Somewhere Nowhere 1995 Live Report

Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll
July 1995

Photography by Inoue Seiichi
Text by Oshibe Keiko


At long last, “Six/Niɴe” begins!!
Breaking report!! 2 Days’ Concert at Budokan

The curtains have finally been raised on BUCK-TICK’s tour, Somewhere Nowhere 1995 with their 2 days of opening concerts at Budokan on May 16th and 17th. Their sound becomes ever more experimental with each new release. But even as their staging becomes less appealing to the general masses, the band’s collective power remains unparalleled. Now, we’ll tell you all about what the concert was like, ahead of everyone else in this ultra breaking report that made our printing company cry.



Their continual search for sonic innovation while maintaining a pop presence is even more poignant

BUCK-TICK’s long-awaited album, Six/Niɴe was released on May 15th. They kicked off their tour, “Somewhere Nowhere 1995” with 2 days of opening concerts at Budokan on May 16th and 17th.

This tour will go on for a period of approximately 2 months, ending with their final 2 days at Osaka Koseinenkin Hall¹ on August 2nd. As this magazine will go on sale when the tour is still in its first leg, I will do my best to refrain from spoiling the setlist in this report.

Two days before the start of the tour, the band played at Shinjuku LIQUIDROOM².

Compared to an auditorium, the ambience of a live house makes it easier to bring out a sense of euphoria and a particular communal sense of unity. And I frankly think that more often than not, the closer you are [to the performers], the more tangibly thoughts and feelings can be conveyed.

However, after watching these two shows, I realised that in the case of BUCK-TICK, it was easier for them to get their message across when there’s a certain amount of distance between them and the audience.

Because their show isn’t the type where the energy gets amplified by getting the audience involved. Instead, I feel that it draws you in with a deliberately constructed overall mood on top of an increasingly unique ambience in terms of sound. Coming too close will contrarily make it difficult for them to convey this ambience, as if in a bid to create some kind of distance.

For example, in a live house, Sakurai’s lines in Somewhere Nowhere or even his screams sound like a script from an avant-garde play with a rawness that left me at a loss as to how to react, but in Budokan, it came across with a poignant effect instead.

If musicians innovated without losing their inquisitive spirit with each new work they put out, just like BUCK-TICK, then oftentimes, the range of audiences they can reach narrows. That is to say in other words, the factors of the greatest common denominator, or their mass appeal, diminishes.

But BUCK-TICK’s audience have always been flexible in accepting whatever they release. I think that is in part a result of giving typically-passive audiences a sense of autonomy through the process of them evolving their sound all while compellingly drawing in listeners. Because of that, even songs like Uta can be classified as pop as long as it is being performed by BUCK-TICK.

Personally, it’s BUCK-TICK’s band power of randomly shifting values that intrigues me.

This new album appears to be an attempt to rebuild using new elements after demolishing a certain level of mastery they had attained in their last. It is exceptionally proper of them as artists to disregard the pursuit of any sort of “likeness” or anything like that amidst the pre-established harmony. This stance along with their consistent ability to draw in an audience makes for a simply gratifying tale.

But how does the audience view this present album? While there is an increased sense of “better conveyed from a distance” in their pursuit of innovation, I also got the feeling that there was diminished connectedness with the audience. Watching the arena from the second floor, I could see that although the audience understood the band’s stance, they yearned for moments when they could somehow connect with the men on stage somewhere.

Like the tune hummed after the Uta’s break, or Sakurai’s short emcee. In those moments when it felt like there was some way to connect with the stage, the audience felt as if they were groping around trying to find it.

The main set comprised only songs from the new album, arranged such that it would bring the singular flow to a close at the end.

Caught up in such a flow, I think the audience felt that it was easiest to eke out those “moments” during the song from Kurutta Taiyou, which the band played in the encore. But that connection was severed all too soon the moment the song ended and the auditorium light up. While there might be those who simply enjoy this set up or who get some sort of masochistic pleasure from this, I’m sure there are also those who were left feeling like there’s unfinished business.

However, this concert was held the day following the release of the album which also means that not everyone was familiar with the music yet.

Taking that into consideration, at this point in time, it is still a mystery as to whether the uncertainty exhibited by the audience was because of that, or due to the confusion around the band’s direction in the new album.

It will be interesting to see what the mood in the various tour venues will be like as [the audience] soaks in the album.

At the same time, it is as Yagami Toll said during his interview for the new album; the band’s principal stance is to disregard their audience and do whatever they want.

How “pop” of an existence will this piquantly self-seeking band who hurtles headlong into going their own way continue to be for their audience from now on? Will their sound evolve as they figure out how to keep up their centripetal force so strong that it transforms their worth?  Looking at the way they’re going recently, I personally feel that there’s a lot we can expect from them in this respect.





¹ Now known as Orix Theater.

² First opened in July 1994 before shutting in January 2004. Later that year in July, they moved to Shibuya and reopened.




Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: Endless Dei (@DeiEndless on Twitter)


Related articles:

[Jun 1995] Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll: Six/Niɴe Feature — Double-Edged BUCK-TICK

[Jul 1995]  Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll: Outpouring from the heart — Part 2 of Sakurai Atsushi’s interview in the Six/Niɴe Feature


Double-Edged BUCK-TICK

An Intense Hunger For Life

Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll
June 1995

photography Hitoshi Iwakiri (岩切等)
hair & makeup Takayuki Tanizaki (谷崎隆幸)
styling Tomoharu Yagi (八木智晴)


It’s been 2 years since their last album, darker than darkness.
Following the release of their 2 singles, Uta and Kodou, BUCK-TICK’s new album,
Six/Niɴe will arrive on May 15.
That special withdrawn decadence which was brought to fruition in darker~
has been eclipsed by the intense hunger for life portrayed in this album.
But what does it all mean?
From demise to rebirth…… The key to this are the north and south poles of a magnet or in other words,
hidden in the album title which implies the concept of opposites.
In this issue, we’ll close in on them with a double feature of personal interviews with the members of the band
and the direct confrontation between Onojima and Imai over the single Uta!!





Individual Interviews


Atsushi Sakurai

Interview by: Onojima Dai

This interview was held right after the conversation with Imai that comes later.
Here, there are quite a lot of differences in the nuances of what they say. And this is the first time that Sakurai so blatantly shared his opinions about his fellow band members. Although it is of course that these opinions are, ultimately, based on the fact that the members have a close relationship with each other, like family.

I do sense the mismatch between the singing and the music, and I get what you mean by that.
But the main reason behind this is really because that guy was too tardy with the songwriting.

―― What did you have in mind when you were in the process of producing this album?

Sakurai (S): It was definitely…… to stop using words that I didn’t know. Even with the applications of words and phrases, I decided that I’d stop using things I don’t know. It probably sounds weird, but I guess it feels as if doing that reveals my own stupidity to a certain extent, whether in the music or the lyrics. Things like vocabulary, it shows everyone your ability, like how you would with your musical instruments and your technique. So, it’s already become difficult for me to do that, things like trying to make myself seem like a bigger deal than I really am.

―― Why did you need to make yourself look like a big deal?

S: (Long silence) I don’t know. I don’t even know if I could make that last either.

―― Maybe you didn’t want to be looked down upon?

S: That might be the reason. But we can’t bluff, can we? Humans. Especially when it comes to this sort of…… Well, maybe that’s not true for everyone. …… Because, me, I’m no actor. Neither am I a poet, right? I’m just a member of a band, anyway.

―― Do you have some sort of complex around being a band member?

S: (Silence) No, no. I don’t.

―― For you, do you feel that you don’t want to fit into the role of the band’s vocalist or that you can’t?

S: Mmn…… (Long silence) …… I don’t know (lol). Do you think so?

―― Don’t ask me.

S: Hahahah. Well, even I don’t know myself.

―― Don’t you think that people in general all get the feeling that their present state of self isn’t their true self, or that “This isn’t who I am.”?

S: I think that might’ve gradually gone away. This might sound contradictory but I’m usually thinking, “Ah~ So this is the kind of person I am.”

―― How did you come to think like that?

S: It’s self-defense, isn’t it? It’s easier like this. To me, at least. It’s like, if I’m at ease, I can deal with anything that comes my way, I suppose.

―― Looking at the lyrics in this album, there are a lot of times when expressions like “I want proof of my life” seem to come up out of nowhere. Does this have some sort of relation to this change that youspoke of?

S: Yeah. Yeah…… But poetry, it’s nothing more than theatrics after all. If I didn’t feel that I had to write, then I wouldn’t. Ah, I might’ve written poetry but I don’t know about song lyrics.

―― Is poetry different from song lyrics?

S: I think it’s different. To me.

―― Is putting music to words itself something that feels unnatural to you?

S: There’s some part of turning my words into lyrics that feels quite unnatural. Because I have to write according to Imai’s or Hide’s music. Even for a phrase like “そうですか [I see] (so-u-de-su-ka)]”, if Imai gives me tan-tan-tan, three beats, it would turn into “そ・う・か [I see] (so-u-ka)”. I noticed that this time, because of that, I had to, as much as possible, do my best to not deviate. From what I’ve written and what I had in mind.

―― So, this album, I thought that the balance between the music and the singing was exceptionally off. That was particularly so in Uta. It’s as if the singing is losing out to the music, or they just don’t match up or something. Though, Imai-kun made it sound as if that was, to some extent, intentional.

S: I can’t, I’m not capable of production like that, of myself. That guy…… Calling him “that guy” sounds terrible. He’s capable of doing that kind of production, you see. I don’t think about those things or go that far. Although, I do sense that mismatch and I do get what you mean by that……

―― Hmmm…… I don’t know if I should say it……

S: Please say anything you want.

―― I got the feeling that there wasn’t enough communication between Sakurai-kun and Imai-kun prior to writing a song and all that, though…… Or am I wrong?

S: No, there was barely anything lacking. That more or less happened when we got to the later half of our work, but there wasn’t anything like that in beginning. Then, after it starts to take some shape, we’d decide that we like this, we don’t like this, things like that…… There’s no planning on the whole, yeah. There are positives to that but there are also things that just don’t work. I don’t think we ever said it was a good thing, though.

―― Even compared to before?

S: No, but we’ve never done that before either…… Because the songs that we wrote earlier on… Like Uta… I guess it’s just Uta. There’s nothing with that song. I didn’t want to say anything, and I was frustrated too…… Because, you see, both him and I, we hate giving in. We also hate making others bend over for us.

―― But weren’t you in perfect agreement for your previous albums and releases?

S: Were we?

―― (Lol) Well, that’s just what it sounded like to me based on what I heard. That both of your goals were aligned and the band came together to move towards the one same direction. Not that it’s in monotony, you know.

S: Mm…………

―― Though, I suppose it just so happened that the result was unanimous.

S:  Yeah. I guess you can say that. Which is why this time, I really couldn’t…… grasp it. Because even after we’ve started recording, Imai hadn’t written the songs yet. Then it was a rush, recording the rhythm section, I didn’t even know anything about the other band members’ work too, yeah. It’s too late to blame anyone for anything, but I won’t blame anyone so I’ll just blame myself (lol).

―― I thought BUCK-TICK achieved a point of perfection with darker than darkness. Then, both Imai-kun and Sakurai-kun decided to change things this time around.

S: Yes.

―― But even if you chose to change, won’t you end up looking at the disparate parts? That’s why you’d get the feeling it doesn’t come together as an album.

S: Do you feel that way?

―― Yes. Frankly speaking.

S: On the whole?

―― There are, of course, good songs but if we’re talking about the power of everything coming together to become one, as the album’s appeal as one work, I think it’s definitely your previous work that has it.

S: But, you know, the main reason for this is definitely because that guy was really too late.

―― But it’s not the first time, is it?

S: No, he really was too tardy this time (lol). We couldn’t really do much about it, you know, with the songs that came last.

―― You’ve got a schedule planned out this time around, though. With the film concert and all that, so I guess you were also in a situation where you absolutely had to stick to the predetermined release date.

S: It’s not great, is it? I especially hated that. But, you see, even though I didn’t say anything, my voice was crushed. We had no choice but to do it. Well, even if I said this, it wouldn’t have changed anything. Rather than having no release at all, we decided to bring it as close to 100% and release it, though. I think that’s the kind of mismatch problem that Onojima -san sensed. Be it between the vocals and the instruments or between different instruments. Although, there’s really nothing that can be done even if I complain about it. But although there are parts that you can’t digest, I think it’s fine as long as people still feel that it’s good. Because I feel that it’s very much a case where if you think it’s good, it’s good.

―― Do you think that the misalignment that you felt with Uta has been solved by the second half of the album’s production?

S: Mm…… Rather than solved, we just stopped caring about it.

―― Gave up?

S: It’s not that we gave up…… We thought that it sounded convincing, that it’s good like this.

―― Didn’t you wonder why you had to persuade yourself into believing that it sounds convincing? 

S: (Lol) Convincing myself…… I think it’s definitely because…… How do I put this…… It stinks but having formed such a band, I guess we’re just happy that we can do what we like, so it’s simply because of that…… Is this a boring answer?

―― No, not at all. Because it means that you’ve still got that fresh feeling.

S: No, rather than saying it’s still here, I think it’s more like I’ve been taking it for granted until now.

―― Oh? Did you have some sort of change of heart?


…… And that’s unfortunately where we’ll stop because we’ve run out of printing space. The latter half of this interview will be published in the next issue of this magazine. Look forward to it.



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Hisashi imai

Interviewer: Oshibe Keiko

It might be contradictory to the work I do, but I’m fascinated by this breakthrough album that turns “genre” into a mere empty word, so much so that it makes me abandon the thought of critiquing or analysing it. That is usually a direct reflection of an artist’s views and instincts, and yet, although it’s convincing, it doesn’t tend towards logic. That is simply an abstrusity that comes from the fact that the album is not bound by the logic of genres. That said, this new album by BUCK-TICK might just be an abstrusity  in itself. Even if we tried to make sense of it with logic, it is an album that immediately turns the pleasant feeling of sensual enjoyment into something profound. In that sense, we could probably say that this work is an album in which Imai was given the ability to tackle his instinctive urges as a composer in a more direct manner than usual.

If we’re talking about nerve-wracking, I guess it’s my bad for being tardy with the composing (lol).
I did have the intention of finishing things up early, but somehow…… I wonder what happened (lol).

―― Well, anyway. In terms of creative inspiration, what’s it like? This time around.

Imai (I): Nothing particularly new. I don’t think it’s any different than before.

―― I heard that you were still coming with new songs even after all the rhythm sections were recorded, though.

I: Because I just kept thinking that there was not enough, and just continued composing.

―― What’s “not enough”?

I: A bunch (lol). Same with the overall balance too. But what I was really worried about were the songs which came first. They were really just vague…… They had this feeling that they were somehow lacking one other thing. Because I wanted to do that. In the latter half, the songs, it was just…… we were late with those because of small details like drum patterns and bass riffs, guitar riffs, these things.

―― Were there any instances where the final product turned out to be a whole other song, or you had new techniques you wanted to try out, or anything like that?

I: In terms of techniques…… There were songs that were made with programming too, so that’s about it. There wasn’t really anything special in the way we did things. But also because it feels like somehow, we haven’t really found our way out of it.

―― Did you have some kind of vision for this album on the whole?

I: Mmm…… I can’t quite put it into words.

―― Say, for example, the title. Did you have a specific idea in mind?

I: The complete opposites of North and South…… The North and South poles. I had that sort of two-sides-of-the-same-coin idea. I kept thinking about that for some reason. Then I figured that indicating it with 6 and 9 might be the easiest way to get the message across.

―― As something which symbolises the aspect of opposites coexisting.

I: That’s right. Not that it’s a good or a bad thing. Aside from that…… I’m not too sure.

―― So it doesn’t particularly hold any deeper meaning. It’s just a symbol for what you had in mind.

I: Yeah. It’s just because I had that North, South idea in the beginning.

―― I see. So earlier, we talked about your vision for this album, but what about for the previous album? Personally, it gives me the sense of being run through. In terms of imagery, it’s like a futuristic yet decadent landscape at the end of the road.

I: In a way…… I suppose I wanted to do songs that are more stripped down, noisier, those types.

―― I think that gives this album a sense of speed that isn’t just about being fast and also a kind of exceptionally weighty feeling, but did you deliberately intend to enhance those elements for this album?

I: Those aspects of weight and speed naturally occurred without any deliberate effort this time around. So for that…… It was just a matter of letting it grow.

―― I wondered if perhaps those elements were increased as a result of taking that image which inspired you and transferring it into the music at a higher level of concentration.

I: Meaning?

―― Like, maybe you had less doubt than before when you’re putting the song together. For example, the kind of hesitancy where the idea comes to you and then you think, “Maybe it’s better not to do this.”

I: Ahh. Well, that it’s good to speed things up and just do it once I get an idea was…… something I only realised in the later half of my composition work (lol). Because before, I’ve only always been…… aware of it.

―― That said, I felt that this album turned out to be rather frank, though.

I: Well, that’s the idea (lol). But I know that it definitely feels best when the groove really comes out strong like that. It’s just that I ended up taking a whole day to think about how the intro should go, about the rhythm patterns, and things like that. And it was hard to expand from there.

―― When did you start composing for this album?

I: Around December…… I think it was around then. Probably.

―― So at what point did things start to stagnate after you started composing?

I: The first song was done quickly. Then I redid the second song about 4 times at home. That’s why I have quite a number of different tunes that no one has ever heard before, though. …… At that point…… was when I ran quite far behind.

―― No one’s ever heard them before…… What kind of music is it? Those you’ve rejected on your own.

I: No, well. It’s just kind of music that we’ve never ever done before. I thought it might feel a bit wrong if we were to go with those.

―― That it’s not quite the type for BUCK-TICK to play?

I: Nah. It’s the songs themselves.

―― Ahh. …… So, there were quite a number of songs, weren’t there?

I: There were. That’s why I think we might’ve been able to wrap things up a little earlier if we just did the songs in the order that they came to me, though.

―― You mean, like the song you’re most interested in or whichever song you’re having the most trouble with at the moment?

I: The song that I was troubling with on my own was Kodou. Because its a song that’s easy to misunderstand. Depending on the way it’s captured

―― Specifically speaking?

I: It can be poppy and melodious and cute and pretty and all that. For BUCK-TICK to do that…… I was worried about whether the band could pull it off or not. …… But I figured that if I leave it up to Acchan, he’d get it. That’s why I handed the song over as it was.

―― Ah, so it’s not from the perspective of the listener. But rather, the song could end up with a completely different impression depending on your band members’ interpretations. So, do you think that it turned out well in the end?

I: Yeah. I think so.

―― By the way, earlier, Yagami-san said that the recording atmosphere had improved a lot compared to what it was before. Does Imai-san personally also think that such a…… change has happened?

I: Because it felt like a chore during our first album, second, and until our third album. The recording. We had no time, we had to do one song a day, we’d go into the studio and when everyone’s there, we’d start. It was…… a chore (lol).

―― (Lol) So, were you simply able to enjoy the recording work itself this time around?

I: …… Although, there were times when it felt like something wasn’t quite right (lol). But I think we were able to go through with it very very well this time around.

―― It’s just that in reality, I assume it’d often be nerve-wracking.

I: If we’re talking about nerve-wracking…… I guess it’s my bad for being tardy with the composing (lol) and that was really what made it nerve-wracking. Although, it wasn’t all that stressful once we got to the recording stage.

―― But because it was so nerve-wracking, wouldn’t you think, “I am definitely going to make sure that I’ll finish this up early next time” (lol).

I: If I did things with that intention…… If I did that, we’d probably end up in a position where we’d be saying there’s no way we can be any more polished than we’d ever been (lol). But really, I did have the intention to do that, you know? It’s just that somehow…… I wonder what happened (lol).

―― (Lol) Soー. How much time do you think is enough time to compose an album’s worth of songs?

I: ………… Until I’m done.

―― Until you’re done. That sounds like you’re going to take forever, though.

I: Nah. …… Nothing like that (lol).



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Hidehiko Hoshino

Interview by: Sasaki Mika

There’s always an air of calm around Hide, reminiscent of his beautiful melodies. In this album, he has recorded 4 songs and he appears to have become more aware of his position. Is it almost time for the taciturn backseat rider’s counter attack!?

I thought it’d be great if every song would have its own strong character
and we’d be able to play around with the sound to turn it all into one album.

―― Did you expect this album to end up this lengthy?

Hoshino (H): Nope, I didn’t think that there would be so many songs. Because I thought the most we would have would be 12 or 13.

―― I wonder why it turned out like this.

H: Imai-kun is why (lol).

―― How did you feel before you started composing?

H: Personally, I didn’t feel all that…… How do I say this. I felt that I couldn’t see the entirety of it at all and that I’d just write the songs I wanted to write. We compiled it later anyway.

―― Without any discussion to say, like, let’s do something like this?

H: Yeah, we didn’t do that. Then again, in the end, even if I did discuss things with Imai-kun, the differences in our sensibilities and things like that will definitely come to the fore, so you could say that it’s absolutely impossible for any one of us to be the same as the other. Such conversations didn’t happen precisely because we did our own thing. We previously did have discussions about what kind of album we wanted to make on the whole, but this time was special; we didn’t have that.

―― So, what did Hide-kun personally hope for it to be like?

H: I imagined that every song would have its own strong character and we’d be able to play around with the sound to turn it all into one album.

―― Was this 2 year gap between your previous album and the current one planned?

H: Mmm…… I wonder. I wonder if it is (lol).

―― (Lol) What did you do last year?

H: Relaxed so much that I got tired of it.

―― You’re tired of it?

H: Tired of it (lol).

―― Did you write anything during that period of time?

H: Nope, not at all. I started composing when we started talking about releasing the first single, which was around the end of last year, I think. Around November or December. 

―― How many songs did you finish by then?

H: 2 songs. Uta’s b-side, Kimi e and one more. We dropped that one, and I originally composed Kimi e for the album but it didn’t feel quite right either so we used it as a b-side instead.

―― If Kimi e was included in the album, you’d have 5 songs in there, but this 5 was picked out of how many?

H: Around 8, I think. 3 were dropped.

―― But, by the time Hide-kun had already presented all your songs, Imai-kun’s songs had yet to be done, right?

H: Yeah. At all (lol).

―― In that situation, didn’t you think of adding more of your songs into the roster?

H: Nope, not really. (Lol) I did think of putting them in if we could, but in the end, if I wasn’t satisfied with the music as a demo tape, I wouldn’t release it anyway.

―― It appears that no matter what, it’s Imai-kun’s songs that determine the album’s direction.

H: Yeah, they do.

―― If that’s the case, then it feels like Hide-kun is always just sitting in the backseat along for the ride. Do you like being in that sort of a position?

H: Mmm…… Rather than saying I like it (lol), well, it’s the natural flow of things.

―― You can tune into what Imai-kun composes because you’d feel that it’s good enough for you too?

H: Ahh, that, I do.

―― Well then, please comment on Imai-kun’s music in this album.

H: There are a lot of cool songs. The songs in the latter half were made in a hurry but they’re really cool. Like love letter. I think this one was probably composed last.

―― But do I wonder why that person took so long.

H: Don’t you think that it’s simply because of the way he thinks? I guess he probably started late too, but it’s most likely because he works things out down to the details.

―― Does no one push him about it?

H: We do. We do, but it’s completely useless (lol).

―― What’s it like recording again after 2 years?

H: It was tiring. The hours were long this time, and there were a lot of songs too. The recording itself was very…… How should I put this? In the first half of our progress, I would go into the studio on my own and work alone and that was nice. Since there wasn’t anyone else around me, I could relax and take my time with it.

―― Do you like that kind of solitary work?

H: When it comes to recording, I prefer that. Because, after all, people sitting behind me in the studio will become a distraction. Especially when it comes to my own songs. It’s better for me to mess around however I want. Although this time, it took a long time to get to business after I was done with that.

―― Waiting around drains your motivation more (lol). That’s why it doesn’t feel like you made [this album] together.

H: Because there was a lot of solo work. Like doing things in different studios and all that.

―― Are you responsible for your own songs?

H: There is that, yes, but even Imai-kun’s songs are done by him going into a different studio to work on it on his own. We were being pressed for time so if we didn’t do that, we wouldn’t have made it in time.

―― Without thinking about how the 2 guitars would play together and things like that?

H: That was done to some extent in the demos so we just listened to that and played accordingly. We did discuss it, though.

―― And this Rakuen was a different version than the b-side to Kodou.

H: We did think of putting the single version into the album, but I got a bit selfish and asked for a version that removed the drums and bass and all that and only featured the tabla, and that was what we put into the album. Part of the reason was because I just wanted to try using the tabla as an instrument.

―― When did you decide on the album title?

H: Just recently. Around the time we were done with tracking.

―― How do you interpret this title?

H: I guess you could say it’s interesting. Deep.

―― I was hoping you’d explain this “depth”.

H: I’m also not that…… (Lol) I wasn’t the one who came up with it so I don’t really know but…… I think it’s got something to do with symmetrical opposites, like the north and south pole.

―― Maybe 9 songs are the key to the album?

H: …… Could it be? (Lol)

―― I’m asking you! (Lol)

H: Hahhahhah. Maybe not?

―― There are people saying things like, “It’s the BUCK-TICK revival!”

H: (Lol) That’s not our intention. Well, it’s true that it’s been a long while though…… Hasn’t it?

―― And there are a lot of new bands who people are labelling as post-BUCK-TICK too.

H: Really? Well, I’m not familiar with that so I’ve got no idea.

―― Aren’t you worried that you might’ve lost fans to other bands?

H: No, not really. No such thing.

―― No interest in the Japanese music scene at all?

H: None at all. Because I don’t listen to them, nor do I read the magazines.

―― So you separate yourself from the trends of the general public to create your own world?

H: Yeah, that’s probably it. Don’t you think that’s better? Besides, I think it’s good for people to respectively make the music they want to make.

―― Then, what kind of reaction to the album are you hoping for from your listeners?

H: It’d be nice if they like it.

―― That’s itー?

H: Yeah. Hahhahhah. No, really.

―― Did you think about including the general public with your core fans when you release an album?

H: Sometimes I do, in the end…… While it’s true that if we made pop music…… I don’t know if you’d call it a boundary, but there are times when I get very concerned about it, though……

―― Are you no longer bothered now?

H: Rather than now, it’s like, turning down the noise distortion on the guitar alone would give it a completely different sound. I’m doing all the things that I think are good, so I don’t really think about such things.

―― So, it’s good enough for you if you win over the undecided by doing whatever you want to do?

H: Yeah, that’s right.

―― I suppose you can only think like that if you have the confidence that you’ve made something good, right.

H: Yeah. I especially feel that this time around.



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yutaka Higuchi

Interview by: Sasaki Mika

We meet every month, but there’s no one who stays the same as much as Yuta. I think it’s a welcome addition to the band to have such a person as their bassist. Although, I would’ve liked it if he would write songs like before, if possible.

That Imai-san sure is a genius. That’s something I’ve reaffirmed when we started recording again after this break.
Because listening to the 1st and 14th songs, you wouldn’t have thought that both were from the same band, right? That’s why it’s fun.

―― What do you think of the final product?

Yuta (Y): There were so many songs that I wondered how it would turn out when we put it all together, but once we put the 1st song, the 15th and this one right in the middle (the 8th) between them when we were finishing things up, everything changed. Rather than the songs just playing one after another, they really brought about a clear image of the whole album.

―― Were these 3 songs an idea that came up at the end to bring some sort of completeness to the album?

Y: There weren’t really any songs that sounded similar or were of the same genre, so we thought they’d be good for that purpose. We’ve never made an album which started with speech either so I thought it could be interesting.

―― Is there anything in the way you produced this album that was different from what you’ve been doing thus far?

Y: Most of it stayed the same but because the songs were composed late, we were recording the rhythm parts until quite late in our schedule. At least, that’s the impression I have. But the way we did things was the same.

―― Was this the latest ever?

Y: Look, we haven’t even started recording the rhythm parts for other songs when we were already working on the tracking (lol).


―― Is that undesirable?

Y: It’s not that, but I was hoping that I’d have a little more time to rehearse my part.

―― Wouldn’t you feel uneasy when you can barely see the big picture for this album?

Y: I was more or less uneasy, yeah. But there wasn’t really anything like changes in the organisation [of work] or anything like that [so it wasn’t too bad].

―― You’ve said before that it’s easy to see what Imai-kun wants to do with his songs, so it’s easy when it comes to figuring out the arrangement too, right?

Y: Yeah.

―― Considering that, would you say that there’s likely a clear picture of the kind of album you’d be making in Imai-kun’s head?

Y: Hmm…… Probably.

―― Did he put that picture into words and share it with the band?

Y: Mmm…… There is a certain extent of communication with us when he’s done with a song so…… Yeah.

―― I wonder how he intended to bring out that sense of completeness.

Y: Mm…… I don’t know that much about it. About what’s in Imai-san’s mind.

―― Then, what does Yuta-kun think about it? As a member of the band.

Y: Like the vibe of the music. Since we had so many songs, I personally thought of suggesting to get rid of some if it so happened that things didn’t sound good together or anything like that. But it turned out nice when we tried lining them up anyway [so we kept them all]. It’s somehow like an atypical 2-CD set, isn’t it? The album’s got that kind of image.

―― What kind of role do you think this album will play in BUCK-TICK’s career?

Y: While we’re doing new things, this new album’s also still got the good parts of what we’ve done before. I personally don’t feel like we’ve used a different approach than our usual, so, yeah, we’re trying new things while taking all the good aspects that we’ve got since our very first album. That’s why I think it’ll be a very easy album to digest for those who have always been listening to our music.

―― So, you’re saying that’s what the album resulted in?

Y: Yeah. I think that’s unintentional.

―― When you say you’re doing something new, which songs are most representative of that?

Y: Probably these few, for sure (points at 9th, 14th, and 15th song). It feels like we’ve increased the number of different sides we have to us again. Compared to our previous album, we’ve completely switched up the atmosphere in this album, haven’t we? It feels like you can clearly see the vibe of each individual song.

―― I guess that might also be the result of the songs being worked on in batches rather than all together.

Y: I think that’s another big reason for it. We’re always working on one song at a time, but in the end, the totality of it, I suppose, turned out to be slightly different than our previous album. And this time around, the vibe of our previous album still remains in a good way. That’s why it wasn’t like we got rid of everything and started back from square one again. I guess you could say that it’s like our standard work but not quite.

―― A transitional album?

Y: …… I don’t know about that. Not yet.

―― How do you feel about making music with everyone again after 2 years?

Y: We make all sorts of remarks here and there so it was fun. I don’t quite remember exactly what they were if you want examples, though (lol).

―― Was it fun while playing too?

Y: It was. It’s just that there are too many one chord songs (lol). That’s why it can get a little bit boring playing bass, but on the contrary, I thought that made it more interesting too. Because then I could play it very thoroughly. I mostly played with my fingers this time around. I guess that was fundamentally different. I basically changed my play style. Deciding between my fingers and the pick is usually dependent on the vibe of the song, but this time, I felt that there were more songs that would be better played with my fingers so I naturally chose to go with that.

―― Which songs do you particularly like how you played?

Y: I suppose it’s these (points at 2nd, 14th, and 15th song). Ah, but I like all of them~.

―― No regrets?

Y: None.

―― You’ve done everything that you’re capable of at this point in time?

Y: I guess I feel that way too. But this time, I really felt, “Ahh, we’ve really made something great.” With the songs arranged in this order, it’s of course, don’t you think?

―― What do you think about the album title?

Y: It’s sleazy…… Actually, no (lol). What was it, something like, they’re actually the same even though they appear to be opposites. Like a sort of cycle.

―― Like a pattern?

Y: That can be rolled anyway you like. Like, something that has the same shape but turns into a completely different meaning once you roll it around. As to what it means…… I don’t know (lol).

―― Was there anything you’ve reaffirmed when you started recording again after that break?

Y: That Imai-san sure is a genius. That’s what came to mind. Because, although you’d get a particular vibe when you listen to this part (14th and 15th song), when you listen to the other songs, it’s a whole other feeling again. They bring something different that doesn’t exist in everything else you’ve heard. For example, if we look at Uta, it’s got a sound that’s unique to only Uta, right? That’s why I thought he’s really amazing.

―― So even if it takes time, it can’t be helped?

Y: Yeah (lol). Because listening to the 1st and 14th songs, you wouldn’t have thought that both were from the same band, right? It’s probably the same when we listen to the 2nd song too, though. That’s why it’s so much fun.

―― To me, I think that among the members, Yuta-kun is the one who is most aware of how people perceive you.

Y: Is that soー. I guess I am the type to care about how people see us.

―― Is it the one thing you think about the most?

Y: I wonder. But I think everyone wonders about how others perceive them, so I don’t think I’m all that conscious of it all the time, though……

―― You’re most in touch with the general public, right?

Y: But Imai-san’s the most popular, though?

―― Huuhー!?

Y: He’s popular. And he’s a people pleaser too. For me, it’s just because I talk a lot, right? The other members don’t talk at all but. Imai-san is a person who can explain things in 1 sentence where I’d take 10.

―― I see. Do you think that these 2 years were a needed break for the band to make this album?

Y: It was a good period of time for the band, wasn’t it? Not specifically because it enabled us to make this album. Well, I guess it plays a part, but I think it’s been a good 2 years. Besides, if we keep releasing things one after another, we’d look cheap. Although, if we really thought that it was good for us to release something every 3 months, then I think it’s fine, though.

―― As the big-name BUCK-TICK.

Y: We’re not big at all. We’re still rookies (lol).

―― But you’ve got tons of followers.

Y: I can’t say that. That’s for others to say. We’ve got our own hands full…… But that’s good, isn’t it? As long as everyone works hard.

―― As the headliners.

Y: I suppose so. Although we’re probably only ranked like maegashira-13¹ (lol). But I think it’s good enough if we feel that we really made a good album. Besides, this one’s got weight in it, doesn’t it? It’s over 70 minutes long. Quite something, isn’t it?

―― If you were to take a 70-minute train ride, you’d travel really far too.

Y: You’ll arrive at our hometown (lol).




¹ In sumo, maegashira is the lowest of five ranks in the top makuuchi division. All the makuuchi wrestlers who are not ranked in san’yaku are ranked as maegashira, numbered from one at the top downwards. 13 is just one rank under the rank (14) that allows a wrestler to be promoted.


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Toll yagami

Interview by: Oshibe Keiko

“This is how it’s always been, but we don’t really keep to what we’ve grasped in our previous release. We do things as if we’re starting from scratch again,” said Yagami Toll. More importantly, it appears that new elements that are created through the band members interacting and influencing each other on stage will naturally tie into the next album. How has his own style evolved in that flow? That’s another part of the process we’ll find out as we talk about the album.

Even if Imai wrote JUST ONE MORE KISS for this album, we’d probably have tossed it out.
Because we prioritised our desire to do things that we’ve never done before for this album.

―― So, this album. Was there anything from your previous tour that you personally wanted to bring into it? Like something related to your drumming, or sensibilities.

Toll (T): Personally, there wasn’t anything in particular but…… Although there’s always been that wild aspect and things like that, I wanted to bring out more natural-sounding drums. That’s why I think most listeners might probably think that the drums sound muddy when they listen to it this time around. But I guess you could say that’s exactly what makes it a truly rare sound coming from the drums. When you hear most drums in the flesh, their sound would be muddy. But when it gets picked up by the mic, it’d turn into a really clean and beautiful sound, right? But that’s not reality, so there’s a part of me that feels that this muddy sound is contrarily better.

