The Poem of June ──
Interview with Hoshino Hidehiko

Ongaku to Hito
July 2023

Text=Kanemitsu Hifumi
Minami Shinichiro


What has been regained

Hoshino Hidehiko turns 57 on June 16. The way he exudes the aura of a handsome, ageless  uncle remains the same as usual, but ever since he was 35, we’ve been having annual interviews with him every June, his birth month and this year marks the 23rd iteration. These interviews and his journey through life since birth were collected in his autobiography, Simply Life which had an expanded and revised edition published again last September. Following that, one would’ve thought that there will be no more interviews anymore. But the poem of June will go on forever.

At his own suggestion, this year’s photoshoot features him in a yukata in Kyoto, where the band is visiting for one of their shows in the BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空 -IZORA-. And the polish of the execution of this tour is exquisite. Not only have they chosen to construct the world of their album 異空 -IZORA- in a different manner than they used to, the band is gradually regaining what they have lost in the process of going on a proper tour with the lifted ban on audience cheers. It’s just wonderful to see such joy and confidence in a live show. It also leaves the impression that they’re probably looking to chase after tours again next month too.




After performing live in front of an audience, I’ve come to find that this album is actually well-balanced
What’s significant to us is definitely performing live and getting a real sense [of the music]

――I was shocked when I received a rare invitation from you asking, “Shall we hold the interview in Kyoto this year?”

Hoshino (H): Fufufu.

――Was this what you intended (lol).

H: This is (lol).

――We visited Kurumazaki Shrine located in the Saga area of Kyoto for today’s shoot, where the red tamagaki¹ (fence posts) in the shrine grounds made for an impressive sight. When was it that Hoshino-san offered² yours here?

H: To be specific, it’s in the Geino Shrine that’s within Kurumazaki Shrine, right? Last year, I went on a little sightseeing tour with a friend who’s a native Kyotoite and their spouse in between tours. So at the time, I heard that there was a shrine that people in the entertainment industry go to pray at and I grew curious so we went to have a look. That’s when I offered the tamagaki but I haven’t visited again since then. So this was actually the first time that I’m seeing my own tamagaki erected. It was early in the day, but it was quite crowded with people, wasn’t it?

――Seems like it’s become part of the tour route for school trips. We left the hotel at nine in the morning so as to not disrupt them. And now we’re backstage in the concert hall for this interview which was scheduled to start at eleven.

H: I generally wake up quite early so it’s fine (lol). It’s no bother at all. In fact, a schedule like this is easier on me.

――Alright, then. I got to watch the opening show for this tour last month. It’s a little bit different from the shows you’ve done so far, and there’s a strong concept that shows the audience the totality of it.

H: That’s quite true.

――What are Hoshino-san’s thoughts about this change?

H: I guess we could package the world of the 異空 -IZORA- album within the whole concert; from the opening to the last song in the encore. But even so, that’s not all there is. Because we managed to tie our older songs into this as well, I think they got updated too.

――There are still five more dates to go, but have you noticed any changes?

H: The drum solo now comes before the encore begins, but that’s probably about it. Surprisingly, nothing else. Maybe it’s because we’re very focused on getting the concept done right.

――It’s well-structured, isn’t it?

H: When we were completing the album, we forced what was meant for two separate CDs into one, so honestly speaking, I personally felt some sort of discomfort, or something like that about doing that. But now that the album is done and we have performed live in front of an audience like this, I’ve come to find that it’s actually well-balanced.

――I actually think it’s good that there’s no clear theme. At the same time, it also [shows] that this band has been making this wide a variety of music.

H: That’s BUCK-TICK for you. What’s significant to us is definitely performing live, getting a real sense [of the music], and growing that awareness of it. That’s what I understood after we started touring.

――Because it hits home when you have an MC or songs which reminisce about the old days.

H: We certainly do have those types of songs.

――By the way, how did you spend your Golden Week?

H: I couldn’t do anything. Well, the kids have grown up now so it’s not as if they’d ask me to take them somewhere. But more than that, they have classes and club activities even during the holidays so everyone’s schedules are all over the place. That’s why I just stayed at home and relaxed without doing anything.

――That’s good.

H: But, I told you last year that my father passed away, right? It just so happened that the memorial service for the first death anniversary fell during Golden Week, so I thought we should do a day trip and drove to Fujioka. But who knew, even though we left home early, it took us five and a half hours to get there because of a traffic jam made worse by the holidays and a traffic accident. There were even accidents that just happened.

――Normally it would only take you about an hour and a half, right?

H: Right. That really screwed things up. We couldn’t make it in time for the memorial, so in any case, we offered incense, visited his grave, spoke with family and relatives, and soon after made a U-turn home (lol).

――Did you manage to go see the flower beds at the former Fujioka High?
(Note: Flower beds in the image of BUCK-TICK have been planted in at their alma-mater, now Fujioka City Learning Center for a collaboration campaign with their hometown, Fujioka City)

H: Sounds like it was a hit, wasn’t it? Imai-san (Imai Hisashi / guitarist) and Yuta (Higuchi Yutaka / bassist) also went down, and Anii (Yagami Toll / drummer) visited just recently too, didn’t he? But it was so hectic that all our energy was spent, and I didn’t feel like I was in the mood for it at all so…… Unfortunately, I had to give it a miss this time.


Our 35th anniversary year technically ends in September
so I think it would be nice
if we could do something to wrap it up at the end

――Changing the topic, Sakurai-san (Sakurai Atsushi / vocalist) has released a ring as fan merch, hasn’t he?

H: Ah, so I heard.

ーーIt’s a romantic one with a design based on Sakurai-san’s vocal waves, but will Hoshino-san also release such a stylish thing?

H: Stylish things are nice but between [that and functional things], I lean towards releasing goods that can be used in daily life so there’s much more of that for me. So I have various considerations to think about.

ーーOnce the tour ends in July, what do you think BUCK-TICK will likely do next?

H: I wonder. Our 35th anniversary year technically ends in September, so I think it would be nice if we could do something to wrap it up at the end.


H: Not sure about what’s after that…… It wouldn’t be solo work (lol).

ーーI didn’t ask (lol).

H: I mentioned this earlier too but since we had the original idea of releasing two CDs, I actually have songs that were composed but just not recorded anyway. So I want to continue working on those, but we’ve already taken a break from that too. But, well, we each have our own ideas, anyway.

ーーBut now that you can resume touring in full force, and band activities and live concerts are back as a part of daily life, do you feel like you’ve regained something?

H: Right. Especially when we have a song like Boogie Woogie. The sense that it’s great being in a band…… Come to think of it, this has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but I heard that Ed Sheeran has started working on an album that should only be released after his death.

ーーWhen he’s only in his 30s?

H: I read about it somewhere. He’s still releasing albums but he started putting together a separate one for a posthumous release. Apparently he would add songs to it from time to time and state in his will that this would be released after his death.

ーーI guess he’s making preparations for his death despite his youth.

H: Who knows. But I sort of empathise that he doesn’t want to have any regrets. It makes me want to put some effort into turning those song fragments sitting in my PC into something proper.

ーーI heard that when Imai-san opens up his hard disk, he occasionally comes across song fragments like, “Huh, what was this?” (Lol)

H: It’s not organised, right? (Lol) But when I think about these things, I really want to keep making more music.

ーーAnd today, you even had a photoshoot in a yukata.

H: Yes, right. I thought, since we’re doing the shoot in a shrine, we might be able to enhance the atmosphere if I wore a yukata so I planned for this. What do you think?

ーーSimply awesome. If you’d actively propose such plans in future then we’ll release another revised and extended version of Simply Life in another 10 years.

H: I wonder who would buy a 67-year-old’s Simply Life (lol).

ーーPeople will (lol).

H: I get the feeling that the future topic for our chats wouldn’t be about my kids but about my grandkids (lol).

ーーThere is a possibility of that (lol). But I must say that I got a peace of mind when I had a look around the dressing rooms backstage and found that the other members of your band are generally relaxed.

H: Since the start I felt like we were doing this relatively well. Besides, this time, it’s generally simpler. Our stage setup includes film and video but there’s not much of a set, is there? Since it’s easy to see each others’ faces, I guess that also made  it easier for us to focus on playing the music.

ーーOn the other hand, the costumes were pretty fresh, weren’t they? Including the fact that [yours] looked symmetrical to Imai-san’s.

H: That was, it just so happened (lol). Because I’ve been thinking since a while ago that I wanted to go with a white scheme instead of black for this tour. And in the past, I wore that kind of skirt-like piece before so I decided to just make that white.

ーーIt was nice; like a prince from the Middle East.

H: Middle East (lol).

ーーAnd did you see Anii’s outfit?

H: Ahh. I didn’t look closely but it’s all our old photos, aren’t they? I didn’t get a proper look (lol).

ーーHe turned your funny faces into an outfit without letting you vet them (lol).

H: But I did know that he probably used that photo. When we debuted, our manager at the time would take photos anytime something happened. Whether we were on the move, or eating, or backstage, or overseas, or performing live…… and in all sorts of places. It was the era before data was accessible, so he would always make copies of them for the whole band and distribute them to us. That’s why I and the whole band probably have all the same photos at home.

ーー…… If you have such photos then bring them out and use them for your autobiography (lol).

H: They’re in some corner of the house, although I never tried looking for them (lol).

ーーThat’s not a good excuse, but anyway, there’s a part of this tour that feels somewhat nostalgic, isn’t there?

H: Since we have Boogie Woogie, right? That’s why I think this is a good tour.

ーーFinally, does Hide-san currently have a country or place, somewhere that you’d like to visit?

H: Let’s see…… It’s probably about time for me to visit the European region, isn’t it? Alright, once the tour ends. Shall I go scout ahead of the plans for 10 years later (another Simply Life)?

ーーNah. Europe is kind of…… (reluctant).

H: If that’s the case, how about Miyako-jima next? It’s been recommended to me anyway, it’s okay, really. Miyako-jima (lol).




¹ A visual of the tamagaki at the shrine.

² The “offering” of a tamagaki is not exactly the literal act of bringing your own fence post with your name painted on it. It’s more like “buying” or “commissioning” one from the shrine to put up as a prayer offering. The proceeds are as good as a donation to the shrine.




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2023.05.20 Hoshino Hidehiko BUCK-TICK

The photoshoot took place at Kurumazaki Shrine in Kyoto. As mentioned in the interview, the shoot started early in the morning. After that, everyone moved to the concert venue and the interview was conducted in the dressing room backstage. After a while, the other members of the band start to arrive. On Yuta-san’s desk in the dressing room was a mountain of his autobiography books. They were to be autographed for sale at the concert venue, but he didn’t only sign them; Yuta-san would also draw illustrations associated with the local attractions of each city where the show is held. For Kyoto, he drew the Daimonji Festival, maiko, and the Heian-jingu Shrine but then, he asked, “Any fresh ideas?” So Kanemitsu suggested Tenka Ippin Ramen (headquartered in Kyoto).

After the interview concluded, we left the dressing room and were walking down the hallway when Sakurai the Demon King approached from the other end with a big smile on his face, saying, “Got interrogated recently, Kanemitsu-san?” It was last month that I got interrogated when I went to pick up Yuta-san for his column interview and Yuta-san took a photo of that happening while laughing so I don’t know whether he [Sakurai] saw what Yuta-san took or  whether he read the last magazine edition’s column. Regardless, he got a good laugh out of it. But it was great getting the chance to see the Demon King’s smile ♡




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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki

A new step towards personal transformation
Interview with Higuchi Yutaka

Bass Magazine Vol.359
May 2023

Interview: Nakamura Kengo
Photos: Seitaro Tanaka
Layout: D.tribe


Celebrating their 35th anniversary, BUCK-TICK is a band at the forefront of the rock scene. Throughout their long career, they constantly ingest a diversity of musical elements, digest and regurgitate them in unexpected manners, bringing their audience a new touch to their BUCK-TICK sound with each release. 

The same could be said about their 23rd original album, 異空 -IZORA-. Their way of music is alive and well with how the songs go from indulgent rock, to riffs reminiscent of classic rock music, to an alluring jazzy medium, exhilarating beat tunes, to B-T’s style of city pop (?) and more. Bassist Higuchi Yutaka a.k.a. “U-ta” supports the band with a steady foundation revolving around “an approach which involves carefully picking the number of notes”. In this interview, we hear about Higuchi’s present mindset as he continues to look towards the innovation of his band’s sound.


Higuchi Yutaka ● Born on 24 January 1967, from Gunma Prefecture. Debuted with a major label as the bassist of BUCK-TICK in 1987. The band has since continued activities at the forefront of Japan’s rock scene with no changes in member line-up. They released 異空 -IZORA-, their 23rd original album on 12 April 2023 and are currently on travelling the country for their “BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空 -IZORA-” until July.


When there’s a reduction in sound
it feels like [the bass] is “breathing”.

――When you celebrated your 35th anniversary last September, it started off with the release of a concept best-of album and the commemorative concert.

Yuta (Y): The 35th anniversary concerts we held at Yokohama Arena turned out to be shows that we could’ve only held in this era considering the combination of societal events surrounding us like COVID-19 and the Russian-Ukraine war. But after that, we made up for it in the following tour which ran through to the end of the year and we managed to make it a kind of “joyous tour”. In recent years, we haven’t been able to tour at all because of COVID-19 and just when we thought we could, Imai (Hisashi/guitarist)-kun broke his leg. Ultimately, we’re a band who started out in the indies scene and used to tour around the whole country driving on the highways, so this tour was super fulfilling for us and I’m happier than ever that we could visit the different cities.

――Your best-of album, CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv. was divided into five discs with their respective themes; “RIBELO”, “GOTIKA”, “ELEKTRIZO”, “FANTAZIO”, and “ESPERO”. That sounded like an interesting experiment.

Y: We’ve released best-of compilations before, so we came up with this format when we were thinking about possible presentations that could make things interesting, and we’ve got quite a number of songs because we’ve continued like this for so long, so ultimately, I felt this was an idea that that we could executed only because we’ve tried so many different things before. Besides, when BUCK-TICK was first formed, no one in the band had any sort of musicality. We’re basically just five friends from the same hometown who enjoy doing this together. We have Imai-kun and Hide (Hoshino Hidehiko/guitarist) as our two composers and both of them kept coming up with better and better music. And I think that as the music we make changes, they have been able to reflect that well in different ways. I think the fact that I have to cater to all kinds of music is training from the two composers (lol).

――How did you tackle the production of your latest album, 異空 -IZORA-?

Y: It’s the same every time we’re celebrating a significant anniversary year, but the “theme” was to make sure we don’t run out of steam during the anniversary year. We wanted to bring an atmosphere that we’ve never had before, or take a step towards something new that we wanted to do.

――The songs which were revealed ahead of the album’s release were Sayonara Shelter which was also recorded on the best-of album, and the two singles, Taiyou to Icarus (太陽とイカロス / The Sun and Icarus) and Mugen LOOP (無限 LOOP / Infinity LOOP). BUCK-TICK generally has a dark image, but all of these songs are cheery, or rather, they sound refreshing.

Y: That’s right. They weren’t made with the fixed notion that “This will be a single!” or anything like that, but I did get the feeling that these songs might be in the running to be released as singles in the middle of producing them. Although, we didn’t deliberately aim to make cheerful songs, it just happened to turn out like this. Whether Taiyou to Icarus or Mugen LOOP, they are songs that bring out a sense of pop that we’ve never really done before, so I guess there’s a possibility that a part of them shows we’re doing something different yet again.

――Do you as a bassist consciously try to incorporate new approaches?

Y: No, ultimately, the priority is “to play the bass in a way that suits the song”. Based on that, I tried employing the use of an upright bass in the songs Noraneko Blue (野良猫ブルー / Stray Cat Blue) and Hizumi (ヒズミ). I rarely ever use an upright bass in recording work. I would generally use a regular bass for the studio recording and then play that live with an upright bass. So this time, I just thought maybe I should try using an upright from the very beginning.

――The extended greasy feeling of Noraneko Blue’s intro was something I thought could have only come from playing the longer strings of an upright bass. Does the phrasing change for you when you play with an upright instead of simply using a fretless bass?

Y: It does. Also, I took the opportunity to record using a mic instead and the sound definitely  had a more human touch to it. It completely changes the vibe too. In terms of sound, what an actual wood bass produces wins hands down, but it’s interesting how [doing this] creates a slightly different feel. I can’t think of a better way to say this, but there’s this vague sense of going off-tune, like the pitch sounding ambiguous which makes it interesting.

――Instead of overusing the unique approach that the upright bass calls for, you only applied it at certain points, like part of the interlude and the chorus. While in the rest of the song, you went with keeping things sounding tight. I think the added seasoning this contrast brings is just exquisite.

Y: When it comes to the bass, I keep in mind the feeling that I’m also part of the chorus singing, in the sense that it would be good if I can really feel the rhythm of the melody and get into it. I think making music with this awareness would naturally lead me towards playing my bass in that manner you speak of.

――Hizumi develops with the same rhythm pattern, but I think there’s an added intentional nuance in there with the way you added a bit of grease only on the fourth beat of the last bar of the bassline in the A melody. It’s as if you applied a technique which lets listeners feel something instead of adding filler phrases.

Y: That’s probably another result of me wanting to bring feelings into my bass and match the vocals. In such a situation, I notice that compared to before, there’s more work done to reduce the sound of the bass these days. I feel like doing that brings out emotion, or makes it feel like it is “breathing”.

Making the bass sound like it’s waving it’s arms, trying to get noticed is just so uncool (lol).

――The first track on the album, QUANTUM Ⅰ is an instrumental and it’s got a heavy synth bass in it. Following that, in the second track, SCARECROW, after the vocal and guitar arpeggio, the bass comes in alongside the synth bass and it was so strong that it surprised me.

Y: That might also be related to the fact that I used a 5-string for this song. I didn’t originally intend to use the 5-string, but simply put, this song is a “weighty” one, so I thought maybe it’s a good idea for me to pile on the “weight” (lol). I hope it was a good choice made.

