BUCK-TICK comments for 2nd Livehouse Aomori Quarter Support Project

CAMPFIRE aomori_quarter
April 2022

 

 

Members of BUCK-TICK have left comments supporting the second fundraiser for Livehouse Aomori Quarter.

More information can be found on their fundraiser page here: https://camp-fire.jp/projects/view/364749

Their comments are as follows below:

 

 

Our first show at Aomori’s live house around 35 years ago was at 1/3.

You could count the number of people in the audience, but even today,

I still remember feeling very touched knowing that there were people here

waiting for us far away in this city we’d never been to.

This place made us feel very comfortable too

with the somewhat shy yet handsome Master and his beautiful wife.

We, too, have continued to make music hoping to come and play Master’s again.

When that happens, I hope you’ll let us drink until dawn again.

Mmー, maybe it’s impossible to stay up until daybreak now?

With a photo album from my youth to accompany the drinks

and Master’s smile to compliment them, let’s drink to our fill.

That’s right.. to make sure that can happen, everyone!

Please start helping by buying the merch. I’ll leave it in your capable hands.

 

 

Sakurai Atsushi(BUCK-TICK)

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve played here tons of times,

and when we weren’t here for a show, we’d come here to drink.

 

Fun memories…

 

And it’s a place to share music‼️ 

 

It’s a live house we can’t afford to lose♪

 

So to keep them going 🙌

 

Let’s do our best👊We are strong🌈

 

 

Imai Hisashi (BUCK-TICK)

 

 

Aomori immediately brings to mind 1/3

 

Over 30 years ago we toured Tohoku in a battered HIACE (BUCK-TICK),

and were warmly welcomed during our first time to Aomori back then,

by the audience who came to see us, and Master and all the staff.

 

We haven’t been able to perform lives in recent times, but around 4 years ago, we went to Bar space 1/3 for an after party

where master brought photos and our autographs from those days and we started reminiscing about the past over drinks.

 

Let’s protect this irreplaceable Aomori live house that is Quarter(1/3).

 

BUCK-TICK is rooting for them too!

Everyone, please lend them your support as well!

 

 

Hoshino Hidehiko(BUCK-TICK)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first tour after our major debut in 1987 brought us to Tohoku.

We played a show at Aomori 「FREE LIVE SPASE1/3」 for the first time during that tour

which marked BUCK-TICK’s beginnings in Aomori.

The rise of rock in Tohoku in those days was amazing by national standards, and I believe it all originated from this live house.

I hope that everyone will join us to give our all in supporting everyone at Aomori Quarter, and make sure that Aomori’s precious flames of rock don’t get extinguished.

 

Higuchi Yutaka(BUCK-TICK)

 

 

 

 

 

 

This live house really looked out for BUCK-TICK when we debuted.

It’s an important place for music-sharing in Aomori.

It’s now been put in a perilous situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The future growth of music is in danger. Please lend them your support.

Your help is truly appreciated.

 

 

Yagami Toll(BUCK-TICK)

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: https://camp-fire.jp/projects/view/364749

9

Go-Go B-T Train Feature

PHY Vol. 19
September 2021

Although we can’t see where our final stop is, I hope that everyone will ride with us until the very end

text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi
photographs by Chito Yoshida
hair & make-up by Tanizaki Takayuki (Yagami), Yamaji Chihiro (Sakurai, Hoshino, Higuchi)_Fat’s Berry
styling by Shimizu Kenichi

clothes from
kiryuyrik_03-5728-4048
LAD MUSICIAN HARAJUKU_03-3470-6760
SToL   fcp-online.com
UK-EXTRA   http://uk-extra.com

pictures from
Komatsu Yosuke (Imai)

 

A fixation on life emerged, and when I start obsessing about the future, I get lonely
That’s why, we have a song that says let’s run, let’s not think about anything else and just go

When it comes to music releases, BUCK-TICK’s latest single Go-Go B-T TRAIN is due to be released on September 22. It will be their first release in the one year since the release of their album ABRACADABRA. Last year, they held concerts in the form of a livestream and a film concert tour in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but only managed to hold one single concert with a live audience present at Nippon Budokan at year end.

After maintaining the constant of touring the country with the release of every album for nearly 35 years, there is no doubt that inimitable this band must have felt as if something cherished has been snatched away from them in the past year. We still can’t go back fully to what things were like in the past, but they have scheduled a national tour and they are finally going to get things started again. The single that they were releasing on the opening day of the tour included a song reaffirming the deep bonds we have with our loved ones and another leading us into tomorrow with gusto. At the same time, the band, who will be celebrating their 35th anniversary next year, would be showing their true emotions on stage. Part of the tour has been postponed to give Imai HIsashi (guitarist) two months to fully recover from a fracture, but it doesn’t change the fact that this single is a sign of beginnings. 

In this front cover special feature, we look into ours’ and BUCK-TICK’s future through these extended interviews with the members of the band, including Imai.

 

 

 

 

 

BUCK-TICK Solo Interviews

_______________________

Sakurai Atsushi

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

And we’re showing age in all sorts of ways but until we’re irreparable, the five of us will keep on running into the unknown
I thought it’d be nice to tell such a story

―― A terrible thing has happened around the departure timing for this train, hasn’t it?

Sakurai (S): Yes. We have to talk about that first, don’t we? We’ve inconvenienced a number of parties with Imai-san’s (Imai Hisashi, guitarist) fracture.

―― No, don’t say that. Although, when I look at Imai-san’s social media [Instagram], I can see that he’s living a healthy life in hospital. 

S: Ah, really? I’ve never looked at any of anyone’s media things. How does he look? Well?

―― Yes. Well, or it could be that he just doesn’t want us to worry.

S: Because there’s nothing else we can do except wait, right? It’s not as if he’d get better faster if we spank his butt and say, “Hisashi, what do you think you’re doing!” (Lol). We’d rather that he gets to fully recover without worrying about us.

―― So many things start to happen as we grow older.

S: A few times I’ve missed concerts myself due to illness, so it’s not as if I don’t understand how Imai-san feels right now. The hospital is a place that really makes you feel cut off from society, so there’s nothing to do but focus on getting well. Thankfully, it appears that he’s received a lot of warm well wishes from our fans. So that’s probably a relief for him.

―― Indeed. Now, about your single, Go-Go B-T TRAIN. The impact of this title is something else!

S: Everyone tells me that (lol). At first, we planned to kick off the concert for the members of our fan club on the September date of our debut, and then we started talking about coordinating to release our single on that date as well. So at the sample stage, Imai-san brought two songs while Hide brought one, but with Imai’s songs, both songs had a lot of momentum in them. The other song had the same speedy feeling that Eureka from ABRACADABRA had. Going in that direction was possible too, but personally, I felt that Go-Go B-T TRAIN left an impression unlike any other before. What I felt from the information I gleaned from the scant few bits of sounds in the sample tape was…… I’m going to start saying weird things again (lol).

―― Hahahahaha, go ahead.

S: It kind of reminded me of an attraction at an amusement park. You know how there are those roller coasters that look like a train?

―― That aren’t flashy and speedy like Space Mountain¹.

S: Exactly. The ones that feel more clickety-clack (lol). And get you wondering whether this train is really okay for riding. When children climb in for a ride, it’s a whole lot of noise and commotion and nail-biting thrills (lol). That’s the kind of atmosphere that comes to mind.

―― And that’s connected to the keyword ‘train’.

S: That’s right. Because even the bass progression felt like it was bumping and rumbling into me. It’s like, this ‘train’ is a metaphor for BUCK-TICK, and we’re saying that we’re going to keep going from here on out. And we’re showing age in all sorts of ways but until we’re irreparable, the five of us will keep on running into the unknown. I thought it’d be nice to tell such a story.

―― That the present BUCK-TICK is like a train rumbling as it goes.

S: Remember, there were certainly periods when we played it high-tech (lol). But I felt that doesn’t match what we’re like now.

―― That’s also the case when we look at your music, isn’t it? With simple compositions that have more emphasis on a human touch from the band rather than the electronic feeling that programming gives.

S: Eh…… I’m going to say something weird again, but (lol). Aren’t there lots of people who come across as electrical? (Lol)

―― Hahahahahaha!

S: No matter how cool or how great their sensibilities are, once the power goes out, once the plug gets pulled, you won’t even get the slightest response out of them (lol). Regardless of how attractive they are, they won’t be able to get their message across. I don’t think that’s what we’re like now. It’s like…… we’re powered differently? (Lol)

―― Like pedalling like hell on a bicycle instead of running a machine with the push of a button?

S: That’s right. That’s the manual, hands-on flavour I got from this song. Like we’re breaking a sweat to run in this era where it’s the default to go green and high-tech. Burning coal with blackened faces as we sweat it out in a manually-run steam locomotive. Seeing the bullet train overtake us in an instant on the side, even as we envy, we know that each mode has its own virtues. That’s the kind of train I’d like us to be.

―― So where do you think your virtues lie?

S: I think it’s got to be in our humanity where we’re alive and tinged with excitement. No matter how hot or cold it gets, our body temperature remains around 36.5 degrees celsius, and if we get injured, blood will flow. It’s obvious, but I guess you could say that we shouldn’t forget about these kinds of people and the things they do. Especially for me, because I sing and there’s a part of me that will let my heart out through my emotions and my psyche. And that’s something I have to cherish.

―― And why do you think it’s possible to do that with this band?

S: Because this band, to me, is my musical life. Because it is nothing more or less than what’s at the very root of me. I believe all the members feel the same way too. This is where I tried all sorts of things. Things that didn’t work out, we learned from them and now, we’re here. That’s also why we’re still not done yet.

―― Even if it’s tacky, it’s really great that you’ve chosen such an obnoxiously human theme and you’re singing about boarding the B-T TRAIN and heading off together in this era where people are becoming increasingly separated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

S: Yeah. It’s easy to be cynical and I’ve been like that before as well, but I don’t think I am right now. I just feel that people like us who make music can’t afford to be cynical. While some of our fans have been with us for decades, there are also those who only became fans after watching that recent dialogue program (lol).

―― Hahahaha, by seeing you camping?

S: That’s right (lol). Although we can’t see where our final stop is, I hope that all these people will stay on the ride with us until the very end.

―― Like, “I’m the train conductor” (lol).

S: Hahahahaha!   That’s right.

 

I guess what we want to bring across is, in the end,
the beauty of people which shows itself in many different forms

―― Now, it’s B-side, Koi (恋). The sound approach Hoshino-san took was fresh, but the tenderness portrayed in this song, and that sense of drawing level with sorrow is just wonderful.

S: Hide’s (Hoshino Hidehiko, guitarist) sample was really so simple. All it had were the music, the rhythm, the chords, and the vocal melody. What would decide the song’s direction from there would be dependent on the story and the lyrics I write, but recently, the frame of reference that I get from my first impression upon listening to the sample stays true until the song is complete. It happened with this song too. It’s relaxed, with that gentle rhythm and melody in medium tempo that Hide is so good at.

―― It certainly is.

S: So once I’ve decided on the story, I’ll write the lyrics to it, and while doing that, I just can’t help but be influenced by reality, like what’s happening around me at the time and events that have happened. During that period, there were a number of people in recent years who…… like people I worked closely with and close friends, or their family who passed away. When I heard that melody, I thought it’d be nice if I could turn this into a story of remembrance for them. I also felt strongly that it’s something I’d be able to execute better if I went with what I think I feel inspired to sing about the moment I listened to it, than go with something I prepared beforehand.

―― It sounds like somewhere in you was a feeling that you can’t do this unless it’s realistic to you.

S: I believe so. For example, when I use the words “Tengoku e no tobira wo tataite iru”², it feels very irresponsible if I just used them without any form of personal basis. Perhaps it feels rude to do that without expressing experiences and emotions that I actually went through. I wouldn’t even be able to convince myself, you know?

―― While it’s a requiem to the departed, it’s not just about them but also about the people who were left behind. I thought that was nice, and that it’s a perspective that’s quite typical Sakurai-san.

S: Yeah. Unintentionally, the perspective of both the departed and the bereaved were…… If I put it into words, it’s going to sound misleading, but the bereaved’s perspective came to me quite easily too.

―― That there are parts of yourself that can be replaced too, right? I guess you could say it’s the feeling of being left behind.

S: What I feel is definitely that helpless sense of loss. Waking up after a night of sleep and feeling, “Ah, I hope that it was all just a dream,” but then, it gets shattered. And it’s that feeling of, “So it wasn’t a dream……”

―― It’s accepting the reality that the person is no longer where they’ve always been.

S: It is. Putting it dryly, “All living things are bound to die”. So it’s a natural process, but the sense of loss that the ones left behind feel, of course, depends on the relationship between the bereaved and the departed, but if the bereaved was really close to the departed, then the pain is, I believe, indescribable. But as we keep cycling between, “It can’t be helped.” and “Just, why?”, we gradually arrive at resignation and acceptance. We’d come to think that it’s okay to forget. And it’s also okay to remember. But I’m just talking about going in circles now (lol).

―― But while they’re going in circles, we don’t know what we should say to the bereaved, and that’s what you’ve taken and put it into the form of this song.

S: That’s right. While dwelling and worrying about nothing. Isn’t this just about beautifying death and making myself feel better…… I’ve wondered about that, but in the end, I personally feel that perhaps it’s okay to leave it as a pretty story. That’s how I managed to find resolution.

―― You couldn’t say it directly but you wanted to convey something to these people so much that this is what came of it.

S: That’s right. Hm…… Different scenes will come to mind, and if there are those among our listeners who had experiences with goodbyes, I think it’d be good if they’d synchronise these scenes with the song and let their emotions overflow. So, I’m going to say something weird again, but whenever I catch the scent of summer, I just can’t help but wonder if this is the scent of death, and get the sense that souls are close by. Although, I remember watching my parents preparing for the first day of the Bon Festival when I was young.

