Hoshino Hidehiko
BUCK-TICK

profile & information
Born on June 16, 1966. Blood type A. Guitarist in the band BUCK-TICK which was formed in 1985. Other members of the band are vocalist Sakurai Atsushi, guitarist Imai Hisashi, bassist Higuchi Yutaka, and drummer Yagami Toll. The band will be performing the final show of their tour, BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. FINALO in Budokan at the Nippon Budokan on Thursday, December 29.
buck-tick.com

35th anniv.

Interview/Text ◎ Yuka Okubo
Photography ◎ Yosuke Komatsu (ODD JOB LTD.), Seitaro Tanaka

 

Since BUCK-TICK is right in the midst of celebrating the 35th anniversary of their major debut, we interviewed Yagami Toll back in issue 102, and this time around, we have guitarist Hoshino Hidehiko. Hinan GO-GO, BUCK-TICK’s forerunner wasHoshino first experience of forming a band, and it’s been said that the band’s first original song was written by Hoshino himself. Since then, we’ve had songs like JUPITER, LOVE PARADE, Sayonara Shelter and many more Hoshino compositions that have proven to be key to the band’s success at various points in time. In this interview, BUCK-TICK’s 35-year journey gets summarised from the Hoshino perspective, along with mentions of his impressions of his four fellow bandmates.

 

More than my desire to do this or that,
I think my hope to constantly keep going for a long time is stronger.

――Today, I’d like for us to look at Hoshino-san’s and BUCK-TICK’s past 35 years with Hoshino-san’s music in focus. Before we go into that, you recently held your show, BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~ at Yokohama Arena on September 23 and 24 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the band’s major debut. In retrospect, what do you think of the show? With the staging and all, I got the feeling that I was watching a whole new BUCK-TICK again rather than the festive mood that typically comes with anniversary events.

Hoshino (H): While it’s true that we’ve celebrated our 20th, 25th, and 30th anniversaries in a few different ways, this time around, we have a 5-CD best-of compilation and it felt as if we used that to put the show together. That’s why we ended up with a selection of songs that is a little bit different than whatever we had before. On the staging and the performance, the stage director in charge was someone we started working with only recently, and at the same time, I think it was largely Sakurai-san’s initiative that led to the production turning out the way it did.

――Concerts that are based on a best-of collection would normally celebrate a band’s history but the fact that BUCK-TICK’s doesn’t seem like that at all makes it interesting.

H: We do have our best-of collection, but rather than focusing on our first*, second* and third* album releases, a good number of the songs featured are more recent works so I guess it’s only of course that this is how the show turned out to be. We also ended up performing Sayonara Shelter, our new song that was released in this best-of collection so this also contributed to it, right.

――This event marked the first live performance of Sayonara Shelter.

H: In this show, there’s a segment where we perform Rakuen*, REVOLVER*, and Guernica no Yoru* before Sayonara Shelter and I think this ended up being the essence [of the show].  The songs we performed in this central portion remained the same on both days of the show, though.

――By “essence”, do you mean the message of the show?

H: That’s right. I think the setlist of songs from our best-of collection were probably arranged in a way that had them linked to each other more in this Yokohama Arena show.

――I think the messages here are largely related to Sakurai-san’s lyrics, but does Hoshino-san also get influenced by the sentiment of the world and the atmosphere around you when you’re composing music? I believe Sayonara Shelter, for example, is about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and more broadly, thoughts and feelings about war in general, right?H: I guess we can’t deny that there is some of that in the song, right? We might’ve had such songs before, but Sayonara Shelter came about without any deliberate intention to write  such a song. I’ve always left the lyrics entirely up to [Sakurai], but I’ve always had the liberty to do whatever I want in terms of music too, and it could just be that those lyrics were written for this song because the music called for it. I already take it as a message from Sakurai-san, though.

This question gets asked at every significant anniversary year but ultimately, these are simply passing waypoints to me.
When you mention “35 years” on its own, it sounds like a really long time, but I personally don’t pay any attention to this (lol).

――This performance officially marks the start of your 35th anniversary year. Once again, could you share any thoughts you’ve had regarding having been actively making music for 35 years?

H: This question gets asked at every significant anniversary year but ultimately, these are simply passing waypoints to me. When you mention “35 years” on its own, it sounds like a really long time, but I personally don’t feel like all that long a time has passed at all. I personally don’t pay any attention to this (lol).

――I see. For Hoshino-san, your first experience of forming a band was with Hinan GO-GO, the precursor to BUCK-TICK, right? How did it feel when you were exposed to music in that band for the first time?

H: There was a magazine named “Let’s start a band [バンドやろうぜ / Bando Yarouze]” (a music magazine that was this magazine publication’s predecessor), but that’s the vibe we started off with, so I think it really felt like we were half doing this just for the fun of it.

――Did Hoshino-san at the time have ambitions like wanting to make a living through music, or wanting to become a professional musician?

H: I didn’t even think about thinking like that. Besides, I was a kid who had never touched a musical instrument before. There might’ve been some band master who thought about those things (lol), but for me, personally, I just went into it with nothing more than the thought of giving it a bit of a try.

――Are you saying that you’ve come this far because your very first impression of doing this was fun?

H: I suppose that’s how things turned out in the end.

――It’s said that the first person who wrote an original song for the band was in fact Hoshino-san.

H: I’m not too sure about that, I guess that could’ve been the case (lol). But it wasn’t released to the public in the end.

――Is it possible for a kid who had never touched an instrument to write a song so soon after starting? Or was it something you came up with by mimicking what others did?

H: I guess that might’ve been it. There was a point of time when I felt that it was about time for us to make our own original music, and I think I actually did compose something back then, though. It was pre~tty dark though.

――Is that so? Then, does Hoshino-san’s music, a.k.a the Hoshino Melody originate from somewhere?

H: Not at all (lol). Absolutely zero.

――I’m very interested in the “pre~tty dark song” that Hoshino-san just mentioned (lol). Your indies releases up until your first major album release (SEXUAL×××××!) were mostly made of Imai-san’s songs. What thoughts did you have about the music he composed  back then?

H: The level of completeness has always been very high even back then. Although there were also songs that were shaped by the band as a whole, things like the arrangement and the core aspects of the songs mostly came from Imai-san, so I guess you could say that made the compositions very easy to grasp.

――Meaning, it was easy to grasp the idea of what the final version should be?

H: Part of it is indeed how clearly we could envision the final product, and there were other parts, like the modulation of the song, the melody, that have always been made very clear even since back then. These areas were what made his compositions easy to grasp.

――Did Hoshino-san also continue to write music at the time?

H: Nope, I think I wasn’t writing anything by then. I just left it to him.

――I see. Was there any sort of change in terms of your mindset when you went from being an indie band to being signed with a major label?

H: I think there was definitely that feeling of having decided on doing this well when we went major. But it really felt like we suddenly dropped into a world we knew nothing about so it also felt like we were at the mercy of others, just going with the flow and doing a lot of things.

――You mentioned in the beginning that you originally had no ambitions to go pro, so what would you have done if you didn’t sign with a major label at that point in time? You did go to culinary school and attained a chef’s licence, right?

H: That resulted from what was originally an excuse for moving to Tokyo, but we managed to sign with a major label much earlier than we expected so maybe I felt like I had the time or maybe the mental capacity [to do that]. Even if we didn’t sign at that point in time, I think I might still continue to make music for a few more years.

――I really liked this story I read in an old article about the time the certified chef Hoshino-san burnt a frozen croquette black in the blink of an eye (lol).

H: That legendary story (lol). I probably misunderstood something somewhere. Maybe I didn’t have the [cooking] sense even though I had the licence? I’m good at slicing and dicing but I think I don’t have any instinct when it comes to flavouring (lol).

――In the chaotic days following your major debut, your second album, SEVENTH HEAVEN, included one song written by Hoshino-san, DESPERATE GIRL. What led you to start writing music again?

H: I probably just got the feeling of “maybe I should try composing something”. It wasn’t that I was forced to do it. I think I just changed my mind about it. I remember doing a lot of things in the midst of that jam packed schedule, so I guess that might’ve fueled my motivation to write something.

――And soon after that, you went to London to record TABOO. What was the experience of recording in London like for Hoshino-san?

H: To start, the one biggest difference between that and our previous experiences at the time was that we had a producer to work with. Also, the feeling of recording while overseas was super fresh; it was a valuable experience. There were also all sorts of changes going on in the music industry. Being in London right at the scene of it all, seeing and hearing about all these things might’ve also inflicted some change within me too.

――Hoshino-san’s song, FEAST OF DEMORALIZATION also featured lyrics written by Yagami-san for the first time, and that was really fresh too.

H: That’s true. That’s just now things naturally turned out. There was a momentum that inspired everyone to try and participate more in songwriting at the time.

――There was a half year before Aku no Hana* when activities were paused. How did Hoshino-san spend that time?

H: There wasn’t anything to do during that period of time so I holed myself up at home and wrote music. It was around that time when I got more equipment and made changes to my environment too. Because back then, I only had very basic equipment. And I had time anyway, right? (Lol)

――Could it be that this led to the bigger moves that you made towards doing more in terms of songwriting? Among the three songs written by Hoshino-san in Aku no Hana, you even wrote the lyrics for one song, PLEASURE LAND, right?

H: That I did because I felt like trying it out.

――How did you feel after giving writing lyrics a go?

H: Hm~ how did I feel (lol). That I’m better suited to composing music? (Lol)

――That’s a quick conclusion (lol). And your next album, Kurutta Taiyou* was a turning point for the band in terms of sound.

H: I think it was a rather fulfilling series of events to round off our experience of recording in London for TABOO and then working on Aku no Hana* with the release of Kurutta Taiyou. Also, I think getting to know (recording engineer) Hiruma (Hitoshi)-san was also a significant point for us.

――In that time, JUPITER* also became Hoshino-san’s first song that was titled a single. It felt like the world’s impression of BUCK-TICK transformed a little with the release of this single. Like a sudden realisation that BUCK-TICK also has such songs.

H: I think that was yet another turning point. M・A・D* was what we released before that, so I think it was good that we got to drastically shake up our image. On top of a bunch of other things, I think I overcame something here that led to a significant change in me.

I really challenged myself without the knowledge of fear in the past. In a good way,
I worked with anything and everything with the feeling to “just do it”.

――In the next single, Dress*, both the title song and the B-side, Rokugatsu no Okinawa* were composed by Hoshino-san. What was Hoshino-san’s state of mind at the time? Was it a period when you felt energised to challenge yourself in different ways? You even played the keyboard when performing Dress while on tour*.

H: I played the keyboard?

――Yes…… Wait⁉ You did, right?

H: I’m kidding, I’m kidding (lol). I did play the keyboard. I think I might have been really raring to try out all sorts of things when it came to composing back then. The part of me that wanted to challenge myself with all these different things emerged, now that you mention it. I had the idea that it might be interesting to compose Dress with the keyboard instead of a guitar. There was even a period of time when I asked the vocal training teacher to teach me when they’re free.

――You learned how to play the keyboard from a vocal training teacher?

H: That’s right. That happened, and then I started getting the feeling that maybe I should try composing something with the keyboard. For JUPITER, I experimented composing with a 12-string acoustic guitar, but anyway, that was a period of time when I decided to try all sorts of new things.

――We use the phrase “Hoshino Melody” these days, but when I listen to Hoshino-san’s compositions in order of when they were written, I get the impression that this Hoshino Melody wasn’t yet established in your songs from the 90s. Instead, these songs were the scatterings of the different parts of Hoshino-san’s quintessence that gradually began to crystallise in the 2000s.

H: That’s true. While trying out all these different things, I also felt as if I was searching for something.

――By searching, are you referring to something that is unique to Hoshino-san?

H: Maybe. Imai-san’s in the band too, so it could also be something that strikes a balance with him. I thought about these things too. Along with balancing the concept of each album and a bunch of other aspects, it felt like I was experimenting with all these different things.

――Has Hoshino-san ever found yourself in a slump or a deadend when you were composing in the past?

H: Rather than a slump…… I feel like I had more freedom back then. I realised that there were things I could do without giving it much though, and maybe that’s better on the contrary, but now, this might sound weird but I feel a bit stuck. I really feel like I could create with more freedom in the past. Part of it is the feeling that I somehow managed to pull off everything because I had no knowledge fear, but as I grew older, I also feel like that gradually became more of the notion that things just happened to work out well.

――Rokugatsu no Okinawa incorporated reggae, and Chocolate, the B-side to Candy* was also inspiring.

H: It feels like I really challenged myself, right? In a good way, that was a period of time when I worked with anything and everything with the feeling to “just do it”.

――There was a period of time when the band underwent huge environmental changs; before the release of your album, COSMOS*, the band started its own independent office and after COSMOS was released, you parted ways with Victor. What did Hoshino-san think of this?

H: While there was insecurity because of these big environmental changes, there was also aspiration. I would think that was exhibited in our work too, so that kind of a big change happened as well.

――Was the insecurity present in your music?

H: Not the insecurity, but more of the aspiration, I believe. That kind of evolution probably happened. I’d say it was the same in SEXY STREAM LINER* too, which we released after we changed labels. There was an environmental change, and you could probably tell from that album that yet another challenge has begun and that we’re headed somewhere new. I think that album had strong indications of those feelings. It might’ve been in that period of time when I grew an awareness of “what I’m good at”. Although whether it’s the Hoshino Melody or not, I’m not sure.

――How would you describe exactly what this “what I’m good at” refers to?

H: I guess it’s melodies that belong to me, or things that are unique to me. It might be a little different from the likes of JUPITER or Dress, but I think that’s the part of me that I grew aware of.

――In terms of songs, would you say it’s stuff like Megami from ONE LIFE ONE DEATH*, or the B-side to 21st Cherry Boy*, Barairo no Hibi?

H: Ah~, that’s it.

――I have the impression that the beautiful melodies Hoshino-san composed became more established in that time. Were you also influenced by your activities in dropz, your solo project which formed 2004 and saw an album release* in 2007?

H: It just so happened that everyone had their own solo activities right around 2004, and although it wasn’t able to be publicly active at the time, it was something that I had been personally working on. I was thinking that I’d want to do it if I could work with vocalist Kelli Ali and that actually became reality. I was running a little behind everyone in terms of time though (lol). That was when I started working with Cube Juice-kun and I think getting to know Cube-kun also influenced my style of working on things to some extent. He only started to work on BUCK-TICK’s production from RAZZLE DAZZLE* though.

――I wondered whether dropz influenced you in some way for the band’s next release, Tenshi no Revolver with songs like La vie en Rose and CREAM SODA. They were more eccentric than anything you’ve done before that.

H: It’s true that there was a feeling of disparity during the time of Tenshi no Revolver, even within myself too. Likewise with CREAM SODA, when that came from me, I was surprised too. I had no idea such a song existed within me even though I wrote it myself. There’s stuff that just comes out of nowhere though. ur next work, memento mori* was conceptually a simple rock album so I worked along those lines, but it feels like the guitar parts became the emphasis.

――Going by albums, I’d say that I started to sense what we call the Hoshino Melody more strongly starting around the time Arui wa Anarchy* was released. Were you referring to this period of time when you mentioned earlier that you were starting to feel stuck?

H: That’s right. Despite the fact that I wanted to do a number of different things, you know? It’s kind of like, because there exists the part of me that now knows all kinds of techniques, I find myself simply sticking to what I already know. I really really want to break through this part, but there’s also the fact that I can see clearly how I can achieve what I want. This certainly makes it easy for me to compose, but at the same time, I’m unable to see other paths to my goals even though I really want to. That’s more or less the kind of feeling I’m getting now.

――Even when you’re right in the midst of putting together a new album?

H: There are different styles in it, but I still want to break through this feeling even more.

――What should you do to break past this?

H: I don’t know either. Maybe I have to bring in my old self who didn’t know anything and drop him into my seat.

――That sounds difficult to do now that you’ve gained so much experience.

H: That’s definitely true though. But that’s something I’ve only started to feel very recently.

――Really? On the other hand, regarding your performance in concerts, I have the impression that from some point onwards, there was a huge change in Hoshino-san’s expressions and gestures. Was that deliberate?

H: Ah, I suppose it was to some extent. There might also be some part of me that got inspired when I went to watch some foreign artist’s concert, for example.

――I believe you did attend some other artists’ concerts in the past too, but was there some sort of change in mentality?

H: I guess I found that I really enjoyed communicating with our fans or something. Like, I came to feel that it’s a good thing. I guess it’s a natural progression from there.

――When did you start thinking like this?

H: Probably after “darkness”.

――What darkness⁉

H: Like the period when we did 13-kai wa Gekkou* (lol). The concerts we held on that tour didn’t allow for communication, did they?

――That’s true. Now that you said it, if we go further back in time, Kurutta Taiyou and darker than darkness -style 93-* were obviously also periods of darkness, right? (Lol)

H: Right, that’s right.

――There was also a period of time when there were barely any MC segments.

H: I went to watch Bruno Mars in concert the other day. His genre is completely different from ours but it was a really good show. When I see such a performance, it somehow turns into inspiration for me too, you know?

――The Tokoy Dome show, right? Are you saying that we’ll get to see Hoshino-san’s Bruno Mars-influenced stage performance?

H: I won’t dance (lol). I meant it in an emotional aspect.

――But I also want to see Hoshino-san’s Bruno Mars-inspired dancing (lol). Anyway, you’re now right in the midst of your 35th year of activity, and in the middle of a national tour* too (Interview was in early November). You composed LOVE PARADE during your 25th anniversary year for the movie* back then and it’s now become a song we can’t go without. Even now, during this tour, Sakurai-san would say, “The parade will go on even if we’re gone,” and it really strikes a chord in our hearts. It feels melancholy to think about these things, but does Hoshino-san mentally count down or think about how much more time you have?

H: I do think about it, especially in recent times. Although I just want to keep going for as long as I can. Because we can’t do this anymore the moment any one of us leaves, you know?

Rather than big ambitions, I guess you could say I just have ordinary hopes. I don’t have big dreams.
But I’ll do my best to be able to perform LOVE PARADE again on our anniversaries.

――BUCK-TICK has always been churning out new releases at a consistent pace, and I don’t think there are many bands that have continued to release new work to this extent over the course of their careers. Do you feel like you’ll never run out of motivation when it comes to producing?

H: Somehow it feels more natural to keep creating. I guess that’s just what BUCK-TICK is like because that’s what we’ve always been capable of. Maybe that’s the definition of BUCK-TICK?

――Next, will you share what you think of your fellow band mates at this juncture? Let’s start with Sakurai-san who expressed himself through Hoshino-san’s composition. How do you see him as a vocalist?

H: Just like his lyrical world, he’s really an open and honest person. That’s something that shows in his lyrical world, and I think it’s also something that makes him very relatable. Plus, his ability to express himself on stage is also incredible. All in all, a great vocalist.

――What about Imai-san? When I look at the stage, there are times when Imai-san and Hoshino-san’s movements seem to synchronise naturally. Seeing that makes me think that it’s probably because you’ve performed together for all these years. I’d be watching and thinking, “Ah, so nice〜.”

H: Really (lol)? He’s someone who possesses much that I don’t, so I feel like I rely on him entirely in all those areas. He’s dependable. Also, he’s playing (his guitar) properly recently, isn’t he (lol)? So please feel at ease.

――Imai-san previously said that Hoshino-san’s sound was cut off in the middle of a concert before (lol).

H: That happens a lot (lol). My head goes blank, you know, if I relax too much. Like, “Huh? What’s the next chord again?” It happens a lot.

――Is it a skill honed over many years to feel nothing over this?

H: Yeah, that’s right (lol). The “Ah~, I did it again” type of things happen quite a bit too (lol).

――The fact that it’s two people coming together to create the riff as double guitars is also one of the highlights of BUCK-TICK”s music.

H: That’s right. Creating one part by the combined effort of us two is something that we’ve always done so that’s also a forte of ours.

――Speaking of fortes, I think chorus melodies composed by Hoshino-san are pretty much a forte too.

H: Is that so (lol).

――I’m always hoping for the day when you release a song that features double vocals by Hoshino-san and Sakurai-san though.

H: That would be nice if we could pull that off well, though. I’ll think about it.

――So what do you think of Higuchi-san?

H: Yuta (Higuchi Yutaka) is also a perfectionist, I think. When it comes to performing, he’s got it down to a T. Although he’s got his “huh?” moments too, I’ve got the same problem anyway (lol). It’s something that happens to all of us normally. In terms of performance style, I think Yuta’s probably changed the most.

――That’s true. What about Yagami-san?

H: Anii (Yagami Toll) is just like Yuta, a perfectionist. In the past, when he didn’t use clickers and the sort, he really gave off this feeling of being The Drummer, but these days, he’s using clickers which means that he has to drum along with them, so that part of him really gives off the perfectionist vibe, but at the same time, he’s still got this groove that reminds me of The Drummer. It’s a really exquisite flavouring that he has, and I think that’s great.

――Right now, work on the new album that you’re releasing this coming spring is progressing alongside this tour, but looking at its present stage, what kind of album do you think it will turn out to be?

H: There’s actually a lot that I can’t talk about in specifics, but it’ll be another one that’s full of variety and there are also parts of it that you could say signify yet another new BUCK-TICK. I hope that people are looking forward to it.

――Now in your 35th anniversary year, is there anything you’re hoping for or anything you want to do in future?

H: More than my desire to do this or that, I think my hope to constantly keep going for a long time is stronger.

――As long as you can in your present state.