――The A melody in SCARECROW progresses with long tones, but there that greasy feeling comes in during chord changes which boldly brings out the sense that this is being played by an actual bass. I would think that how much of that you put in is one of those factors that would make subtle changes to the groove, but were you still thinking about how to mesh this together with the main melody?

Y: That’s right. Also, if there’s too much grease in there it’d be like the bass is going, “Heeeey! Hello!! I’m here!” Waving its arms around, being so uncool (lol).

――Like you’re trying too hard to get noticed (lol).

Y: Yeah, and that’s something I definitely don’t want. So while there are parts where the greasing comes in and where it drops for a transition, there are also times when the main melody would stand out more, or the guitar would sound more appealing if just one more note of transition gets included.

――In terms of sound, is the slightly distorted vibe we get from the songs, including SCARECROW, something that is always there?

Y: That’s right. There’s basically always some sort of distortion. As to exactly how distorted, that’s something we decide on with the tech people, but our band does a lot of loops too, so to make it obvious [to listeners] the bass is also distorted, we have to make it sound incredibly distorted. Otherwise it wouldn’t sound like it is at all. That’s why I often get told that “this sounds normal” even when something is in fact distorted (lol).

――How do you do it?

Y: It depends on the situation. Even if I bring in the distortion using an amp, there’s a variety of equipment we use like the ampeg and so on. And even after distortion using the amp, tech and the engineers would do all sorts of effects processing on the sound too. In live concerts, I use Music Man amps and the effector I use is either SOURCE AUDIO or one of the tones from ZOOM’s MS-60B.

――Boogie Woogie has a rather distorted sound but it reminds me of Unison Riff and the guitars sound like that of 70s rock music.

Y: I remember applying quite a lot of distortion to it. If I didn’t, the bass would wind up in a mess. If only the guitars were distorted, then the bass alone would feel like it’s lagging behind when it all comes together. There wouldn’t be that feeling of speed. And that’s why I distorted it. Even the texture of the distortion was made to resemble something from the past. I know that songs like this one aren’t like most of what BUCK-TICK has done before, so I’m looking forward to playing this live.

――THE FALLING DOWN is also coarsely distorted. For certain songs, I’d assume you have to hold your bass a little higher up your waist and play it kind of punk-style, right?

Y: The moment I heard this song, I already got this feeling of being hit by a ball that was thrown at my head. That’s why I just went ahead and played it without thinking too much. When I heard the song, I also thought that if we were to distort things, then it might be interesting to do something that sounds like The Stranglers too.

――What equipment did you use in recording?

Y: I used fretless bass guitars from Greco, and a Rickenbacker. There were two fretless basses; usage was split between an old bass and a new one. Because I feel like it would be better to use the new one if I’m playing an energetic song. I’ve used the Rickenbacker for a long time now. It was even used in Speed on the album Kurutta Taiyou (1991). The sound it makes is pretty coarse, so I guess you could say that the distortion would come with it more than you’d expect. The upright bass I use is made by Landscape.

――What about the 5-string in SCARECROW?

Y: It’s something Greco produced for me in the past. Since it was made way back, you can guess that it’s really heavy. As heavy as two basses (lol). I asked them to make me one more to use as a substitute just in case, and it was about a third of the weight. I was thinking, “Is the difference really that big?!” (lol).

I find myself enjoying playing with a pick recently.

一一Earlier, you said that you’re removing notes more often in your bass play now, and I got the feeling that there was some deliberate decisions made in Na mo Naki Watashi (名も無きわたし / I, Nameless) for which parts had notes and which didn’t. It would’ve been okay for you to just bury the bass with the 8-beat route in the B melody, but you instead went with patterns like one rest at the start of the third beat, and having more notes in the second A melody than the first yet at the same time less than the number of notes in the B melody, so on and so forth.

Y: Precisely. Because this is a song where I think it’s better for me to play as little as possible. That’s already decided right from the very start. I actually thought it would’ve been enough if I just did the “doon, da-da…” through to the end, but it would ultimately just make things monotonous.

――Is there any reason why you started to play with the conscious intention to reduce the number of notes?

Y: I suppose it might’ve started from my desire to prioritise the melody. Back when we just started playing as a band, it was thought that there was no question that the bassist stood on the side of the drummer as the rhythm team, but the bass has now moved a little more towards the melody side of things so I thought maybe I could just do one note at the start of each bar and not play the rest of it? (lol) Or it could be that we started to have more songs that place emphasis on the melody, more slow tempo songs. I think the way I feel the music changed with those types of songs.

――At the start, we spoke about the bass in Mugen LOOP too, but I think its light rhythm pattern with its note values and sound breaks actually add to how pop the song sounds on the whole.

Y: One thing I was concerned about with this song was how it would immediately end up with a stylish ambience if I get even one thing wrong. Because the BUCK-TICK-ness would get diluted if the song tends towards that direction. It would turn into something that probably makes you think, “This might possibly be BUCK-TICK, but something’s off?” (lol). I think we did a good job executing that kind of subtlety.

――While the cheerful sounding Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni (Campanella 花束を君に / Bouquet For You) has a bit of motown vibes in it. Is motown also a genre that Yuta-san enjoys?

Y: That’s right. But this song was the most difficult one for me. When I was working on it, I kind of felt like I couldn’t hit it quite right. I think it was the way I felt the bouncy rhythm, but since it’s something I liked, I gave the old motown songs and other similar types a proper listen and got the feeling that perhaps that may just be the exact problem. Like, “For some reason, I just can’t play like how they sound back in the day.” I think I managed to get the bass in a good spot, but I think I still need to study more (lol).

――In recent years, Yuta-san often plays with finger picking but you used a pick for Taiyou to Icarus?

Y: That’s right. In this album, I used the pick in both Boogie Woogie and THE FALLING DOWN too. Actually, I guess I find myself enjoying playing with a pick recently. I realised I could do quite a surprising variety of things [using a pick], including creating the sense of speed and some other sound production related things. Also, I’ve begun to find play styles like that of The Ventures and Kabe Masayoshi-san’s intriguing. I can’t do it anywhere as well as them, though (lol).

――You’ll soon embark on your album tour. How do you think it’ll turn out?

Y: I mentioned this at the start too, but as we celebrate our 35th anniversary, we don’t know how much further we can go but we’ve made an album that signifies a new first step for us, and since we’ve been in a state that prohibits cheers and has all kinds of restrictions on concerts in recent years, I feel like [this tour] will also be our first step [out of] that situation. By producing an album and then going on tour, we can let our audience experience the songs through an interpretation they may not have had, and depending on how things turn out, there’s also the possibility to turn the songs into masterpieces, so I’m looking forward to that as well as meeting all those who have been waiting for us.

▲From left, Imai Hisashi (guitar), Yagami Toll (drums), Sakurai Atsushi (vocals), Higuchi, Hoshino Hidehiko (guitar).





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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki


異空 -IZORA- Feature

PHY Vol. 24
April 2023

I thought having fun playing music in a band like that was enough
Except, I gradually started to wonder, “So, what am I going to do next?”…… I guess you could say that I finally woke up from a dream

photographs by Sasahara Kiyoaki_L management
hair & make-up by Tanizaki Takayuki, Yamaji Chihiro_Fat’s Berry
styling by Shimizu Kenichi

clothes from
kiryuyrik 03-5728-4048
SERIALIZE 03-3499-6002


Everyone wants to see spectacular lies and made-up stories, to let themselves be deceived
If calling it a “lie” isn’t appropriate…… then perhaps, a “dream”

After two years and seven months, the band has released their 23rd original album, 異空 -IZORA-.

This album is all over the place, in a good way. In the beginning, they intended to release the songs in two discs so they began composing a diversity of songs, but in the end, they decided to release just one disc and this is what came of it. Yet in here is a realism that conveys the band’s current vibe. Concerts were no longer ordinary occasions and the band had been unable to carry out their activities like they used to due to COVID-19. This led to a slight change in their shared values because they couldn’t see the singularity.

Yet interestingly enough, if you read these interviews, if you listen to their music, you can sense that they all wish to feel the same emotions they felt when they first came together to form the band. Because there was no theme, no direction to follow, each member’s personal thoughts came flowing out. These are the feelings that came through this album.

A moon floating in a strange sky (異空/izora). It turns full with the wishes of these five band members. That’s right. 35 years after their debut, this is an album which shows us their new beginnings.





BUCK-TICK Solo Interviews


Sakurai Atsushi

Interview by: Ishil Eriko

Because dreams are dreams so they aren’t actually reality, or rather, it’s something you create yourself and enchant yourself with
Besides, I also perform and enchant myself with a version of me who isn’t exactly me, right?

――This came up in an earlier interview too, but surprisingly, Sakurai-san, you visit the park, don’t you?

Sakurai (S): Yeah. To space out in the day. If I have nothing going on that day, I would go with a drink in hand, listen to music, read a book, watch grandpas and grandmas play their sports…… That’s pretty much how I spend my time relaxing. I’m not there because I want to meet people, but it’s just that sometimes it feels like I have to go get some sunlight and photosynthesise or it’ll be bad for me.

――But if it’s raining outside, like today, then it’s not possible, is it?

S: Well, if it rains, it rains so…… I think it’s nice that everyone gets a little troubled just like me.

――Hahahaha! Actually, the word “rain (雨/ame)” often came up in the lyrics to the songs of your most recent album. If we exclude the instrumental tracks, it shows up in seven of the twelve songs.

S: Oh~? Is that so? Even I didn’t quite notice that myself.

――What does rain symbolise to you?

S: I wonder. Just now, I jokingly said, “It’s nice that everyone gets a little troubled,” but everyone dreads rain equally and everyone would say things like, “Damn, it’s raining?”, wouldn’t they? It’s annoying, it dampens moods, it makes people lonely. Opening up an umbrella creates a space that only allows for yourself. That’s the imagery that I get from rain.

――Are there times when you enjoy it?

S: Originally, I really didn’t hate it. The area of my hometown, Gunma Prefecture’s Fujioka City, was famous for how you’d hear thunder almost everyday in summer. I think the weather conditions have changed a little bit now, but I would really hear angry-sounding thunder and see pretty scary lightning in the daytime just about everyday when it’s summer. I was scared but somehow, at the same time, I guess you could say, in awe. I remember seeing beautiful lightning turning the sky a pure white and feeling scared yet finding it equally beautiful.

――That’s something I would like to see.

S: Yeah. Although I believe there’s certainly nothing better than a clear sunny day. But I like this too, the dark grey skies we have today. I also imagine that the vegetation will be very happy with the rain too. They would shine and sparkle in green, and the flowers would soak up the water. I think it’s just as important as the sun for life.

――Yes. The next word which stood out to me is “lie (嘘/uso)”. It shows up in Warukyuure no Kikou (ワルキューレの騎行/Ride of the Valkyries) in the line “I don’t care if it’s a lie (嘘で構わない/Uso de kamawanai)”. But the world at large tells us that we can’t lie, though.

S: Hmm… but the truth is, we tell lies to comfort people or children. Lies like, “Monsters will come and get you if you don’t sleep soon.” We do tell lies to reassure children and protect them, don’t we? I feel that’s the perspective that the lyrics are making use of. A specific example would be how we won’t say, “Missiles are flying overhead,” but instead, we’ll say something like, “It’s raining so we can’t go out.”

――This is something ISSAY-san (Der Zibet/vocals) said, but in his words, “People seek out concerts, movies, and theatre for the sake of seeing a beautiful lie.”

S: Ahh……… That’s my elder sister¹ for you; it’s a whole other manner of speech!

――Elder sister (lol).

S: I see. But that’s nice, isn’t it?

――Yeah. I think one of BUCK-TICK’s jobs is to enchant with beautiful lies.

S: Mhm, although it might give people the wrong ideas, fufufuh. But that’s correct. Everyone wants to see spectacular lies and made-up stories. Everyone wants to let themselves be deceived.

――If the word “lie” isn’t appropriate, what other word would you use?

S: Well…… Perhaps it would be “dream”. Kind of cheesy, though. But I think “dream” is the closest synonym. Because dreams are dreams so they aren’t actually reality, or rather, it’s something you create yourself and enchant yourself with. Besides, I also perform and enchant myself with a version of me who isn’t exactly me, right? Reality is painful, it’s heavy, it’s too cruel. So I think that makes lies pretty effective too.


What you find in this Hizumi is also my own personal Hizumi²
Twisted thoughts when it comes to my own mother and father

――Speaking of whether something is real or fictional, in this album, I felt for the first time that the “papa, mama” that Sakurai-san penned has changed.

S: Ah, really? Hm… Maybe because there’s a broader perspective here. In the past, it would be about myself, and my own father and mother. That part might’ve come across exceptionally strongly but if the focus is more on what’s going on in the story, I guess it becomes…… a reference to the fathers and mothers of children in general?

――Indeed. It’s just that I believe your actual parents are an enduring part of Sakurai-san’s roots and also a form of energy that feeds your performance.

S: That’s true. …… I always question myself about it, like, “Isn’t that enough already?” Isn’t it as good as bragging about my hardships (wry smile)? I always think, “Let’s stop doing that”, “I should let go of my parents for my own sake.” But eventually, I always end up feeling that I have to revisit those events before I can start over again. Even so, when I see and hear about what’s going on in the world, there are all kinds of mothers and fathers and families. I guess I came to feel that it might be a good thing for me to sing more about these things, even in relation to myself. And also that it would be nice if I could remain as pure and innocent as a child. Perhaps this naive wish made its way there.

――The “father, mother” who appears in Hizumi; are these figures closer to Sakurai-san’s own parents or that of the character in the story?

S: Hm…… I would say it’s my own father and mother. I have these kinds of emotions in me. I think people will be able to understand all these things that are seeping out of me, though. Mm…… That’s why, what you find in this Hizumi is also my own personal Hizumi². Twisted thoughts when it comes to my own mother and father.

――Where there is murderous hatred, but also the desire to say you love them.

S: That’s right. Apologies for getting depressing, but ever since I was old enough to remember, my mother has been subjected to violence and I spent everyday trembling with my older brother. I only wondered, “Why’s my home like this?” and harboured a fear of my father, and hatred. Why does he put my mother through this? I honestly wanted to kill him too. Towards my mother, I felt pity, and wondered why she sacrificed herself…… There was a time when I told her, “You can just leave with big brother. You don’t have to stay in this house and put up with it.” And she said something like, “Why are you saying such things!” There’s a part of her that believes this is the only place where she belongs, it’s very…… frustrating, I guess. It was a situation that cannot be handled by children.

――It must’ve been incredibly difficult. However, this is unfortunately a special story that is unique to Sakurai-san. It’s not something you’d hear anywhere else.

S:Yeah. That’s true. I believe there are a lot of children who were born into far worse environments and brought up in it. It’s really unimaginable simply because it doesn’t make the news…… There really are a lot of children who matured surprisingly well and avoided becoming criminals.

――I hope this music helps people.

S: Yeah…… That would be nice.

――Yes. Next, I’d like to ask about the word “dream”. Sakurai-san has also sung about all types of dreams in in the past, but it’s rare that you would pen a phrase like, “chasing things like dreams (夢なんて追いかけて/yume nante oikakete)”.

S: Right, we started the band together but for some reason, I myself didn’t really have any goals. I was going along without specific goals like knowing what we wanted to become, or wanting to perform at a particular venue. Just happy to be able to transiently enjoy each day, firing up the audience even with shitty performances. There was a negligent and carefree part of me that didn’t care about the future as long as I could spend another night like that. I guess I genuinely thought having fun playing music in a band like that was enough. Except, I gradually started to wonder, “So, what am I going to do next?”…… I guess you could say that I finally woke up from a dream (lol).


S: I just suddenly started to wonder, “So what do I want to do?” You know? I thought, if my first phase was me voicing my desire to be a vocalist then I have to move on to the second phase. And that’s my personal desire when it comes to our releases. That kept on sprouting and growing. And I guess I just couldn’t convince myself with the surface-level thing anymore. Wondering, “What should I myself sing about going forward?” That’s when I felt like I finally woke up from my dream.

――Right now, does Sakurai-san have a dream of your own?

S: Huh? …………… Perhaps a peaceful retirement.

――Hahahahaha! Will that lifestyle involve band activities?

S: Ah, well, perhaps within the realm of “Oh, the weather looks good today, shall we give it a go?” as an elderly man.

――Depending on the weather!

S: Hahahahah. Saying things like, “My leg hurts.’ (Lol) This isn’t something that would make headlines, but I would like to attain happiness as a person.

――Yes. One more thing I would like to bring up is the imagery of “flowers” that come up in the songs Na mo Naki Watashi (I, Nameless), Ai no Harem (Harem of Love), and Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni (Campanella  A Bouquet For You). It’s something that appears to symbolise life and peace, and also love.

S: Yes. I, as a man who’s over 50 years of age, actually like flowers a lot.

――I think that’s a very lovely sentiment.

S: Fuhahahah. Um, well, it’s because my mother loved flowers a ton. She used to always bring me along to the horticulture corner of the DYI stores to buy cheap potted plants. We were somehow a household which always had flowers in the garden. And when I started performing concerts, I started asking for flowers in the dressing room. I thought it was nice to have flowers around in a dressing room filled with disorderly men. While admiring them, I’d end up thinking, “What a waste. I’ll bring them home.” Even now, I’ll have flowers that I receive on my birthday in my room. So I have always loved flowers. I like receiving them and giving them very much too.

――That’s even lovelier.

S: It’s a life after all. A life that doesn’t speak. Just like the sun, the wind, the rain, insects. Of course, the grass and the trees are also part of all these lives that are connected. And I think it’s all simply amazing. These lives that exist without saying a word.

――Do you have a favourite flower?

S: Do I? Ah, I’m not sure if they count, but I like baby’s breath.

――That’s adorable (lol).