―― On the first, we want them to come home quickly so we display a cucumber horse. And on the last day, we display an eggplant cow to let them go home slowly, right?

S: Yes, exactly. When I was young, I thought it was strange and I’d wonder what it’s about, but as time passed, I gradually came to understand that hanging paper lanterns, decorating the altar with Hozuki are the different things that tell us that our ancestors are coming from the nether world to visit us. That’s why summer, to me, is a season when we’re made to realise that death is close at hand. I don’t say this lightly, but it’s the same; bombs being dropped during the war, or when the war ended, or the Japan Airlines crash³. You’ll feel souls close by. And it overlapped with those dates too, this time’s production period.

―― I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think it’s just wonderful that you’re in touch with the feelings of the bereaved rather than just singing about how it’s sad.

S: Thank you.

―― The melody has Hoshino-san’s signature style, but the composition is so very simple and the cadence controlled. Such music is rare.

S: It is. The verses express the quiet feelings of the ones doing the sending off, then when we get to the chorus, composure is lost. And finally, in the end, serenity. I got the feeling that this series of development was probably there from the start.

―― So, part of your tour has been postponed but it’s been a while since you’ve gone on tour. About a year and a half?

S: That’s right. The film tour was just a screening, so it’ll be the first actual tour in a while. I’d be happy if we could really do this. Of course, we still have to do it in accordance with the rules, but I think we’ve been very physically and mentally restricted until now with all sorts of invisible constraints put in place, like not being allowed to go out, and limits on the number of people who can gather or meet in one place. So it’d be nice if we could relieve ourselves of it, even if just a little.

―― I suppose Sakurai-san, you also felt that lack of freedom and that’s why, in a bid to inspire yourself, you titled the song Go-Go B-T TRAIN, right?

S: I indeed felt that very strongly. By choosing such a title, I make myself feel like I have to go somewhere, I need to go. Honestly speaking, I did feel a little uncertain about whether it would work. But no matter how many times I thought it over, I kept coming back to this title in the end. I felt that this was the only one that would work now, at this point in time.

―― Although the words feel tacky at first glance, you felt that it’s better to bring across that power, or that message of “Let’s go!” strongly.

S: That’s right. Without playing it cool, without being condescending. We’re still going (lol), but it’s that we’re commencing our last spurt.

―― Do you feel like you’re running out of time?

S: For me, personally, both of my parents passed away early, I’ve ravaged my own body all this time, and I’ve even had some major illnesses so what I feel is more like, anything can happen at any time and it will be what it will be.

―― Well, I suppose.

S: Although, no one knows when something would happen, right? I just find myself thinking about these kinds of things a lot these days. Even though they’ve never happened before. There’s this particular desire to keep living, like a fixation that started to emerge from somewhere. And when I start obsessing about the future, I get lonely (lol).

―― I completely relate to that. You’re happy with what you have in front of you, but you start to have expectations for the future.

S: I think that’s why, we have a song like Go-Go B-T TRAIN that says let’s run, let’s not think about anything else and just go.

―― Indeed. Behind the notion of setting off without thinking is also the feeling of counteracting the worries and anxieties that may come, right?

S: Cancelling them out is one, but there’s also the sense of packing them all into your luggage and bringing them with you aboard this train.

―― Ah, that’s right. That train-like area is very characteristic to this band. 

S: Well, it’s because I’m the one responsible for those train-like areas.

―― Hahahaha.

S: The high-tech, high energy sensibilities we leave to Imai-san. I’ll just be chugging along…… Ah, right. Once, when I went to an amusement park, there was a parade with all the different character mascots and among them was a vehicle shaped like a turtle. And right in the middle of the parade, that turtle vehicle lost power so not only did the lights which decorated it go out, it couldn’t move at all (lol).

―― Ahahahahaha!

S: Then, as if to try and keep us unbeknownst to it, the staff started pushing the turtle vehicle themselves and kept the parade going. That impressed me. That amidst all the flashy, pretty mascots smiling at you, there were people giving their all to move that turtle vehicle that stopped moving. That contrast was just so beautiful. It really got me thinking that this is what being human is.

―― It’s so much like Sakurai-san to think of that as beautiful.

S: I guess what we want to bring across is, in the end, the beauty of people which shows itself in many different forms.

 

Notes:

¹ Tokyo Disneyland’s Space Mountain ride.

² A line from Koi’s chorus: 天国への扉を叩いている / I’m knocking on heaven’s door

³ The JAL 123 crash.

 

 

Return to Top

_______________________

Imai Hisashi

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

That’s how it always goes. This is the kind of song it becomes because we’re performing it as a band
Because the 5 of us are doing it together. That’s a good thing, and besides, that’s how we’ve always been doing things anyway.

―― It’s been a while. Although, I’m greeting you in your hospital bed through zoom. But how’s life in hospital?

Imai (I): Uh…… Normal (lol).

―― As far as I can tell from your social media posts, you’re having healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Looks like you’re living healthily every day.

I: Because there’s nothing else to do besides going for rehabilitation and eating, right?

―― Have you had surgery?

I: Long ago. Now it’s just rehabilitation training every day. I can tell that I’m gradually recovering. But even though I can’t move my leg, I’m in perfect health, so it’s kind of…… weird (lol).

―― It sounds like you’ve got lots of time to spare, so how are you spending it?

I: I read books, watch YouTube when I feel like it, listen to music. As to what I’m reading and consuming, I won’t tell you yet (lol).
―― Can’t play the guitar?

I: Not yet (lol). I’m thinking of asking them to bring me a silent guitar next time.

―― Alright then. This is the first interview with Imai-san since the release of ABRACADABRA, and in this past year, your only performance with a live audience present was the year-end one at Nippon Budokan. And it couldn’t even be carried out the way it used to.

I: There’s nothing we can do about that. Since COVID-19 is around. Although, not to say that it’s a good thing, but [because of it] we also got to do some interesting stuff with live streaming.

―― Like that day’s Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK~.

I: Yeah. I’m glad we got to do that. The point of doing a live stream, I think, is because we get to present things in a way that can only be done through that format. I think live streaming itself isn’t bad. Likewise with the film concert. But I’d say that it’s something completely different from a live concert.

―― So you’re saying that while it’s a valid format, it’s no replacement.

I: Yeah.

―― How did you feel when you got to perform before an audience at Budokan last year-end?

I: It really hit me. That it’s definitely different when we perform with an audience. It’s obvious, but it just feels different compared to performing with no audience.

―― Were you thinking that after the Budokan show, when the new year comes around, you’ll be able to tour with an audience attending your shows like they used to?

I: I don’t think I really did think like that. Because I don’t expect that we’re in a situation where we can soon say that we can hold concerts like we used to from this month and this day on. And besides, I’d think we’ll remain in this state of things for quite a while more.

―― This time around, you’ll be releasing Go-Go B-T TRAIN. Did you have some sort of plan, like, when the new year comes around we’ll compose something, or, we should go with this particular theme for our next release?

I: I think I probably did think about those things, but I can’t remember anymore (lol).

―― Whaaaaaaaaaaat.

I: I guess there was the idea of doing something new again.

―― So, rather than something that shows your overall direction as part of a [potential] album, Go-Go B-T TRAIN is just a new song to be released at this point in time.

I: That’s right. We started talking about how it’s about time to release a new single, so I started thinking about the music.

―― Like, since you’re going to tour from autumn through to winter, you should release something before that.

I: That might’ve been it. I thought I should just compose something anyway, and I had 2 songs done, but both of them were equally upbeat. I don’t know why, but I guess that’s just the kind of mode I was in.

―― It’s like the kind of rock melody that a youngster who just formed a band would write with that motivation.

I: Compared to the other song, Go-Go B-T TRAIN has the same riff repeating over and over, and a part of me thought such a song could be fun too.

―― I heard from Sakurai-san that Go-Go B-T TRAIN’s working title was rebels.

 

I: That was just a working title. No particular meaning behind. But I did wonder if Sakurai-san got some sort of idea from the working title.

―― Like, a group of renegades?

I: It doesn’t make sense though, does it? Hm. Hearing the song again with the lyrics, I thought it was nice.

―― That readiness to go somewhere with your trusted friends, running towards your dreams, yet there’s a moment that lingers somewhere in there?

I: Exactly…… isn’t that nice?

―― I also thought the carefree-feeling parts with the whistle added in were quite like Imai-san’s style.

I: The whistle was an idea that came from Tanaka-san (director). I thought it had a good feeling and I quite liked it.

―― When I asked Sakurai-san about his impression of the sample, he had his own interpretation of it and thinking about it, I’d guess that it’s the band that turned that into the song that it is now.

I: It is the band (lol). That’s how it always goes. This is the kind of song it becomes because we’re performing it as a band, because the 5 of us are doing it together. That’s a good thing, and besides, that’s how we’ve always been doing things anyway.

―― The simple, stripped-down band sound like that of this song appears to be the trend right now, so is this something that Imai-san is looking to do, or is this perhaps the theme going forward?

I: No, it’s nothing like that. As for an album…… Actually, I do currently have a rough idea of what might be good to do, but I can’t really explain it.

―― But you have a vague idea.

I: Yeah. But once I put it into words, it’ll just sound like the same thing as usual. But this, whatever I’m thinking of when I work on a single versus now, it’s completely different, I think

―― So what were you thinking of when you were working on the single?

I: I forgot.

―― Hahahaha, please remember!

I: Well, we spoke about producing a single. At the time, we weren’t thinking about what we should do or what kind of music we should make next at all. While wondering what could come out of such a situation, I picked up the guitar and came up with that riff, so I based [the next song] on that and kept the idea as it is, letting it take shape without getting too hung up on details.

―― And what about Hoshino-san’s song, Koi?

I: The song he composed is quite the opposite to mine, so I thought it’d be good to include that in the single as one of the songs.

―― Alongside these new songs, you’ve also included the newly rearranged Uta Ver. 2021 and JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver. 2021 which were unveiled during Misemono-goya~. First of all, what got you thinking about rearranging them like that and recording them again?

I: I don’t remember the details, but when we decided to do our second live stream, our staff were giving us suggestions about what venues would be good. From there, we began to get all kinds of ideas of what would make Misemono-goya~, like the staging and the costumes and the sort. We thought that performing half of the entire set acoustically would fit this image and that it would bring an interesting feel into this BUCK-TICK’s concert, like another new perspective or something. But it would be boring if we were to just perform acoustic versions, so I guess I probably thought that I should create new versions of the songs with new arrangements.

―― And since the response to Misemono-goya~ was great, you figured that this could work.

I: That’s right. When we started talking about producing the single, I said, “Then, maybe we should include those too?”

―― When it comes to BUCK-TICK, you’ve often had your songs remixed by other people, but looking back, it’s surprisingly rare for you to make bold rearrangements of existing songs.

I: That’s right. So, we did something like unplugged arrangements of our songs on a centre stage for an encore at Locus Solus no Kemono-tachi at Makuhari 2 years ago, right?

―― They were Suzumebachi, BOY septem peccata mortalia, and Keijijo Ryuusei, right?

I: Since then, I started to get the feeling that changing the arrangements of more past songs and recording them might be interesting too. Like, we executed that well, didn’t we?

―― Makuhari’s show was already 2 years ago, but you’ve never really approached things that way even though the band is in your 34th year of activity, right?

I: Ahh. But it’s not like we didn’t want to anyway. Look, there’s SANE.

―― Ah, that’s true (Note: They rearranged SANE from the 1996 album COSMOS and recorded it for their 2012 single, Elise no Tame ni as SANE ーtype Ⅱー). That’s rare though (lol). To the extent that I’m under the impression that new things attract you.

I: But I felt that doing stuff like this isn’t bad either. Besides, I do also like the arrangement of that ICONOCLASM that we didn’t record for the single. I think we’ll probably want to do it again at a different time in future.

 

Right now, in terms of things I want to do, it’s not as if tons and tons of this and that keep springing up
but I just feel like they’ll come to me from time to time. I’m pretty sure we’ll definitely be okay like this.

―― A few of your tour dates got postponed, but Imai-san, you’ve already got an idea of what you’re aiming for, right?

I: Yeah. I was looking forward to it. Besides, I’ve already told them the songs I want to perform.

―― You couldn’t conclude ABRACADABRA in the form of a tour, but do you on the inside feel like you’re ready to move on to whatever’s next?

I: Because although I want to wrap it up properly, that urge to compose new music is already welling up, you know? And this will be our first tour in quite a while too, so I’d expect that there are quite a number of songs that everyone wants to hear us play. Of course, we will perform songs from the ABRACADABRA album, but I don’t think we really thought to keep that as a focus of our setlist or anything like that.

―― And your recording process didn’t change at all?

I: Yeah. We didn’t change anything in particular. Since we’re recording in the middle of the pandemic, we’d do things like regularly ventilate the room and wouldn’t stay till late, or make sure that we don’t crowd in the studio or share the same mic, but we didn’t make any changes to the way we carry out our recording.

―― Got it. Although, the title Go-Go B-T TRAIN was rather surprising, wasn’t it?

I: [We went with it] because Sakurai-san said it’s the best one to go with given the kind of song we’re making. We had samples of all the songs and when we were deciding on which song to record, Sakurai-san voted for rebels and Hide’s song so I think he already had an image [of the final product] at that stage. That’s why I went along with it, like, “Alright, then let’s go with that.”

―― Like the lyrics “You should hop on too Come on The departure bell is ringing”¹, would Imai-san say that you’re also feeling rather strongly that sense of ‘we’re going to keep moving forward together’?

I: Of course. Besides, I believe that there’s still a lot that we want to do.

―― And as long as you do feel like that, you’ll be okay. Ah, but didn’t Charlie Watts (the Rolling Stones) pass away just the other day?