H: Yeah, that’s right. On top of that, there’s a bunch of other age-related things, and there’s probably a lot of other aspects like physical ability that we have to pay special attention to though. Rather than big ambitions, I guess you could say I just have ordinary hopes. That’s probably it.

――It’s true that there have been recent occasions when you had to stop activities due to injury and illness.

H: Exactly, that’s what I’m talking about.

――But does Hoshino-san have any dreams of your own?

H: The biggest one is to keep going but, other that that? Things like performing at Tokyo Dome like Anii (lol), I don’t have any big dreams like those in particular. But I’ll do my best to be able to perform LOVE PARADE again on our anniversaries.

 

 

  • 5-CD best-of compilation=Their 35th anniversary concept best-of album CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. which was released in September.
  • First, second, and thirdSEXUALxxxxx! released in November 1987, SEVENTH HEAVEN released in June 1988, TABOO released in January 1989.
  • Rakuen=B-side of their 9th single, Kodou, released in April 1995.
  • REVOLVER=A track from their 15th studio album, Tenshi no Revolver, released in September 2007.
  • Guernica no Yoru=A track from their 21st studio album, No.0, released in March 2018.
  • Aku no Hana=Their 4th studio album, released in February 1990.
  • Kurutta Taiyou=Their 5th studio album, released in February 1991.
  • JUPITER=Their 5th single, released in October 1991.
  • M・A・D=Their 4th single, released in June 1991.
  • Dress=Their 6th single, released in May 1993.
  • Tour=“darker than darkness -style93-”, held between May to November 1933.
  • Candy=Their 11th single, released May 1996.
  • COSMOS=Their 9th studio album, released in June 1996.
  • SEXY STREAM LINER=Their 10th studio album, released in December 1997.
  • ONE LIFE,ONE DEATH=Their 11th studio album, released in September 2000.
  • 21st Cherry Boy=Their 18th single, released in November 2001.
  • Album releaseSWEET OBLIVION, an album by dropz, released in April 2007.
  • RAZZLE DAZZLE=Their 17th studio album, released October 2010.
  • memento mori =Their 16th studio album, released February 2009
  • Arui wa Anarchy=Their 19th studio album, released June 2014.
  • 13-kai wa Gekkou=Their 14th studio album, released April 2005.
  • Tour=‘’13th FLOOR WITH MOONSHINE”, held between April to July 2005.
  • darker than darkness -style 93-=Their 7th studio album, released June 1993.
  • National tour=“BUCK-TiCK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv.” which started on 13 October. The tour final will be held on 29 December as “BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. FINALO in Budokan”。
  • MovieThe Buck-Tick Syndrome I and The BUCK-TICK Syndrome II which premiered across the country in June 2013.

 

 

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BUCK-TICK 2022
“THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~

special live report

Text ◎ Koji Yoshida
Photos ◎ Tanaka Seitaro

 

In celebration of the 35th anniversary of their major debut, BUCK-TICK held BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~” for two days at Yokohama Arena. This was their first major anniversary live concert in five years since 2017, and also their first indoor anniversary event. This report covers the first day of the event, “FLY SIDE”.

“We’re still moving forward. Wishing blessings upon everyone too.”

The first song of the first day was, surprisingly, ICONOCLASM. Recorded as part of their third album, TABOO which was released in 1989, and also featured as the first song of the first disc in their concept best-of album CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv., which was released this year on 21 September to mark the start of the 35th anniversary year of their major debut, this is a sensuous industrial song that continues to be performed live even now. Adding to that was the LED screen left drawn over the front of the stage after the opening video ended. Giving no clear view of the band, this conversely adds to a feeling of taboo.

Then, red lights glared from behind and images of steeples emerged on the screen. Slowly, with grace, the screen went up as if the Tower of Babel was being built high as the band led into BABEL, a gothic song from 2017.

Imai Hisashi wore a neon-coloured outfit. Hoshino Hidehiko had on a black vest. Higuchi Yutaka wore a black jacket over a red shirt. Yagami Toll was in a plaid suit. And Sakurai Atsushi exuded kinky sex appeal with lips bright red with rouge as he wore a black jacket and a wrap-around skirt over a pair of shorts.

When they made their major debut in 1987, I don’t think anyone could’ve imagined that a Japanese rock band in their 50s (Yagami is 60) could look so glamorous and hold arena-sized concerts to boot. Likewise with their sound too. It’s definitely not an exaggeration to say that a rock band like BUCK-TICK, who continues to bring excitement even in their 35th year of activities lets the younger generation of bands hope and dream for themselves.

Next, the moveable screens were put to full use with images that could be mistaken for three-dimensional spaces as the band started to play the groovy 1995 release, Uta, followed by 2010’s alternative folk-sounding Gekka Reijin, delivering a setlist through the ages.

Speaking in a tone that transcends gender, Sakurai said, “Welcome. Do enjoy yourself.” And with that began Maimu Mime off their latest album ABRACADABRA which was released in 2020. Seated on a chair, Sakurai crossed and recrossed his legs, flashing his thighs seductively as he played out the fetishistic exchange between the man and woman in the song.

Smiles began to appear on the faces of the band members when they started playing psychedelic surf rock song Kyoki no Dead Heat. Imai, Hoshino, and Higuchi went all the way down the left and right stage extensions and interacted with the fans.

The following segment was simply incredible. 

In Kinjirareta Asobi -ADULT CHILDREN-, numerous silhouettes of an actual ballerina danced on screen until the very end when they fell headfirst to the ground. In Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari (2022MIX), Sakurai was absent from the stage but he participated in this song through a collage video as Imai sang “Let’s meet at the city of hope (edge of hell) [Saa, kibou no minato (jigoku no hate) de aou]” over and over like a chant. Next, the exotic-sounding Rakuen saw depravity unfold before repeated calls of “Shoot it!” brought us into REVOLVER. Songs with unsettling worldviews came one after another.

After that, the screen in the back turned into a starry night sky for the slow waltz, Guernica no Yoru. Even as he sang “Please forgive me, dear god (Yurushite kudasai ne kami-sama)” from the devastation unfolding before his eyes, he tells us that it was all just a dream at the end. The performance, videos, music, lighting, sound effects, and staging all came together in a masterpiece.

Then came the first ever unveiling of their new song Sayonara Shelter which can be found in their concept best-of album. Even as the lyrics sing about how crazy this world is, the melody is contrastingly gentle. As he sings, “Wait for me in that shelter,”  his words felt like a kindly push of encouragement.

Sakurai had a tambourine in his hand for the performance of their latest single, Go-Go B-T TRAIN. Fueled by the love of their fans, the B-T train took off in this high-tempo dance groove. Following this, Sakurai introduced the band with Yagami, Higuchi, Hoshino, and Imai playing music with each of their introductions.

Towering flames then shot up, leading into the Okinawan-sounding memento mori. “Remember to die”, “Let’s love and die”――. By loving death who visits anyone and everyone, we celebrate life. That was the kind of spellbinding party this song brought to the venue.

And right when the party was reaching its peak, it was the last song of the main set, New World. It was a techno-style 4-beat song, but its gentle melody warmly envelopes you as it leads from darkness to light.

During the encore, they performed Django!!!-Genwaku no Django-, followed by the 1990 song which marked the start of their gothic image, Aku no Hana. After that, Sakurai said, “We’ve been doing  this for 35 years. And we’ll do this tomorrow again.” before launching into the ballad song, ILLUSION from their debut album, SEXUAL×××××! 35 years ago. The gentle, tearful UK rock-sounding song fills the venue with euphoria while drawing in the signature neo acoustic elements of its release era.

In the second encore, they performed the nostalgic Koi, and then the romantic Yume Miru Uchuu. Following that, Sakurai began, “We’re currently in the midst of recording something absolutely delightful. There’s no time for sentimentality.” He then added, “On our 35th anniversary, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you; thank you. If you ever have a chance again someday, I hope that we can enjoy a concert together again, with everyone in good health. We’re still moving forward. Wishing blessings upon everyone too.”

The final song they performed for “FLY SIDE” was the folky, acoustic guitar song, Solaris. “Dear god a dream please let me dream even if it’s just a  fantasy”――. Those words sounded like a message saying that no matter how much a person suffers, they can still dream.

Life and death, love and hate, beauty and ugliness, micro and macro. We walk into the future while taking in all that is reality. Dreams and hope, and cosmic love are the things that the rock band BUCK-TICK continues to convey. I honestly believe that they are the universe and the champions of love. While these aren’t the exact lyrics to Eureka, they truly embody LOVE!with YEAH!and PEACE!.

 

FLY SIDE

2022.09.23
01 ICONOCLASM 
02 BABEL 
03 唄 [Uta]
04 月下麗人 [Gekka Reijin]
05 舞夢マイム [Maimu Mime]
06 狂気のデッドヒート [Kyouki no Deadheat]
07 禁じられた遊び -ADULT CHILDREN- [Kinjirareta Asobi -ADULT CHILDREN-]
08 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマりがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり(2022MIX)[Aikawarazu no “Are” no Karamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari]
09 楽園 [Rakuen]
10 REVOLVER 
11 ゲルニカの夜 [Guernica no Yoru]
12 さよならシェルター [Sayonara Shelter]
13 Go-Go B-T TRAIN 
14 Memento mori 
15 New World

ENCORE01 
01 Django!!! -眩惑のジャンゴ- [Django!!! -Genwaku no Django-]
02 悪の華 [Aku no Hana]
03 ILLUSION 

ENCORE02 
01 恋 [Koi]
02 夢見る宇宙 [Yume Miru Uchuu]
03 Solaris

 

HIGH SIDE

2022.09.24
01 エリーゼのために [Elise no Tame no]
02 BABEL 
03 Tight Rope 
04 見えない物を見ようとする誤解 全て誤解だ [Mienaimono wo Miyou to Suru Gokai Subete Gokai da]
05 MOONLIGHT ESCAPE 
06 ダンス天国 [Dance Tengoku]
07 BOY septem peccata mortalia 
08 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマりがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり(2022MIX)[Aikawarazu no “Are” no Karamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari]
09 楽園 [Rakuen]
10 REVOLVER 
11 ゲルニカの夜 [Guernica no Yoru]
12 さよならシェルター [Sayonara Shelter]
13 Go-Go B-T TRAIN 
14 ROMANCE 
15 New World

ENCORE01 
01 ANGELIC CONVERSATION 
02 悪の華 [Aku no Hana]
03 HEAVEN 

ENCORE02 
01 忘却 [Boukyaku]
02 夢見る宇宙 [Yume Miru Uchuu]
03 鼓動(2022MIX) [Kodou]

 

 

Return to Top

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Pictures: Yoshiyuki

BUCK-TICK
BUCK-TICK 2022 at YOKOHAMA ARENA

Ongaku to Hito
November 2022

A Parade Headed For The Future

text by Ishii Eriko
photographs by Seitaro Tanaka (tanaka seitaro photo office)

“THE PARADE” -35th Anniversary-
FLY SIDE / HIGH SIDE

Instead of the celebratory mood on this 35th debut anniversary, the production and staging of this live concert were strongly influenced by the atmosphere of the current deadlocked times and the reality that dreams and ideals alone are not enough to live on. Yet, the band’s stance of choosing to face this head on instead of running away was most characteristic of them. Part of it was probably a reaffirmation of what’s most important of all to the five of them. The significance of living in the now, despite the non-existence of forever. This is an in-depth report on two days that held out such hope for tomorrow.

 

What we’ve thought of as routine until now has, at some point, rapidly become less so. Time again, this is what ongoing historic events show us.
I always thought that BUCK-TICK was a separate entity, that they’re special, but is this really true?

The weather held out on the first day right up until it was time for me to leave home. It was a rainy day, as per the weather forecast. It rained on the morning of the second day and continued throughout the day too. Memories of〈THE PARADE~30th anniversary~〉from five years ago came to me. It was held at Odaiba’s special outdoor stage under clear autumn skies and there were lively food stalls selling beer and takoyaki and other snacks all around. All of it feels like an unexpectedly distant memory.

When we become adults, time doesn’t flow as precisely as it does in an hourglass. More often than not, we would say that something that happened approximately three years ago happened “just the other day”. And we can remember what happened around 10 years ago “like it was yesterday”.

But five years ago with BUCK-TICK feels quite distant. To list what happened since that event, they completed production of an album and went on tour, during which Sakurai Atsushi got hospitalised due to an emergency and then made a full recovery and comeback at their Nippon Budokan show. The COVID-19 pandemic came when they started work on their next album and they could only hold concerts through the screen. Furthermore, they had to stop a tour because Imai Hisashi broke a bone, so on and so forth.

The turbulence didn’t end. Just as they started going on tours with their fan club & mobile site members-exclusive tour, Sakurai was tested positive for COVID-19 and some of the shows had to be postponed. It’s truly been a step forward and a step back at the same time, with good news coinciding with a heartbreaking event. When you think they’re finally making progress, something unexpected puts a stop to it.

There’s no one to blame, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. All there is to do is hope and pray. That BUCK-TICK stays safe and sound. That BUCK-TICK will be able to continue being BUCK-TICK.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a crisis. It just gets me thinking that there’s a real sense of urgency, that what we’ve thought of as routine until now has, at some point, rapidly become less so. Time again, this is what ongoing historic events show us. I always thought that BUCK-TICK was a separate entity, that they’re special, but is this really true?

Despite an appearance that tens of thousands have hailed as unchanged since debut, anyone who lays eyes on post-recovery Sakurai will be able to tell that in reality, (I don’t really want to say this either but) some signs of deterioration were evident and he looked worn out. Imai can already stand on stage without a cane, but should he be running around in 10 cm heels? Don’t push yourself?

Even as I consider their actual age in this manner, I remember a pleasant feeling, similar to being patted on the head that, no, it’s precisely because they go this far that they’re BUCK-TICK. Did anyone ever think that they were an ordinary band? One you could find anywhere? One that takes the easy way out of everything? If that were the case, I wouldn’t have followed them for so long. They wouldn’t have been able to bring us here.

Yagami Toll’s hair, slicked up towards the heavens even as he celebrates his 60th birthday, seems to hold the band’s willpower in it. What emerged at the band’s 35th anniversary was less of a joyous celebration and more of an immense determination to get through it all.

Let’s first look at the set list. The number of songs that were performed on both days is surprisingly high. Five years ago, 〈THE PARADE〉had boldly varied selections of songs between the two days where only four songs were played on both days. Also, if you try to look for songs that were performed back then and also on this year’s two days, you’d realise that there are only two; New World and Aku no Hana.

If anyone were to ask whether the set lists were reinforced by their most popular songs, like their debut releases and singles that are well-known to all, I can already imagine them replying to this with a straight face and another question: Why should they have to?

Surprisingly, or rather, unlike what you’d normally expect, BUCK-TICK’s anniversary doesn’t involve a line-up of hit songs made up by their all-time bests. By performing extreme once-in-a-lifetime setlists, they mean to say that their best is being delivered by their present selves.

May this beautiful lie light up your life
Band activities that continued in this way were eventually called “the Parade”

Extreme setlists. They were brilliant from the very first day. The curtains rose to the tune of unsettling guitar sounds with ICONOCLASM, but the performance that transported us into a futuristic sci-fi city was the most impressive thing I’ve seen in relation to this song, more so than when it was first released and anytime in the 10 or 20 years since. My head was spinning from the advances in technology. 

Different images were projected on the screen in front of the stage (you’d think it was a silk screen, but it’s a movable LED screen!) and in the back. Watching the stage from the front, the two overlap to create a more semantic, three-dimensional other world. The five performing band members were separately projected on screens on either side of the stage, but I don’t feel like smiling despite the band looking well. It’s the chilling sensation of being drawn into something dangerous to any extent, of an overwhelming unknown taking everything away from you. And this is only the start of the show.

Next, images of what looked like an ancient Roman temple appeared on the screens. At the same time, the screen in front of the stage rises, finally giving us a full view of the Great Devil King with his arms outstretched in the centre of the stage. This is the majestic BABEL. It was a little heartbreaking for me to see the contrast between his dazzling makeup and his sunken cheeks which betray his recent illness.

Furthermore, a line like〈Collapsing and yet/We are BABEL (頽れて尚/我はBABEL | Kuzuorete naoWare wa BABEL)〉carries a reality it has never had before. He was probably standing here with the same determination to go all the way to the very edge with his performances too. Despite such a presence, his eyes said it was all or nothing. There was no room for playing around. Gothic entertainment in the form of love, death, and life at stake was already complete with these two songs at the start.

On top of perfection, there was future elaboration on the finer details. I never could have imagined how much production and stage settings were involved. Scenery of sleazy entertainment districts that had retro trams running across them was featured during Maimu Mime, which appears to be a favourite in recent years.

Both music and vocals were monopolised by Imai in Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari~, but the bright red front screen had hands groping around as if seeking something through the glass while the back screen had an oversized close-up collage of Sakurai’s various facial expressions. The two together created a picture quality that of a horror film that the audience will never forget. 

Making a complete 180° in Rakuen, beautiful mosaics with Islamic patterns were all around, turning the whole screen into a gorgeous palace. Sakurai sang with a veil over his head, looking like a beautiful Arabian queen. I could almost see camels nearby.

The performances on the second day were also superb. Horses running through a thick forest of trees and mists rolling in with a full moon illuminating the dark night in all its realism were presented to us in MOONLIGHT ESCAPE, which was positioned as a contrast to the previous day’s Maimu Mime.

And in Dance Tengoku, a brilliantly coloured heart (not a lovely heart, but an illustration of an actual organ that looks like it came out of a science textbook!) bounced around chaotically, while in BOY Septem peccata mortalia, Sakurai got down on all fours on his own and flashed his thighs and knee-high stocking repeatedly during the depraved erotic song. Thrilling as it was, I kept wondering in the back of my mind whether it was pleasure from male or female genitalia he desires, no, I have no idea what we’re being shown anymore. Every song had an extraordinarily high level of entertainment taken to the extreme.

Roman temples and trams and an Arabian queen. Alternatively, moonlight and hearts and the all-too-erotic knee-highs…… Looking at this with a calm mind, you might laugh at what I’m saying here. At what a mess it all sounds like. The performance of each song is clearly beyond the realm of simple backgrounds in X style. 

Countless lights transform the stage into an aurora borealis or a starry sky, and Sakurai reigns over the stage, transcending gender. It’s all a fascinating concoction, but you get goosebumps from the pride and experience of the performers who don’t give you a chance to think that these are all mere props. Their spirit is conveyed through each tone of voice and each movement of a finger.

May this beautiful lie light up your life. Band activities that continued in this way were eventually called “the Parade”. All that is left for them to do is carry on al the way to the end with whatever time they have left. As long as there is still life left in them, they will perform to the end.

That’s the stage I thought they were at. But——

At the end, there was an outpouring of feelings that could make a person cry
I believe that is what we call
the forward-looking, hopeful love

Reality was steadily encroaching on their flawlessly constructed fictional world. This was brought to life in the second half. They performed the same setlist here on both days. REVOLVER, Guernica no Yoru, and Sayonara Shelter; the trilogy of anti-war songs that concluded DISC 1 of their best-of concept album.

Of course, no one thought to label them with such a word at first. REVOLVER can be enojoyed as a flamboyant and suggestive dance tune on its own. But Sakurai’s personal memories are part of Guernica no Yoru and the soliloquising line “What about me?   What shall I do?   I sing of love, of romance (僕はどうだい どうすればいい 愛とか恋だとか歌っている / Boku wa doudai   Dousureba ii   Ai toka koi da toka utatteiru)” that comes in the second half is something that goes completely beyond fiction. My heart ached with an inexplicable conflict. The gunshots in the music sounded louder than ever. My vision clouded over time and again. Even though the music was ever so beautiful.

The performance of their new song, Sayonara Shelter was also unforgettable even though it featured no stage effects or props of any kind. It was just the band lit by blue lights. There was no need for any explanation. Lyrics that were written from the perspective of someone experiencing the happenings of Ukraine pierce with a rawness that cannot be dismissed as a mere fantasy. This is how far they’ve come with their composition. This is how far they had to sing their song. This one song with lyrics written by Sakurai as a result of these impending times very clearly tells us where BUCK-TICK stands now.

To put it bluntly, things like their 35th anniversary and whatever they’ve done in the past don’t matter at this point. The two-day setlist eloquently states that this is what needs to be communicated now. This is, without a doubt, the highlight. BUCK-TICK’s best probably lies in showing us the truth. As if out of concern and to provide some relief from the painful reality, Sakurai wore a mask and blew kisses numerous times. This was an expression of love, or perhaps, an expression of farewells.

After making us think so much, suddenly, we’re thrust into Go-Go B-T TRAIN. This was tremendous fun, like the sudden high-pitched laugh echoing through the hall. Impending reality flips into a half-defiant positivity. Pink tulips bloom madly everywhere. A broadly-grinning Higuchi Yutaka. Imai Hisashi shaking his hips with the groove. Hoshino Hidehiko looked cool but there was some hint of joy on his face. Yagami Toll watched over  them all from above with the gaze of a father watching over his energetic children.

In reality, all the members of the band are in their late 60s, but it was a moment that reaffirmed that the youthful energy that came with their rock ‘n’ roll tracks was still intact. It can’t be said that they’re eternal and unchanging. Physical ability diminishes with age. But even so, Sakurai Atsushi slaps his tambourine hard, calling upon everyone to go as far as they can. The audience claps in response.