S: Even though I’m an old man (lol). But I like all flowers in general. The ones I have in my room now are probably callas, lilies? They’re flamboyant. You know, people somehow tend to associate roses and the sort with me, but I really love the more simple varieties too. Also…… I just recalled something while we were talking.

――What is it?

S: I’ll occasionally visit my hometown. It’s been more than 30 years since my mother passed, but when I visit her grave, there will already be quite a lot of flowers laid. On her death anniversary and even other regular days too. It seems to me that there are a number of people who would always leave flowers for her these past decades.

――Huh? Even now?

S: Yeah. I am just humbled. In the past, I wasn’t very good at dealing with fans who came all the way to my parents’ home. But my mother always took very good care of them. I told her, “You don’t have to let them into the house,” but she would chastise me, saying things like, “They made the effort to come all the way here!” (Lol) And that fan would assertively add, “I’m Sakurai-san’s fan but I’m first and foremost your mother’s fan.” At that point I could only feel apologetic (lol).

――To think there are some who are that dedicated…… That’s amazing.

S: It’s already been more than 30 years too. While I only visit when the thought of it occurs to me. My older brother visits her grave every year on her death anniversary, and he would tell me, “There’s a load of flowers here again.” I’m really very grateful.

――I’ve got a question for you that might feel rather inappropriate considering the flow of our conversation, but what kind of flowers do you hope to receive when it’s your time?

S: Mm……

――I’m sorry, it’s really inappropriate.

S: No, no. It’s good, isn’t it? To think about these things. Normally the subdued chrysanthemums would be the main flower and I suppose there’s nothing wrong with the standard being the standard. But the flowers that currently show up on my mother’s grave are very flamboyant, not the usual types for a memorial. So, really, something like that. Flowers other than white chrysanthemums. Flamboyant would be nice.

――Then, a gorgeous, romantic bouquet.

S: I look forward to it. Fufufuh.




¹ He referred to ISSAY as お姐様 (onee-sama), “elder sister” in a more respectful manner of speech. The word can also be used to refer to a lady boss.

² I’ve probably mentioned it somewhere before but ヒズミ (hizumi) is essentially this word, 歪み written in Katakana. Because it’s written in Katakana, ヒズミ can also be interpreted as a person’s name. At the same time, the 歪み word is essentially defined as “a distorted or warped shape, or a bad result of something”.
Here, Sakurai could be saying that Hizumi, the character also exists within him, or that there are parts of him that are also twisted in the parallel to what the song describes.



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Imai Hisashi

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

I think it was nice to be able to work freely without a theme. It feels like the way it used to be in the past
But we faced difficulty in coordinating our schedules

――Your new song Sayonara Shelter was included in last September’s release of your best-of album, CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.. Recording work for 異空 -IZORA- started long before that, didn’t it?

Imai (I): That’s right. After we released ABRACADABRA, we couldn’t tour because of COVID-19 and after that…… Well, a bunch happened (lol).

――Sure did (lol). So you can’t use the excuse that you couldn’t make music because there was no time.

I: I’m not making excuses here— (lol). So we started recording work around April of last year but before that, we had a discussion with our staff. That’s where the conversation about how it would be interesting if we were to release two discs with a one or two week interval between them. I was thinking that it would be too.

――Sure is.

I: But I guess I gradually started getting the feeling that it wasn’t very coherent. In the beginning, we only thought about recording but then we had to get ready for the fan club and mobile members exclusive tour and our 35th anniversary show at Yokohama Arena so things started getting busy and we started feeling more and more things overlapping together.

――At the start of 2022, you mentioned that the idea was to release two discs with all types of songs at the same time.

I: At the start, right? That’s why I thought, we’re going to need a whole lot of songs, and when that happened, I thought it was going to be pretty interesting with the variety of songs that will be in it. But in the end, I guess you could say that I started to want a good reason for us to split the songs into two CDs.

――Not simply because you have a lot of songs and a wide variety of them?

I: Exactly. I also figured that I hate that recording takes a long time when there are a lot of songs. It’s like, I might get sick of it if we split them up properly but didn’t find any meaning in doing so.

――Between light and dark, something like that?

I: As an example. At first, we didn’t make any conclusion on that end and decided that we would just start composing music and move ahead with the recording. I guess we didn’t have a real final destination in sight in terms of what would eventually happen with our work.

――So where did the idea of releasing two CDs come from?

I: I think the person who came up with that idea in the very beginning was probably Tanaka-san (director). He said, since it would be our first original release in a significant while following ABRACADABRA, doing this would leave a stronger impact and it would also bring across something like the polyphagous nature of this band. And I concurred that it does sound like an interesting approach.

――When ABRACADABRA was released, Imai-san mentioned that you had the theme of “escape (逸脱/itsudatsu)” in mind, but is there nothing like that [this time]?

I: There isn’t. I thought it might be interesting to produce an album for our 35th anniversary without a clear theme or concept, or anything concrete in that sense.

――How was songwriting without a theme?

I: I think it was nice to be able to work freely. Somehow, it feels like the way it used to be in the past. But with the added difficulty we faced in coordinating our schedules along with the fact that we were going to the studio while technically being on tour, it was pretty tough.

――I would’ve thought so.

I: But as recording progressed, we had demo tapes for about 20 songs lined up. We were working towards releasing two discs so we did sort of finish it in that sense, but then the whole band started wondering whether this was really such a good idea after all.

――There was still work to do on the song lyrics while you were on tour too.

I: Exactly. Music notwithstanding, Sakurai-san still had to write the lyrics and sing his parts. Based on arrangement and demo tapes, we completed the twelve tracks that went into this album release. I think the recording work for three or so has been completed up to the bass stage; they still lack guitars and drums and that got us thinking that maybe we should sit down and reconsider this.

――So it was around the end of last year and the start of this year when you made the decision.

I: Yeah. We decided that we would attach the very first and very last instrumental tracks with the twelve complete songs and call it a day.

――I think because there was no theme to speak of, it has resulted in a collection of songs that represent the current BUCK-TICK with a lot of freedom.

I: That’s right. It wasn’t our goal to do this but on the other hand, it naturally shows what we’re like now in our 35th year together. I guess that’s the interesting thing about it.


――How would you describe the current BUCK-TICK in more specific terms?

I: Something like this (lol).

――You just can’t add a few more words in there, can you (lol).

I: Don’t think so!


I: Well, I guess it’s the idea that our band can also play such music. We haven’t had the chance to play together yet so we don’t know how it’ll sound live and I think that’s something we can all look forward to as well.

――The first and final tracks are instrumental tracks with QUANTUM in the title.

I: I thought it would be nice for us to come on stage to those tracks in concert. I wanted to include these tracks in the album and do a bit of world-building before we go on tour.

――It’s defined as a very small unit of energy.

I: But that doesn’t mean anything here. I guess maybe something more like a prayer or a wish.

――You said you had around twenty songs?

I: Eighteen in total, I think. And from those we picked twelve for the album. Apart from that, there are three more songs that I composed but they don’t have anything done, not even guitars.

――Did you want to release two discs?

I: Nah, even if we did manage to record them all, I don’t know whether we’d actually go ahead with it. There may also be some areas that feel kind of wrong although we don’t really have those. Rather, I would prefer to execute things a little more neatly.

――You mean, with a clearer theme?

I: Yeah. We tried putting things together at a point when we prioritised the number of songs over having a theme, and as I mentioned earlier, we ended up with the unintentional effect of bringing out what our band’s current vibe is. And that’s good, but if we were to release two discs like this without any good reason to, it’s a bit…… you know.

――And that’s why this album has such a variety of music.

I: I mean, well, it’s also because when we started talking about composing a ton of songs to release in two discs, that’s exactly what we thought would happen. But [the variety] wasn’t intentional. It might feel that there are more shuffle songs and groovy music than usual, but that’s about it. The rest is our usual. We just want people to have fun when they listen to this album.

This time, I didn’t think about trying all sorts of experimental music, or incorporating this and that
I guess I was more of playing around with whatever came to mind and shaping it

――Imai-san came up with the title, 異空 -IZORA-, right?

I: Mugen LOOP (無限 LOOP/Infinity LOOP)’s working title was originally izora. That stuck with me the whole time so I made it the album title.

――Where did you get it from?

I: I like the works that artist Uchibayashi Takeshi-san creates, and he has a particular one called Ikuu e no Madou (異空への窓/Window to Another Sky). I think it’s normally read as ikuu instead of izora and he also said the same thing to me, but I thought it might be intriguing to read it as izora. And I thought it’d be nice if I could use it somewhere.

――Where did you see this artwork?

I: I bought it myself. I went to Uchibayashi-san’s exhibition and he also let me drop by his atelier for a bit, though.

――What drew you to that piece of art?

I: The homesickness. I like it.

――I saw the piece, the crescent moon is a nice touch, isn’t it?

I: Yeah. And the telephone pole at dusk, and the silhouette of a home. It’s not just the homesick feeling I like, though. I like the way [the art pieces] brings it out.

――So you made that the album title.

I: Yeah. But the purpose isn’t to make nostalgic homesickness the theme. It’s more about what kind of feeling we get when we see “different skies (異空)” like “blue skies (青空)” or “cloudy skies (曇り空)” and all that.

――Were there any changes in the way you composed your music?

I: None in particular. But this time, I didn’t think about trying all sorts of experimental music, or incorporating this and that. I guess I was more of playing around with whatever came to mind and shaping it. There wasn’t anything like a focused aim with a concept.

――Is there a chance that something like that would come around again?

I: I wonder. Wouldn’t that be based on timing or whether there are inspiration triggers? This is a slightly different topic but when I did SCHAFT in the past, we didn’t want to make something similar to the first album which was more industrial and gritty. Instead, we wanted to make music that felt less formal and allowed listeners to enjoy the live-band style music more.

――So that’s why Fujii-san (Fujii Maki) was so confused at the start (lol).

I: Because we were focused on more rock band-styled music, right? The genre is different, but I guess that’s similar to what we have now.

――Which is of more interest to you now?

I: Dunno. I enjoy them both. I guess it feels like a boom.

――Also, this time, you have YOW-ROW-kun (GARI) and Yoko-chan (Yokoyama Kazutoshi) participating in the album for manipulation and remixing too. Their work seems to sound kind of similar but I would think they’re present here as two different types.

I: YOW-ROW is the type to make use of all kinds of things without much hesitation.  When he was working on the remix of Na mo Naki Watashi (I, Nameless), he came over to my home and we came up with a lot of concrete ideas like how the chord progression would go, this and that. YOW-ROW did the arrangement and adjustments after that. If I’m working with Yoko-chan, all I’d probably say is, “Make it major.” (Lol)


I: But I did tell him right from the beginning that I wanted to turn it instrumental. There’s a set direction.

――Your tour is starting for this album that has quite a focus on performing the songs live, but have you thought about how you’d like the shows to turn out?

I: COVID-19 has subsided and now [the audience] can get loud and noisy in concerts, right? That’s definitely one thing I’m looking forward to, but I also wonder what it’s going to be like. Because I kind of forgot after these past few years. So I’m actually looking forward to that. And what kind of music I would make after experiencing it.

――Already talking about the next thing (lol).

I: Because I always get ideas and that creative urge without fail when we’re on tour. That’s exciting, isn’t it?

――We’ve known each other for decades and even now I still ask you about these things, but you never fail to get ideas about what you’ll do next, do you?

I: They’ll come to me, somehow someway. I’ve never had nothing at all. This is the way it’s been throughout these 35 years, so I’m sure the next thing will happen the same way. Once we hold concerts, I’ll start getting ideas of what might be interesting to do next, and we’ll build everything from scratch again together after reducing what was finally consolidated at the end of it to zero. That’s not a thing you’ll get tired of doing.

――That’s true.

I: Because I think there’s still more to create.

――I think the confidence in these words has become the backbone of the band. Now that your 35th anniversary has concluded, we now look towards your 40thーー

I: Because there’s still our 36th, 37th, 38th, and 39th anniversary, right (lol).




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Hoshino Hidehiko

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

I think it’s an album we managed to put together after having experienced a bunch of things
Everyone thinks so. That we made something good isn’t the only thing we feel.

――With your new album, I get the sense that while it isn’t strongly thematic, it really lets people feel the breadth of this band’s musicality.

Hoshino (H): That’s right. At first, the idea to release two discs was raised and we subsequently started recording. In what way, we haven’t decided though, like whether it’s releasing two discs at the same time or with a short delay between them.

――You were already recording before the release of your best-of concept album last September, right?

H: That’s right. I feel like the whole of last year was spent recording. That’s why we got started early. Even though we couldn’t envision what was next. How many songs we should release, how many tracks to record, what type of songs we need; we knew nothing at all. That’s why we sort of went about it with the mindset that we really were going to release two discs or so.

――What do you mean by “type of songs”?

H: For a period, there was this sense that we were going to have two different themes for each of the discs. Like, light and dark, or something. It’s vague though. And if we wrote our music fixed on that, we’d end up restricting ourselves so I gave my music a flexibility that made it possible to change things up depending on the final arrangement. I figured that it was probably better to have more patterns so I expanded the range. Personally.

――Is that the reason behind the wide range of musicality we got in this album?

H: That’s true. In the end, the songs went into one CD, so maybe it feels like it leans very much that way.

――Roughly how many songs were initially in your demo tape?

H: In the beginning were the three songs we have now. Sayonara Shelter and Ai no Harem (Harem of Love). And Taiyou to Icarus (The Sun and Icarus). These songs were already there even before September’s Yokohama Arena event. And after that, we still kept on continuing with recording between tour dates. From my own compositions, there’s one more song that’s already got guitars recorded for it (lol).。

――So it wasn’t included because you’re only releasing one disc this time and you already had enough songs.

H: For now, it’s put on hold (lol). It’s an interesting song so I don’t want to toss it away though.

――Taiyou to Icarus is a fresh one coming from Hoshino-san. Probably because of the major chord feeling.

H: That was originally composed specifically for the album. With “light” as the focus. I think that’s where the major feeling comes from. I didn’t intend for it to be a single, though. That only happened because everyone came to the consensus that it’s kinda good while we were recording it. When Sakurai-san’s lyrics and singing came in, director Tanaka also said, “This, it’s fit for a single, isn’t it?”

――I think it’s a really good song.

H: So this time, among the four songs recorded, the cheerful ones were Taiyou to Icarus and the song on hold. While the dark ones were Sayonara Shelter and Ai no Harem.

――No matter the circumstance, you’re someone who really strikes a balance (lol).

H: Right? If we were releasing two discs, I thought having two songs in each would be just right, and if we released just one, then we can take our pick.

――What did you envision when you created Ai no Harem?

H: I just wanted something with a “dark” vibe. Probably something with a sort of thick, muddy feeling. The rhythm I went with kind of resembles dub, so I wanted the song to end with that slushy dub.

――If you had the time to, do you think releasing two discs would’ve made for something interesting?

H: We actually had more than enough time here too (lol). But we’ve never released two discs of entirely new music, right? If it does happen, it would probably be interesting, but I really wonder how it would work. Our listeners might just find that they’re only listening to one or the other (lol).


H: If they really really think hard about it. Well, in hindsight, I get the feeling that maybe it was a good thing we decided to do it like this.

――What do you personally think about how the album turned out?

H: Hm… I dare say that it’s an album that naturally reflects the current times we live in and our present stance.

――What’s the stance?

H: All sorts of things are happening in the world now. We often see footage of war and demonstrations on TV but there’s a lot going on in those people’s lives there. Even though a lot is going on, we take it in and continue with our lives. By thinking like this, maybe we’ll be able to become forward-thinking?

――I see.

H: I think it’s an album we managed to put together after having experienced a bunch of things. I believe that’s something not only me, but the other members of the band think as well. That we made something good isn’t the only thing we feel. There are times when that’s enough, but things were completely different ten or twenty years ago. Not that there’s anything bad about it.

――Are you saying that each of these lives have affected the band?

H: Well, I suppose so. As you’d expect, coming to this age, everyone has their own thing going on. There are people who think completely differently from how I think, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have shared experiences. But once we start going on tour and get on stage, things become the same as they were 35 years ago. It’s really strange, though.

――It is.

H: That’s definitely how it is, emotionally. This somehow feels like an album which looks back on those times, doesn’t it? It lacks a concept or a theme as a result, but we were naturally able to come up with songs that fit the way the band is now.

Looking at each era, we’ve always made music honestly according to what’s in our hearts at the time
I feel like that naturally grew to become our aim

――Going back to the album, was there anything different for Hoshino-san with the sound work?

H: Nothing changed at all in recent times. Equipment’s still the same, I guess I only added one more SG to my guitars. But aside from that, there was nothing in particular that changed so our recording methods also remained the same, staff is still made up of the same people (lol). That’s not where any change would be found. But in those areas, including the melodies, I generally always have a desire to destroy it.

――When we talk about Hoshino Hidehiko, the phrase “Hide melody” often comes  up so that’s also a typecast in a good sense of it, though.

H: But I want to do something novel.

――In the 35th year of your career!

H: I’m thinking that this time’s Taiyou to Icarus might be a good starting point. Everyone calls it pop but personally, I think it’s tearful.

――A tearful melody?

H: Exactly. Especially the chorus and thereabouts. I’m playing the right side guitar but when that part matched the melody, that’s when it was finally complete. I kept thinking about it throughout that time. I really thought that the song can’t be released unless these two parts align (lol).

――The alignment of the tearful melody and the guitars.

H: Right, and that’s why it’s not just a simple pop song to me. Because I kept on thinking and thinking and thinking about that guitar (lol).

――The left side guitar plays the chords with strokes, right?

H: Yeah. That’s the main backing. It was hard to figure out guitars that meshed with the song’s melody.

――It’s no surprise considering you’re a guy who wouldn’t release a song unless it’s properly completed (lol).

H: Nah, there’s none of that recently (lol). There are parts that I’m particular about, but everything else is relatively flexible. Because [the song] can grow further when the impressions of the other band members and the manipulators come in. I’ve grown more flexible in that sense.