I: Right. How old was he?

―― 80, I believe.

I: Well, I guess I have another 30 years or so.

―― Right (lol). From that perspective, do you feel like you’ve still got time?

I: Yeah. But I don’t know for sure (lol). Right now, in terms of things I want to do, it’s not as if tons and tons of this and that keep springing up, but I just feel like they’ll come to me from time to time. I’m pretty sure we’ll definitely be okay like this.

―― You feel certain of it.

I: Yeah, I do. I don’t know why, though.

―― Maybe it’s because that’s how it’s always been all this while.

I: Yeah. I guess it’s also because I’m quite sure that I definitely won’t ever feel that I don’t ever want to do anything ever again. I might get like that if I worked alone and I fell ill, but not as long as I’m healthy.

―― The fact that you’re saying that from a hospital bed (lol).

I: Hahahahahaha.

―― Well, I suppose since you’re there, there’s no denying that you’ll get healthier(lol).

I: Yeah. Since I’m not drinking(lol). And I don’t feel like drinking at all anyway. Or rather, in the first place, I gave up on it.

―― What. I even thought to be mindful today and drank my beer from a mug.

I: It doesn’t matter (lol). It pisses me off more when people do things like that because of me!

―― My deepest apologies (lol). But I never thought the day would come when I’d be interviewing Imai-san through a screen.

I: Not something I expected either (lol).

―― Ah, come to think of it, Ishigaki-kun (Ishigaki Ai / guitarist) quit music, didn’t he?

I: I heard about that from others too.

―― I wonder why.

I: It’s because I have a band, right? That’s why I can keep going.

―― So are you saying that if you didn’t have a band, you’d probably be thinking that it’s about time to go home to take over the store?

I: I wouldn’t take over the store(lol), but the band’s existence is certainly a significant reason.

―― Is it because you feel that there are things you can do because you have your bandmates?

I: Yeah. Even when I think about everything we’ve done until now, they’re kind of impossible if I worked alone, aren’t they? Funny story, [if I were a solo artist,] I’d have to make all the decisions myself, the behind-the-scenes stuff, produce everything myself, right?   That’s impossible for me. Doing everything alone requires a whole lot of power.

―― Is that why you feel that the five of you working together like this brings a good balance of things?

I: In a band, if it’s made up of 5 people, everything gets cut down to a fifth, right?

―― Whether money, or time, or happiness and frustrations, or sorrows and joys; everything.

I: In a band, there’s a vast range of possibilities for things that I can’t do on my own. Besides, looking back, there were quite a few things that couldn’t have possibly been endured if I were working alone, you know?

―― I understand that well. Anyway, I suppose you’ll probably be hospitalised for a little longer.

I: I wonder. Because for me, I’d rather get discharged once I’m more or less done.

―― Done with what?

I: My leg. Rather than leaving the hospital halfway through (rehabilitation) and fumbling around while holding concerts, I’d prefer to properly recover.

―― Because that’s an issue that comes before concerts. Anyway, take your time to recuperate.

I: I’ll do my best (lol). Eh… Sorry to everyone for the inconvenience caused.

―― Hahahahaha. It’s okay.

I: The shoot; it was just the four of them?

―― It went without a hitch. Sakurai-san wrote ‘Imai Hisashi on the polaroid for the lucky draw (lol).

I: Hahahahahaha!   Good then (lol).

 

 

Notes:

¹ 2nd line of Go-Go B-T Train: 君も乗りなよ さあ 発車のベルが鳴る (Kimi mo nori na yo Saa Hassha no beru ga naru)

 

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Hoshino Hidehiko

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

I have fragments of other songs, but I didn’t finish all of them and just focused on this song.
A more minor-sounding song would work too. But for some reason, this was the most fitting one

 

―― Thank you for joining me on Zoom today.

Hoshino (H): My pleasure.

―― I’ve really grown accustomed to seeing Hoshino-san’s home studio on screen.

 

H: Nothing changes (lol). Ah, have you interviewed Imai-san?   How’s he?

―― He looks like he’s doing well. You haven’t spoken to him?

H: I haven’t. I got a missed call from him the day he got injured. That’s the only time we spoke, I think.

―― What did he say?

H: I thought he was calling to confirm something about the songs for the coming tour, but when I returned the call, he said, “Sorry…… I broke my leg.”

―― How did you respond?

H: I said, “What!   I see…… Take care.” (Lol)

―― How composed (lol).

H: I was shocked, though. At first, I thought he hurt his ankle or something because he simply said that he broke his leg, but after a while, I heard that it was actually his femur. That’s essentially a major joint of the leg, isn’t it?   That’s quite serious, isn’t it?

―― At a time when you’re about to release a single and have confirmed your concert tour, it’s quite tough, isn’t it?

H: Well, yeah. But when we think about what we can do, the only thing there is is to give him time. Him getting well is the most important (lol).

―― That’s true. Now, I’d like to start my conversation with Hoshino-san by talking about Koi, the song you wrote as the B-side to the single.

H: Ahh, yes.

―― This is the one that you mentioned during our annual Ongaku to Hito interview in June, where you said, “The new song is pretty good.”

H: How did it go…… I can’t remember (lol).

―― You spoke about it (lol). True to those words, it’s really very good, and it’s a bit of a new frontier for a Hoshino song too, I’d say.

H: I don’t have many major chord songs in the first place, so this one might be a slightly different type, I suppose.

―― When did you write this song?

H: This, I worked on at the start of this year. At first, we were talking about releasing a single on our debut anniversary and going on tour from autumn to year-end. So I thought, “Then I need to compose something.” And at the start of this year, I started putting together the sample track. I began how I always did, with my guitar first, but I gradually incorporated things like a synthesiser melody in the intro and so on. Then, in the plug-in (note: general term for additional instrumental sounds and effects installed as an add-on to desktop music/computer music), there was a nice programming tune that I thought was suitable for this song, so I decided to compose the song around that. It’s a song with quite a major-chord feel, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it at first.

―― Isn’t it okay anyway, even if it’s major sounding (lol)?

H: It’s okay but, you know (lol). But, see, there are colours within the band, right?   That’s why I was kind of agonising over it. Although, I thought it was pretty good when I was composing it, so I decided to continue with this direction.

―― Maybe it’s the synthesiser tune in the intro, but for the tone of the song to be brought to the forefront like this, I don’t recall that it’s something that happens a lot in Hoshino-san’s music.

H: I suppose you’re right. With this song, things around the synth music, the programming’s rhythm pattern and all that were pretty much done at the sample stage, so I decided to present it [to the band] just the way it sounded as a sample without replacing anything with my guitar. And that’s why the guitars are deliberately made to sound subdued.

―― I can tell that it’s quite elaborate. I had a feeling that it doesn’t stray far from the image that Hoshino-san had in the beginning when putting the sample together.

H: You’re right. I suppose it’s also true that it’s more elaborate than usual. I had Cube-kun (Cube Juice) work on the manipulation for me and he added a bunch of other things in too. That’s probably what gave the song it’s accentuation and added depth to the music.

―― Like the way Sakurai-san’s voice sounded unruffled until came in with a bang at the chorus.

H: That part was composed with the guitar in focus at the sample stage but I asked for it to be replaced by the synth melody and it worked out very well. In the end, that became the crux of the song. I suppose you’re probably right in that a song like this is fresh.

―― I’ve noticed a particular trend, especially in your singles but does Hoshino-san make a deliberate effort to write songs that contrast Imai-san’s?

H: Right. Although, these days, I start by thinking about what kind of melodies I want to compose then go ahead with that in mind. Because doing that brings out the songs in the album and makes them better. The assumption of making an album is based on the premise (of Imai-san’s songs).

―― Was Koi the only song Hoshino-san presented this time around at the sample stage?

H: This was the only one I let everyone hear. I have fragments of other songs, but I didn’t finish all of them and stopped working on them halfway to focus on this song. Of course I do have more minor-sounding songs, but for some reason, this song was the most fitting one.

―― This is very fresh even for a superfan of Hoshino’s songs like me!

H: Ah, really?

―― The tone or the impression of the synth melody in the intro is something that you’ve probably never done before.

H: Maybe, yeah. Because I wrote this song with the thought that perhaps it might be good to keep the guitars in the background.

―― So how do you feel about Sakurai-san naming this song Koi and writing the lyrics he did for it?

H: It’s a pretty good name, isn’t it? Koi. I kind of assumed that he would give it that thoughtful frame.

―― It sure is a compassionate song that looks at the feelings of those who have lost people close to them.

H: It’s a coincidence but don’t you think the music also exudes a similar ambience? I thought [the music] matched [the lyrics] surprisingly well. Even though I left the lyrical content entirely up to him.

―― Next, what about Go-Go B-T TRAIN?

H: The title’s pretty bold (lol).

―― Well, I thought so too (lol).

H: There’s quite some courage there. I also thought it’s quite like Sakurai-san to present it so upfront.

―― It’s like a song by a band who just found its members and went straight into a studio to write something with that enthusiasm (lol).

H: Hahahahaha, that’s true.

―― The sustaining riff leaves quite the impression despite its simple composition.

H: It is, because it’s something that’s Imai-san’s specialty and it’s got a good groove too. Normally I would think that the song would start at the chorus with a bang, but there wasn’t any of that. Brazenly running in yelling, “Hey hey hey!” comes across pretty nicely too, doesn’t it? (Lol)

―― I thought it’s pretty amazing that you’re releasing such a song in the band’s 34th year (lol).

H: Amazing, isn’t it (lol). Imai-san had a sample for another song and it’s also another up-tempo one. It’s not bad, but this turned out well, didn’t it?

―― What do you think about the lyrics?

H: It’s definitely a sort of a message to everyone in the midst of this pandemic. I suppose it’s only natural that these are the kind of lyrics that come about when musicians are agonising [over our situation].

―― Are you referring to the lyrics that inspire determination with words like, “Come on, this is where we begin, let’s go!”?

H: That’s right. Because we haven’t been able to meet our fans through concerts since our show at Nippon Budokan last year, so I’m sure that’s a feeling that’s been growing in everyone.

 

We’ll have to do this with less than half our usual audience, and our audience can’t cheer or shout or move about much, right?
And despite that, they’re willing to come and see us. I feel like we’ll be complementing each other with something more important, or rather building a deeper and stronger relationship with the other.

―― I’ve asked you before, but does such a reality trouble Hoshino-san?

H: Of course it does. It’s like there’s this…… unsettling feeling that drags on and on.

―― You want to hold concerts but you can’t really. Is that what causes it?

H: It’s also because that’s something we’ve been doing for over 30 years, right? We’re still recording and releasing quite a bit of music, but in the end, we pride ourselves on being a band who mostly does live shows. So we’re just bearing with the fact that we can’t do that now.

―― We’re still right in the midst of the pandemic, but do you think it’s possible to change the style of such activities?

H: Ah, well, who knows. I want to do whatever we can but that’s all there is, right? No matter how you look at it, it’s impossible for us to do nothing but live streams. And there’s no point in thinking about what we should do for a live stream unless we can use [the technology] well. Because it’s definitely not something that can replace live concerts.

―― Reason being it’s not good enough if all you can do is stream no-audience concerts, right?

H: Yeah.

―― Also, Go-Go B-T TRAIN feels manual, it gives me the impression that everyone is really putting their back into making the train move.

H: Right. This is my personal opinion, but this song might just become a significant juncture for the band, I think. It even reminds me of our early days.

―― Exactly. I’m really getting that from it but rather than a throwback, I feel like there’s also a sense of looking towards the end and preparing for it.

H: Since next year will also be the year of our 35th anniversary, I suppose there’s also some form of motivation to give our all as we approach it.

―― But to break a bone at such a time……

H: Perhaps that’s a sign from god. Whatever it is (lol). Well, but we can’t do anything about falling sick or getting injured, right (lol).

―― Because once we cross the age of 50, everyone starts getting all these problems like it’s the most normal thing (lol). Hoshino-san seems to be the most reliable one in the band, even down to your life plans (lol).

H: I don’t think so (lol). Look, look at this (note: he shows his finger on screen). It recently got caught in the door and bled internally, and now the nail’s turned all black.

―― That’s so risky! The idea of one guitarist fracturing his thigh bone while the other fractured his pinky finger, this is just bad.

H: It’s the first time my finger nail turned all black like this.

―― Please be careful. But really it’s because you’re in a band that things work out, isn’t it? For everyone.

H: I suppose we’ve got a good balance going (lol). But that’s because all of us, we don’t really know much about making music outside of this band. We don’t know how long we can keep going for, but I think we all want to keep on running for as long as we’re able to.

―― Yeah, and there’s whistling in these two songs too (lol).

H: It was originally in Koi’s sample. I thought of asking Sakurai-san to do that in the actual recording. Then, somehow, at some point, it also turned up in Go-Go B-T TRAIN (lol).

―― Hahahaha. Also, you’ve recorded anew Uta Ver. 2021 and JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver. 2021, which you performed on Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara 〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜 as B-sides to this single.

H: We’ve done acoustic arrangements of our own songs before but those arrangements that we did just for this time’s Misemono-goya〜, it was pretty enjoyable. Or you could say, interesting. So I think there’s a possibility that we’ll make use of them again on different occasions in future though.

―― I can’t really think of times when BUCK-TICK changed the arrangement of your songs and performed them. Performing an acoustic set was also a first for you at Makuhari.

H: Because we’ve never spoken about rearranging our songs before Makuhari happened. There were probably a few songs recorded, I think?

―― Like SANE.

H: I think there’s also My baby Japanese ーtype Ⅱー. But that performance at Makuhari really sparked it off.

―― Thinking about it, I really wonder why you’ve never done this until Makuhari.