〈Let your love burn   Run B-T TRAIN (愛を燃やせ 走れB-T TRAIN / Ai wo moyase   Hashire BT-TRAIN)〉. The decadent and ridiculously powered song resonates as a theme song for the energised BUCK-TICK and their fans. At the end, there was already an outpouring of feelings between both parties that could make a person cry. I believe that is undoubtedly what we call the forward-looking, hopeful love.

The encore followed with a ballad for the first time in a long while. On the first day, Sakurai had an air of formality about him as he said, “Now, recording is underway to great feedback. There’s no time for sentimentality.” But on the second day, we saw him giving a cheeky pep talk to his fellow band members.

He said, “Good thing is, we have a lot to do. Starting tomorrow, Anii and Yuta will begin rehearsing for the tour. Imai-san and Hide will write new songs. They’ll get started at daybreak.” Adding on to that, he said, “And I, will sleep.” Hearing him speak with such a chuckle-inducing tone of voice was exceptionally rare. Even though they were running on a tough schedule, they certainly seemed more relaxed between these two days of concerts.

Lastly, Imai threw a peace sign as he spoke into the mic, “Thank you, this was awesome.” Yuta, and even Hide and Anii also added to it with ‘Thank you’s of their own. When we exited the venue, the rain that stopped in the evening had completely dried up and a pleasant breeze was blowing.

As written earlier, I don’t think it was a happy-go-lucky celebration. But despite that, the fireworks shot in the ending video were beautiful. Before this all began, I came with a beseeching feeling, but by the end of these two days, I’m smiling with this thought in mind:  May BUCK-TICK go on and continue as BUCK-TICK, always.

 

FLY SIDE

2022.09.23
01 ICONOCLASM 
02 BABEL 
03 唄 [Uta]
04 月下麗人 [Gekka Reijin]
05 舞夢マイム [Maimu Mime]
06 狂気のデッドヒート [Kyouki no Deadheat]
07 禁じられた遊び -ADULT CHILDREN- [Kinjirareta Asobi -ADULT CHILDREN-]
08 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマりがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり(2022MIX)[Aikawarazu no “Are” no Karamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari]
09 楽園 [Rakuen]
10 REVOLVER 
11 ゲルニカの夜 [Guernica no Yoru]
12 さよならシェルター [Sayonara Shelter]
13 Go-Go B-T TRAIN 
14 Memento mori 
15 New World

ENCORE01 
01 Django!!! -眩惑のジャンゴ- [Django!!! -Genwaku no Django-]
02 悪の華 [Aku no Hana]
03 ILLUSION 

ENCORE02 
01 恋 [Koi]
02 夢見る宇宙 [Yume Miru Uchuu]
03 Solaris

 

HIGH SIDE

2022.09.24
01 エリーゼのために [Elise no Tame no]
02 BABEL 
03 Tight Rope 
04 見えない物を見ようとする誤解 全て誤解だ [Mienaimono wo Miyou to Suru Gokai Subete Gokai da]
05 MOONLIGHT ESCAPE 
06 ダンス天国 [Dance Tengoku]
07 BOY septem peccata mortalia 
08 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマりがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり(2022MIX)[Aikawarazu no “Are” no Karamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari]
09 楽園 [Rakuen]
10 REVOLVER 
11 ゲルニカの夜 [Guernica no Yoru]
12 さよならシェルター [Sayonara Shelter]
13 Go-Go B-T TRAIN 
14 ROMANCE 
15 New World

ENCORE01 
01 ANGELIC CONVERSATION 
02 悪の華 [Aku no Hana]
03 HEAVEN 

ENCORE02 
01 忘却 [Boukyaku]
02 夢見る宇宙 [Yume Miru Uchuu]
03 鼓動(2022MIX) [Kodou]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Pictures: Yoshiyuki

35th Anniversary Feature

PHY Vol. 22
November 2022

I do sense that some sort of change has happened. Within myself
In any case, my desire to focus on music has grown stronger
— Sakurai Atsushi

BUCK-TICK celebrates their 35th debut anniversary on September 21. In all this time, the band has kept the same original member line-up while making all kinds of music in different themes with inspiration from a wide variety of genres and also touring at a consistent pace.

CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. is the concept album they’re releasing in this period. Although its voluminous 80 tracks breaks the mould of the idea of a “best of” (lol), the selected songs have been split into five  concepts that perfectly embody the essence of the band that is BUCK-TICK and their journey thus far. Then again, it’s more of an impossibility to attempt to summarise the band’s 35-year history within one mere CD.

However, the mood of the band right now is definitely not entirely celebratory ahead of their anniversary. Rather, I think it seems a little gloomy. What is the reason behind this?

A best-of album, a new song, COVID-19, growing older, and concerts.

This special feature explores where BUCK-TICK currently stands on a variety of topics. September 21 is the day when BUCK-TICK will see a new beginning. Incidentally, due to the many happenings in the recent period, these interviews have been arranged in chronological order, according to when they happened.

 

 

 

 

BUCK-TICK Solo Interviews

_______________________

Sakurai Atsushi

Text by: Ishii Eriko

How each person thinks has also changed over time. Everyone is growing more and more uncertain about the future
I’ve had periods when I’m feeling uneasy about my health and I’ve had COVID-19. But I think everyone’s feeling the same way

――Since your 30th year anniversary, both BUCK-TICK and the world have had some hectic times. There’s COVID-19, members of the band have fallen sick and sustained injuries. Thinking about it, quite a lot has happened.

Sakurai (S): Yes. And separate from music, there’s been other frustrations in the recent few years. Including the question of how many more years I can keep at this; on account of my age and my level of motivation too. I really feel that I can’t tell what might happen anymore after all these experiences I’ve had.

――Are you able to share more in this regard?

S: You hear about it all the time. Take Kanemitsu-san, for example. I believe it’s similar to what he goes through as editor-in-chief. There’s all sorts of difficulties that come with becoming a director or manager or chief of something.

――That’s true. So it’s the kind of problems that come to those who lead?

S: Things I can’t really talk about. A bunch has happened…… Right? (smiles at the editor-in-chief)

――This is rare. We’ve never really heard you talk about these things until now.

S: Well, how each person thinks has also changed over time, you know? I believe that anyone and everyone is growing more and more uncertain about the future. I’ve had periods when I’m feeling uneasy about my health and things like that, and I’ve had COVID-19 too. But this doesn’t apply to me exclusively, I think everyone’s feeling the same way, right? In the past few years, I believe there were those whose lives changed dramatically ever since COVID-19 came about, and even the cities have changed, right? I believe it’s been both difficult and scary for everyone. Not only me, but our fans as well, and their families too. We’re all experiencing invisible pressures and encroaching terrors too.

――Yes. I think we’ve all had to make all kinds of tough decisions in the confusion.

S: Indeed. In reality, we couldn’t even hold concerts. Not only us, but I think everyone including our staff, those in the stage play and entertainment industry, the actors, the whole world felt it. That this situation was not something that anyone could even have dreamt would’ve happened. But history has taught us that such things actually do happen.

――So what did you do with all the free time that resulted from your schedule being emptied out?

S: Uh…… I rode my bicycle.

――Hahahahahaha! Really?

S: Fufufu. Yes. Well, I’d go along and do things I wouldn’t normally do…… like cycling all the way to the park on my bike.

――Has cycling always been one of your hobbies?

S: Yes. Quite so. Although I’ve been riding on the same one for about 10 years now.

――The ones that go fast, right…… In other words, a road bike?

S: Yes. The not-city bike¹ (lol). The ones with elevated seats.

――How surprising.

S: That’s what everyone says, but it’s fun. I can go here and there unlike driving a car, and obviously it’s faster than walking too. I made all sorts of discoveries. Apart from that, though, I haven’t done anything particularly productive.

――Oh, really (lol).

S: I say that but I’ve been approached by a lot of people, asking me whether I’d like to participate in this and that. One of them was a broadcast. And right about 2 years ago, our fan club-exclusive tour was put on hold but there was also a conversation about going on NHK with Hiroshi-san (for the dialogue program) at the time. Normally I’d hate the idea of going on TV to talk, but I felt it would be good since it was a way for fans to see me. I actually had a really good time. I’m extremely thankful to Hiroshi-san.

――It was very intriguing. Aside from that, you also had a dialogue with author Tono Haruka-san, right?

S: Ah, that’s right.

―― Was it also something you felt was good to do at that juncture?

S: Well, honestly speaking…… Mr Tono came to our concert before he was awarded the Akutagawa Prize. My ex-wife and I had a mutual acquaintance, Mari-chan from Kumamoto who was a man who identified as a woman, who passed away suddenly. It’s one of those things that proves you never know when something will happen out of nowhere. After that happened, I received a letter asking, “May I come and watch your concert?” That was the Makuhari Messe show. You could say that was our first meeting after 29 years…… Well, it was as good as a “Pleased to meet you for the first time.” The next time we met was after the concert at Yoyogi Gymnasium. That was when he said, “I’ll be an Akutagawa Prize-winning author when we next meet,” and I was like, “Oh~”. And after that, he really won it. I thought it was amazing.

――Ohh. That’s impressive.

S: I saw the press conference that came after the award ceremony, and there was a reporter who seemed to be incessantly trying to dig up information about his father from him. I got the impression that this person probably knew [the truth] and wanted [Tono] to say it on his own. Then, a representative from Bungei approached me with, “Mr Sakurai, would you like to do a dialogue [with him]? Because I believe a lot of people are going to turn their curiosity [towards him] later on.” I declined at first, though.

――Is that so?

S: Because I felt that I don’t have any right to show up now, at that point of time and say that I’m the father of an Akutagawa Prize-winning author. But after that, Mr Tono himself told me that, “I would like to talk with you.” So. Since that’s the case…… I also thought that this might be the one thing I could do for him in my life as a parent, so I agreed to it.

――I think it ultimately turned out to be something beautiful. Far more so than a scoop in a gossip magazine.

S: You’re right. Honestly…… I felt vindicated by the words Mr Tono said to me. For these few decades.

――It never left your mind?

S: It really was my cross to bear. Because I sincerely felt that I caused their family a lot of unpleasant feelings. Not that I could do anything if they hated and resented me though. But contrary to that, he actually said things like, “[I appreciate that] I could study all the way to college”…… I’m really grateful.

――I’m glad to hear that. Truly.

S: It’s probably convenient for me to say this, but I was definitely a little happy too that he won the prize. Really, even though I felt apologetic that I couldn’t do anything for him.

――I’m a parent myself so I understand where you’re coming from. These days, I find more joy in the youth and children’s hardwork and success than my own. Maybe that’s actually a form of hope in itself.

S: Exactly. It also feels like a weight has finally been lifted from my shoulders. And it really dawns on you that this small child has grown up and matured into their own person. That they’ve grown into a stronger person than you had expected…… It really gets me feeling, “Ah, you’re living your life well.”

――It’s something truly wonderful. 

S: You can’t really judge people by their appearances these days considering that there are so many of the younger generation who have things figured out better than the adults. That’s why there are things we can’t give up on in the world. Of course, there are parts of it that are rotten too, right? In my recent MCs, I’ve been saying “The world is rotten-” and things like that, and it’s something that I blurt out without much thought. But there definitely are things that we can’t give up on in the world, you know? Hope still exists.

――Yes. Now, about the band; with your 35th anniversary right around the corner, any thoughts about this number?

S: Hmmm? …… Huun…… Long.

――Hahaha! I got careless with phrasing my question (lol).

S: People often say, “Isn’t it amazing that you’ve played together for 35 years now.” But it doesn’t really strike us like that. I recall all sorts of things in fragments but…… I can’t quite describe it. Because it’s not as if we’re doing the same things day in and day out.

――Is it that feeling you get when you’re doing something you enjoy while time is just passing by?

S: There’s some of that too, but personally, I still feel like there’s room for growth in terms of my singing and my lyrics, if I do say so myself. In the end, that desire for more is still in me so I suppose I’m unable to be satisfied with myself.

――Right.

S: Also, this is referring to what we spoke about earlier, but recently, I’ve started to be mindful of what I do in the sense that I don’t want to disgrace Mr Tono. Like releasing work that an Akutagawa Prize-winning author wouldn’t be embarrassed of, and when I think about how many more times I can do all this…… I’d figure that it’s now or never.

――It’s sobering, isn’t it?

S: In that sense, I think that somehow or rather, when I read Mr Tono’s work, I get inspired.

――Over and over, you’ve all said things like “This might be the last”, or “I wonder how many more [albums] we can produce”, but does such a topic normally surface among the members?

S: No, no. Not at all. It doesn’t happen, but…… Who knows, right? I don’t know what everyone thinks about it though.

――It’s significant to the band when members get injured or fall sick, right?

S: That’s right. In itself, it can’t be helped that such incidents occur, but I do sense that some sort of change has happened. Within myself. In any case, my desire to focus on music has grown stronger.

――So you didn’t sink [into despair] together with it all?

S: Ah, no. I did.

――Oh, my bad. But it sounds like you never thought about stopping.

S: Yes. That I have creative work to do saved me. It’s like I’m here because there’s something I can do my best and immerse myself in. Since the start of the year, it’s been song after song and I’ve been sitting in front of the computer almost every day hemming and hawing, making time to focus purely on creating stories.

――When it comes to lyrics, do the words come to you all at once and you just write everything down? Or is the process more like a patient waiting game for the words to appear in your mind?

S: Ah, it depends on the song, but oftentimes [the lyrics] come in a steady stream stemming from my first impressions. Of course, after that, there’s still a long road to completion though. With the tiny details that only I would be bothered by. Like, “僕は (boku wa)” or “僕が (boku ga)”²……… which should I use? Although there’s also the part of me that bursts out with, “Any of them will do!” But I just can’t help but obsess over those kinds of details. Fufufu.

――I actually thought this might’ve been a tough time but based on your tone of voice, it sounds like you’ve found enjoyment too.

S: That’s…… true. Because somehow, I keep getting strong desires of “I want to write this plot!” As long as I still have time to work on it, I’d keep thinking about things like whether or not there’s a better word or phrase I can use. It is during this time when I can have fun with creating the story.

――Your desire to sing a good song and your desire to write such a certain story; are these separate from each other?

S: Ah…… When you put it like this, I’d say yes, you’re right. Although, initially, when the plot gets ahead, I’d suddenly realise that, “Ah, oh, right. I’m singing this.” Of course, there’s also the melody and the rhythm to consider. That’s why the very last stage involves fitting them all together and turning it into a viable song.

――Have you ever considered, for example, writing short stories or something like that?

S: No, no, no. I think that’s tough.

――Since the plot is the first thing that comes to mind, then, Sakurai-san, don’t you think it’s feasible?

S: …… I don’t

――Fufufu.

S: I mean, those authors, novelists, even the literary greats of the past, they’re all unwell, aren’t they? Even I’m not well and I’m just writing these lyrics. Even if they’re well respected and people think they’re amazing…… I just wonder, “Are they okay?” Because they’re already consumed by their stories, right? It’s bad for health, honestly.

――I would want to read it though, a short story written by Sakurai-san.

S: Really? Then…… Shall I start with something erotic?

――By all means. Please feel free to be nasty (lol).

S: Hahahaha!

――That was a joke, but in the end, what you really want to do is song and music, right?

 

S: That’s right. I wonder what makes the difference for me. Well, maybe I just like singing in itself.

――Right. So, your 35th anniversary concert at Yokohama Arena. What can we expect to see?

S: For the stage, we intend to suggest doing something we’ve never done before, so I’m not too sure how we’ll capture it on screen. As for songs, we’ll be performing our popular songs through these years and maybe also our new song Sayonara Shelter, if possible.

――Got it. I look forward to it.

S: And what else? I do want to pick a few songs myself, though. Because for July’s fan club tour, I couldn’t quite readjust my focus so the other members of the band decided on the set list for me. I don’t really know what meaning I would like [the songs] to hold at this point in time though. I wonder if I should make people think about the current world situation, and about September? Of course, the songs I would like to perform are also likely different from the songs people want to hear, so there’s also some giving and taking to do. It’s like the coexistence of my own cynicism and solace. I think it would be nice if we could show the audience something like that.

――Is there a festive atmosphere right now? Although, I feel like there was more of a celebratory mood during your 30th anniversary.

S: …… Somehow it feels like we can’t really get into that mood, right? With the way things are now. Of course, we do want everyone to enjoy themselves though. But this isn’t about me personally, so I think we can achieve a good balance when we put everyone’s influence together.

――Understood. And lastly, may I ask you a particularly difficult question?

S: Haa.

――Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow band members who you’ve been walking, and sometimes running together with for the past 35 years?

S: (Immediately) Thanks for all your hard work.

――Hahahahaha! …… Is that all?

S: That’s all. …… What? You want more? Were you expecting a good answer?

――Fufufu. I just thought it’d be beautiful if there was a “thank you” or something like that.

S: Nope. None. They know without me saying it.

――Alright. Thank you!

 

 

Notes:

¹ Bicycles with a basket in front, a.k.a., the mama-chari.

² While technically interchangeable, there’s actually the slightest of differences between “僕は (boku wa)” and “僕が (boku ga)”; one places emphasis on the subject that comes before, the other places emphasis on what comes after.

 

 

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Hoshino Hidehiko

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

There’s a lot that is different than how it used to be, but we’ve always found a way to make it through
So my wish for our 35th anniversary is for the band to keep going on together

――Shows for the fan club and mobile members-exclusive tour have been postponed following Sakurai-san testing positive for COVID-19.

Hoshino (H): I was surprised but it can’t be helped, can it? Because it’s now something that can happen to anyone and everyone. I just hope for Sakurai-san to rest well, make a full recovery, and return in the best of health.

――It was your first tour in a while so did it feel refreshing to travel around the country again?

H: All kinds of memories sprung up like reminiscing about what it felt like and so on. Since it’s really been quite a while since I travelled with the band. Also, the thought of how we took the way things were for granted three years ago and how we’re now in a not-normal world hit me again.

――That’s for sure.

H: Those were the kind of things on my mind while touring.

――Next, BUCK-TICK will be celebrating your 35th anniversary together on 21 September.

H: Well it feels like things have been the same as always, though. But each one of the days are special days in their respective ways.

――Speaking of which, doesn’t you think a person can really sense the weight of these 35 years through your best-of concept album?

H: That’s true. A set of 5 CDs, and…… about 80 songs?

――Exactly 80 songs.

H: We’ve released quite a few best-of albums so far, haven’t we? Starting with our very first best-of album, we had the band’s selection of songs, a collection of single A-sides that were released with the label we were signed with at the time, and even one that was of songs requested and voted for by fans.

――You have to put some thought into it every time you release one.

H: They’re all good in their own ways. But although there are indeed a lot of songs in this iteration of our best-of’s, the songs have been split very conceptually and I think that’s what makes it rather interesting.

――But I’d think that song selection was tough.

H: Our staff separated our songs into the major categories for us before we all had a look at it and gave our own opinions on which songs we’d like to see where, but since CDs have limited capacity, we ended up in the situation where we had to sacrifice a song if we wanted to add another. It was quite agonising after all. And we had to think about the flow of the tracks too.

――The five titles of each category were written in Esperanto, which translates to “rebellion”, “gothic”, “electric”, “fantasy”, and “hope”. It’s easy to tell that the band has brought all kinds of songs to life whether thematically or musically.

H: We’ve really got a wide range, don’t we?

――Hoshino compositions are also a category of their own in a way so I think it’d be nice if they were all compiled into one release too, though.

H: Although I don’t think “Hoshino” can be written in Esperanto (lol).

――Hahahahaha. There’s also a new song included in this best-of album; Sayonara Shelter. The lyrics were written by Sakurai-san, while Hoshino-san composed the music, right?

H: We didn’t initially intend to release it here, but Director Tanaka-san said, “Don’t you think this song needs to be released now, rather than with the album scheduled for next spring?” I thought that was certainly true. And after having a meeting with the band, we came to the decision to include it in the best-of concept album.

――Did you think this way because of what was being sung?

H: Yeah, that’s right.

――The lyrics bring a gentle gaze upon the current situation in society. More specifically, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the “innocent children” who are victims of it.

H: I guess Sakurai-san seemed to want to zoom in on that situation and he was a bit hesitant but it’s a message that we have always been sending all this time, so I suppose he felt that it would be okay to include it in the best-of album. I think so too anyway.

――The lyrics are very typical of Sakurai-san, aren’t they?

H: Yeah. It’s a gentle perspective, isn’t it? With the way he sings about something like seeing salvation in such a terrible situation. We can’t really keep silent when something like that happens. I could really sense how much he wanted to send this message out.

――Exactly.

H: And it was happening right when we were recording vocals too. Around March, I believe. Ukraine was being bombed by air strikes and there was a video being broadcast in the news on TV of a girl singing Frozen’s theme song (Let It Go) in the shelters where civilians took refuge, right?

――I saw that. It’s the video that went around of a girl about seven years old singing and encouraging the evacuees, right?

H: I have a daughter about the same age too. It really made my heart ache. That was the kind of scenario we were recording in so I really felt each and every word very keenly.

――It’s really sad that we live in a time that makes Sakurai-san write and sing such lyrics. I would think that this is one such scene that he actually doesn’t want to sing about.

H: Yeah. I think the music to this song could’ve been suitable for just about anything too. It could’ve been a love song, or one that inspires wondrous scenery. But I suppose here and now, these are the lyrics for it.

――Hoshino-san’s music was completed before the lyrics?

H: That’s right. Because in BUCK-TICK, the music tends to come first.

――So, that means you didn’t actually think that these lyrics would be written, right?

H: For Sayonara Shelter, it was timely so I guess I had a bit of a hunch too that these would be the type of lyrics that he might very well write for it.