――But no matter the band member, they all said Hide is stubborn when it comes to song production.

H: I’ve grown more flexible. Although maybe it’s just that I find some things troublesome (lol).

――Brutally frank (lol). But doing that allows ideas from more people to come into the mix and develop it more.

H: Right, right. Exactly.

――Thoughts on Imai-san’s songs on this album?

H: The feel of it is probably the same, isn’t it? The light and dark feeling. And yet the range of it is wide. So while there’s certainly a variety of styles, it’s also the same as usual. I guess he simply decided to have a wider perspective and look at different things because he was focused on the original idea of releasing two discs.

――That, along with the songs that seem to say “I want to go somewhere different” really stand out too.

H: It’s very Sakurai-san. Those words probably call for a melody, don’t they? But I always leave the lyrics entirely up to him, so at this stage, I’m no longer surprised by whatever comes (lol).

――Hahahahahaha. So whether it’s a cat which comes, or whatever else, it’s all okay.

H: Cat (lol). But this album’s Taiyou to Icarus can be interpreted in a number of ways, don’t you think? I won’t say much more though.

――Please say more (lol).

H: No, I mean (lol). When you see the lyrics, right, you might be able to guess what some of it references, but on the other hand, I think, it can be interpreted in this other way, or seen from yet another perspective too. I’d say it’s well expressed.

――Present emotions.

H: That, and because you want to protect someone, you…… It could be interpreted in that manner too.

――And live concerts. Things haven’t entirely reverted to the way they were before COVID-19, though.

H: Seems like it.

――I know it’s still too soon, but have you thought about what you want to do next?

H: Ah, right. I think I still want to produce an album. The song put on hold is still waiting, after all (lol).

――Ultimately, you want to get into band activities ASAP?

H: Yeah. I definitely have the motivation to work on whatever’s next (lol). I want to hurry up and reamp the guitars. Because I stopped at a point where I was thinking about changing the sound if that particular sound isn’t what I wanted.

――Once again, how does it feel to keep going like this throughout all this time?

H: How indeed. Looking at each era, I guess you can tell that we’ve always made music honestly, according to what’s in our hearts at the time. I feel like that naturally grew to become our aim.

――Yes. Now, this is a completely different topic, but when I looked at Boo-san’s (VJ) Instagram page, I found out that the Starfield (星 – star/野 – field) New Year Party is still going on (lol).

H: They posted the photos, right? The Starfield party was originally a family gathering though. My eldest son is going overseas to study in the UK so this also doubles as a farewell party.

――Ahh, so with the families of your friends and everyone.

H: Yes, that’s right. Everyone came together with the intention of this being a farewell party.

――I see. Has he already gone away for studies?

H: He has.

――Are you sad, lonely?

H: Not that much. He just looks like he’s having so much fun that I envy him. It sounds like he’s in a really great place. Because he’s already made friends there and he said that he was going to travel to Spain for a vacation with those friends next week.

――It does sound like he’s having fun.

H: He said everyday’s something new.

――Don’t you feel envious when you see him like that?

H: I do. Everything is fascinating, everything is brand new. No matter what he does, it’ll be his first time with it so I guess it makes sense that he’s having so much fun.

――And yourself?

H: I wonder. I doubt I can do anything like that even if I start now, though. But that’s because I was intrigued by different things back when I was around his age, I think.

――But after you graduated high school, you went to vocational school and soon after started a band, so you’ve actually been doing that and living in this world of just the five of you for 35 years.

H: That’s true. Personally, I feel that I’ve lived my life in my own way but I’ve been so busy that I could only live in this small world. So I think those experiences were most definitely good. I want us all to be able to enjoy our lives in our own way. I guess that’s the only thing I have in mind now. That he doesn’t have any regrets. That said, I did enjoy myself though.

――Agreed (lol). [We hope that they] would enjoy life too.

H: Yes, exactly. I’m still enjoying my life in my own way too.




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Higuchi yutaka

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

There’s a change in our day-to-day relationship with how we no longer revolve our lives solely around BUCK-TICK
But on stage, we see the same band members we’ve always known, unchanged. I think that’s probably the same for all of us

――This turned out to be a great album featuring a variety of shades of the band.

Yutaka (Y): I guess we managed to make songs of various forms. Acchan’s lyrics too are what he could write precisely because of the times we’re in. I think we managed to produce an album that leaves more impact than ever.

――I would think that the reason why there’s a variety of music is largely because you spent quite a long time recording and your original plan to release two discs in the beginning, right?

Y: That’s right. We had no theme either so it felt like we decided to start with this vague goal and try going in different directions.

――Did anything change in your style of recording?

Y: Mm. But it went smoothly and it wasn’t bad. [Normally,] if we have twelve songs, my part would conclude after a few days of bass recording. After that, it’s just the wait for the engineers to do the mixing. That’s our usual style but this time, they would consolidate about three songs or so together and those songs would have some extent of singing already recorded so it’s easy for me to see how it would eventually turn out. That would also change the way I tackle the next song. It’s good that I can get a clear view of the full picture. Because before, there were a lot of instances of songs where I [hear the final version and] think, “So this is what that demo tape turned into.” (Lol)

――Sayonara Shelter was released in the best-of concept album too, but was it the first song you recorded?

Y: Nope, the first were probably Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni (Campanella  A Bouquet For You) and Warukyuure no Kikou (Ride of the Valkyries). I think Sayonara Shelter was right after that.

――How was it dealing with such a rich diversity of songs as a musician?

Y: It was interesting as a bassist. Because it’s a line-up of songs that allows me to bring out a variety of grooves. If you focus on listening to the bass, you wouldn’t think that they all came from the same band (lol). But once the songs are complete, they turn into tracks that can only be attributed to BUCK-TICK. They’ll become one. That’s something that always amazes me.

――Has there never been an occasion where someone will say, “We don’t do this,” and reject it?

Y: Never. Although, when we debuted, the director person would say, “Stop that, we don’t do this.” And we had to stop halfway.

――I see.

Y: Ultimately, this band didn’t come about because we wanted to do just one thing, but instead with the intention of creating what is interesting to the five of us in a cool way.

――Not to make music, but to make what’s BUCK-TICK.

Y: Yeah. The fact that this is how we started is big. That’s why I think we can do anything. I would think that our fans probably never have thought “This isn’t BUCK-TICK” when they listen to our music.


Y: That’s why we have fun no matter what we do. We don’t really have any deliberate consciousness of wanting to make music in a particular genre, like techno or grunge, goth. No matter what we do, it’ll become BUCK-TICK. Everyone knows that.

――The biggest factor which contributes to that is probably because you’ve grown to think about how a song can be executed with all five members of the band.

Y: That’s right. And that’s something we’ve been doing throughout these 35 years.

――Everyone’s got their own lives too, but can you all walk it the same way?

Y: I’m not sure about that. Well, we don’t really have the same amount of energy that we used to have back when we would mess around together until morning comes (lol).


Y: I think it’s better to get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow’s concert anyway (lol). Strangely enough, although I believe that there certainly is a change in our day-to-day relationship with how we no longer revolve our lives solely around BUCK-TICK, but on the other hand, the moment we get on stage, we get that same vibe that we’ve always felt since way back and we become BUCK-TICK. There, we see the same band members we’ve always known, unchanged. I think that’s probably the same for all of us.

When we see scenes of war on TV, it makes you wonder what’s wrong with the world but it’s just reality
I think “異空” is a word that gives off a very strong sense of discomfort


――What do you think about the album’s title?

Y: The working title of Mugen LOOP (Infinity LOOP) was izora. I thought it was perfect for this album and this era. COVID-19 caused a pandemic, war broke out in Ukraine. In our lives, we’ve also had the Vietnam war and the war between Iran and Iraq, but we never got to see the bombings and scenes of people evacuating, or the moment of someone’s death. It makes you wonder what’s wrong with the world but it’s just reality.

――That’s true.

Y: I think “異空” is a word that gives off a very strong sense of discomfort…… That said, Imai-kun would probably say that’s “completely wrong” though (lol).

――But you’ve got a point.

Y: With all these things going on in the world, we’re releasing an album like this and going on a national tour again. I feel nothing but grateful. We can visit everyone in their cities for concerts. Things like this was something we thought would never go away and it did. That’s something we learnt from the past three years.

――That’s true.

Y: That’s why, if there’s anything we should do in this gloomy world, I think it’s to do things that bring joy to everyone. Instead of putting together a huge set and putting on a flashy performance in Tokyo, I would rather go around visiting performance halls in each district with the same kind of fervour.

――In one of the song’s lyrics that Sakurai-san wrote for this album, there’s a nostalgic story related to going on tour in a car back then.

Y: You’re talking about Boogie Woogie, right? When I saw the lyrics, I got the feeling that we had all been thinking about the same thing. When we went on tour together riding in that broken-down van, there was a time when we ran out of gas, just like in the lyrics. We ran out of gas on the highway and we pushed the vehicle to get ourselves to a rest stop (lol).

――That’s a good story (lol).

Y: It was such a hard time! I get the feeling that Acchan wrote about those memories because we talked about recalling what we did together as a band in the very beginning, what we had fun doing. It’s like a search to find out what’s at our very core.

――The five of you going on tour together, visiting the cities where your fans away, then heading to the next city.

Y: There’s something precious [to us] in that.

――So for the first time in a while, let’s have the five of you get on board a Hiace……

Y: I’ll die (lol). But the COVID-19 pandemic got me thinking about things even more. It made me aware of the fact that people were waiting for us when we lost the ability to do the things we took for granted.

――Like realising that you’re doing these things for those people?

Y: I’m more than satisfied if that relationship exists. We’ve come this far sharing that among the five of us. Because we aren’t a band where the loudest gets his way. All of us would take each person’s feelings and ideas into consideration as we think about how we can best do something while making sure everyone is happy too. And that’s the way we have always done things.

――Which song did you have a hard time recording this time around?

Y: Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni was difficult. It’s got a simple bass line but I found myself thinking really hard about how I should work the groove to fit it into the song’s vibe.

――What about Sakurai-san’s lyrics?

Y: I know very well that Acchan is processing the air of our times in his own unique way. He can’t pretend he doesn’t know what’s going on and write about something else, I believe. He’s a magnificent poet.

――He really can’t run away from these things. Also, because the original intention was to release two discs, both Imai-san and Hoshino-san put out quite a wide range of music, didn’t they?

Y: Those two probably flipped the switch and got really motivated about it (lol). Both composers’ music are really good. Maybe it was made possible because of the era we’re in.

――If you did end up releasing two discs at the same time, what kind of work do you think it’ll turn out to be?

Y: Probably something intriguing and very very rich in variety. But we couldn’t make it in time, right? (Lol)

――Recording while you’re on tour is a strain after all.

Y: Because we ultimately would prefer to focus. Especially for Acchan because he only writes the lyrics at the very end after the music has gotten the OK. And that’s tough.

――Then it certainly makes it unreasonable to expect it all to be done in between schedules.


Y: That’s why we had to draw the line somewhere. I think what we have here is a good enough job done for this round. Maybe the next step would be to come up with yet another thing to focus on.

――Does Yuta-san hold any expectations towards BUCK-TICK like wanting to do a specific thing or wanting to produce a particular type of album?

Y: Don’t think so. It’s good enough for me to work with these band members. That’s my number one wish above all else, and if there’s only one thing I can ever do again, it’ll be that. Ah, but there’s this thing we’ve been doing recently; the five of us taking our old songs and making them new again. That is fun. I’d like to do this more. Not just make new songs.


Y: As we work on that, I can sense how much we’ve changed and grown. And it brings me joy knowing that even now, we’re playing the same song with the same band members.

――What is one thing that has changed in you?

Y: Songs with 8th notes, I guess.

――Meaning, bouncy songs.

Y: The ones that go ton-ton-ton-ton-ton-ton-ton-ton. I’m starting to understand what it should feel like. It’s impossible for me to elaborate further, though (lol).


Y: It’s hard! But after doing this for 35 years, I feel like I might have finally grasped it.

――Even a veteran like Yuta-san has his ‘finally’s.

Y: Mm. And that’s definitely because we’re a band of five playing together. If I’m playing alone at home, I’d think wherever I am is good enough but when we’re playing in a band of five, everyone has their own interpretations so instead, I’d find myself wondering whether I really am good enough. And that might lead towards something even better, turning it into reality. That’s why I can’t help but find this all so enjoyable.

――Ultimately, it’s about the five of you working together.

Y: That’s the most important thing of all. There was a time when I worked with Okuno-san (Okuno Atsushi who he formed Wild Wise Apes with in 2004), right? While I was doing that, I really felt like, “Ah… this is completely unlike our band”, “I’ve been spoiled”. Okuno-san is a senior who I get along very well with, but even so, there will be no progress unless we discuss. Like, “How’s this?” “Nah, don’t you think this is better?”  But among the five of us, that doesn’t happen and we move on naturally. As we go, we’d be like, “Ah, yes, yes, that.”

――I see.

Y: But even though it’s difficult, there’s still quite an energy. Because it’s not a familiarity that comes from simply having known each other for a long time. In terms of live performances, although factors like the song list and all that are set, but it’s not as if changes or the unexpected won’t happen. And because we do what we do while maintaining that intensity, things can grow within one tour. Like on the first day or something, I was just keenly watching Imai-kun struggle to decide whether or not he wants to have guitar playing before a song or not. Because he wouldn’t even tell me something like that (lol).


Y: Our lighting guy was there too and he also said it would be easier on them if he just told them [his plan] (lol). But he plays those things by ear so we always end up with something different on each instance. It’s also like when I move towards the front of the stage, I just do it when I get the feeling I should.

――That’s what makes touring such a precious experience.

Y: It’s a joy. That’s why I would like it if people come and watch us if they happen to have the time. I want to keep doing this for as long as I can. I’ve started thinking more and more often that it wouldn’t be forever, but that’s why I want to keep going for as long as I can, and also why I want to show everyone what our favourite band is like right now.




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Yagami Toll

Interview by: Kanemitsu Hirofumi

It’s not like back then when we didn’t know anyone else. Now everyone has their own life
That’s why I don’t want to forget what it feels like when we’re all on stage together

――Thank you for your time.

Toll (T): What shall we talk about today?

――The new album, and how Yagami-san’s doing lately (lol).

T: We made good music so please give it a listen. That’s all! Yagami Toll, out! (Lol)

――Let’s expand a bit on that (lol). So, shall we start by talking about last year’s tour?

T: Due to my advanced age, I cannot remember anything at all (lol).

――Stop it (lol). But I think it was a really good tour where with each show your performance was increasingly perfected.

T: Yeah. We postponed a few shows because of COVID-19, but I agree that it was a good tour. Maybe performing shows in areas other than Tokyo and Osaka might be old-fashioned (lol), but it’s definitely something to cherish, isn’t it? My body will scream but I want to travel around and perform more if I can. Because although the audience still can’t cheer and make sounds, I can feel very keenly that we’re bringing joy to everyone.

――Because the only way to really see your fans’ reactions is in a live concert.

T: There’s a lot I noticed for the first time. I forgot where but at one of our standing shows, I noticed two girls in the audience area somewhere between Hide and Acchan. I think one probably brought her friend with her for the show, but one was crying her eyes out while the other was admiring the stage (lol). Seeing that, I got the feeling that she was probably here to see BUCK-TICK for the first time. It made me really happy to know that people still react like that to us and fans like them come to see us.

――I see. Also, album recording was going on during the tour, wasn’t it?

T: That’s right. I think it might’ve begun at the start of spring, last year. At first, we envisioned that we would release an album with two discs, so I think we were working at a pace that was somehow faster than our usual. Our recording process was different too.

――In what way?

T: We always start by recording the bass parts for all the songs first, then guitars and drums come next as we build it up, but this time, we mostly worked on one song at a time and only after each track is complete, Acchan writes the lyrics and records his singing. Then we start recording the next song again. That’s the process this time. But drums get recorded last so [by the time it’s my turn] all the other instruments are already done. That’s why there were times when I even recorded three songs in the span of a day (lol).

――Sounds tough (lol).

T: The elderly wants to be given more work (lol). But that also meant that I could take my time and rehearse properly before recording so that’s something I’m grateful for. It takes time to decide on the sound specifications in the studio, but once that is confirmed, we’ll be done with the track very soon after. I think it would need three takes, at most. In the past, recording would start with bass and drums at the same time, so we’d try out various phrases and discuss it with the other members of the band, but since how I’m going to drum has already been decided ahead of recording [it takes less time].

――What’s your impression of the songs in this album?

T: I couldn’t see the end so I was confused at first. Like, how many more songs do we have to record before we’re done? Then, at year end, it was announced that we’ll just release one CD so we’re all good (lol) and suddenly, we were done. There are probably three more songs that already have bass and guitars recorded and done, though. All that’s left are drums and vocals. I guess those would go into our next release.

――I believe there was no theme to follow in terms of sound, was there? This album has quite a few different types of songs in it.

T: I had to think about the image of the song before drumming for each and every track. There isn’t quite a sense of unity but I guess that, on the other hand, is what makes it interesting. Besides, I think that’s what things were originally like in the past anyway.

――Do you have a song you like as a drummer?

T: Ever since it’s demo stage, I already got the feeling that Mugen LOOP (無限 LOOP/Infinity LOOP) sounds like a city pop song. And I really love Yoshida Minako-san, who Ponta-san (Murakami “Ponta” Shuichi) drummed for, and Matsutoya Yumi-san when Hayashi Tatsuo-san worked with her. So I really enjoyed it.

――The riff in Boogie Woogie sounds like Yagami-san at your best.

T: Because I thought the riff sounded like [a] Zeppelin [song] (lol). That’s the feeling I got when I heard the demo tape. That’s why I took it as a message from Imai to go all out and drum with Bonzo (John Bonham) in mind (lol).

――This is your first original album release in two years and seven months. How do you feel about having this long a gap in between?