H: BUCK-TICK without fail releases a new album every year or two and then goes on tour after that. This is the schedule we’ve established, so I think there’s just never been space for us to think about daring to change up the arrangements. If we did, we’ll be talking about making new music anyway. That’s why, I suppose this is a good place for us to start things off too, isn’t it?

―― I guess no matter the band, when they reach a standstill, when they can’t figure out what else they want to do, the’y d turn to doing acoustic versions or rearrangements of their songs.

H: Now that I think about it, I don’t think we’ve experienced that before. But I think it’s not a bad idea to try out such an approach from different points going forward.

―― Actually, how do you feel about it, after having done Uta, JUST ONE MORE KISS, and the unrecorded version of ICONOCLASM this way?

H: It really highlighted to me how great the melodies are. Even ICONOCLASM. It’s a song that revolves around that one riff, but I feel like I really got to know the most important aspects of this song.

―― Although the soundscapes for both Go Go~ and Koi are completely different, it’s true that their melodies are what stands out.

H: You’re right. BUCK-TICK’s approach to music production is varied and we do lots of things, but everything revolves around the melody. It’ll inevitably come through when we change the arrangement.

―― And your tour is about to start. Although, the first half has been postponed. Of course, the situation we’re living in in this day and age is indescribable, but it looks like you can perform with a live audience now, right?

H: In our present situation, yes. I think we plan to do it with half capacity, though.

―― How do you feel about getting to perform with a live audience again?

H: Happy yet uneasy, a mix of these two. It’s just that, because we don’t know what things will be like later on. While I think it’s a good idea to do this while we can, there’s a lot of uncertainty, you know?

―― You just can’t say that you’re feeling nothing but happy that you can perform again, right?

H: It’s not entirely a celebratory thing, is it? It’s difficult. But since we’re performing and people are coming to see us under these circumstances, I think both our fans and we, the band are willing to complement each other where the other falls short.

―― Agreed.

H: We’ll have to do this with less than half our usual audience, and our audience can’t cheer or shout or move about much, right?   And despite that, they’re willing to come and see us. I feel like we’ll be complementing each other with something more important, or rather building a deeper and stronger relationship with the other.

―― Indeed.

H: We just want to do this carefully, you know.

―― Another thing, it doesn’t look like songs from ABRACADABRA will be taking centre stage in this tour, does it?

H: We had a few ideas, but considering the current situation, we decided that we’ll be performing a variety of songs. While it’s true that we didn’t get to tour for ABRACADABRA, we managed to do a livestream, a film concert tour, and a Budokan show for it anyway. Although Budokan was the only live in-person show, there’s more or less the feeling that we’ve gotten a reaction to it. And also, it’s precisely because we’re in these circumstances that we feel like people will be more excited to hear a variety of songs instead.

―― I see. I assume that you’ll probably be looking towards your next release following the tour, but where do you see the band going?

H: I still don’t know regarding the music, but there’s a bunch of different influences showing up in the lyrics, don’t you think? Since Sakurai-san is a person who only writes about what he’s really experienced.

―― I suppose he would write about that. Since these are huge changes we’re going through.

H: That’s why I’m looking forward to it.

 

 

 

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Higuchi yutaka

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

It’d be great if people get the idea that this band is still going to do more
Because that’s how I feel too when I listen to this song

 

―― Thank you for your work on the photoshoot. (Note: This was the only interview which took place right after the photoshoot.)

Yutaka (Y): Yeah. But it feels so weird doing a shoot with just the four of us (lol). Like, “Huh……? Oh, right, four.”

―― Imai-san had surgery for that fracture he got in the trochanteric section of his left femur, right?

Y: Somehow, just the name of that diagnosis makes it sound very serious and I was really worried when I first caught wind of it.

―― Part of your tour got postponed. And you can’t even do a photoshoot with all five of you present now.

Y: I feel sorry towards everyone who has been looking forward to the concerts, but [we had to postpone them] because we want to do this with all five of us together in perfect shape. That’s why we wanted to make sure that Imai-kun could focus on getting well.

―― Let’s talk about your new single, Go-Go B-T TRAIN; what does Yuta-san think of it?

Y: Go-Go B-T TRAIN is a good song but the b-side that Hide wrote, Koi, was also wonderful, wasn’t it?

―― It was.

Y: Even the new arrangements in Uta Ver. 2021 and JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver. 2021, I thought they were interesting because they reflect our present. The world has started to feel a little dark since we’re in the middle of a pandemic, but [these songs] feel like a motivational pat on the back, like a “How are you!”

―― BUCK-TICK= Theory of Antonio Inoki¹ (lol).

Y: Oh, stop it (lol). But I do think that’s the role they play. That it would be nice if they’re helpful towards helping someone be more optimistic, even if just a tiny bit.

―― So how did you arrive at the decision to record these 4 songs?

Y: To start, we planned to hold a fan club-only concert on 21 September at Toyosu PIT. Then a national tour that starts in October would follow. And since that date is the anniversary date for our major debut, we spoke about releasing a single on the same date too.

―― Nothing related to starting work on a new album?

Y: We didn’t go there. I thought that’ll probably be what we’re moving towards next after the tour concludes. Because when the new year came around, Imai-kun and Hide presented their samples, then Acchan wrote the lyrics and we recorded them in May. The two songs. And a little before that we had rehearsals for Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara 〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜. Around March, I believe. Using an image of the venue as a reference, we formed a clearer picture [of what we wanted to do] and found that everyone responded really well to the old songs that we rearranged for our show.

―― You’ve made bold new arrangements for quite a few songs in that stream, but setting Uta and ICONOCLASM to a shuffle and the melodious JUST ONE MORE KISS left a particularly strong impression.

Y: Yeah. And the band felt confident about those three songs too. After we were done with recording in April, the suggestion to include those arrangements into the single came up since we’ve worked those out anyway. Then we recorded those too. There’s more than enough swing with 2 songs sounding like that already so maybe we’ll keep ICONOCLASM for next time when the opportunity comes around.

―― That’s easy to grasp (lol). How does Yuta-san feel about the unplugged-style arrangements for Misemono-goya~?

Y: They were great. But in the beginning, I thought it might be difficult to keep that concert vibe going if we only did acoustic arrangements throughout. Yet, although we generally call it “acoustic”, we managed to do swing and a variety of other arrangements too. Also, I think it went well, having done it in a two-part format.

―― Indeed.

Y: But personally, I’ve always wanted to do acoustic versions since before. That was probably 2 years ago? When we did it for the first time on a substage during the encore at Makuhari?

―― Locus Solus no Kemonotachi at Makuhari Messe, right?

Y: It was so good, like, I could really feel that it was the five of us performing together. I mean, it’s always been the five of us on stage, but there are other sounds going on too, and we tend to be using in-ear monitors, so we can’t really get to feel the sounds and music that each one of us are making. But with acoustic arrangements, we can have an awareness of each other’s breathing as we perform. And that’s where its great.

―― You enjoyed it largely because you could sense that the five of you were playing together on stage, rather than showing the world what you could do.

Y: Yeah. That’s a sensation I hadn’t had in a while.

―― There’s some of that in Go-Go B-T TRAIN too, right? Of course, there are added sound effects and all, but there’s also a part of it that sounds like the kind of simplicity a band produces.

Y: That’s right. And it’d also be great if it gave people the idea that this band is still going to do more. Because that’s how I feel too when I listen to this song.

―― Meaning?

Y: Meaning there’s still a lot we can do, I suppose. That, although we’re a band who will be celebrating our 35th anniversary next year, we’re not tired of this at all, and there’s still much we’ve yet to try.

―― Conversely, we could also say that this is proof that this band has been able to do interesting things all these years without the need to switch up the member line-up or make all kinds of changes to your approach.

Y: That’s true. We never really gave much thought to whether acoustic versions or rearranging old songs to record them again would be of interest (lol).

―― Now, Go-Go B-T TRAIN. What was it called when Yuta started recording work on it?

Y: The name was yet decided. I think even the lyrics probably weren’t written yet. It’s a song with a riff that leaves a strong impression, so I didn’t really do much in the way of inputting my own ideas or trying to change up the bass line. I just held onto this 16-beat rhythm and kept playing. It was surprisingly difficult (lol).

―― Because it’s not like your bass is humming along with the momentum, right? You have to keep a tight hold on the rhythm behind the jangling guitar.

Y: Please write that although it looks simple, it’s actually really tough (lol).

―― Driving home the point, huーh (lol).

Y: Because, you see, the bass in this song plays far in the background so you unfortunately won’t really be able to hear the nuances at all, you know? That’s kinda sad for me (lol).

 

It’s great that we’ve all been able to dream together all this time.
That’s why I hope to continue dreaming, with everyone.

 

―― So what do you think about naming such a song Go-Go B-T TRAIN?

Y: I thought it was interesting. That Acchan probably felt a strong sense of, “Alright, everyone, let’s go!” I don’t think there are many who would use such a song title.

―― Right (lol).

Y: I suppose he wanted to convey that feeling no matter what others might think of it. That feeling of departing on a journey together.

―― It’s as if he wants to take us somewhere.

Y: Maybe to a world unlike the one we live in now. That inspires hope, and brings a sense of determination. We had a song called PARADE previously. This song is sort of like a different version of that. Although we’re a band who thrives on performing live through these decades, we’ve been unable to see anyone or go anywhere, and we know that it’s not going to be easy to go back to how things used to be. I believe that’s what we had no choice but to reckon with in this past year and a half of COVID-19.

―― Indeed.

Y: It took time, and circumstances are still not perfect but we finally scheduled a tour and will be heading to everyone’s cities, and I believe [the song is] Acchan’s feelings about this put into words. The whole band feels the same. Getting to perform live only once a year is as good as not breathing to us.

―― Because all of a sudden, you can’t carry out what’s as good as the regular life you’ve had in the 34 years since you’ve debuted, right?

Y: I even felt sad, you know? We want to visit everyone’s hometowns and breathe the same air with them but we can’t and that’s really just sad. There are some places we still can’t go in this tour, but we definitely have the intention to make it next time. Because we always make the promise that we’ll come back again every time we conclude shows in that place. So we have to [make good our promises].

―― Because that’s been the band’s principle all this time, right?

Y: Because [it’s important to us to] be in the same space with our fans. Because I also know how special it feels when a band [I like] comes to my city. The first concert I’ve ever watched  was Yazawa Eikichi’s show at Numata in Gunma, and yet I can still remember it all clearly. Since then, it’s now easier to go to Tokyo and all the different areas, but I still feel that it’s something special when a band visits the city I live in, you know?

―― So it’s like Yuta-san travelling to meet your younger self.

Y: That might just happen. It’s been decades but I don’t want anyone to feel left out or alone like I did. Feeling like [the band] will never come to my hometown again and things like that. Especially in this situation with the pandemic, there’s likely only a limited number of bands who are actually on tour so I very simply just want to bring them joy.

―― Just as described with Go-Go B-T TRAIN.

Y: From our perspective, it’s the kick-off declaration of, “Let’s go!”, telling everyone that we’ll be riding this B-T TRAIN into everyone’s cities. That’s all it is. I believe that’s the reason why the lyrics were written with simple words; to convey those feelings of Acchan’s.

―― So, Koi written by Hoshino-san.

Y: It’s a good song, isn’t it? It’s like the complete opposite of Go-Go B-T TRAIN.

―― It’s really good. A whole new world.

Y: Acchan’s kindness comes through the lyrics, doesn’t it? I feel like it really conveys Acchan’s open mindedness and his gentle nature that we personally know.

―― Right?

Y: The goodness of Hide’s mid-tempo music and Acchan’s lyrics really came together well. You can really sense the individual qualities of each song.

―― These two songs bundled with the newly arranged two really brings that across, and I think this single, on the whole, seems to reaffirm something while bringing hope in the midst of this situation where you’re performing concerts only once a year.

Y: I think so too. Although the tour has been postponed, I’m really happy. That we’ll be able to see [our fans]. It would be great if this could be a start.

―― A start in many ways.

Y: That’s right. But all we’ve got is hope. Although we can only hold concerts in halls at half capacity and the audience can’t cheer, this is a start.

―― I think all the bands had no choice but to reset themselves in a way during this pandemic, so this is like putting things back together again, isn’t it?

Y: I guess other artists are dealing with this too, aren’t they? I think in the end, we have to think of something, you know? While stopping tours and concerts is understandably part of infection control measures, it’s like death [to us]. And there are people who have been waiting for us [to return], so we want to somehow bring concerts to them and let them know that we haven’t forgotten about them. That’s all it is.

―― And so you had your very first live streamed concert, and film concert tour, and Misemono-goya〜 too, right?

Y: Holding concerts in those ways are valid but we’ll finally be able to do it in the way it’s meant to be done.

―― We all hope that Imai-san will make a full recovery and make a proper return with perfect performances on tour.

Y: I believe it’s going to be a wonderful tour. Because this is where it all begins.

―― But even in this situation, Yuta-san is always positive, aren’t you?

Y: Because what’s going to get done if we wallow in despair? If we don’t believe [that things will work out], all those who have been waiting for us can’t move forward either, can they? We’ve had to postpone the first few shows, but we want to make this tour a huge success. That’s the goal. Besides, compared to a band whose members are in their 20s, we’re obviously left with a limited amount of time where we can still do this.

―― Well, that’s an undeniable fact of growing older for myself included.

Y: That’s why rather than going backwards, I always think that there’s something that we can do. Which is why we want to put on as many concerts as we can now. Borrowing Kuroda’s (Kuroda Hiroki / Pitcher for Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Retired.) words, I don’t have all that many pitches left in me (Note: When Kuroda returned to his old club, Hiroshima, after being held back by Major League Baseball, he said, “I don’t think I have many pitches left, so (pitching for the Carps is more) fulfilling.”), but concerts are the most satisfying of times for me.

