take, for example, during the production of this ROMANOID Ⅰ and ROMANOID Ⅱ, we were just writing songs but we ended up coming up with lots of interesting compositions. Just when we decided, “Since we’ve come up with such an amount, we might as well release 2 mini albums,” the number of songs grew again and we ended up with 2 full albums, y’know.

ーー They were just overflowing and spilling over, these songs.

I: Because we kept making discovery after discovery, like, “We can do something like this,”, “We can do something like that too.” There are a lot of these cases, right? Where bands or groups form because they like The Rolling Stones⁵⁰ or something. In DER ZIBET’s case, we’re just a band of individuals with scattered influences who came together to make music, so we’re always experimenting, y’know. It gets really bad when things don’t work out well, but right now, we can really pull off a huge variety of things in interesting ways, so I think we’re in exceptional shape, y’know. All that’s left is for MAYUMI to come back.⁵¹

ーー That’s true. I think that’s what everyone is hoping for. Um–– This is a bit of a vague question, may I ask, what’s the most important aspect in ISSAY-san’s life thus far?

I: Well, y’know…… I think my life changed the moment I called myself “ISSAY”, probably. Or maybe, rather than ‘changed’, I let myself change. In my opinion, I believe my greatest creation to be this “ISSAY” who looks like this, sings songs about those things, sets up such a stage, and sings like that. Because I feel that the invention of “ISSAY” by Fujisaki Issei, who was so frightfully afraid of everything, who was so filled with feelings of having been victimised, was what liberated me from my life up until that point.

ーー When did this begin?   Your use of “ISSAY” as your name.

I: When I started to write a poem of sorts in high school, I signed that off with “ISSAY”. That was the first time. 

ーー Did you feel like you’ve turned into another you when you did that?

I: Nope, to me, that was the moment when I showed my core self to other people. So, I guess you could say that “ISSAY” is the transmission apparatus I use to show the essence of who I am. There’d most certainly be a lot of things in my regular life that aren’t “ISSAY”, right? But when I digest all of that and bring out the most important part of me which resides deep within myself, that, I feel, is when I become “ISSAY”. I can’t really explain it well, though. Basically, performing “ISSAY” is the heart of who I am. And that is why understanding the pain, the sorrow, and the sadness I felt when I was 17, and the question of whether these feelings still remain are the most important things to “ISSAY”. Because of this, I want to continue to protect and keep this perspective of, “How would ISSAY view this?”.

ーー Because that’s the very origin of ISSAY-san.

I: Yeah. That’s why, whenever I return to my parents’ home, I’d always, without fail, go to the beach that I used to visit when I was 17 and I’d ask “ISSAY”, y’know. “Do you, now, still understand the sadness and pain I felt back then?” The friction between my father and I as a child, the friction I had with my friends because of that incident… At the age of 17, I had to bid farewell to the person I had been up until then and take a look at all 17 years’ worth of events in retrospect. Because to me, to “ISSAY”, that incident in my adolescence which led to all of that is important. So much so that in 1991, it culminated in the release of the 2-part album Shishunki (思春期 / Adolescence) by DER ZIBET, y’know.

ーー Yeah.

I: For those same reasons, even now, I feel deeply indebted to my homeroom teacher from my 2nd high school who encouraged me to write. I actually made a promise with my father when I entered the second high school, that this time, if I messed up in any way, he’d withdraw me from school. One day, I got into a huge fight with my father and I ran away from home, y’know. Just like that, I didn’t go home for around two days and in that time, my father submitted a withdrawal letter to the school. Well, I made a promise so it couldn’t be helped, right? But my homeroom teacher stopped my withdrawal from school for me. They convinced my father for me, saying, “If you make him quit school here and now, it will spell the end for that child, so I can’t let you do this. Because his talent for writing compositions like these will play a part in his future in some form. And if you make him drop out from school now, he would definitely give up on writing. So please, don’t withdraw him from school.” Then, to me, he said, “If you want to run away from home, then please do it legally by going to university. Because then, you’ll be kept fed for a good while without trouble.” I wasn’t sure about going to university and furthering my studies, but with that, he talked me into it.

ーー Your teacher understood, down to ISSAY-san’s character.

I: They really understood me well.

ーー I’m sure that’s because you were especially outstanding in class?

I: I think I stuck out like a sore thumb because I was an especially problematic student, though (lol). I think it’s thanks to that teacher that I managed to graduate from my second high school without incident. When we met again after I graduated, he laughed and said, “The only withdrawal letter I’ve ever rejected before or since was yours.” (Lol).

ーー And you’re still grateful for that even now.

I: That’s the only teacher I feel deeply indebted to, even now. Of course, there’s a ton of other people I’d like to thank too. Because my life is built on all these numerous coincidences upon coincidences. And among them, I want to thank my mother who spent a longer time bringing me up and raising me than my biological mother. That, and… Now, at this point of time in my life, to the father I once so hated and feared, I can also genuinely say thank you. For the love and kindness he had for me.

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ Hakata dolls are traditional Japanese clay dolls that originated from Fukuoka. Read more here.

² The actual text said “教育方針” (kyouiku houshin) which directly translates into “educational policy”. I don’t think it fits quite well in the context so I changed it to “parenting style”.

³ Ozaki Kiyohiko was a Japanese singer from Kanagawa prefecture who released his greatest hit Mata Au Hi Made in 1971. It sold over a million copies and won the Japan Record Award at the 13th Japan Record Awards as well as the Japan Music Award. He passed away on 30 May 2012 at the age of 69.

⁴ He actually called the EP a “ドーナツ盤 (doonatsu ban)”, which literally translates into “doughnut disc”. In short, this was one of the many names that vinyl records were called.

⁵ I think it bears mentioning that he specifically said “洋服 (youfuku)”, which refers explicitly to Western-style clothing.

⁶ I looked up the academic grading system in Japan and there were a few, but the only one which fit into this context was the 5-scale grading system where a 5 is the equivalent of an ‘A’, and a 2 is the equivalent of a ‘D’. Reference

⁷ Purple Noon (French: Plein soleil; Italian: Delitto in pieno sole; Japanese: 太陽がいっぱい / Taiyou ga Ippai; also known as Full Sun, Blazing Sun, Lust for Evil, Talented Mr. Ripley) is a 1960 crime thriller film directed by René Clément, loosely based on the 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. 

⁸ The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin and produced and written for the screen by William Peter Blatty, based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Blatty. The film had famously courted controversy in the US where it had supposedly provoked fainting, vomiting and heart attacks in cinemas.

⁹ Technical achievement in kendo is measured by advancement in grade, rank or level. The kyū (級) and dan (段) grading system is used to indicate one’s proficiency in kendo. There are usually six grades below first-dan, known as kyu. The kyu numbering is in reverse order, with first kyu (一級, ikkyū) being the grade immediately below first dan, and sixth kyu (六級, rokkyū) being the lowest grade. In Japan, kyu ranks are generally held by children up to age 13. The exam for 1st kyu (ikkyū) is often their first exam and grade. Adults generally will do their 1st dan (shodan) as their first exam. In most other countries outside of Japan, kendoka go through every kyu rank before being eligible for dan ranks.

¹⁰ Just for clarity, students were arranged according to height.

 ¹¹ Taro Hirai was a well-known Japanese writer better known by his pen name, Edogawa Ranpo. His works played a huge role in developing mystery fiction in Japan and several of his novels include Kogoro Akechi, a character who was a detective. In later books, Akechi became the leader of the Shonen Tantei Dan, which translated to “Boy Detectives Club,” a group of boy detectives.

¹² Junior high school students in Japan are ranked by their school reports/transcripts which shows a student’s grades and includes comments on their conduct. This affects them when they go to high school.

¹³ Yotsuya is a neighborhood in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. It is a former ward in the now-defunct Tokyo City. In 1947, when the 35 wards of Tokyo were reorganized into 23, it was merged with Ushigome ward of Tokyo City and Yodobashi suburban ward of Tokyo-fu to form the modern Shinjuku ward.

¹⁴ Station to Station is the 10th studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 23 January 1976 by RCA Records. Commonly regarded as one of his most significant works, Station to Station was the vehicle for his performance persona, the Thin White Duke. Listen to the full album. 

¹⁵ That English new wave band with David Sylvian. The band achieved success in the late 1970s and early 1980s but split in December 1982, just as they were beginning to experience commercial success in the UK and abroad.

¹⁶ Gary Numan is an English musician, singer, songwriter, composer, and record producer. He entered the music industry as the frontman of the new wave band Tubeway Army. Numan is considered a pioneer of electronic music, with his signature sound consisting of heavy synthesiser hooks fed through guitar effects pedals. He is also known for his distinctive voice and androgynous “android” persona.

¹⁷ As in Public Image Ltd, the English post-punk band formed by singer John Lydon following his departure from the Sex Pistols in 1978.

¹⁸ Throughout this whole bit, he never specified if it was just one person or a group of people, but let’s just go with plurals.

¹⁹ T. Rex were an English rock band, formed in 1967 by singer-songwriter and guitarist Marc Bolan. The band was initially called Tyrannosaurus Rex, and released four psychedelic folk albums under this name.

²⁰ The Sex Pistols were an English punk rock band that formed in London in 1975. Although their initial career lasted just two and a half years, they are regarded as one of the most groundbreaking acts in the history of popular music.

²¹ He’s right (of course). Although, I can only find one mention of it here. Must’ve been gone for a very long time already.

²² JUNE (ジュネ) was the earliest yaoi magazine, which began in 1978 as a response to the success of commercially published manga. Other factors that influenced the founding of June were the rising popularity of depictions of bishonen (pretty boys) in the dōjinshi (self-published print works, such as magazines, manga, and novels) market and ambiguous musicians such as David Bowie and Queen. JUNE was meant to have an underground, “cultish, guerilla-style” feeling – most of its manga artists were new talent.

²³ ALLAN (アラン, or 阿蘭) is the sister magazine of Gekkan OUT (月刊OUT; OUT Monthly — anime magazine). ALLAN was published by Minori Shobo and focused on the theme of shonen ai (questionable-age-gap relationships between men).

²⁴ BL, boys’ love a.k.a. Yaoi is a genre of fictional media originating in Japan that features homoerotic relationships between male characters. Of course, these days, it’s not just a genre in Japanese media anymore. The 2010s saw an increase in the popularity of BL-influenced media in China and Thailand in the form of web novels, live-action films, and live-action television dramas. The growth in streaming service providers in the 2010s is regarded as a driving force behind the production of BL dramas across Asia, as online distribution provides a platform for media containing LGBT material, which is frequently not permitted on broadcast television.

²⁵ Wakame is a species of kelp native to cold, temperate coasts of the northwest Pacific Ocean. As an edible seaweed, it has a subtly sweet, but distinctive and strong flavour and texture. It is most often served in soups and salads.