―― It seemed especially so in the intro of Kimi no Vanilla.

T: Yeah (lol). That was recorded with something like this (tape recorder for interviews). Because doing that created a really great effect.

―― That’s pretty extreme, but this kind of sound that seems as if you just walked into the studio and recorded on a whim is rather fresh, isn’t it? Gives it a unique vibe too.

T: I guess it’s because the muddiness of the drums itself makes it more real. We just did it with a simple, “How’s this?”, “Sounds good.” But it came together very well, didn’t it? That’s why I’ve had enough of processed, clear sound qualities…… then again, anything goes in these times, so I guess I just want to do things that other people don’t do. Which is why I told my friend’s kid who plays the drums, “Don’t copy me.” But the kid retorted, “There’s no way I can copy such a sound.” (Lol).

―― (Lol) On the other hand, was there ever a period of time when you sought to drum with precision for a clear sound?

T: Rather than seeking it, it naturally turned out that way. Probably like our 3rd album TABOO. I guess you could say it’s because we had a producer (Owen Paul) so I simply had to be precise. But that was also a lesson in a good way, and I get the feeling that it also led into the albums that followed.

―― Would you say that if not for that experience, it would only be much later on that you’d go in the direction that you’ve chosen for this album?

T: Yeah. It might probably only happen much later.

―― But in the past, I used to have the impression that you’d go all out drumming the 8-beat pattern, yet recently, it’s like you’re more toned down or something. For example, I noticed that you’ve shifted towards the idea that drums are supposed to be an instrument played by humans and that’s what they should be.

T: I’m not all that conscious of it, though. It’s just the way it is now. That’s why I’d say that if we’re talking half a year ago or half a year later, I might feel differently too. But, you know, our recording sessions used to be very tense, but now, I can even think about how roughly or relaxed I want to drum. In the past, I wouldn’t say that it was autonomic dysfunction but there was turmoil similar to that. It’s as if your head’s always spinning (lol).

―― Was it really that bad (lol).

T: Yeah. But I won’t be able to drum well if I get too excited either. Because that happens, I decided to get very relaxed for in darker~. Up until then, I had been drumming at full power like crazy but once I decided to do that, I somehow started to feel the groove in chunks. But I wanted to produce a rounded sound, you know. It was completely different once I started drumming with leeway to spare. It’s definitely because I could move freely when I did that. …… But for this album, I didn’t really think about that. I just wanted to drum so…… It might spell trouble for me to say this, but I don’t really know whether I did well or not yet (lol). Although, there’s a strong sense of accomplishment. But, simply put, I lose interest quickly in things that are immediately obvious. There were aspects in darker~ like that, but comparing that album to our current one, I think that album might still be easier to comprehend than this.

―― Could that partly be also due to the idea of making music with the listeners in mind having faded off?

T: But for us, we’ve never done that since the very beginning (lol).

―― Since the beginning (lol). Ever since you debuted?

T: Yeah. We’ve really been doing whatever we like. That’s why, I’m grateful that we do get sales to a certain extent, though (lol). But if we do something badly, it’s just for our own satisfaction anyway, right?

―― Then, do you get the sense that having made it this far, you can now do something like this too?

T: I don’t, not really. It’s just how things turned out when we gave it a go. We don’t even consider things like, “Shall we go with an easy to remember melody?” (Lol). Because we decide whether something is cool or not based on our own standards. Like, if one of us said, “Isn’t this tacky?”, that thing would get tossed out.

―― This perspective on how good something is, are the members of the band always in agreement over it?

T: …… Before, oftentimes Imai would say, “This will definitely be a good song so let’s do this,” and I’d retort, “This isn’t ever gonna work.” (Lol). But that doesn’t happen so much any more. In any case. We have to respect the other’s feelings (lol).

―― So, if there’s even the slightest disagreement, you’d have to put in the effort to understand each person’s opinion on what’s cool (lol).

T: Because we’re a democracy (lol). Majority wins. Whenever we have to decide on something. …… But the songs that Hide wrote in the beginning were very pop. I thought that was incredible. But Acchan said, “It’s not the kind of music we’re doing now.” And Imai’s one word of, “Old-fashioned.” (Lol).

―― (Lol) Did you decide to deliberately eliminate pop music or something like that? For this album.

T: Mm~n. That’s why I think if Imai wrote JUST ONE MORE KISS for this album, we’d probably have tossed it out. It’s not that we’re intentionally eliminating anything pop, but more than that, it’s because we prioritised our desire to do things that we’ve never done before for this album. And when I think of totality, that song comes to mind, so that’s just it.

―― Ahh, I see. By the way, how did the recording work itself go? The sense of fulfillment after completion seems to be quite high, though.

T: But it was tiring (lol). Because, so far, the rhythm portion has always been the very first thing to be recorded, right? But this time, even though we’ve started tracking the music, we were still recording the rhythms (lol).

―― That’s because there were songs that were handed in quite late, right (lol).

T: Because Imai is a slow starter (lol).

―― How was it compared to the last time?

T: It’s the first time that things dragged on so long.

―― Won’t it mess up the pace? Your own too.

T: Even if it would, there’s nothing we could do about it, right? Besides, we’ve even posted the ads (lol). When I saw it, I thought, “It’s going on sale sometime in May. Can we make it?” (lol). At first, when we finished recording 11 or 12 songs, I thought, “Ah, I guess that’s all of it.” But then, Imai said something like, “I’m working on 2 songs.” But I guess he wanted to keep working on it until he was satisfied. You know…… It happens all the time, but we were told that the manufacturer was waiting for us. They stopped production.

―― (Lol) Amazing. A band that stops even the factories.

T: Hahahaha.

―― But is this recent pace of releases ideal for BUCK-TICK? For Japan, it’s come to a point where the average is to release one album a year. Compared to that, you’re taking a little bit more time, though.

T: But that, you know, is because it’s business, right? Releasing something every year. So, thanks to this, my annual income has been cut in half (lol). Because we didn’t release anything last year too. …… Kukukuk. We’re poor (lol). I was shocked when I filed my tax return. Like, “I can only save this little.” (Lol). That’s why, from a business point of view, I’d like to push something out every half a year or so (lol). But, you know…… In the end, it’s unrelated, isn’t it? [Music and] whether it makes business sense or not.



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Direct Dialogue — Hisashi Imai vs Dai Onojima

The controversy over Uta finally comes to an end!!

Mr Onojima’s criticism of Uta from 2 issues ago caused quite a stir, prompting Mr Okamoto and Mr Ohno to bring a re-examination of the song in the last issue, but I believe, in the end, to truly settle this controversy, we had to wait for composer Hisashi Imai to make an appearance after all.
In this article, Imai shows up to answer Mr Onojima’s questions about Uta and Six/Niɴe as well.

How will he counter Mr Onojima’s scathing comments?

Uta was written in the spur of a moment. It’s only natural that there would be split opinions, but that’s fine.
I’ve come to feel a lack of freedom with the format that we’ve done our songs in thus far, because you can see already where we’re heading with it.

Back in the March issue, I wrote a rather critical review of BUCK-TICK’s single Uta/Kimi e. There were a lot of responses to it including those from the band members, so this article was written to ask them, especially Hisashi Imai, the one who leads the band in their sound direction, for their counterarguments and their creative intentions.

However, since that article was written back when I had only listened to the single, the criticism I wrote was only focused on that song in the single, so now that the album is complete and Uta has now taken its rightful place in it as one of the tracks, it doesn’t make sense for us to continue discussing just that one song. And so here, we will be looking at the overall album concept and flow, which includes Uta.

The very first thing I can conclude is, Hisashi Imai is Hisashi Imai after all. “No matter what critics may say, I will do what I want to do and when it results in something that I’m proud of, I don’t particularly care about criticism or anything like that.” That is what Imai said in a nutshell. He truly is a man who goes his own way. And that’s fine. He makes music. I talk about music. Those are the things we have to do in our respective professions.

First, we started talking about the production concept of the single Uta.

“With that guitar riff, the song was quickly finished. I wrote it without thinking too hard. We chose to feature this song as the single because it’s been quite a while [since our last release], and we thought that it would perplex listeners especially because it’s a song that sounded like a chorus without a chorus, something unlike anything we had ever done before. I think it’s only natural that there would be split opinions about this song. Like some may get surprised or wonder, ‘Uhー what’s this?’. But that’s fine, I don’t really care.”

In other words, not only did he, to a certain extent, expect criticism like mine, he is also saying that he made a controversial piece of work that was bound to stir up discussions. Regarding my comments about how the imbalance between the singing and the music was a problem, this was what he said.

“Even now, we’ve got heavy-sounding songs like Deep Slow and Ao no Sekai anyway. So I don’t like it when people tell me that. Because we’ve put in the effort to make sure that these songs won’t sound like that too. But, well, I guess what will be will be. It’s just the kind of song it is anyway.”

That is to say Imai means that he doesn’t want the verdict of whether his music is good or not to come from people who received a sample CD for free, people like me. He clearly states that the only people who are qualified to judge his music are “those who spent their own money to buy the CDs”.  Then, I asked whether he meant that his music should only be judged by record sales, he answered, “Well, yes. Because all kinds of people will be listening to it.” It appears that his reasoning is that the assessment of music is based on personal subjectivity, and the only objective standard is record sales. But it doesn’t mean that good music will definitely sell, nor does sellable music necessarily equate to good music.

Next, the production concept of the album.

“So far, we have had concepts that could be described as ‘heavy’ or ‘dark’ and so on, but I didn’t want to make something around those concepts this time. I wanted [the album] to give the feeling that something else had escaped, like an additional something to the music that BUCK-TICK has been making thus far or something. The feeling that you can see where we’re heading with the style that we’ve had until now. In other words, I’ve come to feel a lack of freedom with the standard format of songs which start with an introduction, followed by the verse, then the chorus, and a guitar solo, and so on.”

I suppose this means that the BUCK-TICK sound that they have established thus far has turned into something that is no longer inspiring to Imai. That’s why their new album is actually a collection of different types of songs with a variety of arrangements. There are songs like Uta too, which are heavy yet are in no way one-dimensional. It’s a good thing, but rather than giving me the impression that [the album] “holds a rich variety”, it feels more like an album that shows the difficulties of using trial and error instead. To that extent, I don’t get the same power of completeness that darker than darkness has from this album, neither do I sense anything close to a deep conviction. Instead, all I get is the feeling that it is still on the way to completion, with songs that sound like ambient techno that, depending on how you listen to them, feel diffusive and out of focus.

“I wonder. I wanted to include a variety of songs, and I sure did include them. But I didn’t want [the album] to feel frivolous, like we simply tried to put different songs together. Yet, on the other hand, I thought it’d be very risky for us to fill up the album purely with songs like Uta.”

Following his experience with Shaft and other external projects, I think the horizons of Imai’s own creative appetite has grown all of a sudden. Imai, who had only known nothing but the band that is BUCK-TICK until recently, has started to possess an urge to express music beyond the category of BUCK-TICK. And as a result, perhaps a gap has appeared between the things he wanted to express and the band’s range of allowance. To put it differently, therein lies the question of how he can turn what he wants to do into reality with the present band. These troubles are now more clearly visible than ever before.

“Right. So how are we going to execute what we want to do together as a band of 5? But it’s also not as if it’s impossible to perform this song without being in a band.”

However, there is one thing I’m uncertain about regarding his reason for being so particular about doing things in a band and as a band. Let’s say, even if drums and bass guitar were excluded depending on the song, while guitars and vocals were taken depending on the occasion, BUCK-TICK is still BUCK-TICK and this doesn’t diminish the importance of each member or their unity. Somehow, although the things he wants to do have long since gone beyond the restrictive category of bands, he’s giving me the impression that deliberately forcing himself to squeeze into that small frame.

Imai himself says that he believes that his band mates understands his intentions. 100%. But I’m under the impression that apparently, communication with his bandmates wasn’t always smooth this time around. It feels to me that as a result, this shows in the vocals-music balance in Uta, in the album’s overall unfocused ambiguity, in how conspicuous it is that the album is the aftermath of ups and downs, and all these things. I do wonder whether Imai had no choice but to stick to his insistence of the “format” of a band because there wasn’t enough mutual communication involved. Or perhaps, this opinion is just a little too farfetched.

After I wrote my review of Uta, I had hoped that I would change my assessment of it after listening to the album. But honestly speaking, even after I’ve now heard what Imai had to say, the murky feeling I’ve got hasn’t disappeared. I think there’s no one who praised Kurutta Taiyou, Koroshi no Shirabe, and darker~ more than me. However, when I listened to this new release, it did not hit me with an impact that got me feeling, “Amazing! They’ve won me over!” or a freshness that made my heart throb like those albums did. Those albums had a monstrous power, asense of unity that forcefully pins the listener into a corner without leaving room for negotiation. I suppose it can be said that I was overwhelmed by the immensity of their talent which grew with every new album they released.

However, even if this time’s BUCK-TICK release was “hard work”, I cannot say that it was their “best work”. Perhaps, BUCK-TICK are now at a critical juncture in their career. At least, that’s how I feel.



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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: Endless Dei (@DeiEndless on Twitter)


Related articles:

[Apr 1995] Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll: Review of BUCK-TICK’s Uta/Kimi e Single

[Jul 1995] Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll: Part 2 of Atsushi Sakurai’s interview

The “Plague Repelling Spell” BUCK-TICK Speaks Of
18 September 2020


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

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

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

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


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

■ Related links
ROCK AND READ Official Twitter






Translation: Yoshiyuki

“Kogoeru” to be Ending Theme of Yamishibai (Iki)
14 August 2020


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

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

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

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

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


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






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

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

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

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


Translation: Yoshiyuki

BUCK-TICK comments for Forever Shinjuku Loft project

May 2020



As a brief introduction, Shinjuku Loft opened in Nishi-Shinjuku in October 1976, moved to Kabukicho in April 1999. It has a history of more than 40 years to date.

Since the end of February this year, many performances have been cancelled or postponed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and after the government declared a state of emergency, Shinjuku Loft has refrained from business activities. If the voluntary restraint on business continues, the survival and history of Shinjuku Loft, which has been in business for more than 40 years, will be in jeopardy.

“Forever Shinjuku Loft” was launched as a support project. The organising committee will be working on various support projects for the survival of the Shinjuku Loft, including the production and sale of distribution programs and donation goods.

More information can be found on their official website here:

The members’ comments are as follows below:



The first time I went to Shinjuku Loft was for a BOΦWY show (30 Mar 1984). I remember going to a pub with the members after the live and getting to talk to them as if it was yesterday. BUCK-TICK’s first performance was at the “Taiyo Matsuri” [Sun Festival], an event held by Taiyo Records. I remember that it was a very happy occasion for us because this was the one live house that we wanted to perform at the most ever since we all moved to Tokyo. In recent years, they took care of us again when we shot a PV here. Personally, I come here every January for the annual drummers’ meet. I feel that Shinjuku Loft has been an asset to our musical cultural heritage ever since its founding in 1976. Right now, it’s facing a difficult situation but as a number one fan of Shinjuku Loft, I hope that it will be able to reopen again soon.
<Yagami Toll>

When I first moved from Gunma to Tokyo in 1985, Shinjuku Loft was already known as the source of rock music, and as the live house which has produced numerous wonderful artistes. And even now, I still remember that it was BUCK-TICK’s goal to perform on this stage and the excitement that I felt for our first stage performance. Now, because of global COVID-19 infections, we have entered tough times and Shinjuku Loft, too, is in crisis. Let us all cooperate and work together to overcome this crisis so that many more artistes may have the chance to perform on Loft’s stage in future.
<Higuchi Yutaka>

The checkerboard stage that is admired regardless of era! I hope that Shinjuku Loft will stay on forever! Let’s aim for it! I’m rooting for you!
<Hoshino Hidehiko>

✌️ PEACE! We are strong
<Imai Hisashi>

For now, let’s hold on together and endure through this. Spring will come. Stay strong until then.
<Sakurai Atsushi>







Translation: Yoshiyuki

Datenshi, PARADE Ⅲ Feature

PHY Vol. 15
February 2020

text by Ishli Eriko (imai, higuchi), Kanemitsu Hlrofumi (sakurai, hoshino, yagami)
photographs by CHITO
hair&make-up by Tanizaki Takayuki, Yamaji Chihiro (FAT’S BERRY)
styling by Shimizu Kenichi

costume by
kiryuyrik 03-5728-4048
原宿VILLAGE 03-3405-8528
UK EXTRA 03-3311-1992


I feel that the one who has to shoulder that burden is me
Because singing about it saves me

You’ll understand as soon as you listen to their new single, Datenshi; that BUCK-TICK has entered a new mode, and that unchanging strength and resolve of theirs. Two years ago, they released their album No.0 in which they incorporated their imagination and message to the fullest. It was a work they stuffed to the brim with the diversity of worldviews which the band possesses, but this single, which brings us a sign of what to expect from this band in 2020, has shown us the complete opposite; a powerful sound which is full of gaps. That makes it a simple yet distinctive sound. From this, originality which can only be produced by these 5 musicians can be heard. That is also the forte of a band which is heading towards their 35th anniversary, and, at the same time, it is also a resolve which stems from the unavoidable awareness that an end will come sometime.

In this special feature, we will explore the present and future BUCK-TICK from various perspectives. Through personal interviews with the members based on their new song, Datenshi, and, celebrating their tribute album PARADE III ~RESPECTIVE TRACKS OF BUCK-TICK~, which will be released at the same time as their single, there will also be a dialogue between Higuchi Yutaka and TOSHI-LOW (BRAHMAN), along with an interview with ISSAY (DER ZIBET) who will talk about the draw of BUCK-TICK and Sakurai Atsushi.






Individual Interviews


Sakurai Atsushi

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

Knowing that everyone is watching us with all these thoughts and emotions
It makes me want to get my act together, like, I have to do my best

―― I’d like to hear about your thoughts regarding THE DAY IN QUESTION which concluded last year-end.

S: I’m relieved. Because although there was only one new song while the rest were familiar tunes, I’m constantly plagued by worries about my throat. But I somehow managed to do it.

―― It’s an annual affair on 29 December, but having had to perform at Yoyogi National Stadium First Gymnasium rather than at Nippon Budokan, how did you find it?

S: The first thing that came to mind when I entered the venue was, “The audience is rather far away…… I feel bad.” It was difficult for the audience in the back to see, wasn’t it? I hate to say it, but Budokan is where I find it easiest to get the audience into it and that makes it great, though.

―― Well, you’ll be back at Budokan on this year’s 29 December anyway.

S: I don’t think it’s all that great to perform in large venues, and I think for us, we don’t have to aim for that any more, do we? (Lol). Big venues, they’re not suitable for us. Not really.

―― No, no (lol). The last song, LOVE ME, was just wonderful.

S: That song, I think it was Yuta who said that he wanted to perform it. He felt that it might be nice if we shared a sense of unity with everyone at the end.

―― That’s true.

S: The lyrics are quite messed up, though (lol). But since these people have made it here to watch us perform, I’m happy that it can bring us all together and excite them (even if) that’s the kind of song it is.

―― That was a great end to the year, wasn’t it?

S: It was. Last year, I had quite a lot going on in my private life too and I was in the hospital again, and quite a few ups and downs…… It got me thinking, “Just get it over with!” (lol). (At the end of the year) I got that sense of “Is it finally over?”. Though, it’s not as if (going into the new year) changes anything in particular.

―― And among all of that, Datenshi was produced.

S: That’s right. There’s one other song which was a candidate too. That’s another really nice one. We more or less already decided that we’d go with that one, but then Imai Hisashi pulled out another song. Which was the one which turned into Datenshi. The other song which we had decided on was a very nice medium-tempo song, but we felt that (it would be better) if this could turn into something that was edgy and aggressive even to us…… So, we were able to really venture into Datenshi. 

―― Why did you want it to be aggressive?

S: The first two songs that we completed were very gentle songs. Unlike their finished version, Luna Park, too, initially had a very relaxed tempo. If we lined up those two songs together, (the single) will leave the impression that it’s like an extended version of Moon Sayonara wo Oshiete. Then, just as we were thinking, “Hm… I’m not sure if this is a good idea,” Datenshi came along, so, that was a lifesaver. (With the determination that) I’ll torment myself as badly as I can with this.

―― What do you mean by tormenting yourself?

S: To say,  “You’re no good guy, are you?” (Lol).

―― It’s okay to be a little nicer to yourself, though.

S: That may be true, but I end up feeling that if I torment myself, the real me will emerge from that, you know? It’s funny, but it was the first day of work at the office yesterday, and we (found out that we) received hundreds of mail from the fans since the end of last year (lol). As I read them one by one, I was once again reminded that I had to firmly stand true to what I really feel.

―― Meaning?

S: You see, everyone comes to our concerts with different emotions in them. There are those who are parent and child travelling from far away to come and watch us, and there are also those whose loved ones have passed away. Knowing everyone is watching us from the back of Yoyogi with all these thoughts and emotions, it makes me want to get my act together. Like, I have to do my best.

―― But on the other hand, I believe that there are those who also feel, “You don’t have to shoulder all that burden, though……”.

S: Rather than a burden, it’s an encouragement, you see. It’s the reason why I would want to stand (on stage). To exaggerate, it’s because to me, “to do my best” is as good as a battle with myself.

―― So, you’re saying that it’s necessary for Sakurai Atsushi to be like this and face himself.

S: But it’s just for those few hours. On stage, that would be 2 hours, and during recording, I won’t show my face (to an audience) but (the final product is) something that we’ve worked hard on and condensed into an album for people to hear, so if I do this right…… That’s really how it is, but I guess, maybe it helps a little. Because I usually am a really hopeless man. And today, I’ve made this much of a mess of my face too (lol).

―― (Lol) Haven’t you ever thought that it would be nice if you could get all of that done while being a little more relaxed?

S: As long as the fans enjoy it, I don’t care if people write or say bad things about me. I’m not bitter about it. But it’s not easy (for me) to deal with myself…… Well, I’ve said it hundreds of times, but it’s a matter of what’s learned in the cradle being carried to the grave. And now, I’m the same age as my father. It’s getting more and more ingrained in me, isn’t it?

―― This is something we’ve been talking about for decades now.

S: Yeah, having known Kanemitsu-san for decades, there were times when I wondered when I’ll ever feel better*, but it doesn’t look like that will ever happen (lol).

―― Is it the fear that you might be just like that father of yours?

S: After all, the same blood flows in my veins. The misery and the hate are always…… there, you know? Our blood types are the same, and even our birthdays are the same. That’s a 1 in 365 chance! Can you believe that?   Our faces are exactly the same too. And now, we’re the same age.

―― You definitely can’t help but feel something.

S: I get the feeling that something’s pulling me. Like, come here…… I’m just kidding, though (lol).

―― I don’t want to hear about it even if it’s a joke!

S: I guess so. My elder brother said to me, “Hang in there until you turn 54,” but…… We’re back on this topic again, huh (sigh). Let’s stop.

―― Well, because it’s like a routine (to talk about it)**, isn’t it?

S: Shall we talk about Valentines’ Day or something?

―― Wahahahaha, why so sudden!

S: Maybe we can make a guess of how much chocolate we’d receive or something (lol).

―― Why would I even enjoy competing with Sakurai Atsushi over how much chocolate I’d receive (lol).

S: No, no, no, I mean, a ton (of chocolate) would arrive in the editorial department, right?

―― They don’t (lol). But I have to give my age a little bit of consideration too.

S: Well, age is one thing, but this personality is really…… something that I’ve come to realise I can’t get run away from. I thought I was prepared (to do that), but I guess I really can’t escape from it, can I? I’ve also spoken about this numerous times, but in present-day terms, we’d say that my father committed DV***, right? Domestic violence. My father beat my mother on a daily basis. That memory has always stuck with me, always frightened…… Well, it’s the usual story, though.

―― Apart from that memory, have you ever wondered how far you can go from this point on?

S: I have. Although I’m aware that I have to take it easy and live life following my experiences of getting hospitalised and so on, at the same time, I also wonder how long I can keep doing that. I’m doing what I love so I can somehow discipline and inspire myself, but if I get sick, then, it’s as if my father’s calling me……

―― So we’re going back to that topic.

S: We are (lol). That’s why I want to turn 54 as soon as possible. But I’ve been blessed in the sense that I get to do what I want to do, and recently, I’ve been getting a really strong feeling that I’m doing it right, so when I can find it in myself to say that I’m happy, I am happy.


I may make people wonder, “Is he alright……”, but I’m happy. I am.

―― In what areas do you get the feeling that you’re doing things right?

S: When I’m satisfied with our own work. When we put out works that I feel good about. When there’s even a little bit of that although it may not be 100%. It’s because we have music and songs like that that I can say, “Ah, well, I suppose it’s alright.”

―― And also, because you have band members who understand such a Sakurai-san, right?

S: That’s the best part, isn’t it? Though, we don’t usually talk much anymore (lol).

―― Hahahahaha.

S: There are times when I’d spend a couple of days with Imai-san and Hide but we don’t talk at all. It’s just that when we finally realise, we didn’t talk about anything at all (lol). But they consider things from a vocalist’s perspective; there is this invisible care for me. Simply because we’ve known each other for 35 years now. We no longer have to say anything for us to fully understand the other party, and when I’m as tense as I am now, they’ll just let me be too.

―― Perhaps it’s because you’re working with these people that you can express yourself.

S: Perhaps. If we’re talking about the stage, though, Imai-san will come and interrupt my singing (lol). At points when I’m like, “But I wanted to sing it well here!” (Lol). But performing while having such thoughts is something else that is interesting in a band. Like, “Ah, just now, Anii made a mistake,” and so on (lol).

―― Ahahahahaha.

S: As long as I’m on stage, I’m enjoying myself even when I start thinking, “Ah, that just now was off. I definitely went out of tune…… Ah, I’m never getting over it.”  That’s why it’s fun to be in a band, isn’t it? It’s because the other members are around that I’m given the ability to do what I love.

―― Do you have aspirations of wanting to become a certain way or something like that now, at 54?

S: Uh, like perform at Tokyo Dome and the like? (Lol)

―― That’s what Anii spoke of when we went drinking (lol). He said, “I’ll play at Tokyo Dome for my 60th birthday!”

S: He says the complete opposite of what I say (lol).

―― Hahahahahaha, indeed.

S: Anywhere’s fine as long as we can hold a concert. Well, I’d love to if I could, though…… But first, the immediate future; I’d like to ask for our next song as soon as possible (lol).

―― Imai-sa~n, Imai Hisashi sa~n (lol).

S: Ahahahahaha. But the fact that he mentioned his “60th” with “Tokyo Dome”, I have to say Anii’s rough plan is really great (lol). I think that’s also something that has been helping me, you know? It encourages me and makes me aware of things I haven’t thought of, things that I couldn’t have done alone.

―― So, what kind of dreams does Sakurai-san personally have?

S: Ah, well…… I don’t have any. You know this very well, don’t you? (Lol) I’m incapable of doing anything if I’m left to my own devices, and I’d probably be a man who won’t even leave his bed (lol). Though, going to a snowy mountain and freezing to death without anyone finding out about it…… I think it’s just so beautiful, that’ll be nice, I guess.

―― Please stop that (lol). Didn’t you say before that you’d like to live deep in the mountains in the middle of nowhere and spend your life making pottery?

S: But now, I think it’ll be troublesome to learn how to make pottery or even spin the potter’s wheel (lol).

―― You’re getting worse!

S: Because I’m a klutz (lol). Before (this interview), I happened to catch a glimpse of the footage on WOWOW (note: 29 December’s performance at Yoyogi National Stadium First Gymnasium) and I thought,  “You’re an idiot, man.” (lol).

―― Ahahahahaha. Was it the MC?

S: Yes (lol).

―― When you tripped on your words, and then had your embarrassed face show up on all the screens (lol).

S: Don’t you think that’s so stupid?

―― Nope. It’s cute.

S: Hahahahahaha.

―― Don’t everyone in the audience love this Sakurai-san?

S: I’m grateful for it. Although, I feel like I have to do my best and become something like that rockstar who everyone admires……

―― No, I don’t believe that everyone expects Sakurai Atsushi to be cool all the time.

S: I’ll try my best.

―― So what do you hope for this year?

S: I don’t think there’s anything (going on this year) that will bring in interview requests. I’d like for myself to remain healthy, both physically and mentally. Since I’ll feel down when I get sick, I just want to stay healthy as much as possible (lol).

―― You’ve announced that you’ll be releasing a new album this summer. I’d expect that you don’t have all the songs yet, but what do you hope for this album to be?

S: Earlier, I mentioned Imai-san’s song which was a candidate for the single, which wasn’t Datenshi. That was a really great song. It’s Imai Hisashi and Sakurai Atsushi’s music, and lyrics, and song. This might just be the best we’ve ever had…… That said, if we raise the bar too high, that might just be terrible (for the future) (lol).

―― No, no, no, it’s good!

S: I feel that it’s turned out to be a really great song. I think that it was a good thing that Datenshi was made this single, but we really had problems with deciding to the point that we were debating until the very very last minute so…… That’s why I want people to listen to it first as soon as possible.

―― What are the lyrics like for that song?

S: Ahh. You’d probably think, “This again?” (Lol). But although I do feel that I’m talking about the same things, I think there’s nothing I can do about that anymore. Because even if I try to twist things, I’d end up feeling that it isn’t me. It’s not that big a deal, but I do feel that the one who has to shoulder that burden is me. Because singing about it saves me.

―― In other words, it’s something that will never change no matter what happens, like your earliest childhood memory, something you learnt as a child that you’ll bring to the grave.

S: That’s right. I can’t force it. Even if I borrow a concept from somewhere else and decide to perform that, all the things I like are going to be similar anyway, so I can’t run away from it. I can’t be a professional (if I do that). But that does, indeed, appear to be my place. On the contrary, I don’t really know where I belong in everyday life (lol).

―― What do you mean?

S: If I’m working, I know for sure that my dressing room, the centre stage mic, and standing on stage with the other members to sing is where I belong, but when we revert to our regular lives, there are times when I don’t really know where I should go…… I’m pretty sure I come across as a serious man like this.

―― I know (lol).

S: When it comes to work, too, I’ve been late, but I really give my all, you know? (Lol). That’s why it ends up taking a toll on other areas, like family^, and so on.

―― Ah, I see. You’re trying too hard to be BUCK-TICK’s Sakurai Atsushi. 

S: I’m normally as good as an invalid (lol).

―― Hahahahahaha. But it’d be distressing if it disappears, wouldn’t it? Your place of belonging.

S: That’s why I feel that I have to cherish it, whether I’m in my on- or off-mode. Because I’m thankful that there is a mic being placed centre stage for me, and that there’s even a light being shone on me.

―― For this person that you are (lol).

S: Yes. I’m happy.

―― And that is what everyone seeks. We feel that all is well if Sakurai-san is happy.

S: Thank you. I may make people wonder, “Is he alright……”, but I’m happy. I am.



* The phrase used here was “晴れる (hareru)”, which is usually used to describe sunny weather.

** The original phrase is “業みたいなもの” but the problem here is, I can’t tell if “業” is being read as “gou” or “gyou”. If read as “gou”, then it would mean “Karma”. While as “gyou”, the more common reading, it would generally mean “work” along with all other similar connotations. I’ve gone with “gyou” to say that it’s “routine”, as in something that is done/brought up on a regular basis – like work. Because I honestly don’t think Sakurai is being plagued by this out of some Karmic reasoning.

*** That’s apparently the abbreviation used in Japan.

^ Family here doesn’t literally mean familial relationships. “家庭 (katei)” rather than “家族 (kazoku)” was used, which refers to general nuance of having/starting a family.


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Imai Hisashi

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

While I was figuring that out, somehow, what came out from inside of me was something that had been sort of sticking out like this which gave off a somewhat deviant feeling
Kind of like the enjoyment of things which fall outside of the rules. Somehow, that was the kind of image that came to mind

―― To start, how did you feel about the 5-show nationwide tour for THE DAY IN QUESTION?

I: Good. I thought it was good.

―― I got to watch your performance in Tokyo too. It felt strange seeing that it wasn’t in Budokan.

I: About that, since it was our first time performing there, I couldn’t really get a proper feel of the sound either. And I was performing without in-ear monitors.

―― Huh, you were?

I: Me and Hide, us two guitarists didn’t use them. That’s why I wondered how the sound would turn out in this case. Budokan is the venue that we’re most used to performing at after all, and while there’s a certain enjoyment in playing at Yoyogi, there was also a bit of unease. But after we gave it a shot, there was nothing to worry about, I guess.

―― Is there a reason why you performed without in-ear monitors? I’d assume that it’s more natural to use them when there’s that much noise being made and being played at the same time, though.

I: No, well, I’ve kind of always…… not used them (lol). I think it depends on the song, but if I’m wearing them, I feel that I can’t quite grasp the atmosphere around me, and I’d be hearing clicks in them…… Like, that’s not very fun is it?

―― Hahahaha!   So rather than (wearing the in-ear monitors), your synchrony with the band and feeling the atmosphere in the venue is more important.

I: Yeah. So, well, I’d just do as much as I can anyway, until I have to ad lib. But, well, then…… I’d start wondering about whether in-ear monitors are really that essential or not, though.

―― Because it seems like it isn’t since you can go that far (lol).

I: But during Locus Solus at Makuhari, there was a point when I went all the way to the front without wearing in-ear monitors. I had to play based on intuition then.

―― Intuition. It’s amazing that you didn’t play out of time.

I: Naaah, I think I did?   The others had quite a few things to say to me, though (wry smile).

―― Also, the setlist which you had for THE DAY IN QUESTION gave me the impression that it was the opposite of the setlist for Locus Solus.

I: Ahh, I guess you may be right. But it’s not as if we deliberately aimed to do that. THE DAY IN QUESTION doesn’t have any particular concept either. The closest (thing we have to a concept) is, “Let’s have fun every year.”

―― Or, “Let’s come together every year-end.”

I: Exactly. Although, that’s why there are also occasions when we’ll bring out lightly thematic stuff moment by moment. Also, we generally tend towards darker (themes) while at the same time leaning towards more upbeat (music). It feels as if we have everything, doesn’t it?

―― Yes. Well then, moving on to the topic of production, you’ve been composing since around last summer?

I: Yeah. Well, relatively early. I started composing at the stage when I started thinking that maybe it was about time for me to make preparations.

―― For Imai-san, do you compose only when you decide to? Or is it an accumulation (of compositions) regardless of when they come to you?

I: Nah, I don’t do accumulations. Although I do occasionally go into my workroom and write a memo or do something like that on a whim.

―― What kind of themes or hints came to mind when you decided to compose?

I: Mm…… There wasn’t really any in particular, but, well, I thought that as long as I started working on it, something might come up. So, while I was figuring that out, somehow, what came out from inside of me was something that had been sort of sticking out like this which gave off a somewhat deviant feeling. Kind of like the enjoyment of things which fall outside of the rules. Somehow, that was the kind of image that came to mind. Even now, I can’t quite put it into words though.

―― At the same time, “deviant” is, in other words, pretty much “the usual BUCK-TICK”, isn’t it?

I: That’s right. And that’s why the more I say it, the more I end up getting the feeling that we just keep going round and around the same things. When I talk about this feeling in this particular circumstance…… it feels like, “This isn’t all that much of a concept, though” (lol). That’s why I’d first start with an album that we had already made, and then take it somewhere different. To somewhere where (I can find) interesting elements.

―― So you’ll be taking No.0 somewhere different.