――It turned out to be a sound and melody that fit Sakurai-san’s current emotions.

H: Yeah. It’s a mid-tempo song but it feels a little bit different from what we’ve done so far. A progression that stuck with the mid-tempo beat would work too, but I wanted a bit of change. Like trying a rhythm change in the middle of it. Besides, I’d think that the attachment of such lyrics to such a melody is most probably a result of Sakurai-san’s feelings naturally flowing into his writing.

――I think so too.

H: Also, I believe the version that will be in next spring’s album will be a little bit different, so do look forward to that too. I’m not working on it though.

――What did Hoshino-san focus on for this song?

H: Hm… Rhythm, but also the melody, I think. But the melody for the chorus came easy, and I really liked Sakurai-san’s lyrics for that part. It really moved me.

――This gets me thinking that this is where lies the goodness and the strength of a band who has been together for such a long time.

H: You’re probably right.

――Along with this new song, I heard that you’ve started recording your next album and have already made quite a bit of progress, so what kind of album do you think it’ll turn out to be?

H: Hasty (lol). But I think we managed to do some really great things here. Like you said, we’ve made quite a bit of progress with recording work. We’re pretty much done with recording the guitar parts for all the songs that we have now and they’re now in the mixing stage. Since the fan club & mobile members-only live tour has begun, we’re pausing recording work for the time being so I don’t have a clear idea of how things would turn out in the end though.

――All members of the band have said that you’re making good stuff, but no one would give me any specifics (lol).

H: This upcoming album is made based on an idea from our staff and a particular concept.  That’s why I think it’ll be in a style that has never been seen from BUCK-TICK before. Although even I don’t know how it would end up (lol). In terms of music, I think you’d probably get to hear all types of music in the songs.

――…… I’m even more confused now (lol).

H: Anyway, do look forward to it. Because after our show at Yokohama Arena or halfway through our national tour, I think we’ll have new song(s) again so we’d have to record.  Imai-san also said he’s working on a few more songs anyway.

――What about Hoshino-san?

H: I’ve delivered three songs, including Sayonara Shelter and I’m pretty much done with recording already. I guess we’ll see how things go afterwards. For now, I do plan to compose one more song though.

――As usual, you’re the one bringing the balance (lol).

H: I think it’ll turn out great. But we’re going to get pretty busy from here on out, aren’t we? It’s about time for us to start thinking about what we’re going to do for our Yokohama Arena show and prepare for rehearsals. And a month after that, we’re going on a national tour, right? When on earth will he find the time to record? (Lol)

――That’s his problem (lol). And Anii will be celebrating his 60th soon.

H: That’s right. Anii is turning 60 and reaching the next stage in life ahead of us. We’re all going to follow after him in the coming years, but looking at Anii now, I can imagine myself still playing guitar in BUCK-TICK when I’m 60.

――That’s only another 4 years.

H: In the blink of an eye (lol). You’re right. Although there are two seniors ahead of me.

――You can see what’s ahead.

H: But thus far, we’ve constantly released new work and gone on nationwide tours with the new releases just about every year. We’ve been living very blessed days but things like this time’s COVID-19 could happen in our lives. Although, well, I think we’re headed in a good direction from here on out.

――Going forward, what does the ideal way of life look like to Hoshino-san?

H: I’m no Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones), but it’d be nice if I could become a cool grandpa like him and continue to play guitar on stage with all that flair.

――Wouldn’t that mean changing your image (lol)?

H: Well I guess we’re of different types (lol) but we all get more and more wrinkles as we age anyway. But I want to stay cool, you know? I want to keep playing music too.

――As a part of BUCK-TICK?

H: Of course, I’d like for us to keep going. It’s only natural to think so when we’ve come this far. I can’t really imagine what it’d be like otherwise. But as long as one person can’t do it anymore, this band won’t be able to continue on. That’s what I feel.

――That strong bond is beautiful yet ephemeral at the same time.

H: I suppose. So, there’s a lot that is now different than how it used to be in the past, but even in such situations. We’re same five people who have always found a way to make it through. And that’s why, my wish for our 35th anniversary is for the band to keep going on together.

――Did these thoughts come about as a result of Hoshino-san’s father passing away, and your hair loss and health problems due to the immune disorder?

H: I think there’s definitely some influence. Because in recent times, I’m feeling more and more strongly that anything could happen at any moment. I’ve grown to be mentally prepared.

――Rock bands tend to have more impulsivity or anger or things like that in their youth, but now, all the members of BUCK-TICK seem to possess that kind of preparedness in some form. Yet at the same time, I can really sense the band’s desire to go for it.

H: You’re right. I think everyone’s got that vibe. Because I think everyone’s had their own respective experiences. Not as a band, but as people.

――I think the fact that you can’t cover up your humanity is linked to what attracts people to the band that is BUCK-TICK.

H: Really? But thinking about it, I feel really blessed that we still have enough fans now that we can still perform a 2-day show at Yokohama Arena. We’re also getting a lot of letters and emails saying things like, “I recently came back [to being a fan]. Thank you for being active for so long.” Of course, I’m thankful for all the people who have watched over us through all this time, but it really makes me happy to hear that someone has come back as a fan after, for example, leaving to focus on raising their children.

――I think it means that you’ve cultivated a good relationship with your fans.

H: That’s true. When I fall sick and get discouraged, I would remember all the letters I’ve received from everyone who were battling illnesses like cancer and all that, and I’d tell myself, “No, no, I can’t.”

――That it’s not the time for you to be weak.

H: Rather than me encouraging our fans, I’m the one who’s being encouraged and motivated by them. That’s why I think our 35th anniversary is just a checkpoint. I still want to continue deepening the bond with everyone and maintaining the good relationship we have. COVID-19 is still a thing so it’s frustrating that we can’t really have concrete plans, but I hope that the timing of our 35th anniversary can serve as a start to all of that.

――Can you already envision your future 40th anniversary and all that?

H: Five years later…… I’ll be 61. I don’t really want to think about it but (lol), we’ll probably keep going. Like I said at the very beginning, I want to cherish every passing day as if they’re all special respective days.

 

 

 

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_______________________

Higuchi yutaka

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

I don’t want us to be nothing but carried away by the voices and the atmosphere of the times
Because this is a band that was started by the five of us

――Here we go.

Yutaka (Y): We ended up doing this remotely again (lol).

――We have to be very careful since you’re preparing to resume touring.

Y: We’re shocked too.

――Were all the members of the band already in Nagoya by the time Sakurai-san tested positive for COVID-19?

Y: Yes. It seems like Acchan’s health took a sudden turn for the worse the previous evening. Acchan’s got a throat condition too, so he was the most careful one out of all of us, and yet this still happened.

――Right? Sakurai-san was quite cautious, wasn’t he?

Y: All of us, the whole band, when we’re on tour, we’d eat our lunch boxes in our own rooms starting from the day before we travel. On concert days, we’ll book out a whole restaurant and eat in small groups. But since he still caught it anyway, we can only say that it is what it is.

――I hope you get to resume your tour. Although you had to postpone a few shows, how do you feel about being on tour for the first time in a while?

Y: It feels refreshing to be somewhere other than Tokyo. I even thought, how many years has it been since I last rode the bullet train (lol). Mount Fuji, the sea, being able to watch all that scenery passing my window was super emotional. I felt like I gained a new sense of appreciation for all the things I used to take for granted before.

――Does that mean, Yuta-san, for about three years, you haven’t gone……

Y: Out of Tokyo, no. I couldn’t even visit my hometown. That’s why when I head out, I feel happy and grateful for it. And also thankful that everyone waited for us. The shows we’re playing for this tour are standing shows. The audience numbers have been kept to a limit and to prevent overcrowding, they’ve been given designated spots to stand in, but at least, when I look down from the stage, it doesn’t look like the number of people in attendance has been reduced by that much. I feel like I’m also getting back that sense of what performing a live concert feels like.

――I see.

Y: And the audience can’t vocalise, right? It’s very a real pity but my heart feels so full when I see everyone cooperating with the rule. They’ve all come together as one to make the concert a success. That’s why, while still taking into account the situation at hand, I felt it’s important to create a space where people can enjoy a live concert without holding back, and also to live up to the expectations of those who want to watch us perform live and help us succeed in this despite the situation.

――Compared to other shows, the audience at BUCK-TICK’s concerts really do their best to abide by the rules.

Y: I feel like they’re trying to convey something to us with that. That’s why even without their voices, everyone feels more united than ever. And for us, there’s that sense of that return to normal life when we travel and tour. I don’t think we’ll be able to go back to what things were like before COVID-19 and I believe we’ll have to think about new ways to do things too, but the more shows we play, the more we all can start to feel that things will be okay. Everyone is coming together to make it work, that’s the kind of tour it is.

――After that, BUCK-TICK has a 2-day anniversary concert at Yokohama Arena coming up, followed by a national tour that begins in October.

Y: I’m looking forward to it!

――Do you have a clear idea of what you’re going or intending to do at this point in time?

Y: It’s a tour that comes after the release of our best-of album, so it’s not one that specially has to follow one album’s concept. In other words, it doesn’t have a clear concept, but I guess that also means that there’s a lot we can do. I think it’ll be good if we can first celebrate with everyone at Yokohama Arena, then head into our national tour with that excitement.

――So you’ll celebrate your 35th anniversary at Yokohama Arena with a bang.

Y: And after that, we’re going to travel the country, not to give thanks, but to have a good time together with everyone.

――I see.

Y: Since it’s our anniversary, I think we’re going to have a lot of fun. Rather than put on a celebration and then end it with a huge fireworks display, I think we’re hoping to put on a show that signals that we’re just getting started. I’m looking forward to it.

――Also, do you feel any differently when you see the words “35 years since debut”?

Y: I wonder…… But things are clearly different than how they were, right? We had the pandemic and we couldn’t really perform any shows as much as we wanted to, could we? That’s sort of ongoing, so I guess I don’t really feel the carefree joy like “It’s our 35th anniversary~!”

――I see.

Y: I said it earlier too, but it’s like I’m carefully chewing and digesting how precious activities like recording and performing live that we’ve taken for granted till now, are to me. The world has changed, war has broken out, and a lot of things won’t work out the same way they used to, right?

――We can’t stay the same.

Y: You can really sense the changing of the times. Amidst that, I’ve been thinking more and more about what we can do, what I can do. In the end, I definitely want the five of us to keep going forever, so I don’t want us to be nothing but carried away by the voices and the atmosphere of the times.

――You’ve got a point.

Y: Because this is a band that was started by the five of us.

――Is there anything you think you can do in such times?

Y: The only thing we can do is bring joy to people through music, so I guess we can only feel those emotions while doing what we do.

――That’s why the band has come this far, and why it’s important for it to keep going?

Y: That’s definitely true, but what has kept us going is the results too. There’s no checkpoint. Because we’ve always tackled each and every thing we do seriously, and none of this is a given, right? Because I don’t think we could’ve gotten here if the five of us didn’t put in effort. We have to take things seriously. We can’t let ourselves take our present status for granted. That’s something I feel particularly strongly about recently. That’s why I want to take on more new challenges, and I hope that people will enjoy seeing us do that.

――For such a 35th anniversary. You’re firstly releasing a hefty volume of a best-of album featuring five CDs and 80 songs.

Y: Having been at it for 35 years, the number of albums and songs we’ve released has grown pretty large. Even just counting our best-of albums, there’s quite a number already, isn’t there?

――For the official best-of albums with “CATALOGUE” in their titles, there are already five.

Y: That’s why this time, since we have so many different types of songs, the idea to release a best-of album that splits them into these concepts came up. Rather than lining all our singles up in sequence of their release date or having us band members select the songs, we felt that the fact that we could create this format of a best-of album is interesting, and very BUCK-TICK, isn’t it? Although the song selection was tough (lol).

――There’s one new song among them.

Y: Sayonara Shelter, right? This is, we’re currently in the midst of super-secret recording work though……

――Since when did anyone ever call it super-secret (lol).

Y: Since before summer, in absolute secrecy (lol), we’ve been going into the studio whenever we have time. Not to record a few songs at a go, but one at a time. This is for the album we plan to release next spring, just as announced, but there are some songs that are already complete. Then the suggestion to include one of the songs in this best-of album came up.

――Sakurai-san’s lyrics paint a realistic depiction of the current situation of the world, don’t they?

Y: Yeah. It’s steeped strongly with a sense of these times, so I guess that might be why even our staff thought it was better to release it now.

――Indeed.

Y: Also, we thought it would be better if we showed the next step the band was also taking instead of only looking back on our past. The songs that we’re recording now, all of them have gotten pretty good responses, but this song by Hide is also really good too.

――In terms of playing this song, was there anything that Yuta-san was especially particular with?

Y: Hide’s music is melodious, so it won’t work unless my bass sounds like you can sing along with it. If my bass notes don’t make much movement, the song won’t come together nicely so I guess that’s what I paid attention to.

――I see.

Y: Hide said to me, “I shaped it to some extent, but feel free to change it.” Even so, it’s quite difficult to make any changes (lol).

――It’s an unyielding Hoshino melody, right?

Y: But it turned into a good song. Recently, Acchan’s been saying, “We’re in unpleasant times but……” But despite that, I think it would be nice if a song like this could rip away the unpleasantness of unpleasant times and tear us a way into a new world.

――But it’s a very meaningful album that really allows us to appreciate the diversity of what BUCK-TICK has done in your 35 years of band activity, isn’t it?

Y: That’s true. I think it’s a catalogue that is unique to us because of how we’ve done so many different things over the years.

――Isn’t it tough for you as a musician to play this many genres of music?

Y: In the past, it was though. The typical flow of events when we debuted would see situations like Imai-kun suddenly turning something he wrote into a 16-beat rhythm but here I am, incapable of playing something like that (lol).

――It’s a bit too late for me to say this but you’ve done well to keep up with that.

Y: Because it was fun to play together with everyone. I didn’t want to leave it. That unity. When I couldn’t play something well, I practised like hell with a rough idea of what it should sound and feel like, and that was how the five of us experimented and figured things out. I guess you could say that was enjoyable.

――That’s true.

Y: When you spend a long time doing one thing, you’d tend to get flickers of ego, like wanting to become better or wanting to polish up techniques, but that doesn’t happen with us, you know? It’s obvious when you listen to this best-of album, but while part of the reason is that there’s no time or place for ego (lol) with so many genres, more than that, I think our desire to bring something new to our fans, to let them hear something interesting is just far stronger. For better or worse, it feels like [our music] is becoming something that belongs to us less and less.

――I see.

Y: Besides, [achieving our] 35th anniversary isn’t something that we could’ve done on our own. Now, more than ever, I feel that this is all only possible because we had everyone’s help and support. I know first hand how important this all is precisely because we weren’t able to meet during the pandemic.

――It sounds like that’s why this band is so particular about releasing an album every year and going on a thorough national tour.

Y: Well, that’s of course. It’s also because our bodies would get easily fatigued if we don’t play music on a consistent basis. Because we no longer have bodies that will do whatever we want like when we were young (lol).

――That’s what happens when we age.

Y: Also, I’m remembering incidents from the past more and more. We recently played a show at Sendai for the first time in a while, but on our very first tour of the Tohoku area, our first show was in Sendai too. We had such a hard time. The background music played for the first song and suddenly Imai-kun’s guitar wouldn’t make a sound (lol).

――Memories of problems (lol).

Y: I think that was at Yamaha Hall. That venue’s probably already gone. On this tour, lots of these memories of the past kept coming to me. Our band also has a very long working relationship with the staff. Like the regional promoters, if I’m not mistaken, the same people have been coming to greet us at the station for about 30 years. It sort of feels like we’re there to visit our relative or our uncle at their home (lol).

――Hahahaha.

Y: I’ve been thinking a lot about these people who have watched us grow and have built up the band together with us. That’s why, I’m really looking forward to travelling around the country after our Yokohama Arena show. I hope to go into it fully prepared.

――Getting ready to make sure you’ll be able to perform while also taking care of your health.

Y: And that’s why we’re doing a remote interview like this (lol).

――You don’t think the end of your super-secret recording work is close yet?

Y: I don’t. It looks like it’ll be going on for a while yet. I think we’ll probably be recording between tours after we’re done with Yokohama Arena.

――I guess that means whatever you feel during the show will again influence your music.

Y: Yeah. I think Imai-kun might very well be looking for something like that.

――You’ve got quite a number of songs recorded, don’t you?

Y: See, it’s super-secret (lol).

――Yokohama Arena, a best-of album, recording work, a national tour; pretty busy days are ahead.

Y: Yeah. But we were completely unable to perform live these few years too. So I’m grateful for all the things we can do. And we’ll have to take care of our health too (lol).

 

 

 

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Imai Hisashi

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

It’s not difficult to do whatever we want to do
Isn’t it as simple as not doing do what you don’t want to do

――Yesterday was Yagami-san’s 60th birthday celebration concert. How was it?

Imai (I): Unlike a regular concert or tour, there was the aspect of celebrating Anii so, how do I say it…… I guess it was fun (lol).

――Please put a bit more effort in your word choice (lol).

I: Hahhahhahha. I enjoyed it in many ways so it was great.

――Your setlist included Itoshi no Rock Star and SEXUAL×××××! too. That created a different impression from the tour.

I: Yeah. Also because we only performed a few songs, right? Anii invited ISSAY-san (Der Zibet) to perform Itoshi no Rock Star because he wanted to do that one, and the other songs that he wanted to perform, in terms of the lyrical content too, were songs that everyone could enjoy. It was fun.

――And 3 years later, it’ll be Imai-san’s turn.

I: What is…………… Ah, me? 60th birthday celebration? No frikkin’ way I’m doing that (lol).

――Even if you don’t want it, you’ll probably end up doing it, right (lol). And this time, Sakurai-san tested positive for COVID-19 so you had to postpone shows in three locations; Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Toyosu for your fan club and mobile members-only tour, right?

I: It’s not as if we can do anything about that anyway. Not only Sakurai-san, but there’s recently been an increase in the number of infections among the people close to me too. It’s no longer surprising for it to happen to anyone. I think we just have to be mentally prepared for that when we decide to perform live.

――But how do you feel? Touring around the country for the first time in a while?

I: Given the present situation, everyone’s wearing masks wherever we go, and they can’t vocalise, right? But I can really feel their enthusiasm, the vibe that they’re hyped up. From where we stand, we can only see their eyes, but it’s like their emotions really come through.

――I see.

I: The intensity of everyone’s gaze is strong (lol). Also, I noticed Acchan was being unusually extra talkative, but since the audience can’t vocalise, I guess he was talking more on stage than usual to make up for that.

――He’s very kind, isn’t he? It’d be a burden on Sakurai-san if he was the only one to do it, so let’s have Yuta-san talk next time.

I: It’s better if Yuta doesn’t speak (lol).

――How’s the song selection for this tour?

I: Just like Anii’s event, we decided to pick songs that people can enjoy. But even as I say that, I don’t mean exclusively songs that get the audience excited, I mean songs that can be enjoyed in many other ways too.

――Like songs that you haven’t performed in a while, and those that are kind of nostalgic.

I: Yes, exactly. All five of us chose songs that we wanted to play. What did I pick…… Boukyaku and Hamushi no You ni. And also Aikawarazu〜 (Aikwarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari), I think.

――And right after this, you’ll first have a special concert at Yokohama Arena.

I: It’s a 2-day show, so as you’d expect, the number of songs we’ll perform is going to be significant. We intend to make sure that everything is well prepared, from staging to band cohesion and all.

――We’re calling it a special show, but do you think there’ll be a strong festive mood?

I: Well, I’m just thinking of making it a good show as we always do. Every year’s an anniversary of some kind anyway (lol). And it just so happens that this year, it’s our 35th debut anniversary, right? I wouldn’t really think of anything special for this. I just think that it’s always special so we should have fun wherever it is we play.

 

――That’s true.

I: Although, 35 years together…… is the same age as JoJo, that’s what I thought (lol). [Note: This year marks 35 years since JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure began serialisation.]

――I didn’t know that!

I: When you think about how we’ve got the same number of years of activity as JoJo, it’s kind of emotional, isn’t it (lol).

――But it’s also amazing for a band to to achieve 35 years together (lol). You’ll be going on a national tour,  BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. in October, but will it be more focused on your best-of album……

I: It’s got 80 songs in it so there’s nothing to focus on, right (lol).

――Well, that’s true though.

I: We haven’t come up with anything for that yet, but I think we’ll be doing something interesting, something different from Yokohama Arena. In any case, right now, we just feel very strongly about wanting to go about it properly.

――Without being swung around by COVID-19, right? And this CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. best-of collection. As mentioned earlier, it’s being called a best-of album, but the number of songs here is huge.

I: Well, that’s because we divided 35 years’ worth of BUCK-TICK songs into five themes and then selected the best songs of each theme. Besides, I think it’s more interesting to apply this sort of limitation to them.

――The names of these five themes are written in Esperanto. Were they named by Imai-san?

I: I wanted a sense of unity. If we made each one sound like album titles then they’d all have some form of meaning to them, and that would make it feel overcrowded in a way. So I wanted them to sound symbolic, sort of like what “CATALOGUE” is. Esperanto has some similarity to English, so it gives the feeling that you understand what the words are and yet, not really. I thought that would be kind of interesting.

――In other words, you didn’t want the titles to hold strong, concrete meanings.

I: Yeah. Besides, I think those who want to understand what it really means would look it up anyway. Most of all, I just think the way the words look is interesting. Although, you’d more or less get what ELEKTRIZO means.

――Who picked the songs?