²⁶ Morioka Ken was an iconic electronic musician that first got his break as a member of the groundbreaking electro trio Soft Ballet. He was also particularly known for his flamboyant image and atmospheric musical style. He remained active in the Japanese electronic music scene, having also worked as a session musician and producer for Issay, Tomayasu Hotei, Mell, and Demon Kogure among others, and produced the soundtrack for the anime “KAIKAN Phrase”. His activities continued for over three decades until his untimely passing in 2016 from heart failure. He was only 49 years old. 

²⁷ Soft Ballet was a Japanese electronic group formed in 1986. The group consisted of three members, Maki Fujii, Ken Morioka, and Ryoichi Endo, though they employed extra support members for live shows. While Soft Ballet weren’t necessarily chart toppers, they had a strong cult following and were considered pioneers of modern electronic music in Japan in the 1990s. Soft Ballet released 6 studio albums before disbanding in 1995. The group briefly reunited from 2002 to 2003, releasing 2 more albums and touring extensively before splitting once more.

²⁸ Makoto Tezuka, officially romanized as Macoto Tezka, is a Japanese film and anime director, born in Tokyo. He fashions himself as a visualist and is involved in the creation of moving images beyond film and animation. He partially owns Tezuka Productions and helped in releasing the posthumous works of his father, Osamu Tezuka.

²⁹ Chikada Haruo is a Japanese musician, composer, music producer, music critic and TV personality. From the time he was a student at Keio University, he worked as a keyboard player in Yuya Uchida’s backing band, and in 1972 he formed “Haruo Chikada & Harwophone”. In parallel with his musical activities, he wrote the legendary column “THE Utagyoku” for the magazine “POPEYE” from 1978 to 1984. In 1979, he released a solo album, “Natural Beauty”, which featured the Yellow Magic Orchestra, which he had just formed, as arrangers and performers. In 1981 he formed “Haruo Chikada & The Vibratones” and released one album and one mini album. In 1985, he began to focus on funk and rap music, working under the name BPM. In 1987, he formed the Vibratones with the concept of “hip-hop in a band format”.

³⁰ VIBRASTONE was a Japanese hip hop band formed in 1987. The band was formed by Haruo Chikada, who had been pursuing the possibilities of hip-hop in Japanese, and initially performed under the name “Haruo Chikada & Vibrastone”. They released their first album “Vibra is Back” in December 1989, and made their major label debut with “ENTROPY PRODUCTIONS” in July 1991. They ceased activities in 1996.

³¹ Kubota Shingo is a Japanese vocalist active from 1978 to present. In 1985 he starred alongside Takagi Kan in Macoto Tezuka’s rock musical The Legend of the Stardust Brothers, and also appeared in the sequel film The New Legend of the Stardust Brothers, released in 2016. Since 2006, he has been working as an 11-member music group under the band name “Kousei to Gansaku”. As of 2015, they are working with a 10-piece band under the name “Sunny Kubota and the Old Lucky Boys”, and their first album was released on 15 November 2015, and their second album “One from Sunny’s Heart” on 1 June 2017.

³² Takagi Kan is a Japanese DJ and producer. Influenced by the London punk scene of the 1970s, he made his debut with the band Tokyo Bravo, and began his career as a DJ and writer in the 1980s.  After forming “Tiny Punks” with Hiroshi Fujiwara, he made a splash by sharing hip-hop with Seiko Ito and others. He also founded the club music label MAJOR FORCE, which produced artists such as SUCHADARAPER, and was active as a solo artist in the 1990s. He continues to be of great influence as a pioneer of hip-hop in Japan.

³³ Roxy Music were an English rock band formed in 1970 by Bryan Ferry, who became the band’s lead vocalist and chief songwriter, and bassist Graham Simpson. Although the band took a break from group activities in 1976 and again in 1983, they reunited for a concert tour in 2001, and toured together intermittently between that time and their break-up in 2011. Ferry frequently enlisted members of Roxy Music as session musicians for his solo releases.

³⁴ Terry John Bozzio is an American drummer best known for his work with Missing Persons and Frank Zappa. He has been featured on nine solo or collaborative albums, 26 albums with Zappa and seven albums with Missing Persons.

³⁵ Frank Zappa was an American singer-songwriter, innovative rock guitarist, modernist composer, multi-instrumentalist, satirist, film-maker, and bandleader. His work is characterized by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of American culture.

³⁶ Missing Persons is a Californian New Wave band, formed in 1980. They were known for songs such as Walking In L.A., Words & Destination Unknown.

³⁷ The word he used was 踏み絵 (fumi-e) which, back in the Edo period, was a tablet with the image of Christ or the Virgin Mary. Suspected Chiristians were ordered to tread on it to prove themselves non-Christians and it was carried out back then to discover hidden Christians in order to extinguish Christianity in Japan. This days, 踏み絵 alludes to a ‘test of loyalty or allegiance” and is used to describe a thing or situation. (E.g. how loyal an employee is to their company etc.)

³⁸ The actual phrase here is オカマ野郎 (okama yarou). I think with enough exposure to Japanese media, you’d have heard 野郎 being used a lot and it’s a general insult. Fucker, bastard, asshole, it all works. Attaching 野郎 to anything basically gives the thing a derogatory implication. オカマ generally means gay, as in gay person. But it is also often used on its own by straights in a derogatory manner. Context matters for this word. In this interview’s context though, it’s clear enough to deduce that Issay was essentially being called “f*ggot”.

³⁹ Where I said “crashed”, the word he used was 前乗り (zen nori) which was interesting to me because it appears to have originated from local surfer slang where 前乗り means to deliberately get in the way of someone riding a wave.

⁴⁰ Shibuya Public Hall (渋谷公会堂) is also known as 渋公 (shibu kou) for short. It is a theatre located in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. Completed in 1964 to host the weightlifting events in the 1964 Summer Olympics, the theatre was sponsored by Dentsu and Suntory, which paid ¥80 million to rename it C.C. Lemon Hall from 2006 to 2011. As of 2021, it is named LINE CUBE SHIBUYA.

⁴¹ To note, the get-togethers were 飲み会 (nomikai), i.e. drinking parties. The direct translation sounded decidedly unnatural (not something you’d say in regular English), so I went with “get-togethers”.

⁴² The phrase he actually used here was 男気 (otokogi), which directly translates into “manliness” or “manly spirit”. But it mostly encompasses the qualities of valour, chivalry, and dauntlessness, which is traditionally attributed to men.

⁴³ To be precise, its 仏壇 (butsudan), a Buddhist altar. Smaller ones are usually kept at home and meant for their deceased family members or ancestors.

⁴⁴ Madam here refers to the lady owner or boss of the establishment, which can either be a restaurant or a hotel. The word in Japanese is 女将, which can be read in a few ways; okami, nyoshou, joshou. Direct translations are “proprietress (of a traditional Japanese inn or restaurant); landlady; hostess; mistress”.

⁴⁵ The quote from the “madam” actually included her addressing ISSAY as お兄ちゃん (oniichan). It literally means big brother/elder brother/older brother, but it could also simply be a polite address, like “young man”. Note, calling someone brother or sister or even uncle or aunty in Asian culture is often merely a form of polite address, not a literal relation.

⁴⁶ That game where one person is the target who stands with their back to all the other players, while everyone tries to get to the target and tap them. If the target turns around everyone has to freeze. In Japan, it’s called だるまさんが転んだ (Daruma-sama ga Koronda), i.e. Mr. Daruma has fallen over.

⁴⁷ Original phrase was 三河屋さんならぬ膠屋さん (mikawa-ya san naranu nikawa-ya san). 三河屋 (mikawa-ya) is a trade name or shop name, often used as a slang term for a retail shop selling brewed foods such as sake, miso, soy sauce, vinegar, and related products and was used mainly from the Edo period to the Showa period. For this name, I turned it into the phrase, jack-of-all-trades to keep the implied meaning of “having” a bunch of generally useful things for sustenance because they used to be the grocery stores or convenience stores of that era.
The pun here is where ISSAY turns mi into ni, i.e. mikawa-ya becomes nikawa-ya. There’s actually no such thing as 膠屋 (nikawa-ya), or that I could find. On the other hand, 膠 (nikawa) means glue, which makes 膠屋 “glue shop”. 
屋 (ya) add to the back of a noun is like saying noun shop. But in reference to a person, it’s like saying this particular thing or trait is characteristic of the person. In other words, HAL is like the “glue which binds” the band. 

⁴⁸ Hiroshi Morie, known exclusively by his stage name Heath, is a Japanese musician and singer-songwriter. He is the bass guitarist of the rock band X Japan. He joined the group in 1992 a few months after the ex-bassist Taiji Sawada left the band.

⁴⁹ The phrase here was 物見遊山 (monomiyusan) which is directly translated as “a pleasure trip”. The implied meaning here is that someone is doing something or going somewhere just for fun.

⁵⁰ The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. Diverging from the pop rock of the early-1960s, the Rolling Stones pioneered the gritty, heavier-driven sound that came to define hard rock.

⁵¹ MAYUMI was away on a mental health break at the time of this interview as addressed here in this blog post: http://derzibet.com/blog/?p=799. He made his comeback soon after this interview was published.