I: Yeah. I’ve been thinking that I want to do something interesting. We have 2 guitarists, a vocalist, and a drummer and a bassist. And I’m wondering if we can do something interesting with that structure, the way the sounds overlap and so on. Something like a slightly different kind of band sound than our usual. Whether or not that’s possible, I’m still figuring it out.

―― Are you talking about (looking for) something that is yet unknown from within your band’s style?


I: Yeah. Like, “is there still anything that’s kind of amazing, and intriguing (in here)?”

―― That’s a very interesting sense. And that’s despite that we’re in an era where bands as a structure is most certainly said to be, “Something old, a thing of the past”.

I: That’s true. But it’s also something that’s normally considered as cool; the sense that something which is cool, is cool. But if you’re too consumed by that and only that, then it’s like, getting your priorities wrong, like, you’d find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what the hell you’re doing (lol). That’s the feeling I have now. Maybe I’d go in a more electronic direction, or maybe I won’t even have guitars in (the music). Nothing has solidified yet, at all.

―― If we’re talking about Datenshi, it’s based on rock n’ roll, right?

I: Ahh. Well, because that very first riff is a riff that came from somewhere.

―― A riff from somewhere (lol).

I: You know, that’s a very simple riff, and it’s not as if I started composing the song because I thought, “Ah, this riff is cool.” It really is something that can already be found somewhere.


I think that if we do things in accordance to a demo, we won’t be able to go above and beyond. We can’t just follow what’s there
Instead, I think we need to break it down a little or take a little out and loosen up so that we will be able to do even bigger things

―― Though, it’s true that for a moment it sounded as if it bordered on becoming a parody. Like, (a parody of) T. Rex or something similar.

I: Exactly. It’s a very simple rock riff, like a representative of that. I’m really glad that it turned out like that. And from (that riff) came the image of (a song that’s) a slightly peculiar kind of pop which includes (elements which are) somewhat radical and cutting, and noisy and disquieting.

―― And that’s also a deviation from the image itself, isn’t it? This is a very extreme example, but Imai-san, have you ever thought of being in a band similar to Ramones?

I: Mm…… Well, I’ve released 2 albums with the band Lucy, though. For those, well, I ended up adding a variety of sounds into it once I started working on it, but it was originally a band which started out being tied to a simple rock n’ roll concept, you see. That’s why I got the idea that it might be interesting to go all out (with the concept). After all, there’s also beauty in being able to do nothing but that.

―― It’s the same with SCHAFT, too, right? It was tied to the industrial genre. Is no such thing in BUCK-TICK at all?

I: Yep. None. If anything, I guess you could say that these types of rock n’ roll and industrial genre music that you just mentioned, these old-school styles (of music) is not what (BUCK-TICK) goes for.

―― You don’t go for old-school styles (lol). To seriously and thoroughly pursue one particular genre is an engaging route to take too, but I suppose you’re not very interested in that?

I: Mm…………… Nah, I don’t really think about it.

―― Hahaha.

I: I just go for whatever happens to catch my interest at that point in time. Because I think that’s how it naturally works. And the whole band comes together for a meeting before we start recording, but we don’t talk about things like, “This time, we’re doing this and this with that concept,” y’know? Though we always do it here.

―― Ah, in this room in Victor Studio?

I: Yeah. We talk here, and if we happen to have demo songs on hand, we’d listen to it, then we’d go for dinner…… That’s when the conversation gets serious, though (lol).

―― Yuta-san said this previously, that Imai-san’s demos are quite vague or something.

I: Recently. It depends on the song, but if it’s, let’s say, a song with a four-on-the-floor dance beat, I’d usually play the bass (first) with the root note. (Then I’d tell Yuta) something like, “I probably don’t have to say this but you’ll play something that hits hard, right?”

―― So you leave that to the band members.

I: Yeah. I think it’d still turn out to be an okay song even if I don’t go that far. Because I suppose they can already do it without needing me to fill in every single detail.

―― So, it’ll always turn into something with a BUCK-TICK flavour no matter what you do. But is this something that’s only came about recently?

I: It’s recent. It was like this with Kemonotachi no Yoru, and also, this new single. Before these, I’d put in a lot of effort to elaborate on things down to rather minute details, but it’s not quite…… Even I started to get the feeling that (being so particular) makes things kind of boring. It’s like, there were moments when I thought that maybe things would be more interesting if they were not done exclusively to my preferences. That’s why, when Yuta asks me, “What do you think about this?” I’d say, “I don’t really like it but it’s fine.”

―― Must you say that (lol)? But it seems to me that people who don’t get those notions can’t be in a band. Since there are also people who will create entire tracks on their own and think, “If I can play everything on my own I’d be my own band, though.”

I: Such people definitely don’t (belong in a band) (lol). But really, in the beginning, I was that sort of person too. I’d start composing the demo, put everything together on the computer, decide on how every melody should sound and say, “This part must not, cannot be changed.” That’s all I was like. I was really like that even up to just a few compositions ago, but gradually, I started to get moments that made me think that perhaps it would be more interesting if I loosened up a bit on that area. Also, when, for example, Anii gets a drum phrase wrong, I’d be like, “Ah, maybe sounds better that way,” and so on.

―― So, the singing changes a lot too? Compared to the demos?

I: It happens. Because Sakurai-san would mostly change what was initially sung in English into Japanese. When he does that, the vibe would definitely change, and when Sakurai-san picks up the notes in his own unique way, when he covers it the way only a vocalist can, he gets me saying, “Ah, it’s better like this.” I think, after all, a demo tape is just a demo and if we really do things in accordance to it, we won’t be able to go above and beyond. I guess we can’t just follow what’s there. Instead, I think we need to break it down a little or take a little out and loosen up so that we will be able to do even bigger things.

―― That’s also a kind of deviation, isn’t it? This might sound like a simplistic question, but why does Imai-san hate rules and lines* so much?

I: Nah, I don’t hate them. It’s more that I prefer to remove them. Because I sometimes do think that it can be interesting to be tied down by those and go along with it. That’s why I think, in the end, I guess what I’ve decided to do is to just ignore the rules.

―― What’s the best part of that, I wonder? I suppose it might be an exaggeration to compare it with the discovery of a new world, but I guess it’s the feeling of wanting to find something that has not yet been found by anyone else?

I: Ah, that, there is.

―― Or is it that you have a spirit that simply hates following a format and just wants to destroy that?

I: Ah. …… Nah, I think it’s even simpler than that. It’s just the desire to create something good, something cool. But it includes a feeling just like that “discovery of a new world” you mentioned which gets me wondering about whether I will find anything interesting. It’s vague, but that’s a thought I have all the time.

―― Right.

I: So I guess I do actually get that feeling. Of excavating something that has always been there and feeling like, “Ahh, I’ve found it.” It won’t be anything that I’ve come up with on my own. Rather, it’ll be something that was originally already there, and I’d occasionally manage to excavate it. Something like that. There are times when it feels like that.

―― So, you don’t come up with (music) in your own head?

I: Ah, of course, there are songs like that too. Songs which are shaped through my messing about. But also I think that there is a method of song composition which isn’t done like that; which is (done by) finding something or occasionally excavating something.

―― That’s the continuing adventure that the 5 of you are on.

I: That’s right. Also, while there are, of course, things that we need to spit out, we’re all making things, aren’t we? As creators. I think that every one of us have the mindset that we’re creating music as composers. I believe we’d stop if the thought of, “Ahh, this is troublesome, I don’t want to do it anymore” wins, but generally, we’re consciously writing music and lyrics, you know?

―― Everyone?

I: I think so. The other band members too, and Sakurai-san too. Everyone’s composing. Not that it comes naturally or automatically.

―― Even for Yuta-san and Anii-san who don’t compose music?

I: Yeah. Those two would first listen to what we give them and then they’d go into the studio and practice. Then, after they’re able to play or drum (their parts), they’d say, “What do you think about this phrase?”. And that’s when they compose. That’s how I think they keep creating. I also get the feeling that this probably wouldn’t happen if I was in a band with other people instead.

―― It’s because it’s the 5 of you that things are like this.

I: Yeah. Exactly, that.

―― It’s amazing that even now, this creative drive hasn’t stopped. When I heard that the band was going to take some time off after Locus Solus, I thought for a moment that you might start some other project or maybe Lucy would make a comeback.

I: Ahー, I didn’t think about that. Or rather, I didn’t actually consider taking time off at all.

―― Ah, I see. I thought maybe you got yourself refreshed in some way.

I: Nope…… Not really. Not in particular.

―― It’s just that when I consider the simplicity of Datenshi’s riffs, I thought, maybe, at the very least, darkness and weightiness isn’t what you seek now, is it? Less is better.

I: Ah, yeah. That’s right. That isn’t rock or anything close to rock, but (if we were to classify it) it’s more towards pop. I think I paid more attention to music that classify as pop songs (when composing), and even the lyrics too, they have a lightness unique to Sakurai-san. In the sense that I think that’s the sort of thing that he managed to put into them.

―― By the way, I heard that Sakurai-san was pretty depressed last year, though.

I: Ahh. Well…… There was a period when I thought that he kept silent for the longest time, though. But, well, not particularly. Around him, we just…… let him be.

―― Right (lol). But it indeed does sound like there’s a strong pop flavour in the song too. Especially at parts like the “Ah ha”.

I: Yes. Exactly.

―― Considering the melody of Luna Park too, can we say that “pop” is a hint of what your next release will sound like?

I: Well, I suppose. Yes. I believe we can deliver something really interesting.




* The loan word “レール” (rail) was used rather than line but I used line because it doesn’t quite make sense in English to say “rules and rails”.


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Hoshino Hidehiko

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

I guess, maybe I felt a sense of liberation within myself when I composed Luna Park?
It was a little before this, but I suppose I wanted to compose something that felt far out

―― Now, it’s just before the show at Yoyogi National Stadium First Gymnasium (note: this interview was held on 26 December), but to start, tell us about the response you’ve had so far for this THE DAY IN QUESTION tour.

H: It’s our year-end live show that we’ve consistently held for 20 years, even as a tour too. It’s something we’ve been doing consistently so I think we’ve been able to make it unique to this year too.

―― Rather than simply being chock full of nostalgic songs, I was left with a middle era impression. Or rather, that there were a lot of songs from your BMG Funhouse* days.

H: It wasn’t intentional but that’s certainly true. When we band members picked the songs, lined up our choices and then sorted them out, that’s how it turned out. In the beginning…… I think it was probably Yuta who suggested that we start with Muma-The Nightmare. He said, “We’ve never done that before so don’t you think it would be interesting?” We then made our selection based on that and this is sort of the kind of setlist we settled on.

―― What songs did Hoshino-san request for?

H: None in particular (lol). But Dokudanjou Beauty -R.I.P.- wasn’t part of the initial song selection, so I guess I suggested that. Also, I wanted to perform Snow white but Yuta also brought that up so it’s not as if I made any particular appeal for it (lol).

―― Even though it’s Hoshino-san’s song (lol). How was the year 2019 for you?

H: Well, it wasn’t a year when we were constantly on the move due to live shows, so it was sort of a year when our flow got switched up. In the first half, there were a few rescheduled shows we had to do, but after we were done with Locus Solus no Kemonotachi at Makuhari, it felt like a grand closure to the flow which we kept up until then. It had the impression of, “Alright, off to whatever’s next.” But, well, going on such a trajectory is something that we’ve imagined and scheduled since some years ago, right?

―― So, in other words, it was a year of actively working on production.

H: Well, I can’t really say that either (lol). 2 songs were presented for the single this time around, but both of them were songs which had been sleeping in my PC (lol). We decided for Datenshi to be the single so we were looking for a song which would couple well, and we thought that this one was suitable.

―― Do you have a lot of those stock music?

H: Nope (lol). Though I’ve got some riffs and bits and pieces of stuff in there.

―― Well, then what kind of impression did Datenshi leave on you?

H: I guess it gave off a bit of a new wave vibe. It’s not exactly pumping rock music but neither is it light. That part is what reminds me of new wave. Also, it doesn’t feel as if it’s being filled up (with sounds), but there’s a stronger nuance that (if there was just a little less) it would break apart.

―― Imai-san used the word “deviant” (to describe it). In the sense that this song excludes bass lines where one would expect it.

H: Yeah.

―― I suppose that means he’s looking for intrigue that cannot be found by following (music) theory but have you heard about anything like this prior to recording?

H: He didn’t say anything in particular when we were previewing the demos, but maybe that topic came up while we were having drinks after that?   In No.0, both the music and the worldview were built rigidly and it was a work that we can no longer add anything more to, so he wanted to do something a little more broken down next…… At least, I think that’s what he said. Probably. I can’t really remember (lol).

―― Why’s your memory fuzzy (lol).

H: Because we were drinking (lol). But because of that, this time around, we pulled back a little on the guitar bits too where we would normally go rugged on the riffs.

―― Meaning?

H: For example, during the interval, we raised the guitar bits up higher than usual around the middle to create a spaced out feeling and things like that. I think that these particularities which we applied in our production will only increase as we move towards the next album. Besides, Imai-san bought a weird effector and has been messing around with it too (lol).

―― Do you think that doing this will bring about something like a change within the band?

H: I do think so. I’m guessing that if we keep each of these areas in mind, we’ll be able to apply this to different songs so this might affect the album a lot. Whatever it is, we’re headed in that direction. I think it’s going to feel like everyone’s in step with each other.

―― But there’s also a completely unbreakable Hide melody in contrast to that, like in Luna Park.

H: You brought up the melody, but we didn’t have plans to include that song in the album, to begin with, because it was just a song that we thought would work well as a coupling. As something which matched Datenshi.   

―― Ah, so it was a song that you put out for the sake of balance.

H: Yeah. I guess, maybe I felt a sense of liberation within myself when I composed Luna Park?   It was a little before this, but I suppose I wanted to compose something that felt far out.

―― I see.

H: But before I put this song out, I had another that I had made a demo of up to its interlude, and I thought of going with that one but it felt too mid-tempo, you know? I figured that it wouldn’t match well as a coupling song so I pulled back on it and then brought Luna Park which had been sleeping in my PC.

―― Ah, you made that decision to reel it back yourself?

H: If I wasn’t told, I think it might’ve just gone out as it is (lol).

―― It’s just a balancer after all (lol).

H: But isn’t it of course that we want to do things well as a band?   Although, we do intend to release a bigger variety of songs on the album.

―― But it’s true that in BUCK-TICK, you don’t eliminate songs or remove (ideas) from your heads just because it’s “wrong”. You basically give it a try anyway.

H: You’re right. We don’t really…… do that, I think. Everyone thinks rather positively with the notion that it’ll probably get better when we try it out. So the responsibility placed on me is greater in that sense, but all I’ve ever experienced is the result of my songs turning out better than I expected. That’s why no one denies (any ideas). (There’s this sense that) if we do it as a band, it’ll probably turn into something interesting.

―― So, that’s why if you think that it doesn’t work, you’ll pull the idea back yourself.

H: Yes, exactly. Also, I’ve recently been around Cube-kun (Cube Juice) and Yoko-chan (Yokoyama Kazutoshi) and YOW-ROW-kun (GARI). So there are now more people around me who do manipulator work for us. Each of their musical flavour is different, so we don’t really get the same things from them, and there’s also a part of me that looks forward to the changes (to the songs) which come from them. There’s a lot of that chemistry these days.

―― Are you saying that in other words, you’d throw them something that will serve as a sort of base and they’ll do a bit of arrangement with it, put in the music and return it to you, following which you’d get inspired by it and that will give shape to the song?

H: That’s right. I guess you could say that’s the recent trend. It’s something I really look forward to.

―― Both of these two songs involved Cube Juice, right?

H: Yeah, it just so happens. Perhaps it was Cube-kun who wanted songs, though.

―― I see. This special issue will be published in 2020, but I’m getting the feeling that you more or less know your direction for this (2020) year.

H: Well, there’s also a large possibility that there’ll be a 180-degree change, though (lol).

―― Hahahahaha. But you’ll be doing lots of things this year, right?

H: Yeah. We plan to produce the album and go on tours too. I think it’d be nice if we could announce that at Yoyogi, though (note: they announced the album’s projected summer release and a national hall tour in autumn).

―― Definitely. And in your upcoming 3rd tribute album, it’s given me the impression that you’ve gathered an even more unique and interesting lineup than ever before.

H: You’re right. It’s the most varied one we’ve had so far, isn’t it?   There are quite a few female artists too, so that will probably bring about an impression unlike anything thus far. And there’s a wide range of genres too.


When I see the smiling or crying faces of our audience from the stage, I get reminded that this is why I do music
I get to see that this presence that is BUCK-TICK is so sought after by everyone

―― Are there any memorable songs for you?

H: Ringo-san’s Uta is amazing, isn’t it? People won’t normally go with such an approach; singing (our songs) in English and arranging it like that. It surprised me. Also, Fujimaki-san’s** song was nice too.

―― This also came up in my conversation with Imai-san too (note: the interview published in the February issue of Ongaku to Hito), but he said that there are 2 Fujimaki-san’s in this tribute album (lol).

H: Aah (lol). That’s true. Fujimaki-kun’s*** song was nice too, of course, but I’m talking about Fujimaki-san** who did Konayuki (lol). It’s only on occasion, but we meet for soccer so I thought I’d talk to him about this next time, but it feels as if the strength of that song comes through because he was singing while playing the guitar. I believe it’s something that one can’t do unless they have confidence in performing with that style.

―― This is an insight coming from BUCK-TICK’s acoustic master, huh (lol).

H: I thought it was really good. All the other participants carried it out in such unique ways and we wanted them to make the songs their way, so I’d say the album turned out really well. Listening to this made me feel once again that the merits of our band’s songs really stood out too.

―― That’s true. And you’ve also commenced recording work for your album.

H: Early, isn’t it? 2020 is an Olympic year too.

―― Are you going to watch the Olympics? (Lol).

H: I don’t think I can (lol). I’d assume that there’ll be a lot of people around during that period and I won’t be able to get around much, so I’d probably hole myself up and work in the basement. I think we might be going on tour after that too.

―― You won’t be able to go to the southern islands too.

H: I won’t be able to during that period, so I guess I’ll go after recording is done (lol).

―― You’re going? (Lol) But I believe you’re thinking of making this another solid year of activities for BUCK-TICK, right?

H: Yeah, for the second half.

―― I wondered if all of the band members might start getting the desire to do something that is different than the vibe they’d get from being in a band following the success of creating an album with as high a level of completion as No.0, but I’m getting the feeling that this isn’t the case.

H: Well, I don’t know about that. I would suppose that each of us has different thoughts, although it is true after all that we’d feel a sense of accomplishment after producing No.0 and performing our live shows. But I don’t think that this would be reason enough for us to feel like we want to try something outside of BUCK-TICK?

―― I do wonder why that is.

H: Hmmm, I wonder why.   Based on what I personally feel, that (lack of desire for something else) is the reason why we’ve been performing live shows like THE DAY IN QUESTION  for 20 years, and when I see the smiling or crying faces of our audience from the stage, I get reminded that this is why I do music. That is, in the past, whether we’re writing music or performing shows, it was mostly for ourselves. We would mostly do whatever we wanted to do at that point in time, so I suppose we were pretty egoistical, though. But seeing the audiences’ faces, realising that this presence that is BUCK-TICK is so sought after by everyone makes me want to share that space more and enjoy it with them.

―― I see.

H: My awareness of the band might’ve been slightly different in the past than now, but I will never ever get tired of this.

―― Those are strong words. I suppose we can say that whatever you’ve built up with the fans has become a strong motivation for you.

H: Yes, yes, exactly. Personally, I guess I want to see the faces of people who come and watch us. I’ve somehow come to feel that way, you know. Like, “Ah, I want to see them again. That was fun.” I feel that this is the kind of relationship that we have right now.

―― That’s a great story.

H: And that’s the moving tale that I’ve come up with (lol).

―― Don’t be shy, now (lol). Well then, I guess it looks like there won’t be a Hoshino Hidehiko solo anytime soon.

H: There’s no chance of that anymore.

―― Y-you made a vow (lol).

H: I didn’t, right? Surely (lol). I don’t feel any motivation towards that. And I think that’s the same for everyone now.

―― Indeed. I can feel that the unifying force within this band of 5 has grown even stronger after No.0. Like a strengthened resolve that you 5 will make things work no matter what happens.

H: That sums it all up. I don’t think there’s anything else aside from this, and I guess this alone is enough to keep us all filled. I suppose it’s important to direct our energies outwards too, but I’m getting a little old for that, you know. Didn’t both Sakurai-san and I fall ill in 2019?   When I think about that, I feel that I’d rather give my all to working on what we already have and do the best I can. After all, I don’t know when I won’t be able to play as BUCK-TICK ever again.

―― I assume there’s a sort of a flipside to that.

H: There is. Well, it would be great if I had the energy to direct outwards too, though. Those who will leave us will leave us anyway (lol), but right now, I want to make sure that I do right by the band.

―― I can understand that. No one knows how long it can go on for, and that’s why you’re now exuding the desire to do whatever you can now while you can.

H: I think that’s precisely how everyone feels now. I’m not looking to confirm that this feeling exists, but I can sort of sense that everyone probably has that on their minds. The kind of sense you get from knowing each other for years (lol).




* BUCK-TICK was signed to BMG Japan between 2000 and 2010, which changed its name in 2009 to Ariola Japan. BMG Funhouse is a subsidiary of BMG Japan.

** Referring to Ryota Fujimaki who covered Just One More Kiss. He covered Konayuki (粉雪) with ToshI (X Japan) in December 2019’s edition of FNS Music Festival.

*** Referring to Maki Fujii of minus(-), Soft Ballet. He worked on the cover of Keijijou Ryuusei with Chiai Fujikawa.


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Higuchi yutaka

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

I personally feel that there’s still a lot more we can do when it comes to creating music among the five of us
This feeling that there is still a lot we can show off is very much alive in me

―― We’ll start by looking back on last year. So, Locus Solus no Kemonotachi happened in the first half.

Y: Yes. Locus Solus wasn’t an album tour and neither was it our usual THE DAY IN QUESTION, so we started by coming up with a different title before we brainstormed. We also got to perform our new songs, so I think it was a great show.

―― There were some firsts too, weren’t there? Like performing your encore set at the centre stage, and that unbelievable pro-wrestling style entrance.

Y: Pro-wrestling style entrance (lol). That stage extension was pretty long, wasn’t it? And playing in the middle with everyone was fun too. Gathering there and squeezing together, we were even closer to each other than we’d usually be in our rehearsal studio (lol). We really haven’t performed together in such a small space in decades, so it was somehow nice in a way.

―― That space was probably as small as the studio you used in your early days, right? Do you remember those days?

Y: Ahー, Koenji’s…… I wonder if it’s still there?   PAL Studio*. But I also think it’d be nice if we could do new things like these going forward.

―― Though, I’d expect that it can be stressful to do something for the first time or challenge new things.

Y: Yeah, well, but I want to do more of what we’re capable of. Because even I can feel that there’s still a lot that the five of us can do together, and that our live performances are only getting better and better. That’s why I want us to do more and more together.

―― You’ve come to realise that for yourself and can proudly say it here too. This is nice.

Y: After all, we’ve come all this way without stopping. Especially considering that I started out having only played bass for a year or two by the time we debuted. Keeping at it, I more or less grew to understand how to play well, but that’s not the focus of what I’m saying. Now, when the five of us come together and make music, I can distinctly feel that we’ve gotten good. That’s why I feel that we’ll only get even better. Yeah…… Although, it certainly is weird for me to say that myself (lol).

―― No, that’s a good thing. Doesn’t it often happen that it becomes difficult to see how else you can grow after doing the same thing for so many years? And instead, (rather than that,) you’d be thinking about your physical limitations first.

Y: No, well, it’s because I personally feel that there’s still a lot more we can do, you know? In terms of expressing something or creating music with the five of us involved. This feeling that we still have a lot we can show off to the people who are always waiting for us is very much alive in me.

―― You’re putting emphasis on “the five of us”, aren’t you?

Y: Yes. Isn’t BUCK-TICK made up of five people anyway? (Lol). Of course, we do have the support of our staff, but it’s always been the five of us going through all sorts of experiences together. The laughs…… Well, there weren’t many tears, but there were a lot of fun times. Even during our tours or rehearsals, we still get that same feeling when the sounds made by the five of us come together for the very first time. It’s not (the kind of feeling that) gets us grinning, but there’s a comfortable tension.

―― Is it something similar to the moment when high school students enter a studio and sound their instruments?

Y: Yeah. (It happens whenever) we do something together or play together. Would it be weird to say that this in itself brings me joy?   I really enjoy it. I can’t quite explain it well, though.

―― It’s amazing that this hasn’t turned into a monotonous routine to you. Such feelings don’t last that long between a married couple, for example.

Y: As you’d expect, it’s because our composer Imai-kun has a lot to offer. And usually, there’d be things that I have to study up on too. That’s why, although it might be dependent on the song, the thought that something is a bore has never crossed my mind.

―― So, for this single’s Datenshi, what did you think of it when it first came up?

Y: A rock-flavoured song. In the demo tape stage, Imai-kun filled in the vocals so that (version) had quite a strong rock-flavour to it. And I thought it’d turn into something pretty good once Acchan sings it.

―― I heard that the initial candidate for the single was something different.

Y: Yes. It’s a slightly milder song, but when it came to deciding which we should release first, we went with Datenshi. Well, although Hide wrote a song too, (we went with this decision because this song is one where) Imai-kun wrote the music while Acchan wrote the lyrics. I believe, after all, that’s the image which the songwriter and the lyricist have when they think about what it is they want to put out at this point in time. So, I suppose in a way, (we’re making the decisions) according to that.


―― By the way, how do you see Imai-san as a composer?

Y: ……Vague.

―― Vague (lol).

Y: He always says, “Like this,” but he’s only got a skeleton of things like the bassline done, so when I change a certain part some way I like, he’d say, “Okay, okay.” He doesn’t really push for things to be done according to the demo he made himself. Maybe rather than that, it’s more about (composing) it together and expanding it to him. That’s why I say he’s vague.

―― I see. I haven’t asked everyone but the original demo is rather different than what goes on air, right?

Y: Exactly. Basically, the impression it leaves is different. After all, the bass is the part which gets recorded first, so with every song, I’m always wondering, “How will this song end up sounding?” This single’s Luna Park was (initially) completely different too. In the beginning, it was a British-sounding demo tape. Once the vocals and music were added in, the image of the song changed a lot and brightened up a lot.

―― Ahh, that electropop programming wasn’t there in the beginning, was it?

Y: It wasn’t there at the start. I think Hide probably did that through a manipulator’s mastery, but I really thought that it became very pop.

―― Does such a thing often happen?

Y: Yeah. It’s also because Imai-kun would steadily make changes along the way. Even though he’s the one making the demo tapes, he’d more often than not add in something completely different midway. It might sound strange when I say it like this, but this is why it feels as if the song gains its soul the very moment Acchan sings it. At that moment, I’d get that sense of “…… Ohh!”

―― I’ve got a weird question, but, have you ever thought, “What an awesome band I’m in”?

Y: Mn!   That’s…… Nope, I respect them, but “awesome” has never crossed my mind.

―― But I think that a tag team like Imai-san and Sakurai-san isn’t something that can be found in just any other band, and there’s really something quite miraculous about it.

Y: Hmm. But we’ve been together since we were in high school, and I was even their junior too (lol). I don’t really think about those things. From then until now, nothing has changed. For example, back in high school, Imai-kun would tell me, “I’ve got this sorta music, I’ve got that sorta record,” and he’d let me listen to indies stuff that could only be procured in Tokyo in those days. I guess you could say that’s something which still goes on even now. It feels as if he’s a~lways telling me, “I’ve got something good.”

―― And that’s something which still interests Yuta-san even now.

Y: That’s right. And I’d be like, “Whoa, that’s amazing!” That’s why things haven’t really changed between then and now.

―― Though, now, I can’t quite imagine what Imai-san was like in his high school days.

Y: He was someone who didn’t talk much. Although, I guess all of us are the same in terms of not talking much. Hide isn’t the type to be all loud and rowdy anyway, and Acchan is even quieter than either of them.

―― When the five of you came together as a band, did a chemical reaction occur right off the bat?

Y: That’s right. Good vibes. Well, that was after we moved to Tokyo, though. After Acchan became our vocalist, the vibe changed. Ever since then, we’ve been performing with that same vibe, so I guess that’s why I enjoy it.

―― But that feeling that you’re getting better and better, I suppose that’s probably something that everyone feels too.

Y: Yes. Probably. We won’t say it out loud, though. But I think that those who’ve been watching us all this while probably think so too. Our band has definitely become better than we were before, and we want to be even better. Because we have so many people supporting us and coming to our shows, it makes us want to make it even more powerful and have everyone enjoy themselves even more.

―― I get this feeling that the ‘circus’ image is what you’ve firmly settled on in recent years.

Y: Kind of like a show; something that entertains, right? But that’s why it’s not simply about getting the audience into it. I guess as artists, we have a lot of songs and there are many different approaches (we can choose from), but in the end, (the response) we want to hear in the end is, “That was fun.” And also, things like, “That got me thinking.” I can’t really express it well in words, though.

―― Because it’s not just about entertainment that brings a smile, right? In the end, you want everyone to truly enjoy this world (of yours).

Y: Exactly. After all, we five members definitely have this desire to entertain.


If I was asked, ‘how far can you go?’ some decades ago, I’d be able to respond with ‘forever’ but
The older we get, the more it makes us think about things…… But I’d like to keep doing this for as long as I can

―― And among everyone, the one who smiles the most during shows is Yuta-san.

Y: That’s right. Because I think that if you feel great during the performance, you should feel free to smile. I think everyone naturally shows what they personally feel. Of course, I can’t laugh frivolously when it’s a surreal tune, though (lol). That’ll just make me a nuisance, so I’ll try to interpret it in my own way.

―― I think Yuta-san who has a wide range of connections across various genres and has done a serialised publication in support of Hanshin** has been actively doing things that are uncharacteristic of BUCK-TICK’s image.

Y: No, no, I’m actively being asked to do all of this (lol). Editor-in-chief Kanemitsu*** is making me do this. Although, I’m also (thinking, I’ll do it) to at least represent BUCK-TICK.

―― “At least”, you say (lol). But BUCK-TICK is completely detached, and you don’t have any obvious followers too. That’s why I feel this makes Yuta-san’s existence a cheerful window (into the band).

Y: Ahh~. If you say that, you’re (heaping) responsibility (onto me).

―― It’ll be fine since you have this smile of yours. It looks contrived anyway if everyone (in the band) has the kind of face that makes it feel you’re all in the demon world.

Y: Ahh, well, we had made those faces when we debuted. Glaring as if saying, “No laughing at us, don’t take us lightly!” But I think as we went along, we began to find our own style that is unique to us.

―― When did that start to change?

Y: Probably just a little bit before 2000. It just gradually changed within us. Maybe it was around the time of “ONE LIFE~”, just as we entered our Ariola (era). It’s not as if there was any particular event which made us change, but we got the sense that we can do what we want to do. That we should have more fun doing this.

―― Would you say that things became easier?

Y: Probably. Rather than easier, you could say we began to feel that we can express (what we want to) without creating (that sort of impression). Although, we don’t really do that much anymore anyway.

―― That’s true. When I think of the past, I get this image that makes it seem like no one (in the band) eats or uses the bathroom at all.

Y: …… If we don’t eat, we’ll die (lol).

―― At the very least, I couldn’t imagine you living a normal life at all.

Y: Ahh, we’re normal, though, right? Well, if you compare (us) with normal bands, there are those who (make their hair stand up) like this too, and there are also those who are always silent (lol). But I think that’s simply because a lot of us are shy and quiet people.

―― But can shy and quiet people endure on that stage?

Y: Mm, it feels like a switch gets turned on and I think this goes for us too, though. Although, it’s not as if we’d be in the wings going, “Let’s do this!” or, “Yeay!” and all that.

―― Hahaha. If you did, that’d be scary.

Y: We’re relaxed, though. But the moment we go up on stage, everyone suddenly snaps into gear with a “Bang!” I think that’s how it is for all 5 of us. Because this has already become the norm for us.

―― And you’ve been doing this for more than 30 years. It’s stunning.

Y: Mm… But you could say our 30th anniversary was more like a checkpoint. Like, it’s something that we’ll definitely get to as long as we keep at it. That’s why we’ve been thinking about what’s next and what comes after that since the year of our 30th anniversary. It’s quite common, isn’t it? Situations where a band’s members’ emotions which hit a climax on their anniversary and then start to wane after that, ending up with them doing nothing.

―― The typical anniversary waning (lol).

Y: Exactly. I’m also trying to avoid that personally. Which is why we did Locus Solus and also held the DAY IN QUESTION tour last year, and I thought that it was great that we didn’t slacken off. It’s like the feeling that if we keep this up, we’ll be able to carry these feelings over into the new year.

―― Although…… You only released one single in 2019, didn’t you?

Y: Oh, that’s right. It’s true. That’s why I’m thinking that in 2020, I want to first make our album something great and then go all around Japan to where fans are waiting for us. We didn’t do that many shows last year anyway. And besides, I believe it’s such a joy (for fans) when the band comes to the city where you live, isn’t it?

―― How’s the current stage of production?

Y: We’re at the stage where… our manager is asking us to please save up songs for the album.

―― Hahahaha.

Y: Imai-kun says things like, “They’re always on my mind.” Although, we always ask, “Where?” Like, are they in his Mac, or are they not in there yet…… I’ve no clue about that (lol).

―― I’ll be looking forward to your summer album. Also, I assume this is something that you’d have been asked numerous times in recent years, but do you think about how long you can do this and how far you can go?

Y: I don’t know, though. …… But if I was asked something like this some decades ago I’d be able to respond with ‘forever’, but you know, the older we get, the more it makes us think about things, so although I want to say forever, I also know that it’ll all end if (I) die after all. But I’d like to keep doing this for as long as I can.

―― Is it scary to think about the end?

Y: Mm, well, it’s almost as good as asking, “Are you afraid of death?”, isn’t it? But (if we’re afraid of the end), the band might end up becoming strained and all that, you know. Yet, like I said earlier, I know there’s still more to come going forward, so as long as I still feel like that, I want to keep going on.

―― Do you have an ideal ending?

Y: Ideal?   ……… Uh…… I guess, it’s to end without disbanding.

―― Disband…… Are you going to do that now?!

Y: It gets people thinking, “…… What?” Doesn’t it? (Lol).

―― More like, “What the hell are you saying?”

Y: Or rather, “Huh, why make such an announcement when you could’ve just kept quiet?” For sure (lol).




* PAL Music Studio in Koenji, Shinjuku.

** Hanshin Tigers; baseball team. 

*** The interviewer.


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Yagami Toll

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

No matter what type of song we play, it’s always being described as uniquely a BUCK-TICK song
But this is because of the honest work that the band members have put in throughout the years without growing conceited

―― The year-end THE DAY IN QUESTION has concluded. How was it, holding your final at Yoyogi National Stadium First Gymnasium for the first time?

T: Shall I make this clear?   It was the first time in a while that I messed up so much. Even I was shocked. Like, “Whoa!   I’m so tense!”

―― Was that because it was your first time performing there?

T: Yeah. That venue was a first for us, and the pressure from the audience was incredible too.

―― Because the ones right at the back were pretty far away from the stage, weren’t they?

T: I’d guess it was difficult for them to see us too. The acoustics too, it’s pretty tough (to get right) since (the venue) was long sideways. But the condition of Acchan’s voice sounded great, didn’t it? I could tell with the in-ear monitors on. It’s the usual balance, but when he started singing, he could push his voice pretty low. In fact, when he did that, I thought, “Oh, he’s doing well”.