T: Personally, I would prefer to release [an album] once every two years. That period’s just about right. Although we had COVID-19 happening in between, we’re a band who’s always going on tour, so this is still a comfortable gap.

――I expect it’s tough on you if you can’t drum regularly?

T: Exactly. It’s bad if I don’t get to play around with them much because then I’d lose my touch and get rusty. Drumming isn’t something you memorise in your head. It’s something that you immerse your body in, right? The shows that were postponed for that tour are also nearing, so yesterday, I was rehearsing on my own but that alone was enough to make the muscles in my ass ache (lol). So if I don’t start with my own detailed personal rehearsals to do alongside the overall tour, it’ll get difficult in the later stages.

――But having watched your recent shows, I think they’re very stable.

T: Because it’s not about being good or bad at what we do anymore. Physical fitness is all that counts. Because I no longer have a body that’s just starting puberty (lol). In the past, I would think of trying to steal some techniques, or perhaps trying some new styles, but now it’s about being better than yesterday’s me.

――That’s a good line.

T: It’s a line borrowed from Misora Hibari-san but I like it. It basically means that we should grow a little more tomorrow from what we are today, but like I said before, I think living to see the age of 60 just means that I’m an ordinary person. Neither Hibari-san nor Yuujiro-san (Ishihara Yujiro) reached 60. And even the esteemed John Bonham passed away at 32. Those who possess something special tend to go to heaven early like that. I’m still being asked to continue doing what I do, so I have to do my best in this world. I think that’s also why I can savour the joy of continuing activities as a band.

――That’s true.

T: In my teens, I dreamt of playing in a band and drumming as a member of a band. And now at 60, I can still see my dreams. I’d probably get bad karma if I were to call this a pain (lol). Things were not all fun and games, and there were lots of trying times too, but I’m simply very thankful. I have nothing but gratitude. Because I’ve seen a lot of people who really wanted this but couldn’t do it. That’s why I’d feel guilty if the future me doesn’t grow even a little beyond my present self.

My life is all about not quitting. I think it might be a good thing to affirm that.
Because I’m proud of it. And because the ones who allowed me to do so are my band members and all our fans.

――How’s the band after celebrating your 35th year?

T: Same as usual. Then again, everyone has their own lives so it’s impossible for us to always be together, thinking the same things, drinking until morning like the way we used to. But when we get on stage, everything’s the same as always. So much so that it’s intriguing. Come to think of it…… (he starts rummaging in his bag).

――What is it?

T: I was thinking of printing an old photo of us on the outfits for our next tour so I was looking for a few of those…… Look, like these (he spreads out the photos that were in an envelope).

――Whoa, you’re all so young!

T: This is a picture of all five of us in London. It says 1988 here so…… I was 26. This was in the plane but…… at the time we could still smoke in the plane cabins. The guy in the steakhouse with the kingly beard is Hide (lol). This is Hide making a face at Acchan in the old equipment vehicle we had.

――Hoshino-san is a complete jokester (lol).

T: I was thinking it would look nice if I had these printed in monochrome on my outfit so I wanted to discuss this with Yagi-san who always makes our costumes. In the past, I’ve seen shirts printed with pictures like these in fashion shows.

――I think it’s really great!

T: It’s like going back to our roots (lol). I actually don’t really like looking at old photos. Because we were so damned busy that I only have harrowing memories of those times. The moment we arrived in London, for example, the producer got all angry at us and scolded us for not rehearsing beforehand. But it was just impossible! Because we had such a ridiculous schedule (lol). But now, I’m thinking it’s not so bad to look back on those times together with everyone.

――So that’s why you picked funny photos like those instead of the cool ones.

T: Yeah. Like I said, it’s impossible for us to do these things anymore, isn’t it? Because it’s no longer like back then when we left Gunma for Tokyo and all five of us didn’t know any one else. Everyone has their own life now too. That’s why I’m thinking that I don’t want to forget that this is what it feels like when we’re all on stage together.

――I see.

T: And we’re not the only ones involved when it comes to being on stage, right? There’s of course our staff and all our fans who have created this space together with us throughout these 35 years. I just think it might be nice to express how those emotions still remain this way.

――That even after your 60th, your emotions from those days haven’t changed.

T: 60 or not, I’m just a drummer boy for as long as I live. Just recently, I went to a music store with Tetsu (DERLANGER/drums) and I ended up buying a snare. There was an adorable store staff who said they bought it for me and when I tried drumming it, it was pretty good so I took it home. My family’s grown bigger again (lol).


T: But it was a type of snare that I didn’t have. It’s a Raddick snare from the 70s and it’s a rim-clamp (note: rim-clamp refers to the snappy being clamped to the rim, while modern snare models has the snappy being attached by strings on opposite ends. The two models create different sounds due to variations in how the sound vibrations are transmitted). The one I have now is a modern model, but now that I think about it, the snare I had at the time we debuted was a rim-clamp from Pearl. I either bought it in my third year of middle school or as a freshman in high school, but I just kept using it throughout that time. I even used it in the recording of Sexual XXXXX!, but I started using a different snare after that. Like what I said about the outfits earlier too. In a similar way, maybe I’m harbouring a desire to go back to my roots.

――In a way, these things are taking you back to those days.

T: Being a band member is a blessed thing, isn’t it? Despite ageing, we can easily revisit those days. And on top of that, we’ve been with the same band members throughout all this time too. Growing older while still staying the same. It’s not half bad.

――But you’re really an older brother who everyone can lean on as a drummer.

T: But there are still so many other seniors around (lol). There’s Hayashi Tatsuo-san and Yamaki-san (Yamaki Hideo). Everyone’s still actively performing in their 70s too. Makoto-san (Takahashi Makoto) who’s 68 is still full of life. I guess it’s all about looking ahead and drumming all out while we’re still alive (lol).

――As a drummer, what thoughts do you have about your own style of drumming that you’ve had all this time?

T: I really looked up to session musicians and studio musicians. Because no matter how you look at it, their level of skill is just sky high. Impossible for me. I really think it’s true. That’s why I formed a band, I was brought in via Yuta’s invitation, and here I am, drumming all this way. That’s my life. But I think it’s a good life. Even when I’m distressed, when I wanted to quit, and when I said I wanted to retire, no one listened to me anyway (lol).

――It’s a famous story (lol).

T: I don’t know whether it’s good or bad, but my life is all about not quitting. I think it might be a good thing to affirm that. Because I’m proud of it. And because the ones who allowed me to do so are my band members and all our fans.





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2023.03.16 BUCK-TICK

The photoshoot happened in a studio at Kameari, a city that has a statue of KochiKame’s Ryotsu Kankichi outside the train station. The first to come were Yuta & Anii. The brothers enter the studio arriving in a car driven by Yuta-san. Having difficulty navigating the narrow space, Yuta-san handed the wheel to their manager. Then arrived Hide-san, Imai-san, and Sakurai-san one after another. They took their turns to get ready, and after make-up and a change of clothes the shoot started with solo shots of the members. Actually, there was also the filming of a video scheduled to happen at the same time onthis day. So both the band members and the studio staff were all busy running around. After 3 to 4 hours, the solo shoots and the film recording concluded. Everyone then went to the studio on the first floor for the group shots and the cover shoot. In the midst of a set change, Sakurai-san and Yuta-san left the studio and stood in the parking area talking cars. A heartwarming conversation unfolded: “Is this car Yuta’s?” “Yeah, it’s rather compact compared to Acchan’s car, isn’t it?” “It’s nice, looks like Yuta.” “Just say it’s small!”

And by the time the group photoshoot was done, it was already well into the evening. Now we can all it a day…… Or so they thought. Right then, Kanemitsu was spirited away by Ueda Takeshi (AA=) who came to Kameari for the dialogue with Imai-san that would be published in the main issue. Alas.



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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki

異空 -IZORA- Feature

April 2023

Photos ◎ Miyawaki Susumu (PROGRESS-M) [Sakurai and Imai shoot]
Hair, make-up ◎ Tanizaki Takayuki, Yamazi Chihiro (both from Fats Berry)
Styling ◎ Shimizu Kenichi



profile & information
Formed in 1985, they had their major debut in 1987. Members of the band are Sakurai Atsushi on vocals, Imai Hisashi on guitar, Hoshino Hidehiko on guitar, Higuchi Yutaka on bass, and Yagami Toll on drums.
They released their 41st single Taiyou to Icarus on March 8, followed by their 42nd single Mugen LOOP on March, and finally, their 23rd album 異空 ‐IZORA- on April 12.
They will kick off “BUCK‐TICK TOUR 2023 異空 -IZORA-” on Wednesday, April 19 at J:COM Hachioji. The tour will conclude with the final shows on Saturday and Sunday, July 22 and 23 at Tokyo Garden Theatre.


It’s been about two and a half years since the release of their last album, ABRACADABRA which was produced right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and named as such to act as a spell to drive the plague away. 

BUCK-TICK’s 23rd original album, 異空 -IZORA- is the latest to be released on April 12, the same day as the publishing of this magazine.

This new chapter of BUCK-TICK comes after their 35 major debut anniversary commemorative best-of concept album and performances at Yokohama Arena, and their first national tour with a live audience since the COVID-19 pandemic. How will it turn out?

Including the first and last instrumental tracks, the album consists of 14 songs with Sakurai composing lyrics for 11, Imai composing lyrics for one and music for 11, and Hoshino composing music for three.

We hear from each of the five band members their thoughts on all the songs of this album and their behind-the-scenes stories of the production process.


23rd album『異空 -IZORA-』on sale 12 April 2023


  1. QUANTUM Ⅰ [Music: Imai Hisashi]
  2. SCARECROW [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Imai Hisashi]
  3. Warukyuure no Kikou (ワルキューレの騎行 / Ride of Valkyries) [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Imai Hisashi]
  4. Sayonara Shelter (さよならシェルター) destroy and regenerate-Mix [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Hoshino Hidehiko]
  5. Ai no Haremu (愛のハレム / Harem of Love) [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Hoshino Hidehiko]
  6. Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni ( Campanella 花束を君に / A Bouquet for You) [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Imai Hisashi]
  7. THE FALLING DOWN [Lyrics: Imai Hisashi / Music: Imai Hisashi]
  8. Taiyou to Icarus (太陽とイカロス / The Sun and Icarus) [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Hoshino Hidehiko]
  9. Boogie Woogie [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Imai Hisashi]
  10. Mugen LOOP -IZORA- (無限 / Infinity LOOP -IZORA-) [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Imai Hisashi]
  11. Noraneko Blue (野良猫ブルー / Stray Cat Blue) [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Imai Hisashi]
  12. Hizumi (ヒズミ) [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Imai Hisashi]
  13. Na mo Naki Watashi (名も無きわたし / I, Nameless) [Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi / Music: Imai Hisashi]
  14. QUANTUM Ⅱ [Music: Imai Hisashi]



Part 1


Sakurai Atsushi

Everyone gets shone upon by the sun
and hit by the rain, equally.
This is enough.
It is enough to bloom and exist.

profile & information
Born 7 March 1966. Blood type: O. Vocalist of BUCK-TICK which formed in 1985 and had its major debut in 1987.

Interview & Text ◎ Okubo Yuka


Excluding the instrumental tracks at the start and end, the album 異空 -IZORA- consists of twelve tracks, all of which Sakurai wrote lyrics for with the exception of THE FALLING DOWN which also features Imai as a vocalist. We present Sakurai’s commentary on his own writing.

The number one thing I fear the most is losing myself. I think it’s best when I have works like this album to cling to, because I get sick in a healthy sense of it.

――Before we start talking about the album¹, I would like for us to take a look back on your 35th anniversary year. As I was listening to you perform ILLUSION² during the encore of the first day of your concert at Yokohama Arena³ last September, I suddenly wondered whether the young men standing on the rooftop of a building in the music video from those days had ever imagined that they would be performing this song at Yokohama Arena 35 years later like this.

Sakurai (S): Looking back now, it really feels as if we didn’t even know left from right or front from back in those days 35 years ago. For better or for worse, we’ve really grown, haven’t we?

――There’s a big difference between your present image to what it was back during ILLUSION so that’s probably why that particular period came to mind. The image change was no doubt partly due to changes in preferences, but I wonder whether it’s a prominent show of how you’re in charge of your own production, like what you wanted to express, or what you wanted to show your audience, things like that.

S: When we first debuted, our naive intentions were to look cool and make ourselves stand out as much as possible visually. That gradually led to people saying that we wouldn’t be us unless we looked like that. And we started to feel that they were not considering our music separate from our image and at the same time, very restricted by a thing that we only started doing because we enjoyed it. That got me thinking that there was something wrong with this and I guess when I found what I really wanted to do on my own free will, that was probably a few years after debuting…… And it also applies even now, actually.

――Is there something you continue to feel the same about even now?

S: Definitely that it’s all about the music. These are seeds that we have sown ourselves, but the fact that we styled our hair up, that people thought we were Visual-Kei, that we looked the way we did will things that will always follow us around.

――Performing with your hair sprayed up the way it used to be might also create a visual mismatch if you were singing Moon  Sayonara wo Oshiete⁴ which has lyrics written from a woman’s perspective, or Maimu Mime⁵ where the song is split between the male character and the female character. In that sense, you’ve changed with the times and the music you write.

S: I’ve grown to think about things on my own better, I believe. As a vocalist, I sing songs,and I sing stories so with all these different types of music and stories around me, I think there would be some mismatch if I’m not featureless* [as a performer]. For example, if I’m singing a ballad with a bit of a romantic story yet I’m wearing some eccentric outlandish outfit, the song would become nothing but empty words. That’s why I’m now always most comfortable keeping my hair short and black.

――So your current image is because of your desire to be featureless*. I think the change in your approach towards music is also reflected in your lyrics, but can you tell us what that looks like in chronological terms? Your 20s, for example, would encompass the period from your debut to the release of your album, Six/Nine⁶, right?

S: When we debuted in my 20s, it was as I described earlier; we didn’t know left from right. We simply had vague notions that we should probably sing love songs or something. After that, my life took a 180-degree turn when I experienced loss with my mother’s passing when I was 24. It was so bad that I can’t remember a thing about the tour we were on at the time, but I made sense of it my own way based on the idea that with her life, perhaps my mother was guiding me towards the direction of what I should sing about. My 20s was really a time when I knew nothing and was trying to figure out what it is I’m meant to do. It was a period which really left an impact on my mentality.

――It was an important period in the shaping of your originality. Your 30s started off with the single Candy⁷ and the album COSMOS⁸. That was also the period which saw the release of the album 13-kai wa Gekkou (十三階は月光)⁹.

S: I may be wording this badly, but I think the band was also lost during that period. Our arrangements were ahead of the times, we were adding all sorts of trendy elements in our music. If I really look back carefully and listen to what we did, that was an era of trial and error with songs we never even released and I think it was probably around that time when there were a bunch of changes going on with our record companies. So I believe that was probably a period of struggle that we needed for us to get out of our rut.

――It was a period of big changes, wasn’t it? 13-kai wa Gekkou also left a strong impression being such a conceptual work which leans towards the gothic.

S: That’s true. In my 20s, Kurutta Taiyou¹⁰ would be the clear highlight of that decade, and following that would be Six/Nine and then 13-kai wa Gekkou in chronological order. I would think those periods were when our energies were most condensed.

――Your 40s began with the release of the single Kagerou (蜉蝣 -かげろう-)¹¹, the album Arui wa ANARCHY (或いはアナーキー)¹² and then the start of THE MORTAL (Sakurai’s solo project).

S: Personally, to me, although THE MORTAL only ever released one album¹³, it really was a period of time that allowed me to do as I pleased. I think it was in all our 40s when the other members of BUCK-TICK also had some leeway to go and do whatever they wanted.

――That’s true. And now, your 50s started off with the single New World¹⁴, leading up to this new album, 異空 -IZORA-.

 S: This is probably strange to say as an adult, but I think a lot of my thought processes have become more complicated. For example, feeling contrition, getting feelings of guilt. I keep looking back at all the things that have happened to me up until my 50s, but I also think that there’s nothing else I can do except look to the future. In a strange sense, I’ve grown up though.

――In the process of producing the album, Sayonara Shelter was released ahead of time¹⁵ and performed at your 35th anniversary concert. All these might’ve factored into how the song left this strong particular impression, but on the whole, 異空 -IZORA- also appears to be a reflection of the current social climate. What kind of mindset did Sakurai-san work on 異空 -IZORA- with?

S: I’m already past my mid-50s, so at this age, both my physical condition and my emotional stability aren’t as good as they used to be. But recently, I started getting the feeling, wondering whether this album will be our last. Although, I have been saying the same about our recent releases. What I’ve really been thinking is to make sure I finish things to the degree that leaves me with no regrets …… Even as I say that, I would speculate, hold back with my words, and there are things unrelated to music that get in the way, but this time around, I could really really focus in response against all those things. It’s like, I could do what I really wanted to do without thinking about other things because I could focus as a result of these extra elements.

――Were there times when you felt afraid with the ability to go all out and straight up do you want?

S: There’s my own thoughts. Like, will they obliterate me if I say these things? It’s a bit of an exaggeration, though (lol). But more than that, the number one thing I fear the most is losing myself. It’s scarier if I have to, for example, create things of no interest to me or unrelated to myself. I think it’s best when I have works like this album to cling to, because I get sick in a healthy sense of it.

Loneliness is something that has been gradually bloating up within me. Considering that this is the first song with lyrics, I thought it would be good if I could take it to the point where everything feels hopelessly beyond saving.

――I see. There’s debate on musicians speaking out about war and politics and yet in BUCK-TICK’s 35th anniversary tour¹⁶, we would see you speak your mind about the war. Sakurai-san had also said before, “There might be people [in the audience] who don’t want to hear about these topics when we finally have the chance to hold concerts.” But how have things been on that end?