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: Text pages – Yoshiyuki / Pictures – Devalmy

 

 

1985.10.21 | SIXTY RECORDS
VIOLETTER BALL

Lyrics by ISSAY

Music by DER ZIBET

Japanese

 

声を探す Tiny Tiny Kids
裏通りに 水晶みたいに光る
ただよう言葉
what you’re gonna what you’re gonna say
みつけだして Dance Dance Dance

※※
時々歌う 時々叫ぶ
頭から 足の先までしびれ
真珠の海に ゆらゆら浮かび
宇宙まで ドライブしている気分さ


FLOATIN’ SONG 聴こえてくる
FLOATIN’ LOVE 聴こえるまで歌う
Singin’ with me
FLOATIN’ SONG 聴こえてくる
FLOATIN’ LOVE 聴こえるまで歌う

拾い上げた Tiny Tiny Song
夜の街に 響いてはじけて消え
空の彼方 Over and Over and Over
浮かび上がり Dance Dance Dance

あなたが見詰め あなたが触れる
石ころも ただよう歌になって
僕のカラダを 優しく包み
無重力 感じさせてくれるよ

※ ※※ ※ refrain

LA LA LA……

Romaji

By: Andy

Koe wo sagasu Tiny Tiny Kids
Uradoori ni suishou mitai ni hikaru
Tadayou kotoba
what you’re gonna what you’re gonna say
Mitsuke dashite Dance Dance Dance

※※
Tokidoki utau Tokidoki sakebu
Atama kara ashi no saki made shibire
Shinju no umi ni yurayura ukabi
Uchuu made doraibu shiteiru kibun sa


FLOATIN’ SONG Kikoete kuru
FLOATIN’ LOVE Kikoeru made utau
Singin’ with me
FLOATIN’ SONG Kikoete kuru
FLOATIN’ LOVE Kikoeru made utau

Hiroi ageta Tiny Tiny Song
Yoru no machi ni hibiite hajikete kie
Sora no kanata Over and Over and Over
Ukabi agari Dance Dance Dance

Anata ga mitsume Anata ga fureru
Ishikoro mo Tada you uta ni natte
Boku no karada wo yasashiku tsutsumi
Mujuuryoku kanji sasete kureru yo

※ ※※ ※ refrain

LA LA LA……

English

By: Yoshiyuki

Find your voice Tiny Tiny Kids
Shining like crystals in the back alley
Words hanging in the air
what you’re gonna what you’re gonna say
Find it out Dance Dance Dance

※※
Sometimes singing Sometimes shouting
Tingling from head to toe
Floating, drifting in a sea of pearls
It feels like we’re driving all the way into space


FLOATIN’ SONG You’ll hear it
FLOATIN’ LOVE Sing until you can hear it
Singin’ with me
FLOATIN’ SONG You’ll hear it
FLOATIN’ LOVE Sing until you can hear it

I picked up a Tiny Tiny Song
Resounding, bursting, disappearing in the nighttime city
Far beyond the sky Over and Over and Over
Floating up Dance Dance Dance

You stare You touch
Even stones become floating songs
Gently engulfing my body
It’ll make you feel weightless

※ ※※ ※ refrain

LA LA LA……

1985.10.01 | SIXTY RECORDS
待つ歌 (Matsu Uta)

1985.10.21 | SIXTY RECORDS
VIOLETTER BALL

Lyrics by HIKARU

Music by DER ZIBET

Japanese

 

別れぎわに さし出した手に
あなたの凍ったまなざしが刺さる
僕がコトバをさがした時
あなたは乾いたくちびるをなめた


切り傷だらけの oh, yesterdays
さらけ出された傷口
※※
ひき寄せる Frozen Dynamite
抱きしめる Frozen Dynamite

※※ refrain

Ah, Frozen Dynamite, Phantastische

つまずいている指先に
あなたのさめた¹舌の先²が触れる
僕が誘いに敗けた時
あなたは壁にらくがきを書いた

※refrain
※※refrain

Ah, Frozen Dynamite, Historisch

別れぎわに さし出した手に
あなたの凍ったまなざしが刺さる
僕がコトバをさがした時
あなたは乾いたくちびるをなめた

※refrain
※※refrain (2x)

Ah, Frozen Dynamite, Phantastische

Romaji

By: Andy

Wakare giwa ni sashi dashita te ni
Anata no kogotta manazashi ga sasaru
Boku ga kotoba wo sagashita toki
Anata wa kawaita kuchibiru wo nameta


Kirikizu darake no oh, yesterdays
Sarake dasareta kizuguchi
※※
Hiki yoseru Frozen Dynamite
Dakishimeru Frozen Dynamite

※※ refrain

Ah, Frozen Dynamite, Phantastische

Tsumazuite iru yubisaki ni
Anata no sameta shita no saki ga fureru
Boku ga sasoi ni maketa toki
Anata wa kabe ni rakugaki wo kaita

※refrain
※※refrain

Ah, Frozen Dynamite, Historisch

Wakare giwa ni sashi dashita te ni
Anata no kogotta manazashi ga sasaru
Boku ga kotoba wo sagashita toki
Anata wa kawaita kuchibiru wo nameta

※refrain
※※refrain (2x)

Ah, Frozen Dynamite, Phantastische

English

By: Yoshiyuki

This outstretched hand offered in farewell
Pierced by your icy gaze
While I searched for my words
You licked your dry lips


Oh, yesterdays, covered in cuts and scratches
Wounds laid bare
※※
Pulling you close Frozen Dynamite
Hugging you Frozen Dynamite

※※ refrain

Ah, Frozen Dynamite, Phantastische

These faltering fingers
Touching your off-putting¹ flattery²
When I gave in to your advances
You drew scribbles on the wall

※refrain
※※refrain

Ah, Frozen Dynamite, Historisch

This outstretched hand offered in farewell
Pierced by your icy gaze
While I searched for my words
You licked your dry lips

※refrain
※※refrain (2x)

Ah, Frozen Dynamite, Phantastische

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ さめた (sameta) without a kanji attached could either mean “woken up/awake (覚めた)” or “cold (冷めた)”. I went with the latter since it appears to tie in with the lyrics which came after. Also, 冷めた could either mean cold in the literal sense, or cold in the figurative sense. The latter was what I chose in this instance.

² 舌の先 (shita no saki) quite literally means “tip of tongue” but it also refers to smooth talk, flattery, a glib tongue. I don’t know if he means it literally or not, but I’ll use the idiomatic phrasing for this.

1985.10.21 | SIXTY RECORDS
VIOLETTER BALL

Parade in the Rain

Lyrics by ISSAY

Music by DER ZIBET

Japanese

 

雨の中のパレード 素敵な夜を探す
雨の中をWalkin’ 額を雨がしたたる
ОК, Lady,
素敵なパーティ楽しめばいい
俺はただ雨の中を
歩きたいだけ…

Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Hold me
Rainy Night Love me

雨の中のパレード 肩をすくめ歩く
雨の中でDancin’ 濡れねずみで踊る
Oh yeah, Mr! だきしめてよ
……雨の中で……
Oh yeah, Lady! キスしてくれ
……雨の中で……

Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Hold me
Rainy Night Love me (x2)

雨の中のシルエット
映画の中のワンシーン
凍えながら Kiss you
傘もささずに微笑む

Oh yeah, Mr! だきしめてよ
……雨の中で……
Oh yeah, Lady! キスしてくれ
……雨の中で……

Romaji

By: Andy

Ame no naka no pareedo Suteki na yoru wo sagasu
Ame no naka wo Walkin’ Hitai wo ame ga shitataru
ОК, Lady,
Suteki na paati tanoshimeba ii
Ore wa tada ame no naka wo
Arukitai dake…

Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Hold me
Rainy Night Love me

Ame no naka no pareedo kata wo sukume aruku
Ame no nake de Dancin’ nure nezumi de odoru
Oh yeah, Mr! Dakishimete yo
……Ame no naka de……
Oh yeah, Lady! Kisushite kure
……Ame no naka de……

Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Hold me
Rainy Night Love me (x2)

Ame no naka no shiruetto
Eiga no naka no wan shiin
Kogoe nagara Kiss you
Kasa mo sasazu ni hohoemu

Oh yeah, Mr! Dakishimete yo
……Ame no naka de……
Oh yeah, Lady! Kisushite kure
……Ame no naka de……

English

By: Yoshiyuki

A parade in the rain In search of a lovely night
Walkin’ in the rain Raindrops on my forehead
ОК, Lady,
It’s enough for me to enjoy a lovely party
I’ll just be in the rain
Just be walking

Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Hold me
Rainy Night Love me

A parade in the rain Walking with shoulders shrugged
Dancin’ in the rain Dancing with wet clothes to my skin¹
Oh yeah, Mr! Hold me
……In the rain……
Oh yeah, Lady! Kiss me
……In the rain……

Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Love me
Rainy Night Hold me
Rainy Night Love me (x2)

Silhouettes in the rain
A scene right out of a movie
While freezing Kiss you
There aren’t umbrellas but smiles

Oh yeah, Mr! Hold me
……In the rain……
Oh yeah, Lady! Kiss me
……In the rain……

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ 濡れねずみ (nure nezumi) is actually a term which is derived from the fact that the hair of a wet rat clings to its body, making it look shabby, and refers to the act of getting one’s clothes so wet that they stick to one’s body.

1985.10.21 | SIXTY RECORDS
VIOLETTER BALL

1993.03.24 | SIXTY RECORDS
Historic Flowers

Don’t Crawl Around With Kitty Cat Eyes

Lyrics by ISSAY

Music by DER ZIBET

Japanese

 

うそつきだらけ   Party Tonight
カクテル飲み飲み   微笑む
子豚のような   Sexy Girl
僕はアンタが大嫌い !

ここでお別れ   Oh my girl
僕はただ飛びたいだけ
君にそれがわからない
だからここで

I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”
I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”

I say “auf wiedersehen”

夜明けの来ない   Party Tonight
猫の目をして這いずる
大事なものなど   Crazy Girl
どうせアンタにゃ見えない

ナンテ淋しい   Oh my girl
石になりそな瞳さ
君はソファと変わらない
だからここで

ここでお別れ   Oh my girl
僕はただ飛びたいだけ
君にそれがわからない
だからここで

I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”
I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”

Romaji

By: Yoshiyuki

Usotsuki darake   Party Tonight
Kakuteru nomi nomi   Hohoemu
Koton no you na   Sexy Girl
Boku wa anta ga dai kirai!

Koko de owakare   Oh my girl
Boku wa tada tobitai dake
Kimi ni sore ga wakaranai
Dakara koko de

I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”
I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”

I say “auf wiedersehen”

Yoake no konai   Party Tonight
Neko no me wo shite haizuru
Daiji na mono nado   Crazy Girl
Douze anta nya mienai

Nante sabishii   Oh my girl
Ishi ni narisou na hitomi sa
Kimi wa sofa to kawaranai
Dakara koko de

Koko de owakare   Oh my girl
Boku wa tada tobitai dake
Kimi ni sore ga wakaranai
Dakara koko de

I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”
I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”

English

By: Yoshiyuki

This party tonight, filled with liars
Downing, drinking cocktails, smiling
Little piggy-like Sexy Girl
I hate you!

Oh my girl, this is where I say goodbye
All I want is to fly
It’s not something you’d understand
And so, this is where I say

I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”
I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”

I say “auf wiedersehen”

This party tonight won’t see the dawn
Crawling around with kitty cat eyes
For some reason, Crazy Girl
You just kyan’t¹ see what’s important

Oh my girl, how sad
Your eyes could turn me to stone
You’re no different from a sofa
And so, this is there I say

Oh my girl, this is where I say goodbye
All I want is to fly
It’s not something you’d understand
And so, this is there I say

I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”
I say “Goodbye”
“Good-bye”

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ He said “nya”

[Live Report] The Day In Question 2020

Pia
31 December 2020

Text = Okubo Yuka
Photos = Seitaro Tanaka

 

 

The parade of hope starts again with BUCK-TICK at Nippon Budokan
“Let’s go! Into the future”

【LIVE REPORT】
BUCK-TICK〈ABRACADABRA THE DAY IN QUESTION 2020〉
2020.12.29 at Nippon Budokan

 

 

 

BUCK-TICK conducted their annual December 29 performance at Nippon Budokan, Tokyo. Because they shifted venues to Yoyogi National Stadium First Gymnasium in 2019 in light of renovation works, this was their first performance in Nippon Budokan in 2 years. This is also the 21st time in a row that they have performed on this particular date. Nippon Budokan is most certainly the most fitting venue for this “annual” event to keep going.