―― Such a band singing Go-Go B-T TRAIN is a good way to prepare for the worst.

Y: Because things are pretty harsh for us now, in these circumstances where we can’t really hold concerts the way we hope to. Every one show we do is very very precious to us. And that’s why, it’s always been this way to us but more than ever, it’s both our dream and our duty to cherish live concerts and carry that out to bring joy to everyone, even if just a little.

―― Indeed.

Y: It’s great that we’ve all been able to dream together all this time. With the members of the band, with all our fans. Besides, next year will be our band’s 35th anniversary. We want to continue going strong.

―― It certainly is wonderful. Hopefully, you’ll be able to throw a big celebration.

Y: Yeah. But I’m truly grateful, that’s all I can say. That’s why I hope to continue dreaming, with everyone.

 

 

Notes:

¹ Muhammad Hussain Inoki is a Japanese retired professional wrestler, martial artist, politician, and promoter of professional wrestling and mixed martial arts. He is best known by the ring name Antonio Inoki, a homage to fellow professional wrestler Antonino Rocca. 
This particular line probably has something to do with Inoki’s personality and his impression on general society. There have been many parodies/impersonators when it comes to him so watching some of them might shed some light on the impression to be made here.

 

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_______________________

Yagami Toll

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

We can’t really go back to the normal we used to live before, so I believe everyone’s feeling melancholy
I felt that it’s a good thing for us to be singing, “Let’s board the B-T train and move out!” like this.

―― A photoshoot without Imai-san.

Toll (T): I was shocked. I think it was right before the shoot? I received a call from Imai out of the blue too. He’s not usually a guy who calls, so I was fretting. I asked him, “What! What happened!” and he said, “Anii, I’m sorry…… I fractured a bone, in my leg. I think I probably won’t be able to do concerts.” (Lol).

―― That’s bound to be a shock.

T: Nah. I think receiving a call from Imai shocked me so much that all I thought of it was, “Huh, so it’s a fracture.” (Lol)

―― Hahahahahaha.

T: And it was his femur, wasn’t it? The first thing that came to mind was how he was supposed to live life normally. Concerts come after that. He could probably just stand there and play or sit in a chair and play, but he would probably need some time before he can go back to performing the way he usually does in live concerts. That, I’m a little worried about, though.

―― Indeed.

T: Well, the bone will eventually heal itself anyway (lol). So we just have to think about what we can now when the time comes and do it. Most important is that all five of us are doing it together.

―― All there is to do is wait. Anyway, Yagami-san, you held your annual birthday concert the other day. And you actually managed to get Yoshida Minako-san as a guest performer this year!

T: I was over the moon (lol). I invited Minako-san with nothing to lose, and initially, she apparently had another appointment scheduled on that date so I was rejected. But then that appointment was cancelled and like a miracle, she became available. I’ve been a fan of hers since I was in high school…… You know, I even asked her to autograph the FLAPPER LP (released 1976) that I bought over 40 years ago when it first came out. Look. Here, look (shows a photo of it in his phone).

―― You’re grinning like a middle schooler (lol).

T: I was absolutely delighted. I also requested to perform Yume de Aetara and Toki Yo, where I’d of course be the one playing backing drums but I was even more nervous [for this] than BUCK-TICK (lol).

―― Hahahahaha!

T: Those kinds of city pop songs are difficult. Drums for Yume de Aetara were played by Hayashi Tatsuo-san (Tin Pan Alley) and I wanted myself to stay true to that era so I drummed while listening to the clicks of the original tempo (lol). Ponta-san (Murakami “Ponta” Shuichi) drummed in Toki Yo and the tempo in this song was difficult too. It wouldn’t sound good unless I’m super laid back playing it, so that was a tough one.

―― Let’s hope we can make your 60th birthday concert next year a big one. Now, about your new song, Go-Go B-T TRAIN.

T: What about it?

―― To start, the song title is a surprise (lol).

T: I suppose so. Since this Go-Go here comes from Hinan GO-GO (lol).

―― Let’s pause the jokes here (lol) before we end up making those kinds of ideas sound credible. So, the song, it’s got a pretty simple rock and roll beat, doesn’t it?

T: The riff repeats a lot. And from a drummer’s perspective, there’s a lot of cymbals going on. I have to hit them about once per bar, and when I let Imai listen to hear his thoughts on it, he said, “Hmm…… Feels a little lacking.” (Lol). Then he asked me, “Anii, do you think you can hit the cymbals even more?” and I had to politely decline him with, “Apologies. That won’t be possible unless I have three arms.” (Lol)

―― Hahahahaha!

T: I suppose he probably wanted it to sound noisy. To replicate that noisy banging that comes with manual labour at work. That’s why he made such an impossible request for more than one hit of the cymbal per bar (lol).

―― How do you feel about this song sounding like it’s built on the enthusiasm of a newly-formed band?

T: I thought it was interesting. You could probably say it feels like Imai Hisashi’s restlessness. It’s great that there’s still a part of him that’s mischievous even as he grows older. Although he got too playful and ended up fracturing a bone (lol).

―― …… We shouldn’t be laughing at that (lol).

T: But you can see a healthy Imai in the MV (lol). Ah, right, that. This single’s MV was the first time in a good while that the whole band came together for a shoot. These days, we’ve been doing our shoots individually and then editing them later, but [this time] all of us gathered at the same place and filmed our performance shots. That felt great. In a way, it’s also connected to the band’s perspective of this song. Like a “whoa, everyone’s here” kind of vibe (lol).

―― It does indeed align.

T: I’d think that maybe our fans might’ve been looking forward to an MV where we’re all performing together.

―― With these lyrics that say invites everyone onto this train to ride into the future, although things may be tough. What did you think when you heard this coming from Sakurai-san?

T: When I first head the sample, I thought it’s been a while since we’ve got a song with such a good vibe, but I never expected that it would be named Go-Go B-T TRAIN so I was surprised by that. The first thing that came to mind was Hagiwara Kenichi’s SHOKEN TRAIN (lol).

―― Ah, that’s true. But the SHOKEN song is steeped in that dandy-ism that calls for everyone to follow him but here, it’s more of heading off together, isn’t it?

T: You’re right. There’s someone who’s missed the train though (lol).

―― Stop it (lol).

T: But, well, living in a pandemic like this, we can’t really go back to the normal we used to live before, so I believe everyone’s feeling melancholy. So I felt that it’s a good thing for us to be singing, “Let’s board the B-T train and move out!” like this.

―― And the B-side, Koi. What did you think of it?

T: It’s a good song. I never expected it to hit the way it does.

―― It really strikes a chord, doesn’t it?

T: He’s kind, isn’t he? Acchan. In recent times, we’ve lost a lot of people close to us. It’s only natural at this age and we can’t really do anything about it, but these are people who have been working with us all this time as concert staff and people around the country who we’ve grown close to…… After all this time, there are now more farewells than congratulations. Dedicating [this song] to all these close acquaintances who have passed, and the people who mourn their passing. It’s a nice gesture, isn’t it?

―― I’d say it’s very much like Sakurai-san to write the lyrics from that perspective.

T: Because that person is very sensitive, and that’s just the type of person he is. No matter what he pens, it all comes from his own experiences. And that’s what makes it good.

 

There are many joys that come with being in a band, but this I can say for sure
To keep doing this with the same group of friends. Nothing beats that.

―― How did recording go for your drums this time around?

T: It was quick. The drums were recorded last this time around too, but both songs were done in a day (lol).

―― You were recording in the midst of this pandemic, so all of you couldn’t be in the studio together at the same time when you started studio work, right?

T: We went in at different times. The composer would definitely be there, and if it’s my recording day, then he’d listen to how the drums sound for me, we’d discuss and decide on what’s good or what needs to be changed. We’d be switching up this and that, change the snare a few times. And in the end, we went back to the original setup because we figured that’s the one that worked best after all.

―― This time, you’ve also got Uta and JUST ONE MORE KISS recorded with their new arrangements. These came about because the band was doing Misemono-goya〜 and made the effort to fit the songs into its theme, but what’s Yagami-san’s perspective on rearranging old songs like this and recording them again?

T: I thought it was interesting, and besides, didn’t we have an acoustic set at Makuhari back when we did Locus Solus no Kemonotachi? After doing that, we had the feeling that [things like the songs in this single] might be interesting too.

―― Because it’s rare that there’s anything that you’ve never really done during this long a career, right?

T: I think all of us think the same way, but we’ve probably always felt that when a song is labelled done, that includes its arrangement. It’s like how you’d immediately know “It’s that song!” the moment the guitar intro starts playing. If you rearrange it, then no one would know, right? Maybe that’s why the topic of boldly messing around with a song never really came up.

―― And that idea only came about as a result of deciding to make the live thematic because you thought it’d be boring to do the same old for a livestream in a pandemic.

T: Maybe they began to feel that something like that could work too.

―― Yagami-san, you’ll be celebrating your 60th next year. Is there anything you’d like to do?

T: I’d want to do an unplugged kind of thing. It’s easier to execute live too (lol).

―― That’s not the point (lol).

T: But actually, I’ve been thinking about a few things. Didn’t the Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts suddenly pass away just recently?

―― That’s right.

T: And it happened to Ponta-san too. Rather than just feeling sad, it’s a loss that such amazing people have left us. Because we can never hear those drums of theirs anymore. But people have a limited amount of time to live, so we can’t do anything about that. In Ponta-san’s case, I actually received an email from him in January with New Year greetings. In the email, he  said that his doctor had advised him to stop work for the time being but “I’m doing great!” along with the punching emoji. Then he passed on in March. I was shocked.

―― With both Charlie Watts and Ponta-san, from an outsider’s perspective, we’d feel like they’ve already done it all, but only they would know whether or not that’s true.

T: Because they’ve built an era, right? And we’re still in the midst of it. That is, until the B-T TRAIN departs.

―― It’s still quite there, is it?

T: But we don’t have forever, do we? I just said earlier that there doesn’t exist a person who won’t die. If anyone of us goes that way, we’d probably quit. But for some reason I’m the eldest one in the band and yet I’m the healthiest of all. I’ve never even been hospitalised before (lol).

―― Please stay healthy!

T: I’ve always been a paranoid person, so the moment I feel like my body’s a little weird, I’d immediately go and see a doctor. I think it was about 3 or 4 years ago when I cough influenza but I didn’t realise it at all (lol). In the beginning, I intended to visit my usual doctor to inquire about administering a garlic injection and when they did a flu test, I was told, “Yagami-san, you’ve caught Type A.” (Lol)

―― And that’s why you recovered quickly.

T: They gave me the prescription there and then and I did recover quickly. Also, I’m taking 4 types of supplements everyday. So I’m healthy. My knees aren’t deteriorating, and my bloodwork’s all perfect!

―― Because the train is still running.

T: But isn’t there a common saying? That it’s always calm before the storm. I also broke my pinky toe before, right in the middle of a tour. I was half-asleep, going to the bathroom half-asleep in the hotel when I busted it against a corner of the wash basin. It swelled up like hell. I thought that it was definitely broke but when I went to the doctor’s for a checkup, they apparently told me, “It won’t affect your concerts at all!” So I had a roadie tape up my pinky toe with the 4th. I think I did about 3 shows like that. Since then, I’ve always stuck sponge to the corners of the washbasin (lol).

―― But even with Charlie Watts’ passing, aren’t the Rolling Stones still going on tour with Steve Jordan as support?

T: I wonder about that. But in the end, the Rolling Stones are a business so there’s no way to end it, is there?

―― Well, I guess that’s more or less the case.

T: And in fact, even after Brian Jones died and Bill Wyman left, they’ve changed members a number of times. That’s the kind of history the Rolling Stones have. Even if the members of the band changes, the band itself still goes on and maybe that’s group’s creed. I think the Rolling Stones will continue on until Mick Jagger passes away. Even if Keith Richards dies, they’ll still keep going.

―― That’s true.

T: This is my own opinion, but in our case, it’s the end if anyone of us are no longer involved. I’d say it’s probably better that we stop too. Not a break up, but a cessation. I think that’s a better way to put it.

―― Because you’ve been together for 35 years ever since your major debut, right?

T: In my mind, I’m doing this in a way that will leave me no regrets no matter when it all ends. Say, if tomorrow, for some reason, anyone of us in BUCK-TICK can’t keep going anymore, then in that case, we wouldn’t want to keep things going with a member replacement…… That said, I believe everyone feels the same way. If we were to continue even if that happens, then I would probably quit.

―― I see.

T: Then I’ll finally go back to Gunma (lol).

―― Because that’s your dream retirement, right (lol).

T: It’s been 36 years since I was abducted by Yuta. I’ll soon be 60; it’s about time for me to build a house in Gunma and stay there. If I’m not in BUCK-TICK, then it’s even more likely that I’d have already done that (lol).

―― But doing this, believing so strongly that the band’s existence is tied to the 5 of you working together is the band’s resolve, like a sincere conviction soaked with ephemerality. I think all of those are connected.

T: Yeah. There are many joys that come with being in a band, like selling well, becoming popular, writing a good song, playing at large venues, but this I can say for sure. To keep doing this with the same group of friends. Nothing beats that. Having come this far, we’ve been through all sorts of things; like musical differences, reaching our limits as an instrumentalist, things related to our families, our views on life, but being able to keep this band going with the same members, to make music and perform concerts together is truly wonderful.

―― Indeed.

T: I think if we were more scheming, if we wanted to get rich and live in big houses, if those were the kinds of goals we had, we might be able to achieve them but we definitely won’t be happy. What makes me glad that I’m still in this band with these four also includes things apart from simply performing together. Time and again, I realised how big a deal this is to me.

―― I see.