―― What concept did you have in mind when you were selecting the songs for the setlist?

T: This time, for me, I picked Aku no Hana and Jonathan Jet-Coaster. I figured we should play those kinds of fast-tempo songs while I still can (lol).

―― As a drummer, you mean?

T: Yeah. We put them into the setlist and I’ll practice to confirm that I can still perform them. When you watch old footage of songs like Aku no Hana, I didn’t use click tracks for any of the songs back then so the tempo was fast.

―― Now you’d use click tracks no matter the song, right?

T: The only exception would be Speed. Because it seems as if Imai would get uncomfortable if I drum that song too proper. For Aku no Hana’s final outro too, if I drum according to the click track, we’d go out of sync. That’s why I’d listen to Imai’s guitar and drum just for that last part. The nuances from those days have been ingrained into both of our bodies.

―― I see. But that was a great live show.

T: It was, wasn’t it? Despite my messing up (lol).

―― You seemed to be the liveliest one at the after-party too (lol).

T: I don’t really remember it, though. It appeared that we drank until 10 a.m. (lol). I get an adrenaline rush from performing live, so when it’s over and it’s all been released, I’d look like an idiot. And besides, since it’s the year-end, there’s an added sense of closure too (lol).

―― So how was the year 2019 for you?

T: There weren’t many live shows, but I’ve more or less practised consistently. I had my own solo activities too, and we started recording after September, so I didn’t really have time to waste. That in itself was good.

―― For drummers, you won’t be able to play well unless you drum every day, right?

T: Yeah. I mentioned this before in my autobiography too, but in the past, there was a period of time when the band was being suspended and we had no activities. Plus I couldn’t go out because there were tons of paparazzi so I didn’t get to drum for about half a year and (my drumming ability) ended up declining badly. A small percentage of geniuses may be fine even if they didn’t drum every day, but for someone like me, an average drummer, I have to work hard to make sure that this doesn’t happen. I’d ask for advice too. Kamiryou-kun (Kamiryou Wataru*) taught me some and that’s when I changed my drumming style to this present one.

―― Considering that you’re the senior bowing your head to a junior to ask for direction, doesn’t pride get in the way?

T: Not at all. Because to ask may be a moment’s shame, but not to ask and to remain ignorant is an everlasting shame. There’s also Bunta from TOTALFAT who’s about 30 years my junior but he bangs out ninelets without a problem, so I asked him to teach me with the V-Drums I have at home. I just stared and watched his drumming form (lol). Basically, if I’d like to take it in if I can absorb it.

―― That kind of effort is crucial, isn’t it?

T: That’s how it is for us all in this band. Although there are aliens like Imai too (lol).

―― Hahahaha. Well, then what did you think of your new song, Datenshi when you first heard it?

T: When I heard the initial demo, I thought that it sounded very Western. With the simple beat. But while listening to it, it felt as if there was something weird about it.

―― Because the bass was put in areas where it normally wouldn’t be, and at times it’d be removed.

T: I thought that approach was interesting. Although such a hollow feeling could turn out badly if there wasn’t a good (music) sense behind it, Imai can do it just fine, so it’s alright. Once again, this round’s demo for Datenshi made me think, “This guy definitely ain’t no regular person.” The music may sound empty but impactful phrases will hit you.

―― And that beat is very fresh, isn’t it?

T: For me, as a drummer, it was great. Luna Park was actually more difficult. It’s subtle, so I had to use a snare which was made in 1910. And made of real leather too.

―― A vintage you own.

T: In the past, I used it for Tight Rope and I broke it on the first hit. Since it’s made of real leather, it doesn’t last too long before it breaks. So I had to drum gingerly, very carefully (lol).

―― Did you get the impression that Imai-san was doing something new with Datenshi?

T: Rather than that, Imai’s demo sounded like a Western song in the first place so I couldn’t really tell (lol). (It was only after) Acchan sang, then I got the sense of, “So that’s how it goes. It got better.”

―― I see.

T: There’s a good balance. We even recorded 3 songs this time though; Datenshi, another nice mid-tempo song, and Luna Park. So it’s good because we have Hide’s songs too. Age-wise he’s younger (than Imai), so there were no clashes nor any obstinacy (with regards to switching his song for Imai’s Datenshi). I do wonder if things would be different if Hide and Imai were classmates, though. But (based on) his character, he isn’t the type to be driven by ego anyway.

―― That’s true. I guess you could say that he’s suited to writing songs for the band.

T: You see, no matter what type of song we play, it’s always being described as uniquely a BUCK-TICK song, but this is because of the honest work that the band members have put in throughout the years without growing conceited. If not for that, I don’t believe we could have found ourselves here.

―― What does Yagami-san personally think is the reason that you have been able to keep going without growing conceited?

T: Because those around us don’t let us (lol). If we get cocky** we’d get smacked.

―― So, if you stick your nose up too high, they’ll break it*** (lol).

T: I think there was a time when I was on the verge of becoming like that, though. But when I was in my slump, I could feel the members’ feelings and how they put up with me and supported me, so after that experience, there was no way I could become conceited. In my case, there was a period when a lot of things were going on in my private life and that dealt a huge blow to me mentally. It wasn’t that I was lacking in physical strength or anything, but I was mentally worthless. I think it must’ve been really tough for all those who stuck by me during those times.

―― In other words, you were unable to have a positive outlook about the band.

T: Yeah, I couldn’t. I had no motivation, I wasn’t at all happy with the way I drummed, and I even felt that it might be better if I wasn’t a part of the band. For real, from my early to mid-40s, I was afraid of being on stage. I was really terrified.

―― So this was around the time of Mona Lisa OVERDRIVE?

T: Exactly. It was awful back then. I kept thinking maybe it was time for me to quit, that it was a good time for me to go. Our manager and Yuta kept nagging (lol) at me for that, so I started going to the gym, changed my form, changed my drum sticks too. I tried out all sorts of things. Whatever I could easily do in my 20s and 30s I could no longer after I turned 40. It even got me feeling that maybe bad years^ really do exist (lol).

―― But you were able to shake it off and reset your emotions.

T: Yeah. The members waited for me with the feeling that (the band) can’t do it unless it’s me, so those bitter thoughts gradually went away. I guess it’s the same with age. As in, since we’re nearing the end, there’s no point in grumbling about the trivial things (lol).


I’m turning 58 this year, so every single moment, be it our live shows or our recording sessions, becomes precious
I’d only think about what I have to do to keep playing in the band, what should I do to bring joy

―― Come to think of it, I noticed that your drum solo, too, has gradually changed.

T: That’s right. I believe anyone can tell if they look back on our film releases or something, but in the past, I wouldn’t hit the cymbals with my bare hands. Because, you see, I felt that it’s tacky if I were to do exactly what John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) did. In a sort of not-daring-to-do-it-because-I-like-it sense. But I thought about it, and I came to feel that since I was influenced by him, it’s probably better to show (that influence). Like, if I was the audience, I think I would prefer to see me do it as it is instead of accommodating to my strange particularities. And that’s why I do it with this present style that I have. Besides, it’s probably weird for me to close things off without showing (that influence) at all.

―― Similarly, I’m also getting the feeling that all 5 members of your band can sense somewhere that the end is nigh and when everyone performs with that awareness, your bond grows stronger, doesn’t it?

T: That’s bound to happen when we grow old (lol). My father passed away at the age of 70 and taking that into consideration, I’m turning 58 this year, so that means that I’ve only got 12 years left. When I count backwards like this, every single moment, be it our live shows or our recording sessions, becomes precious. And rather than fretting about the details, I’d only think about what I have to do to keep playing in the band, what should I show (our audience), what should I do to bring joy.

―― Although Sakurai-san had a slightly different view of it, he spoke about something similar with regards to age, didn’t it?

T: I think everyone thinks the same, but I think if any one of us can no longer perform, this band can’t go on anymore.

―― So, more like Led Zeppelin after all than the Who.

T:  Because BUCK-TICK isn’t a business, is it? (Lol). Although, I think something similar to Zeppelin’s Coda^^, a release which sort of says, “Everyone, this is goodbye,” can be done even if any one of us isn’t around.

―― I see.

T: Because in rock bands, it’s not a matter of whether you’re good or not at singing or playing an instrument, is it? I say this a lot, but we’re the ultimate amateurs, you see. And this nuance of ours can’t be brought out any more if we’re missing even just one of our members. Look, there’s no other guitar player like Imai anywhere else, is there?

―― I don’t suppose so (lol).

T: They say this about him often, don’t they? Even though Imai actually belongs in the “poor” category of guitar players, don’t you wonder why people call him a genius? It’s because he’s one of a kind. It’s because he has a uniqueness that cannot be replicated by anyone.

―― Because this is the only place where that uniqueness comes into play.

T: There are loads of people who can play in time with the metronome properly. But (he’s the one who goes), timing? What’s that? (Lol). And that’s BUCK-TICK’s groove. I mentioned it earlier, didn’t I?   That nuance in Speed and Aku no Hana isn’t something that can be produced if it isn’t Imai and these band members playing it. This is something that I’ve only understood now. I’m glad I didn’t quit (lol).

―― Please say this to all the distressed band members (lol).

T: You’re prohibited against quitting your band! (Lol). Anyway, the punk genre has always been a gathering of people who aren’t good at anything from the very beginning. So if you keep at it, that’ll become your unique characteristic!

―― Compelling (lol).

T: It doesn’t only apply to bands, but to everything too, right? Theory is boring anyway.

―― Well, these days, the main platform (for music) to be listened to is YouTube or some sort of subscription service, so the theory is that you won’t be able to sell well unless your intro before the song is short and you cut out the guitar solo.

T: Even if that were true, it then begs the question of, “You may sell well, but are you having fun doing that?”

―― Indeed.

T: You may call it a gut feeling, but I think that no matter what you’re doing, what matters the most is your motivation, your complex, and who you’re doing it with. Because that’s how it is for us. We wanted to do this with these 5 people even though we were criticised mercilessly when we first debuted. (It also worked out) because the band members waited for me even when I wasn’t sure if I could do it any more. And thanks to that, I learnt humility and didn’t become conceited.

―― That’s true. When I listened to the tribute album, it was clear that (BUCK-TICK is) band unlike any other. Including what you’ve just said.

T: For me, I genuinely want (the participating artists) to take apart (our songs). I’m already grateful for their participation in the first place, but if I were to say what I really desire, it’s for them to destroy it all and turn it into a form of contradictory respect. Because that will become references for us. You see, back in the day, when we did karaoke, we didn’t use recorded playbacks. Instead, we had people playing (the music). Studio musicians would be playing the drums. I’d listen to those nuances and steal from them instead (lol).

―― And that’s humility, isn’t it? Because you won’t deny (their versions) and say that it’s wrong.

T: On the contrary, isn’t it one way to learn and realise that there’s another way to play something too? This is the style that BUCK-TICK’s music production has developed, so I felt that it’d be weird if there’s no quirkiness in this band’s drummer after all.

―― What does Yagami-san want to do in BUCK-TICK in future? Or, what would you like the band to become?

T: I want us to become sharp old men. 

―― Sharp old men (lol).

T: The type who gets noticed by the youngins (lol). I want people to say, “They’re amazing,” even though we’re old men.

―― And for that to happen, health comes first.

T: Come to think of it, I haven’t gone for any health checkup recently (lol).

―― Please go!

T: But I haven’t had any symptoms (of illnesses) at all, see (lol). Look, I’m even drinking until 10 in the morning.

―― That’s not the point.

T: Yeah, yeah (lol).




* Support drummer originally of GRASS VALLEY and then SOFT BALLET. Other notable associated acts he has been involved with are P-MODEL, Kikkawa Koji, cali≠gari.

** The actual phrase is “天狗になったら” (tengu ni nattara). Literally: “If (we) turn into Tengu”. Tengu are long-nosed goblins in Japanese folklore.

*** This time I used a literal translation that references the English language of “sticking one’s nose up in the air”, which is a figure of speech to describe haughty behaviour. The “break(ing)” part of the translation also alludes to the Tengu imagery from the phrase Toll used in the last line. On the whole, the phrase “鼻を折る” (hana wo oru / lit. break a nose) basically means to humble a person’s pride.

^ “厄年” (yakudoshi) loosely translates into “bad/unlucky year”. It is generally known as the ages of calamity differ according to gender; 25 and 42 for men, and 19 and 33 for women.

^^ Coda is a rarities compilation album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It is a collection of unused tracks from various sessions during Led Zeppelin’s twelve-year career. It was released in 1982, two years after the group had officially disbanded following the death of drummer John Bonham. The word coda, meaning a passage that ends a musical piece following the main body, was therefore chosen as the title. (Wikipedia)


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text by Ishii Eriko
photographs by Sasahara Kiyoaki (L MANAGEMENT)


For real, all the bands who stand out from the rest
possess the resolution that, “If we’re going to do this, we’ll be number one at it.”
I think that in the end, this is what truly makes a band (Higuchi)

With the utmost respect for the band known as BUCK-TICK, BRAHMAN have fed listeners an intense counterpunch with a cover done their way. Out of this comes a peculiar conversation between TOSHI-LOW, the frontman with the nickname “Oni*” and bassist Yutaka Higuchi. What brings them together despite being completely different in terms of character, generation, and the music scene they grew up in?


Although the bassline remained the same, they managed to come up with something so different
This just says that the power this band possesses is very real (Higuchi)

―― Yuta-san’s, “I want to meet TOSHI-LOW-kun,” led to the planning of this interview. Was the first time you met at 2017’s Arabaki**?

Yuta (Y): Yes.

TOSHI-LOW (TL): No…… The actual (first encounter) was about 25 years ago.

Y: Eh?

TL: You know, at Shelter***, when THE POGO’s Ryota had just started JIGHEAD*** in their early days. That was BRAHMAN’s first live show. 

Y: …… Wha――at!

TL: That was the summer of 1995, so it really was BRAHMAN’s very first show. Of course, you weren’t there to see (BRAHMAN), but we were at the afterparty.

Y: ……… Whoa, that gave me goosebumps (lol). Amazing. I remember that. Ryota-kun was there.

TL: JIGHEAD went bass-less a while after that, but back then, the bassist was around, some flashy guy wearing a sun visor. That person going involved with a woman or something and a huge fight started but it was stopped with the casual, “Stop it, stop doing that.” (Lol).

Y: Hahahaha!   But I can clearly recall talking to Ryota-kun. We debuted with POGO in the same period and also performed at Shinjuku Loft and so on together.

TL: I’ve thought since then that (Yuta) was such a nice guy. I think I was someone who didn’t trust anyone at the time so I was very mean to everyone I came into contact with, though. But (Yuta) was suーper nice. Let me say this first; I’m glad (for that).

Y: …… That gave me chills (lol).

―― I’m sure you knew about BUCK-TICK’s existence since your early days.

TL: Of course. Although, their early days’ JUST ONE MORE KISS and Aku no Hana, and Speed was as far as that knowledge went. But that’s because my interests drastically shifted away after that. Though, RONZI (drums) liked them a lot. I always thought that we have no connection with each other and going from that perspective to now having this bring us together makes me nervous. You see, when talk about the tribute album reached me, I even thought, “They definitely made a mistake when choosing artists, right?” (Lol).

Y: Nah, but I run a blog too, and I often receive emails but (upon the release of the news), I had a ton of comments along the lines of, “I’m so happy that BRAHMAN is on board.”

TL: Ah, thank goodness. But on our end, we really had a lot of seesawing back and forth, though. It was first RONZI who decided that our song choice would be ICONOCLASM. “For sure,” he said. But it wasn’t a song I knew so I listened to it again and this song…… This song is a very difficult one to play, isn’t it (lol). We can’t do anything with the arrangement, right? This vibe goes on and on, and that dispassionate detachment is where its appeal lies, so if we mess with that, the song will be destroyed. And to add to that, RONZI said that he didn’t want the bassline to change and MAKOTO (bassist) agreed as well. We tried our best to do this cover while keeping the bassline intact, but it only resulted in our song sounding like a mere copy. So, at that point, I decided to give Yuutan a call.

Y: Heh heh heh heh heh heh.

TL: Yuutan gave me his LINE. I think it was around October of last year. He said something like, “I’m really looking forward to it!” And when I showed (his message) to RONZI, RONZI said, “Oh shit…… We’ll have to rearrange it and do it all over again……”. So, then we started back from square one again. We also figured that if you’re inviting us to take part in this, you’re expecting us to present something that’s been done our way.

―― Ah, so in the beginning, you just read the lines out quietly as they were?

TL: I just read it monotonously, without intonations. I decided to risk doing it with a mechanical sounding voice, but then it all changed from there. I figured that if this was our own song, we wouldn’t be doing it like this, so we tried bringing in more heat into the song. But it was difficult after all. Because only Acchan can produce those vocals, right? And even after we sent our song over, I didn’t receive any reply from Yuutan for the loooongest time. I was freaking out (lol).

Y: No, but it’s not what you think! I already wanted to send my reply upon receiving the sound source, but I thought it might probably be better to do that after the mastering has been properly done. So I just kept resisting the urge (to reply). And once mastering was completed, I immediately sent the message.

TL: And I was just so anxious throughout that period. Like, “Ahh… Did we get the arrangement wrong after all…?!”

Y: No, no, no. To that, all of my band members and I were in total agreement that, “This will definitely be the first track!”

―― It sounds like you ended up experiencing a hit and split rather than getting to quit while you’re ahead (lol).

TL: I was dying here!   Because in fact, we worked harder on this than normal. Also, while we were working on the arrangement, I took the liberty to try and find some common ground (between our bands), but there are contrasts even within the band, aren’t there? For example, the music is pop although it may be dark, and even though it may come across as exclusionary, it’s actually very human. Because such front sides and undersides exist, it made me feel that it would be possible to execute this song with our kind of passion, and that’s what I put my belief in.

Y: Yeah. It was wonderful. Like you said earlier, the bassline remained the same, didn’t it? But despite that, they managed to come up with something so different. This just says that the power this band possesses is very real. Everyone (in BUCK-TICK) remarked that (the cover) was cool too.

TL: …… Thank goodness~.

Y: For real. I think this is the number one (example of what we’re hoping for) when we ask others to do this (with our music). It’s the same for all the bands who stand out from the rest. They all possess this one (resolution) that, “If we’re going to do this, we’ll be number one at it.” And I think that in the end, this is what truly makes a band.

TL: That’s what a band is all about. The music that is created by people who want to do music, those definitely have some sort of format, don’t they?

Y: Yes, yes.

TL: I listened to a lot of past recordings upon this time’s participation, but I found it very intriguing that somehow, what we sought was originality and novelty for ourselves rather than musicality. We’re better described as people who want to play in a band, rather than people who want to dabble in music. And that’s where my affinity (with BUCK-TICK) lies. We, too, don’t (create music) with the intention of writing good or sellable songs but instead, we want to find music that only we, only we 4 (BRAHMAN) can make.

Y: I understand that. There’s 5 of us (in BUCK-TICK), but that feeling of becoming one when all 5 of us come together is so very important. And also, not getting too personal with each other. That’s why I’d also go exploring for song arrangements myself.

TL: But it’s not as if you’re all disparate individuals. I felt that at the Arabaki afterparty too. You’re a band that’s been around for over 30 years, but it’s the after-afterparty and it’s already morning, you know?   But all the band members are there?   It went up little by little but in the end, the only ones left were me and the whole of BUCK-TICK. That was quite the sight (lol).

Y: That was fun. It was the first time in a long while that I was going home by bullet train, and I’m going home drunk too (lol).


Being in a band is already the goal and the ultimate form
That is what I can see in BUCK-TICK (TOSHI-LOW)

TL: But everyone (in BUCK-TICK) stayed all the way until morning, and you can see the relationship between the members from that, right?   I’ve always thought that we don’t really have any role models or textbook examples to go by, but I felt that there were things that we could learn from BUCK-TICK. Somehow, it’s as if the band is not a mere means (to an end), but instead, the band itself gives me a very happy feeling, and it makes things super cosy. So I ended up getting so plastered and at the very end I even got to kiss Acchan――.

―― They’re gonna kill you, TOSHI-LOW-kun.

Y: Hahaha. We really had fun drinking.

TL: Well, but Imai Hisashi slept the whoーle time.

Y: These days he falls asleep fast, you know. He’d even fall asleep when we’re eating (lol).

TL: But what I thought was most amazing was when we woke him up and told him we’re leaving, he said, “Already?” with the straightest of faces. He had been sleeping for 2 hours (lol). If we’d known each other a little longer I think I would’ve teased him with an, “Oy!” But everyone ignores it. I thought that was some amazing teamwork. No matter the angle you consider them from, they’re a great band.

―― And that’s not just because of the existence of a drummer, bassist, guitarist(s), and a vocalist, right? This “great band” that TOSHI-LOW-kun speaks of.

TL: Putting it simply, it’s where being in a band on its own is already the goal and the ultimate form. That is what I can see in BUCK-TICK. And even within this, there’s always something they’re pursuing. Their goal isn’t to use music to become rich or famous. I believe that’s why they’re capable of doing something groundbreaking every time and why they aren’t afraid of change. But that said, they’ve always cherished their past and the way things have always been since the beginning. I mean, (your band’s story) starts from your hometown, right?   From your stories in Gunma.

Y: Yeah. Talk about (our days in) Gunma tends to come up in conversation (lol). Since we’ve always been together since way back when, we’d be like, “That guy did this back then,” and, “Nah, that was decades ago.”

TL: The fact that you can still talk about your high school days even now is seriously amazing.

―― Also, in terms of common ground, the starting point (of both bands) is actually punk. BUCK-TICK originally started out as a cover band of THE STALIN^, right?

Y: Yes, that’s right. Imai-kun had (one of) their records. I think it was STOP JAP?   He told me, “This is good stuff,” and I said, “So cool!  A cover^^!” It was just right after I got my hands on a bass, but I figured, well, I can play that with just one finger, right (lol). You know, songs like Tempura (天プラ) and the like. And to that, everyone was like, “Let’s do this!”

TL: I bet Michiro-san was real happy about that.

Y: Michiro-san attended an event of ours’ during our 20th anniversary. And back then, we went on tour together in Kyushu too. We had a lot of fun, and he said he loved ramen, so we decided to go to a ramen stand^^^ to celebrate. And Michiro-san was so happy. In our band, all of us drink alcohol, right? So Michiro-san, he drank with us back then.

TL: I’ve never seen him drink before.

Y: Later on, we asked him, “Michiro-san, you usually don’t drink, though?” But he said, “Just one glass,“ and drank with us.

TL: …… So that’s what brought about his early passing…

Y: Ehhhhhhhhhhh!

TL: Like, you’d wonder, what if he didn’t drink back then (lol). There’s no way it would’ve made a difference, though. But that’s so nice. There’s that punk aura, isn’t there? I’m the one who didn’t go through the positive punk [goth] genre, but doing this cover, I understood that both our bands’ roots were never far from each other’s, to begin with.


Even back when you had to stop band activities, all your band members, everyone waited, didn’t they?
I think that this is what friendship is supposed to be
That’s why they’re a role model for these times

―― There’s also another common ground, which doesn’t really mean much, where the bassists of both bands are Hanshin⁰ fans.

TL: Yeah, that’s right. He goes all the time. If there’s a free day while we’re on tour, MAKOTO would definitely go to a Hanshin game. I think you two must’ve definitely passed each other by before.

Y: TOSHI-LOW-kun, you don’t like baseball?

TL: Not at all for me.

Y: But somehow, when Oh⁰⁰ and Nagashima’s⁰⁰ names show up in Oniben¹, don’t they? 

TL: Well, it’s just that I said if I were to make a character bento, I’d want to use aonori¹¹ to make Nagashima’s stubble. And that I’d use the number 3 to form the eyes (lol).

Y: When I read that, I wondered if you were a Giants fan. But I really enjoyed reading Oniben. For me, my father had aーlways made bentos for me. He’s already passed away, though.

TL: If it was back in the day, it’s really rare for a father to prepare bentos for his children, isn’t it?

Y: It might’ve been because Anii didn’t really get bentos made for him much. Maybe he made them for me because he thought that it would be difficult for me, or maybe he felt sorry for me. When I was in elementary school, the lunchroom got closed for construction, so ever since then, he’s been preparing it for me from 4th grade in elementary school until my 3rd year in high school.

TL: What?   Amazing!   Isn’t that obviously because Yuutan was more adorable than Anii?

Y: Eehhhhhhh (lol).

TL: I think from a father’s perspective, the youngest child is the cutest since they’re the smallest of all. But for him to have done that for such a long time, there’s gotta be some sort of love behind it, I’m sure. Otherwise, he wouldn’t do it. Hearing that from you now, it gave me feels. To prepare bentos occasionally is still easy, but doing it every day is really tough. I think your father probably had something in his heart he wanted to convey to Yuutan, and that he decided he would see through this.

Y: Ahh…… But I’ve never thought about what my father could’ve had in mind while preparing that until I read Oniben. Because back then, I thought it was only to be expected. So when I read it, I suddenly realised that my father must’ve been thinking about a bunch while preparing the bentos. But you’re amazing, you know, TOSHI-LOW-kun. BRAHMAN too; you’re all amazing. Your band has been putting out releases one after another, so I can’t really pose as your senior any more.

TL: No, no, no, I had such a great time listening to all your old stories you shared at Arabaki. Like recollections of your early days playing at Loft² and all that, I felt like I could listen to them until morning comes. In terms of era, I’m from the band-boom period, so it may be casual small talk to you all, but to me, all of it is precious. Imai Hisashi, too, he can be one of those opinionated characters now, can’t he? Like the sort to say, “Didn’t I say before that’s off limits!”²² on a gossip talk show. 

―― Hahahahahahaha.

TL: Even back when you had to stop band activities, the fact that you weren’t a band that broke up because of that is wonderful, isn’t it? Of course, I believe it was tough for the members, though. Come to think of it, that was during your first career peak, wasn’t it?

Y: We were really beyond busy at the time. Like, we were constantly in a situation where we would be producing our new album while still going on tour for our previous release.

TL: Wow.

Y: Our heads were already getting all messed up. With our hair put up, there’s no time to even let it down, so we’d sleep on high pillows³ for a little like warriors of the old days and then head straight out right after (lol). That’s why, although that incident wasn’t a good thing, I just think that our band was definitely headed in a bad direction. On the contrary, I guess you could say that making us stop once allowed us to properly shift back to normal.

TL: And all your band members, everyone waited, didn’t they? That’s the strength of a team.

Y: Instead, back then, we were worried, y’know, about Imai-kun. When we met him for the first time (since all of that happened,) he just clapped everyone on our shoulders going, “Mh, mh.” And I think there was even a part of it which turned into a sort of drive (which motivated us to get back up). Because we were in a situation where only our names were out there but we couldn’t appear in any form of media, and our promotional videos and all of that couldn’t be broadcast.

TL: I think that this is what friendship is supposed to be. Of course, things you shouldn’t do, you shouldn’t do, but (the band) didn’t simply cut that person off. Instead, you used (the incident) as a springboard and to move forward together once again. In that sense, BUCK-TICK is a role model for these times, aren’t they? That isn’t how things go at all nowadays. (The offending party) simply gets beaten up and discarded and that’s the end of it. Maybe it’s a sign of the times?   My generation and those a little older than us, I think, definitely have a stronger sense of camaraderie. For better or for worse, there’s some “biker gang” left in us, so we’re people who will never do something like sacrificing one person while everyone else runs away scot-free. I think that’s how it should be even now.

Y: Because we’re all from the Showa era, right? And really, we grew up watching Showa era bands too. We’re of the generation who happened to get to watch Japan’s rock scene getting cooler and cooler. So I think that’s the root of it all for us.

TL: But even with that foundation there, you still keep bringing in new things, don’t you?   If even your foundation changes, then you’d be simply going with the times, but say, for example, if you were to try playing The Stalin’s music with present-day equipment, or if you did it with music programming to see how it would turn out, or something like that, I get this really strong “BUCK-TICK” feeling. That’s why (you make) outlandish music, right? But there are a lot of eccentric parts, and although it’s experimental, it’s also music that is universal.

―― On the other hand, what does BRAHMAN’s music sound like to Yuta-san?

Y: It definitely leaves the impression of heavy rock and punk music. I’ve been invited (to their live show) once. Actor Katsumura (Masanobu) -san asked me to go and watch a BRAHMAN show with him and Sugimoto Tetta-san³³.

TL: Ahh, come, do come.

Y: Actually, I did ask him along too. But I couldn’t go because of work. Even now I feel like I’ve missed out. I definitely want to go to your show next time.

―― To add to that, by all means, please do perform together next time.

TL: For me, anytime. I really want to perform with you together in a band. But…… I guess I might end up showing the fans hell again (wry smile). Because we’ve done that before at Lunatic Fest, y’know.

Y: Did you mess up or something?

TL: Nah, it’s more like the discomfort, on the whole, was overwhelming.

―― Probably because you rudely stepped on the SLAVES⁴ (lol). Now, during BRAHMAN’s shows, TOSHI-LOW-kun leaps into the audience and stands up with his feet set apart on people.

Y: I know, I know. When I saw the pictures and the videos, I thought, “This…… What’s going on here?” Are you standing on their shoulders with that post?

TL: Uh, nope, anywhere will do.

Y: Anywhere (lol). You’re standing in a sea of people, right?

TL: Yeah. I wonder if I could do that and piggyback Acchan. I guess it might work if I can piggyback him.

―― Everyone will be supporting that, with all their might (lol).

TL: Indeed. Both of us are creatures of the underworld, but I’m of a lower rank (lol). Because our statuses are different, you know. An “Oni” is definitely ranked lower than the Demon King, right?

Y: But I most definitely want to perform with you too.

TL: Also, I might be pushing it with this but I’d be glad if you’d come to New Aco⁴⁴ too.

―― Ahh. Have the acoustic BUCK-TICK take part in New Acoustic Camp⁴⁴. That sounds great. I’d like to see that someday.

TL: Their melodies have always been elegant, and they’re really universal and beautiful. So I think their music would really sound great acoustic.

Y: When we previously performed (some songs) acoustically, it was really great. We normally have a variety of synchronicity, but (for that performance) it really felt like all 5 of us was breathing in sync. Also, I could really feel the audience’s breathing too. Yeah, I like that. If there’s any opportunity, I’d like to do that again.



* I thought of translating “鬼” (oni) into ogre or demon, but I think it works better if I just leave it as “Oni”.

** BUCK-TICK only performed at Arabaki Rock Fest in 2018 so maybe they attended the 2017 one on their own as an audience.

*** Ryota Ogawara is the frontman and guitarist of the mojo punk band JIGHEAD (formed 1995), and before that, rock band THE POGOS (formed 1985, disbanded 1933).
“Shelter” is the shortened name for Shimokitazawa SHELTER (下北沢SHELTER) where JIGHEAD and BRAHMAN played their first live shows.

^ Fronted by the late Michiro Endo, The Stalin were an influential Japanese punk rock band that formed in June 1980 and disbanded in February 1985. BUCK-TICK has previously taken part in a tribute album to The Stalin called Romanticist ~The Stalin/Endo Michiro Tribute Album~ (ロマンチスト〜The Stalin・遠藤ミチロウTribute Album〜). In it, they covered the song Omae No Inu Ni Naru (おまえの犬になる / I Wanna Be Your Dog).
Lyrics and trivia can be found here: 
Listen to the cover here: 

^^ Yuta literally said “カバーだ!” (It’s a cover!) so I’ve got no idea exactly what he’s saying beyond this.

^^^ Either something like this or this.

⁰ As in, the baseball team the Hanshin Tigers.

⁰⁰ Sadaharu Oh, also known as Wang Chen-chih, and Shigeo Nagashima are prominent names in Japanese baseball. Both of them played for the Yomiuri Giants. Notably, Oh holds the world lifetime home run record, having hit 868 home runs during his professional

¹ Oniben (鬼弁) is a book of TOSHI-LOW’s bento-making adventures for his eldest son which was released in 2019. Available here.

¹¹ A type of seaweed. Also known as green laver or just dried seaweed.

² The live house, Shinjuku LOFT.

²² The actual statement is, “一回でアウトとか言ってんじゃないよ!”
I honestly have no idea what it could mean but I suppose it’s some kind of common outburst or phrase on those shows.

³ Google “高い枕” for examples. There are other variations but I would assume he’s talking about this.

³³ Also an actor.

⁴ What LUNA SEA fans are called.

⁴⁴ New Acoustic Camp is a sort of not-really music festival which incorporates both the mountains and camping into the events. It is a local Gunma event.
Tokyo Weekender’s posting for the 2019 edition: 


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ISSAY (Der Zibet)

text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi
photo&design by MISAKI JUN

In Russian

Even among the many artists who participated in PARADE Ⅲ ~ RESPECTIVE TRACKS OF BUCK-TICK ~, Der Zibet’s Ai no Souretsu stands out from the crowd. It is, after all, because this band understands more than anyone else the one core that BUCK-TICK possesses and has tributed this song to them with love. To understand this band is to know the essence of BUCK-TICK.

That feeling of being at a loss, a vast, empty landscape came to mind
And I thought, ‘ah, I know this landscape very well’

―― Sakurai-san said, “Ai no Souretsu suits ISSAY-san better……”, and I also agree that in this tribute album, Der Zibet was the band who made (BUCK-TICK’s song) most like your own.

ISSAY (I): It’s very nice of you to say that. When I was told about the tribute album, I immediately replied with “I’ll do it!”, but it was such a terrible struggle.

―― The song selection?

I: Exactly. When I thought of picking a song, I guess, since they’re a band who has been constantly active for over 30 years, it’s expected that they’ve got a vast variety of options……

―― That’s true (lol).

I: I listened for days, but there were so many good songs that I found myself thinking, “Ah, this one’s good too. But that one’s good too. This is a problem……” so I texted Atsushi-kun (lol).

―― Hahahahahaha.

I: I said, “I’m in a bind.” (Lol). And he replied, “You can do it this way too, and there’s this other way to help you make your choice.”

―― So there’s that kind of advice too!

I: There is, but in the end, I ignored it (lol).

―― Hahahahahaha!

I: First, I decided that I’d stop trying to decide on a song by pinpointing it out. So I selected a few and then discussed with HIKARU (Yoshida Hikaru / Guitar) which from that list would be interesting for us to do as a band. As to how I chose, I picked 2 to 3 songs that I’d like to sing as a part of Der Zibet, and another song that I’d like to sing if I were doing this solo.

―― By the way, what song is it?

I: It’s an absolute secret!

―― Hahahahahahaha!

I: I won’t ever tell Atsushi-kun either (lol). So I sent those songs to HIKARU, and he replied, “I think either one of these two would be good.” And out of those two, the song which grabbed first place was Ai no Souretsu. Actually, I did think that it’d be interesting to do this song with Der Zibet and I did want to try singing it so that’s why I chose it. I suppose what I was thinking of was pretty close to what HIKARU felt.

―― So what exactly were you thinking of?

I: The imagery which Ai no Souretsu has, you know? That isolation and loneliness that is also present in the lyrics. And the romanticism which he possesses. This, I thought, was very similar to our worldview. Also, I think it was 3 years ago? I watched him perform this song at Budokan and it left such a deep impression on me that it’s unforgettable. I was sure that if this was the song we were to do, we would definitely be able to perform it with Der Zibet’s sound without changing the fundamentals of BUCK-TICK’s expression.

―― What did you think of Ai no Souretsu the first time you heard it?