This show was entitled “ABRACADABRA THE DAY IN QUESTION 2020”; a sign that this was to be a one-night-only special event where fans can enjoy both the world view of ABRACADABRA, their latest album which was released in September, and the special feeling that the annual year-end THE DAY IN QUESTION brings.

“Let’s go! Into the future. Let’s go!” Sakurai Atsushi’s (vocals) powerful declarations came after he sang the second song of the second encore, LOVE PARADE which was reminiscent of the closing of a show, and right before their last number, New World.

After BUCK-TICK released their album, ABRACADABRA, they were supposed to go on a national tour, but after taking the COVID-19 crisis into consideration, they held the film concert tour “TOUR2020 ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN” and added more dates to their original tour schedule. This tour was an experiment like no other. Although it is a film concert, the same sound systems and lighting as an actual live show were used to create a sense of realism for the audience. That along with the spirited performance by the band and an audience who kept up the applause as if it was an actual concert fulfilled the holy trinity that makes a live show, but despite it all, there was, inevitably, a loneliness that couldn’t be dispelled.

Following in the footsteps of “ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN”, this Nippon Budokan performance was to be the last in-audience show of the year 2020 with thorough COVID-19 prevention measures taken including the introduction of a face recognition system for entry, temperature checks, disinfection, and limiting the audience to about 5,000 people; half of the usual capacity. The event was also streamed live on the internet, responding to the wishes of fans around the world who could not make it to the venue.

This performance is the culmination of the band’s activities with the album, ABRACADABRA in 2020 which kicked off with their online no-audience live broadcast performance “ABRACADABRA ON THE NET”. I had thought that this show is the one that would be where the parade ends, but that thought was kicked to the curb by Sakurai’s earlier words. The band was welcoming everyone to this Budokan show, saying, “The parade goes on. Come, let’s go!” And at the same time, they pointed to the future which lay just beyond our outstretched hands. After the performance ended, the band announced a national tour for  fall of 2021 plus the next December 29 show at Nippon Budokan. In a world that has yet to see light, they have once again brought us shining hope.

Peace signs held up, voiceless excitement turning to conveyed zeal

A little past the scheduled start time, a clip of the world of ABRACADABRA’s album jacket played, with a blue butterfly fluttering above crystals and diamonds, on the screen in front of the stage to a new arrangement of the SE, THEME OF B-T. When the tour title turned to dust and scattered away, Tsuki no Sabaku began. Visuals of a desert unfolded in front of the band, linking their performance with the oriental music. The clear tones which rang out with Sakurai’s occasional ringing of the tingsha bells felt as if they cleansed the air of the venue.

When the screen fell away to reveal the band members during the intro of the next song, Que Sera Sera Elegy, I could feel the excitement in the hall rise two to three times higher. The band truly was standing before our eyes. The voiceless excitement turned into an zeal which we managed to communicate to the band. Kemonotachi no Yoru YOW-ROW ver. was truly thrilling with an edgy, cutting beat and the union of Sakurai’s singing with Imai Hisashi’s (guitar) playing. And on the imposing beat set by Higuchi Yutaka (bass) and Yagami Toll (drums) in SOPHIA DREAM rode Sakurai and Imai’s free-floating twin vocals, leading the audience into a psychedelic world.

As if acting out the worlds of each song, the singing Sakurai’s performances were brilliant. The sight of him lying down on the floor lit in red during URAHARA-JUKU was breathtakingly beautiful, while the way he folded his arms, as if cradling a child while he swayed to the chilling intro plucked by Hoshino Hidehiko (guitar) was filled with compassion. Right after applying red lipstick himself, he began to sing Maimu Mime, dividing his performance between the man and woman characters with facial expressions and deliberate hand gestures in the backdrop of a drinking district scattered with titles of BUCK-TICK’s old songs on the signboards.

During the techno number, Villain performed with the twin vocals of Sakurai and Imai, the audience’s clapping became part of the rhythm, creating a sense of unity. The four-on-the-floor dance tune Datenshi YOW-ROW ver. evolved into an even more solid performance and turned Budokan into a dance hall, pumping up the intensity with Dance Tengoku which followed.

Imai’s solo performance of gentle harmonies led into MOONLIGHT ESCAPE. Sakurai’s unconstrained vocals sounded almost like a prayer. Then, they continued into the lively 8-beat song, Eureka. The audience held up peace signs together with Imai and Hoshino whenever they did it. This was the one scene that I wanted to see the most on the ABRACADABRA album tour. Sakurai walked from the right side of the stage to the left, watching this scene before him. And to culminate it all, Boukyaku. This ensemble of equal parts painful sorrow and kindly warmth along with the emotionally charged singing permeated deeply into my heart. Leaving these emotions lingering deep in the audience, the main set came to an end.

The most impressive thing in this show’s live re-enactment of a setlist which was pretty much the same as that of “ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN” was loud, thunderous round of endless applause which started up everytime a song ended. This was the audience conveying their feelings to the band in this situation where voices could not be used.

The reason why there were uncharacteristically long breaks between songs must be because the band members wanted to take in those feelings with their whole being. This reciprocal interaction between the performers and the audience is something that we only feel more acutely after having experienced no-audience live shows. A live show is built up on the enthusiasm and passion from these two sides. I believe the audience’s zeal must have been well conveyed to the band. Whenever a song ended, Sakurai would say, “Thank you.”

Sharing the desire to protect others, a space filled with kindness

After 15 minutes of intermission, the “THE DAY IN QUESTION” part of the show title begins. Welcomed by the impatiently-waiting applause that had started up 5 minutes before intermission ended, the band arrived on stage. It was at this moment that we found out that the words on the back of Yagami’s jacket said, “FUCK OFF!! COVID-19”.

During the future-illuminating FUTURE SONG-Mirai ga Tooru- and Luna Park, and even the mid-tempo Sekai wa Yami de Michiteiru sung against a starry sky, the band brought power and healing to the hearts that have become a little exhausted by the unstable situation. During ROMANCE, we were intoxicated by Sakurai’s dramatic performance from the start when he lit up the candles of a candelabra, to the end when he pierced his chest with his stick.

And before their next song, LOVE ME, this was what he said:
“The next song is about how you’ll be able to cherish the people you love when you cherish yourself. I would like to dedicate this to the medical professionals.”

The sight of the members putting their utmost respect into the song and music along with the audience waving their arms from side to side as best they could for those who couldn’t make it to the brightly lit hall is seared into my memory. Come to think of it, during the typically bustling pre-show wait and even enroute from the nearest train station to Budokan, the attendees observed good manners; they were quiet. Everyone shared the notion of thinking for and protecting others. This was a space that was filled with such kindness.

The second encore started on a high note with Alice in Wonder Underground. Receiving the neverending applause after LOVE PARADE, Sakurai spoke words of gratitude for the staff who helped to make this show a success and to the fans, he also thanked them saying, “Thank you for all your applause today. Your hands must be sore, aren’t they?”

There was also a moment when he eased the atmosphere in the hall by mumbling to himself, “I guess it must be boring to hear me talk only about serious matters. Shall I tell a dirty joke……”

“May the next year be a good one. I wish you all happiness,” he said with a deep bow, as if in prayer. Afterwhich, he said, “And now, let’s go! Into the future. Let’s go!”, leading into the last number, New World. “Cut through this infinite darkness and head into the future.” The powerful message that is embedded in this song turned into a light of hope and rained down on the audience.

Thank you for tonight
It was an unforgettable night
May the new year bring
much happiness to everyone
I hope you have a Happy New Year With love
BUCK-TICK

It is said that since ancient times, firecrackers (爆竹 / bakuchiku), which are read the same way as BUCK-TICK (バクチク / bakuchiku), were set off to dispel plagues and evil spirits while ushering in good luck. ABRACADABRA, which BUCK-TICK played with great pomp and splendor at the end of the year to close of 2020 is a spell to ward off the plague. Therefore, we can say that BUCK-TICK’s existence is as good as hope itself.

When they announced that they would be holding a tour in autumn of 2021 along with a Nippon Budokan performance at the end of the show, the audience broke into another huge round applause. BUCK-TICK’s parade has started off once again from here as we head into 2021. I can’t help but hope for a future where we can all shout “PEACE” together in high spirits.

 

 

 

 

Setlist
1. 月の砂漠 (Tsuki no Sabaku)
2. ケセラセラ エレジー (Que Sera Sera Elegy)
3. 獣たちの夜 YOW-ROW ver. (Kemonotachi no Yoru)
4. SOPHIA DREAM
5. URAHARA-JUKU
6. 凍える (Kogoeru)
7. 舞夢マイム (Maimu Mime)
8. Villain
9. 堕天使 YOW-ROW ver. (Datenshi)
10. ダンス天国 (Dance Tengoku)
11. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE
12. ユリイカ (Eureka)
13. 忘却 (Boukyaku)

Encore
1. FUTURE SONG – 未来が通る – (FUTURE SONG -Mirai ga Tooru-)
2. Luna Park
3. 世界は闇で満ちている (Sekai wa Yami de Michiteiru)
4. ROMANCE
5. LOVE ME

1. Alice in Wonder Underground
2. LOVE PARADE
3. New World

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Pia

【Interview】BUCK-TICK’s 22nd Album, ABRACADABRA

BARKS.jp
18 September 2020

Interview/text: Tae Omae

 

 

Acceptance and affirmation for everything in life, for everyone who wishes to live as they are

BUCK-TICK will be releasing their 22nd album ABRACADABRA on Monday, September 21; the 33rd anniversary of their career. Eureka, the vibrant rock and roll number which was released ahead of time is an anthem which repeatedly calls out “LOVE!” in celebration of life. That alone has more than powerful enough to open up a wind tunnel in these melancholy times, but the true magnificence of BUCK-TICK is found in the jet black parade of Boukyaku (忘却 / Oblivion) which closes off the world of this album. This is an all-encompassing affirmation and acceptance of every facet of life; not just the hopes and delights and thrills and joys, but also the nightmares and pain and sadness and remorse. So, how did they create this album, which seems like an amulet for all those who wish to live as they are to keep close to?   This we ask vocalist Sakurai Atsushi and guitarist Imai Hisashi.

 

 

■ “A slightly deviant vibe” or something edgy
■ I thought of aiming for the essence of something like that

 

―― Listening to ABRACADABRA, the album was beautiful and it felt like something I would use as an omamori¹ in dark and depressing times; like a safety net for the heart. When did you start work on this album? And how did it progress?

Imai Hisashi (I): Probably last Autumn?   I started writing music around spring, and that’s when it started, I suppose.