I: In the beginning, our staff roughly divided our songs into these lists. We then laid those out for discussion to let those who have favoured songs to suggest which would be better to include and make adjustments accordingly. I think I mentioned one or two songs but…… which songs were they? I completely forgot (lol).

 ――But there isn’t any other band who’s made so many different types of songs.

I: This is just how things turned out after 35 years of making whatever music we want, though.

――Well, that’s probably true, but there’s a rather small number of bands who can actually do that.

I: I’ve never felt as if we’re being forced to be a band who does this anyway, and I think we’d hate doing what we do if we felt like that. But since we want to do this, that’s all we can do, right?

――Is it not difficult to do whatever you want to do?

I: It’s not, is it?

――Really?

I: Probably. Just don’t do what you don’t want to do. Even so, maybe in the past we might’ve thought about whether or not a particular song was suitable for the era or for us but those kinds of considerations gradually stopped applying to us.

――There’s a new song, Sayonara Shelter that was included in this best-of album. This was recorded while you were working on the album that’s still in development, right?

I: That’s right. We finished recording this track to include in the album that we’re releasing next year, but Director Tanaka-san said, “Don’t you think it might be better for this song to be released in the best-of album?”

――Just this one song?

I: That’s right. It’s composed by Hide but there are parts of Sakurai-san’s lyrics that were influenced by the current social situation so I think the idea was to send a message by releasing this song at this particular time.

――It’s certain that the war has cast quite the shadow on Sayonara Shelter.

I: But that’s because of the lyrics, right? It’s only of course when such events are being described in the lyrics. Besides, rock bands are inseparable from society. If we were to put it in clear context, then it would take on a slightly different meaning, but this is Sakurai-san’s lyrics we’re talking about. I think it’s fine as it is. We can leave the rest to the listener.

――Also, there are quite a few songs in this best-of album that have been remixed, right?

I: I guess it just so happened that we chose songs we wanted to do that with. The programming for Aikawarazu~ was redone based on the arrangement we created for Locus Solus [Note: Locus Solus no Kemonotachi, the May 2019 show held at Makuhari Messe]. That’s why it ended up with quite the industrial vibe. For ANGELIC CONVERSATION, I’ve been wanting to change its mix since a while ago, but it just so happened [we picked it here] (lol).

――The categorisation here doesn’t have names attached to them, but after 35 continuous years of working with the same people in the same band and writing this many songs, the unique characteristics of the song writers Sakurai, Imai, and Hoshino are bound to appear.

I: That’s true. Naturally.

――And it’s easy to tell that Imai-san is a person who tends towards hope and light after all.

I: But isn’t that normal? Humans want to have hope, right? Because I don’t think there’s anyone who will be okay with letting it be regardless of how rock bottom things get. I might’ve said this before, but if I write about negative things, I feel like I’d get pulled in that direction and I don’t like that feeling. That’s why I project these things into my music and lyrics as much as possible.

 

――I think we’re in need of such music since we’re living in times when it’s difficult to stay positive.

I: Well…… I’ll do my best (lol).

――And you’re not taking your 35th anniversary as a milestone.

I: Not as anything in particular. I said this earlier, but that’s because it’s always an anniversary. Next year will be our 36th, and the year after, it’ll be our 37th (lol). Although, seeing these numbers, I do start to think about how a band I started when I was about 17 years old has now made it this far, and how much we’ve aged since.

――Doesn’t it scare you?

I: Not really (lol). I don’t really think about my age. As long as I don’t tire of music, I can keep going endlessly. Besides, since I haven’t grown tired of it after 35 years, I don’t think that will happen hereafter, and even now, songs I want to make keep coming to me. I’m not sick of recording work at all either. Maybe it’s because it feels like a search rather than thinking about the music. Like, “Ah, so this part of me exists.” That’s why it’s fun. Although it’s a bit tiring now since we’re holding concerts at the same time too.

――But having shows to play means you’ll be able to get yet another form of inspiration……

I: There’s definitely that. There are times when that naturally comes after we’ve been performing live for a while. That’s why I’m looking forward to finding out how I’ll react when we travel the country again after this.

――Is recording work going well?

I: Well, it’s pretty cool. But I want to add a little bit more to it and bring out more polish. More refined…… in a way. You’ll get it when you hear it. I can’t explain it very well, but I think you’ll be able to tell that it’s a little different from what we’ve done so far. It’s exciting stuff. You’d be like, “Whaaat, they turned this song into something like this!”

――Speaking of which, Imai-san, about 10 years ago you used to use more concrete words like “gothic” or “band music” to say what the next album’s theme is before recording.

I: Ah, back then, yes.

――That doesn’t seem to be the case these days.

I: That’s because even if I say it’s digital, or gothic, or band music, they’re already things that BUCK-TICK would naturally incorporate.

――Ah, I see.

I: So even if I say those things now, it doesn’t really mean anything, does it? It can’t be helped even if we do the same things. When we had our meeting in the beginning, we said we’d roughy be segregating digital and live music…… and things like that, but we don’t particularly focus on those concepts while we’re working on it. Taking out all hints of live music entirely, or eliminating all programming music, or doing the opposite of those, things like that do sometimes happen, but in the end, the main idea is to create something good, right?

――Do you think the band has even more potential?

I: It does. Because bands are interesting. There’s the intrigue that has been coming for 35 years continuously. On the other hand, there’s also the kind of fun that comes from starting anew. What’s interesting is when a person presents something they possess. So I don’t think I could’ve kept going if I did this alone.

――I see. By the way, how’s your leg?

I: Pretty much healed. There’s no more pain or anything like that. I can move around a lot on stage too. But the axis of my body is still weird. It feels like my balance is off and I’d get tired standing.

――What do you mean?

I: I don’t know how I stood before I broke my bone. Even when I stand when I go shopping, I’d feel like this wasn’t how I used to stand. Maybe the length of my leg changed or something. That’s why I need to walk instead of going for rehabilitation, and go for physical therapy to gradually get back to normal.

――Doesn’t that mean it’s tough being on stage too?

I: Well, I guess. When I tried moving like I used to, there are times when it hurts quite a bit, and I’d be like,  “Ah, I still can’t do this.” But, well, I’m not all that bothered by it. Because I just have to do a different move then. It’s just a matter of changing things up.

――After significant events like breaking a bone and COVID-19, has the world around Imai-san changed?

I: I don’t think it really changed…… No, it has changed, I think. Although I don’t think it’s anything to be worried about. Even if things aren’t the way they used to be, we’ll be alright as long as we can think of new ways of doing things. That’s what we’ve been doing for a long time anyway.

 

 

 

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Yagami Toll

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

Even for ordinary people, if they live long enough, they’ll be able to experience that which geniuses have never seen
It’s not all good things only, but I don’t think it’s bad either way

――This is belated, but happy 60th birthday.

Yagami (Y): Thank you. We had a big celebration at CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki just the other day. But at this age, I’m reminded of my father more and more.

――You spoke about it in your autobiography too.

Y: Well, my father was a cheerful man full of vitality too, but had a stroke right when he hit 60. And for the next 10 years, he lived the rest of his life like that. I just think about how I’m at this age now too.

――No, no. Even during your birthday concert, you were banging on the drums all day, weren’t you? You’ve still got a long way to retiring due to age.

Y: Well, it’ll be Acchan and Imai’s turn in three years’ time anyway (lol). I think we’ll definitely make a big celebration out of  it. But turning 60, it used to be treated as a turning point in a person’s life in the past, like a sense of how it’s almost your time while giving thanks for having lived this long. It used to hold that kind of meaning though. But humans now live longer than ever, and everyone is being told to work more these days, so you don’t feel the same way about it at all now.

――That you can tell just from looking at the stage.

Y: You saw ISSAY-kun (Der Zibet) singing with Acchan, right? I thought that it would make everyone happy if they performed Itoshi no Rock Star together, so I directly gave him a call and asked if he would make an appearance, and this guy, he’s the most good looking person in Japan who’s the same age as me (lol). Being 60 isn’t a phrase that fits him at all.

――Truly. How was it performing as Blue Sky?

Y: We were able to do some interesting things. It gets me wanting to make another album. Although it’s a pity that SHIME couldn’t be around. I always invited him to join us as a guest singer for my birthday shows.

――He passed away this year, didn’t he?

Y: He’s just a year older than me. One of the people who I thought was an amazing singer. There’s no one who can cover English songs better than him. On his behalf…… well, not exactly, but I’d like to continue Blue Sky and play together a few times a year.

――He was a close friend, wasn’t he? What about BUCK-TICK’s performance, then?

Y: Maybe it’s because of everyone’s strong desire to celebrate, but the drum stand was too high up (lol). I’m grateful for their intentions, but it’s difficult to maintain contact with the other members of the band like that. Slight deviations and mistakes would occur. Even though it’s a celebration, I want to say that my drums aren’t like this! (Lol). The next time we do this, please put my drumset on the ground because even if I can’t be seen, that doesn’t matter to me..

――I’ll look forward to your 70th birthday celebration in 10 years’ time (lol). Also, there was also the fan club and mobile site members-only tour in that same period.

Y: Seems like it’s the first in 3 years. It certainly is fresh to play shows in the local areas, and even if we can’t go out and wander around, it was fun to be on tour for the first time in a while. It’s just that good things really are always followed by the bad.

――Sakurai-san testing positive for COVID-19.

Y: Seriously, these things happen when we’re having a good time. But even though it’s been a while, I wasn’t nervous at all when I was on stage. I even thought I should be a little more nervous instead. But I don’t need to be as nervous as I was in the past, though.

――That’s what it was like when I started reporting on your shows, right? Right after you switched labels to Ariola.

Y: The period when I just entered my 40s, yes. The stage scared me so badly that I seriously considered retiring. As you’d expect, I could drum during rehearsals but I’d make mistakes when it came to the actual performance, and that made Yuta super duper angry (lol).

――How strict of him (lol).

Y: Because he’s a person who’s serious and gives his all in whatever he does. At the time, my body couldn’t keep up with the way I used to drum in the past. So I changed my drumming methods, went to the gym, and I guess you  could say I finally understood how to handle drums. I’m pretty sure god gave me the time to do that before I turn 60. Because John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) got it before he hit 20, he passed away early at 32. It took me almost 20 years to sort of get it (lol). That’s why I can keep drumming until my 60th.

――So that’s what you think.

Y: That’s the difference between an ordinary person and a genius (lol). But even for ordinary people, if they live long enough, they’ll be able to experience that which geniuses have never seen. It’s not all good things only, but I don’t think it’s bad either way.

――Up next is your special concert at Yokohama Arena. How does Yagami-san perceive this 35th anniversary of yours?

Y: I’m just out to carry out my mission (lol). For BUCK-TICK’s performances, it’s good as long as we can bring joy to our fans, so I’ll make that happen without getting carried away.

――And you’ll be releasing a “CATALOGUE”-titled best-of album.

Y: It’s a primer…… meaning, it’s got a lot of songs (lol). But I think it’s interesting that they’ve been divided up by concept.

――With so many genres, the way you drum and your tuning have to be completely different, don’t they?

Y: They are different. I did my own tuning up until Aku no Hana too…… Come to think of it, this has nothing to do with the best-of album, but we have a song called PLEASURE LAND, right? Back then, we recorded at VICTOR STUDIO and in came Ponta-san (Murakami “Ponta” Shuichi) from another studio, and he started tuning my drums for me without asking. When he was done, he had this smug look on his face as he left, saying, “Toll, how’s this?” (Lol). I was too scared to change it so I just drummed with those settings for that song. Ponta-san’s name isn’t in the credits though (lol).

――This CATALOGUE~ is a reminder of just how many types of songs this band has, but do you actually feel like you’ve drummed in such a variety of styles?

Y: I sure do. I had to get used to that in the past, so Yuta and I, just the two of us, the rhythm team used to rehearse together often. It’s just that if we did that too much, we’d be too perfect and that would be no good. In the end, it’s a human being who’s drumming anyway so something somewhere would get worn out. It wouldn’t ever be perfect. And that’s good. Even a perfectly clean rhythm created with programming would become a little off when it gets recreated through human efforts. That’s the beauty of music created by humans.

――Because the humanity of it comes through with a little bit of a gap.

Y: We record drums last these days, so I’m basically matching a rhythm that has been made complete, but even then, there will be slight discrepancies and it wouldn’t be a perfect match. That’s good. You’ll understand when you listen to this best-of album. Because the songs where drums and bass were recorded together have a very tight rhythm.

――I see.

Y: Also, I don’t think anyone realised, but in the new version of ANGELIC CONVERSATION,  we’ve replaced the guitars and the singing, but the fundamentals of it remains the same. It’s the same take from 1988’s recording in London. What’s different is the break that comes in at the middle; the first one and the second one are different. The second one runs a little faster (lol). But the producer, Owen Paul really liked it and we’re now using it here.

――The faster one?

Y: Exactly. We didn’t fix it. Owen was a singer-songwriter to begin with, a person who hit number 3 on the UK charts, yet such a person praised us, saying, “It’s such a good song that I’d want to sing it and release it as my own.” (Lol)

――Please mention that when we’re interviewing you for the autobiography (lol).

Y: I remember things from the past well, but there are just so many things to bring up that I’d just forget some (lol). On the other hand, I’ve got zero memory of my 40s when I drowned myself in drinks (lol).

――And you’ve also got a new song, Sayonara Shelter, in there.

Y: It’s a good song, isn’t it? Acchan has put into words the emotions that everyone feels in this era. I would think that people would get a strong anti-war impression, but I feel Acchan’s kindness just as much. It’s characteristic of him, isn’t it…… Ah, of course, the music is good too. I have to praise Hide sometimes too (lol).

――Hahahaha! Also, I heard that you’re already in the midst of recording work.

Y: We’re pretty much done with recording the songs that we have at this time. But we have a national tour after Yokohama Arena, so we might start recording again halfway too. It’s been a while since we could go on an actual tour, so I think Acchan and Imai might feel something there and want to turn it into a song. 

――Seems like it’ll turn out to be a rather substantial anniversary leading up to your release next spring.

Y: Good things are followed by bad (lol) so we’ll be cautious. Besides, the band can’t come  to an end here, so we’ll be giving it our all. I think we can do it without taking a break. Everyone, including myself is already at an age where our bodies won’t be able to catch back up if we rest. We’ll lose our edge, or rather, we’d very quickly go into decline. This is especially true for drummers. Part of it is a physical challenge, so we have to drum regularly or we won’t be able to anymore. That’s why, I want to keep going consistently even after we’re done with our anniversary.

――I hope for that too.

Y: Well I’ve also got the wilfulness that comes with being a drummer anyway (lol). That’s why all drummers diligently continue to practise on their own even when their bands are taking time off. Even so, if they’re not in a band, then there’s something different about them. Because it’s important for us to figure out how to work with the sound pressure that guitars, bass, and singers produce. If you do this alone, you’ll definitely end up drumming in a subdued manner.  But when you play with a band, you’ll be creating raw sound pressure, so the desire to not lose out to everyone else comes up.

――And that’s why you’d like BUCK-TICK to continue without taking a break for as long as possible.

Y: But I do think we’re getting old. For the record, retrogression is also progression anyway. Besides, there’s no way we’re the same in our 20s and in our 60s, right? The way I drum is completely different too. I think it applies to everyone no matter their occupation, but if you feel that you can longer do what you’ve always been doing thus far, then you’d start to think about what approach you should take to tackle your  work, right? There might be those who decide to quit their jobs if they can’t do it anymore, but that’s only because they don’t really like it. If your presence is required where you’re at, then you have to think about what you can do to be a valuable person here while also accepting the fact that you’re in decline.

――That’s true.

Y: I thought of quitting and retiring when I entered my 40s, but as I grew older, this is what I’ve gradually come to understand. Since we’re releasing such a best-of album, I thought it was a good chance for me to listen to our old songs, and they’re hilariously fast. Ridiculously fast (lol). Acchan’s singing also sped up along with it. If I were to drum that with a clicker, it’ll feel like a rush no matter what, so to prevent feeling like that, I end up drumming even faster. It’s the pride of youth. All I thought about was drumming in a cool way that satisfies myself.

――I see.

Y: Now I think about the groove more when I drum. Also, it would become difficult for Acchan to sing if I play it with too much detail. I keep that in mind and try to keep it simple when I drum so that he can sing as smoothly as possible (lol).

――I guess you could say that in a good way, things like your ego faded away in the course of drumming all these years.

Y: Ah, I don’t have any of that anymore. As a drummer, all I have is a desire to make good music rather than hold onto pride and ego. To put it in extreme terms, I don’t need my drums to be heard. As long as the song is viable. You have to be prepared for that to be a drummer. Because it’s not the quintessence of a drummer to be loud and noisy or drum with intensity. It’s about how you control the sound you make to turn it into a songs’ complimentary seasoning. Everyone should try drumming for Yoshida Minako-san at least once in their life. Because she’d get angry if you’re noisy.

――Hahahahaha!

Y: Because a drummer shouldn’t have a sound of their own. The sound they make has to be according to what the venue or the people need. That’s what Ponta-san has always done, and what I understand very well now at this age.

――I get the feeling that your understanding is probably thanks in part to the friendships that Yagami-san has, and also the diversity of sounds that BUCK-TICK has as a band, as proven by this best-of album project.

Y: That’s probably true. Musicians…… especially drummers, I think, will all feel uneasy. I’m always worried about things like if I were to change to this style of drumming, won’t I lose my identity? Or will my skill decline? Things like that. Additionally, as I grow older, I can really feel my physical ability dropping, like, I’d find myself realising that I can no longer do what I could 10 years ago.

――I see.

Y: But in BUCK-TICK, Imai and Hide would bring in all kinds of ideas without any concern for genre, and all five of us would figure out how to make it happen together. We’d shape things based on what we’re capable of doing. I guess that’s why I came to think this way as a drummer, and also why I’m still with the members of this band when I’m 60.

――Just like your mentor Ponta-san, there appears to be a part of Yagami-san that considers your occupation to be a drummer, yet more than that, your occupation is also being a member of this band, right?

Y: Because in the end, what I enjoy the most is still being part of an ensemble, you know? Also, since we’ve been doing this together for 35 years, everyone has improved their skills in their own way…… Ah, except for Imai (lol).

――Hahahahahaha.

Y: There’s no nuance that he’s undeniably good from that guy’s guitar playing (lol). But that’s why it’s good. Even though things could usually sound smoother, it wouldn’t. It’s like he approaches something simple with twists and turns and from the opposite end, then gives it shape (lol).

――That’s how Imai’s melodies come about (lol).

Y: Indeed. Imai actually wanted to look at instructional books and DVDs for guitar playing in the past. But I said, “Instructional books? It’ll be the end if you read those.” (Lol)

――He should just live with those sensibilities (lol).

Y: Exactly (lol). Also, there was once when we joined a drinking session with a voice training instructor in the past and her husband was a famous guitarist. When Imai asked, “How do you play the blues scale?”, I said, “Sir, please don’t teach him!” (Lol)

――And the accumulation of these efforts has resulted in the completion of Imai Hisashi.

Y: Nah, that guy’s not complete and that’s fine. When I went to his home, there were what looked like instructional books in his bookshelf, but I guess he didn’t refer to them (lol).

 

 

 

 

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Editor’s File 1:
If this is the last time ever, if my weak self were to raise my voice
What should I really be singing about now? That resolution is the one thing that struck deep into my heart.

Text by: Ishii Eriko

When it comes to anniversary releases, an exceptionally substantial all-time best-of album was released in the year of their 30th anniversary. It’s been 5 years since, during which they couldn’t keep moving at full capacity for two and a half years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so a similar collection of masterpieces would not make much sense.

In that case, BUCK-TICK, whose musicality has always been described with words like “overwhelmingly original” and “ever-changing and fantastical”, has taken the plunge to attempt to divide their indescribable world into five different concepts. This idea, which originated from their staff, once again highlights the band’s miraculous balance.

Balance. To this, I would like to bring up the 80-20 Pareto (パレート / pareeto) principle. Or perhaps, if we were to play around and B-T stylise this, we could call it the Parade (パレード / pareedo) principle. 

80% of the song are composed by Imai, while the remaining 20% is by Hoshino. 80% of the song lyrics are written by Sakurai, while the remaining 20% is by Imai. It somehow feels like this, but is it really true? The following are the results of a tally of all the songs on this occasion.

The percentage of Hoshino Hidehiko songs are: 13% in DISC 1 <RIBELO>, 20% in DISC 2 <GOTIKA>, a low 5% in DISC 3 <ELEKTRIZO> and DISC 5 <ESPERO>, while just under 30% in DISC 4 <FANTAZIO>. The underlying 20% isn’t wrong, but it would seem that his personality get to stretch its wings especially in the area of <fantasy>.

The interesting thing about DISC 4 <FANTAZIO> is that 100% of the songs lyrics were written by Sakurai Atsushi; it is made complete with nothing but Sakurai’s world. He holds monopoly over the concepts of love and death and jet-black decadance. In other words, one might’ve thought that DISC 2 <GOTIKA> would be Sakurai’s domain, but there are in fact 3 songs with lyrics written by Imai. In terms of percentage, another perspective comes in a little less than 20% of the time.

With stories from different writers and a majestic rhythm brought into this word by the hands of Higuchi Yutaka and Yagami Toll, the band’s gothic lens grows evermore robust. One of the discoveries to be made here is that Sakurai is not the only gothic denizen here. And that lyrical balance in the other three albums was surprisingly not 8-2 at all.