I: I thought it was very Atsushi-kun. That feeling of being at a loss…… A vast, empty landscape comes to mind, doesn’t it? This world view that he has painted, I thought, was extremely close to my own. The way we deal with this feeling of loneliness it brings is probably different, but I feel that I know this landscape very well.

―― What is ISSAY-san’s method of coping with it?

I: Instead of coping, I suppose it’s more accurate to say that in my case, such a landscape basically already exists. And rather than confronting it, I’d just acknowledge that this is something that will always be in me and not do anything about it. It is there as a given.

―― That’s not the case for Sakurai-san?

I: No, I believe it probably exists inside him too. Because (the imagery) wouldn’t have come out like that if it didn’t. However, I feel that the way his heart wavers, or the way it moves when he sees it, that behavioural pattern of his is different than mine.

―― What’s the difference?

I: Atsushi-kun is…… This is simply what I feel, but the first time he lays his eyes on that situation, his heart will be shaken by, for example, surprise and bewilderment. Then he would wonder what this emotional turmoil is about and endlessly pursue (an answer). I think that emotional capacity of his is interesting.

―― I see. So although he feels sad, he’d wonder about the reason behind his sadness or loneliness and get to the bottom of it, right?

I: Exactly. Also, I get the feeling that there’s always a question mark somewhere in his emotional turmoil.

―― A question mark?

I: Yeah. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this (lol).

―― That’s exactly what we’re looking for (lol).

I: Everyone has their own interpretation, and those aren’t answers, but the question I speak of is not about how things should be, rather, it’s a question mark pertaining to the question of what am “I” when in turmoil.

―― So, it’s about confronting one’s self.

I: I’m the type of person who acts out songs, to begin with, but he sincerely faces (himself) when on stage. There’s a slight difference (between the two of us) there, but since this is a landscape that is very familiar to me, it was easy for me to immerse myself in it.

―― I see.

I: But in these last few years, I can really feel his strength.

―― Strength?

I: I immensely feel the strength that comes from him standing tall and firm on his two feet.

―― How were things in terms of sound production?

I: The final track-down took quite some time, but I think the fundamental areas went relatively smoothly. (We worked on it) while keeping in mind the romanticism and loneliness, and also that isolation which I spoke of earlier, and at the same time, remaining conscious of how much bleaker we can make it sound. Don’t you think that’s where HIKARU’s musical sense came through nicely?

―― That’s true.

I: Don’t you think that if we simply went ahead with taking the same approach to this song, it’ll become nothing more than a simple cover precisely because it’s a song with a world view close to mine? That’s why we went with a tango…… Then again, it’s more like a pseudo-tango, though (lol). Well, HIKARU came up with that idea and suggested, why not take it in that direction. And I was very sold on that, you know. It gives off the sense of an alternate zeitgeist too. I was just allowed to sing freely in that sound (lol).

―― Freely (lol).

I: Yes. I was able to see the scenery very clearly this time, so I decided to sing the lyrics naturally; without a single gratuitous gimmick in the song, nor any weird vibrato (lol). When I was thrown into it, I decided that I’d stand up straight and sing it.

―― Have you heard any response from BUCK-TICK about the song?

I: We spoke about it the other day when we were drinking after Yoyogi. I was pretty drunk (lol) but Atsushi-kun gave me a compliment; he said, “It was great.” At the time, he asked me, “This song…… was it difficult to sing?” (lol). And when I answered, “It was,” he said, “It’s difficult after all, isn’t it, this song?”

―― Hahahahaha.

I: Our lyrical approaches are different, you see. In this song, Atsushi-kun put phrases with symbolic and impactful words in the chorus. I don’t really use that approach, but as a singer working with such lyrics, it’s very difficult. I could feel how amazing he is as a vocalist. So…… I can’t lose! (Lol).

―― But it’s already turned into ISSAY-san’s, or rather, Der Zibet’s song.

I: I’m glad you think so. Since it’s a favourite song of mine, I was even thinking of perhaps singing this song as my own in future live shows. As a vocalist, I’d be very happy if I could, one day, sing this song with Atsushi-kun be it in this arrangement or the original.

―― I would love to hear it. Also, aside from your world views being similar, it’s also filled with love, isn’t it?

I: When involved in a tribute, isn’t it truly frightful if you ended up doing it wrong?   Because we’re essentially different, to begin with. But I think that it’ll turn out to be something really interesting as long as my love for the work and the musician(s) doesn’t go in the wrong direction. We’re not the same person, but it’s important to acknowledge one another, and as a vocalist, I thought a lot about how to put our differences into play.

―― It’s turned out to be a lovely tribute.

I: Because I sang it with all my love for the band BUCK-TICK, and Atsushi-kun (lol).


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Contributor Article

A One-Of-A-Kind Polyphony

by Okada Iku


Today I surrender to the “polyphony” that melts together into one
I chant the answer without a question, “Only BUCK-TICK is BUCK-TICK”

In 2019, when Ringo Shiina and Sakurai Atsushi performed Elopers on a music show, viewers who saw Sakurai’s performance for the first time screamed in delight on social media one after the other, causing a huge commotion. I, on the other hand, was reminded of the proverb “a borrowed cat¹” when I watched him take a step back for Ringo Shiina in the middle of the song. Because, after all, she did borrow him briefly for that little while.

Elopers is, simply put, very much a BUCK-TICK-styled song. The showy lyricist harmonises with Sakurai Atsushi, no, performs a unison where their voices do not intermingle. It’s an outstanding piece of work that could have been inadvertently inserted right after PINOA ICCHIO -Odoru Atom- as the 3rd track of Atom Miraiha No.9. But such a thing will never happen, because this is, after all, an external collaboration and “not” BUCK-TICK.

But if that’s the case, then what “is” BUCK-TICK on the other hand?   It’s actually surprisingly difficult to define their musicality and answer this question. I find myself laughing at the contradiction that no sooner were they praised as “having remained the same for over 30 years,” than were they described as, “constantly evolving.” Although I have been listening to them for 27 years, even now, I’m always finding fresh surprises whenever I put all their songs on shuffle.

Nevertheless, if you arrange it all properly and trace the changes, there is one major factor that points to linear time and that is the voice of Imai Hisashi. Sakurai and Imai stand side by side and harmonise, no, perform a unison where their voices do not intermingle. Those moments are the instances when my auditory nerves take unparalleled pleasure in acknowledging, “This! This is BUCK-TICK!”

When I first listened to Kurutta Taiyou, I was amazed at Sakurai’s ability to express himself in a variety of different ways, starting with the opening track Speed. More than that, Imai’s “Open it onto Evolution Mode” in the B-side, Brain, Whisper, Head, Hate is noise was even more impressive. Imai Hisashi’s vocals are primitive; it’s a noise that strikes a chord with listeners. He descends suddenly like a deus ex machina, forcibly taking away the gaze that tends to be focused on frontman Sakurai and giving the audience a bird’s eye view of the whole performance. This looks like a monologue, not a solo act. It is not an ensemble of five people, but one Lingua Sounda. This was the “heavenly voice” which opened up the metaperspective to the lost lambs and allowed them to decipher the entirety of the band’s sound.

Also, Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari and Sid Vicious ON THE BEACH, where Imai performs as the main vocalist, are “foreign bodies” which were cleverly mixed in to prevent the balance and harmony of their respective albums from being boring. On the other hand, listening to Deep Slow, Madman Blues ~Minashigo no Yuu’utsu~, Living on the Net, and other songs of the like now leave the strong impression that they are masterpieces of “the lead actor of the BUCK-TICK theatre Sakurai Atsushi who has an intimate knowledge playwright Imai Hisashi’s direction.” Songs of Sakurai’s vocals give off the sense that if times were different, this might’ve been a stage performance with Imai as the main star.

The chorus work and banter in MY FUCKIN’ VALENTINE, Cyborg Dolly: Sora-Mimi: PHANTOM, 21st Cherry Boy, LADY SKELETON, and, of course, Memento mori also get the crowd excited at their live shows. A similar, but not identical, approach was taken in BUSTER and Les Enfants Terribles, where the same tunes are being repeated by different voices. With Sakurai going before and Imai going after, it is impossible to perform these songs without one or the other. Or, perhaps, they are a two-headed beast that rears its sickle-neck. From this point, the playwright gets in as a cameo in the signatory actor’s solo performance, establishing it as a fabulous two-man show.

During the interlude of Alice in Wonder Underground, Imai’s voice continues to sing DIABOLO -Lucifer- from their previous work 13th Kai wa Gekkou. In Tenshi wa Dare da, the same words which were previously sung by Imai are again pursued by Sakurai with a different melody. As we move onto the days of Tango Swanka, it’s no longer a simple relationship of Sakurai being the main star and Imai being the guest. And by the time we lead up to DADA DISCO -GJTHBKHTD-, the whole song is composed of dialogue between Imai and Sakurai. It is as extravagant as breaking two perfect, beautiful bowls into pieces on purpose and then putting them together once again by kintsugi². Surely the line in Elopers which reads “pH stays at seven as we bind each other up” is a homage to this?   Ringo may not have said anything in relation to this, but I understand how Ringo feels. Because, I, too, love this.

Like a large flower blooming open from a bud, the presence of the polyphony of the BUCK-TICK theatre is only growing. Most noteworthy in their latest album, No.0, was the flow from Nostalgia -Vita Mechanicalis- to IGNITER. From “Open it onto Evolution Mode”, these double vocals have grown and built up over the years, overlapping to a point where rather than no longer getting surprised when they come up in various tracks, we are bathed in an amalgamation of sounds that makes it impossible to even tell where the five-man band is coming from.

In 1993, I watched Dress at some point which led me to check out all the old scores from the local ward library. As a 13-year-old who grew up with YMO as a lullaby but still couldn’t quite find music which hits the spot even after listening to any number of great rock albums, I was immediately hooked on them. The very first thing which moved my heart was, above all, the beauty of the melody woven by Hoshino Hidehiko, then, thanks to the “danceable” groove which Yagami Toll and Higuchi Yutaka created under the skin of a rock band, I can still listen to them without getting tired of them. And finally, my desire to spend the rest of my life watching the one who always craves for the “next one” to death no matter how satisfied he is with their new work; Imai Hisashi and Sakurai Atsushi side by side with each other.

Still, it’s a little late to be wondering what kind of planetary alignment occurred to draw me towards Hoshino’s aria, to peek into this band where Sakurai’s aesthetics coexist with Imai’s noises and the rhythm brothers Higuchi and Yagami. Where the scales and rhythms and festivities of all world music on earth are incorporated in an unadulterated and elaborate manner, primitive yet mechanical, letting you stand and headbang and shake your head side to side, and feel the groove moving you, swaying your hips as you dance with alternating steps. It’s hard to describe its musicality in one word. But today I surrender to the “polyphony” that melts together into one, and I chant the answer without a question, “Only BUCK-TICK is BUCK-TICK”.


Okada Iku●
Writer. Born in Tokyo and lives in New York. After working for a publishing company, she began penning essays. Author of Haji no Oi Jinsei, Yome e Iku Tsumori Jyanakatta, Tengoku Meshi to Jigoku Mimi, 40-sai Made ni Kore wo Yameru, and co-author with Nimura Hitoshi and Kaneda Junko for Otoko no Karada wa Kimochi Ii.



Lyric translations come from This is NOT Greatest Site.

¹ 借りてきた猫 (karite kita neko) literally means a borrowed cat. It refers to a person-for-hire, or a person who appears meek and quiet, as if like a reserved cat in an unfamiliar environment.

² Kintsugi, also known as kintsukuroi, is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.


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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: spanielonthemoon on Tumblr

Wings of a Fallen Angel
Datenshi Feature

Ongaku to Hito
February 2020

text by Ishli Eriko, Kanemitsu Hirofumi
photographs by Chito_The Octopus
hair&make-up by Tanizaki Takayuki, Yamaji Chihiro_Fat’s Berry
styling by Shimizu Kenichi


2019 began with the performances of a postponed tour, the release of their single Kemonotachi no Yoru/RONDOLocus Solus Bestia (Locus Solus no Kemonotachi), a 2-day event held at Makuhari Messe, and their annual year-end THE DAY IN QUESTION which they played in 5 locations around Japan. Although BUCK-TICK more or less held back on public activities in favour of working on music production, it appears that this year, they will be making dynamic moves. 

Marking the start was the January 29 release of their single Datenshi (Fallen Angel) and the tribute album PARADE Ⅲ ~RESPECTIVE TRACKS OF BUCK-TICK~. While their 3rd tribute album serves up amazing content with a diverse line-up which includes the likes of Shiina Ringo, DIR EN GREY, BRAHMAN, and more, their new song Datenshi is even more amazing. At first listen, it comes across as a slightly digital, 8-beat rock n’ roll song, but the more you listen to it, there’s a strange alien feeling, or something prickly that unsettles and entangles the heart.

The interview confirms it. After all, Imai Hisashi is an unconventional, somewhat eccentric band member. And while talent is certainly needed to make this possible, more than that, it’s his enormous trust in the person that is Sakurai Atsushi which brings it all to life. This is where we find the reason behind the band’s ability to continue keeping things fresh even now, after more than 30 years since their formation. The year 2020, without a doubt, will be their year.







Individual Interviews


Sakurai Atsushi

I personally also had rather intense emotional ups and downs
You could call it a mental health issue, but I became a bit of a shut-in

Interview by Ishii Eriko


―― First, let’s look back on the past year. After you concluded your 2018 show at Budokan, you started the year with preparations for Locus Solus Bestia, your one-man at Makuhari Messe, right?

Sakurai (S): Yes. In May. Talk about it started early on, and since we also had the keyword “beasts (獣たち / kemonotachi)”, we [decided] that we would release a single alongside the Makuhari [event]. We could already see our goal, you know? Since we weren’t holding a concert for a new album, it felt as if we were doing it just to show off the 2 songs from the single. So, although it wasn’t as if we had no pressure on us or had all the time in the world, but we did have a lot of time to think it over. The first half [of the year] was spent in meetings and all that.

―― Right.

S: And while we were doing that…… A friend of mine passed away in February. This person is someone I’ve known since our debut, who runs a bar in Kumamoto, who isn’t a woman but is one at heart. It was really sudden. We even just met at our year-end Budokan show, and time has just been passing while I’m still struggling to come to terms with the death of someone I’ve known for 30-something years…… But, well, I’m [still dealing with it] until now. I’m just stunned because it came out of nowhere. Everyone seemed rather shocked too.

―― This someone who all the members of the band were close to?

S: That’s right. In the beginning, we met when [the band] went on our first [promotional] campaign and all of us immediately got along really well. When we held concerts, they¹ would definitely attend whenever we played in Kyushu, and they’d even come to Tokyo for our shows. They were full of life at Budokan, too. So when we heard that they collapsed, we thought, “They’d be fine,” but apparently, not.

―― …… Ah.

S: Well, that happened, and after Makuhari wrapped up…… We were talking about starting work on the production of our next album, but we couldn’t really switch gears and things just fell more and more off track work-wise. The single that we finally made turned out to be these two songs, but this, too, was finished later than we originally planned.

―― Did the other members feel like they were in a stagnant state too?

S: I wonder?   I don’t think so, actually. Contrarily, I think they were able to use that time effectively for themselves. It’s just that when the year is split into approximate halves…… Mm, we were kind of out of it in the latter half of the year after Makuhari wrapped up, weren’t we? I personally also had rather intense emotional ups and downs. You could call it a mental health issue, but I became a bit of a shut-in².

―― Is it okay to publish this?

S: Yes. But it’s something I’ve been dealing with for a long time now. And there are times it’s difficult when we’re in production, but if there’s nothing going on, I’d end up thinking about things on my own and it gets really difficult. I’ve been dealing with this side of myself since a long time ago, but I would cyclically find myself in that [mood].

―― Is there a reason for this? Because during the interview right before Locus Solus, you showed us such a radiant smile and told us that you’re fine, that you’re drinking alcohol too, that you’ll be taking a good rest even though you had to be hospitalised in the middle of your previous tour.

S: Ah……… That’s true. Well, there was also the passing of that acquaintance, that friend, but……… I wonder why?   There’s nothing, is there? No reason or anything…… It’s just an empty feeling. Although there’s nothing [to cause it], I just seem to get pulled in that direction. I had to start work on our album production too, and, mm …… I had a rather long stretch of time to face myself with questions like, “What do I do next?”, didn’t I? But, well, I’m still like this even now, though. Yeah, when it’s hard, it’s hard, isn’t it?

―― Somehow, it seems as if things are heavier than ever.

S: That’s why it’s a year where there isn’t really…… much to talk about. Mm…… It doesn’t look like there’s any content, is there?

―― Kukukuku!   But I think that the Sakurai-san who gets pulled into darkness before he notices it has always been around. Although, it also feels as if the producer Sakurai-san who somehow manages to get things moving by tricking that side of him into expressing himself exists at the same time.

S: Ah, that’s a good way to put it. Perhaps it’s that producer’s work that has gotten tough (smiles).

―― And that made you stop for a bit.

S: It did. Hmm, like getting stuck in a childish, self-centered way of thinking and dwelling on thoughts like, “…… What am I?”.

―― On the other hand, do you feel better when you’ve decided on what you’ll do with BUCK-TICK and you’re busy working on it?

S: Maybe so. Maybe I’m still happier with that kind of bustle. Working on things and troubling over them; those aren’t labour pains, though. I guess you could say that it’s a different type of hardship.

―― But as far as listening to Datenshi and Luna Park went, I didn’t feel those goings-on behind the scenes at all.

S: Ah, then that’s good. I suppose it’s because this is work where I’m creating and spinning stories, so in a way, it’s still healthy. I guess I’m able to vent my emotions like this.


Rather than forcing myself to flaunt something that doesn’t show how I truly feel, or something that is not of my interest, I only want to sing about one thing so it’s alright even if it makes people think, “Ah, this again?”

―― When were these two songs made?

S: Um…… October?   I think it was much later than scheduled. Also, we initially had a different song, a song that was not Datenshi which was supposed to be the single. But Imai-san presented this Datenshi in our final meeting. Because it appeared that a BUCK-TICK which gives off an edgy vibe was more fitting for our present selves than a gentle BUCK-TICK.

―― Ahh, the original candidate was a more gentle type of song?

S: That’s right. That will be going into the album.

―― Datenshi is a song that sounds more like a simple rock and roll. And in it, you’ve etched the words “it aches” ³ and “I’m falling, aren’t I” ³.

S: Yes. In my mind, I’ve imagined hurting myself more and more, so I thought maybe it’s about time I let others hear it.

―― It’s the same Sakurai World we know.

S: Yes. I guess you could say that this is better than enjoying hurting people. Like, since it’s just me, I can torment myself as much as I want, and I can pull my own punches right just as I approach my limits. I don’t know about other people, but things that I can’t really speak to others about too…… There are one or two. In my heart and mind, I’m no saint. And since that’s the way it is, I feel that I should just spread these black wings of mine. I thought it’d be a good idea to spin such a story and somehow make it cool.


―― Is the Fallen Angel⁴ a creature which lives in Sakurai-san?

S: Yes. And it is not something that exists only in me, but also in all the ordinary people as well, dressed up the form of a human being. Vigorously expanding their desires.

―― But wasn’t it hard to write the words “I’m falling, aren’t I” when your emotions were spiralling and sinking down?

S: Ah, but well, [it was alright] because when you multiply a negative by another negative you’d end up with a positive, right? That’s how I think it is. Also, I suppose I’m fortunate that I can put out these lyrics at such a time, can vent [my feelings] on the outside, and have strangers who are willing to listen to these things for me. But for those people who are really worn out, who really can’t get out of bed…… Even just imagining it is scary for me. It’s not as if you can simply say, “It’s alright. Things will somehow work out.”

―― That’s why we need dark music too. But the other song, Luna Park is an exceptionally “pop” song, isn’t it?

S: Yeah. For this song, we’ve completely cut ourselves off from Datenshi. You can say that [this song] is our usual pattern, but like how the lyrics go, [the song is] about how it all ends so quickly when you’re having fun, like at a circus or an amusement park. It has always been like this. In short, that’s what I want [our listeners] to feel [when they hear this song].

―― But this song gives me a strong sense of, “even though I know that it’s a lie, I want to believe that forever exists”.

S: Ahh. Well, I also thought that it’d be nice if I could tell it from a child’s perspective. Because children are capable of having very pure dreams, aren’t they? I’d be glad if everyone can listen to it from that perspective.

―― Also, why did you use “we” ⁵ instead of “I” ⁵ as the subject in the song?

S: Ahh, well, I have a painting by Chagall⁶ in my room.

―― What’s the title of the painting?

S: What was it…… I don’t quite know what it’s called, though. [In the painting,] lovers are flying through the sky, in a blue sky. From that painting, the words, “By chance, we meet” came to mind, and then, the image of separation…… (Staff searched for Chagall’s painting and shows him the screen. Numerous similar blue paintings appear) Ah, it’s not this one. Neither is it this one……

―― …… I didn’t know Chagall painted so many pieces with the same motifs. I’m even getting a sense of madness from them. Do you empathise with this intuition to keep painting the same themes over and over again?

S: Yeah. I suppose you can say I like it, this feeling.

―― I don’t mean this in a negative light, but more often than not, what Sakurai-san’s lyrics say is [the same thing] in the end.

S: Yes. I think so too. After all, I believe that it’d be a sin for me to force myself to flaunt something that doesn’t show how I truly feel, or something that is not of my interest as if I’m an expert on it. There’s only one thing that I want to sing about, so it’s alright even if it makes people think, “Ah, this again?”

―― Also, the line “we are dreaming, dreaming” ⁷ in the chorus, does it hold a double meaning?

S: No?   Nothing like that in particular.

―― Ah, I see. Because, when 夢夢 (yume yume)⁷ is written in Hiragana (ゆめゆめ), won’t it’s meaning turn into “must never”, like that of its use in olden texts and stories? For example, “You must never ever look at [it].” ⁸ 

S: Yes, yes, yes. There’s that, isn’t there? That usage. Ahh…… But I didn’t associate [the word’s] meaning with Japanese aesthetics.

―― It just gets me thinking that if we apply the “must never” meaning of the word here, it carries on the secret cipher of “don’t leave” [within the song], doesn’t it?

S: That’s pretty nice. May I claim that? (Grins)

―― I’ve read too much into it, haven’t I? Although, this may be a hollow sounding statement but,  don’t you think that there’s something about the song that makes you want to say, “This is what defines BUCK-TICK’s presence.”?

S: Yeah. It may sound like empty words, but really, I hope it’s true. And, that this is [the legacy] that our music leaves behind. I, too, get that feeling that it’s there.

―― I have this impression that the resolution to continue playing with these 5 band members as BUCK-TICK has been especially strong in recent years.

S: Hmm…… I think everyone’s already resigned⁹ to it.

―― Resigned (smiles). That’s a good resignation, isn’t it?

S: I suppose it’s a good one. Mm, regarding myself too, I don’t suppose we’d be of much use if we went anywhere else anyway. After all, I’m not good at it, am I? Meeting people. …… I’m sorry, even though that’s my job.

―― No, don’t be.

S: Well, but, there’s something about meeting people and speaking to them that keeps me distracted. After all, if you let a piece of junk¹⁰ stop working, it’ll just crumble away. You have to keep it moving.

―― [It’s good, then,] as long as talking isn’t a burden for you, more than anything.

S: But, well, since my character is like this, [it can’t be helped]. Sometimes, people would call me for work, but other times, I’d be drinking and spacing out on my own, and I guess that’s just the way I am. Also, I read Discourse on Decadence¹¹.

―― By Ango¹¹? He wrote, “Let’s live, let’s fall” ¹², but does Sakurai-san understand this feeling too?

S: Ahh, but that man’s circumstances are different, aren’t they?

―― Because that was during wartime, right?

S: It was tough, wasn’t it? And that was an era when you couldn’t really help it even if you lost your mind. It’s just that…… This is probably an entirely different topic, but I’m 53, now. I previously spoke about this too, though.

―― It’s the age at which your father passed away, right?

S: Yes. And I’m probably drinking even more than my father did too. For some reason, I kept getting the feeling that I’m getting pulled [by him] throughout last year. I went back to Takasaki, my hometown the other day and I spoke about it with my older brother but he said, “You’ll be 54 soon, so just hang in there.” (Smiles). Although, it made me realise that maybe my older brother was thinking about these things too. I think for my brother, he was very much more concerned for his family, so…… What were we talking about again? I’m sorry.


I turned the same age as when my father passed away, and I’ve also had to bid farewell to people
It had me thinking about a lot of things. Like, “How long will I live?”, and the like


―― It’s alright. We were talking about the lyric, “I’m falling” ³.

S: Ahh. But there’s a part of me which was being pulled by those sort of things. There’s [the circumstance] with my father, and I’ve also had to bid farewell to people. It had me thinking about a lot of things. Like, “How long will I live?”, and the like.

―― Are these scary to you?

S: I am, scared. In the sense that I do feel fear of it, and I don’t want to be hurt too. Also, I’d hate to make things difficult for the people around me. That’s a thought that comes to mind when I look at my family too. Like, when I think about when my mother passed away, I’d believe my brother was also hit hard by it. That’s how I’ve come to think, you know? That I’d hate to bother the people around me.

―― Ahh. This is different from the feeling of, “I just want to disappear.”

S: Yes. It’s as good as end of life planning (smiles).

―― Hahahaha. So, what do you do for that?

S: …… I’ve been drinking.

―― Wahahaha.

S: With my utmost effort.

―― Good work!

S: Hahaha. Thank you!

―― I’m not sure if “falling” like this is good or not, though (smiles). But do you feel a strong intuition that 2020 will, at the very least, be better than last year?

S: I do. Mhm. I hope for it too. Well, you could attribute it to [the fact that] we’d be creating works, and also, that the whole of Japan will be doused in the colours of the Olympics…… Well, it might just be Tokyo, but I just think that it might also be good to get absorbed in something that’s got nothing to do [with my work].

―― Oh, really? Will you be watching it? The Olympics.

S: I think I probably will watch it. I suppose even I am surprisingly patriotic myself. If I watch international tournaments or things like that, I’d support [Japan] anyway.

―― I see. There’s one more thing to talk about; there’s the tribute album too. How do you feel about it?

S: Well…… It revalidated those two’s, Imai’s and Hoshino’s songs, didn’t it? Like, “Ahh, what great melodies.” It feels as if [the artists] took the songs apart and put them back together again, so I could legitimately acknowledge, “Ahh, this is what I like about this song.” 

―― So it feels as if you can listen [to your own] songs as someone else’s.

S: You’re right, really. For example, how simple and beautiful Sakamoto Miu-san made our song. I could really treat it as someone else’s song and relax and listen to it. I was able to detach myself from it completely too because it was sung by a lady.

―― The way minus(-) incorporated female vocalist, Fujikawa Chiai-san was quite admirable too, wasn’t it?

S: Yeah, since Keijijou Ryuusei is a song that I love a lot, it was lovely to hear how it sounds so ephemeral with a female voice. 

―― And your sworn brother of the heart, ISSAY-san is also taking part.

S: Yes. Der Zibet was the very first one to finish the song and send it to us. It really made me think about what wonderful seniors they are to us. And that Ai no Souretsu is…… I ended up feeling that perhaps ISSAY-san is a better fit for that song.

―― Hahahahahaha.

S: I felt a bit of jealousy over that. But there were re-discoveries for me too. Somehow, the picture of decadent¹³ nobles dancing in Rokumeikan¹⁴ came to mind. I thought, “Ah, how refined.” It was lovely.

―― What did you think of the unexpected element of BRAHMAN?

S: First off, I thought, “They’ll do it for us?” And I didn’t expect them to ICONOCLASM as their choice of song too. Before this, the first time we met was at an event in Sendai, and somehow Yuta got along really well with them. Although I’ve only met them once, I could feel their love. And each of the covers by the others were great too. I enjoyed them as well.

―― That’s great. So, following this, the album is, of course, what’s next, but how’s your work going now?

S: Not progressing. At all¹⁵.

―― Kukukuku. When do you think it will be released?

S: Around summer…… would be nice, I think.

―― Please don’t say inauspicious things (smiles). But is your present mental state rosier than last summer?

S: …… Yes. It might sound thoughtless of me to call it a distraction, but nonetheless, when a goal or a task has been decided for me, that’s where my attention will shift to after all. It becomes a little bit easier on me like that.

―― I understand. I thought that this interview was going to be one where I could say, “I’m glad you were able to get a good rest,” but instead, it turned out to be something completely different.

S: Ah, it really did. Although, when I think about the readers, maybe it would be better if I didn’t talk about these things. But I can’t lie, so… Saying, “Ah, no, I’ve been doing well,” or “I went to the beach¹⁶,” and things like that……

―― The beach¹⁶!   No one wants to hear such a voice from Sakurai-san.

S: Hahahahahahaha!

―― I hope that it’ll be a good year, 2020.

S: Yes. I hope so too.




¹ Sakurai never specified the pronoun.

² He used the term 引きこもり (hikikomori).

³ Lyrics from Datenshi:
痛いよ (itai yo) = it aches
堕ちてゆくんだろう (ochite yukun darou) = I’m falling, aren’t I

⁴ No brackets were used for the words 堕天使 (Datenshi) here so I translated it as it is rather than used the Romaji name of the song.

⁵ 僕 (boku), the masculine-implying version of “I”, versus 僕達 (bokutachi), “we”.

⁶ Marc Chagall was a Russian-French artist of Belarusian Jewish origin. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in a wide range of artistic formats, including painting, drawings, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic tapestries and fine art prints.

⁷ Lyrics from Luna Park, 僕達は夢夢 (bokutachi wa yume yume).

⁸ ゆめゆめ見てはならぬ (Yume yume mite wa naranu).

⁹ The word 観念する (kannensuru) implies that one is mentally prepared to a fate that is unchangeable. Like being “prepared for death”. Translations of it include “to be resigned to”, “to be prepared for”, “to make up one’s mind”. I went with the “resigned” version because it’s funnier anyway.

¹⁰ ポンコツ (ponkotsu) can mean something that is useless or unreliable, or “a piece of junk” along the lines of a very old machine. He meant it in a sense similar to what happens if you turn off an old machine which has been running for years or even decades. Suddenly everything falls apart and it won’t work again.

¹¹ Discourse on Decadence (堕落論 / Darakuron) written in 1946 is Ango Sakaguchi’s most famous essay which examined the role of bushido during WWII. It is widely argued that he saw postwar Japan as decadent, yet more truthful than a wartime Japan which was built on illusions like bushido. The work itself, however, does not make any claims about the meaning of decadence.

¹² A line from Discourse on Decadence: 生きよ、堕ちよ (iki yo, ochi yo).

¹³ The word used here was 没落 (botsuraku) which refers to the fall of a nation or a family/clan. For example, the fall of the Roman empire, the downfall of an affluent family and so on.

¹⁴ Rokumeikan (鹿鳴館) was a large two-story building in Tokyo, completed in 1883, which became a controversial symbol of Westernisation in the Meiji period. Commissioned for the housing of foreign guests by the Foreign Minister Inoue Kaoru, it was designed by British architect Josiah Conder, a prominent Western adviser working in Japan. Although the Rokumeikan’s heyday was brief, it became famous for its parties and balls, which introduced many high-ranking Japanese to Western manners for the first time, and it is still a fixture in the cultural memory of Japan. It was, however, largely used for the accommodation of guests of the government, and for meetings between Japanese who had already lived abroad, and its image as a centre of dissipation is largely fictional.

¹⁵ He actually said ぱったりと (hattari to) which refers to a sudden, unexpected or abrupt stop. 

¹⁶ In Japanese, going to the beach is typically written as “海に行く”, literally “I went to the sea”, which is what was said here.



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Imai Hisashi

Something that makes people think that No.0 “was normal in comparison”
I want to create something that deviates from the rules even more

Interview by Kanemitsu Hirofumi

―― Shall we first start with a recap of 2019?

I: Uhh…… What did we do?

―― To start, in the first half of the year, you played a few shows at various locations which came about because Sakurai suddenly took ill and you had to postpone part of your tour. Then, in May, you released Kemonotachi no Yoru / RONDO and held Locus Solus Bestia at Makuhari Messe. And now, you’re still in the middle of the tour, but you’ll be rounding that up with THE DAY IN QUESTION 2019 at Yoyogi First Gymnasium this year-end.

I: Well, we didn’t really show our faces much but I suppose it felt like a year where we did a bunch of stuff. Locus Solus Bestia was fun, too.

―― In what way?

I: The general tone of the live show was a little dark, wasn’t it? But that was fresh, right? And that acoustic set on the center stage. It was our first time doing that but it was not bad. Just that in Makuhari Messe, it’s a looong way from the stage to the seats at the back, right? When I think about how the audience at the back probably couldn’t see us, I feel that it’s a bit disappointing. There are various opinions on this, but I think it’s better if we played in a venue where there are second-floor seats and people can watch us from above.

―― The setlist was indeed fresh. Like an inverse THE DAY IN QUESTION, or one that oozes with what makes BUCK-TICK’s core.

I: That’s how it ended up. We weren’t aiming for anything in particular. It just happened that way. Because when we collected the songs that the members wanted to play and we put it all together, that’s just how it turned out.

―― I suppose you were all in agreement without needing to check what you were going to do with each other, right?

I: That’s right.

―― That’s what I thought when I heard that Yuta-san proposed Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari.

I: Hahahahaha.

―― Did you always intend to let your 2019 go at this pace from the beginning?

I: Yeah. You could say that it’s because I had quite a strong desire to properly compose music, or write a new song, or something like that.

―― Is that music for BUCK-TICK?

I: There’s no other, is there?

―― When I heard No.0, I thought that this album was the terminus ad quem of BUCK-TICK’s recent few years. That’s why I got this vague notion that the next album would probably involve a completely different approach, though.

I: Yeah. But I didn’t even think for a moment that [the new songs] might be better done with someone other than BUCK-TICK. Because there’s still a lot I want to do and experiment with the band.

―― It’s never-ending, is it?

I: It sure is…… There’ll probably be no end until I die.

―― When you spoke of things you wanted to do, what exactly was it?

I: What is it…… I still have no idea at all, but I guess it’ll be something that makes people think that No.0 “was normal in comparison after all”. I want to create something that deviates from the rules even more. Experimentation…… It sort of feels like that, but you could also say that it’s music that does exist anywhere in the world at present, or something that deviates from the rules and the norm, or something of the sort…… I still haven’t thought it out properly, though.

―― Was Datenshi what you composed with those concepts in mind?

I: Yeah. We made the song through quite a bit of trial and error while keeping that in mind. That’s why it has a clear theme, although we weren’t deliberately aiming for that.

―― When I first heard Datenshi, it gave me the impression that you’ve returned to a simple band sound based on rock and roll, but going back to your roots wasn’t what you aimed to do, right?

I: It may sound like that, but we’ve arranged it in a way where the bass and guitar ensembles and arrangements are being put in completely different areas than how we’ve been doing it so far.

―― Pardon me, but how is it different?

I: So, for example, parts where you’d expect to hear the bass according to regular band theory won’t have any bass, so on and so forth. We tried out lots of different approaches like these. Right now, what we’re looking for is an aggressive tone.

―― Aggressive!

I: But it’s different from the genre sense of punk or metal or anything like that. It’s just an aggressive feeling.