―― Was that around the time when COVID-19 brought about the mood of voluntary restraint?   Or earlier than that?

I: Earlier than that.

―― Did you already have a general concept or vision for the album at the time?

I: When I was composing, I personally had something in mind. Like, “a slightly deviant vibe“. For some reason I kept coming back to the thought of aiming for the essence of something that’s kind of edgy, or something along those lines. But even if that’s what I’m aiming for, it doesn’t mean that I want to force my way there no matter what. It’s fine to stray away from it a little too. Well, but it wasn’t all that much of a concept anyway.

―― I feel that for over 30 years, everyone in BUCK-TICK has always deviated from the norm in the sense that you’ve always created works that do not fit the mold. So were you thinking of something different this time too?

I: I’m pretty sure I did because otherwise, I wouldn’t get the feeling myself that “I want to try and put that into words”.

―― This vision of “something deviant”, how exactly was it reflected in your work?   Were there any aspects of songwriting that were considered out of the ordinary for you?

I: No, there was none of that in particular. Simply put, deviant refers to things like “no pandering”, and the like. Although, now I’m wondering whether I’ve mentioned that side of things before.

―― Do you mean that you won’t consider doing things that are derived from the consideration of what the general audience would like, and these sorts of ‘services’?

I: That’s right. Basically, as long as we think it’s good, we’d go ahead with it as it is. I feel that the initial spark came from those really small things and it eventually grew into my motivation.

『ABRACADABRA』【First Press Limited Edition】

―― This vision that Imai-san held from the very beginning, at what stage was it first shared with Sakurai-san?

Sakurai Atsushi (S): No, he didn’t at all.

I: I didn’t say anything.

S: …… I didn’t ask (smiles).

―― (Smiles). So, you were sort of just watching the music get written?

S: That’s right.

―― When did you start aligning your awareness with each other?

I: I think it’s better if we don’t have to say things to each other like, “Like this.” Once it’s said, the other party would get stuck there and even if he thought that something isn’t quite right with doing it “like this”, he wouldn’t tell me that. Though, well, he usually doesn’t really say anything to me anyway.

―― I see. Aside from the previously released singles², what was the first song that was written for the album?

I: The first ones were probably MOONLIGHT ESCAPE and Datenshi.

―― Those became singles in the end and for Datenshi, you have another version recorded, right?

I: That’s right.

Imai Hisashi

―― In the beginning [of the album], you start with the sound effects (SE) track PEACE, followed by Que Sera Sera Elegy, URAHARA-JUKU, and SOPHIA DREAM; a group of psychedelically textured songs with a strong electronic-feeling and a crisp audio impression comes one after another, but did those come about much later?

I: That’s right. After we made MOONLIGHT ESCAPE and Datenshi, those 3 are the songs that were composed right after I entered yet another creative period.

―― How did this album’s production and recording schedule get affected by COVID-19?

I: Recording was suspended. For about a month?

―― How did you feel during that period?

I: I guess, as you’d expect, you could say that things gradually grew dark. Because I was in such a bad mood, it was then when I wrote Eureka.

―― That’s the song which was released ahead of time, right? Was that unconditional strength and bright energy linked to your own desire to break past that stifling situation?

I: Yeah, I think so. Actually, I wrote a song with a much heavier guitar riff during that period, but I gradually grew sick of that gloomy feeling. And I thought, “It’s been a while since I wrote a song like Eureka. Maybe I should try that?”

―― Eureka’s lyrics even have the word ABRACADABRA, the album’s title. Did this word appear in Imai-san’s mind at the stage of this song’s creation?   Or did that come from Sakurai-san?

I: That’s right. It was from Sakurai-san that the word appeared in the lyrics.

―― Well, then, I’ll direct the question about how the word “ABRACADABRA” came about to Sakurai-san. But first, can you tell us how you felt about the situation where you had to suspend your work as a result of COVID-19?

S: For me, I had the lyrics of 1 or 2 songs to write so I was focused on that. Well, with the feeling that there’s no other option but to behave myself. While still not really understanding why…… It still applies even now, but without exaggerating it, [I had a sense of] “we should protect each other’s lives first”. Because no matter what, the studio was going to be sealed off anyway, and it’s [a place where it’s] difficult to get ventilation too. And after the state of emergency was announced, it’s like everyone stayed home to “protect themselves”.

―― How did you feel at the time?

S: I was a bit scared. Because there was this realisation slowly dawning on me that “this doesn’t only affect other people.” My mood was also definitely…… Well, then again, I’m always depressed³ to begin with (smiles).

I: (Smiles).

Sakurai Atsushi

―― (Smiles). So, it felt like [the situation] just made it worse?

S: Yes, I was depressed³ (smiles).

―― So, how did the word “ABRACADABRA” catch your eye in that situation?

S: When we had to stop recording, I was left with the lyrics to Eureka to write, and I had a lot of time to do that, about a month, so that’s what I did in that period of time. Right at the start, Imai-san had decided that the chorus was to be in English, so I had to think about whether there was any way to ride on that well while still making it “me”. I went to read various books and widened my horizons, and watched movies and all that too. While doing all that, when I opened up the web for some reason to have a look, it felt as if [the word] just came towards me.

―― Huh!   So, you just grabbed it like, “This is the one!” and reeled in it?

S: That’s right. So, while I was doing that legwork, I meant to increase the reach of my antenna to capture a wider variety of things, so that was how the word approached me.

―― For Imai-san’s part of the lyrics where you shout “LOVE!” over and over, did it reflect your mood at the time just like the music?

I: Yes, that’s right. It naturally turned out like that when I composed it so I thought it’d be fine to just leave the chorus as it is.

―― It’s very strong, isn’t it? This loving ode to life. I was overwhelmed by the inexplicable energy. Was it in part to fire yourself up?

I: When I was composing it, I did find myself thinking that this was what I wanted right now. It really just flowed naturally. After all, I did get the sense that I was feeling low. There was also anger over the suspension of recording, but honestly, I also felt reluctant about going to the studio. I didn’t really want to go.

―― There’s also the worry that you’d get infected and all of that, right?

I: Yeah. All those various things built on each other and it was with that drift that this song came about.

―― Aside from the pause in production affecting this album in reality, I wanted to ask how much of it was also influenced by the climate of these present times, but can I assume that it is quite strongly reflected in this album?

I: I think there more or less has an influence, as per usual. Because all these things are happening here and in reality.

―― What about Sakurai-san?   How much does the mood or climate of these times influence your lyrics, or perhaps, your singing?

S: I guess you could say that from the time I started working on the single last year, I didn’t want to let COVID-19 get in the way of our work until recording got suspended. So, I’d at least be careful in real life, but the album is, after all, something that I work on in my room and my own time and in my own head, and because I didn’t want something so incomprehensible to interrupt me to that extent, I purely wrote what I wanted to write. It’s a bit different for Eureka, though.

―― So, rather than writing about the goings-on in society, you dug into what was within you to try and write at your usual pace?

S: Much of it used to come from the imaginings in my head in the past, but in comparison to that, this time, [what I wrote] before COVID-19, say for example, MOONLIGHT ESCAPE  was about child abuse, and so on. With regards to those topics, I would write about a way out, or say something like, “It’s okay to run away.” Then, in Villain, it’s about the darkness of humanity. Like those who are usually all smiles but once they go online, they get all egoistical⁴ and repeatedly slander others anonymously. But [what this song is saying is], “I know all about that side of you!”. Also, the song where suicide turned into it’s subject…… (Kogoeru). It happened to overlap to the period of time when there was a report on TV about those who took their own lives, but I wrote it way before that. It makes me feel sorry about that for some reason, though……

―― But it was a coincidence.

S: Yes. But at the same time, one of those things which I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time now is “the fact that such a way of life exists in reality”.

―― No matter the subject matter in Sakurai-san’s lyrics, there’s always an open-minded take towards the idea that “it’s okay to run away”. I think it’s very kind of you to not at all put any blame on those who come to that decision.

S: No, not at all. I’m just being kind to myself (smiles).

―― But I think that this is exactly why [your music] becomes a safety net for those who have fallen into a state where their thoughts consume them, right? Do you also wish that [it’s alright to choose to run away]?

S: Yes. Because I, too, couldn’t run away no matter how much I wanted to. There are a lot of people who were in that situation in their childhood too. While we keep getting told to, “Be a man,” or “Think positive”, I believe there are definitely people who aren’t good at those things. To those people, [I want to say] something like, “It’s okay to be yourself. It’s okay to be whatever feels natural to you.” That’s why there’s also a part [of me that hopes] that maybe [this] can bring a small breath of relief to those who have negative thoughts.

―― Rather than small, I’d think it’ll be a huge relief to them. I do feel that society is filled with an atmosphere which suggests that weakness and darkness is unacceptable, and to add to that, we live in an era where the attacks are all aimed at those who are just hurting, like how you’ve depicted it in Villain. I feel that [this album] is an omamori¹ for them.

S: I’m glad to hear that.

 

■ My obsession with life is very strong, perhaps even twice as strong as a regular person’s
■ It is because we have that greed that we grow tired

 

―― Going back to the topic of the order of songwriting, MOONLIGHT ESCAPE and Datenshi were written, and following those, was Eureka the next one to be composed?

I: This time, Eureka was the last of all to be written.

―― Look at the album on the whole, I could sense the meaning behind the narrative of it with how you raised the curtains with Que Sera Sera Elegy’s “This is the start of an illusion” ⁵, and ended with Eureka’s “I’ll get rid of everything and make it all disappear” ⁶. The message I got from it is that everything in life is all an illusion, and that’s precisely why we should enjoy it as we please. But  Boukyaku (Oblivion / 忘却) comes in at the very end, bringing with it an air of indescribable impermanence. Although it was surprising that the album did not end with Eureka, it was satisfying. Did this song order come about naturally?

I: Nope. When it came to the song order, we were stuck on which of those 2 songs was better for us to end the album with and there were a lot of different opinions about it. But I do think that this form [that we’ve decided on] is really beautiful.

―― Which song did Imai-san back?

I: In the beginning, I backed Boukyaku but at the end, I was like, “As expected……”. Should I speak for the notion of making Eureka the last song?   That thought crossed my mind. I did feel that it’s definitely this one after all, though.

―― How about Sakurai-san?

S: We managed to decide on the song order with director Tanaka (Junichi)’s input as well, but Tanaka-san helped us take a good look at all of it from a bird’s-eye view so he gave us the idea for the first song when he said, “What about Que Sera Sera Elegy?”. He was like an eye-opener; as if he was removing the scales from our eyes. So, when we were trying to decide between Eureka or Boukyaku for the last song, he decided to betray Imai-san, you know? He said something like, “Put Eureka last” (smiles).

I: (Smiles).

『ABRACADABRA』【Limited Edition Vinyl】

―― Were you at it until the very last minute?