T: They’re kind, all of them. Looking at it from another perspective, you could say that they’re not greedy. For the band as a whole, we might’ve become bigger if we did have that hunger, but I think it’s great that we’re able to celebrate our 35th anniversary like this.

―― Because the answer is that you’ve kept this going together.

T: You see, we’ve done a photoshoot with just four of us since Imai broke his leg, right? Somehow, the vibes are weird. Like, “Huh……? Ah, oh, right.” (Lol). We can’t be missing any one. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; with my 60th just around the corner, I can’t be happier that I feel this way now.

 

 

 

 

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Editor’s Article:
We will keep hoping to never wake up from these dreams as we keep swaying in this chugging B-T TRAIN

text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi

“Huh……? Ah, oh, right.”

Realising that someone is absent, that he isn’t there brings confusion to everyone on site. The ones standing in front of the camera lens looked uncomfortable, and on our end, we can’t quite decide where the members of the band should stand. A peculiar wrongness has a hold over this place where something that should normally be there is missing.

“Isn’t this the first time we’re doing a shoot with only four members?”

Someone said that. And it might just be true. Looking at the group photo of the four of them, the sense of absence comes through so strongly that you’d just know. Yet on the other hand, there is also the certainty that it’s just not them without all five members involved. The fact that the same members have kept it going for nearly 35 years gives it that strong impetus.

The unexpected accident that Imai got into right before the interview was a reminder that this band is neither rock solid nor stable, but rather a miraculous balance and a result of their individual efforts. This is something that could easily happen to any band. It might be too much of an exaggeration to say this, but this highlights a very important part of the band who is approaching their 35th anniversary.

It’s something that is close to what we can sense from their single, Go-Go B-T TRAIN. This song leaves quite the impact with the fine line that is the title, while its content holds the call to board the train named BUCK-TICK and venture into the uncertain future together. Twenty years ago, Imai wrote the line “Let’s speed through the springtime of youth”¹ in Shippuu no Blade Runner and this is similar to that. However, there is a difference between then and now; sincerity. While Sakurai and Imai’s contrasting perspectives still exist, they aren’t happenings of a far-off world. I dare say that Go-Go B-T Train has the aftertaste of resolution that follows hope. And as it rushes along with everyone’s dreams onboard, it’s a “a fabulous one-way-only TRIP”². That’s right, there’s no turning back. Bluntly speaking, it’s a song about a suicide pact painted in a positive light.

As to what birthed such a song, it’s the inescapable reality of the COVID-19 pandemic that is its’ backdrop. A world divided by COVID-19 with no sign of things returning to normal. Restrictions have been placed on band activities, reducing the amount of time a band gets to share with their fans through concerts to almost zero. Although it looks like it’ll take some time before things can revert fully to how they used to be, a national tour for a live audience is finally about to begin. That joy was, in a large part, a contributor to this song, announcing that they’re going to depart on a journey for the same dream with everyone who’s coming aboard the BUCK-TICK train.

But it is not all hopes and dreams there. It’s a ticket for a one-way trip. This is a final spurt towards the invisible goal that is the end. To the band, they’ve sung about life and death, making it their theme thus far and it’s drawing closer to reality, rather than simply existing as a concept. This song is steeped in this too. Furthermore, it reminds us that the dynamism of this almost-35 years old band where “It has to be these five members” and “It’s the end if anyone of us are no longer involved”, along with the love and trust for these five men are in the coming days.

―〈The dream continues Oh Baby Fiery flashing To the ends of the world〉―³

That’s right, BUCK-TICK is made up of these five’s and our dreams. And B-T TRAIN is the train that runs with these dreams. It’ll take on all forms of reality and everything that comes in its way to run endlessly. Its final destination is when the dream ends. When it’ll happen, no one knows. And that’s why we will keep hoping to never wake up from these dreams as we keep swaying in this chugging B-T TRAIN.

 

 

Notes:

¹ 共に青い春を駆け抜けよう / Tomo ni aoi haru wo kakenuke you

² Line from Go-Go B-T Train: 片道だけの素敵な TRIP / Kata michi dake no suteki na TRIP

³ Last line from Go-Go B-T Train: 夢は続くよ Baby ランランラン 何処までも / Yume wa tsudzuku yo Baby Ranranran Doko made mo

 

 

BUCK-TICK NOW ON SALE 
Go-Go B T TRAIN

[Tracklist]

  1. Go-Go B-T TRAIN [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi/Music: Imai Hisashi]
  2. 恋 (Koi)[Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi/Music: Hoshino Hidehiko] 
  3. 唄 Ver.2021 (Uta Ver.2021)
  4. JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver.2021

 

[Included in both limited and regular editions]
Audio discs are SHM-CD format (superior quality CD fully compatible with all CD players).
Includes download card for easy playback of the SHM-CD recording on smartphones.
PlayPass® compatible (Valid until: 30 September 2022)

 

[Limited edition exclusives (for both type A and B)]
◎A: Blu-ray included/B: DVD included

  1. 「Go-Go B-T TRAIN」(MUSIC VIDEO) 
  2. 「唄 Ver.2021」(Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK~)
  3. 「JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver.2021」(Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK~)

◎Special packaging

 

 

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AFTERSHOW

2021.08.17 BUCK-TICK

They had a photoshoot at Scott Hall, a historical auditorium in Waseda Hoshien. And my pure chance, in the same vicinity was AVACO STUDIO where BUCK_TICK recorded the first album they released with a major label. “Isn’t this where AVACO STUDIO is?” The moment the four of them entered the waiting room, they started to reminisce. The photoshoot started off with the two-shot featuring Anii and Yuta first. While checking the pictures that were taken, Anii burst out laughing, “Yuta, send this to mom!” Yuta-san responded with, “I wonder if this counts as being filial?” Ah, what a beautiful show of brotherly love. Then, Sakurai-san who was being photographed at a piano suddenly pressed the keys. It doesn’t form any particular melody, but it has a strange ambient feel to it. Perhaps editor-in-chief Kanemitsu recorded that sound on his phone and listens to it on occasion. After the shoot concluded, he autographed the polariod that would be the lucky draw gift to our readers. After a while, Yuta-san brought it over with a, “Acchan’s signed it!” When he showed it to us, a signature for “Imai Hisashi” who wasn’t here on this day was also there! “O-ho!” Kanemitsu’s cry of delight could be heard while the Devil King’s smile appeared on Acchan’s face with a grin.

Interviews were subsequently held. As printed, Imai-san’s was held from the his hospital room, while Sakurai-san and Hide-san had their interviews remotely conducted from home but both Sakurai & Hoshino were, for some reason, particularly talkative. Or rather, they chatted with a more relaxed vibe than usual. Perhaps being at home makes them drop their guard after all?

 

 

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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Text images: Yoshiyuki
Photo images: meghararayanneh.sakurai on VK.com

Chanting the guardian mantra in the midst of a pandemic

VROCK HK Vol.13
December 2020

 

Interview with vocalist Sakurai Atsushi and guitarist Imai Hisashi

Riding on the wave of their 33rd anniversary this year, BUCK-TICK has released their 22nd album, “ABRACADABRA”, offering protection to people’s hearts and minds in the midst of the global pandemic with a musical spell that has traveled through one third of a century. After a year of trouble in the music industry, the band is finally coming back to the Nippon Budokan for their end-of-year performance. On the eve of this event, vocalist Sakurai Atsushi and guitarist Imai Hisashi were interviewed for the first time by Hong Kong media from across the ocean, communicating their message on the new album and their thoughts on the current moment.

 

 

―― BUCK-TICK is releasing a new album this year on the 33rd anniversary of your debut. The title of the new album is “ABRACADABRA”, which seems to have a deep meaning in this age. Could you tell us about the meaning behind this title?

Imai Hisashi (I): In the lyrics that Sakurai wrote for the song “Eureka”, there is the word “ABRACADABRA”, which I found very memorable. It also has the meaning of being a talisman in the pandemic disaster.

Sakurai Atsushi (S): There is nothing we can do except for chanting spells with music. It would be a blessing if this incantation could make someone somewhere smile.

―― During the process of making this new work, have you been affected or inspired in some ways by the pandemic?

S: In terms of the work itself, we did not want to be influenced by the pandemic , but just wanted to simply depict a story. Only “Eureka” sings of the mantra of love.

―― In the late 1980s and 1990s, BUCK-TICK’s works were released on cassette tapes and vinyl, and now, after a long gap, ABRACADABRA is released on vinyl LP and cassette tapes, as well as on CD, digital music, and streaming, which are music formats that span multiple eras. For BUCK-TICK, having witnessed the development of music technology at various stages, how does it feel to see the rise of cassette tapes and vinyl again?

S: When I was a child, I felt the moment of putting the needle down on a record player was like some kind of ritual. Each era has its own music, and there are different ways to appreciate them, so music will never disappear, which I find to be something wonderful.

I: Cassette tapes and LPs, etc., are all very interesting objects. LPs have huge covers, which is something that I really like.

―― Different media have their own different textures, so among the various formats released this time, which one has the sound that you like the most?

I: When I compared the sound in the studio, Hi-Res audio had the better sound, but in my heart I wanted to listen to it on LP. Since it’s not easy to skip tracks on LPs, it makes you feel you can listen very carefully.

―― This year, music performances are difficult to carry out, and it has become popular to perform with no live audience. In fact, as early as 1991, BUCK-TICK had its first-ever performance without a live audience titled “SATELLITE CIRCUIT” (a commemorative show for the opening of WOWOW TV). This year, BUCK-TICK also held a live, no-audience show called “ABRACADABRA LIVE ON THE NET”. After almost 30 years, how did you feel when you stepped on the stage without a live audience again?

I: Although there was no audience in the venue, I could sincerely feel that “people are watching” and played accordingly.

S: Even when I had entered my own world, I was also conscious that someone was watching from the other side of the camera. We also took challenges with things like the AR technology that could only be used in recorded footage.

―― The band also held a screening of “TOUR2020 ABRACADABRA ON SCREEN” this year, and even though it was also a performance strategy under the pandemic, the idea was very innovative!

S: It’s great to have a concert tour for fans all over the country to see. Although the members were really upset that they couldn’t play and the vocalist couldn’t sing, we’re really grateful to the performance and event staff who helped tour the country despite the danger of infection. Also, we’re grateful for all the fans who came to the venues.

―― The first and last performance of the year will be the end-of-year Budokan performance, which will also be broadcast live on the Internet. How does the band think of a performance via a livestream format as opposed to a regular performance?

I: There is no limit to the number of people who can watch the performance via livestream, and people can watch it overseas too, so I think it’s interesting as an approach.

S: It would be the best time to sing and dance together with the audience, but the most important thing now is to prevent infections, so I believe it is the best possible method. For those who want to go to the concert but can’t make it, especially for the medical practitioners who work hard every day, I hope everyone will have a chance to enjoy it. Please pre-record if possible, and in order to not forget, I will also record mine.

―― The livestream is also a way to give more overseas fans the opportunity to participate. In fact, many overseas fans have been coming to Japan to see BUCK-TICK every year. Has BUCK-TICK, one of Japan’s top bands, had any plans to go overseas?

I: I hope that we can be heard and seen by people all over the world.

S: Actually, I traveled privately to Hong Kong about 30 years ago. It was a very exciting city, and it would be great to have a chance to perform in Hong Kong in the future.

―― The band has already launched collaboration products such as headphones and embroidered jackets. Do you have any future collabs in mind outside of music?

S: Hong Kong Disneyland?

―― BUCK-TICK’s music has continued going on for over 33 years, and the band has strived tirelessly to release new works. Where are the motivation and the inspiration coming from?

I: Naturally out of living and experiencing daily life.

S: Anyways regardless of genre, loving music, loving singing, exposure to art such as novels and movies, and feeling the joy, sadness, and love of seemingly ordinary everyday life, can all give rise to various passions.

―― BUCK-TICK’s music has inspired many people over the years. Can you tell us what genres or musicians the band members have been listening to recently?

S: The young generation of Japanese musicians. “King Gnu” and “Fujii Kaze”.

I: I tend to listen to Ambient Music more often. Also Raymond Watts’ post-industrial project “Pig”.

―― What are your goals for the coming year?

I: To create cool songs.

S: In a word, “ABRACADABRA”, we will continue to move forward even while coexisting with the pandemic. I would like to sing, and I would like to hold concerts if possible. It would be nice to meet with everyone in Hong Kong and the rest of the world again through livestream or YouTube. I am grateful for the opportunity to be interviewed this time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Best wishes to Hong Kong.