It’s not a result of us doing this for 30 continuous years. Neither is it a miracle or anything like that
We’re all working hard, and that’s what I trust in

―― Putting it very simply, when you produced SEXY STREAM LINER in the past, you incorporated house and techno into your music and ended up creating an album with an approach which was considered to be rather edgy at the time. To prevent spoilers, I won’t go into detail with regards to what kind of song [Datenshi] is, but can I say that you chose to go all the way with that concept rather than simply bringing it into your world as an ingredient?

I: Yes, exactly.

―― Looking at it from another perspective, I also get the feeling that employing such an approach evades the curse of the BUCK-TICK-ness where anything goes to generate the most originality for you.

I: Yeah. I thought that it could even be that such a method was instead the most typical of us.

―― Everyone tried to somehow get away from BUCK-TICK’s curse but be it programming or gothic or singing to your own playing or performing an 8-beat rock and roll number, no matter what you do, they’re all elements of BUCK-TICK so whichever way you go, you won’t bring out your full colours. In Imai-san’s case, you can do whatever you want because BUCK-TICK exists, but I suppose that might be tied to the fact that you keep trying all kinds of approaches, right?

I: Since I’ve got a variety of drawers¹ [to open], it’d be a waste to not open them to take a look anyway.

―― Come to think of it, I went to watch THE DAY IN QUESTION at Takasaki the other day. I thought the BGM that you’d play pre-concert would be genre-less as per usual, but suddenly GUNJOGACRAYON² came on and I was so confused.

I: Hyahahahahahahah!

―― It made me wonder just what kind of range your drawers contain.

I: About that, our manager contacted me a day prior and said, “Please send me tomorrow’s BGM.” Because I completely forgot about it (smiles), I started thinking about it right then, and I had so many [options] that I couldn’t decide (smiles). So without much thought, I just decided to put in whatever was suitable along those lines.

―― Fuhahahahahaha. I thought that it was definitely representative of that deviant sense of Imai-san’s.

I: I suppose it might be so.

―― Could it be said that this [deviant sense] is something that tends to some about when you’ve been at it for such a long time? Like, you want to rid yourself of constraints, or something like that.

I: It’s distancing from it and escaping from it. I think that it’s fun to break away from that too. That’s why whatever comes next is the one that’s going to be really interesting. I think it’s because we’ve made No.0 that we’re able to do that.

―― Is it going to be something special which has no relation to genre, or something that no one has ever heard before?

I: I can’t explain it very well, so I want people to get a sense of it through the nuances. Because like I’ve said earlier, I’d end up conveying something different again if I explain too much in detail. During Arui wa Anarchy too, I said, “surrealism”, but that was only a word that I used to share it’s image with designer Akita-san, you know? At the time, it was fine in the context of our conversation, but even if I told the general public, “BUCK-TICK’s next theme is a surrealism!”, it would be as good as a heavy metal band saying, “Next, we’ll be putting out a metal album!”

―― Ahahahahaha!

I: But that went out of hand and surrealism became the emphasis. The news began covering surrealism instead of the album (smiles).

―― And that’s why it’s a delicate and difficult task to put it in words, isn’t it?

I: It’s difficult, and the more I talk about it, the more I’d eventually end up thinking, “That’s just the same as usual, isn’t it?” Well, that’s also because what I want to do keeps changing, right? During Tenshi no Revolver, I thought I’d stick with that vibe for the rest of my life, but now it’s completely different.

―― What vibe are you referring to?

I: In other words, making rock easy to understand, with the riff, and things like that. It happens all the time. Me, thinking, “I want to do this.” But then, it changes. Because that’s just how it naturally goes. That makes things interesting for myself, and for us [the band] too.

―― So, because that is still there, you’ll be playing as a band tirelessly in 2020.

I: Yeah, I think it’s going to be amazing (smiles).

―― And that is because of the enormous trust that you have in the band that, like you’ve said earlier, gives you the confidence that, “No matter what I do, it’ll be alright as long as it’s with these 4.”, right?

I: That’s why we’ll never tire of doing it, right?   It’s the same for me and everyone [in the band]. Whether it’s recording work or rehearsals, if I start to think about slacking off, I believe I’d be clear [that I feel that way], but I don’t get those kinds of feelings at all. I don’t ever think, “This is good enough.” ³ I think that’s our greatest strength. Because, you see, I don’t think that this is a result of us keeping at it all this while, or having been doing this for 30 continuous years. Neither is it a miracle or anything like that. We’re all working hard. And that’s what I trust in.



¹ I think it can be established that when they say “drawers”, you can imagine a huge cupboard with a ton of drawers for you to open and close. Each drawer holds a different thing, and opening a new one gives them something new to explore.

² GUNJOGACRAYON were formed as a four- or five-piece outfit around guitarist Kumihara Tadashi and keyboardist Ohmori Fumio in the late 1970s, and have been supporting the Japanese underground music scene since then. Their peculiar soundscape with violently scattered piano sounds, weird and tricky voices or a sticky guitar psychedelia could amaze and perplex lots of reviewers and audience. They are famous for not only their sound but also the rarity of their studio works (they have released only three official albums for over 30 years).

³  In the sense that something half-arsed is good enough for him to call it a day.


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[Live Report] The Day In Question 2019

2019.12.03 Takasaki City Theatre

This is their annual year-end show. They chose to play in their hometown, Takasaki, Gunma on the opening day of this tour. Because this was a place befitting their announcement of a new beginning.


text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi
photographs by Shibata Eri, MASA

The band’s freedom and the absolute trust they have. That, I believe, without a doubt, is what leads into their next release.

3rd December. Takasaki City Theatre.

This was the first day of the tour, so I can’t deny that there were still areas to be explored. The fact that this is their hometown, a special place to them probably has some bearing on it too. During the member introductions in the encore, Higuchi and Yagami, the brothers who grew up in Takasaki, were standing all smiles while being introduced last. But what the live show conveyed was akin to a firm resolve to take a step forward into somewhere new. This is a band whose members are all above the age of 50 and which was formed more than 30 years ago, but this spirit with which they still take on their music, live performances, and the band itself can only be described as amazing. Therein lies the enormous trust that has been built up through the years.

Since THE DAY IN QUESTION is positioned as an annual year-end show unrelated to album releases, the members deliberately bring in songs that they don’t usually play. And this time, the set list that they eventually decided on here didn’t include a single song from their latest album No.0. Of course, they did go on a long tour for it the year before last, so they might want to keep their distance from that particular release for the time being, but more than that, it feels like their reason behind this was a decision to reset everything and head towards what’s next.

And in terms of song selection, even though this was THE DAY IN QUESTION, with the exception of Uta, SILENT NIGHT, Speed, and LOVE ME which were released during their debut with their first era in Victor, most of the songs they chose were from the 2000s, released after they moved to Ariola. Because of this and the addition of various arrangements, the overall tone of the set list left a fresh impression, emphasising a band which has grown stronger since their ONE LIFE, ONE DEATH days.

On this day, Sakurai’s emotions were once again conveyed with a tingling pain. As shown to us during the No.0 tour and Locus Solus Bestia, his method of looking at himself from an observer’s point of view and “performing” Sakurai Atsushi separates the stage from his daily life for him and thus, likely reduced the burden on himself, making it comparatively easier for him to confront the music but this live show leaves a heavy weight in my heart. There’s even a kind of fear that I’ve seen something I was never meant to see. But that’s a good thing. Mudai in the encore was especially stunning, weaving darkness over magnetism. The way he sang as if he was squeezing everything out of himself could only be described as bona fide.

Because this was the kind of show they gave, Imai’s wildness stood out. From Cyborg Dolly: Sora-Mimi: PHANTOM to PINOA ICCHIO -Odoru Atomu-, and Alice in Wonder Underground to Speed, the sight of him playing the guitar while hopping around the stage was of an uncontrolled creature not found anywhere else. There probably aren’t many who can tame him. And here is where he can be free.

The more I watch their contrasting performances on stage, both Sakurai and Imai seek what they lack from each other. They can be described as light and darkness, but in the end, it’s as if they have a complementary relationship with each other; one can’t be without the other. And that’s why they are unafraid. Whatever the approach of the music they create, no matter how heavy the themes, it will all become a part of and also build up the prominent individuality of the band that is BUCK-TICK.

Among all of that, they performed their new song Datenshi. At first listen, it makes you think that they’ve decided to make a U-turn back to a simple band sound, but discomfort and avant garde can be glimpsed, in a good way, on their faces. And also, those catchy yet dark lyrics. I kept wondering what it was, and in the interview, I found out. From this song comes the band’s motivation to step out into new frontiers and the suspense which currently exists within.

In 2019’s THE DAY IN QUESTION, the band’s freedom and the absolute trust they have in each other was felt more strongly than usual. And that, I believe, without a doubt, is what leads into their next release.



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BUCK-TICK and the Ariola Decade

Celebrating the release of B-T LIVE PRODUCT -Ariola YEARS-

text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi


In 2000, BUCK-TICK switched labels to BMG Funhouse. Following that, BMG was absorbed into Sony and the label name was changed to Ariola Japan. Those 10 years of activity was a crucial period for the band to establish something. In this article, we will unravel those days as we contemplate the significance of this box set.


This era is a time of BUCK-TICK’s rebirth and their awakening as expressionists
Now, as they cross 30 years together and step into their golden age, it’s more important than ever to look back at where they came from and appreciate it

BUCK-TICK was with Ariola Japan from 2000 to 2010 which includes their time with BMG Funhouse, the predecessor of Ariola Japan. The live footage from this era, including previously-unreleased content, will be released in a 10-disc Blu-ray box. The video resolution will, of course, be scaled up and the sound quality remastered in high-definition, so through this box set, live works prior to TOUR 2007 Tenshi no Revolver, which had only been released in DVD format, can now be enjoyed in much higher video and sound quality.

That said, it’s an expensive product with a price tag of 32,000 yen. And now that the sales tax rate has gone up, it’s a little daunting to loosen the purse strings (lol). The unreleased live footage from the annual Nippon Budokan concert on December 29th, which was held as an additional performance to the TOUR 2010 go on the “RAZZLE DAZZLE” is included as a bonus disc to encourage those of you who feel this way. 

The main setlist is no different than that of the recording of disc 9 in this box, but the songs which were performed for the encore were, on this day only, different from what was performed on the other dates of the tour. They performed the very first song on ONE LIFE, ONE DEATH, their very first album released upon their move to Ariola Japan, Baby, I want you. and the epilogue of 13-kai wa Gekkou, DIABOLO as the last song. The song’s ending of “Go-kigenyou sayounara” sounds like an expression of gratitude to Ariola with whom they have spent more than 10 years. Their relationship was such; loved and beloved.

In the beginning, when BUCK-TICK moved to BMG (now Ariola) at the start of 2000, expectations for the band was, in all honesty, rather low. SEXY STREAM LINER, released in late 1997, used a lot of programming and sampling, making it an album which leaned towards techno or house music. At the time, such an approach was shockingly edgy, and both the scene and the listeners couldn’t keep up with them. The reaction they got was, in short, one of rebuff and, as if to show this to them, the turnout to their live shows gradually decreased. 

It was right then when I took over this publication and I went to watch them live for the first time in a while. The show I attended was SEXTREAMLINER Reishiki (type 0) which was held at Nippon Budokan over 2 days, but the second floor seats were shockingly sparse. To be honest, I remember myself wondering, “Is this band…… okay?”

It was during such a period when they switched labels. The news was not highly publicised and was instead, quietly conveyed to me. But the passion of those involved with them was fiery. When I watched the live performance mentioned earlier, I thought, “Maybe I don’t need to cover the show……”, but eventually what got them into the publication was, without a doubt the enthusiasm of their promoters of that time and their manager. I was a little sceptical, so the coverage of ONE LIFE, ONE DEATH was published in monochrome pages. Things, however, gradually began to change with the times and a good vibe began to flow. 

Wasteful behaviour, like the way they used to only go into the studio at night even though it had already been prepared for their recording sessions, began to disappear. They started to become more aware of their situation. In other words, the Ariola era was, in many ways, the right time for the band to give themselves a reboot.

And that’s why, during this period, there was a sense of the band working towards getting something back, where all 5 of them were looking towards the one same direction and, at the same time, being acutely aware of their band sound be it for album recordings or live performances. It was also in this time when each of them embarked on their own solo activities for the first time. 

However, those activities were most definitely things that they couldn’t have done within the band and rather than doing this to puff up their egos, it was more for the purpose of distancing themselves from the band. And in those activities, Sakurai’s theme became “the performance of non-fiction” to “portray life and death”. 

As long as he possesses this firm concept, he can do anything, and utilising this, Imai’s music began to freely traverse between pop and avant garde too. Among all of this, Imai was inspired by Sakurai’s solo activities and took the “gothic” concept and created the masterpiece 13-kai wa Gekkou which then led into the worldview of “life and death” in memento mori. It was during this period of time when they once again acquired something unshakeable; something that would become the core of the band.

Long story short, I’ve said it numerous times, but it was during this Ariola era that the worldview that was to become the present BUCK-TICK’s core surfaced and took a tangible form. You can see the way they’ve matured from one live show to the next, and each of them is fascinating to watch. 

Sakurai, who had been projecting himself through the band’s speedy progression and sound gradually sensed the danger of this, encountered the gothic style of expression, and learned that he could project himself there rather than simply act it out. Such is the tale told in these 10 discs. 

Ariola Years is a time of BUCK-TICK’s rebirth and their awakening as expressionists. And now, as they cross 30 years together and step into their golden age, it’s more important than ever to look back at where they came from and appreciate it.



2020.03.18 RELEASE

04 at the night side
05 悪魔とフロイト -Devil and Freud- ClImax Together
07 TOUR 2007 天使のリボルバー
08 memento mori 090702
09 TOUR 2010 go on the “RAZZLE DAZZLE”



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Editor’s File

So how will they express themselves and prove their abilities?
BUCK-TICK’s existence is that which is found in such a colossal question

text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi


This is this first single since Kemonotachi no Yoru / RONDO, the theme of Locus Solus Bestia. As one of those who had been there at the live show, I had a rough idea that this’ll probably be a song of gratitude. That would be the most beautiful story of all. But I had forgotten that BUCK-TICK is a band that will always put a new crack in that perspicuity.

At first, a gentle number was prepared for release, but the story of its last minute replacement with Datenshi is typical of them. The song starts with a glam-like guitar riff, followed by an electronic sound which defies the typical rock and roll mould. This title track which plunges us into a jagged B-T world is a number which lets us get a sense of Imai’s true nature and desire to deviate from the norm. On the other hand, you could say that it’s because of Sakurai’s songs, which he says only ever sings about the one same thing, his absolute vocals, and his lyrical world that Imai is required to deviate. Even now, these two’s honeymoon still show no signs of ending.

The B-side to this single is Luna Park; a fresh, breezy, electric pop-style number written by Hoshino. I’ll talk about this later, but Hoshino is truly unwavering as a maker of simple melodies. You could even say he’s an artisan. The sensual seduction found in here; a fleeting sigh, a slightly forlorn smile, dreamy innocence, and Sakurai’s expression with his adding of lingering notes as the song ends turns the simple song into an irreplaceable original. After Locus Solus, there was a period of stagnation when he was struggling to work out what he was but hearing these two songs, I can’t help but say it. There is no question that you are Sakurai Atsushi of BUCK-TICK. And this is something that no one but you can do.

For better or for worse, this fact can be keenly felt in their 3rd tribute album, PARADE Ⅲ. No one can become Sakurai, neither can anyone sing like Sakurai. The original songs are a dark and debauched demon realm, so if they approached the songs sluggishly with a singing style different from their normal selves, that attitude would be all too easy to spot. The reluctant contrivity will be exposed. But, that said, singing simply won’t bring them far. It would just prove that Hoshino’s songs have a good melody and are surprisingly refreshing. That’s all. All things considered, the difficulty of pulling it off is high with every iteration of a tribute album. Because rather than going head to head with the original songs, these participating artists have to confront what’s in them or they will most definitely get burned.

First up, BRAHMAN have decided to take their winnings and quit with ICONOCLASM. No matter the song, we will scream with all our heart and soul!   It is with that spirit and buff body that they push hard with to the very end. Although not even a sliver of the bewitching nature of the original remains, the unreserved manner they did their cover with makes their participation all the more meaningful. Similarly distant from BUCK-TICK, Sakamoto Miu’s and Fujimaki Ryota’s simple, stripped-down arrangements are a stark contrast of the original songs. Simply singing alone won’t get you far. And I believe that you’ll come to understand what it means to challenge what’s inside of you when you hear their songs.

Also involved are artists adjacent to BUCK-TICK like Kokusyoku Sumire and GARI, but the masterpiece is minus(-)’s rendition of Keijijou Ryuusei which saw Fujikawa Chiai invited for the vocals of the track. It respects and carefully follows the world of the original song, but if you listen closely, you will notice that a 6/8 time, or a waltz, has been casually inserted into the originally four-beat song. But we should first of all say that Fujii Maki did a great job of choosing Fujikawa’s voice which added an elegance that is not too heartbreaking.

Then, the participating artists who respect BUCK-TICK and are in-turn respected by BUCK-TICK too are probably DER ZIBET, DIR EN GREY, and Shiina Ringo. I was surprised at the arrangement of Shiina’s music, but the power of each artist’s expressive ability was an eye opener. Neither of them can become Sakurai. So how will they express themselves and prove their abilities? BUCK-TICK’s existence is that which is found in such a colossal question.

BUCK-TICK’s 2020 begins with Datenshi and after that, they will move on to their next album. In their 33rd year together, these 5 steadfast band members will be taking their next step into the unknown. This I await in anticipation.



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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: spanielonthemoon on Tumblr

Locus Solus and the Future

Ongaku to Hito
July 2019

text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi
photographs by Kudo Azusa


And after the 2nd day of Locus Solus no Kemonotachi concludes, the (surprisingly) 19th iteration of the Poem of June [Roku Gatsu no Fuubutsushi*] was carried out backstage. The photoshoot was done 10 days before this when rehearsals for the Makuhari performances had just started. It was taken at the park near the studio but, well, he was naturally relaxed. Nothing has changed in these past 19 years. And this interview. It was barely 20 minutes after the live concert had wrapped up, so I was worried about whether he was still tense from it, but here, too, he was his usual naturally-relaxed self. The soon-to-be 53-year-old took the trouble to bring out chairs himself to set up a space for the interview. Most wonderful of all is that this naturally-relaxed guitarist is still able to say, “This is where (my) happiness is,” just as he did 19 years ago during our first interview for this series, which truly makes me feel that this is what’s great about this band.



There’s no time to rest, but I think of that as happiness so it’s alright.
Because even now, today, this many people are willing to come and see us. Mm…… BUCK‐TICK is my happiness

―― Thank you for today’s wonderful performance. This is already the 19th time we’re doing the annual birthday month interview, but it’s the first time that we’re doing it in a live venue, and also the first time we’re having the interview right after a performance.

Hide (H): Ah, so it’s the first time we’re doing it like this…… That said, this is the 19th?

―― It’s the 19th. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of this Fuubutsushi, so shall we visit a Southern island (for it)?

H: That sounds ni~ce. To think it’ll be the 20th year.

―― So, today’s live. It was absolutely great.

H: Wasn’t it? Yeah, it was great.

―― Though, I was surprised by the Gegege version of Hidehiko** (lol).

H: Th-that’s what you want to talk about (lol). About that, the illustration was delivered to us and our manager asked us, “What do you think?”, but even if we’re being asked for an opinion, you know (wry smile). I didn’t bother asking them to redraw it. Because (I think that) there needs to be one who makes people laugh.

―― Well, that’s true (lol).

H: I’m happy as long as people enjoy it (lol).

―― And about the live……

H: Well, it was pretty hectic yesterday, right? I feel bad for the fans because there wasn’t enough time for the stage set up and all that. It appeared that even the commencement of venue entry procedures and goods sales were delayed. I’m sorry for the inconveniences.

―― I see, you were concerned about that. For this event, we could perhaps say that the song selection was rather unique.

H: Ahh, I guess that’s true.

―― If I were to venture an opinion, it seemed as if the band’s decadence/gothness was distilled and in between that was a composition that put together upbeat songs that are suitable for the concert.

H: That’s right. Imai-san probably mentioned it. We decided on the impactful name “Locus Solus no Kemonotachi”, and thought that it would be nice if we could bring the image of the live close to that…… I read PHY, though.

―― Come on, speak frankly (lol).

H: Well, that’s too late now, isn’t it~?

―― Is PHY the members’ group journal (lol).

H: Hahahaha. It’s not that I’ve never heard those words before, but we only knew what the event name was, so we formed an impression from there and selected songs. Then, we picked songs from that selection and put the setlist together, but even though everyone interwove the new and old songs, we ended up with that particular kind.

―― So, you’re saying that this was the result of what everyone brought to the table based on the image of “Locus Solus”, rather than having a lingua franca of decadence or gothness.

H: Yes, yes. That’s the result of it.

―― What kind of songs did Hide-san (pick)?

H: Those I brought up were  “Shanikusai -Carnival”, and “Kirameki no Naka de…” too, and also “Thanatos”. There were other songs I raised which ended up getting cut, but in short, I guess you could say that we were going for something that we could share with the fans, rather than creating an atmosphere of, “It’s a celebration, so let’s party!”.

―― Ahh. It’s like what Imai-san said with the “gathering of nonconformists”.

H: I guess that’s the sense of it. But we felt that it wouldn’t work well if we only rounded up songs that are like that, so I guess that’s why we strategically placed songs like the opening, “Kemonotachi no Yoru”, and “ICONOCLASM” to turn it into a balanced arrangement.

―― I see.

H: Though, at the stage of when we were picking the songs, maybe everyone also felt that they wanted to do something that is different from THE DAY IN QUESTION and CLIMAX TOGETHER.

―― The result of it is that you ended up with a live which was strongly characterised by decadence/goth, but this does give the feeling that it might be nice to do it again, doesn’t it?

H: Yeah. It’s fresh, and it was great that we had a variety of surprises too. Like having an unplugged session for the first time.

―― Right, the unplugged session sure was wonderful. Rather than simply playing an acoustic set, you changed those songs with such arrangements, and such a display feels like it exudes the bond or experience that the band has built up over the years.

H: I’m glad to hear that.

―― Who chose the songs for the unplugged session?

H: That’s Imai-san. Initially, our staff happened to blurt, “What do you think about doing something like this once in a while?”. I wonder, did they probably think, “Maybe the band doesn’t like doing such things”?    But it felt as if everyone wasn’t as against it as they (the staff) might’ve expected (lol). Like, “It’s worth giving it a shot, isn’t it?”.

―― Hahahahahaha.

H: It’s not that we’re particularly against it, but I guess it just never really came to mind. And when it was brought up there and then, we thought, “Ahh, right. There’s that kind of option too”. Then, Imai-san said, “I have an idea that might work so I’ll rearrange the songs.”

―― Ahh, thank goodness for that.

H: Surprisingly, we weren’t nervous either. I think it might be the first time since Koenji’s Pal Studio (note: the rehearsal studio that they used immediately after they first moved to Tokyo) that us 5 squeezed together and played in such a small space (lol). We used to rehearse like that all the time.

―― The way you went to the centre stage was also surprising, though.

H: It was unexpected, wasn’t it (lol).

―― Even though you could walk there from the stage extension as per usual (lol).

H: At first, we were told to do that, but then we were told that the walking distance was far. Then, it got to, “Well, isn’t it shortest if we walked through the audience seats?”.

―― I think the distance is probably the same, though (lol). But it was nice to feel like something impossible had happened.

H: It was surprising, wasn’t it? I suppose (the audience) was especially surprised on the first day (lol).

―― I thought that it would’ve been nice if you spent a little more time on the stage extension, though (lol).

H: But we weren’t wearing in-ear monitors, so we couldn’t really go to the front of the stage extension. The sound gets muffled and we won’t be able to play at all. Imai-san goes anyway without a care at all, though (lol). But for songs that hinge heavily on the rhythm, we couldn’t really leave the main stage. “GUSTAVE” can be played crudely so I went in front, and it was pretty nice (lol).

―― It was also great that the sound output for “RONDO” was 5.1ch***, along with that set for “Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari” where Sakurai-san was being shown on the screens.

H: It does seem like it. But we (the band) can’t experience it~ (lol).

―― That’s unfortunately true. But including those set-ups, I truly feel that this really was one special live.

H: You do get the feeling of, “to think that after having done this for 31 years, there’s such a way to draw^^^ out a part of us that even we weren’t aware of”, don’t you? And, “to think that putting all of that together can actually produce something as interesting as this.” I suppose it’s nice, once in a while, to do things like this.

―― I think that the unplugged session also opened up a new way of expression (for you).

H: But if we do that every time, won’t it become washed out (lol)?

―― Well, I guess that’s true. It’s also a little different than the full-blown types typically performed at Blue Note^ or Billboard^ and the sort, isn’t it?

H: I wonder if we can be that legitimate (lol). Well, it’s fun to do that for a bit, isn’t it?    Though, I do want to do this again someday.

―― The flurry of falling cherry blossoms during “Sakura” was great too. There was quite a lot fluttering about today, wasn’t there?

H: There really was quite a bit (lol). It was a bit more modest yesterday, though.

―― Ah, was it?

H: Yeah. Yesterday, the stage director said, “Ah, it looks like it’s a little too little today~. Sorry, we’ll have more of it tomorrow.” So, I wondered what it would be like, and today, there was so much that it’s as if there was no end (lol).

―― Hahahaha.

H: It was great that Sakurai-san’s health is back to normal too.

―― Indeed.  During the members’ introduction today, he suddenly started with, “On vocals, Sakurai Atsushi!” How rare that he started off with himself (lol).

H: Ah. He does that some times, introducing himself first. I guess, maybe he felt like that.

―― Perhaps. And, it was announced today, that you’ll be holding THE DAY IN QUESTION in December.

H: Since the Nippon Budokan was undergoing renovation works, I was wondering how we were going to do it this year, but through everyone’s hard work, it’s great that we were able to fulfil the promise that we have always kept. It’ll be the first time that we’re playing at Yoyogi Gymnasium too.

―― There’s still a lot to look forward to.

H: Well, we’ll be staying in the basement to write songs for a while. And it looks like our schedule is getting filled bit by bit. We’ll be performing at a few locations for December’s THE DAY IN QUESTION, and maybe we’ll go on tour again next year?

―― There’s no time to rest.

H: I think of that as happiness so it’s alright. Because even now, today, this many people are willing to come and see us. Mm…… BUCK‐TICK is my happiness.

―― It sure is.

H: And also, the bandmaster^^ will be giving me all kinds of things to do in the near future, opening up new drawers^^^ for me.

―― Let’s open up Hide-san’s drawers^^^ too!

H: But my drawers^^^ don’t open and close smoothly (lol).






* It would appear that this particular interview with Hide is an annual special called “6月の風物詩”. “Fuubutsushi” (風物詩) is defined as “something which is reminiscent of a particular season” or “a poem about natural scenery or a particular season”. 

** There was merchandise on sale that featured the band members drawn in the art style of Gegege no Kitaro, with which they had a collaboration in the form of the song Rondo being used as the 5th ending theme song of its 6th anime adaptation. This particular run celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original 1968 anime.
The art in question can be found here (scroll down): 

*** A surround sound system that uses five audio channels plus a subwoofer channel (the “1” in 5.1). Widely used in home theatre systems, DVDs are often recorded in 5.1 audio encoding technologies (see Dolby Digital and DTS).

^ Blue Note Tokyo is a jazz venue in Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan. It is a branch of Blue Note Jazz Club in New York and located about 400 metres east of the Aoyama Gakuin University. It has been described as Tokyo’s best venue for live jazz.
Billboard Live Tokyo is similar to Blue Note Tokyo in the sense that both are venues for more intimate performances.

^^ Sounds like he’s talking about Imai lol.

^^^ 引き出し (hikidashi) as a verb would mean, “to draw out”, while as a noun, it would simply refer to “a drawer”, literally the ones in your cabinet. It looks to me that they’re doing a bit of wordplay in the last few instances.




Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: patowinds on Tumblr 



[Live Report] Locus Solus Bestia

Ongaku to Hito
July 2019

text by Ishii Eriko
photographs by Tanaka Seitaro, Tatewaki Taku, Watanabe Rena_tanaka seitaro photo office


Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall 9・10・11
2019.5.25 (Sat) /5.26 (Sun)

Their first-ever live performance at Makuhari Messe throughout their long career. Here, they’re not looking back at the path they have walked and neither are they firing things up with a festive mood. Instead, they put on a stage which shared their feelings with each and everyone one of their fans who has gone through all the varied moments in their 31-year long career with them.

The songs they picked were inspired by the event title, “Locus Solus Bestia”, so there were many which were influenced by goth, decadence, and new-wave, but there was also a strong consciousness of “discordance” which stuck out from this ordinary world. All these individuals gathered in such a place triggered a groundswell which brought them pride in being nonconformists. And today’s report is of precisely such a wonderful night.







01 Kemono-tachi no Yoru [獣たちの夜]
04 Lullaby-IlI
05 Shanikusai -Carnival- [謝肉祭 ‐カーニバル‐ ]
06 Kirameki no Naka de… [キラメキの中で…]
07 Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari [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]
09 Future Song -Mirai ga Tooru- [FUTURE SONG ‐未来が通る] (25th)
    Thanatos [タナトス] (26th)
11 Moon Sayonara wo Oshiete [Moon さよならを教えて]
12 Misshitsu [密室] (25th)
     Tight Rope (26th)


01 Suzumebachi [スズメバチ]
02 BOY septem peccata mortalia
03 Keijijou Ryuusei [形而上 流星]


01 Ai no Uta [愛ノ歌]
02 Sakura [さくら]


Gothic and decadence, immorality in fantasy
From the stage comes the heavy fragrance
Something that is less than welcome under a vibrant blue sky

What rang out at the end was a certain affirmation. That staying like this is fine. That they want to go on, or perhaps, live on like this. That is the magnitude of the scale which accepts this world as it is; this world that we, that these people in this venue has been pulled into. Everything is alright. Perhaps, this may even be a new frontier for them.

Locus Solus Bestia; held at Makuhari Messe over two days. The opening song was “Kemonotachi no Yoru”. This song can be said to be the main theme of this one-man, and to suddenly start with the core of it shows their strong drive. With a “Yeah”, Sakurai Atsushi boldly reaches out both arms, and as he sings, “That’s how you are,” he points to himself. Interpreting this, it sounds as if he’s saying, “Welcome to the circus’ big top, I am your harlequin”. Imai Hisashi, who added in guitar riffs which were not part of the studio version of the song, had the charm of an adept pierrot.

During the interlude of the next song, “GUSTAVE”, the sight of Imai, Hoshino, and Higuchi walking down the stage extension in a line was the best. As if saying, “Now, go!”, Yagami Toll watches the pierrots dashingly parade before him without losing his smile. Is his (?) true form the Pied Piper of Hamelin* who whisks children away into another world? True or not, that’s alright. Now, take us with you.

This wish was soon granted. From the 4th song on, the atmosphere sank low and “Lullaby -III”, which hasn’t been performed in a long while, began. It’s a fabled song of history and materiality and delusion in perfect harmony which they have brought to completion bit by bit through this long career of theirs. Yuta switches from an electric to a double bass, while Sakurai sings as he holds a peculiar mask of gold in his hand.

The melody and the lyrics entrance the mind, while the heart gets enthralled by the guitar riffs which pull the rug out from under our feet ever so often. What country is this? What era is this? At the very least, the salty tang of the sea that can be smelt at Kaihin Makuhari Station has completely disappeared. Imagine; it feels as if we were in a thick dense forest on a mountain lush with trees. A remote secret place…… Ah, I see. So this is “Locus Solus”.

It may feel as if we were being taken, but nay, everyone wanted to be here. It was gothic and decadence, immorality in fantasy, eroticism and surrealism. Any superficial word would do. From the stage comes the heavy fragrance of something that is less than welcome under a vibrant blue sky, something that is richly rotting and fermenting in the basement. It is a pleasure which intoxicates and fills your body, that exists only here.

“Kirameki no Nakade…”, which has the famous refrain from “Swan Lake “ included in it, was so devilish that it felt as if we lost our sense of reality at the start and at the end. With this performance, it is nigh hard to believe that this song was written in 1993. It’s not that I want to say that it’s old, but the more time passes, the more it feels like a classic that has been handed down since the 18th century, like they have unknowingly created a myth. The legend of BUCK-TICK continues to endlessly distend underground, in a place unknown to those who dwell under clear blue skies.

Whether this is a “world being born” or a “world going mad”, it’s a “wonderful” one
The phrase “soar holding all of heaven” are words both directed at the band and at the gathered fans

Usually, this would end with them being described with a single statement of, “They’re underground”. But, instead, the fun of BUCK-TICK lies in their suddenly breaking barricades with pomp and circumstance as they sing, “Out of the way, out of the way”, “Moving on, the future is here”. As if waking us from the illusion, the middle of the concert turned aggressive but in there, their impressive rock-band dynamism and pop-ness are reflected.

Like the imposing single, “BABEL”. It’s a world apart from how songs that hype the audience up typically sound, but it is a song which nullifies the subservience that whispers from the beyond and instead has us feel a toughness that makes it feel like it is even possible to grab hold of the sun. Tough and gothic; although they may sound like conflicting words, there was no such contradiction on stage. Whether they get called unorthodox or whatsoever, what they have obtained is the unwavering strength of those who truly believe in their path. Raising his right up straight towards the sky, Sakurai was representative of this.

But those weren’t the only contradictory words. While tough and unwavering, the present BUCK-TICK also laments the transience of life at the same time, thoroughly washed in the quivering heart of a lady. Following this was a song of farewells, a confession of mercy and forgiveness, and a fanciful mermaid’s love song. All of it, including their performance, is part of the conscientious manner that they perform their work with. During the performance of “Moon Sayonara wo Oshiete”, a remarkably brilliant full moon was projected onto the screen at the back of the stage; it was perfectly fitting. This must be the world’s most beautiful lie.

Tonight I’ll stay on that stage till the end. That was what Sakurai declared at the start. In other words, he was going to create the perfect fantasy. Originally, the moon waxes and wanes regardless of sentiment, and the night sky will never always be clear. There are cloudy days and there are rainy days. It is our reality that we won’t be able to see the night sky so clearly, to begin with. With the ideal full moon floating on the stage, what this perfect farewell song sings of is the ardent expression of yearning for this moment, at least, to be as beautiful as a dream. May this lie light up your life if even just a little.

The hierarchical relationship between the performers and the audience blurs even further and right before the last song of the main act, Sakurai seemed to say spontaneously, “Thank you very much. You’ve all been lovely.”

It was amusing considering the fact that we felt that it should be our line, the audience’s line instead. But once again, we could really feel that this was his heartfelt emotion. It is the same for us, the audience. To love and to be loved, the save and to be saved, to forgive and to be forgiven. After a tremendously long amount of time, an irreplaceable locus for both parties has been forged. That’s why, soon, there will be no need for walls. As if inviting us to a faraway place, the beasts leapt into the audience seats as well. The highlight was the first encore.

From the cross-section of the stage extension rises a cylindrical stage from which their first centre stage performance and their first acoustic set would be performed. That, in itself, is exceedingly rare and the way they got to the stage extension wasn’t one that you would normally expect, but putting on such a spectacle is probably something that only their present selves could do. Looking at the 5 of them seated in a circle, it’s as if we can almost imagine this is their usual position in the studio with how comfortable they look. But unexpectedly, the first song that they started with was the ultimate erotic song, “BOY septem peccata mortalia”. I couldn’t help but laugh, but this, too, is aptly BUCK-TICK-like. It is the work of professional harlequins. That, and adding Sakurai’s rather dangerous smile as he sang “You look delicious baby” an octave lower than usual.