S: Yes (smiles). Imai-san and our manipulator Yokoyama (Kazutoshi)-kun planned to put Eureka last and have it link back to the first SE track Peace. But me and U-ta (Higuchi Yutaka / bassist) kept whining, “But this is better~”.

I: But I wanted you both to convince me too (smiles). Like, say, “This is better!”

S: Ahaha!

―― (Smiles). So, everyone was insidiously pestered by Sakurai-san and U-ta-san and eventually this is how it turned out.

S: Yeah. All while saying, “You traitor!” (smiles).

I: Towards U-ta, too, I kept thinking, “Tell us more firmly!” But it felt like U-ta couldn’t say it at all (smiles).

S: Exactly. Because he has no support (smiles).

Higuchi Yutaka

―― You actually wanted him to explain the reasoning behind his recommendation, right (smiles). But even though he didn’t have the words for it, he decided to make you change your mind with his passion.

I: That’s right. But, well, I really feel that this was the better choice (lol).

S: Ahaha!

―― Sakurai-san is laughing at you…… (smiles).

I: For me, I’m just the kind of person who has those very complicated feelings (smiles), but I guess I wanted to mention again the feeling of linking [the final song] back to SE Peace. Because the track Peace itself is a song that was made from the deconstruction of Eureka.

―― Oh, is that so!

I: That’s why I’d think, “Doesn’t it fit nicely?”

―― Making the album end brightly and then cycle back to the beginning. That’s one possible form in itself too, isn’t it? But I feel that the darkness, the rainy mood, and the afterglow of Boukyaku wonderfully turns the overall flow into one that says, “This is the BUCK-TICK World!” With regards to the lyrics of Boukyaku, when did you write them and what thoughts did you have in mind?

S: I think it just so happened that we finished the vocal recording for this song a mere couple of days before the state of emergency was declared. So, I guess it was definitely during a time when I, too, felt that atmosphere around us where the world and even Japan was gradually getting invaded by anxiety. But I’ve always had the notion that, “I want to write about this feeling.” Although, I don’t really know myself whether this came about because I was being influenced by the vibes around me or if it was just a coincidence. Well, I guess it’s a bit of both. Everyone, and myself included, of course, have had a lot of different encounters and experienced many other farewells too. But while those bring both joys and sadness in their own ways, it’s just how things naturally go, isn’t it? At least, that’s how I hope I’ll be able to think one day. That’s the kind of topic I wanted to write about.

―― Is this coming from an observer’s point of view? Or the perspective of your future self looking back on the current you in this time period?

S: Hm…… Perhaps. It’s one of my usual themes, though. Like, returning to the earth⁷ or returning to the womb⁷. We get born into this world, but there’s a sense of, “So many things have happened, haven’t they? And now you’re tired, aren’t you? Well, then, let’s go home.” I just think it’d be nice if that’s the kind of story I can tell.

―― In track 5, Tsuki no Sabaku (Moon Desert), you’ve written “Until we turn to bones   Until we turn to ashes” ⁸; a description which appears to make us think about our afterlife even after we’ve decomposed. Isn’t there something similar to an attachment to life implied in there?

S: No, it’s quite strong there. On the other hand, it is because we have that greed [for life] that we grow tired. I guess, maybe my obsession with life is very strong, perhaps even twice as strong as a regular person’s.

―― So, is that why when you feel “pain” while living your life, you’d accept that you’d feel “tired” or want to run away or take a rest and allow yourself to feel down?

S: Yeah. It’s like I’m telling myself that. Although I think that it’d be nice if everyone would have a listen and feel it in different ways.

―― I see…… It permeates every word [you write]. Boukyaku is a beautiful, wistful, melancholic ballad, but it’s something special to Imai-san too, right?

I: That’s right. When I was composing it, I felt that I’ve written a good one.

―― Only Imai-san can write this melody line, right?

I: That’s not true, though (smiles).

―― When you were writing this song, did Imai-san have any scenes in mind?

I: I wonder…… I didn’t have any of that in particular. Instead, I was thinking of writing a gentle song, or something like that.

―― Next, I’d like to ask about two other songs which upon the song title announcement had me excited and wondering what they would be like. Maimu Mime (Dancing Dreaming Mime / 舞夢マイム)  and Dance Tengoku (Dance Heaven / ダンス天国).  How did this series of “dance” songs come about?

I: For Maimu Mime, I had the notion of wanting to create something that sounds like a popular song from the past. When it was done, I thought, “Ah, this is already perfect for Sakurai-san’s signature worldview.” (Smiles). I got the feeling that this is where the song came from.

―― A song where one person plays the roles of both the man and the woman at the same time. It’s an explosion of Sakurai-san’s world, isn’t it?

I: No, I didn’t know exactly how it was going to turn out, though (smiles). I was looking forward to seeing what lyrics he’d come up with for this song.

―― When Sakurai-san first heard Maimu Mime, what impression did you get, and what kind of lyrics did it make you think of writing?

S: It felt like “a popular Showa-era song” and at first impression, I already decided, “Let’s keep it that way.” A lot of different scenes came to mind, like the sloppy conversations between men and women at a karaoke (smiles), and the atmosphere of Shinjuku, and so on.

―― It certainly creates the mood of an obscene and degenerate city, doesn’t it?

S: I wanted to make it a song that sounded as if it was born of Shinjuku, as if it came from that sort of world. Such a world has sorrow, the stylish backs of nihilistic men, the men and women who grow tougher and tougher…… I thought it would be good if I could build such a world from top to bottom.

―― When you’re writing song lyrics from the perspective of both a man and a woman, does Sakurai-san have certain characters in mind to draw from?   For example, someone around this age, or someone with this attribute, and so on.

S: That I do have.

―― So, the profiles of these two in the lyrics…… Ah, but it might be rude to ask.

S: I think it’d be more fun to let people imagine that part for themselves after all. Rather than having me reveal, “they’re between their late 20s and late 30s…” and so on and so forth, it’s better if [listeners] create these characters for themselves (smiles).

―― My heart skipped a beat when they said these terrible things like, “Shall we try dying” ⁹ so carelessly.

S: It sure gives the song a touch of Showa-era dramaturgy, doesn’t it (smiles).

―― Dance Tengoku is Hoshino (Hidehiko)-san’s song. What did you think about this song?

S: This song is one that Hide (Hoshino Hidehiko) wanted to do with a kind of “Here’s me knowing about avant garde too!” and that’s also evident here (smiles). I thought maybe it’d be good for the lyrics to ride on that too. This one belongs to the Showa world too.

―― This doesn’t sound like it’s Shinjuku, is it?

S: Well, this is [set] in Mishima Yukio’s Confessions of a Mask¹⁰. Like, in the final scene, the male protagonist becomes euphoric at the sight of a rugged man’s body.

―― I see. There’s a phrase that goes “Be it woman   Be it man   It doesn’t matter” ¹¹ which gives me the feeling that it’s a free world which breaks down traditional values, but in the case of Confessions of a Mask……

S: Yeah. This is a modern-day…… How should I say this?   There are all kinds of men and women so rather than discriminating them, I was hoping that [this song] would give them a sort of upbeat feeling, like “It doesn’t matter whichever way you go. Let’s just dance and have fun!”

―― This is an up-to-date LGBT perspective, isn’t it? Completely different from the gender view in Maimu Mime.

S: That’s right.

Hoshino Hidehiko

 

―― And the methods of depiction in Que Sera Sera Elegy, URAHARA-JUKU, and SOPHIA DREAM are all different but I’m getting the impression that the common motif present in all of them is the hallucinatory experience. I had all sorts interpretations, for example, was SOPHIA DREAM part of the world of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (The beatles)? And so on. Imai-san wrote the lyrics to Que Sera Sera Elegy and SOPHIA DREAM so what did you think of?

I: For SOPHIA DREAM, right from the start I already had the intention of making sure the words “SOPHIA DREAM” alone would make up the crux of the song. So, that’s where I started [the lyric writing process] to somehow make the whole thing feel fictional while looking down on this world from up above.

―― A young girl looking down from the sky; is that image similar to the album jacket’s artwork?

I: Yeah, probably. That’s the kind of picture or rather, image I had in mind.

―― What about Que Sera Sera Elegy?

I: For this song, words which matched the the melody somehow come to me at the same time while I was composing it so I decided, “I’ll compose and write at the same time as far as I can.” That’s how I ended up writing it and this is what it turned into in the end.

―― Is it rare that both the music and the lyrics come to you at the same time?

I: That in itself isn’t all that rare, though. Also, I guess you could say that the A-melody was more like a rap so, I suppose it’d be quite the hurdle for Sakurai-san to “put words to this” rhythm even if I asked him to after all.

―― So this is because you felt that it’d be difficult.

I: Yeah. Because I also felt that it might feel unnatural no matter what other words were applied to it. That’s why I thought of doing it myself right from the start.

―― When it comes to such a song, you won’t let Sakurai-san listen to it until it’s done?

I: No, not really. Even when I get to a point when I’m wondering, “What should I do with the lyrics?”, in the end, I might decide, “I should ask him to write it after all,” but there are also times when I’d decide, “I think I’ll write it after all.”

―― So, it depends case by case. URAHARA-JUKU’s lyrics are by Sakurai-san, so how did those come about?   These lyrics bring up scenes of youths put in danger, though.

Yagami Toll

S: For this song, I’ve moved from Shinjuku to Harajuku (smiles). It’s a poppy and glittery place for the kids but I think it’s dangerous to yearn for such places blindly. This came from the impulsive anger that I, too, felt when a young girl’s abduction and captivity was being reported in the news. I wanted to tell the story of a girl who does various things…… even selling her body. Ultimately, the song is saying, “But you should be careful.” Only you can protect yourself.

―― A warning.

S: That’s right. In the end, the girl pushes the bad guy away in Omotesando. To let him get struck by a car.

―― She fights back properly.

S: But it’s like, “You go home and sleep. I’ll take the rap” (smiles). That’s the kind of story it is.

―― This time, you’ve included different versions of a few previously- released songs. There is Cube Juice-san’s Kogoeru Crystal CUBE ver. (Kogoeru is the B-side to the previously released single, MOONLIGHT ESCAPE) where he handled the manipulations, and Kemonotachi no Yoru YOW-ROW ver. and Datenshi YOW-ROW ver. Only these songs had names attached to their titles, but I thought it was unusual. I think it would’ve been fine for them to be recorded as album versions without any additional notes, but why did you choose to name them like this?

I: I guess…… I thought it’d be complicated if we were to just bring the titles across like that. Like, if we do that, it’ll give people all sorts of impressions [based on the title alone].

―― Do you mean that naming the songs with an adjective like, “〇〇~ Electria ver.” would limit their imaginations?