S: I really think our fans, those who listen to our music should be free. I think they should have the freedom, because I believe in the freedom of speech. Of course, people may feel upset over being subjected to talk of war when you’re just looking forward to enjoying a concert, and I think that’s only natural. While there’s a giving end, there will be a receiving end. So that’s where each party has to make their own choices based on what they like. While I can’t help feeling bothered by the criticisms even if it’s just one versus ten words of praise, I think I’m too old for that already so I should just do whatever I like.

――Yes, and I think that’s definitely the kind of song and music that we want to hear from Sakurai-san and BUCK-TICK.

S: I want to do things that don’t stray from what I think and feel, so it would be nice if there are people who like what I do and think it’s good music, or a good vibe, or that it feels nice and all. And I really think that should be left up to personal enjoyment. But the conversation again changes if we’re talking about insulting or ostracising others. It’s fine if you don’t like the things you don’t like. Just enjoy what you do enjoy. Whether its art or concerts or music or novels, isn’t it fine to take it as it is? We might be too much for some in terms of how we make them feel or the things we say, but this is where I would like people to make their own decisions on what suits them.

――That’s true. Now, let’s get into the specifics of this album’s production. You’ve spent about a year since last year working on album production in parallel with touring. Did you originally have some specific concept or direction you wanted to go in?

S: This was quite a while ago but…… At first, our director, Tanaka (Junichi)-san proposed the idea of two releases and we began discussions. We started off with the general idea that we don’t know how many songs we’d have unless we try this out, but we had rough ideas. A simple example would be producing one CD with a cheery vibe and the other with a dark vibe. So I suppose that was the rough idea we started with in regards to how we wanted things to turn out.

――And that ended up as one single disc with a mix of songs that swing between the extremities of the light and dark spectrum.

S: I believe our two songwriters (Imai, Hoshino) considered that balance as they did their work. Among the songs which didn’t make the cut this time, there are a number that are very cheerful. I think they would’ve brought some balance [into this album], but we were already out of time (lol).

――So, in the end, the album turned out darker (lol). But what’s interesting in this album is how there are some songs that sound cheerful based on the music but when we look at the lyrics, they really aren’t. There are a lot of songs that can’t really be described as entirely positive or negative, like, the crux of it isn’t so simple. I would like us to talk about this area in relation to each of the songs. So, let’s start with QUANTUM I and QUANTUM II, the instrumental tracks from Imai-san which come at the very start and the very end of the album.

S: I believe Imai-san’s story lives there.

――Indeed. After the opening comes the second track, SCARECROW. Listeners who heard your two singles, Taiyou to Icarus (The Sun and Icarus)¹⁷ and Mugen LOOP (Infinity LOOP)¹⁸, and embraced the “bright” or “refreshing” impressions they gave might’ve felt like this song threw them right back onto the ground (lol).

S: That’s true. So much so that it might even get people wondering whether they got the wrong artist. It’s really the entrance to hell (lol).

――Because scarecrows cannot move and they’re stuck where they are. There is this really overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, being cornered, trapped.

S: Recently, loneliness is something that has been gradually bloating up within me. I’m not trying to reverse its effects on me through defiance, but I decided that I would apply it in a straightforward manner in the scenery, the vibe and all. Considering that this is the first song on the album with lyrics, I thought it would be good if I could take it to the point where everything feels hopelessly beyond saving.

――That loneliness is also adrift in the next track, Warukyuure no Kikou (Ride of the Valkyries).

S: That’s true. I wonder how this happened. It’s a release of pent up emotions, isn’t it?

――With all these thoughts and feelings flowing out, I did wonder whether it was something you wrote in the middle of the night.

S: Because my days and nights really are as good as reversed. Since I can’t sleep at night.

――Speaking of this song title, Ride of the Valkyries is a name that also comes up in the opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen. Additionally, writings by Nietzsche and from the Old Testament about Adam and Eve are also featured. There are quite a lot of references scattered here, aren’t there?

S: It’s the idea that like every last one of us, including myself, are idiots (lol). This protagonist is a rowdy and violent one.

――The album version of Sayonara Shelter sees it getting the subtitle destroy and regenerate-Mix attached to it.

S: We had violins included this time around. Tanaka-san also had the idea to feature the voices of a youth choir too. We didn’t have enough time so we couldn’t bring that to life, but this subtitle was also Tanaka-san’s idea. I believe Tanaka-san feels quite strongly about the present state of the world too, so it would seem that he’s quite invested in this song as well.

――The inclusion of the violin makes the song feel more organic; it brings to mind green shoots sprouting from the ground. It really makes me hope that things would come to that stage soon. It’s a really wonderful arrangement.

S: I see, that greenery. That’s good, isn’t it? The image it brought to my mind was that of light raining down. Greenery and skylight…… it would be nice if that were to come true, wouldn’t it?

――When Sayonara Shelter was played on tour, Sakurai-san was the father holding his young child, then on the other hand, the soldier with a gun in hand during your performance. It was heartwarming but at the same time, so tragic and that really left an impression.

S: It would be nice if I could execute it a little better, though. I did it impromptu, but I just thought it would be nice if I could convey something through this.

――You did, and I think it’s a song that evolved a lot through the tour. A setting filled with an exotic atmosphere unfolds in Ai no Harem (Harem of Love), but what kind of impression did you get from Hoshino-san’s music?

S: The impression it gave me was of beautiful Islamic patterns, scenery at a bazaar. It’s a bustling scene but within it, there’s a stranger, someone who doesn’t belong and I guess you could say that the story revolves around the loneliness they feel.

――I definitely feel the loneliness in this song too. There’s a part in the second half where you sing it almost like a chanson. Was this intended from the start?

S: It was. We actually wanted this last part to sound even closer to chanson, but it felt like we’re overdoing it, so we used the very first take. Tanaka-san also said, “The first take sounds the best.” There’s a melody but at the same time, it sounds spoken and then it leans more and more towards spoken word, so there’s a course correction there.

――That part also has whispers going on and on. It adds to the unsettling feeling.

S: I always have fun trying out different things with Tanaka-san when we’re working on the chorus but those whispers were not meant to match the main vocal lines so I did it in a way that, kind of feels crazy.

――That part gave me a scare.

S: I wanted to scare our listeners (lol).

Because there’s a story in me that I want to tell.
I’m not being defiant, but what’s wrong with beautifying things (lol).

――The intro to Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni (Bouquet for you) gives it a standard American pop type of sound and chorus, it’s a song that really hits you in the gut when you realise exactly what this song is about.

S: Our only understanding of the current war is through the news, but when we look at the situation in Ukraine, we see the mixed feelings that the mothers have about the soldiers in the tanks, we see civilians handing bouquets of flowers to the soldiers. It gets me wondering who these innate messages are supposed to go to. Would be nice if it did get through, though. Like what I said earlier, this song is really one of those which give the false impression that a cheerful song is finally here (lol). It’s got a gentle touch on the surface precisely because the music is cheerful. I think it’s good if the song gradually starts to sink into those who listen to the words.

――A lot of the songs in this album are very memorable with how the music really stands out and how simple the words in the lyrics are. I would say this song included. And these words alone are so strong and impactful that you open up a whole world with them. The chorus in this song is only made up of eight words, yet they’re very thought-provoking to me.

S: That’s right. This time, instead of writing an essay, I shaved and cut down the words. The idea is that since I can’t fit an essay here, as long as I can convey my message, it’s good enough for me.

――Next, THE FALLING DOWN is a song with both music and lyrics composed by Imai-san but Adam and Eve show up here again. It got me wondering whether there’s some part of it that is synchronised with Sakurai-san’s lyrics.

S: Imai-san’s lyrics usually come after mine are done, so maybe there are certain elements here and there that caught onto him. Who knows?

――We have a duet here with Imai-san singing in the first half, and then Sakurai-san in the chorus.

S: That’s Imai-san’s standard operating procedure. My part really just has me mostly screaming, though.

――The sound as well, I think this song will be a real hook in concert. Taiyou to Icarus appearing at this part of the album makes it sound like the first song to be played on the B-side of a cassette tape. You previously mentioned that your first impression of the demo version of this track was that of “a song that a young Visual-Kei band might write”, but what is this story you’ve written for such a speedy and exhilarating tune?

S: It’s a very pop-like, catchy melody to begin with, so YOW-ROW-kun did his arrangement work on it before bringing out this fast-paced feeling by weaving together a number of different rhythm elements. Even if this was the kind of impression [the music] gives, I’m not very good at writing a story that’s wholly positive, so I started looking around for ideas when I came across the myth of Icarus.

――In the brightness of this song, I could also sense tragedy in it. Like the complex emotions related to the current state of the world being told alongside the adaptation of Icarus’ myth. The brighter the light shines, the darker the shadows deepen.

S: Ultimately, I didn’t want to stray from the fact that this is a story and piece of a music, but I just can’t understand why people are afraid of being honest and saying that they’re anti-war. I think there’s something weird about this, and at the same time, there’s a story in me that I want to tell, so people might accuse me of beautifying things but simply using the veil of entertainment to cloak it.

――We have never had the experience of going to war, so the only thing we can do is try and imagine the emotions and the circumstances in that scenario. I might be digressing, but as I was listening to Taiyou to Icarus, I was suddenly reminded of anime like Space Battleship Yamato and Cyborg 009. Very Showa era titles (lol). Where we see heroes fighting to defend humankind and protect the earth. So although people may call this beautification, like Sakurai-san said earlier, all of these are also forms of entertainment. When we watch [these shows], we feel emotional, we cry, we feel heartache. The strength and brilliance that these characters possessed, along with their underlying melancholy could all be felt in this Taiyou to Icarus.

S: Maybe I’m personally also someone who’s immersed in those sentimental Showa era emotions. Not that I can do anything about it. I’m not being defiant, but what’s wrong with beautifying things (lol).

――On the other hand, I think the vibe of how this song sounds kind of goes against the image that BUCK-TICK has had all this while.

S: That’s the beginnings of a trap. Where we sound like we make pop music, and then we quickly drag them down in quicksand.

――Indeed (lol). In Boogie Woogie, I feel like I’m looking at the band when it first started out. 

S: I guess the things that happened around us during our 35th anniversary had a hand in bringing out memories of us messing around and starting the band in our 20s. It’s like a throwback in time.

――The words “junk-heap of a van (オンボロ車 / onborosha)” appear in the lyrics, but who would’ve thought BUCK-TICK really had such an experience.

S: Indeed. This is based on the true story of the time before we made our debut, we were on a Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka tour and on our way home, we were on the Tomei Expressway when we ran out of gas and everyone had to push the equipment vehicle together.

――Next, Mugen LOOP -IZORA- is different from the single version of the song, but I think this city pop vibe really leaves an impression.

S: We lived through the 80s and 90s so I think Imai-san also possesses this sense of pop within him.

――Starting the song with the words “A southerly wind (南風 / minami kaze)” was impactful in its own way, but if we think a little deeper about a “LOOP” that goes on into “infinity (無限 / mugen)”, it’s kind of eerie. Even though the music sounds so refreshing.

S: In short, it’s a dream you see in a coma. A dream where you never know when it’s ending, nor whether it’ll ever conclude. It’s like seeing the same dream over and over again without knowing when you’ll wake up.

――So this “infinity” is also a “dreamworld”.

S: That’s right.

I also had periods when I struggled and fumbled in it, but in the end
I’ve now come to believe that this is probably the only thing that gives me affirmation.

――Sakurai-san’s rather high notes in the chorus were really impressive too. Would you call Noraneko Blue (Stray Cat Blue) a jazz blues song?

S: Sounds bluesy, doesn’t it? Exactly as written in the title, though. I just thought we just had to have cats featured in at least one song on the album.

――You’re rolling your r’s with this sort of languid style of vocals. It’s really cool.

S: Thank you. If we’re using a Showa era word to describe this song, I guess it’ll be “nihilistic”.

――The part where the piano and vocals are in unison is also really nice.

S: The piano was played by Yoko-chan (Yokoyama Kazutoshi). It’s sophisticated, creates a nice atmosphere. And the setting that comes to mind can only be Shinjuku, right? Not Shibuya or Harajuku, or Roppongi but Shinjuku. The song title kind of sounds like a Showa era movie title too, doesn’t it?

――It does. It sounds a little bit cheeky too (lol). Hizumi felt like we were in one of Sakurai-san’s nightmares.

S: That’s exactly what it is. If I go to bed without drinking, I really will get nightmares so this is what I spit out for my own benefit. It turned out that this was kind of like giving myself therapy. Mm, it’s therapy. I’m sick, copacetically.

――I don’t know whether it’s a good thing to describe it as “copacetically” (lol)…… I’m deviating from our topic again, but there’s this character in one of the dramas I watch in the morning who makes their debut as a  poet. When the editor looks at the new tanka they wrote for their first book publishing, the editor says something like, “You have to change your perspective. You need to grow more.” A fan who heard about this disagreed, saying that the character is fine as they are and that their perspective of the world is splendid. But to this, the editor said, “That’s ego. It’s as good as telling a boy not to grow up because he sings a beautiful soprano.” Upon hearing that, I feel that the worldview of songs like Hizumi and one of your past releases, Mudai¹⁹ which were born of Sakurai-san’s circumstances are assets to BUCK-TICK, but I started to think that maybe it could be very cruel for you too.

S: That is something I’m very familiar with. That editor’s statement on growing up. Numerous times, and in this album too, I’ve challenged myself to part ways with the words of my mother and father who were like that editor but…… When we talk about growing up, the soprano analogy makes it very easy to understand, doesn’t it? Applying it to myself. I said this in the beginning too, but ultimately, I just wonder casually about whether people will let me write what I want to and take it all in stride. Even though people may call me defiant, you know. I also had periods when I struggled and fumbled in it, but in the end, I’ve now come to believe that this is probably the only thing that gives me affirmation.

――Finally, Na mo Naki Watashi (I, Nameless) has a very gentle point of view. I feel like it carries a message which encourages everyone living here and now.

S: It’s about how I’m really just a single stalk of flower getting shone upon by the sun and hit by the rain just like everyone else, equally. There will be all kinds of encounters and farewells in between; bees and bugs will visit, the gentle breeze of the wind will move us. I’m not trying to stand on a pedestal and give people affirmation, but I’m just trying to say that this is enough. It is enough to bloom and exist as you are.

――So what’s your impression of the album name, 異空 -IZORA-?

S: That was originally the working title of Mugen LOOP, but it was written in English alphabets so I couldn’t tell what it was supposed to mean at the time. After that, it became two kanji characters and I guessed it probably meant something like how we live under the same sky but the sky that each one of us sees is different.

――How do you feel about the way 異空 -IZORA- turned out as an album?

S: Personally I think I’m a gloomy person, if I do say so myself, but this really turned out to be a form of self-therapy and I especially like the second half [of the album]. I guess I can say that I’m glad I could create a world I like while staying true to myself. After that, it will belong to everyone who listens [to the album], so I hope they enjoy it.




¹ Album=Their 23rd album, 異空 -IZORA-. Released 12 April.

² ILLUSION=Recorded in their first album, SEXUALxxxxx!. Released November 1987.

³ Yokohama Arena=Where “BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~” was held on 23〜24 September 2022.

Moon  Sayonara wo Oshiete=Their 36th single. Released February 2018.

Maimu Mime=Recorded in their 22nd album ABRACADABRA. Released September 2020.

Six/Nine=Their 8th album. Released May 1995.

Caady=Their 11th single. Released May 1996.

COSMOS=Their 9th album. Released June 1996.

13-kai wa Gekkou=Their 14th album. Released April 2005.

¹⁰ Kurutta Taiyou =Their 5th album. Released February 1991.

¹¹ Kagerou=Their 23rd single. Released August 2006.

¹² Arui wa ANARCHY=Their 19th album. Released June 2014.

¹³ One album=THE MORTAL’s first album, I AM MORTAL. Released November 2015.

¹⁴ New World=Their 34th single. Released September 2016.

¹⁵ Ahead of time=Earlier released in their best-of concept album, CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.. Released September 2022.

¹⁶ 35th anniversary tour=“BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA-” which commences on 19 April.

¹⁷ Taiyou to Icarus=Their 41st single. Released on 8 March.

¹⁸ Mugen LOOP=Their 42nd single. Released 22 March.

¹⁹ Mudai=Recorded in their 19th album, Arui wa ANARCHY (或いはアナーキー).

* The word they used here in Japanese was フラット (furatto), literally “flat”.



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Imai Hisashi

You could also say that we’ve been able
to do it for fun, and we still enjoy doing it
without ever getting tired of it.
That’s all there is to it.

profile & information
Born 21 October 1964. Blood type: O. Guitarist of BUCK-TICK which formed in 1985 and had its major debut in 1987.

Interview & Text ◎ Fuyu Showgun


Among the 14 tracks recorded on 異空 -IZORA-, Imai has composed music for 11 of them, and wrote lyrics for plus sang on THE FALLING DOWN. Here, we bring you commentary from Imai’s perspective on all the tracks of the album, along with his preferred sound tendencies and more.

Not even the impression that we’re creating a culmination of us because it’s our 35th anniversary or something.
I think that’s just how it is because we are who we are. Whenever we try doing something, it just turns out like this.

――I managed to catch your shows at Yokohama Arena¹ and Nippon Budokan² last year. The shows had “35th anniversary” in their names, but they not only looked back at  BUCK-TICK’s past, they also showcased the band’s present day progress. They were wonderful to watch.

Imai (I): In short, the decision was not to take the approach of performing a best-of selection of songs for our anniversary shows. We didn’t decide on any particular theme; we simply listed the songs we wanted to perform and towards the end, we usually have Sakurai-san compile and put them all together for us. What you saw is just the result of that, so I guess we did good.

――Having been active for such a long time, fans would likely ask that you perform old songs and make similar requests, but BUCK-TICK doesn’t limit yourselves to that, do you?

I: Because there are many among our fans who also enjoy the new songs and want to hear them live. So I think it’s okay that we perform our shows without songs like Aku no Hana³ or JUST ONE MORE KISS⁴.