Imai Hisashi is remarkably eloquent. If we were to include lyrics that he co-wrote with Sakurai into the count, he would account for 50% of the songs in DISC 1 and DISC 3, and 60% of the songs, a comfortable majority in DISC 5.

This isn’t a competition, so there are no winners or losers here, but Imai first comes up with the words (mainly one word phrases like <反逆 / hangyaku=RIBELO> and <希望 / kibou =ESPERO>), then hauls in the sounds (<工レクトロ / electro = ELEKTRIZO>to signify the use of the latest equipment and eccentric, exotic-sounding dance tunes) to endlessly expand BUCK-TICK’s horizons.

Imai, the pioneer and adventurer. The abilities of each member of the band to take in these unprecedented ideas and turn them into reality without fail. The Parade principle of 20% input to create 80% movement applies here, but it is never by any means a one-man system.

There is Hoshino’s music that bears a casual universality regardless of theme, and Sakurai’s singing prowess that brings polish to a solid worldview with a single vibrato and exhale. All these elements have always brought inspiration to the band, energising everything as a whole. They bring balance and maintain order. 

Now, having spoken about the beauties of this band that has remained unchanged for 35 years, let’s move on to the new song.

DISC 3 <ELEKTRIZO> refers to their musicality, while DISC 5 <ESPERO> can easily be said to be entertainment in its own right. So what does DISC 1 <RIBELO> point at? What is the reason behind the inclusion of their one and only new song, Sayonara Shelter here?

Composed by Hoshino, this song begins with a beautiful arpeggio and the line, “Ephemeral candle   Dance, dancing in the basement (儚いキャンドル 地下室でダンスダンス / Hakanai kyandoru   Chikashitsu de dansu dansu)”. Such an enchanting touch no doubt creates a fantastical mood that deserves a place in DISC 4. But this song carries a realism from the next verse on which mercilessly severs away the ballroom party.

BUCK-TICK’s <rebellion>. Their middle fingers have always been pointed at the ominous forces who come to take away our freedom. 

As mentioned above, half of the songs on DISC 1 were written by Imai. It is his role to present a strong one-liner first. The words <destruction> and <soldier> were initially cynical metaphors that were used since Muchi no Namida to replace concrete language against the absurdities of the world, terrorism and conflict. Sakurai probably took these words that Imai put forward and turned them into a story of his own. At this juncture, I can’t quite tell whether Imai had hoped for that level of embodiment.

Sadly, or rather, foolishly, itis difficult for events that break Sakurai’s heart to disappear from this world. Guernica no Yoru vividly intermingles his personal memories with a past tragedy, but this time the Ukraine invasion has turned into the ultimately realistic story in Sayonara Shelter.

<Someone is coming to kill us (誰かが僕らを殺しに来るよ / Dare ka ga bokura wo koroshi ni  kuruyo)>
<Am I going out to kill someone (わたしは誰かを殺しに行くの / Watashi wa dare ka wo koroshi ni iku no) >

The brushwork leading up to this point can no longer be contained within <FANTAZIO=fantasy>. The Demon King who was thought to frolick with fantasies in a jet-black world is now waving the banner of <RIBELO= rebellion>with a resolve stronger than anyone else. I don’t think that actually wanted to hold such a position. But if this is the last time ever, if my weak self were to raise my voice, what should I really be singing about now? That resolution is the one thing that struck deep into my heart.

Balance and order has been maintained. As much as that fact is true, the balance has changed so much that now, BUCK-TICK cannot say that things are stable as per normal. There is no disputing that the whole world is in a state of pestilence and war. Between both nations and individuals, everyone has no stability in this day and age. 

And despite it all, BUCK-TICK presses on. There is no question that the moments from here on out are crucial as they approach the conclusion of their 35th anniversary celebrations.

 

 

 

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Editor’s File 2:
This one verse from Sayonara Shelter may very well have been about that little girl
Or a message to each and every one of their fans
Or additionally aimed at themselves back in those days when they just started the band

text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi

First of all, let’s put things in perspective.

BUCK-TICK celebrates their 35th debut anniversary on September 21. With no change in member line-up, they have been releasing new work on a consistent basis and tours almost every two years, travelling all over the country. There’s no shortage of bands that have been around for a long time with the same members, but no other band can match their pace of releases and shows.

If we define touring as ‘going to five or more venues outside of Tokyo and Osaka’, we can say that roughly speaking, BUCK-TICK has had about 35 tours in the past 35 years. In other words, we can count them to have held a national hall tour at least once a year. Furthermore, this doesn’t include the annual December 29 show at Nippon Budokan, special arena shows, festivals, events and fan club-only shows.

In addition, there has not been a tour in the last three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of performances they’ve held to date probably numbers at 1000 strong. Some big names like THE ALFEE and Stardust Revue can boast this extraordinary a number of shows, but it’s likely the only other rock bands to have done so are B’z and GLAY. 

Such a band is now in its 35th year of ongoing activities. The average age of the five members, including the one member who hit 60 recently, is 57. They are beasts whose physical capabilities and visual presentations remain undiminished.

An anniversary of such a band. Anyone would like to celebrate it with a big fireworks display as a fan, but the atmosphere isn’t like that at all. The members of the band themselves seem to have an aversion to such an act to begin with.

On September 21, the day of their anniversary, they’ll be releasing their 80-track best-of concept album CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv., but although it might be a good idea to promote it a little along with the inclusion of their new song Sayonara Shelter, there are newspaper advertisements and posters in Tokyo’s train stations but there’s barely any promotional work being done by the band members themselves.

While they are busy recording their new album slated for release next spring and preparing for the forthcoming shows, it’s a little too quiet a way to kick start their 35th anniversary year.

However, it does appear that there are several reasons for this.

Firstly, the world hasn’t yet returned to normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, it is impossible to expect that we will be able to live life like we did before COVID-19, and we’re still exploring ways to make all entertainment events, including live performances, happen. Business is slowly getting back to normal, but everyone is still required to wear masks, and no one can vocalise. There’s also a limit placed on audience capacity.

In such a situation, they might feel they probably don’t want to, or don’t feel very good at announcing their anniversary celebrations to the outside world. Even Higuchi said, “ I don’t really feel the carefree joy.” 

That lack of desire could be due to being sick and tired of the way they were being treated as something to be consumed when they got thrust into the public eye right after their debut. And because they refused to let their careers get controlled by others, they failed to gain as much popularity as they might’ve potentially had. Yet at the same time, these actions have undoubtedly created a strong trust and bond with their fans. And now, they cherish that bond more than anything.

And, another thing.

Perhaps they feel a sense of <insecurity> somewhere unbeknownst to them.

That comes from the feelings of loathing and the division in society. Of course, the war too. It is the grief and bitterness depicted in Sayonara Shelter. Even as we sense beauty and hope from the song of a young girl, it is also filled with helplessness and an inability to do anything about her situation.

And that comes from how their activities as a band came to an almost complete stop because of COVID-19, how they don’t have all that much time left in themselves, and in addition, how the band just wouldn’t be BUCK-TICK if it were missing just one of them. Faced with the fact that they are bound together by a common destiny, they were made anxious about their own futures. You would think that would be superfluous, since the band has been so consistently active. Even more so when life is no longer just about the band.

Yet they have been running 35 years together with this<insecurity> in one hand, and <hope> in the other. That’s why BUCK-TICK’s songs are believable and in no way frivolous. It is likely that they gained this <hope> by continuing to tour. And at present, they are unable to achieve this balance because they can’t perform consistently right now.

Yet somehow, even though the five of them seem to feel as if they are being shrouded heavily in darkness and anxiety, light and hope awaits ahead of them. The start of that will probably come with their shows at Yokohama Arena on September 23 and 24. They will likely generate more of that together with their fans again at each venue they play on their national tour which starts in October.

After COVID-19 happened, Sakurai has become even more sensitive to the changes in his surroundings, and events like his own illness and the passing of Hoshino’s father seem to have led him to believe that anything could happen at any time. Everyone can feel somewhere that things are not the same as they used to be anymore. Both with COVID-19 and the environments we find ourselves in.

Nevertheless, now that Yagami has reached the age of 60, he now sees degeneration as evolution, and Higuchi has said that  he wants to avoid being confused by extraneous voices and not be carried away by the prevailing mood of the times. At the same time, Imai understands the realities of ageing and an uncertain future in society, but his absolute faith in the band and music has not wavered. He is, after all, the driving force that leads the band towards the light.

Tonight   sleep peacefully   I’ll come and meet you   for sure
(今夜 静かに眠る あなたに会いに行く 必ず / Kon ya   shizuka ni nemuru   Anata ni ai ni iku   kanarazu)

Wait for me in that shelter
(あのシェルターで待っていて / Ano sherutaa de matteite)

This one verse from Sayonara Shelter may very well have been about the little girl who was Let It Go in that bomb shelter in Ukraine. At the same time, it can be thought to be a message to each and every one of their fans who they have not been able to meet for a long while because of the pandemic.

Furthermore, as Higuchi said, “This is a band that was started by the five of us.” These lines may also have been aimed at themselves back in those days when they just started the band. What their 35-year footprint tells us is that nothing but hope lies ahead for those who continue to walk into the future with these five who have continued like this all this while.

 

 

 

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AFTERSHOW

2022.08.21 BUCK-TICK

The cover shoot was postponed once due to Sakurai’s medical treatment and other reasons, but now, on this sunny day, the cover shoot was finally taking place. First to arrive at the studio were Anii and Yuta-san, the sibling team. With the day’s edition of the Daily Sports paper in one hand, Yuta-san talks endlessly about the Tigers with editor-in-chief Kanemitsu after he finishes his make-up. Listening from the side, Giants fan Anii teased, “You go on and on about them in your columns every month and it still isn’t enough for you, is it!”

After that, Sakurai-san breezed into the studio sashaying. He looked like he lost some weight, but he appeared energetic, giving us all a sense of relief. We first started off by shooting the solo shots. The photographer in charge of this shoot was Tanaka-san, who was also in charge of the Okinawa photos for the extended and revised Simply Life ~Life goes on~. As if this shoot was an extension of that,  Hide-san also appeared relaxed in front of the camera. Seeing this, Kanemitsu looked like he wanted to escape from reality as he said, “Aah, I want to go to Okinawa again……” (Lol) Incidentally, we bought a copy of the dancyu magazine and placed it in the waiting room because we expected Imai-san to read it, but while he was waiting, Imai-san’s eyes never left his phone. Maybe he was playing Pokémon……

This was all usual behaviour from the members of BUCK-TICK but it felt like it’s been a long time since we’ve seen all five of them somewhere other than the stage, so that was the best part of it all.

 

 

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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki

“The Parade Will Always Go On”
BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. Official First Day Concert Report

Pia News
15 October 2022

Text=Yuka Okubo
Photos=Seitaro Tanaka

 

After BUCK-TICK celebrated the 35th anniversary of their major debut and released their best-of album CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. on 21 September 2022, they kicked off their national tour BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. with their first show at Tachikawa Stage Garden on 13 October.

Looking back at BUCK-TICK’s anniversary concerts, both the 20th and 25th anniversary shows were lively festival-style events featuring artists who participated in their tribute albums. For their 30th anniversary show, they switched to putting on a bang of a solo show over two days with a special stage set up at Odaiba, Tokyo and vastly different setlists for each day covering their 30-year career.

Their 35th anniversary concert was held on 23 and 24 September this year at Yokohama Arena, Kanagawa. The setlist was a departure from the festive mood of the previous anniversary live shows; instead of going for nostalgia of the past, they performed songs with messages that were crucial for the present and overwhelmed the audience with the use of bold imagery that even covered the performing members from view to bring this worldview into reality.

BUCK-TICK is a truly rare band of its kind. Huge posters were put up in Shinjuku and Shibuya stations during the run-up to the 35th anniversary show. I saw a group of office workers on their way home from work who stopped when they saw the poster that featured BUCK-TICK’s debut photo and the band as they are now posing in the same way.

“Wow, what a throwback.”  “BUCK-TICK? …… You know them?”  “Oh, yeah. They used to  be a Visual-Kei band back then, though.”

That was a conversation I overheard, probably between a boss and his staff. Fans who heard it will probably think there’s a bunch of wrong information there, and those who aren’t fans will probably think that’s all there is to the conversation.

However, the undeniable facts are that BUCK-TICK has continued to focus on their music and evolve for 35 years without losing themselves, they have performed at the Nippon Budokan almost every year, their revolutionary sound and discrete style are a major influence on bands who came after them, and even now, they’re still being “discovered” and are attracting all kinds of audiences. Such bands are hard to come by.

On the other hand, the news that their singer Sakurai Atsushi would be a radio personality (every Friday at 9pm from October to December on FM COCOLO) “for the first time in his 35-year career” caused a stir among their fans. It’s probably hard to find another band who would fit in such a box.

While they did live stream concerts and have a film concert tour during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be the first time in almost three years that the band is holding  a national hall tour with 21 shows. While the first show of their tour may bring a whole lot of nerves, the selection of songs were full of character, bringing smiles and tears where appropriate. The band ensemble rich with expression and a full-on performance from fingertips to toes tactfully weaved the show together.

【RIBELO】【GOTIKA】【ELEKTRIZO】【FANTAZIO】【ESPERO】
The setlist, built around these five concepts of their best-of album, CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. which showcased the band’s songs in themes rather than a timeline, was fresh with the way it linked two timeless songs to create a new story and also included songs that hadn’t been performed in quite a while. Also, projection mapping visuals filled the stage, bringing to life the worldviews of each song in a way that is again different from what they showed us in the Yokohama Arena shows.

“I hope we get to shout ‘love’ and ‘peace’ together soon,” said Sakurai during an MC break before leading into Sayonara Shelter, the new song in their best-of album. This performance could very well be considered to be the highlight of this tour with the way he softly sings this song that is quiet yet strongly angry at the current state of the world despite its gentle melody, as if praying.

“I don’t know how it will last, but the parade will always go on.” ── Sakurai

“Parade” refers to BUCK-TICK’s locus. This word will always be attached to their anniversary shows. The message may sound contradictory for a moment, but we can sense their intention to “see the parade that is BUCK-TICK to the end”. But it’s still too early for us to get ahead of ourselves and feel sad about the end which we don’t even know when to anticipate.

Taking off with a spring in its step and full of lively music, this “B-T TRAIN” is fueled by the love of those who ride along with it. I’m certain it won’t be leaving anyone behind as it races towards its final destination, the 29 December show, BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. FINALO at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan. And after that, we will await a new hope, and a new start in the form of a new album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Pia News

 

 

Official Report
BUCK-TICK’s 35th Debut Anniversary 2-Day Concert at Yokohama Arena

Spice
27 September 2022

Text=Yuka Okubo
Photos=Seitaro Tanaka

 

We have received the official concert report of BUCK-TICK’s 35th debut anniversary concert, BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE”~35th anniversary~ which was held on two days on the Friday and Saturday, 23rd and 24th of September 2022 at Yokohama Arena.

 

 

BUCK-TICK celebrated their 35th debut anniversary with no change in member line-up on 21 September 2022. On the 23rd and 24th, the held their 35th debut anniversary concert, BUCK-TICK 2022“THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~ at Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa.

There were two main special characteristics for this 35th anniversary show. 

The first was dynamic light and video production which made use of 12 lasers and a large LED screen. Past anniversary concerts, named “PARADE” which came before were all held on outdoor stage like the special outdoor stage created at Yokohama Minato Mirai Shinko Pier in 2007, at Chiba Port Park in 2012, and Odaiba Yagai Tokusetsu Kaijo in 2017, making this the first anniversary concert being held in an arena. At an outdoor venue, lighting and visual effects don’t come into play until the sun sets, so this time, the band was able to construct their world right from the very start.

There is one fixed screen on each side of the stage, plus one giant screen at the back of the stage and one more large screen in front of the stage. The screen in front of the stage could be moved which meant that while there were some sets there the screen remained in front of the stage like a faded filter over the band members, there were also sets when it would be raised up, removed to create a three-dimensional effect with the depth of the screen in the background. 

If I were to pick the most impactful scene among the songs performed on both days as an example, it would be the second song they performed, BABEL, which has a story which pulls you in its euphoria and deep heavy groove. The Tower of Babel was shown against a bright red background on the screen behind, while the screen in front which previously concealed the band slowly rose up as if illustrating the disquieting building of the Tower of Babel.

What left a truly strong impression on me was the performance of Aikawarazu no `Are’ no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari (2022MIX) around the middle of the show that had a languid jungle beat and saw Imai Hisashi (on guitar) taking on the role of lead singer. The sight of Sakurai Atsushi’s (singer) face on the back screen coalescing with the numerous writhing hands on the bright red screen towards the front of the stage inspired the same creepiness you would get in a horror movie.  

During the mid-tempo Guernica no Yoru which tells of the tragedies of war, we saw an amusement park under the stars, crumbling with the passage of time. At Aku no Hana during the encore, red, blue and green lasers were shot from the stage into the audience. During Yume Miru Uchuu in the second encore, the screen in front of the stage rose almost to the ceiling to combine with the back screen and create what felt like the endless void of outer space.

The visuals and lighting used to further develop the world of the songs sometimes drowned out or silhouetted the members, and if one were to say that live performances are about enjoying the playing style and facial expressions live, then this choice of production might have seemed rather bold. But when we consider the fact that BUCK-TICK made their video debut 35 years ago as “visual artists”, one can also say that this time, they were being conscious of their “origins” on stage.

And the second special characteristic was how the set list wasn’t comprehensive of their 35-year career or brimming with a festive mood even though these concerts were in celebration of their 35th anniversary. 

This year, the first show was named “FLY SIDE” and the second was named “HIGH SIDE”, just like their shows at Odaiba in 2017. But while the Odaiba setlist looked back over their 30 years with a collection of songs that covers a relatively complete range of eras, from the indie era and early numbers such as Fly High, this year’s set list seemed to focus on where the band is now and where they’re headed towards in the future while incorporating the messages they want to convey at this point in time. 

That said, BUCK-TICK thus far tends to decide on their set list based on the songs that each band member suggests. But the set list this time around appears to centre around CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv., their best-of album collection that was recently released on 21 September.

They also appear to have worked with the stage production team to focus it all around Sakurai too. As a result, the show’s content was saturated with his message. Which was especially conspicuous when they performed Rakuen, REVOLVER, Guernica no Yoru and, live for the first time, their new song Sayonara Shelter on both days.

Shrouded in a black veil from his head, Sakurai sounded the tingsha in his hands during Rakuen’s cutting narration of a war-torn country looking upon a conflagration on the opposite shore as an opportunity.  During the highly aggressive and fast-paced REVOLVER, he puts his finger to his temple, shouting, “Shoot the child’s future!”¹. In the last part of Guernica no Yoru, a song where he sings from the perspective of a young protagonist about the devastation of air strikes, a brief respite came after he sang “After seeing such a dream, I woke up”². But brief it was, before they dove into a song inspired by the current state of the world, Sayonara Shelter which illustrates the madness of reality amidst a gentle melody.

Another thing I want to highlight is their performance of Kinjirareta Asobi -ADULT CHILDREN- on the first day. This song tells of traumatised grown-up children (adult children) who have closed themselves off going through the process of stepping outside and saying “I’m leaving of this room”³. During the performance, a large white wall appeared on the screen in front of the stage with a black, gaping exit painted right where Sakurai was standing and at the end of the song, Sakurai said, “This is dedicated to all the adult children.” All of it left a deep impression on me. 

It would appear that Sakurai, who channels his thoughts and feelings into stories and puts them into his lyrical world, was very determined to strongly lay bare his message through this set list. For his gaze was sharp, his singing was strong and powerful, and filled with compassion too.

Of the 21 songs performed on each of the two days, ten of them, or half were fixed songs but the eleven alternated songs added to the set list provided different sides of the band.

The first day started with the industrial-sounding EDM track ICONOCLASM. Hard hammer beats, edgy guitar riffs and a deep mechanical-sounding voice are unleashed with lasers from behind a screen that remains down in front of the stage. The glorious BABEL came next, followed by Uta which started with Yagami Toll’s (on drums) tight drum intro that led into a robust groove which then flowed into the melancholic Gekka Reijin

“Welcome. Do enjoy yourself,” was Sakurai’s short coquettish MC that served as a lead into Maimu Mime. In a video which moves from a street which looks like Jiufen, Taiwan to a close-up shot in a room, Sakurai makes use of his black wide-brimmed hat, a chair, and glimpses of his thighs as puts on a one-man performance of the bewitching games between men and women. 

During Kyoki no Dead Heat, which feels like running at hyper speed, cameramen with movie cameras went on stage to capture the aggressive members strutting up and down the stage extensions on both the left and right side. 

To close off the main set were three songs brimming with hope. Go-Go B-T TRAIN’s performance was spectacular with light shining on the large mirror balls on either side of the stage. The colourful graphics reminiscent of CD jackets, smoke billowing like steam from a steam locomotive, and a lively ensemble that nimbly runs through the heavy, creaking locomotive adds to the electricity in the arena. 

The stage lit up with flames for the next song, Memento Mori with tribal rhythms, Okinawan-sound scales, and shouts of “Wooha!” echoing. And finally, they ended with New World, leading us out of darkness and into a bright future.

The encore began with Django!!! -Genwaku no Django-. A rich groove was produced by Imai’s exotic guitar sounds coupled with Hoshino Hidehiko’s (on guitar) light acoustic guitar and the bass notes of Higuchi Yutaka (on bass), who came to the front of the stage during the bridge. As for Sakurai, he wore a silk hat on his head, had black feathers around his neck, and hot shorts and knee-high stockings, essentially dressing burlesque-style as he showed off his thighs and sways his hips as he sang.