I: Exactly. That’s why, even if we were to name it in a way that says, “This is what it is,” and highlight it, for example, simply stating that what YOW-ROW made is YOW-ROW’s arrangement, there will also be those who say, “Is his name enough?” And also it’s honestly a pain in the ass to think about every single track as a mix or something like that (smiles).

―― (Smiles). Because that person’s arrangement is something unique too, and it doesn’t need any other adjectives to describe it, right? It also got me wondering if you’re treating them like family because it was quite impactful to look at the list of songs and see names aside from the band members’.

I: Ahh, that’s because we’ve been enjoying having them work on a variety of things for us over the past few years.

―― So there were no qualms about putting their names there?

I: Yes, that’s right.

 

■ Although it’s probably impossible create a “tour mood” with the film concert
■ I’m happy if it gives them an excuse to come all dressed up, and make it as unordinary¹⁴ as possible

 

―― I was surprised by your unusual decision to release this album in all formats available. You’ll be releasing your first vinyl record in about 22 years and your first cassette tape in about 28 years in addition to a CD, high-resolution streaming, and even download/streaming services. What are your thoughts regarding this?

S: I didn’t think anything of it in the beginning (smiles). I thought we were going to release it normally in CD format. Regarding the vinyl record, it came about because designer Akita (Kazvnori)¹² who thought of expressing [the design] with a large jacket. To date, there were a few times when he has given us LP-sized photographs when we didn’t have anything of that size, and there was once when he helped us out when we did. But this time, too, he gave it to us in this form.

―― We can enjoy it in high-resolution sound quality and yet at the same time, there’s a cassette tape version too. It sure is nice for the recipients to freely choose whether they want to enjoy [the album] through state-of-the-art technology or through a nostalgic item.

S: It was Imai-san who said he wanted to release a cassette tape. Cassette tape specialty shops are gradually growing in number these days, and record stores are still around too, right? I think that these are things that those who still love such items can enjoy after all. But I don’t have a player that can play this time’s LP, though (smiles).

―― And this is where the BUCK-TICK portable vinyl player comes in, right (smiles). And it’s still getting a flood of pre-orders. Is Imai-san particular when it comes to cassette tapes?

I: On occasion, I catch word that cassettes are becoming a serious fad. I think kids these days know nothing about cassettes. But I guess it’s fun to have it as an item anyway, and they look like they’re having fun to me. That’s how it really was in the beginning, right? That’s why during the meeting, I thought, “I guess I’ll just mention it.” (Smiles).

―― As the main composer, how does Imai-san feel about the high-resolution versions?

I: When I had the chance to listen to it in the studio, I thought that it was really great in terms of sound quality.

―― There is a lot of audio information in BUCK-TICK’s works in recent years so there’s always a discovery where I notice that there’s another sound after listening to it a number of times. I’ve had the opportunity to listen and compare, and I thought that being able to listen in high resolution suits both the characteristics of the music and the needs of the listener.

I: Yeah, I think so too.

『ABRACADABRA』【Limited Edition Cassette Tape】

 

<BUCK-TICK Portable Vinyl Player>
<BUCK-TICK Portable Cassette Tape Player>

―― And it appears that the orders are flooding in for pre-orders of the BUCK-TICK vinyl record player and cassette tape player which were also designed by Akita-san. Those are attractive items that definitely get people thinking, “I definitely want it!”

I: That’s right. I want them myself (lol).

―― Although there are enthusiasts, this is an attempt to create an attachment to the music players of the previous era which are generally getting used less and less. There’s a trend in the world where everything is becoming more and more data-driven, and I think this is a wonderful antithesis to that.

I: Indeed, I think that’s true.

―― I’m wondering whether this is fundamentally linked to your holding of the film concert tour. How did it come about? This form of pre-recording a live and then screening them in various concert halls around the country?

I: We first found ourselves in a situation where we could no longer go on tour and we started wondering, “What should we do?” Since it’s no longer possible for humans to to actually travel to each location at that stage, this was the only option we had. We just decided that we’d do our best and hold a tour the best way we can.

―― I think you could’ve chosen to not to do a tour that uses live venues but instead, for example, held a live with everyone in Tokyo with everyone and then streamed it, or something like that. I wanted to ask what was your main reason for not doing so, and what you had in mind [when coming to this decision].

I: That’s, that, isn’t it?   Grown-up problems¹³…… (smiles).

―― So, basically, it’s too late to cancel it (smiles). That’s a given, and it can’t be helped after all. In a worst case scenario, if an artist only performs and talks alone in their own room  to stream, it would be difficult for them to continue their activities, right? I suppose it could be said that even if it’s just in the form of a recording, giving people the opportunity to go to a live show and actually go to live venues at each location also creates jobs for the staff and other related persons. I had the feeling that perhaps the decision to do this film concert tour isn’t only about yourselves, but also considers the future of the team on the whole. What do you think?

I: I think in terms of how we’re going to do it in future, I guess you could say that this is one way or something like that. Of course, you could say that live broadcasts can reach everyone without barrier, and it can reach everywhere all in one go. But this tour came about because we’re in this situation, and I guess we want to try out a variety of methods. I guess that’s what it is, I think.

―― What about Sakurai-san? What do you think about your tour taking this film concert tour type of shape?

S: We heard about the event organisers’ situation from them, and when we asked, “What is the best way for us to go about this?”, what they suggested to us was this film concert tour. In the end, it’s certainly not possible for us to travel to each location, so at the very least, we’ll let our staff work but with sufficient measures to prevent infection, of course. And we also provided information to encourage visitors to the venues to take extra care. I think we were able to do it in a better form, as close to best as possible. Although it might be a little impossible to let everyone who is coming to the venue feel the “tour mood”, they can still come to the venue all dressed up. I’ll be glad if we can make it as unordinary¹⁴ as possible for them.

―― Preparing for the day ahead of time, leaving home to go to the venue and meet your friends, talking about the live show on the way home…… All of these have become difficult to do now, but all the time spent going through this series of these unordinary¹⁴ events is part of the joys of going to a live show, isn’t it?

S: That’s right. I’d like to let them have a taste of that feeling even if just a little. Although it’s a little frustrating for us that we can’t go to each location.

―― Is there only one recording for this film concert tour?

I: Yes, we’re already done. With a setlist made for the film concert.

―― On Monday, September 21, the anniversary of your debut, you will be holding your first no-audience, live online broadcast concert called ABRACADABRA LIVE ON THE NET. Is the content for this completely different from the film concert?

I: We’re performing the new songs for both events, but everything else is completely different.

―― I believe this no-audience, live online broadcast concert was decided because the members had a strong desire to do this. How did you come to this decision?

I: When everyone gathered for a meeting regarding the film concert, we already had the desire to do a live broadcast, so we suggested it there and then.

―― I see. So you’ve been thinking about the two sides of this and the film concert from the very beginning.

I: Yes. We solidified it from there.

―― What does Sakurai-san think about the no-audience, live online broadcast concert?

S: If there are people who tell us, “We want to see it,” then there’s no reason for us to not do it any more, is there? Even for the recording of the film concert, I thought, “I don’t know if I’d be able to muster up this much energy when there’s no audience……”. I just feel that I receive a lot of energy from the audience when we do concerts with an audience.

―― It made you notice the irony of it.

S: That’s right. The cheers and the applause and the eye contact. I was reminded that these were what inspired me to get up on stage.

―― Speaking of no-audience live concerts, you had experience in it with SATELLITE CIRCUIT in 1991, right?   A groundbreaking experiment in the early days of satellite broadcasting, it was held as a centerpiece event to commemorate the inauguration of WOWOW, and was broadcast live across the country.

I: That’s right, yes.

―― Do you still remember how you felt at the time when you took on this challenge? And how you felt watching it after it ended?

I: Personally, I had fun doing it. That’s why I wonder if that feeling will resurface again this time.   That said, honestly…… I did find myself wondering which [camera] is it (smiles).

―― What does Sakurai-san remember about it?

S: Uhh…… Sorry, I thought, “That’s bland.” (Smiles).

―― (Smiles). Something’s missing if you’re not standing before an audience?

S: That’s definitely it. Where to look, what to say…… I was even wondering whether an MC was even necessary. But even now I’m being told that the MC I gave back then was out of context (smiles).

I: (Smiles).

―― It was a legendary MC, wasn’t it (smiles). Do you come prepared in advance for what you were going to talk about?

S: No, even now I still don’t prepare anything when it comes to the MC.

―― Most of us decide on what to say dependnig on the atmosphere in the venue. Is Sakurai-san that type of person?

S: That’s right. That’s why I end up talking about unnecessary things too (smiles).

―― Well, then I guess we still don’t know what you’re going to say on Monday, September.

S: …… Maybe nothing (smiles)?

―― Please say something (smiles). I do want to sigh and say, “When will be able to go back to the good old style of live concerts?”, but what does BUCK-TICK envision the future format of live performances to be?   I suppose you’re going to see how it goes with this attempt first.

I: That’s right. With regards to live streams, I guess the good thing about them comes through because of this present situation that we’re in. If this isn’t the case, I don’t think we’d do that.

―― BUCK-TICK is also very popular abroad, and it’s big that those fans who can’t really attend live shows usually are able to watch now, right?

I: That’s very true. Given that, I do wonder how it’d turn out since there are no capacity limits at all too. I also wonder about whether there will be more different ways to do this in future.

―― We’re in a situation where COVID-19 has not only affected live shows, but also questions the very existence of music and puts the arts and entertainment industry in jeopardy. Considering all of this, was there any part that made you re-examine your feelings towards music?

I: I feel that in this situation, the form with which we bring [our work] to our fans and music lovers is gradually changing and refreshing itself.

―― This was also a period when we keenly felt that even though we’re feeling down, music is definitely something that gives us a lot of support. In that sense, did your trust in music as a medium or personal feelings of, “That’s what we’re creating,” grow stronger?

I: I think it did grow stronger, and there were more opportunities for me to think especially about those things.

―― What about Sakurai-san?   As new methods to distribute music come about, was there any part of you that reconsidered the significance of the existence of music, or renewed your feelings about it?

S: I think everyone did have those thoughts, but I only imagine that things will get better. That’s why we take measures to step up towards that end, and so on. I think the most wholesome thing for us is really to interact with the audience at concerts with our music, though. Until we can return to that, we can only bear with it because COVID-19 infections are life-threatening. I hope to someday meet everyone again on a concert tour. Also, for me, music is something that has been saving me since I was a child. So, this isn’t part of our earlier conversation, but [music] was also a place where I can escape to. And that’s why I hope that each person’s method of listening and enjoying music remains the same. I’d be happy if that’s the kind of existence [that music] can have.

―― Looking back, at the time of 9.11, you you depicted your wish for a peaceful world with Kyokutou yori Ai wo Komete, and after the Great East Japan Earthquake, you released the album Yumemiru Uchuu to be close to those who have been hurt by the disaster. Considering the state of the world now, who are the people you’re hoping to support and help the most with this album?