They continued playing nostalgic songs in the second encore. It was especially surprising that “Sakura” showed up here. It was the requiem which Sakurai dedicated to his mother. Although it’s unlikely that the pain would have completely healed, it would also be unnatural if things have remained the same throughout this time. Be it a sense of loss which makes one wail, or regret which rends one’s heart, he sang on, drinking all of it down. As blood ties and emotional connections grew, everything was channelled into the song. He finds joy in performing, has overcome the reality of being held back by illness while celebrating the band’s 30th anniversary, and hopes that the band will still continue on. That is himself. The professional harlequin. The melody which was once his mother’s song now resounds as “Sakurai Atsushi’s song”. The flurry of falling cherry blossoms which whirled around was breathtakingly beautiful.

Adding to that, the last song was “HEAVEN”. Were they this assured of themselves in the past? Whether this is a “world being born” or a “world going mad”, it’s a “wonderful” one. The phrase “soar holding all of heaven” are words both directed at the band and words that the band wants to hand to the gathered fans. Here is where such a world exists. Here is where we exist. Everything is alright. Let’s continue on like this from here on, too.

Lastly, announced was the news that THE DAY IN QUESTION will be held this year-end and their annual Nippon Budokan show on the 29th of December will take place at Yoyogi National Stadium First Gymnasium.








* The Pied Piper of Hamelin is an old folktale about a piper who was hired by a town to lure rats away. But after the deed was done, the town refused to pay him the promised sum and thus, he takes his revenge on them by luring the children away.
Incidentally, BUCK-TICK once covered a song called Hamelin by LÄ-PPISCH. Have a listen here.



Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: patowinds on Tumblr



Kemonotachi no Yoru/RONDO Feature

PHY vol. 14
June 2019

Photography: Hirano Takashi
Interview: Ishii Eriko, Kanemitsu Hirofumi
Hair & Makeup: Tanizaki Takayuki, Yamaji Chihiro (FatsBerry)
Styling: Shimizu Kenichi


As long as we think that something is interesting, all 5 of us will be looking in that same direction. We can do anything
After all, there’s no discomfort within the band; we’re a cluster of potential. Regardless of how old we get
– Imai Hisashi


As they welcome their 31st year together, BUCK-TICK announces a new start with the release of their double A-side single, “Kemonotachi no Yoru / RONDO”, on the 22nd of May, and their live concert, “Locus Solus no Kemonotachi” which will be held on the 25th and 26th of May at Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Halls 9, 10, and 11. One is a significant single while the other is a live show which holds much meaning.

Even after their 30th debut anniversary concluded last year, they show no sign that their activities are slowing down. Why has this rock band, BUCK-TICK been able to thrive for 30 years without any change in members? And furthermore, open new doors even now?

Their story has often been put away with the cheap assumption of “a miracle”, but that is not the case. Just one part of the “reality” is that they have acquired all of this because of the implicit trust that they (the members) have in the band. These interviews with each of the members done right before their live performances, once again, confirm that fact.

Come now, it’s a party for deviants. It’s time to rip through the curtain and let the night begin*.

* Reference to first 2 lines of Kemonotachi no Yoru.





Individual Interviews


Sakurai Atsushi

I suppose these words came about because we had a concert like the one last year
To say that I’ll be there until the end, whether I’m laughing or crying, I’ll stay until the end

Interview by Ishii Eriko

―― Did your feelings towards concerts change after getting admitted into hospital last year?

Sakurai (S): Ah, I feel that yes. Like, “I can do this.” When I was younger, I used to have frivolous thoughts like, “The heck, I have to perform today?”. There was some defiance and I’d go up on stage without giving it much thought, though. But even before I got hospitalised, during these few years, I’ve been as conscientious as possible (about the things I do). Including recording, I have been thinking that I want to do things conscientiously, you know? For example, even if it’s painful, I’d want to bring out the vibrato just a little before that pain. Or, although this (part of the song) is of a key that’s right at my limits and I can’t always sing it, I want to somehow use my body to convey it. Something like that. That’s what I’ve come to feel.

―― Even with your actions, you’re conscious of your every move.

S: That’s true. Moment by moment, (with thoughts like) maybe if I paid a little more attention to this fingertip here it’ll look even more beautiful, and so on…… Although, I might also forget the lyrics.

―― Fuhahahaha.

S: In my case, that will happen if I think too much, though. But (I’d still find myself thinking), since the light is this colour now, if I go there my complexion will turn into that colour, and so on. I think I’m happiest when my brain works at full capacity while thinking about these things with each passing moment.

―― To even consider something like the angle of your fingertip is very meticulous of you indeed, but do you think the content of your performance changes when you put your heart into it and pay attention to those areas?

S: Yes. I believe it does change. Of course, 0 can only be conveyed as 0. I think if I were to (successfully) convey that, the receiving party probably has a very active imagination though. But if I were to go for 100, I can convey that through 1 or 2, and if (what I do) can resonate with those listening or watching…… That’s a really lucky thing, isn’t it? Because if (what I do resonates with them when) it’s 0, then (this result is) just a fluke.

―― So, the present Sakurai-san feels that in any case, he wants to conscientiously bring out that 100 even if he only conveys 1 or 2.

S: If possible. Of course, I don’t expect to attain 100, but…… I do aim to get around 95 points.

―― In terms of album releases, around when did you start keeping conscientiousness in mind?

S: Quite recently, actually. During the album Arui wa Anarchy, I did think that it might be nice should the particularly conscientious areas overlap with the spontaneous things. But we talk about works prior to that, when I listen to them, I do get a sense of, “Well, look at that, I’m capable of it, aren’t I?” But when I watch the live footage and listen to the live audio again…… I feel that it’s a mess (wry smile).  Well, being in the heat of the moment is good, but if I listen to it on my own when I’m composed, there are parts that leave me disappointed. (I would think,) if I pushed a step further and held that lingering note for a bit during that difficult moment at that particular point in time, if I could use vibrato, I would be able to (perform) to my satisfaction. During recording, I can keep redoing things numerous times so that’s fine, but it’s the unfiltered things which I do live that shows the level of my actual ability, right?

―― In these statements, too, I can sense the weight which I felt from the lyrics “Tonight you stay on that stage till the end” and “Yes, that’s you*” in Kemonotachi no Yoru.

S: Yes. This is what I’m saying to myself.

―― It’s not “go on stage”, but rather, “stay on that stage till the end”.

S: Yeah. Well, I suppose these words came about because we had a concert like the one last year at DiverCity. To say that I’ll be there until the end; whether I’m laughing or crying, I’ll stay until the end. This comes from what I’ve experienced.

―― You’re making a strong statement with those lyrics, and they don’t tend towards hesitation or sadness or (self-)pity, do they?

S: That’s right. I wonder if I’ll exude that even if I kept quiet. My own personality. Because I think that mingled feelings of joy and sorrow are exuded with a single mention of the word “clown”, or pierrot. I’ve made it such that it won’t be explained any further than that.

―― Does Sakurai-san consciously desire to play the role of a pierrot?

S: That’s right. That’s because it’s a professional job, so to speak. To play the role of a clown or a pierrot as a part of BUCK-TICK. This is definitely not in the sense that we’re making fun (of these professions), but rather, it’s with respect (for them). To have such an ability to make people laugh while crying. I think it would be nice if I could (embody) such a role in spirit.

―― So you consider bringing laughter as part of your role too.

S: …… In my case, (people will) naturally laugh for me, so.

―― Hahahaha. You’re definitely aware of that.

S: (They would,) right?    I think.

―― Yes (lol).

S: “Yes,” you say (lol). I have no intention of making people laugh. Also because it’d be really boring if I’m trying to make people laugh, right? In my case.

―― Yes…… is not something I can say, is it? (Lol). The stage where a pierrot belongs is, of course, the circus, and I can sense your yearning for it only grows stronger year after year. 

S: That’s true. I suppose it’s the atmosphere that it possesses, or perhaps the unique appeal that it has. There’s the front stage that focuses on how they will entertain the audience, but there’s also a backstage where things are absolutely frantic. Of course, the front stage is where there won’t be a single hint of that franticness at all, though. And people from all over are gathered on this one stage. That’s similar to a concert where everyone is very excited and fired up, but time passes after all, and what’s left after that are seats without an audience and an empty stage…… Such moments are, again, melancholy. Even though that was where the spotlight shone, it ended up lonely in the end. I think that this feeling is even more depressing than a concert when it comes to a circus. Like, when there was a big top in this place just yesterday but now it’s already gone.

―― Because it’s turned into a vacant lot surprisingly quickly, right? And the troupe has already moved on to somewhere else.

S: Yeah. Really. That feeling which you get; as if that was all just a dream. It’s nice, isn’t it?

―― That’s different than the admiration that one might have for a rockstar who travels around the world on their private jet, isn’t it?

S: That’s right. A rockstar…… What’s that like? I wonder.

―― For example, the Rolling Stones, where the sight of their signature mouth logo** makes all their fans go crazy.  And being able to sell a ticket for tens of thousands of yen just because, “Mick and Keith*** will be playing, it’s the real thing!”  That side of the entertainment industry is distinctly different than that of a circus.

S: Yeah, yes. A rockstar…… That can’t be me, and I can’t describe myself as one either.

―― You still say that even though you’ve been in a band for 30 years?

S: I just can’t think of myself as someone like that at all. I’m not very good at meeting people, and even if people are going “kyaー kyaー” for me…… Well, it’s just for those two hours anyway (lol).

―― It’s probably those who want people to go “kyaー kyaー” for them throughout 24 hours who can stand before others as a rockstar.

S: That’s why I’m the opposite. I’m more of a “please leave me alone” type.

―― Yet despite this, when you put on the pierrot’s makeup, you’ll be able to stand before others without hesitation and stay on stage until the end.

S: That’s right. It’s like flipping a switch. But well, if you ask me what I’m capable of, or what is it I enjoy, that’s really the only thing. Maybe it sounds cool if I say, “The only thing I have is singing,” but that really is the only thing I have. In the end, being able to go up on stage and perform is all there is. Song by song, playing the different main characters in different settings. Performing until the very end and hoping that I managed to ignite the imaginations of those who were watching.


I can’t exactly make a decision on my own accord because we’re a band
I want to keep going for as long as all of us still want to keep performing together


―― Though, if I may, I believe there are people who are of the opinion that if a rock band says that they are “performing”, then, to put it bluntly, “They’re not being real.” How would Sakurai-san argue against that?

S: No, well…… I won’t argue. Because I don’t want to fight (lol).

―― I see (lol).

S: But everyone does things however they see fit, don’t they? So, I think that’s perfectly fine. I respect them, those people who have always done what they love. No matter the style, I think it’s alright as long as the person’s heart is in it.

―― Indeed. Also, the Sakurai Atsushi who Sakurai-san performs as is certainly no lie. No matter the song, you’re immersed in it and I think that’s great.

S: I don’t have the dexterity to detach myself to that extent.

―― And the other song, RONDO is already being aired on Gegege no Kitaro, but was it only composed because of the tie-up?

S: It came about because of the tie-up, yes. I think Imai-san was probably aware of that too and ended up composing the song for it. When I heard (that we were collaborating with Gegege no Kitaro)…… Well, I guess I’m like a yōkai too so I thought that would be interesting.

―― And as a result, you have two songs of beasts and yōkai.

S: Hahahahahahah.

―― But it certainly is a very beautiful song. Was it the melody which triggered the image of dancing endlessly in a dream for you?

S: That’s right. It’s because I wrote the lyrics while listening to the melody without really thinking about the yōkai. I thought that this, too, felt like one of the many sides of BUCK-TICK, like a signature song. Though in the beginning, I was worried about whether it was alright to go about it like this or whether I should twist it a bit and change the vibe instead.

―― But you wrote it in a straightforward way in the end.

S: That’s right. In the end, it was straightforward. I did try a few different ways, though. But I felt that this one fit best. Simple and like our typical selves. The working title had always been RONDO right from the start, so I simply wrote in consonance with the original image without needing to forcefully twist and bend it towards another direction. But then I thought that I should keep the words very simple. It feels as if I meandered through twists and turns and then came back to the starting point.

―― For many years, one of the themes that Sakurai-san has depicted (in your lyrics) is the sense of dreaming, or being in a dream that one cannot wake up from.

S: I suppose…… it’s because I’ve always been escaping from reality since I was young. (Diving into) things like worlds away from reality, fiction, fantasy, and that imagery of the Kitaro which I watched when I was a child. I was definitely immersed in it, that mysterious atmosphere, because I was a child. Because the old Kitaro was much more horrifying.

―― That would normally scare people, wouldn’t it?

S: Yeah. But (to me), it feels like that’s still better than reality. That said, although this isn’t my true starting point, I wrote the lyrics by returning to how I felt when I used to watch Kitaro.

―― Did you love it?

S: Yeah. That original touch of Mr. Mizuki’s^. There were quite a lot of tales of yōkai in the late 1960s and early 1970s^^. I loved those yōkai stories so I watched it a lot.

―― So before music, you were captivated by a mysterious, slightly scary world. What’s learned in the cradle is truly carried to the grave^^^.

S: Yes. I suppose that appears to be so.

―― And now, this single is leading into the 2-day event at Makuhari Messe. What is going to happen here?

S: Our staff came up with a variety of stunts based on things we haven’t yet done thus far. Though we ourselves are still kind of unclear about things (lol).

―― Does that mean that you’ll be preparing something that goes above and beyond what we would expect of a typical concert?

S: No?    It’s a regular concert. However, there will be things that we have never done before. Though I think fans may have never seen it before either.

―― I wonder what it is. Can you give us a hint?

S: A hint……… But if I say it, I’d get in trouble if we end up not doing it during the concert (lol).

―― Ahh, as in, there’s quite a lot going on so you can’t do it in the end? (Lol)

S: As in, I think there might be some grown-up business` (in the way) (lol).  Well, but, presentation style, you know? (That’s) one of them.

―― And now that your 30th anniversary has passed, does it feel like yet another fresh start, or perhaps, like you’re heading towards something new?

S: Mm…… Well, whatever it is, that’s what it’ll feel like in the end. Though it was a little bit irregular since 4 dates of our live house tour ended up getting pushed to this year. But, well, guess this year does have (the significance) of a fresh start and also a beginning after all.

―― The band will, of course, keep on going in future too, but honestly, have you thought about how much longer that can go on for?

S: …… Well, as long as my body and my voice can. Though I’m thinking that it would be nice if I could keep going until 60.

―― That’s a specific number, though.

S: Ah, noー, it’s just that when I get asked about it, that’s the nice, round number which comes to mind. That’s all. Of course, there are also people who are still going strong even at 70, so it’s not as if it’s a complete stop once I celebrate my Kanreki“, though.

―― Anii-san is also almost 60.

S: …… Ah, I guess it’s about time for us to get a red chanchanko`“ (for him).

―― (Lol) I suppose, with such an unprecedented existence, you no longer know how to end it, do you? Like, do you draw the curtains by your own hand, or do you keep going while you still can?

S: Well, because we’re a band, right? I can’t exactly make a decision on my own accord. But, well, my ideal is that I want to keep going for as long as all of us still want to keep performing together.

―― Is it scary to think about the end?

S: …… I can’t imagine it. I’ve also been sick before but…… There’s no other way I can put it except to say that if it happens, it happens. Though on the topic of dying, I think I’d prefer to be the first to die.

―― Ah, because you don’t want to be left behind?

S: Yes. It’s the same between a married couple, right? Where you’d feel that it’ll be more painful to be the one left behind.

―― But that, I think, is how everyone feels.

S: Hahahaha. That might be true. If that’s the case, then I’ll stay behind (lol).




* I usually take lyrics translations from This NOT Greatest Site, but for this line, I went with a more literal translation to fit into this context. The original text is “それがお前だ” (Sore ga omae da).

** This one.

*** Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

^ Mizuki Shigeru is the manga artist behind Gegege no Kitaro. He passed away November 2015.

^^ More specifically, 1965 to 1974. This period was referred to as the 40s of the Showa era.

^^^ The phrase used was “三つ子の魂” (mitsugo no tamashii), the shortened version of “三つ子の魂百まで”(mitsugo no tamashii hyaku made).

` Saying something is “grown-up business” may imply that something is “none of your business’” and is pretty much a pretext for not revealing something.

” Kanreki is the celebration of the 60th birthday. The 60th birthday of a person marks the end of one cycle in the zodiac calendar. which signifies returning to your birth year and beginning a new cycle. Part of the celebration includes the wearing of the red chanchanko (mentioned later) and cap by the person celebrating his 60th. Just imagine our old men wearing this.

“` A chanchanko is a sleeveless haori worn by children and the colour red is believed to have an effect of protection in Japan and people would put red clothes on newborn babies. In line with the significance that the 60th birthday means the return to your birth year.



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Imai Hisashi

“Locus Solus” gives the impression that we’re non-conformist, but on the other hand, we make our own way
When such people gather, it’s quite something, isn’t it?

Interview by Kanemitsu Hirofumi

―― You’ve still got rescheduled concerts left to perform, but it’s about time for you to start rehearsals for Makuhari, isn’t it?

Imai (I): Mhm. Right now, I’m in the midst of arranging songs for the Makuhari live. About 3 of them.

―― Oh! You’ve decided to do a variety?

I: While having decided to include unusual songs that we haven’t performed recently, we also thought of trying arrangements that are different than what we’ve done thus far.

―― Did you intend to hold such a live performance from the very beginning?

I: Nope. Initially, we gave it a title which inspires intrigue and thought that it would probably be good if we could get an idea of what the live would be like from there.

―― I see. So, you expected something to come from the title of Locus Solus no Kemonotachi.

I: Yeah. And then our staff offered a lot of ideas which made us feel that things could definitely get interesting.

―― So, there’s no special meaning or anything like that attached to the title.

I: No, no. However, it’s not a tour anyway…… Well, the postponed concerts have been (added into this year’s schedule), but originally, it was a performance that was supposed to happen suddenly over 2 days in May, so I guess you could say that we wanted it to correspond to that. Like, I guess we wanted to make it feel like it’s something enthralling.

―― In other words, there’s no profound meaning behind “Locus Solus” in the title?

I: I just thought that it sounded intriguing. There’s no special meaning behind it. That book was published as a hardcover edition when I was in my 20s, and I thought that it seemed interesting so I bought it from Roppongi’s WAVE*.

―― Roppongi WAVE!    How nostalgic.

I: There are a few volumes in that series but I was intrigued by the call of Locus Solus so I bought that one.

―― You know, I have an acquaintance who works in Heibonsha** and they suddenly called me and asked, “You know BUCK-TICK?”

I: Hyahahahaha, for real!

―― Apparently, it caused a stir because this foreign literature whose stocks don’t really move suddenly started receiving a ton of orders and they got wondering, “What happened?” (lol).

I: I heard about that (lol). It’s hilarious.

―― I also read Locus Solus when I was in university, but I gave up soon after I started. It was impossible to understand what the hell it was going on about.

I: It’s like it doesn’t really have a storyline and neither was there anything particularly interesting in it. No matter how much I read, I still didn’t quite understand it. But (the more you read it) the more it overflowed with images, like it exceeds your imagination. That’s why I think that it isn’t necessary to start reading it from the first page. I think you can just open a random page and look at what’s written there. 

―― In short, are you saying that what’s interesting about “Locus Solus” is the way the sound of it makes people wonder what it is?

I: Yes, exactly. I didn’t know what it meant, so just as I was thinking that it would be good to use as the event title, I went to look it up. And it says that it means, “a solitary place”. I felt that it could also imply a non-conformist connotation too, so that was interesting.

―― Like a generic term which includes both BUCK-TICK as the band and the fans who follow you.

I: Exactly. It also gives the impression that we’re non-conformist but on the other hand, we make our own way.

―― But being non-conformist, doesn’t it bother you that you can’t really assimilate with those around you?

I: Not particularly. Isn’t it good? Non-conformity.

―― Do you feel that you’ve always been like that?

I: Nope, not at all. I might’ve noticed something before, but I don’t think I’ve thought of being in such a position in particular. But when such people gather, it’s quite something, isn’t it?

―― Indeed. And now, what you’re feeling and visualising from the words “Locus Solus” has been projected into the songs.

I: Exactly. Because we have 2 days (of performances). We want to have different setlists and try doing what we’ve never done before too.

―― But last year-end, Sakurai-san took ill and you had to postpone your tour.

I: I was shocked.

―― Was there no sign of it?

I: Not at all. My room backstage was separate from Sakurai-san’s too.

―― Right, you do that to focus.

I: Though, when we passed each other right before the performance in the corridor backstage, he had a hand on his hip. And I got the feeling that he seemed to be pressing heavier than usual. I did wonder, “Huh, what’s with him?” but he didn’t say anything, so I didn’t give it much thought. But the moment the performance started and he sang, I thought something was weird.

―― It was obviously different than usual, wasn’t it?

I: Like, he wasn’t quite pushing himself as hard.

―― I was worried.

I: Because (his condition is) something that only he would know best, right? It isn’t something that will somehow remedy itself just because you work hard, and I did consider that maybe we might have to stop halfway, and even if we did, it couldn’t really be helped. But that particular day, he said, “I’ll do this.”

―― It’s as if his will was just that strong.

I: I guess he didn’t want to feel like he messed up. I think he hated the idea of finishing only the main set and then making an announcement to forcibly bring the live to a close by skipping the encore. You see, we could only leave that decision to him. I guess, perhaps he felt that he could somehow make it to the very end.

―― Having such an incident occur, does it make you uneasy?

I: For the future?    Well, maybe such things would happen. I suppose our physical strength would decline on its own anyway, and it’s only natural that the substance of our exterior would deteriorate too. But I haven’t gotten the feeling that my senses are waning yet, anyway.

―― Ahh, I see.

I: Well, I guess we can’t neglect our health (lol). But although I don’t really think about it, I suppose I’m alright. Because bands can take any form no matter how old we are.


Things I want to do come to me, and I’d wonder, “What should I do with this?”
But I have the confidence that if it’s us, we’ll be able to give it shape.

―― And you’ll be releasing a single. RONDO has a tie-up where it’ll be used as the ending theme song of Gegege no Kitaro, but what was your concept for Kemonotachi no Yoru?

I: This was in my stock. It’s completely different now, but the demo which was made from that riff was there. From start to end. But I completely forgot that it existed. I opened a folder in my PC and saw it, then when I wondered what it was and opened it up, this was in there (lol).

―― Right. Listening closely, this song is made of the one same riff going on from start to end. I thought that it’s got quite a crazy composition and it really turned into a good song (lol).

I: I thought, “Oh, right I made that. Ah, this is cool.” And making use of that guitar riff and the vibe of that demo, I redid it from the start and turned it into Kemonotachi no Yoru.

―― You completely forgot about its existence.

I: But that’s because the original melody was utterly uncool. I thought it’s a good thing that I didn’t forcibly turn that into a song and release it (lol).

―― Hahahahahaha!    When was this demo from?

I: Probably STEPPERS -PARADE‐ (released January 2014) or sometime around there, I think. I thought maybe there was a bit of a riff left behind, but when I opened up the data, the whole song was there. When I listened to it, I thought it was reeally cool, and then I wondered if there might’ve been songs that I forgot about so I went looking around, but there wasn’t anything else (lol).

―― Hahahahahaha!

I: It’s the same with RONDO. This song had a previous melody too. But I completely changed up the tempo and all that, flipped the chords around, and redid it from scratch for it to be used for Kitaro. There’s no longer any sign of its original self though (lol).

―― It’s a song perfect for Kitaro, isn’t it?

I: Yeah, I didn’t expect it to fit so well. When I first heard that it was going to be the ending theme song, I got stuck wondering how we should do this, but after thinking about it for a bit, I realised, “Ah, this is something only we can do.” After realising that, I really wanted to do this.

―― Is it because the worldviews that you have are very similar?

I: Though don’t you think it’ll be really fun if we did the opening theme song instead (lol).

―― Hahahahahaha!

I: With an arrangement similar to DIABOLO’s (lol).

―― I’m imagining Sakurai-san singing “Ge, ge, gegege no geー” ^ (lol). Did you use to watch Kitaro a lot in the past?

I: It’s not as if I had to catch it, but I watched it. It’s the same as Sazae-san^^, like it’s only normal to watch it.

―― The characters look funny, or rather, they have a kind of cuteness to them, but there’s an air of creepiness in the background, like there’s a Japanese-style terror sleeping underneath.

I: That’s what I like about it.

―― It’s just like how BUCK-TICK sounds pop but there’s a creepiness somewhere in there, right?

I: I guess that’s how it’ll seem if you twist it that way (lol). Also, I was absolutely sure that it would be aired in the evening so I was surprised.

―― Ahh, that it was being broadcast at a time slot that’s more like Sazae-san’s?

I: Because I assumed that it was going to be during that kind of a melancholy time slot. But then it ended up getting broadcast in the morning. Quite a lot of kids watch it, don’t they? When I went to kindergarten to pick the children up, kids I didn’t know at all started coming up to me to say, “I watched Kitaro!”

―― Hahahahahahahaha!

I: So many of them started talking to me (lol). I never expected to get such a reaction from 4 year-olds.

―― You’ve opened up a new fan base (lol). Though, when we consider Sakurai-san’s lyrics too, I’ve said this numerous times, but there’s a sense of creepiness there and something similar to terror in the back, which makes it typical of BUCK-TICK, doesn’t it?

I: I knew that if it was Sakurai-san, he would fit in lyrics with a great vibe, so I wasn’t worried at all.

―― Did you intend right from the start to have Kokusyoku Sumire take part?

I: Not in the beginning, but after making the demo, I thought it might be better if we had a violin and an accordion in it as well. So, there wasn’t anything else to do except ask Sumire-san. Though, what I failed at was that I forgot to tell them that this was going to be the ending theme song for Kitaro (lol). Then I worried that they might insert something different (than what we were aiming for). But we liked it a lot in the end.

―― And for Kemonotachi no Yoru, it might’ve turned out the way it did as a result, but it seems like it was meant to be Makuhari’s theme song.

I: Uhhuh. I really like it.

―― What do you think of Sakurai-san’s lyrics?

I: I think it’s already a perfect fit. In the beginning, the working title for the demo was “Autobahn”. Then even after Sakurai-san gave it those lyrics and finished recording the song, it was still “Autobahn”. So I was getting worried about that. And then Sakurai-san said to me, “Hey, this isn’t going to be called ‘Autobahn’, is it?    I think the lyrics are completely different (from that title) though,” and some days after that, I changed the title.

―― I see (lol). So after you release this single and finish the performance at Makuhari, what do you intend to do?

I: Huh, hasn’t our schedule already been decided? (lol)

―― Hahahahaha!

I: Though I’m wondering about what we should do about our album. Like, what’s next? Just vaguely. I do have the desire to compose. (I’m just wondering about) what we should do following No.0, and how we should include the two songs from this single in the next album, and so on.

―― I think that No.0 was quite a masterpiece that fully brought out a certain side of BUCK-TICK, though.

I: I think so too. But I also think that we can soon do something from a different angle, or do something that goes beyond it. It’s always been like this, but I guess it’s because even after 30 years, all sorts of things I want to do just keep coming to me be it with a whisper or all at once. I suppose we can probably do something (else) soon because I get that.

―― When you shape those feelings, do you often feel that those can’t be executed unless it’s with the band?

I: That happens a lot. I’d wonder, “What should I do with this?” But I have the confidence that if it’s us, we’ll be able to give it shape.

―― You mean, you’ll eventually be able to shape things through the band?

I: It’s the same with our band sound and programming. Because the feeling that “we have to do this (or it wouldn’t work)” disappears. I get the feeling that we can do it.

―― “Why not?”, right? But isn’t the case that in a band, everyone’s style is basically aligned?

I: I don’t know, but there are those who absolutely hate programming, aren’t there? But for us, from some point onwards, we just felt, “Oh, well then, I guess we’ll use programming.” We came to accept that and started to think about how we’re going to present that sound when playing as a band and how we can make it work. As long as we think that something is interesting, all 5 of us will be looking in that same direction. I think that might be our strongest point.

―― So, although having a sense of it is the most important thing, it’s only because you can perform it with the band.

I: Of course, that’s very important. We can do anything. Besides, although we’re a band whose members are all above the age of 50, we wrote the ending theme song for Kitaro, didn’t we?

―― Hahahahaha. That is indeed so.

I: That’s why I think we can do anything. After all, there’s no discomfort within the band; we’re a cluster of potential. Regardless of how old we get.



* I managed to find a picture of it:

** A Japanese publisher.

^ From the opening theme song of the original run of Gegege no Kitaro.

^^ Sazae-san is a Japanese yonkoma manga series written and illustrated by Machiko Hasegawa which was turned into an anime in 1969 and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-running animated television series.


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Hoshino Hidehiko

Now, we’re going on long tours but
I’ve come to wonder more often…… how long we can keep travelling like this

Interview by Kanemitsu Hirofumi

―― This is probably considered as something from quite a while back, but to start, please tell us about last year’s No.0 tour.

Hoshino (H): The hall tour was very fulfilling. We’ve always been doing this, haven’t we? Sticking with the stance of completing the worldview of the album through a tour after we’ve produced one.    This time, especially, gave me a strong sense of fulfilment. I’m very satisfied.

―― That’s because the album, No.0, was one which aroused the listeners’ imagination more than the usual production, right?

H: BUCK‐TICK has always done that since our early days but I guess this time, we managed to show it in an especially conceptual manner which included comprehensive visuals too.

―― Considering the video footage, that does indeed seem so.

H: And I think during the second half, the live house tour, the conceptual part of the performance was even more vividly expressed live.

―― But with an inconceivable incident, it made us realise that what this band expresses was something very real indeed.

H: That’s right. Well, a lot has happened (lol).

―― I was shocked.

H: But thank goodness that we were able to get through it all safely. There are a few more rescheduled performances (note: the interview was held on 19 April), but it looks like we’ll be able to do those well anyway, so they’re still good live performances even though they were rescheduled.

―― When did you realise that Sakurai-san’s condition wasn’t too good?

H: Vaguely, I did get the notion that he didn’t look well. When I saw his face during rehearsals, or when we met backstage before the actual performance, (I’d get a sense of,) “Huh? I wonder what’s wrong.”

―― I suppose he looked like he was having it rough.

H: But the tour was long too, so there were always minor worries like, maybe his throat is a little sore today, or, maybe he’s feeling a little feverish, and so on. But once the live performance started, the sight of a Sakurai-san I’ve never seen before, be it his movements or the way he sang, struck me and…… I was worried. When we withdrew offstage for the encore, we stood in a circle and it was said that apparently, his condition wasn’t so bad to the point that he can’t perform. That’s what I understood.

―― Knowing that, what did you think?

H: Honestly, I thought that even if we halted the encore, it wouldn’t make a difference. I thought that it would be better to ask Sakurai-san himself, because it could be that, probably, he wasn’t in a state where he can’t perform. But he said that he wanted to continue as far as he possibly could, so.

―― Perhaps he felt a sense of duty of having to finish “Kodou”, otherwise the worldview of No.0 would not be expressed in completion.

H: Perhaps. But I think, on the inside, he felt that he could do it since it was only 3 more songs. Though, that’s a question that only he himself would know the answer to. It’s not something that we can judge on our own, is it? Because you see, everyone has prepared themselves in their own ways before they perform.

―― The tour had been rescheduled following that incident, but situations which required such measures haven’t happened recently, have they?

H: Regarding postponement…… This might just be the first time when we had to reschedule the remaining dates when we’re in the middle of a tour. Though I think we did postpone a tour right before it started in the past.

―― That was when Sakurai-san had an intestinal blockage overseas, wasn’t it? But having had such a thing happen, does it make you feel that you all aren’t as invincible as you used to be?

H: That is something I especially felt recently. Now, we’re going on long tours but I’ve come to wonder more and more often how long we can keep travelling around like this.

―― That said, it appears that since the start of the year, a number of things happened to Hoshino-san too.

H: I’ve been sick in bed the whooole time, you know. Since the New Year.

―― You’ve even lost weight.

H: I’ve lost weight…… Maybe?

―― No matter how I look at you, you’ve lost weight. I was shocked when I saw your photos.

H: My condition isn’t particularly bad, but I can’t gain it back, my previous physique. Though I thought that’s fine anyway (lol).

―― What happened?

H: After our year-end live concluded, I thought of taking it easy during the New Year holidays, but on New Year’s Day, I passed bloody stools. So, wondering what that was about, I went to the hospital and then got diagnosed with ischemic colitis.

―― What kind of illness is that?

H: It’s not as severe as Sakurai-san’s, but it’s when the S-shape in the colon gets injured and it starts bleeding there. It wasn’t so severe that I had to get hospitalised, but I had to stay at home and live on porridge for quite a while.

―― Because you had to recuperate.

H: I just kept sleeping the whole time. I had to rest, so I couldn’t do anything, and my stomach hurt too. Then, when I felt like I was getting better from that, I went out to watch a movie since I haven’t yet caught Bohemian Rhapsody. I guess I let my guard down a little or something. And just as I thought that it was about time to start songwriting, some sort of rash started breaking out all over my body. It got me all lethargic so I went to the doctor’s, and this time, it was slapped cheek syndrome*.

―― Slapped cheek syndrome; isn’t that a common infection in children?

H: That’s true, but apparently, there have been more and more cases of adults catching it too. I think it’s probably something I caught at the hospital or something, though. My cheeks turned red and it wasn’t going away at all. So, because of that, I kept sleeping while sick in bed.

―― Your room had to be isolated too, right?

H: Exactly. Because it’d be awful if others caught it too, right? But the rash gradually went away, and I had a mild fever throughout the whole time too, so I thought that I would probably recover soon and get back to normal life, but at the very end came influenza (lol).

―― That’s a triple combo of illnesses (lol).

H: That’s why I’ve been sleeping and stuck in bed for almost a month. That was my situation in January. Well, since I’ve been a-year’s-worth of sick, I’ll just take it as a sign that perhaps I won’t get sick any more this year (lol).

―― You’ve rid yourself of misfortune (lol). But that was tough, wasn’t it? I heard that you had a meeting last year-end about the single and Makuhari, but in the end, you couldn’t do anything.

H: Yeah. It had been decided that the single was to be a tie-up, so I thought that I’d have to start songwriting once the New Year passed. Because we also spoke about producing demos and song selection. However, I was stuck in bed sick throughout the whole time in such circumstances, so without being able to do anything……

―― It was all left up to Imai-san.

H: Even though I wanted to compose. But, well, it couldn’t be helped, could it?


Living life without regrets is important, but everyone will definitely meet their end, won’t they?
That’s why it’s very much like BUCK-TICK to finish up whatever we can do now

―― What did you think of RONDO and Kemonotachi no Yoru when you heard them?

H: It was confirmed that RONDO would be a tie-up with Gegege no Kitaro, so I thought that it really matched the anime’s vibe. Then again, I guess to BUCK-TICK, that’s a genre that’s our forte (lol).

―― Hahahahaha.

H: When I watched the anime, I was surprised by how modernised the characters had become (lol). But it’s somewhat eerie, or peculiar. That part remains the same. And I thought that suits the band very well.

―― Does that mean that even if Hide-san was present, you would’ve emphasised on that vibe?

H: Rather, I think that no matter what we do, it’ll turn out like that so it’s something that we’d compose without needing to think too much about. It wouldn’t feel good if we forced ourselves to lean towards such a worldview anyway, and I suppose we were naturally interested in this tie-up.