――I would believe that’s largely because of how BUCK-TICK continued your musical exploration throughout all these years.

I: You could also say that we’ve been able to do it for fun, and we still enjoy doing it without ever getting tired of it. That’s all there is to it.

――It’s great that the band is capable of staying active without losing motivation. So let’s talk about the fruits of that labour, your new album 異空 -IZORA-⁵. Although, I believe you originally intended to release the album in two CDs?

I: In the beginning, before we even made a single song, we did think of trying that out. Ten songs in each disc going on with no pause. So we actually started work with the feeling that we’re heading in the theme of that direction. As it went on with our anniversary schedule, as we performed our existing songs on tour⁶ while also going into the studio to work on new songs, it’s as if I got more and more obstinate. But despite our tight schedule, we eventually managed to get the right number of songs. So we actually could’ve released two discs if we wanted to but then we started wondering, “Why are we dividing the songs into two discs?” Then, we thought that it might be better to choose songs out of these almost 20 tracks and release them as one solid work. through this, we came to understand that we really needed quite an amount of time if we were to release two discs.

――So the idea of releasing two discs was a rough one to begin with.

I: Simply because it would have quite the impact and it might be interesting to carry out such a project. That’s all we had in mind in the beginning. And we did make the move to decide on themes and concepts for these two discs, but when we were done with the songs we made, we also found that they turned out a little differently than expected. So that’s why we decided that we’ll release one CD with 12 or 13 songs in it.

――Were you able to envision the theme of the album when you came to the stage of selecting the songs for release?

I: Nothing specific came to mind at all. Not even the impression that we’re creating a culmination of us because it’s our 35th anniversary or something. But, well, I think that’s just how it is because we are who we are.

――In terms of my impression of the album as a whole, I found the gaps in sound and space, the intervals of each instrument all very cool. It’s like I got to experience the beauty of not playing the guitar, for example.

I: You could say that I tried to remove guitar solo-sounding guitar solos as much as possible. We’re naturally heading in this direction but I guess I can only say that whenever we try doing something, it just turns out like this. And the length of the songs. They’re short, in general. Even though I didn’t have any such discussion with Hide (Hoshino), we always end up with things that are similar in vibe, you know? The song compositions. This time around, there are quite a few songs that don’t even reach 4 minutes. I remember the time when I easily wrote 6〜7-minute long songs and Hide also wrote music of that length. We will find that our compositions and song structures are very similar. That’s another thing I find interesting when we work.

――I would think that this is a result of having worked together for so many years. Another thing I noticed is how distinctive the bass sounds in this album. It sounds soft and comfortable to hear, and yet it also has a strong presence. I get the impression that this enigmatic soundscape straight up turns into the atmosphere that fills the world of this album.

I: This time, we asked a German mastering engineer (Clemens Schleiwies) to work on the album. He was also involved in our previous best-of (DISC: 3 ELEKTRIZO from CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.⁷) release, and that’s why we wanted to try working with him on this album. He might’ve been the reason behind that bass range.

I thought SCARECROW might work well as a single when I composed it.
But when it got its lyrics, it turned super dark, so I thought, “This can’t be a single.”

――You have the word “QUANTUM” in the titles of the first and last instrumental tracks of the album. Both “I” and “II” share the same main melody but the way the melody is played and the arpeggios are different. Is this to create a thematic stance for the album?

I: We start our concerts with an instrumental track, so I thought maybe we could include something like that in our album too. The concert version would be a little longer, but that’s already done. So I guess the instrumental tracks are [here to show listeners the album’s] theme and world view.

――Then comes SCARECROW, the first actual track with lyrics. I believe this unique darkness is at the root of BUCK-TICK, but was this a conscious decision?

I: Nope, didn’t think of it. This was actually the very first song we composed for the album.

――Does it mean that this song became the benchmark for the album?

I: Not exactly, but I personally thought it might work well as a single when I first composed it. But later on came Na mo Naki Watashi (I, Nameless) and Mugen LOOP (Infinity LOOP), and then we felt that these two were better choices. Also, when [SCARECROW] got its lyrics, it turned super dark, so I thought, “This can’t be a single.” But when we had a meeting, Sakurai-san voted for this song to be a single. I was like, “Huh. So it’s a valid choice.”

――(Lol). I thought that starting the album with that darkness was very BUCK-TICK. I believe other bands would have typically chosen to make the first track Warukyuure no Kikou (Ride of the Valkyries).

I: That wasn’t a decision that was made solely by me. When we were talking about track order, Sakurai-san also raised the idea of making SCARECROW come first, alongside myself.

――Warukyuure no Kikou has pipe organs in its intro and at the end of the interlude, there’s an orchestra too. The gorgeous sounds are just lovely. 

I: Those were ideas that came from our manipulator YOW-ROW. “To bring out the valkyrie mood,” he said. When I told him not to worry about how many sounds we have in this song, he really didn’t hold back and added a whole ton of stuff. For this song, I also kind of let him have his way with it from the start to see what would come out of it.

――You don’t sound particularly opposed to including such sounds that don’t originate from yourselves.

I: That depends on the song. But I guess I’m not against it recently. But even if I say that he can do whatever he wants with it, if I listen to what he made and said, “This part isn’t necessary,” he would still remove it anyway. If I have a concrete idea in mind, I’d tell him before he starts work, so we generally play by ear.

――I thought the chamber music-inspired strings arrangement by Kokushoku Sumire’s Sachi-chan in the next track, Sayonara Shelter -destroy and regenerate-Mix brought a really nice touch of grandeur to the song too.

I: I think Hide mentioned it…… That’s how it pretty much turned out.

――If you were the same imai-san from the past, I think you’d probably say something like, “I want to play the guitar for this.”

I: That’s true. But, well, if we’re in the 90s, like 1993 or something, I think we could’ve done it with a guitar synthesiser or something.

――Does that mean the way you think about the guitar as an instrument has changed since then?

I: Nope, I don’t think so. Besides, guitar synthesisers and actual violins are completely different things. While it’s true that it’s possible to do this with a guitar synthesiser too, well, whether or not we actually do it this way depends on the situation.

――Earlier you mentioned the lack of guitar solos. Do you think that’s the frame of mind you’re currently in?

I: Yeah. But, take Na mo Naki Watashi for example, I played that solo-sounding melody and had it included because we felt that it was necessary. Because we kind of wanted a guitar solo, or rather an interlude of sorts. Call it a bridge or something, but we’ll change things slightly depending on the situation. Having a guitar solo as part of the song’s structure isn’t quite the same thing.

――Next, we have Ai no Harem (Harem of Love), Hoshino-san’s song. The way the two guitars play the chords such that they sound like one was impressive.

I: Feels like Hide made it out of Hide’s, doesn’t it? The composer has always been the arranger of their own songs since the very beginning so it’s all him.

――Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni (Bouquet for you) is a cheerful song, but when you compose dark-sounding music, do you feel the urge to make your next composition a bright one?

I: As I go, I do think, “This will be next, followed by this.” As to which I want to work on first, I tend to just follow the order I’ve come up with. Sometimes, I also feel, “This song looks like it would be troublesome, I want to get it over and done with first.” Other times, “I’ll just start with whatever I can do,” and then work on more than one at the same time. That’s all just the work I do at home anyway. But I also have fun working on all these. 

――Speaking of which, do you get something like a build-up routine to motivate you to compose?

I: I do. Like, wanting to clean up the room before I start or something.

――There’s something like a filter thing going on with the bass in Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni, right?

I: That’s because we wanted the bass to sound a little different than usual. Rather than the usual nice sound, we were going for something that kind of draws attention to it, so I think we applied some sort of effector.

――It’s kind of weird in a good way, and the feeling of mismatch with the fresh tune is conversely pleasant.

I: That’s what we were going for.

――Kind of like a synth bass approach. I believe that’s something you appreciate too, but is there anything you’d particularly take note about?

I: Yes, it’s true but also, it depends on the song. And even if we do use a synth bass, it’ll still be played by an actual bass. I guess you could say it’s more about how it sounds when these two come together. That’s probably another thing. It’s part of the arrangement work.

――You’re also involved as a vocalist for THE FALLING DOWN, but did you compose the melody with the intention of singing it already?

I: It wasn’t already decided from the start with THE FALLING DOWN. It’s just that as I worked on it, I started thinking, “Ah, I kind of want to sing the verses myself.” Whether it’s the groove, or the rhythm, those were all done with no restrictions.

――Be it the rhythm or the phrasing, I think therein lies Imai-san’s own original melody and word choices. Would you label those as part of your flair? Or do you regularly keep these aside as ideas, or something like that?

I: Nothing was specially kept aside, not in this case. Nuances are important too, but there’s also the fact that it just wouldn’t work if the words don’t sit well with the rhythm or groove too, so I guess I was a little bit picky with my words there.

――On the other hand, it feels like the melody that Sakurai-san sings focuses more on how the musical notes work. There appears to be more mid-tempo songs in this album too. But that’s not deliberate, is it? It’s just how the current vibe is?

I: That’s right.

――Next, the refrain that plays right from the start in Taiyou to Icarus (The Sun and Icarus) and it sounds like it comes from a keyboard, yet at the same time, a guitar. It’s kind of curious.

I: I don’t know. This is also another one of Hide’s songs, so it might’ve been YOW-ROW but I don’t really know whether they did something or what they did exactly. In any case, I’m playing my guitar too, though.

――The riff in Boogie Woogie sounds like it comes from a mixture or hard rock band of yesteryear too. The sounds used and the bouncy rhythm and the fun yet kind of unusual riff; all of this makes it an unlikely rock song, doesn’t it?

I: About that, I spoke to YOW-ROW, telling him, “I haven’t really heard any song recently that’s got the same feel as the monophonic riff that Uta⁸ had. Makes you want to hear one, doesn’t it?” Maybe that was the cause, maybe it gave him an idea. As I played a bit here and there, I somehow got a vague image of the vibe for this riff. His idea was to add some kind of shuffle vibe to it or some bouncy feels instead of leaving it as it was.

――I see. I think the riff in Uta is wholly a show of Imai-san’s own unique employment of sound. I don’t think it’s deliberate on your part but this is something that deviates a little from the popular musical theories applied to rock guitar.

I: I wonder. I don’t really know, though.

There’s a part of me that feels the guitar is the number one thing that makes [a sound] un-electronic.
That’s why I want to try composing a song that doesn’t sound like it’s got guitars in it at all.

――Next, Mugen LOOP -IZORA- (Infinity LOOP). I heard that the album title, 異空 -IZORA- was originally the working title for this song. This song is another that carries a flavour never before seen from BUCK-TICK.

I: It’s a chord progression that we’ve never played before, and I quite like it too. In the beginning, I had that synth riff, that melody and I was wondering whether there was a chord progression that could allow it to keep repeating from start to end. Starting out from there got us here.

――So it’s a song that came about from that synth melody.

I: That synth melody was the only thing there was at the start, and I considered trying to make it a kind of experimental song which doesn’t include guitars. Then, as I was playing around with the chords, it turned into something completely different than my original idea, but I think it’s better than that. So it grew on me.

――Is it even possible to have a song with no guitars for BUCK-TICK?

I: I just think it would be interesting. When playing something electronic, there’s a part of me that feels the guitar is the number one thing that makes [a sound] un-electronic. That’s why I envision that if I were to go all the way with [electronic music], I wouldn’t include the guitar. I started [working on this song] with that idea to try composing something that thorough[ly electronic], but that didn’t happen in the end anyway. I do want to try a bunch of things after this, though. But I also wonder how that would work live if I did make such a song.

――And that’s why ever since the beginning, you didn’t only use guitars but also other instruments like the Ztar. I believe BUCK-TICK has always looked at studio work and live performances as two separate things. And you have a lot of songs which leave different impressions when they’re played live.

I: That’s just something that happens naturally. It’s not as if we think about recreating the studio versions live.

――On the other hand, Noraneko Blue (Stray Cat Blue) sounds like a studio session within the band. I really like how the bluesy and loose kind of tension makes it very band-like.

I: I had fun bringing out that vibe too. It’s the first time I’ve ever tried something like this and I quite like it a lot. But it wasn’t as if we recorded it in a jam session or anything like that though.

――During the chorus, or rather, the climax of the song where he sings “Hey, Blue (ねぇブルー / nee buruu), there’s this intense analogue synth-sounding tone that’s going on in the back. Is that a guitar?

I: That’s an effector that’s of a less-controlled distortion transmission. It’s from Jack White’s brand.

――From Third Man Records.

I: I think so, something like that.

――Are you always looking for these effectors and equipment?

I: When we’re recording, I would bring a whole variety of compact effectors to the studio and then I’d mess around with them on a small amp when I’m free. If I like it, I’ll then use it or purchase it.

――To me, the distortion and fuzz with those kinds of effectors is characteristic of Imai-san’s guitar sound but is there anything in particular you pay attention to in those areas?

I: I just create whatever I hear or imagine in my head. If I think that something sounds good on the spot, I’ll start working on it in the studio.

――So it’s important to envision it first.

I: But also, there are different situations like, I could create it at home, like it, but just cannot recreate it as it is in the studio. It’s as if there’s something good added by working on it at home. Call it the cheap feeling, or something. Because when we do things in the studio, it will always get this richness and depth no matter what, and it’ll sound well-rounded. When I’m trying to get something other than that, there will be times when I have to take the data from the demo tape and treat it a little.

――What really stuck out to me in Hizumi was this melody that was created through your combined effort with Hoshino-san.

I: That’s pretty much it. We already decided to do this when we started work on arrangement.

――That’s something I wouldn’t have thought I would see in the past. Because you’d tend to do everything on your own.

I: But nothing has changed between then and now. Because whether it’s the guitar part or the arrangement, the decisions lie with the composer. Especially this one when the arrangement calls for both guitars to be tightly knit. Like two guitars playing one riff.

――I just have this very strong impression of how the two of you would always play completely different melodies. There’s this one line that I remember from an interview Imai-san did in the 90s when you said, “I’d leave the difficult parts to Hide. I’ll just have fun playing the good bits.”

I: That hasn’t changed even now, actually.

――(Lol) And the last track with lyrics is Na mo Naki Watashi. It was the B-side to the preceding single⁹ Taiyou to Icarus where YOW-ROW-san was involved in creating the Kachoufuugetsu REMIX (花鳥風月REMIX). Was there something you wanted to achieve in releasing the remix before the original?

I: Rather than achieve, it was actually a candidate for the single. When we decided to release it, we thought to as YOW-ROW to work on it. We wanted to make it more major-sounding than the original and groovier, and we also had the idea of possibly changing the chords. So I called YOW-ROW, talked about it with him through the night, like, “Chords are this and that,” and gave him as detailed a a list of requests as I could. Then in typical YOW-ROW fashion, he proposed the ideas like chords with various tensions, and I thought it was interesting so we went ahead with it. That’s why I can’t say I had anything in mind with releasing the remix ahed of the original. Since we made something good, I just wanted people to hear it as soon as possible and let them experience something completely different from the album version and enjoy the original in another way. 

――YOW-ROW-san also mentioned it on social media, but what did you think about the autotune part?

I: He DM-ed me, asking, “Can I do this?” I though it was nice, and pretty interesting.

――Until now, you’ve applied distortion and spatial effects to vocals, but not any effects that alter the voice this boldly.

I: For some reason or other, I don’t really like for the vocals to be withdrawn to the background. It depends on the song, but there are times when it’s better that the voice sounds dry, or when I want to distort it, things like that. There are also times when I want to make it stand out even more with a delay.

――Your tour¹⁰ starts on 19 April. You earlier said that you aren’t thinking about recreating the studio recordings live, but I also think that part of this album’s songs would become more prominent this way.

I: I think we’ll change things up as we decide to, maybe, increase how much we feature the guitars, or compose live arrangements, things like that. But more on a personal level than a over all band level. We would also think about how we’ll perform certain songs, whether or not we’ll start with SCARECROW, all that.

――Once again, as you celebrate your 35th anniversary, do you think about what lies ahead?

I: Same as usual. Because, well, it’s going to be our 36th anniversary soon.




¹ Yokohama Arena=Where “BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~” was held on 23〜24 September 2022.

² Nippon Budokan=Where  “BUCK-TICK 2022 TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. FINALO in Budokan” was held on 29 December 2022.

³ Aku no Hana=Their second single. Released January 1990.

JUST ONE MORE KISS=Their first single. Released October 1988.

異空 -IZORA-=Their 23rd album. Released 12 April.

Tour=“BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv.” which was held between October and December 2022 (some shows postponed).

CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.=Their best-of concept album. Released September 2022.

Uta=Their 8th single. Released March 1995.

Single=Their 41st single, Taiyou to Icarus. Released in March.

¹⁰ Tour=“BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA-” which commences on 19 April.




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Hoshino Hidehiko

This album is quite
rich in variety too,
so I also imagine each
(track) with different skies.

profile & information
Born 16 June 1966. Blood type: A. Guitarist of BUCK-TICK which formed in 1985 and had its major debut in 1987.

Interview & Text ◎ Okubo Yuka


Within 異空 -IZORA-, there are three songs that were composed by him; the album version of Sayonara Shelter which was also included in the band’s best-of compilation, Taiyou to Icarus (The Sun and Icarus) which was a preceding single, and Ai no Harem (Harem of Love). In this interview, he shares his perspective on all the songs of the album, with a focus on his own three songs.

I believe there were people who became fans with songs like JUPITER and Dress,
and I think that Taiyou to Icarus would probably have the same effect.

――When the band was deciding on the singles that would precede the album 異空 -IZORA-¹, I heard that Hoshino-san who normally doesn’t have any strong opinions surprisingly pushed for Taiyou to Icarus² to be one of them. In the interview you had with us back in December’s release of the 104th issue of this magazine, you also mentioned that in recent years, you’re “a little bit stiff, so (I) want to break through that” when it comes to your own compositions. I’m getting the feeling that Hoshino-san has made some sort of  breakthrough somewhere within yourself, so what do you say?