S: Ah, no, that’s…… We’re not being presumptuous here thinking that we can do something about things from where we are. We have something that we’ve created ourselves here, and we just think that it’d be nice if various people happen to to feel that, “This really resonates with me now.” This is something that belongs to the listeners and if we happen to cross paths, then that’s good in itself too. Like, if they encounter our music and think, “How poignant,” and things like that…… I really think that’s enough. Because we can’t actually be close to them or anything like that, right? That’s why I think that as long as there are people who enjoy our music and like it, it’s enough.

―― Does Imai-san feel this way too?

I: I do. I mean, I don’t think about it that much, though.

―― Looking back on this album again, were there any discoveries you made following its completion?   Things that unintentionally turned out a certain way, and the sort.

I: Since we had to suspend activities, and had our recording progress in various ways we’ve never done before, there was a part of me that, although sure that we’d complete the album, also had no idea about what kind of album it would turn out to be. I think that conversely made it an album that I looked forward to.

―― What about Sakurai-san?

S: The stories I wrote, definitely…… Or rather, it’s most certainly not positive or forward-looking either. There isn’t even a message that says anything like, “Let’s cheer up”, though. How appropriate it would be to say, a negative multiplied by another negative makes a positive (smiles).

―― No, it’s definitely appropriate. It’s lovely.

S: My energy leans towards the negative, but when it is multiplied with those who feel a little down, we’d be like, “Oh, yeah! Let’s go!” Well, if only it’s like this (smiles). If only I could generate affirmative courage, even if just a little. Like what you said today, the way you called [the album] an omamori…… That’s a good one (smiles). It’ll make me happy if those people can listen to this album like an omamori.

―― Aside from “Make everything disappear!”, the chant “Abracadabra” appears to have a variety of different interpretations, even one that says it dispels plagues. Don’t you feel that this can be taken in many different ways?

S: That’s right. You could say that for me, I simply mean to say, “This is just a verbal spell, but this is all I can do. My apologies.” Like, if many different people cast many different spells, that should do something, right? (Smiles).

―― But words are important, aren’t they? I feel that words and music have a soul. We’re still not sure about how the annual year-end live concert will turn out, but when I hear Sakurai-san’s “Have a happy new year” and Imai-san’s guitar phrase when he leaves the stage, I feel like I’ve received a lovely gift (smiles).

S/I: (Smiles).

―― Lastly, regarding this album’s artwork, what were the keywords that the band shared with Akita-san?

I: No, well, we had a meeting with designer Akita-san, and he told us the idea with which he wanted to proceed. At the time, we had a few different ideas floating around, but among all of that, we felt that this one’s good.

―― It’s a very bright jacket, which is an oddity among your works which have been mostly dark, isn’t it?

I: That’s also something I mentioned to Akita-san in the beginning. I thought it’d be nice if we had a rainbow in there.

―― It’s beautiful and it feels fresh. How does Sakurai-san feel about this?

S: I think that it’s a good thing that it isn’t dark. For this time (smiles).

―― Why do you think so?

S: Like the lyrics that Imai-san wrote, it is “hopeful”, and it’s also related to my lyric of “like a rainbow” in Boukyaku. In this way, I can convey the things that I’m embarrassed about through Akita-san’s art work.

―― What a wonderful collaborative effort.

S: It sure is. It’s because I already trust him.

―― Well then, we’ll first look forward to the album’s release and the no-audience, live online broadcast concert on Monday, September 21. Thank you!

S/I: Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

* Do note that any lyric translations featured here are subject to change.

¹ Omamori (御守 or お守り) are Japanese amulets commonly sold at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, dedicated to particular Shinto kami as well as Buddhist figures, and are said to provide various forms of luck or protection.

² I believe the interviewer was referring to Kemonotachi no Yoru/RONDO.

³ The word used here was 沈んで (shizunde), used to refer to something sinking.

⁴ The phrase used here is 鬼の首を取った (oni no kubi wo totta), literally, to have chopped a demon’s head off. It’s a saying that typically refers to a person boasting, or being overly prideful or triumphant over inconsequential things.

⁵ A line from Que Sera Sera Elegy: 幻想の始まりだ (gensou no hajimari da).

⁶ A line from Eureka: 全て消えて失せろ (subete kiete usero).

⁷ “Returning to the earth” as in the cycle of life and how people all decompose and effectively return to the earth. “Returning to the womb” as in 胎内回帰 (tainai kaiki) the unbirthing thing.

⁸ A line from Tsuki no Sabaku: 骨になるまで 灰になるまで (hone ni naru made   hai ni naru made).

⁹ A lie from Maimu Mime: 死んでみるか (shinde miru ka).
n
¹⁰ Mishima Yukio was a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, model, film director, nationalist, and founder of the Tatenokai. Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century.
Confessions of a Mask is his second novel. First published in 1949, it launched him to national fame even though he was only in his early twenties.

¹¹ A line from Dance Tengoku: 女でも 男でも どっちでもいいのさ (onna de mo   otoko de mo   docchi demo ii no sa).

¹² Kazunori Akita or Kazvnori Akita have worked on BUCK-TICK’s album and single covers for a long time now. You can see all his works here: https://www.instagram.com/kazvnoriakita/

¹³ The actual phrase was 大人の事情 (otona no jijou), which is an excuse for not explaining something (lol). It can be translated as “adult matters”, “grown-up business”, or basically, “none of your business”.

¹⁴ Meaning to imply, not an ordinary day.

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: https://www.barks.jp/news/?id=1000189126

The “Plague Repelling Spell” BUCK-TICK Speaks Of

BARKS.jp
18 September 2020

 

The latest issue of the “rock magazine to read”, ROCK AND READ #091 will hit the shelves on September 19. This issue’s front features Sakurai Atsushi and Imai Hisashi of BUCK-TICK who will be releasing their 22nd album, ABRACADABRA on the 33rd anniversary of their major debut, September 21.

Also joining Sakurai Atsushi and Imai Hisashi within the pages are Hoshino Hidehiko, Higuchi Yutaka, and Yagami Toll. All 5 members of the band will talk about the album ABRACADABRA and each track on it individually.

ABRACADABRA, their first original album to be released in 2 and a half years was finally completed after a brief pause in recording activities because of COVID-19, but at the same time, it has turned out to be an album which was aptly born out of such a production situation. Furthermore, the interviews are said to give a fulfilling glimpse to the behind-the-scenes of the album’s production with content like the messages which Sakurai conveys through his lyrics and why the album has been given the title of a plague repelling spell of Abracadabra.

In addition, the magazine includes an article which discusses the “Buck-Tick Phenomenon (Bakuchiku Genshou)” that occurred 33 years ago in 1987. It will re-examine all of this while looking back on the intent behind the stickers which were pasted everywhere to announce their 1 April 1987 concert at Toshima Public Hall, the significance of their major debut with their 21 September 1987 Buck-Tick Phenomenon at THE LIVE INN (Bakuchiku Genshou at THE LIVE INN) concert video, their Tokyo Dome performance in 1989, and their documentary movie Gekijouban BUCK-TICK ~Bakuchiku Genshou~ (The Buck-Tick Syndrome I).

 

■『ROCK AND READ 091』, releasing Saturday, 19 Sep 2020 

■ Related links
ROCK AND READ Official Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: https://www.barks.jp/news/?id=1000189036

“Kogoeru” to be Ending Theme of Yamishibai (Iki)

Natalie.mu
14 August 2020

 

It has been announced that BUCK-TICK’s new song, “Kogoeru”, will be the ending theme song of the TV Tokyo late-night drama Yamishibai (Iki) [Shadow Picture Show – Live] premiering on Wednesday, 9 September.

Adapted from the popular horror anime Yamishibai directed by Iguchi Noboru, Yamishibai (Iki) is a live-action drama produced by TV Tokyo and Dear Stage. The ending theme song “Kogoeru” is a striking new song with lyrics written by Sakurai Atsushi (vocals) and music composed by Hoshino Hidehiko (guitar), with chilling lines that serve to highlight the sense of dread present in the drama. This is one song where BUCK-TICK’s style of pop-sense and dark world view shine.

Sakurai shared a few comments in response to the band’s involvement with the provision of the ending theme song. With regards to the song itself, he explained, “This song is about a sorrowful soul who wanders between that world and this, and from this world to the next.”

“What a blessing it is that (this song) is to be the lullaby which draws everyone to the edge of darkness in the aftermath of Yamishibai. I will be waiting for you on Wednesday in September, before the dead of night at Yamishibai (Iki). Do your best to make sure you don’t forget.”

Comment from Sakurai Atsushi (BUCK-TICK)
It is a great honour that this time, BUCK-TICK’s Kogoeru
has been chosen to be the ending theme song for Yamishibai (Iki).
I hope that we can contribute some deadly flowers to the world of television drama, even if just a few.
This song is about a sorrowful soul who wanders between that world and this, and from this world to the next.
What a blessing it is that (this song) is to be the lullaby which draws¹ everyone to the edge of darkness in the aftermath of Yamishibai.
I will be waiting for you on a Wednesday in September², before the dead of night² at Yamishibai (Iki).
Do your best³ to make sure you don’t forget.”

 


Premiering: Wednesday, 9 September 2020 at 25:28~25:58*
(※25:28~25:58 on every Wednesday thereafter)

 

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ Instead of using the modern-day reading of 誘う, さそう (sasou), Sakurai has seemingly deliberately chosen to use いざなう (izanau), an archaic and more uncommon reading of it which is more exclusive to poetry or literary works these days. A notable instance where Sakurai chose to use the “izanau” reading that I can remember off the top of my head is in Ai no Souretsu (lyrics).

² Here, Sakurai used 長月 (nagatsuki) rather than the usual 九月 (kugatsu). Nagatsuki the name that was used for September in the old Japanese which was adapted from the Chinese lunar calendar. Nagatsuki literally means “the long month).
On the other hand, Sakurai used 丑三 (ushimitsu) to state the approximate time of the show’s broadcast. Under Japan’s ancient time-telling system, Ushimitsu is the period between 2:00 AM and 2:30 AM. Certain hours of the day such as Ushimitsu-doki (the dead of night) and Omaga-doki (twilight hour) were thought to serve as boundaries to the sacred area. Omega-doki is probably around 6 PM, dusk.

³ Sakurai used 努努 which reads “yume yume”. I’d bet my coin it’s a wordplay which, once again, revolves around 夢 (yume) – dream. Because, of course it is.

* Yet another interesting thing about Japan is that they denote hours past 24, as seen above (25:28). Basically it’s to state that a particular show starts after midnight or a place’s business hours extend beyond midnight. So in this case, 25:28 will be 1:28 AM. Just subtract 24 from the hour.

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: https://natalie.mu/music/news/392069