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Endless Dei
Source: VROCK HK Vol.13

 

2021.09.22 | Victor Entertainemnt
Go Go B-T Train

Words by Sakurai Atsushi

Music By Imai Hisashi

Japanese

 

夢の続き Oh Baby  派手に魅せてやろう
君も乗りなよ さあ 発車のベルが鳴る

片道だけの素敵な TRIP
サヨナラネ地球 アナタトチューリップ

この胸に  火をを付けて  走れ B-T TRAIN
愛を燃やせ  轟轟 On Baby  飛ばせ B-T TRAIN

夢は続くよ Baby ランランラン 何処までも
ガタガタ & ゴトゴト 野を越え 闇をゆけ

蒸気仕掛けの  三日月投げキッス
サヨナラネ宇宙 アナタトチューリップ

この胸に  火をを付けて  走れ B-T TRAIN
愛を燃やせ 轟轟 On Baby 飛ばせ B-T TRAIN

愛を燃やせ  愛を燃やせ  走れ B-T TRAIN
轟轟 On Baby, Go-Go On Baby  飛ばせ B-T TRAIN

夢は続くよ Baby ランランラン 何処までも

 

 

Romaji

By: Andy

Yume no tsudzuki Oh Baby  Hade ni misete yarou
Kimi mo nori na yo Saa Hassha no beru ga naru

Kata michi dake no suteki na TRIP
Sayonara ne chikyuu Anata to chuurippu

Kono mune ni  hi wo tsukete  Hashire B-T TRAIN
Ai wo moyase  Gougou On Baby  Tobase B-T TRAIN

Yume wa tsudzuku yo Baby Ranranran Doko made mo
Gatagata & gotogoto No wo koe Yami wo yuke

Jouki shikake no  mikazuki nage kissu
Sayonara ne uchuu Anata to chuurippu

Kono mune ni  Hi wo tsukete  Hashire B-T TRAIN
Ai wo moyase Gougou On Baby Tobase B-T TRAIN

Ai wo moyase  Ai wo moyase  Hashire B-T TRAIN
Gougou On Baby,  Go-Go On Baby  Tobase B-T TRAIN

Yume wa tsudzuku yo Baby Ranranran Doko made mo

English

By: Yoshiyuki

The dream continues Oh Baby  Let’s give a show with great panache
You should hop on too Come on The departure bell is ringing

It’ll be a fabulous one-way-only TRIP
Goodbye Earth I’ll blow you a kiss from my lips¹

Light the fire in my heart  Run B-T TRAIN
Let your love burn  Thunder² On Baby  Fly B-T TRAIN

The dream continues Oh Baby Fiery flashing³ To the ends of the world
Rumbling & clattering Over the fields Into the darkness

A flying kiss for the steam-powered crescent moon⁴
Goodbye Universe I’ll blow you a kiss from my lips¹

Light the fire in my heart  Run B-T TRAIN
Let your love burn  Thunder² On Baby  Fly B-T TRAIN

Let your love burn  Let your love burn  Run B-T TRAIN
Thunder² On Baby,  Go-Go On Baby  Fly B-T TRAIN

The dream continues Oh Baby Fiery flashing³ To the ends of the world

 

Notes:

¹ Sakurai has mentioned that he was doing a play on the word ‘tulip’ (チューリップ) here where チュー is the kissing onomatopoeia and リップ is, well, lip.

² I’d say this was meant to be a form of wordplay to rhyme with Go-Go. I translated the kanji to give an idea of the kind of image it inspires. This particular kanji also last appeared in the lyrics of IGNITER.

³ Again, ランランラン sounds like wordplay to me; “run, run, run”. So like ², I translated the kanji to give an idea of the kind of image it inspires. 

⁴ Or, new moon.

 

BUCK-TICK’s Only In-Person Concert in 2021 at Nippon Budokan
『魅世物小屋が暮れてから』Official Report

SPICE
January 2022

Text=Yuka Okubo
Photos=Seitaro Tanaka

 

On Wednesday, 29 December 2021, BUCK-TICK held their concert Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK~ in Nippon Budokan. BUCK-TICK’s performances at Nippon Budokan started in 2000 with TOUR ONE LIFE, ONE DEATH, and since then, the only time they performed elsewhere was in 2019 when they moved their venue to Yoyogi First Gymnasium because of refurbishment works at Nippon Budokan. In light of the spread of COVID-19 in 2020, they also made their one and only in-person concert that year a Nippon Budokan show. And this year, their national tour which was supposed to commence in October had to be cancelled due to Imai Hisashi’s injury, making this show the one and only in-person concert for them this year too.

The concert Blu-ray & DVD release of the concert they performed last year at Nippon Budokan on 29th December, ABRACADABRA THE DAY IN QUESTION 2020 went on sale on the same day as 2021’s performance and along with it was the announcement of their upcoming first release for 2022, the concert Blu-ray & DVD release of Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK~ on Monday, 7th March. Adding on, they announced their activities planned for 2022 after the concert ended with a fan club-exclusive concert in July, the Yagami Toll ~60th Birthday Live~ on 19th August, the 35th Anniversary Special Live on 23rd and 24th September, a national tour which begins in October, and finally, their annual concert at Nippon Budokan on 29 December.

They also further announced that in spring of 2023, a new album is going to be released. With a teaser website set up for their 35th anniversary too, expectations are high for BUCK-TICK’s activities in 2022.

Below is the official report from 29 December 2021’s Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK~ in Nippon Budokan.

 

 

Come, come on over and have a looksee”¹

The curtains were raised on BUCK-TICK’s Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK~ in Nippon Budokan with that beckoning call on 29 December 2021 in Nippon Budokan, Tokyo.

A buzzer signalling the start of the show resounded around the hall and as the instrumental piece played, a video leading us to the back of a circus tent played on the gauze screen which hung at the front of the stage. This is the same introduction from their Streaming Live Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara ~SHOW AFTER DARK which happened last July. 

Just as the show title suggests, today’s concert is billed as a two-part show that would follow in the footsteps of the Streaming Live and up until the end of the introduction, I’m sure everyone, myself included, was expecting to see the same bewitching, alluring, and salacious worldview we witnessed in the real world. There was no time to waste. 

BUCK-TICK is holding this 29th December concert for the 21st year in a row, but it was only around a month and a half ago when they announced that it will be happening. Having had to cancel their national tour because of Imai Hisashi’s (guitarist) leg injury, they had been debating whether or not to do this until the very last minute. If they decided not to go ahead with this concert, it would mean that they’d have had zero in-person concerts in 2021. That would be a first for them since their debut. Even in the COVID-19-dominated year of 2020, they had just one in-person concert on 29th December. Their strong desire to see [their fans] altered the course of their decision of whether or not to hold the concert. It’s easy for us to imagine that  preparations kicked off at a rapid pace once the decision was made.

When that same introduction as the Streaming Live ended, the band could just barely be seen behind the title logo, inducing a huge round of applause. Then came the booming of the timpani sounding high. With a “Come, come on over and have a look-see”¹, DIABOLO marked the start of the show.

Lively circus visuals coloured the gauze screen with images of trapeze artists flying through the air and bears on bicycles, and behind it, the band played on, swaying their bodies, relaxed. Entertaining the audience with a silk hat in hand, Sakurai Atsushi (vocalist) wandered the stage, going from right to left and back. When he theatrically sang, “Adieu, goodbye”², the screen fell away and the band was unveiled. I could feel the spike of excitement in the hall at that moment under my skin. The audience can’t be vocal with their support this year too, so they responded with a loud and extended applause. We could see Imai lying on a chaise lounge kicking his legs up in the air. And on his feet, he clearly wore high-heeled boots.

“Welcome, it’s great to see you. Please enjoy yourselves.”

Following this short greeting, they kept the excitement going by treating the audience to Muma -The Nightmare. All at once, we were transported into the underworld.

In hindsight, this was impulsive. If they kept with the format they had in the Streaming Live, which had an acoustic set for the first act, then it’d be a little more reassuring that Imai’s still-healing leg wouldn’t be overstretched, and at the same time, we’d still be able to enjoy a similar worldview that of July’s. But hasn’t BUCK-TICK always been one to entertain us with possibilities and potentials far beyond what we imagined?

In reality, the expressions of the audience who have raised their two hands to the provoking Muma -The Nightmare with its high tension song and ensemble, was filled with ecstasy. Imai strut around the stage with his cane as he played his guitar. When I laid eyes on him, I had probably already fallen truly and deeply into the dream bestowed upon me by the incubi³.

Following DIABOLO and Muma -The Nightmare, there wasn’t a single title track that was performed in the first act, but it was a lineup of highly intoxicating songs that immerse you in their world when you listen to them. It felt as if each song took us on a trip to a foreign land.

Led in by the jingle of Sakurai’s ghungroo⁴ was Rakuen, then torches were lit aflame during Shanikusai -Carnival-. Just those lights alone made for a mesmerising performance. Imai played a tune from Erik Satie’s Gnossiennes in a short interlude that led into Lullaby-Ⅲ, where Higuchi Yutaka (bassist) played a jitterbug rhythm on his upright bass and Sakurai played the role of the foxy madame of a bar as he swayed with his rouged lips and black feather boa. 

Claps sounded to the beat of Hoshino Hidehiko’s (guitarist) Spanish guitar in Zekkai, and in Living on the Net -Acoustic Ver.-, two acoustic guitars strummed at a 16-beat rhythm reminiscent to that of Kecak⁵. Yagami Toll (drummer) drummed a tight beat as they brought us into a neo-futuristic world in Hikari no Teikoku, and then took us on a jaunt through outer space in Eureka. Then came the final song for the first act, Boukyaku. The emotionally rich soundscape and song drew us into a realm of nothingness. Sakurai’s haunting humming to the outro of the song made it linger all the more.

The second act opened with BABEL. With up-tempo tunes from recent years like Kemonotachi no Yoru and Datenshi YOW-ROW Ver., along with acoustic arrangements of certain numbers, 8 out of the 11 songs performed were singles.

Compared to the first act which was dominated by songs that sang of scenes, the songs in the second act painted emotions. Sakurai and Imai’s duet in Villain depicted outright hatred. The nihilism lying hidden beneath the negotiation took centerstage in Maimu Mime where Sakurai performed both the man and woman roles with differences in his vocal tone and gestures. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE was sung with flowing and elegant vocals released from stress. And in this act, they performed an absolute gem of their arrangements, Keijijou Ryuusei -Acoustic Ver.-. Between the interlude into the next song, Imai’s plucking of the Kagome Kagome⁶ melody was exploding with lyricism. Sakurai’s voice was also even more vulnerably beautiful than usual. 

Bringing us nostalgia by the buckets was JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver.2021. I believe there’s probably a good number of people who remembered the thrill of hearing the whispers of “I want you, I love you.” and “I‘ll kiss you.” added arbitrarily at the end. It was refreshing to hear the jazzy acoustic arrangement of Uta Ver.2021, and Sakurai sounding lascivious as he exposed his thighs during the performance of ICONOCLASM Ver.2021 arranged to a shuffle beat. Basking in the afterglow of that, the booms of a timpani sounded once again, signalling the end of the show as it woke us up from this long dream we’ve had.

The last number of the second act was Alice in Wonder Underground. The light-hearted number brought us back to reality and yet, the intro of that same thundering timpani brought back the memory of DIABOLO, the first song in the first act and Imai singing the line “Come, come on over and have a look-see”, leaving us stuck with the strange feeling of having wandered into a parallel world where the show was just beginning now.

Although there was a 15-minute ventilation break for infection control between the first and second acts, the esoteric worldview that we were constantly immersed in from start to end left me in awe.

In the encore, they performed their latest single, Go-Go B-T TRAIN and its B-side, Koi live for the very first time. A requiem for dearly departed loved ones, the performance of Koi saw Sakurai dressed in a long, red satin kimono as his ephemeral yet beautiful and strong voice sang in the graceful ensemble woven from the silence.

Following that, they dove into Go-Go B-T TRAIN with Sakurai beating on his red tambourine. Higuchi’s bold bass sounds and strong presence, Yagami’s heavy and tight drumming keeping the foundations strong, the heavy riffs born of Imai and Hide’s two guitars, and Sakurai’s steady voice all came together to sprint forth powerfully as one. 

In light of the cancellation of their autumn tour also named Go-Go B-T TRAIN, Sakurai said, “At last, we’ve boarded the B-T TRAIN. Here and now, I’d like for us to forget about what’s happened this year and look forward to doing lots of concerts next year.” 

During the members’ introductions, Imai said, “Thank you for waiting. It’s not the first time that I’ve somehow gotten myself into situations like this so, I hope for your continuous support.” He then stuck his middle finger up before turning it into a peace sign, tickling the audience. 

And closing off was the upbeat Dokudanjou Beauty -R.I.P.-. In the brightened hall with the lights turned on, the band and the audience celebrated the grand finale face to face with the strongest sense of togetherness they’ve felt on this day.

BUCK-TICK will celebrate their 35th anniversary in 2022. In July, they will hold a fan club & mobile website members-only concert. Yagami Toll ~60th Birthday Live~ will be held on Friday, 19th August. Their 35th Anniversary Project will commence in September. An Anniversary Special Live YOKOHAMA ARENA is planned for 23rd and 24th September, Friday and Saturday respectively. They will  go on a national tour in October. A concert will be held on Thursday, 29th December at Nippon Budokan. And finally, a new album will be released in spring of 2023. The band’s upcoming activities were announced one after another after the show, further exciting the audience.

Each member’s thoughts towards their 35th anniversary were actually already printed on posters by to the escalator at the Kudanshita underground station, the station closest to Nippon Budokan. The common message put forth by them was, “Let’s go  Let’s head into the future⁷.” These words were the same words from Sakurai’s powerful statement during the MC right before New World, the last song they played at 29 December 2020’s Nippon Budokan concert. 

The B-T TRAIN has just started running again to cut through this infinite darkness and head into the future. I hope that you won’t miss out and will have fun on this train ride through a year to remember.

 

 

SETLIST
Misemono-goyaga Kurete Kara 〜SHOW AFTER DARK〜 in Nippon Budokan
2021.12.29 Nippon Budokan

Act I  SE [Instrumental]

  1. DIABOLO
  2. 夢魔 -The Nightmare [Muma -The Nightmare]
  3. 楽園 [Rakuen]
  4. 謝肉祭 -カ-ニバル- [Shanikusai -Carnival-]
  5. Lullaby-III
  6. 絶界 [Zekkai]
  7. Living on the Net -Acoustic Ver.-
  8. 光の帝国 [Hikari no Teikoku]
  9. ユリイカ [Eureka]
  10. 10. 忘却 [Boukyaku]

Act II

  1. BABEL
  2. 獣たちの夜 [Kemonotachi no Yoru]
  3. 堕天使 YOW-ROW Ver. [Datenshi YOW-ROW Ver.]
  4. Villain 
  5. 舞夢マイム [Maimu Mime]
  6. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE  
  7. 形而上 流星 -Acoustic Ver.- [Keijijou Ryuusei -Acoustic Ver.-]
  8. JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver.2021
  9. 唄 Ver.2021 [Uta Ver.2021]
  10. ICONOCLASM Ver.2021
  11. Alice in Wonder Underground

ENCORE

  1. 恋 [Koi]
  2. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
  3. 独壇場Beauty -R.I.P.- [Dokudanjou Beauty -R.I.P.-]

 

 

【35th Anniversary Teaser Website】
https://www.jvcmusic.co.jp/linguasounda/b-t35th/

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ First line of Diabolo

² Line from Diabolo: 御機嫌よう さようなら (Gokigenyou  Sayounara)

³ 夢魔. Apart from being the word for “nightmare”, it’s also what an incubus or succubus is called in Japanese. Quite literally, it’s meant to be a demon that appears in/through a dream, or torments you in your dream.