Following the heaviness of Aku no Hana, Sakurai said, “Please have a listen to a nostalgic song from the album we debuted with 35 years ago.” With that, they proceeded into ILLUSION. The oldest of the songs performed over these two days, it evokes nostalgia with its lyrics that seem to bring up old memories.

In the second encore, they performed a graceful rendition of Koi, a requiem that combines fragility and strength. After that came Yume Miru Uchuu which was performed on a stage with the cosmos unfolding before it. Then, the big finale, Solaris. The macrocosmic cosmos and the microcosmic cells of a random person. The beautiful soundscapes created by the band and Sakurai’s enchanting falsetto, set to a moving visual image that evokes this connection, left a lasting impression.

Opening the second day the straight rock song Elise no Tame ni created a sense of unity from the start. The band was less tense with their singing and playing than the first day, and they looked relaxed on stage. With Sakurai’s slow swaying rope-crossing performance of TIGHT ROPE created a floating sensation, followed by the chunky bass riffs and the guitar’s rigid cutting in Mienai Mono wo Miyou to Suru Gokai  Subete Gokai da, and finally MOONLIGHT ESCAPE’s singing so carefree that it feels like we’re flying over the moon, there was even an emotional moment where we saw Imai strumming his guitar while lying on the floor in the outro.

Sakurai seemed to mimic David Bowie’s voice as he said, “Let’s Dance〜” before they dove into Dance Tengoku. Then, starting with an interlude from Imai’s guitar was BOY septem peccata mortalia where the members of the band were freely roaming all over the stage, being chased by the camera crew or staring into a camera while crawling on stage; so much was going on that we could barely keep up with our eyes.

The stage was set aglow by the flames in ROMANCE, where we got to hear Sakurai’s beautiful falsetto and after that, came the last song, same as the first day’s; New World. Powerful vocals pushed forward with clean-toned riffs that seemed to burst with light and the powerful 4/4 rhythm. It’s a song fit to end the set for these five who are taking a new step forward.

The first encore featured the newly remixed ANGELIC CONVERSATION (2022MIX) from their best-of album, Aku no Hana, and the dramatic pop ballad HEAVEN. In the second encore were the heartfelt ballad Boukyaku, Yume Miru Uchuu, and finally, Kodou (2022MIX). BUCK-TICK’s magnificent paean to humanity, dedicated to all life was sung in high spirits, bringing the two-day festivities to a close.

Despite celebrating their 35th anniversary on the big stage, BUCK-TICK had already entered a new phase. Furthermore, it looks like they’re already headed in a certain direction. 

“Since our 35th anniversary year has just begun, there’s a lot for us to do, and a lot for us to be happy about. After we’re done with today, Anii and Yuta will begin rehearsing for the tour tomorrow. And Imai-san and Hide will compose new songs. And I…… will sleep (smiles).”

While listening to this MC by Sakurai, I recalled a time in their early days of exhausting work where they were going on tour for their second album right after they concluded recording work for their third album. Finding out that there were some things that still haven’t changed since those days made me laugh a little. 

I’ve been hearing that the new release slated for the coming spring will be based on a new, never-before-seen concept. Expectations are high for the future of BUCK-TICK, who continues to avariciously evolve even past their 35th anniversary.

<Set List>

■BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~ FLY SIDE
Friday, 23 September 2022 | Yokohama Arena

SE. THEME OF B-T

M1. ICONOCLASM
M2. BABEL
M3. 唄 [Uta]
M4. 月下麗人 [Gekka Reijin]
M5. 舞夢マイム [Maimu Mime]
M6. 狂気のデッドヒート [Kyoki no Dead Heat]
M7. 禁じられた遊び -ADULT CHILDREN- [Kinjirareta Asobi -ADULT CHILDREN-]
M8. 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマリがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり (2022MIX)
[Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari (2022MIX)]
M9. 楽園 [Rakuen]
M10. REVOLVER
M11. ゲルニカの夜 [Guernica no Yoru]
M12. さよならシェルター (新曲) [Sayonara Shelter (New song)]
M13. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
M14. Memento mori
M15. New World

EN1-1. Django!!!-眩惑のジャンゴ- [Django!!!-Genwaku no Django-]
EN1-2. 惡の華 [Aku no Hana]
EN1-3. ILLUSION

EN2-1. 恋 [Koi]
EN2-2. 夢見る宇宙 [Yume Miru Uchuu]
EN2-3. Solaris

 

■BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” 〜35th anniversary〜 HIGH SIDE
Saturday, 24 September 2022 | Yokohama Arena

SE. THEME OF B-T

M1. エリーゼのために [Elise no Tame ni]
M2. BABEL
M3. Tight Rope
M4. 見えない物を見ようとする誤解 全て誤解だ [Mienai Mono wo Miyou to Suru Gokai  Subete Gokai da]
M5. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE
M6. ダンス天国 [Dance Tengoku]
M7. BOY septem peccata mortalia
M8. 相変わらずの「アレ」のカタマリがのさばる反吐の底の吹き溜まり (2022MIX)
[Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari (2022MIX)]
M9. 楽園 [Rakuen]
M10. REVOLVER
M11. ゲルニカの夜 [Guernica no Yoru]
M12. さよならシェルター (新曲) [Sayonara Shelter (New song)]
M13. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
M14. ROMANCE
M15. New World

EN1-1. ANGELIC CONVERSATION (2022MIX)
EN1-2. 惡の華 [Aku no Hana]
EN1-3. HEAVEN

EN2-1. 忘却 [Boukyaku]
EN2-2. 夢見る宇宙 [Yume Miru Uchuu]
EN2-3. 鼓動 (2022MIX) [Kodou (2022MIX)]

 

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ あの子の未来を  撃て / Ano ko no mirai wo   ute

² そんな夢見て  目覚めた / Sonna yume mite   mezameta

³ この部屋を  出て行くよ / Kono heya wo   dete iku yo

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Spice, JVC Music

 

 

BUCK-TICK Holds 35th Anniversary Concert
“We’re still moving forward. Wishing blessings upon everyone too.”

Sports Hochi
23 September 2022

 

 

 

5-piece rock band BUCK-TICK held their 35th major debut anniversary concert, The Parade on the 23rd at Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa.

They performed 21 songs like their signature Aku no Hana and for the first time, Sayonara Shelter, their new song that was included in their best-of collection CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. which was recently released on the 21st. They also mesmerised fans with light performances that made use of 12 laser machines, and a giant LED screen.

“We’ve been doing this for 35 years. I would like to express my gratitude to all of you; thank you. We have more new recordings too. We’re still moving forward. Wishing blessings upon everyone too,” thanked Sakurai Atsushi who wore beguiling outfits, like jet black shorts and black knee-high socks that show off his “absolute territory¹”.

They’ll perform on the 24th at the same venue too. They will then kick off their first national tour in 3 years on 13 October, starting with a show at Tachikawa Stage Garden in Tokyo to play a total off 21 shows in 20 locations. Sakurai rallied, “You all still can’t take your masks off and scream for us, but we hope you’ll come and join us on tour too in good health.”

 

 

Notes:

¹ Absolute Territory (絶対領域 / zettai ryouiki) describes the amount of bare thigh skin between the shorts or skirt and stockings or socks.

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Sports Hochi

 

 

BUCK-TICK 35th Major Debut Anniversary Concert
Sakurai Atsushi: “We’re still going!!”

Sanspo
23 September 2022

 

 

 

5-piece rock band BUCK-TICK who celebrated the 35th anniversary of their major debut on the 21st of September has begun their two consecutive nights of concerts at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama’s Kohoku Ward to celebrate this milestone on the 23rd.

This is the 9th time they are performing at Yokohama Arena and 6 years since their last. With a 12,000-strong audience in attendance, they started off the show with ICONOCLASM from their album TABOO which became their first number one ranking album on the Oricon Chart in 1989. Vocalist Sakurai Atsushi (56) greeted the crowd with a, “Welcome. Do enjoy yourself,” turning them into a bubbling pot of excitement.

It has been 35 years since they debut in 1987. Their ingenious brand of music which blends a variety of genres started the “BUCK-TICK Phenomenon”, and these five long-standing members of the band have been at the forefront of Japan’s rock music scene with successes like performances at Nippon Budokan and Tokyo Dome in 1989 to back them.

On tonight’s stage, they performed 21 songs from their entire career’s discography including their signature song Aku no Hana, their first number one on the Oricon singles chart in 1990, and for the first time, Sayonara Shelter, their new song that was included in their best-of collection CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. which was recently released on the 21st. They also delighted fans with flashy performances that saw 12 laser machines, and giant LED screens and lighting.

Their concert DVD of last year-end’s Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara~SHOW AFTER DARK~in Nippon Budokan was also released on the 21st. They will also be kicking off their first national tour (21-show run) in three years on 13 October.

Sakurai thanked the audience, saying, “We’ve been doing this for 35 years. I would like to express my gratitude to all of you; thank you.” Then, he declared, “We’ve got our tour in October, and another show tomorrow. There are still more new recordings to work on. We’re still going!!” Unstoppable is the momentum of legends who are celebrating their anniversary year.

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Sanspo

 

 

 

Sakurai Atsushi
BUCK-TICK

Of Timid Bravery

text by Ishii Eriko
photographs by Nakano Hirohisa
hair & make-up by Yamaji Chihiro_Fat’s Berry
styling by Shimizu Kenichi

outfits by
kiryuyrik_03-5728-4048
LAD MUSICIAN SHINJUKU_03-6457-7957

 

This armada gets moving once again ahead of their 35th anniversary year. It starts with the long-awaited fan-club exclusive tour kicking off in the beginning of summer, then Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday bash in August, and the release of their conceptual 5-CD best-of collection CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. this month. In this same period, they will also be holding their 2-day concert event THE PARADE at Yokohama Arena, followed by their first national tour in three years that starts next month.

Closing off the celebration of their anniversary year naturally brings us to an upcoming new album, but for now, we want to hear from Sakurai Atsushi ahead of it. Sayonara Shelter is the one and only new, unreleased song that has been included in the best-of collection. The way it captures an unfiltered reality with its straightforward language is filled with will-power and determination unlike any before. It was reported last month that he was tested positive for COVID-19 and had made a full recovery after the resulting quarantine, but this interview was held sometime in July, before any of that happened.

I thought it would be more strenuous initially
But I was surprisingly okay. I think the audience probably have it tougher than us

―― It’s late July now and you’re right in the middle of your fan club & mobile members-only tour.

Sakurai (S): That’s right. Well, finally…… I can breathe a sigh of relief. Because we haven’t been able to hold a concert, much less a fan club-exclusive one in about two years.

―― How did you deal with the physical and mental challenges from these concerts?

S: We’ve been busy with recording work for our new album. I had to wrap up all my work about three days ago, so the switch [from recording mode to concert mode] was difficult. Because I can’t effectively work on more than one thing at the same time. So because I was having a hard time with it, I left (song selection and all the other preparations) to everyone to handle. They were old songs so I didn’t have all that much difficulty there. Whatever else, I wouldn’t know until I’m standing on stage anyway. Since things will always be different in rehearsals.

―― My body’s undergone changes too after the past two years and when I attended concerts in recent times, I found myself wondering, “Is it really this tiring to stand for two hours straight?” (lol). How do you find it as a performer?

S: Ah…… I actually thought it would be more strenuous initially. But somehow, my body was surprisingly okay. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been keeping myself on my toes with recording work, and that’s kept my mind busy. It’s surprisingly taken a weight off my shoulders.

―― That’s a good thing then.

S: Yes. I did wonder whether or not I’d be able to do it okay before it started, but my voice sounded better than I expected. I just feel kind of bad for the audience, though. They have to keep their masks on throughout the event, and have to stand in designated spots, and can’t even respond with their voices. I know it can’t be helped because that’s the situation that we’re in now but…… I think the audience probably have it tougher than we performers do in all these different areas.

―― But being able to see you is enough of a something to be happy about.

S: That’s true. But because they can’t respond vocally. There’s this unnerving intensity. Since everyone’s wearing masks, there’s a superabundant, concentration from their eyes (lol).

―― Concentration from the eyes (lol). Are your band mates enjoying it too?

S: It allows us to vent out our energy in a setting completely different from recording after all, so everyone does seem to be enjoying themselves. Yeah.

―― Also, just confirming, you’ve already plunged into the actual recording work for the new album and it’s no longer in its conception stage, right?

S: That’s right. Yes.

―― So, although It was impossible for you to go on a proper national tour for ABRACADABRA, you’re already moving on to your next album.

S: Because first of all is our 35th anniversary celebration year. We’ve got our best-of collection, the fan club concert during [the anniversary year]. And later comes the release of our new album next year to end it. That’s the series of events we’ve got laid out.

―― In recent years, I believe you’ve generally followed the cycle of closing off an album’s chapter only after you’ve had a tour for it. But now that this has changed, did it affect anything? Like the songwriting vibe, or the themes that Imai-san comes up with?

S: Right…… While I was having a discussion with Director Tanaka, about things like, “Is this format going to work?”, though, well, I can’t really go into detail yet, but something like a vague, overarching theme resulted from that. Although…… I’m already doing whatever I want anyway.

―― Eh, what do you mean?

S: Well, in terms of general themes, hope, despair, that kind of a world. Although, that might just be a narrative I imposed on myself. But even then, anything else just goes in one ear and out the other for me, so. …… Despair is all I can write about!

―― Fuhahahahaha.

S: That’s all I have to say.

―― Even so, do you feel fulfilled in your day-to-day life?

S: Yeah. I’m very much fulfilled with how I approach what I produce and what I do. With the exception of these, there are a lot of things I don’t want to think about so I make it such that I don’t. Now, I just want to hurry up and move on to recording my part for the next song.

――Excuse me for saying this, but you’re very motivated, aren’t you?

S: That’s right. Not in a desperate way, though. It’s strange, but it could be because I’ve been working at things as if it’ll be the last time ever.

 

In the past, I think I would play it cool, avoid being clear, kind of sidestep things and use another escape route though
I can’t bring myself to do that anymore these days. Because I’m not that eloquent in the first place.

―― I think I said this a year ago as well, around the time of Go-Go B-T TRAIN’s release, but I’m getting the impression that the present version of Sakurai-san has picked up a defiant stance, in a good way.

S: That’s right. I’ve been able to focus on music, the things I want to do. You could say that I don’t want to think about anything else.

―― Can you think of anything that might’ve caused this?

S: Hmーm, well, part of it is growing older, and that I’d start wondering vaguely about things like, “How many more years can I do this?” I’m not feeling pessimistic to that extent, though. But also, all the recent…… incidents, accidents, ah, well, frankly speaking, wars, and all that. Witnessing all of it, it’s like, I don’t feel like it’s just someone else’s problem. Who knows what will happen tomorrow. It might sound like an exaggeration, but I’ve come to feel that I wouldn’t even think it odd if tomorrow something happens to this Japan we live in. And since that’s the case, I feel that I can push ahead with whatever I can do and want to do.

―― A world in decline inspires Sakurai-san.

S: Right…… Putting it like that makes it sound shrewd, doesn’t it? As if I won’t do anything unless something like that happens. But in the end…… it seems like it’s in my character to turn these kinds of negative events into fuel. Anger and sadness, I’ve come to realise recently that these are sources of energy for me.

―― Actually, just 10 years ago we could never have imagined that things like epidemics and wars would actually be happening in such close proximity to us in the 21st century.

S: That’s definitely true. That’s really what it is. People might say that we can’t really help that infectious diseases occur and that may be so, but on the other hand, wars are essentially a man-made disaster, and I think it’s something that can be stopped if person A and B and C and D decide to say “stop”, right? Whenever I see the news, I find myself wondering how such a thing can happen in the 21st century…… It’s shocking. Just heart-wrenching, isn’t it? That all the children and ordinary people…… It just makes me wonder “why?”.

―― This exact frame of mind is depicted in Sayonara Shelter, the new song which you’ve included in DISC1 of your upcoming best-of collection, right?

S: That’s right, yes.

―― The music is quintessentially Hide-san, with how beautiful it is. Writing about such a concrete subject for this melody pulls your emotions right into it from the very beginning.

S: Yes. I think the past me would likely play it cool, avoid being clear [about the subject matter], kind of sidestep things and use another escape route though. I can’t bring myself to do that anymore these days. Because I’m not that eloquent in the first place. And the best thing I can now is to do things as I see them, as I feel them. No matter what, this…… When I’m shown videos of children and all those…… There’s no other outlet (for my emotions).

―― The lyrics are written in the perspective of both parties involved with the very first line going, “Someone is coming to kill us (誰かが僕らを殺しに来るよ)”, followed by the next, with, “Am I going out to kill someone (わたしは誰かを殺しに行くの)”.

S: That’s right. Like, what if it was you in that position and you can’t remain a bystander, what would you do? If those who fled to Poland were asked whether they could leave their families behind and go back to Ukraine…… If I was in their position, what would I do? That’s something I thought about too.

―― What would you do? Do you think you’d go back and take up arms?

S: Ah…… Well, if I wanted to sound cool, I’d probably say yes. But I don’t know what I’d actually do if that really happened to me.

―― No matter the choice, we’re all still human after all. And no matter the choice, I think you’ll always have people around you saying, “That’s it, that’s the right path.”

S: That’s true. Really…… because they’re going at each other, brandishing ideals, right? Actually, even now, I still can’t believe it, like, “Is this really happening?”

―― Was there any hint of reservations or expressions of bewilderment from your band mates at lyrics written in such a disambiguous manner?

S: None at all. Um…… I created an atmosphere that didn’t allow them to say anything.
―― When you say this with that look in your eyes, the only thing to do is to shut up (lol).

S: Fufufu. There actually were opinions for and against this within the band, but ultimately, the desire to make people listen to it won out. After I recorded my part for the song, even Director Tanaka-san said, “This is probably something that needs to be announced now.” And so, we decided to include it in the best-of collection.

 

I’m definitely one of the weak human beings
A helpless person who cowers in the dark
I’m just like the children shaking in fear in the basement

―― This might be a bit of a reach, but I think there will be cases where people hear this song and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Isn’t this an anti-war song?” How does Sakurai-san feel about that?

S: Ahh, I had that conversation with Victor’s staff and Tanaka-san about the order of the tracklist in DISC 1, the last three songs in it (REVOLVER, Guernica no Yoru, Sayonara Shelter). While we did think that people might not like for us to shine the focus on this area alone…… I think we should even if they hate it.

ーー Fufufufu.

S: Because I feel that sooner or later, the day when we have to talk about these things will come. But…… I think it’s strange to use the word “anti-war”, isn’t it? Because I think war is not something that we need to begin with. Although, it would be good if people would just take it as, “I guess that’s what they’re doing,” when I put these things into song. But that’s not going to happen, is it? I expect that there will likely be people who will want to say, “You guys are hypocrites!”

ーー That’s precisely why most people avoid anything and everything related to topics on war or politics. I think it’s a sensitive thing for celebrities and artists alike.

S: That’s true. But I think that’s good too. To speak nothing of these things at all, to spend more time making people laugh and smile in other ways, to sing songs that inspire people to look forward to tomorrow. I think they’re awe-inspiring if someone is able to express themself like that. But that’s not something I’m capable of. I suppose that’s because I’m not mature enough as a person, though.

―― No, that’s not true.

S: Of course, I have all kinds of dilemmas. While I’d be concerned if people didn’t get the message at all [when they listen to the song], there are also times when I’d feel disappointed when I start to wonder whether we’d be able to make money with such music. But that said, it’s not as if there are all that many other things that inspire me anyway. It’s all now very unstable, isn’t it? Both the world at large, and for the individual person too. But the real problem is that proper adults are killing people. Simply put, they’re getting children all wrapped up in this as collateral damage. To that, I wanted to say, “Why?” from the children’s perspective. And I said it earlier too, but [other people] misrepresenting that, changing [some part of its meaning], implying [something else]…… “I can’t be bothered!” That’s how I feel.

―― Don’t you think that you’ll need to have crossed a certain boundary to be able to say this as the person who wrote these words and sings it?

S: Yes. That did happen. Well, you could also say it’s being mentally prepared on the inside. Sort of like a, “This was what you said at that time, right? Since that’s the case, you should turn what you felt into something that strikes other people even harder.” For me, whatever strikes my heart deeply gets turned into the flesh and blood that forms my words. Since this is the line of work I am in, as long as I have a choice, my first consideration wouldn’t be whether this is a good idea or not, but rather my desire to stir up strong emotions in other people. That’s the kind of premeditated transgression it’s come to. Because in these past few years, we’ve had war, and COVID-19, and in all of that, I’ve been wondering, “What should I sing about?”

―― So that’s what it’s been like for you.

S: Yeah. If I’m making my move, I might as well go all out and take the plunge. Kind of like the idea of kicking the spring board as hard as you can and flying off.

―― Signs of the times are certainly all around us, aren’t they? Ever since COVID-19, I would think that it’s difficult to write melancholic, despairing songs……

S: No? I’m doing that right now.

―― Ah, really (lol).

S: I’m getting critical acclaim for doing that. Somehow, I’m really excited about this. For my insidious ways!

―― Fuhahahahaha!

S: Perhaps…… This might just be my life’s purpose.

―― Kukuku. Insidiousness and despair are what “Demon King¹ Sakurai” is really made of, right? But if that’s true, then I wonder what disposition and personality Sayonara Shelter’s Sakurai-san will be categorised under?