―― Was that how it felt since the demo stage?

H: Exactly. Kokusyoku Sumire’s accordion and violin had yet to be added but we’ve already said that we wanted those included since the demo stage, so there was already a sense that we could already envision its completed version.

―― What about Kemonotachi no Yoru?

H: It’s the opposite of RONDO, isn’t it? The vibes are completely different. I don’t know whether Imai-san consciously did that or not, but in the end, it’s great, isn’t it? The title of the song drew attention to the Makuhari live too, and we were also able to give it the perception of a kind of theme song. Even though they’re contrasting songs, both are BUCK-TICK-like, aren’t they?

―― Indeed. A song that goes round and round in circles while latched onto that which one can’t rid themselves of, and a song that says ‘this is where it begins’ and signals hope for the future. I guess we could say that it unexpectedly depicts the two sides that make this band.

H: So, don’t you think that this timing is just right? Initially, we thought that perhaps RONDO felt more like the lead track since there was a tie-up to go with it, but Kemonotachi no Yoru has a sense of speed too, and it was also a BUCK-TICK-like song, so that led the conversation to, “Why not make it a double A-side single?”

―― I think it’s especially meaningful that this single has turned out to be one that shows both sides of BUCK-TICK at the time when your live, Locus Solus no Kemonotachi (Locus Solus Bestia) will likely be a significant point for the band.

H: Exactly. The timing is perfect. Don’t you think it’s a good thing that I was stuck in bed sick? (Lol)

―― That’s not what this is supposed to mean (lol).

H: Also, for this single, there’s another mix of Kemonotachi no Yoru too. The single has Cube-kun’s (CubeJuice) version on it, but there exists another album version. That has yet another different vibe, so, I guess, maybe that might turn out to be a comparatively enjoyable song.

―― Eh, are you already looking that far ahead towards a new album?

H: Though it’s not as if we’re going to release it so soon, you know (lol). But after Makuhari ends, I expect we’d want to compose and start recording anyway.

―― Though, honestly, with your health in consideration too, don’t you think that it’s alright to take it easy for a little longer too?

H: No, no, we’re alright. Last year’s tour was lengthy, but the live performances were mainly held on the weekends anyway. In the past, we used to perform like hell**, so it’s not like this is anything to cry*** about. Being able to constantly release albums like this, to perform it on tours, to have people who await our activities; these are all great blessings.

―― That’s true.

H: I don’t think I’m that busy, so it’s alright. On the other hand, I think having things going at this pace is good for the elderly.

―― Don’t call yourself elderly (lol).

H: So, after Makuhari concludes at the end of May, I think you can probably assume that we’ll be composing and going into the studio for quite a while. After working for a bit more, maybe I’ll go for a vacation overseas (lol).

―― Hahahaha. But composing like that has become natural, hasn’t it?

H: You know, maybe it’s because I don’t want to break this present vibe. We celebrated our 30th anniversary and managed to carry out very fulfilling activities. And our 31st year has also started off well. It’s not that I’m affirming our intentions, but I think, within everyone, there is a desire to continue like this. If we wanted to rest, I suppose we would, but I want to cherish this band’s vibe.

―― Do you get the feeling that you have to perform whenever you can?

H: Ahh. Because we don’t know how long we can keep doing this considering the fact that band members may fall sick?

―― Yes.

H: I guess not. It’s natural. Though I do think that maybe I should raise my health examination rank^ (lol).

―― Hahahahaha.

H: Living life without regrets is important, but everyone will definitely meet their end, won’t they?    That’s why we’re not rushing to do (more), neither are we particularly mindful of that, I think. Those days will eventually come, but they won’t be here until they’re here. I guess you could say that it’s very much like BUCK-TICK to finish up whatever we can do now without being affected by such things.

―― I think that’s probably something that you can feel because you’ve been working with the same members for more than 30 years without a break.

H: Perhaps. Probably because we don’t feel that that there’s an end. And I think things would surely remain like this from here on.

―― And so, to prevent that, you’ll have to raise your health check ranking (lol).

H: I’ve been working at it properly every day for these past 10 years so it’ll be fine (lol).

―― Yes. I’m sure you’re looking forward to Locus Solus no Kemonotachi.

H: Because, although we’ve performed at Makuhari Messe before at LUNATIC. Fest, this is the first time that we’re having a one-man there, right? Since we’re going to do this, we thought of trying things that we haven’t yet done after performing for over 30 years, and we’ve also been thinking about various stunts, so I think that this might be something that leaves quite the mark in the history of BUCK-TICK’s live performances.

―― Like, getting suspended by wires and flying through the air.

H: You mean Yuta, right? (Lol). We intend to make it something special, something that is different than THE DAY IN QUESTION and CLIMAX TOGETHER. So, I hope that everyone will look forward to it. Like our single, I believe that this live performance would evoke a sense of “Now, BUCK-TICK sets out again”.




* Slapped cheek syndrome, also called fifth disease or parvovirus B19, is known as ringo-byou in Japanese (lit. apple disease) because of how the patient’s cheeks would turn red from the rashes like an apple.

** The literal phrase would’ve been “performed (or worked) like a workhorse/carriage horse”, where the main implication is to mean that they were worked like slaves lol.

*** The original phrase was onomatopoeia for a baby’s wailing (ヒーヒー).

^ Annual health examinations are done in Japan. A grading system is used to denote the condition of each aspect of your health (e.g. weight, blood pressure, hearing, eyesight, etc.). The ranking ranges from ‘A’ to ‘H’, where ‘A’ means that everything is as per normal, and ‘H’ means that you’ll have to visit a specialist for further treatment.



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Higuchi yutaka

I guess there’s a sense that it’s another start from here on. Like the direction that we’ll be headed towards
What will happen to us, or an indication of that

Interview by Kanemitsu Hirofumi

―― What does Yuta-san think of last year’s tour for your album, No.0?

Yuta (Y): I mean, it’s something we do every time; this is how it’s always been where we basically have our hall tour and then make our rounds at live houses, right?    Even though the same album remains as the theme for both tours, the presentation style will be different. A live which creates a worldview together with the set, and a live which lets (the audience) feel the band’s visual side more strongly. I think (we do this) because by performing these two sides, the songs in the album become complete. This time, since No.0 is quite a conceptual album, we were able to execute a different style of presentation for the live houses, so I guess that made me feel that it really turned into something amazing.

―― Indeed. Within that, last December, when you were left with 4 more performances to go, Sakurai-san took ill and the performances had to be postponed.

Y: I was surprised. I thought, we really have to take care of ourselves. Especially considering that for this tour, the second half was a bit tough. Maybe that fatigue had been building up in him.

―― After having such a thing happen, what came to mind?

Y: It’s of course, but my first thought was, “Is Acchan okay?” It was the 2nd day of our performances at Zepp DiverCity, right?    Right before our performance, he certainly didn’t look too well, and even if he doesn’t typically show those mannerisms before we go up on stage, I could tell that he was in bad shape from the first song on. He kept withdrawing off-stage numerous times too, didn’t he?

―― The way the four of you followed up with that situation on stage was impressive.

Y: Because we got the feeling that Acchan most definitely wanted to see it to the end. When I heard that he went straight to the hospital after the live ended and immediately got hospitalised, I was extremely worried.

―― And then, you rescheduled 4 shows of the tour.

Y: Because it’d be better to perform in good health. It’s not good for us to make others worry while performing too, right? Though that caused a lot of trouble for our staff, thank goodness that they were able to hold down the venues for us and let us reschedule our performances.

―― Because you had to do them ahead of the Makuhari live too.

Y: I’m really grateful. That’s why things are no longer like how they were when we were young. That’s what I’ve been telling myself (lol).

―― But Sakurai-san was able to recover without complications too, and made his comeback at your annual 29th December performance at Nippon Budokan. There, you announced that you’ll be holding a 2-day performance at Makuhari Messe in May. And along with that, the announcement of your single was also made.

Y: Yeah. I think the songs turned out great on the single. I heard that (our song) was going to be the ending theme song for Gegege no Kitaro, and I felt that RONDO fit that vibe better. On the other hand, per its title, Kemonotachi no Yoru seemed like a song which was meant to be the theme of our Makuhari event, so I thought that it was being released at just the right time.

―― Well then, let’s talk about Locus Solus no Kemonotachi at Makuhari. What meaning does this live hold for Yuta-san?

Y: Well, let’s see…… Since this isn’t a live performance that’s being held around the period of an album release, I guess I’d want to do something special. We’ve always been holding such lives, haven’t we? THE DAY IN QUESTION is one that has always been going on, while CLIMAX TOGETHER is done once every 12 years. We’ve also had THE PARADE where we celebrate our anniversary with everyone, but we thought of doing one more other live where we can express ourselves.

―― It sounds like this live would be the one that has been put in that important position.

Y: That’s what we’re aiming for. We’re thinking of trying out stagings and presentation styles that we’ve never done before too.

―― Like hanging Yuta-san on a wire to fly through the air (lol).

Y: No, no (lol). That’s one thing that various people have been asking me about, but what the hell!

―― It’s a rumour (lol). But it looks to me that Locus Solus no Kemonotachi is turning into quite a significant turning point for the band, isn’t it?

Y: I don’t know whether it’s going to be a turning point, but I guess maybe there’s a sense that it’s another start from here on. Maybe, like the direction that we’ll be headed towards going forward, or what will happen to us, or an indication of that. BUCK-TICK has conceived a lot of songs in our 30 years, and among them, there are songs which we want to try playing once more. Considering that as well, I guess we want to make this a live where we, ourselves can also understand our flow going forward. You could say that we want to make this a significant live as the start of all that.

―― I see. So, Yuta-san has been in a band for over 30 years now, but going forward, what do you hope to do? What do you hope to become?

Y: Hmm. I guess I want the 5 of us to create something new. It sounds vague, but this is something that I’ve always felt.

―― Something new?

Y: Yeah. We’re not clouding over what we’ve done thus far either. We always want people who listen to us to realise, “Ah, there are songs like these too. Ah, there are songs like those too.” Because we also want to find something new, you know.

―― So, presenting that, are you going to make the old songs sound fresh once again?

Y: Yeah. We’re looking forward to it ourselves too. I think there are a variety of different ways we can do them. But I suppose we also have to create something that will be our core.


If we can continue as a band with the same members
And bring people joy by doing that, that’s the happiest thing for me
There’s nothing more valuable than that, is there?    I don’t know any

―― Well then, how did the recording for the single go?

Y: I guess it wasn’t that tough. The songs were more or less done in January anyway. And we even had the leeway to listen to the songs ourselves and then tweak the riffs a bit too.

―― What did you think of RONDO the first time you listened to it?

Y: I thought, “This is Kitaro.” (Lol) For Kemonotachi no Yoru, it was, “This will certainly shine at our live.” Just as I thought that it sounded like it could be Makuhari’s theme song, it turned out that the song title leaned towards that too (lol).

―― It sure did.

Y: Also, I felt that this song lets the listener feel the strength of the band. That feeling of, “Let’s do this!”.

―― I guess it’s the kind of thing you can’t lose, or rather, you’ve always had it in you, right? Also, the lyrics in both of the songs are, in a way, BUCK-TICK’s royal road, expressing the midpoint of it all.

Y: I guess Acchan really thought of it all. Especially for RONDO, it matched perfectly with the image of Kitaro, which we were doing the tie-up with. Or rather, maybe there’s a part of Gegege no Kitaro and BUCK-TICK’s worldviews which are pretty close.

―― I guess it’s the way it’s a little eerie yet it’s pop and the way the theme of life and death sleeps (beneath the exterior).

Y: It overlaps with the worldview of Acchan’s lyrics, doesn’t it? They both have their own unique worlds and I guess what comes through from that matched up. I suppose life and death is an eternal theme for us human beings after all. Besides, don’t you think that the love which is included within this is something that the anime is trying to show as well?

―― That’s true. So, what about Kemonotachi no Yoru?

Y: As I’ve said earlier, it’s like the theme song for Makuhari. I wonder if Acchan wrote it that way with Makuhari in his sights. That’s why this time, the single can be seen as something that was done in conjunction with both Makuhari and Kitaro, you know? I thought it was great timing-wise too.

―― I see. Following your release of No.0 last year, you went on a tour that had quite a number of shows, but are you able to see the vision that you have for the future?

Y: We’ve often been told, “Wow, you don’t take time off at all, do you?”, but in the end, it’s because we want to do live performances, isn’t it? It’s especially so now, I suppose. I think the groove that we 5 have now is very good, and it feels great, so the more we perform, the more enjoyable it gets. But as expected, it won’t make sense for us to go on the No.0 tour another time, right? (Lol).  Besides, we perform old songs every year during THE DAY IN QUESTION anyway, and I expect that we’ll perform quite a number of (those) songs for this time’s Makuhari performance too. That’s why we’d end up (thinking), we have to produce an album. That has been repeating these days.

―― Your activities have been uninterrupted, haven’t they?

Y: Because we, ourselves, have the desire to do it. Furthermore, each time is a little different from the last, isn’t it? For example, during the No.0 tour, even if we did recent past songs, the approach that we performed them with has changed.

―― What do they turn into?

Y: You know, they start to give the sense that they’re agglomerating. It feels like the more we perform them, the more it feels like our 5 parts are becoming one, rather than just being the vocal and the guitars and the bass and the drums. That’s why you’ll never get tired of it. Because it lets people feel that there is no doubt as we keep performing these songs, they turn into something great.

―― It’s amazing that you’ve continued to do that.

Y: Also, it’s because it’s fun to have everyone come together and create music together…… What are we, high schoolers? (Lol).

―― Hahahahaha. But isn’t that good!? 

Y: That’s true. Because there’s no stress with regards to our activities recently, you know? The only thing I can say about it is that it feels good (lol).

―― That’s why it’d be great if that situation can remain as such.

Y: Yeah. That’s the dream (lol). That’s why I have to pay attention to my health.

―― Because you’ve also arrived at a ripe age too, despite being the youngest (in the band).

Y: It’s not something that I started thinking about following Acchan’s incident, but to keep the band going, to make sure it can keep going on is tough, and recently, I’ve often thought, “That’s not something we can easily do.”

―― I see.

Y: Because I still want to keep doing this.

―― That’s a dream that you absolutely have to fulfil, isn’t it?

Y: Yeah. I want to play in a band with everyone more, to play more great music, to go to all the places around the country where everyone is waiting for us, to have fun with everyone…… This is my biggest dream, or rather, it’s what I want to do most. There’s nothing greater than that. As long as I can live well and enjoy a little drink.

―― Because desires like vigorously earning money, or becoming famous, and so on don’t exist in this band, right?

Y: We’re fine with being ordinary people (lol). I’ve said it numerous times, but as long as we can continue as a band with the same members and bring people joy by doing that, that’s the happiest thing for me. There’s nothing more valuable than that, is there?    I, at least, don’t know any.

―― Well said!

Y: But even though we’re often called a miracle, I don’t feel that way, you know? It’s the same with Great-kun’s (Great Maekawa) Flower Companyz, but we like it, without a doubt. Forming a band with your friends, performing live. And there’s also something that only those who have come this far know of. So, although it’s difficult to put into words, what’s for sure is that as long as you keep at it, you’d arrive at where we are today.

―― That’s the honour that you’ve acquired by continuing with one thing until now.

Y: That’s why I suppose I can only say that we’ll continue to do our best going forward (lol). In future, for sure…… We’ve also been doing this thus far, but I think the band will continue to evolve into something new.

―― I suppose you’re right. Staying the same is tough, after all, and on the other hand, you’d become a falsity, wouldn’t you?

Y: Since we’re doing this with documentation, I think that’s alright. Compared to what we were like 30 years ago, back then…… For example, we play songs like HURRY UP MODE on occasion, don’t we?    It’s of course, but both the speed and the tempo are different too, aren’t they? But I think for us, because we’ve been playing that song all this time, it’s not the form, but the flow that has been developed. That’s why we can do it without feeling uncomfortable too. Like, (the song) is good as it is.

―― Even when it comes to your sound, be it new wave, or techno, or gothic, you have a flow that has always been there, so you can do anything and everything.

Y: Exactly. It’s fine as long as it brings out what makes the 5 of us, and as long as everyone thinks that it’s cool, it doesn’t matter what we do.

―― Maybe about 20 years later, you might perform cool enka music, and that’s also a possibility in itself, isn’t it?

Y: I don’t know about enka, though (lol). But if everyone thinks that way, that’s fine, isn’t it?    Because the direction that everyone faces towards (in unison) is definitely a cool one. And that has never been wrong, has it?

―― Though, of course, if you perform the songs the way you played when you were in your 20s after you’ve turned 50 or 60, that’s probably not cool, is it?

Y: I guess you could say that in our present document, we decided that we’d perform without straining ourselves, without aiming too high. Because to do that and have various people listen to us and say that we’re wonderful or we’re cool is the best.

―― Today’s Yuta-san is so cool (lol).

Y: But, you see, people think that the present us who isn’t aiming too high is cool, right?    That’s absolutely wonderful, isn’t it? That’s why we have to take care of our bodies to make sure that we can continue as long as possible, even if just by a little.

―― That is true. Considering that Sakurai-san and Hoshino-san have both fallen ill too.

Y: Put health as our top priority (lol). Because if we don’t properly care for our bodies, we’d end up losing the ability to do whatever we want, won’t we?



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Yagami Toll

We don’t feel that being in a band has become a tedious routine, so we don’t become interested in other things
We were made in such a way that such a thing would never happen in this band

Interview by Kanemitsu Hirofumi

―― You’re almost done with the rescheduled concerts, aren’t you?

Toll (T): We are. It was the Fukuoka one the day before yesterday so…… We’re left with Kyoto, I think. That was long. This isn’t exactly a tour, so the flow got interrupted and there were some areas which turned out to be a bit of a strain, but we were able to pull it off nicely. Everyone’s really looking forward to finishing off this tour properly and heading towards Makuhari Messe, you know?

―― How did you feel about the postponement of the 4 dates from last year-end’s tour and Sakurai-san’s condition?

T: Well, it’s got to do with his health, so. Since it happened, it can’t be helped, you know? Acchan fell ill before in the past too, so we know that he’s someone whose internal organs aren’t that resilient. But, really, thank goodness that it didn’t turn into anything big. It’s a good thing that it wasn’t a serious illness.

―― You’re, firstly, relieved.

T: Yeah. You could say, it’s a case of “good things tend to be followed by bad”. The state of the band is really great now, so we have to be careful. To add to that, we’re already a band whose members are all in their 50s. We can’t feel like we did when we were young forever. We’re a band that goes in for the attack at the very last minute. So we can’t afford (to take risks), you know? I think that showed a bit.

―― Indeed. But the songs that Imai-san composed, although I think those feelings could be sensed somewhere in them, they are also free-spirited, more youthful than any band, aren’t they?

T: Those parts, I think they’re amazing because Imai doesn’t run out of it. I’ve known him since we were in high school and it’s been such a long time, but I think he’s been becoming more and more exceptional as an artist with each year that passes. Musically, there’s no sign that he’s calming down at all, and it’s strange that he’s getting more and more playful but it can’t be helped (lol).

―― When a band has been around for 30 years, they’d usually settle down to a certain extent and (decide), “This is the kind of band we are”, though (that means) there are quite a lot of bands which no longer possess a sense of thrill, aren’t there?

T: But that doesn’t apply to this band. Don’t you think it’s quite something that we 5 are not tired of being in the band together? None of us has started investments, or started running shops, or going into producing for new bands. You don’t even hear of such things, and we’ve never even had the slightest desire to do any of that. It’s because we enjoy playing in a band…… That said, maybe I’m actually just unaware of those things (lol).

―― Hahahaha. Then again, Hoshino-san is the type who wouldn’t surprise us if it turned out that he had been renting out apartments this whole time (lol). I’ve never heard of such rumours before, though.

T: We don’t feel that being in a band has become a tedious routine, so we don’t become interested in other things. Because each time we find “Imai has yet again written some illogical song!”, it becomes a struggle here. When that happens, I get thrown back to how I felt in my teens, all the time (lol).

―― Hahahahaha. This might be too late now, but even though Yagami-san’s roots are in Carol* and Led Zeppelin and bands like them, I do think that you’ll be able to play songs like theirs in an interesting fashion.

T: Though there was a time when I would think, “Just tell me what you want me to do with this.” But, when I talk to other people of my age group, I often think that we were fickle with our taste in music during our era (lol). We listened to rock and folk and popular songs of the day too, be it Western or Japanese music. When I first formed a band and we couldn’t find people to join us, we would cover Yuming** while waiting.

―― You did your drumming research while listening to a variety of music too.

T: Yeah. Even if Imai brings me a weird song, he’d explain it to me by saying, “This is a song that’s something like this,” so I do get a sense of accomplishment from it, you know? In the past, there was a song with a completely incomprehensible rhythm which he gave the working title “Techno”. And when I asked, “What’s this?”, Imai explained to me what techno was from scratch.

―― Wahahahahaha.

T: I think it was Tight Rope. When I looked at the score recently for the first time in years, “Techno” was written on it too (lol). “Takahashi Yukihiro^ × Yamaki Hideo^^” was written there too. In other words, he meant that I was to drum cooly; without emotion. Also, “no groove” was also written there (lol).

―― Wahahahahaha, “no groove”!

T: Isn’t it the best (lol).

―― But to Yagami-san of those days, wouldn’t he have thought, “Telling me to drum with no groove, are you fucking with me!”?

T: Nope, not at all. Because instead, I wanted (those who heard it) to think, “These drums can’t have been played by Yagami Toll.” Because, you see, otherwise, it would mean that no matter what I do, you’ll be able to tell that it’s me, right?    I’m the kind of person who wants people to wonder, “Who the hell drummed this?”

―― Like, “Was this really played by Yagami Toll?”

T: Exactly. I want to be a chameleon-like drummer. Rather than say that I want to change depending on the song, it’s more like I want to play a variety of drumming styles. That’s why the rhythms that Imai brings to me are what I hope for and are what realise my hopes. With this single too, isn’t Kemonotachi no Yoru a show of that guy at his best?

―― It’s quite a crazy song, isn’t it? Normally, the composition of the song begins the guitar riff coming in at the start and then it all builds up, but in Kemonotachi no Yoru, if you listen closely, the very first riff just goes on and on endlessly. But despite that, it appears that it still gets properly composed as a song.

T: And that’s amazing, isn’t it? I don’t know if Imai himself did that deliberately or not, but ultimately it turned into serious pop music, didn’t it? (He) always gets me wondering, “What the hell are you?”

―― Indeed.

T: RONDO has a tango beat but don’t you think that it’s probably (the song that is) the closest to BUCK-TICK’s nuances thus far? On the other hand, with Kemonotachi no Yoru, I can’t help but feel that he really created something amazing there.

―― Well, I guess that’s because RONDO was to also be the ending theme song for Gegege no Kitaro. When we put that worldview into perspective, you get something that’s very close to what (the band) possesses too, but when we look at Kemonotachi no Yoru together with the composition of the riff, you could say it’s like you’ve gone on the offensive. It’s a song that tells us that such compositions still exist in your repertoire.

T: That’s why I said he doesn’t dry up, does he (lol). Besides, I think the contrast between the two songs in this single is great. They’re opposites, but both of them are very BUCK-TICK-like, and they’re pop, but if you listen closely, they’re sort of strange. That’s why you’ll never tire (of us).


Personally, I want to get our revenge on Tokyo Dome with the present quality of our band
It’s like saying, “That’s not all that BUCK-TICK’s got, motherfucker!”

―― In the past, were songs which left you thinking “What the hell is this?” after hearing it once?

T: I’ve probably mentioned it before but I think I did get that impression with songs like SEVENTH HEAVEN’s “MEMORIES…” and other similar ones. Probably even with Kemonotachi no Yoru, while (Imai) thought, “This is a nice riff,” he simply continued on just like that and it turned into a song. Like, there’s zero music theory (lol).

―― But that’s fine as it is.

T: It is. Because with rock music, it’s a win as long as it gets heard. You don’t need theory nor do you need to show off your tricks, right? People listen to it, and if the listeners like it, then that’s fine. Come to think of it…… It just came to me. We have a song called Kimi ga Shin.. dara, but after we were done with the recording and all, we kept wondering, “Is that song really alright chord-wise?”, and we had quite a debate about.

―― The whole band?

T: Yeah. Like, “Ain’t there something weird with this?” (lol). Though indeed there’s something to do with the song’s melody or the arrangement which made it weird.

―― I guess there’s some sort of distorted progression going on.

T: Back then, we kept wondering, “Is this okay?” (lol).

―― The only one who can find it in himself to say that it fits is Imai-san, isn’t it?

T: But isn’t that because he’s the one who composed it (lol). That’s why as long as it’s a good song, as long as it’s an interesting one, it doesn’t matter what it’s like, it’s fine. It’s got nothing to do with things like theory. It’s because we say such things that we’re being treated as non-conformists, though (lol).

―― So, about the lyrics that Sakurai-san wrote for Kemonotachi no Yoru, what do you think about them?

T: To me, I thought that (it was written with) a complete awareness of the performance that we were going to give at Makuhari. I suppose although Locus Solus no Kemonotachi is a title that Imai came up with for the event, Acchan visualised it and shaped the lyrics from that.

―― Indeed.

T: The lyrics are Acchan’s style, but his intention of “Let’s start here” can be seen, and that’s great, isn’t it?

―― Then, what kind of a live performance do you think Makuhari’s Locus Solus no Kemonotachi will be?

T: We’re going into a new era and kicking it off…… That’s what I think it’ll turn into (lol). Since it’s a live show, I guess there’s also the possibility that it’ll turn into a sort of milestone in BUCK-TICK’s career.

―― That’s what the other band members said too. That it’s not exactly any sort of particular milestone, but performing this Makuhari live feels like a new story has begun.

T: To me, I do think that it might turn into a live event that sits in a similar position as CLIMAX TOGETHER, though. Because although our schedule was packed with a variety of events last year, we spoke a lot with the stage production staff about the content for this event and we thought of doing something we’ve never done before. We feel that our fans will definitely enjoy it.

―― We have high expectations for it.

T: Then again, until now, BUCK-TICK has never used those rather classic productions or performance styles, have we? There’s also the fact that even if we do use special effects like pillars of fire or silver streamers, we’ve been able to employ those without making it look like we use it frequently and have held lives by playing simple performances. Having done that for close to 30 years, I think it’s pretty interesting doing it now.

―― But why didn’t you do that all this while?

T: Because, you see, when we brought it up back then, I think Imai said, “What the hell is that…… Rather, how tacky.” and it ended just like that (lol). I suppose even I thought the same.

―― I see (lol).

T: But as we aged, we’ve changed bit by bit, and when we start thinking about what we’ve never done before, or what we can do to surprise and bring joy to our fans, we’d come to think that tacky performance styles might be fun too. And the band is confident to a certain extent too, so you’d get the idea that no matter what we do, it wouldn’t be tacky or disappointing, right?

―― Does Yagami-san, too, have the desire to do as much as possible?

T: Of course. Because if you search for it, there will always be something that has yet to be done. Or rather, going forward, we would like to present yet another new side of BUCK-TICK.

―― So what do you think about RONDO?

T: That song is precisely what BUCK-TICK’s royal road is. Also, I think having Kokusyoku Sumire join in only added to the BUCK-TICK-ness of the song. The violin at the start is really amazing. That was improvised on the fly but I think the pressure of doing that doesn’t show up in the music at all.

―― That was improvised?!

T: Sacchan (Sachi of Kokusyoku Sumire) is really amazing. Whether it’s rock or pop, she’s really good at adapting (to the genre). I was surprised.

ーー I didn’t expect to enjoy Gegege no Kitaro this much.

T: Probably because you didn’t expect our BUCK-TICK-ness to be identical to it in that way. Also, it’s probably also a good thing that we came back to Victor for our 30th anniversary. Because it was thanks to Victor that this band was made known to the general public. It might be that we’re compatible (with this company).

―― If Makuhari’s Locus Solus no Kemonotachi is to be another starting point for you, what do you think BUCK-TICK should become from that point on?

T: Well, I do feel that it would be nice if we 5 could continue playing as a band even if just for a little longer, and I do want to perform live on only in Japan but around Asia too, and…… Can I be frank?

―― Go ahead.

T: As Yagami Toll of BUCK-TICK, having been in this band for over 30 years, there’s only one more thing left undone, one thing that I want to get back at.

―― And that is?

T: ………… Tokyo Dome.

―― Ooh!    You mean, you want to hold BUCK-TICK Genshou (BUCK-TICK Phenomenon) there once more.

T: Yes. That said, it’s not that I want a commemorative event or something like that. Rather, it’s just that I was disappointed with that performance. Although a ton of people came for the show, it’s the stage where we had our resurrection after a break in activities so, in other words, our sound was the worst. Due to the fact that it was when the Dome had just been built^^^ and the fact that we only had knowledge of putting on performances in live houses, we couldn’t even deliver the level of potential that we would normally perform at. The acoustics were just too horrible too.

―― This was something you’ve always talked about.

T: That’s why I want to get our revenge on Tokyo Dome with the present quality of our band. It’s like saying, “That’s not all that BUCK-TICK’s got, motherfucker!” (lol).

―― Hahahaha. I guess in other words, it’s something you want to clear from your bucket list. Or, that’s your dream or goal.

T: It’s what I want to get down properly before I drop (dead). I definitely want to perform at Tokyo Dome with proper production and acoustics. Otherwise, I won’t be able to rest in peace (lol).




* Carol (キャロル) is a Japanese rock band which formed in 1972 and disbanded in 1975. You will find that Anii mentions this band often. He covered their song, Funky Monkey Baby, in his first solo project album 1977 by Yagami Toll & Blue Sky.

** Yuming is the nickname of Matsutoya Yumi, a Japanese singer, composer, lyricist and pianist who is renowned for her idiosyncratic voice and live performances, and is an important figure in Japanese popular music.

^ Takahashi Yukihiro was the drummer and lead vocalist of the Yellow Magic Orchestra, and former drummer of the Sadistic Mika Band. He is currently a member of the group METAFIVE.

^^ Yamaki Hideo is a jazz drummer and percussionist who is known for being the long time drummer for the band Toshinori Kondo & IMA.

^^^ Tokyo Dome was first opened in March of 1988 and BUCK-TICK played there on 29th December of 1989, i.e. the first Day in Question.


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On Shiina Ringo & Sakurai Atsushi’s Kakeochi-mono (Eloper)

I thought I should struggle with all my might rather than sing it well.
Because I suppose what she might’ve been looking for was the passion which is derived from that

Interview by Kanemitsu Hirofumi

The formidable presence of these two rose to the top without any crossing each other before finally colliding together at the end. The song Kakeochi-mono, from Shiina Ringo’s album Sandokushi which features Sakurai Atsushi on vocals, has turned out to be an extra-dimensional duet song. And today, we ask Sakurai to share his thoughts about it.


―― How did you feel when you received the request to take part as a guest vocalist from Shiina Ringo-san?

Sakurai (S): Why me (lol). That’s my very first thought. Like, why? But when I heard that Ringo-san said, “I wrote this song in Sakurai-san’s image,” I felt very honoured, and that really got me motivated.

―― Indeed, Kakeochi-mono’s sound is quite out of Shiina-san’s context with its industrial yet gothic flavour, so it stands out even within the album. What was the first demo like?

S: In the beginning, I was given the demo that Ringo-san produced to listen to, but it contained her temporary lyrics, so I thought that this was a true rarity (lol).

―― A rarity (lol).

S: Like, it’s something that you never really get to hear.

―― So, it was after that when the lyrics were written?

S: Yeah. I wonder if she put a lot of care into it. Because it was a demo tape of very high quality. Ringo-san was also absolutely perfect with both our melody lines in both pitch and musical notation. It’s of course, but I could sense that she’s someone who possesses an immense talent.

―― How did you feel after singing the lyrics?

S: I was told that they were written in my image, but it’s a very passionate song, isn’t it…… Am I really such a passionate man? (Lol).

―― Hahahaha. But I think that you’re rather passionate when you’re on the stage we call the demon realm performing as BUCK-TICK’s Sakurai Atsushi.

S: I suppose so (lol). But I felt that (the lyrics) illustrated a passion between a man and a woman which is very uniquely Ringo-san’s style; of a story about a man and a woman sharing feelings so intense that there is no choice but to resort to eloping and committing a lovers’ suicide.

―― What do you think about the elopement theme?

S: It may not be realistic in this era of Reiwa but well, since I was also born in the Showa era (lol). To be forced into a corner, to feel as if there’s nothing else you can trust and it’s just the two of us against the world…… I feel like I understand that desperate, tragic romance and grief. But somehow, there’s also a sense of sadness in there. When Ringo-san sings it, it’s very energetic. Although it’s scary that you can’t see what’s ahead and there’s nothing else you can believe in, the passion that drives you to take your partner along with you overcomes all of that. And I think that’s amazing.

―― Were you able to immerse yourself into this story that has such a theme?

S: I guess, maybe I did? But I was very nervous. Since it’s a story that I absolutely have to go deeper and deeper into with the energetic Ringo-san too, I had to have the image running away while being pulled along by my hand.

―― Like you were getting swallowed up (by the narrative)?

S: Exactly. That’s why I attended the recording with the notion that I had to express a passion similar to Ringo-san’s rather than only sing (her lyrics). And to do that, an explosive power was required. Also, I wanted to express something that was above and beyond what Ringo-san sought. That’s why I thought I should struggle with all my might rather than sing it well. Because I suppose what she might’ve been looking for was the passion which is derived from that (struggle).

―― When I first heard about this collaboration between you two, I thought that it would be similar to her works with other musicians where there is a clear separation between each person’s part and they are still duets despite the intensity, but instead, you both were at it head-to-head from start to end. It was like (a clash) between a lion and a tiger, or a decisive battle between Goku and Vegeta……

S: I’m not familiar with Dragon Ball, but Ringo-san is a technically adept and talented person, so I suppose she would be capable of conveying the sense of a morose couple too, but to me, I felt that she likely sought passion and war.

―― But I get the sense that until now, Sakurai-san can’t really jump into things if (the person you’re working with is) not someone who knows you well, like Tsuchiya Masami-san or ISSAY-san  (Der Zibet). This time, even if feelings of respect were conveyed to you, I’d assume that this was an entirely unknown experience, though.

S: I guess that’s why I was nervous. Because even I found myself wondering why I was feeling so tense. She wasn’t a fellow dweller of the demon realm. Instead, it felt as if I was going up against a queen from somewhere. But it was an honour, and I really wanted to execute this at a standard that is above what she sought. This was a great experience for me.

―― Well then, if such an opportunity comes up again……

S: I’m of the mind that if I’m somehow good enough (for the work, then by all means).

―― Oh, you’re looking ahead, aren’t you!

S: But that is also something that I’ve only grown capable of after feeling the respect that Ringo-san has for me. She was very considerate. She came to the studio to say hi, and at first, I thought of singing an octave lower like one would with choruses, but she said, “Please try raising the octave.” So, I asked, “I think (doing that) will create quite a forceful impression. Is that okay with you?” And she said, “That’s my intention.” From then on, I went all out. Both physically and mentally. After singing 3 or 4 takes, I got the OK. Like a ‘thank you for the meal’ (lol).

―― Hahahaha. Well, I hope that there will be another opportunity for you (to do this) (lol).

S: Yes…… Also, lastly, Ringo-san, she’s a very beautiful person.

―― Hahahahahaha.

S: It’s something I’ve just got to say (lol).




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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: spanielonthemoon on Tumblr