⁴ It’s supposed to be a musical anklet of many small metallic bells strung together. It’s usually tied to the feet of classical Indian dancers but in the show, Sakurai holds it in his hand.

⁵ Kecak is a form of Balinese Hindu dance and music drama that was developed in the 1930s in Bali, Indonesia. Since its creation, it has been performed primarily by men, with the first women’s kecak group having started in 2006.

⁶ Kagome Kagome is a Japanese children’s game and the song associated with it. In this game, one player is chosen as the Oni and sits blindfolded. The other children join hands and walk in circles around the Oni while chanting the song for the game. When the song stops, the Oni tries to name the person standing directly behind them. Here’s a… not creepy version of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4vPvzX9PMM

⁷ The line “行こう 未来へと、行こう。” [Ikou  Mirai e to, ikou] that is found above the words NEW WORLD for YOU. See all the “posters” here: https://www.jvcmusic.co.jp/linguasounda/b-t35th/

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: SPICE

 

 

27 November 1991  Shibuya CLUB QUATTRO
Live Report

Fool’s Mate
February 1992

Text=Iwamoto Miki (岩本美紀)
Photos=Ikeda MIchihiro (池田倫弘)

 

Thrown back in time in one night’s dream

It was a truly abrupt move by them. Just when we thought that they would go off to work on their own projects after their tour ended, they suddenly announced that they would be performing at live houses. Scheduled were performances at Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya’s QUATTROs for one night each. Since it’s been a while since their last performance in a live house, this has gotten us wondering what it’s going to be like. Hearts pounding with anticipation, a crowd gathered at the venue.

 

 

Wednesday, November 27. BUCK-TICK performed at Shibuya QUATTRO. How many years has it been since they last stood on the stage of a live house? Naturally, tickets were extremely difficult to get. Whether they were the lucky fans who cleared the tough obstacle of a lottery, or fans who unfortunately didn’t get a ticket, there is no doubt that people of all walks of life and with all sorts of emotions were gathered here.

Entering the venue was the familiar sight of a horizontal black curtain hanging over the stage, something that you’d often see back when they used to run the live circuit. The white “BUCK-TICK” text against a black background brings back a wave of nostalgia. Compared to large venues, this small set in a cosy space offers an intimate view no matter where you stand. Waiting for the show to begin, a man’s cheer of “Atsushiー!” came from somewhere in the audience, leading to the crowd’s ‘whoo’s and laughter and applause filling the venue. The fans’ desire to see the band as soon as possible was manifesting in a number of different ways.

Then, the lights went out. To the backdrop of Theme of B-T and the club illuminated in red light, the band appears. Last to come on stage was Sakurai holding a cigarette by the corner of his lips. The light at the end of that cigarette looked even redder than usual on the darkened stage. Then, a spotlight shines on Sakurai. He’s wearing brown sunglasses!

The opening song was Taiyou ni Korosareta.

Only in a live house will we get to see U-ta and Yagami positioned a little lower instead of being on their usual platforms. With Sakurai’s forceful gesture, the sunglasses flew. Imai and Yagami were dressed in red while Sakurai, Hide, and U-ta were dressed in black; outfits which created a simple and unusually unified image.

In the second song, TO-SEARCH, Imai went from the left side of the stage to the right, lining up with U-ta while Hide moved to the left. This feeling that they were all focused on the same thing was not something that could have been felt if this was a bigger stage, and it’s probably another one of those things you can only see in a live house setting.

“Now, then, playtime ends here!” Following Sakurai’s words, Aku no Hana begins. There was even a fleeting moment when Sakurai joined Imai under his spotlight and hugged. The mood of the audience shifted along with the songs; they sang along when the band continued into HURRY UP MODE, the club sang in symphony, but when they went on to perform MY FUNNY VALENTINE, the audience listened quietly. Then came the second MC.

“It’s been a while. It’s been a while since everyone’s this excited.”

In response, the audience replied with the words, “We aーre.”

“Well, then, please fall deeply and descend on behalf of the tens of thousands who didn’t get selected.”

Blue and yellow lights set the mood to the song that started, VICTIMS OF LOVE. During the interlude, Sakurai sucked on another cigarette as he drew close to Hide’s face, then, changing spots, he plastered himself to Imai. Sakurai displayed his emotional expressions with subtle hand gestures like running his fingers through his hair. With his blond hair, Imai looked like a foreigner too. Then came a rare number; MISTY ZONE. Fans jumped up and down to this lively, bouncy song, and clapped in time during ICONOCLASM. They were, in short, beyond fired up.

At the third MC, Sakurai appeared to respond to the calls of the grooving audience with,

“Seems like I don’t have to talk today.”

“Keep it coming.”

It was a comfortable, friendly vibe. As if we were having a casual conversation.

“And now, for the first time,” JUPITER began with an air of melancholy and the atmosphere in that space turned hushed as people quietly listened on. When the song ended, Sakurai gently clasped his hands to his chest and they proceeded into Sakura. Two heart-aching songs, back to back.

From LOVE ME, they continued on into Speed and the audience was once again fired back up. Then, as if seeing the audience through to the climax of it all, the members left the stage. The applause for an encore echoed endlessly……

“I aren’t even tired at all.” Those were the words that Yagami said into the center mic when he came back out for the encore. A searchlight was hoisted up, shining down at the audience who laughed at this unexpected MC. The song which started was HYPER LOVE. it was then followed by an extremely nostalgic song; PLASTIC SYNDROME. When the song was over, Sakurai closed with a deep bow.

In the second encore, they played IN HEAVEN, and the very last song which capped it all off was MOON LIGHT.

Somehow, it felt as if the members of BUCK-TICK and everyone in the audience slipped back in time together to the wonderful memories of “those days” that have been etched into their hearts. Those were a warm and pleasant few hours that allowed us to experience the impossible; to relive precious memories that we don’t ever want to forget. A dream within a dream…… And now, this one night’s dream has probably also turned into new memories that are now carved into the hearts and minds of everyone who was there.

 

Setlist
Shibuya CLUB QUATTRO  1991.11.27

—Theme of B-T—

  1. Taiyou ni Korosareta…
  2. TO-SEARCH
  3. HURRY-UP MODE

—MC—

  1. Aku no Hana
  2. M.A.D
  3. MY FUNNY VALENTINE
  4. Angelfish

—MC—

  1. VICTIMS OF LOVE
  2. MISTY-ZONE
  3. ICONOCLASM
  4. PHYSICAL NEUROSE

—MC—

  1. JUPITER
  2. Sakura
  3. LOVE ME
  4. Speed

—ENCORE—

E1. HYPER LOVE
E2. PLASTIC SYNDROME TEPE Ⅱ

E3. …IN HEAVEN 
E4. MOON LIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: Morgianasama on LiveJournal

 

 

BUCK-TICK — Uta/Kimi e Review

Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll
April 1995

Text by Onojima Dai

 

BUCK-TICK will be releasing their new single Uta/Kimi e on March 24. What is this sound that broke their long silence like?

BUCK-TICK announced their new single, Uta/Kimi e. How many years has it been since we had a new record from them? Apart from Yuta’s serialised column in this publication, we’re barely heard any news of BUCK-TICK’s movements during their break. It’s also been a really long while since I’ve met or even spoken to the band members too, so I could listen [to this single] with a fresh mind.

Uta was composed by Imai Hisashi, and Kimi e, by Hoshino Hidehiko. The lyrics of both songs were written by Sakurai Atsushi.

Whichever song you listen to, the first thing you’d notice is the introduction of distortion-filled heavy metal-like rock guitars. And they weren’t effectively used in specific parts of the songs. Instead, they shaped the character of the songs by reverberating throughout pretty much the whole track. Based on the general impressions I’ve got, I’m sure that even though Imai and Hoshino’s guitars can be noisy and make strange sounds you wouldn’t hear anywhere else, I don’t think they have ever pushed such an orthodox and undoubtedly rock-styled distortion sound to the forefront before.

As a result, the subtle delicateness and exquisite shades that had always been present in BUCK-TICK’s music until now has disappeared and turned into a strong, heavy rock tune that slams into you.

On the other hand, the world of Sakurai Atsushi’s lyrics and his vocals largely maintains the image that he’s created so far. Of falling endlessly while desperately reaching your hands out in search of light in a world where hope and despair are in conflict. This in itself is an approach towards a perfected universe.

But, a problem lies in the sound balance.

I’ve listened to it close to 10 times since I received the tape, but somehow, I just couldn’t shake this feeling that something felt off. Before, I’d always feel like I’d made a new discovery or like my heart had suddenly been pierced with a delicate touch whenever I listened to a new BUCK-TICK song, but this time, there was none of that.

The singing and the playing are disparate. Or, well, maybe making them disparate is just one honest way of expressing it, but rather than going in the direction of each part complementing and playing up the other, I ended up getting the impression that these two parts were killing off each other’s positive aspects.

And the most uncomfortable part of it all was the beat. I can’t feel any groove at all. The rhythm is precise but there’s no nuance or timing that is strong enough to lead the whole song along so no matter how eager they are to try to distort the guitars, it doesn’t have the slightest bit of rock ‘n’ roll intensity. Why on earth did Anii drum such a flat rhythm when he’s supposed to be a fan of the role model of rock ‘n’ roll dynamism and nuance John Bonham (Led Zeppelin).

But I thought of something when I heard this longitudinal rhythm. Maybe the composer had in mind industrial sounds representative of Ministry or Nine Inch Nails. Rather then subtle nuances and sensibilities, the industrial machine beats that seem to barge through thick and heavy are like a sort of hardcore punk with a spasmic beat, kind of like a pulse without the groove and undulations. That, in its own way, is powerful and cool but I don’t think that this beat that BUCK-TICK brought this time is anything that meticulous. Somehow, everything is half-baked. In short, I suppose it doesn’t match their nature.

But, well, I guess it’s fine too. More than anything, the thing that disappointed me the most when I listened to this single was that I could barely sense any BUCK-TICK-ness or anything that is specifically unique to BUCK-TICK and only BUCK-TICK. The one most conventionally BUCK-TICK-like thing in this whole single was probably, Sakurai’s singing. As a vocalist, he is by no means perfect one. While delicate, Sakurai’s voice, which is neither robust nor that of a heavy rock vocalist’s, keeps getting muscled out by the loud and forceful background music. His subtle nuances and thoughtful wordings gets blasted away, leaving only a brutal impression like that of a rough, grainy photograph.

And their sound. They probably have a few creative ideas of their own, but unfortunately, barely any of their original ideas or that ingenuity can be detected in the BUCK-TICK sound in this single. Whichever song you look at, it just seems to me that they are taking overused formulae from Western rock music of 4 to 5 years ago that have been reused for years, only to recycle it again now.

I rated Shapeless, an album of BUCK-TICK’s songs remixed by Western techno artists highly. Of course, the remixing is the work of the remixers and have nothing to do with BUCK-TICK themselves. But even though they had the opportunity to see what different possibilities their music has with the help of these top Western artists, they instead chose to go against the times and step backwards, going industrial. This is just too much of a waste. I’m not saying that BUCK-TICK should make techno music. I don’t think it’s too much to ask of them to apply the spirit and new direction shown in techno, the music of this era. At the very least, isn’t this a more correct solution for them as compared to forcing themselves down the heavy rocker route if they considered their own nature as musicians? Well, having said all that, “No, I only did it ‘cause I wanted to,” is what I can already see Imai saying though……

RR97 Coverage Report:
Sakurai Atsushi/BUCK-TICK

ROCK AND READ Blog
07 September 2021

The next issue of “ROCK AND READ 097” (sale on 24 September) is a special issue of BUCK-TICK who are releasing their new single, Go-Go B-T TRAIN on 22 September.

BUCK-TICK will finally be dropping new music one year after their last album ABRACADABRA was released in the middle of the pandemic.

In addition to an interview with Sakurai Atsushi, who wrote the lyrics for all the songs on the single including the new versions, Uta Ver. 2021 (唄 Ver.2021) and JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver. 2021, in this issue, there will also be an interview with Imai Hisashi who composed the title track Go-Go B-T TRAIN, and Hoshino Hidehiko who composed the new B-side, Koi (恋).

There will also be an article discussing the original JUST ONE MORE KISS and Uta, the era they were created in and their impact, plus a report on the conceptual live stream concert Misemono-goya ga Kurete Kara~SHOW AFTER DARK~ (魅世物小屋が暮れてから~SHOW AFTER DARK~) which was broadcast back on July 17.

So, the first part of this 52-page Go-Go B-T Special is a long interview with Sakurai Atsushi, who graces the cover of this issue.

He goes into detail about all the songs recorded on Go-Go B-T TRAIN and talks about what happened in the year following the release of ABRACADABRA. Sakurai’s words in this interview on what “flowers” mean to him is quite a touching moment too, so do look forward to that.

Charging ahead fueled by love, the BT Train driven by BUCK-TICK who chants the “Spell of Love” is on its way!

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: ROCK AND READ BLOG

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Notes:

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.

 

 

Return to Top

_______________________

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).

 

 

Notes:

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