S: Mm…… But I’m definitely one of the weak human beings, you know? I’m really a helpless person who cowers in the dark. I always say this, but I’m just like the children shaking in fear in the basement.

―― You’ve portrayed the “shelter” in this song as a safe rendezvous, yet, where does the “farewell (sayonara)” in the song title come from?

S: Ah, that’s because I thought of working in a little drama. [The protagonist] won’t be able to come back anymore but…… Something like that. It’s the same with the “I’m going out to kill (殺しに行く / koroshi ni iku)” that comes in at the end; [the protagonist] is lying. In the song Andalusia ni Akogarete (アンダルシアに憧れて / Longing for Andalusia) by Maashii-san (Mashima Masatoshi), there’s that sense of waiting at station platform for [the protagonist] to come back. Although we won’t be able to see each other, wait for me. …… Ah, you don’t have to keep this in the interview.

―― It’s interesting, so I’ll publish it anyway (lol). But that would make this a song with a tragic ending, wouldn’t it?

S: That’s right. I think I was also writing [these lyrics] with the feeling of how soldiers like me who aren’t all that young, who haven’t even been trained would be the very first to go down. Although the hope that whatever we do helps the children who are waiting back home is of course there.

―― Hope and despair are intertwined. It’s just like what “shadow play” is; the one and only modest form of entertainment that one can create in a shelter that is lit up by only moon or candle light.

S: Yeah. It’s exactly as you said. I think everyone has seen the little girl singing Frozen songs in the underground shelter on the news. Even in these devastating circumstances, such a vibrant individuals and personalities exist. This hope…… If we don’t even have a single candle flame, it would be unbearable, wouldn’t it?

―― Did you feel a sense of clarity after you finished writing the lyrics to this song?

S: ……No, although I would feel relieved after it’s turned into a song and released as a work. The next step after that would include wondering about whether there’d be people who would get upset by this. Those who won’t get it won’t get it anyway. But that’s, well, the freedom of the listener anyway, so they can take it however they want, right? Hm…… And then, there’s also doubt revolving around whether it’s okay for me to earn money with something like this too. I think those are the kind of thoughts I’m always dwelling on in my head.

―― But you’ve never made the decision that you won’t release it.

S: That’s right. Because the story has already been written  in my head. A number of such stories have also been written for other new songs that are going into our next album. At this point, I don’t think anyone can avoid it anymore.

―― The strength to step into this and not allow anyone to say otherwise about it. The Sakurai-san of today is truly incredible.

S: If I held back…… it’s the end of the road for me. That’s what it feels like. I’m a coward, you see. Besides, I’ve fallen very ill before and it’s not as if my family’s all that healthy either. I keep telling myself, “It’s time to take the plunge or it’s going to all be over for you.” Because I really don’t know if or when something will happen.

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ We often see Sakurai being nicknamed 魔王 (maou), often translated as Demon King, or Prince of Darkness, or even Satan. But what I found interesting was the fact that Franz Schubert’s Erlkönig is called 魔王 in Japanese. The equivalent of Erlkönig in English appears to be Alder King, king of the elves. 

 

 

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Anii’s 60th!

Yagami Toll 60th Birthday Live
IT’S A NOW 2022
2022.08.18 (FRI) CLUB CITTA’

text by Hirabayashi Michiko
photographs by Tanaka Seitari (LIVE), Masa (BACKSTAGE)

 

Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday celebration. Numerous musicians who love and admire him congratulated him on this memorable day. Mentors, juniors, sworn friends, admirers, and his long-time band mates. Such is proof that his yet ongoing drumming career is a happy and blessed one. The 19th of August. This is the report of that one special day.

D’ERLANGER

  1. BABY
  2. Angelic Poetry
  3. Romeo & Juliet
  4. LULLABY
  5. CRAZY4YOU
  6. Oh! My God! (Yagami Toll & Blue Sky cover)
  7. SADISTIC EMOTION

 

Yagami Toll & Blue Sky (1/2)

  1. Mandom—Lovers Of The World
  2. WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind- / with Miyako Keiichi
  3. SODA ROCK!! / with Miyako Keiichi
  4. Fire Girl / with Miyako Keiichi
  5. ROCK’N ROLL STAR / with Miyako Keiichi
  6. Oh! My God! / with Miyako Keiichi
  7. Top Of The Mountain Bar (SHIME cover) / with Miyako Keiichi

Yagami Toll & Blue Sky (2/2)

8. Funky Monkey Baby (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
9. Good Old Rock’n’Roll (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
10. Slow Down (THE BEATLES cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
11. DREAMIN’ (BOØWY cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
12. 時よ [Toki yo] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
13. 夢で逢えたら [Yume de Aetara] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
14. Blow wind  / with Miyako Keiichi

 

BUCK-TICK

  1. THEME OF B-T
  2. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
  3. GUSTAVE
  4. Baby, I want you.
  5. 愛しのロック・スター [Itoshi no Rock Star] / with ISSAY
  6. 恋 [Koi]
  7. ユリイカ [Eureka]
  8. SEXUAL×××××!

With his caring and loving personality, and his sincerity
Life as a loved and admired drummer is bound to continue on

Yagami Toll’s birthday concert IT’S A NOW! has become an annual event that happens every August since celebrating his 50th birthday at the very same CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki in 2012. This special edition 60th anniversary show was a celebration filled with love and respect for Anii.

The first batter of the night, D’ERLANGER started the show with all four members facing each other as they began performing BABY. It was confusing to suddenly see the band with their backs to the audience with the exception of drummer Tetsu, but by choosing to start with this song in a way that focuses on the drummer shows their respect for Yagami. During their segment, Tetsu expressed his joy at being able to take part in this celebration with D’ERLANGER, and performed with more power and spirit than usual with their love for their respected senior.

Up next was 5-piece band Yagami Toll & Blue Sky taking the stage with familiar band members Kenta Harada, KANAME, Yagi Masato, and Miyako Keiichi (SOPHIA/rayflower) joining in as the guest keyboardist. A huge round of applause rose from the audience as Yagami, the star of the day, ascended the drum stage which was decorated with 60 bright red roses. The first half of the show which featured a series of songs from their 2019 mini-album had an intimate atmosphere, as if enjoying a performance with a group of friends who were at ease with each other. Closing off this first half, they covered songs by singer-songwriter SHIME who passed away this March, expressing in music their gratitude and condolences for his indispensable presence in IT’S A NOW!.

The second half was a special segment filled with guest performers. First was a twin drums session with ex-DEAD END drummer Minato Masafumi and ex-BOOWY drummer Takahashi Makoto. The powerful drumming in DREAMIN’ by one drummer celebrating his 60th birthday and the other who was nearing 70 was nothing short of astonishing. After that, Yoshida MInako, who Yagami had always admired, joined them on stage to perform Toki yo and Yume de Aetara at his request. Then, switching places with her were his younger brother Higuchi Yutaka carrying in a bright red silk hat-shaped cake and sworn brother Tetsu (D’ERLANGER) holding a bouquet of flowers on stage to congratulate and celebrate Yagami’s 60th birthday.

During the set change, congratulatory messages were shown on a screen. Familiar faces from the Ayanokoji Sho-led band Kishidan, Carol’s guitarist Uchiumi Toshikatsu who was a huge influence on Yagami’s life, to his junior drummers DIR EN GREY’s Shinya, Spitz’s Sakiyama Tatsuo, BRAHMAN and OAU’s RONZI, POLYSICS’ YANO and many others made comment videos for him, illustrating just how large Yagami’s circle of friends is.

Finally, given the honour of the closing set was, of course, BUCK-TICK. While the members who made up ~Blue Sky from earlier were friends to feel at ease with, BUCK-TICK is the group who will spend the rest of their lives with each other to Yagami. In other words, they are bound together by a common destiny. Today’s show starts with Go-Go B-T TRAIN

“We are Yagami Toll and his trusted associates,” Sakurai greets. Following which, he says, “I’m straying into personal matters, but I fell sick with COVID-19.”

That’s right. Today happened to be the very first show that Sakurai Atsushi performed following his recuperation period, but throughout their set, Sakurai drew close to the drum stage numerous times to revere Anii and to reiterate that the star of today’s show was Yagami.

Then, midway, Sakurai announced, “Let’s call on our lovely guest,” ISSAY, who accepted an invitation from Yagami himself came onstage. Together with Sakurai, they performed Itoshi no Rock Star for the first time in 27 years! The sultry singing voices of the aristocrat of darkness and the Demon King. Just as Sakurai went behind ISSAY and put his hands on the other’s hips, ISSAY puts his arm around Sakurai’s shoulders and brings his face close. Faces were blank before this scene, playing dumb as if thinking, “Oh, goodness gracious, what on earth are they trying to show us here?”

Into the hall which had been enveloped in a bizarre exhilaration, the beautiful yearning melody that is Koi gently descended on us before leading into Eureka that had everyone shouting “LOVE” in their hearts and putting up peace signs. 

Then, Sakurai began a humour-filled introduction, saying, “Upon request by our Anii-san from Tokyo.” 

Yagami came after, declaring, “We’ll be performing the title track from our debut album!” and with the loud signal of a countdown, they jumped into SEXUAL xxxxx! as the grand finale of the night.

When I first came across the band BUCK-TICK, I never could have imagined what people from my grandparents’ generation would have been like when they plated in a rock band. However, the band’s drummer stood on stage this day wearing a bright red outfit, still looking the same as the day I first saw him with his hair standing high, drumming a tight beat. Loved and adored by many for his caring, loving personality and sincere attitude as a musician, Yagami’s life as a drummer continues from here. With his caring and loving personality, and his sincerity as a musician, life as a drummer for Yagami who is loved and admired by many is nowhere near finished, and bound to continue on into the future.

 

 

 

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AFTERSHOW

2021.08.17 Sakurai Atsushi BUCK-TICK

After the cover and feature photoshoot for the special publication PHY Vol.22, this magazine’s photoshoot was done on the terrace of the same studio. Although we knew that we should refrain from putting too much pressure on Sakurai-san who had just recovered from illness, what we wanted in this shoot was Acchan’s smile.  As I stood behind photographer Nakano-san who held the camera, I spoke about how my daughter was aspiring to be a YouTuber and how she was trying to come up with an opening introduction for her channel. And thus, we were graced by the presence of the smiling Demon King. Even though Sakurai said, “Kanemitsu-san, it’s not fair of you to talk about your daughter,” he was beaming all the way until the end of the shoot. By the way, PHY Vol.22 goes on sale on 21 September. The warm, laid-back Hide-san’s book (expanded and revised version) is also slated to be published on the same date. Look forward to it!

 

 

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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Pictures: Yoshiyuki

Concert report of Yagami Toll’s (BUCK-TICK) star-studded 60th birthday celebration

OKMusic
20 August 2022

Text=Yuka Okubo
Photos=Seitaro Tanaka

 

The report covering Yagami Toll ~60th Birthday Live~ IT’S A NOW!2022, the birthday concert celebrating Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday which was held at CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki in Kanagawa on Friday, 19 August 2022 has arrived.

While Yagami Toll is drummer to the band BUCK-TICK, who will be celebrating 35 years together with no change in member line up in September later this year, he also carries out solo activities under the name Yagami Toll & Blue Sky and has released an EP, WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind- in 2019.

This event was in celebration of Yagami Toll’s 60th birthday, and was held on 19 August, the actual day of his birthday. Apart from the Yagami Toll-led band, Yagami Toll & Blue Sky, there also were performances by BUCK-TICK and D’ERLANGER, and he also shared a stage with guest musicians like his close friend Miyako Keiichi from SOPHIA/Rayflower, drummer Minato Masafumi, Der Zibet’s ISSAY, his mentor-figure Takahashi Makoto, and singer Yoshida Minako whom Yagami has admired since childhood.

 

 

On 19 August, stalwart drummer Yagami Toll of the band BUCK-TICK, who will be celebrating their 35th anniversary in September, celebrated his 60th birthday at CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki in Kanagawa with the show, Yagami Toll ~60th Birthday Live~IT’S A NOW!2022.

This birthday concert has become an annual event ever since the 2012 show at the very same CLUB CITTA’ Kawasaki celebrating his 50th birthday. Subsequent shows were held at Shimokitazawa’s live house with the Yagami Toll-led Yagami Toll & Blue Sky as the main act performing their original compositions and covering Yagami’s favourite songs. But this year, they decided to throw a big celebration for Yagami hitting the big 60 and had performances by BUCK-TICK, D’ERLANGER, and special guests like Miyako Keiichi (SOPHIA/Rayflower), Takahashi Makoto, Minato Masafumi and Yoshida Minako joining Yagami Toll & Blue Sky, as well as ISSAY (Der Zibet) taking part in BUCK-TICK’s set. 

During transitions between sets, congratulatory video messages from musicians of all genres of bands were shown too, a testament to just how large Yagami’s circle of friends is. Even the audience’s faces burst into smiles as they watched all the sincere comment videos from stand-out individuals and groups, like the 5 members of Kishidan exclaiming “We knew Anii would be a-okay even at 60!” together, Nishikawa Takanori, fellow Gunma-ite Kanagawa Macoto, his musician seniors Uchiumi Toshikatsu and Nakano Shigeru (亜無亜危異 / ANARCHY), his drummer senior Tsunoda☆Hiro, drummer junior Shinya of DIR EN GREY, Sakiyama Tatsuo from Spitz, and BRAHMAN’s RONZI, just to name a few.

Actor Kuroda Takaya was the backstage announcer for this event, calling in the first batter of the night, D’ERLANGER. As all four members faced each other, they kicked things off with BABY. And Angelic Poetry followed, flaunting the way each and every note could be heard clearly while coming together in the satisfying explosive sound that is unique to D’ERLANGER. Waves alternating between quiet and intensity came and went in Romeo&Juliet, and after performing their hit songs LULLABY and CRAZY4YOU, drummer Tetsu who is Yagami’s close friend said, “I’m glad that we can throw a grand celebration for you in such a large venue today. May our friendship continue into tomorrow, and the day after, and even longer!” 

Singer kyo then said, “To commemorate this day, we’ll be performing a song that everyone is familiar with.” Following that, they performed Oh! My God!; a rock’n’roll song from Yagami Toll & Blue Sky’s discography with lyrics written by Yagami himself. It was a surprise for Yagami too, and when the excitement in the hall was at its peak, the band performed SADISTIC EMOTION, a fiery song that perfectly led back to what kyo said in his very first MC: “Do allow me to properly warm up the stage.” And with that, they departed from the stage.

Up next was Yagami Toll & Blue Sky. The drum stand on the stage took on a special look with a display covered in deep red roses. Once Yagami, Harada Kenta (guitar & vocals), KANAME (bass & vocals), Yagi Masato (guitar), and Miyako Keiichi (keyboard) took the stage wearing red t-shirts, they started their session with the instrumental track WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind-. After drawing the audience in with the mellow performance, they got the crowd going with upbeat rock ‘n roll songs SODA ROCK!! and ROCK’N ROLL STAR.

There’s one more person who is integral to these IT’S A NOW! birthday events and that is SHIME, who passed away in March this year. As a tribute to his memory, they covered SHIME’s own song, Top of The Mountain Bar. Footage of SHIME performing with the band was shown on screen, and at times, Yagami could be seen watching it as he drummed.

Next came a twin drums session where they were joined by guest drummer Minato Masafumi in performing CAROL’s Funky Monkey Baby and Good Old Rock’n’Roll, and then by Takahashi Makoto in their performance of Larry Williams’ SLOW DOWN which The Beatles once covered, and BOØWY’s DREAMIN’. Then, Yoshida Minako, who Yagami has professed to being a huge fan of, joined them on stage for a heartfelt rendition of Yagami’s song requests, Toki yo and Yume de Aetara

While still immersed in the afterglow of her groovy singing, Yagami’s biological younger brother, Higuchi Yutaka (bassist/BUCK-TICK) brought cake onto the stage with Tetsu (D’ERLANGER) who carried a large bouquet. All at once, the hall switched into a festive mood. With the celebratory mood in the air, the band then closed off their set with the mid-tempo Blow Wind, the one and only song that the sharp-tongued SHIME ever praised.

SE THEME OF B-T resounded through the hall as the final act of the night, BUCK-TICK took the stage. We departed from the lull with Go-Go B-T TRAIN, the up-tempo number that was a combination of speed and force. With a whine from guitarist Imai Hisashi’s instrument imitating the pressure of steam blowing out, Higuchi rocked backwards, lifting the neck of his bass guitar up high. Guitarist Hoshino Hidehiko’s strumming was sharp and cutting too as the band went in hard and heavy from their very first song.

Vocalist Sakurai Atsushi causally introduced the band as, “Yagami Toll and his trusted associates,” and then continued his MC with, “I’m straying into personal matters on this happy day, but I fell sick with COVID-19 despite everyone’s cautioning to be careful. Zero powers of persuasion there.” 

This day marks the very first show that Sakurai is having after his falling ill and recupertion last month. But not even a shred of evidence of that was left in his powerful yet delicate voice as the band went on to perform GUSTAVE and then, Baby, I want you.

“Let’s call on our lovely guest,” Sakurai said before singing, ♪‘Radio kara no Transmission〜’ from Der Zibet’s Shizumitai. A delightful scene followed when ISSAY came on stage singing the next part of the song. Then, Sakurai and ISSAY dueted in their first performance of Itoshi no Rock Star together after close to 27 years.

Following the emotional Koi and everyone throwing up peace signs in Eureka,  Sakurai began a humorous introduction with, “This [next one] is on request by our Anii-san from Tokyo.”

Yagami then announced, “We’ll be performing the title track from our debut album!” which led into their last song for the night, SEXUAL×××××!. Just as they jumped into the intro to Yagami’s count, red and silver streamers flew into the air and the audience went wild from this surprise that felt like a return gift from Yagami; a fitting, euphoric end to the night.

After the performance concluded, Yagami remained on stage to tell the audience, “Thank you for coming to celebrate my 60th birthday today.” And finally, to the rest of his bandmates who will in turn hit 60 in future, he added, “I hope we’ll be able [to celebrate like this] three and four years later too.”

The audience gave a rousing applause throughout the performance, and showered love on Yagami, the star of the evening from start to end. The hairstyle that he has kept upright throughout BUCK-TICK’s 35 years of activities is like a symbol of the determination he has had since day one and his love for the fans.

What especially struck me was how quickly they changed the angles of the cymbals for Yagami Toll & Blue Sky’s set. As the drum stand was higher up than usual, the audience wouldn’t be able to see Yagami from where they stood if the cymbals were set at certain angles. For this reason, the cymbals were almost horizontal. Such attention to detail is probably one of the reasons he is so loved by many. I hope that to continue seeing his reliable self as the supporting backbone of BUCK-TICK not just three or four years from now, but far into the future too.

 

<Set List>

■D’ERLANGER

  1. BABY
  2. Angelic Poetry
  3. Romeo & Juliet
  4. LULLABY
  5. CRAZY4YOU
  6. Oh! My God! (Yagami Toll & Blue Sky cover)
  7. SADISTIC EMOTION

■Yagami Toll & Blue Sky

  1. Mandom—Lovers Of The World
  2. WONDERFUL HOME -Thunder & Cold wind- / with Miyako Keiichi
  3. SODA ROCK!! / with Miyako Keiichi
  4. Fire Girl / with Miyako Keiichi
  5. ROCK’N ROLL STAR / with Miyako Keiichi
  6. Oh! My God! / with Miyako Keiichi
  7. Top Of The Mountain Bar (SHIME cover) / with Miyako Keiichi
  8. Funky Monkey Baby (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
  9. Good Old Rock’n’Roll (CAROL cover) / with Minato Masafumi
  10. Slow Down (THE BEATLES cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
  11. DREAMIN’ (BOØWY cover) / with Takahashi Makoto
  12. 時よ [Toki yo] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
  13. 夢で逢えたら [Yume de Aetara] / with Miyako Keiichi & Yoshida Minako
  14. Blow wind  / with Miyako Keiichi

■BUCK-TICK

  1. THEME OF B-T
  2. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
  3. GUSTAVE
  4. Baby, I want you.
  5. 愛しのロック・スター [Itoshi no Rock Star] / with ISSAY
  6. 恋 [Koi]
  7. ユリイカ [Eureka]
  8. SEXUAL×××××!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: OKMusic, Lingua Sounda

 

 

Artist comments for Ernie Ball strings
[Imai, Yuta, Hide]

KORG Import Division’s Instagram 
2 June 2022

 

 

🎸Artist Comment🎸

Here are some comments from artists who use Ernie Ball strings💁‍♀️

Imai Hisashi (BUCK-TICK)

 

“I think I’ve probably been using Ernie Ball strings for more than 30 years?

It’s easier and more stable for re-tuning after restringing

and it’s got a softer touch when I play so I think it’s easy to work with.

I like the way the sound comes through.”

 

⚡️Strings used: Regular Slinky ♯2221

Higuchi Yutaka (BUCK-TICK)

 

“The strings are smooth to the touch, aren’t they?

I do a lot of plucking, so these strings make it very easy to play because they’re not too stiff.

In terms of sound quality, they’re in the high range but I like the way the lows come through too.”

 

⚡️Strings used: Super Slinky Bass ♯2834

Hoshino Hidehiko (BUCK-TICK)

 

“I’ve been using them since around the time of our debut.

The string gauge of the regular Slinky goes from .010 to .046

so I think that makes the strings fully balanced with a rich mid-tone.

And that’s something that BUCK-TICK’s sound can’t do without.”

 

⚡️Strings used: Regular Slinky ♯2221

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: KORG Import Division (Imai post, Yuta post, Hide post)