Hoshino (H): Part of it is because our director, Tanaka (Jun’ichi)-san really pushed for it too, but during the process of producing this song, as the guitar parts were added, the vocals were added, [my insistence] stemmed from this point when I started thinking, “This is good, this song.” Even based on my own style, this [song] can be classified as pop, but I personally think there’s a very sad element to it too. And I think that element really came through when it matches with the lyrics. Because I didn’t want it to be a simple pop song that’s nothing but rainbows and butterflies. And we were really able to bring this across, so I think that’s probably what made [other people] feel that this song will definitely do well and inspired them to push for it as a single.

――How did the other members of the band react at the time?

H: We were all having a hard time trying to decide on which songs to pick, so I thought I’d just go for it, you know?

――For Hoshino-san, has this song always been in the running to become a single right from the start when you first composed it?

H: No, not at all. Because I composed it with the intention of making it one of the tracks in the album. We originally intended to produce two CDs. Broadly speaking, we were aiming for something like a light versus dark version, and this song was just one of those that was going to be included.

――Specifically, in the light category, right?

H: In the light category. It might lean towards the dark category because of its lyrics but in any case, I thought it was more suitable in the light category. In the beginning.

――Once Sakurai-san’s lyrics came in, it had the potential to be a song that could fit either category, right?

H: That’s right. I think the lyrics to Taiyou to Icarus has been written in such a fashion that it can be interpreted in a number of ways. Those who listen to the song without looking at the lyric booklet would probably conclude, “Ah, a pop song.” But if someone looks at the booklet and starts thinking about it, I think their perspective on it or the way they hear it might change too. I think it’s fine for people to experience it in their own way, though.

  ――I had the impression that this could turn out to be a song that changes the general public’s impression of BUCK-TICK. Just like JUPITER³ for example.

H: I had a strong feeling about that too. With songs like JUPITER and Dress⁴, I believe there were people who weren’t fans but have been listening to BUCK-TICK that actually said that they liked it, and I think that Taiyou to Icarus would probably have the same effect. It would be nice if people started listening to our music because of this, though.

――I’ve heard that Hoshino-san is super strict with your recording direction when it comes to your compositions, so how did things progress with this song?

H: I’m not that strict these days. Nowhere near to the past (lol).

――Is that because you had some sort of change in mentality?

H: It’s been this way these past few years, but I’ve come to think that it’s probably better to hear a variety of opinions. I’ve grown up, haven’t I? (Lol)

――I see. I guess that means you also paid attention to various opinions this time.

H: Yeah. I no longer stubbornly say things like, “I’ll hate it all unless it’s like this!” (Lol)

――Is that so? (Lol) So during recording, was there anything you specifically wanted from the rhythm musicians Yagami-san and (Higuchi) Yuta-san?

H: They do have the demo tapes so I just asked them to play based on what they hear there. I didn’t say anything too complicated to them.

――What about the feel of the sound?

H: With the sound, I always listen to a bunch of stuff on site and then make a judgement on which would work. Things basically went smoothly without any disagreements.

――Is there a particular type of sound that you were going for?

H: It’s the same as the decisions we make for drums, but I basically want it a little tight, with resonance. That’s pretty much it. We have (our engineer) Hiruma (Hitoshi)-san to work on a bunch of other things after that anyway. It was a generally, “Oh, that’s nice,” kind of vibe. I don’t think I had much to say. Hiruma-san also listened to the demo tape and he didn’t deviate too far from that anyway. He’s got years of experience on that end so it’s alright.

――In terms of first impressions of this song, Sakurai-san expressed that he felt “it’s a song that a young visual-kei band might make” when he first heard it. How do you think the song has changed [from its demo version] to the final version?

H: That demo tape didn’t have much synth stuff going on. In other words, it was mainly guitars. I think that’s where he got that impression of a young band.

――I see. What was your approach to composing the guitars?

H: For guitars, it’s the same thing I do with recording it. Recently, I’ve increased my guitar arsenal by one more SG (Gibson), but I haven’t changed what I use much in recent years. I always do this for recording, but I’ll note where I’m supposed to press on a score sheet and then I’ll double check it with Imai-san as I record, so this has never changed this whole time. With Taiyou to Icarus, it’s a case where I’m the one teaching Imai-kun, so I’d go to the studio and refer to the sheet while telling him to press here and there.

This is actually the version of Sayonara Shelter that we originally wanted to release.
We had always wanted to include violins in it.

――What about Sakurai-san’s singing?

H: He wrote and rewrote the lyrics for this song a number of times. Like adding in katakana and making these kinds of cosmetic changes to the words. He was very particular about those tiny details so I think he changed the lyrics quite a few times.

――You engaged YOW-ROW-san to be the manipulator for this song. What specifications did ask of him?

H: After discussing with Tanaka-san, we decided that we wanted him to bring in his “YOW-ROW style”.

――And how would you describe that?

H: At the very first stage, he would always add in a lot of sound elements. And after that, he would usually take things out as he goes, but recently, he doesn’t do that either. He would do all the adding and hit the mark with a bang, so with Taiyou to Icarus, the hooks in the areas of YOW-ROW-kun’s speciality we just so good. In short, if the main sound was the guitar, then, like what we said earlier, that would make the song sound like it belongs to a younger band. But when we bring YOW-ROW-kun’s sounds into the spotlight, then this is how the song would sound. You could say that’s what I was looking for, or rather, much of the reason why I asked him to work on it was because I was hoping for him to do that.

――Like the sparkly feeling in the intro.

H: Yes, exactly, those kinds of vibes. I think this time I’m really into YOW-ROW-kun’s melodies.

――The album version of Sayonara Shelter includes the subtitle destroy and regenerate-Mix. The biggest change that we hear in this version is the featuring of violins here.

H: Sayonara Shelter was included in our best-of release⁵ but this is actually the version that we originally wanted to release. Because we had always wanted to include violins in it.

――Did that come before this title and the lyrics came about?

H: Yes. I could already hear the violins from the very beginning so I wanted to include it. But since we made the decision to include the song in our 35th anniversary album, I was like, hold up. We can’t just throw it in there because I wanted to use it just for the album. So we then agreed to sleep on the violin thing for a bit and meanwhile, release the band-only version.

――Kokushoku Sumire’s Sachi-chan was in charge of playing the violin here, so what kind of discussions did you have?

H: I basically started by telling her that I’d like the violins in the chorus, the interlude, and the outro. She came up with a few versions herself and recorded them for me to hear. Then I would feedback on which sounded good, and which I would like her to play. Also, it was Sachi-chan’s idea to feature the violin right in the beginning with the intro too. She suggested, “I’d like to play this at the start, if you don’t mind.” And I told her to go right ahead. That’s more or less how it went.

――It’s nice how that intro carried this sense of nostalgia.

H: I think the impression it gives is different depending on whether or not [the violin] is there.

――Who was the manipulator in charge of Sayonara Shelter?

H: Same person we had for the best-of version, Cube Juice-kun. Because there were no changes. But when the violin was added, it felt like he suppressed the synth a bit.

――The organic sounds of the violin along with the word “regenerate” in the subtitle really gives me the feeling of a hopeful future. It’s nice like this.

H: That makes me glad to hear because I hoped that [the song] would bring our listeners a warmth that bears hope.

――What concepts were Ai no Harem (Harem of Love) based on?

H: I think this song probably sprouted from a concept close to dub or ska music. I didn’t play it on guitar but I played a ska rhythm on keyboards for this. That’s where it started and towards the end I mixed in some dub elements with the vocals and all that to finish up. I had a kind of thick, gooey image of it in mind.

――That progression in the second half does have that effect.

H: That’s really just how it naturally turned out. Because it just happened that we got that dub-like ending without even a guitar solo. Naturally.

――The part of the second half that sounds almost narrative, like chanson, was interesting too.

H: That part of the song, the melody or something already existed in my head. There’s an even more spoken version, but we chose to use the very first take that went along with the melody I thought of.

――Was the percussive sounding part in the intro originally there?

H: The keyboard part was originally there but the percussive part you mentioned was a mix of a bunch of sounds that Cube-kun put together.

――It might be a bit late ask now, but the role that manipulators play in BUCK-TICK’s music is really significant compared to other bands. I believe that Hoshino-san and Imai-san have very strong opinions when it comes to your music and that you’re people who will work on things to the very end to achieve the perfection you’re looking for. And yet you leave part of the production to the manipulators. Why is that?

H: That’s, well, the way we’ve generally been doing things in recent years. I can add synth and programming on my own too, but ultimately, I don’t have it in me when it comes to those things. There’s also the fact that the song can grow further if another brings in something extra. And I’m not very used to working with programming, so it already takes me extra time just to create the demo tapes. For example, it’s easy enough to decide on the melody, but it just takes me too much time to choose the tone, the type of sound…… It’s a real problem for me, choosing the tone. Because there are just so many options and I have to listen to each of them one by one. I’d put in the melody that I can enter and right from the get-go, it should feel like this. Then there’s the looping rhythm, and the rhythm itself is detailed so once I start working on it, I’ll be spending quite a while there. That’s why I’m of the mind that maybe it’s just better to leave this to [the manipulators].

――I thought it might be quicker if you did things on your own instead of spending time going back and forth with someone, but it sounds like there’s a strong case for entrusting it to someone else too. Although I believe the relationship of trust you have with them is why you can leave the work to them with a peace of mind.

H: That’s right, we have a very strong relationship in that sense. Because not only do the people who work with us understand what BUCK-TICK’s colours are, they even understand the colours that each respective song should have. I believe that’s because of this relationship of trust, and also it makes it easy to get things done.

――This also applies to the overall feel of the album, but Hoshino-san’s three songs in this work definitely feels a little bit different from this perspective compared to the “Hoshino melody” we’ve always known. Does Hoshino-san have any thoughts about this?

H: Hmm…… I think I’m not there yet. I kind of feel like there might be something that I managed to make a breakthrough on, but I also feel like I can still do even more. But I would say that in the end, Taiyou to Icarus and these songs did turn out to be something I didn’t do before. Maybe part of it, yes, but I get the feeling that I might’ve managed to get a close up on these areas.

――Whichever way it is, I think it’s awesome.

H: Thank goodness (lol). Let’s leave it at that, then.

There are a lot of songs left that weren’t recorded for this album
and not yet finished, so I hope we can unveil those too.

――Next, I would like us to touch on Imai-san’s music too. Let’s start with QUANTUM I and QUANTUM II, the instrumental tracks at the start and the end of the album. What kind of effect do you think they had on the album?

H: It feels like they’re creating a world. There’s also the feeling of that world expanding. It creates this sense of unity that I think would also happen in the live concerts.

――The first SE track feels like it opened the doors to a new chapter, but the bleak despair in the next track, SCARECROW, is overwhelming.

H: The difference is huge, isn’t it? (Lol) The intro starts with an arpeggio…… It was probably the very first song we completed. I remember thinking, “Ah, so this is the vibe.” And that the world of the lyrics’ is pretty dark.

――Solitude also oozes from the next song, Warukyuure no Kikou (Ride of the Valkyries), doesn’t it?

H: I thought this song was just so cool. Imai’s style really comes through the guitar riffs too. The guitars themselves sound super solid or something. It doesn’t quite feel entirely bulky though. We’re getting more of that recently. This solid finish.

――There is such a disparity between the musical and lyrical impression of Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni (Bouquet for you) and that makes it very impactful.

H: This song…… I think i just played it casually so I don’t have much impression of it (lol). When we were deciding on the track order, it was lined up next to Sayonara Shelter. Now I’m recalling that we debated whether or not to keep it like that. In the end, we decided to put other songs between these two tracks.

――Since both of these songs were inspired by war, putting them together one after another would deepen the overtones, right?

H: That’s right. Just like Sayonara Shelter, I’m also looking forward to seeing how this will be presented in concert.

――Will Hoshino-san also sing choruses in the live concerts?

H: We might play songs during the concert that will need me to sing but…… Speaking of which, I didn’t sing in any part in this new album. I wasn’t asked to. But I guess it would’ve been nice.

――Next, the only song in this album that has lyrics written by Imai-san, THE FALLING DOWN.

H: It’s got Imai’s signature style of riff, doesn’t it? It sounds a lot like Western music, and it seems like the main [sound] here is programming, based on the finishing. We’ve also got Sakurai-san and Imai-san’s duet going on here so this is another song I’m looking forward to play live.

――Looking solely at the lyrics to Boogie Woogie leaves the impression that it’s a cheerful song, but the sound is relatively heavy, isn’t it?

H: But if it’s a question of whether we should categorise it as “light” or “dark”, I’m inclined to categorise it as “light”. This song also revolves around the riff. I kind of remember finding the rhythm surprisingly difficult

――The lyrics are also a highlight of this song since it gives us a glimpse at the band in your youth.

H: With subjects like the junk-heap of a van (オンボロ車 / onborosha), right? It all feels familiar, but (lol). Then I realise it happened over 30-odd years ago. It was probably around the time we made our debut when we were driving around in that old, broken vehicle. I’m looking forward to playing this song live too.

――I can hear echoes of city pop in Mugen LOOP -IZORA- (Infinity LOOP), and the resort vibe it gives is quite fresh..

H: In terms of our past songs, there’s a touch of songs like GIRL⁶. The same loop goes on and on in it, and I heard that was what this song is apparently based on and composed upon. We don’t really have songs like this one, so it feels fresh, doesn’t it? The guitar feels nice and clean too with the single coil.

――The music video has a storyline too, and that’s certainly a highlight.

H: It’s the first time in quite a while that it’s being set in a hotel, but the looping concept was the director’s idea. It’s an unusual vibe, isn’t it?

――It was funny seeing the whole band squished in the elevator together too.

H: That was funny. Imai-san was designated the role of pressing the elevator button and we had so many NGs (lol). I think he just happened to stand near that area and then got thrown the responsibility of button pressing and he ended up having to do it over and over again. We had to make sure that the door closed just right before Sakurai-san comes in or right after he enters, but he just couldn’t get the timing right. He was probably thinking, “Why me?” (Lol)

――What a story from behind the scenes (lol). Next, we have the bluesy Noraneko Blue (Stray Cat Blue).

H: This is another song that makes it feel like you’ll easily slip into its world.

――The unison of the vocals and the piano is outstanding.

H: It is. For guitars, the main thing we play is the arpeggio, but I didn’t do anything particularly difficult with it. With the bluesy vibe, I get the feeling that this would be fun to perform live.

――While Hizumi is a relatively dark song.

H: Since it’s entitled Hizumi (distort/warp) too. But you could say that it’s an addictive song. I don’t think we’ve ever had such a song in BUCK-TICK. I paid particular attention to the bouncy beat.

――Na mo Naki Watashi (I, Nameless) is a beautifully ephemeral mid-tempo track.

H: This is also a song that grew out of an arpeggio, and quite fitting to close off the album as the last track. It feels like it’s connected to the final SE, doesn’t it? The last boss.

――What do you imagine when you look at the album title, 異空 -IZORA-, which Imai-san came up with?

H: I think it’s some sort of a symbolic descriptoinof this album. Considering the historic times we live in and so many other things, maybe he felt that this word is the one that fits this album best. I think it’s a perfect fit. This album is quite rich in variety too, so I also imagine each (track) with different skies.

――On the whole, how do you think this album has turned out?

H: Although we originally intended to release two CDs, we went with one instead and I feel that it was ultimately a good thing we made this change. Because if we were to release two CDs, the songs may end up leaning towards one side or another but having only one CD turns it into a versatile-sounding album and I feel that’s good too.

――You’ve celebrated your 35th anniversary and finished your new album. Is there anything you want to do next?

H: There are a lot of songs left that weren’t recorded for this album and not yet finished, so I want to finish them. It would be nice if we could start work on the next one a little earlier, though (lol). There are songs that have the guitar parts recorded already, so I hope we can unveil those too.




¹ 異空 -IZORA-=Their 23rd album. Released 12 April.

² Taiyou to Icarus=Their 41st single. Released in March.

³ JUPITER=Their 5th single. Released October 1991.

Dress=Their 6th single. Released May 1993.

Best-of release=Earlier released in their best-of concept album, CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.. Released September 2022.

GIRL=Recorded in their 20th single, Zangai. Released January.



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Higuchi yutaka

It feels like we got here while being
in a constant state of “here and now”.
Honestly, I feel that it’d be nice if we
could keep going for as long as we can.

profile & information
Born 24 January 1967. Blood type: A. Bassist of BUCK-TICK which formed in 1985 and had its major debut in 1987.

Interview & Text ◎ Yoshida Koji


Here is Higuchi Yutaka’s version of song reviews for the band’s latest album 異空 -IZORA-, released 35 years after their major debut where he shares key points of his bass playing and his interpretation of each song from the Higuchi perspective.

I knew that it was going to be a great album for sure.
Everyone’s unconventional, so that expands our range too.

――Considering that last year was the 35th anniversary of the band’s major debut, did you ever think 35 years ago that this band would still be around 35 years later?

Yuta (Y): No, I don’t think such an idea even crossed my mind. It feels like we got here while being in a constant state of “here and now”.

――On the other hand, do you currently think about things like whether you’ll still be doing this in ten years and all that?

Y: I guess it would surprise no one that there is a bit of that recently. This is an odd topic, but that’s probably because I’m seeing my friends passing away more and more these days. But honestly, I personally feel that it’d be nice if we could keep going for as long as we can.

――I suppose that’s why this is one thing that hasn’t changed. Thinking about the future isn’t something you did when young, and it still isn’t something you do now.

Y: Yeah. I think it’s probably still the same sentiment. Because our vector always goes in the same direction, like how we release now and the next thing we look forward to is going on tour.

――So what’s the one thing in these 35 years that left the biggest impression on you?

Y: It’s got to be the period of time right after we debuted. We were up to our eyeballs in work while being utterly clueless about things. Work, as in, there were other things that we had to do even though all we had ever done [prior to debuting] was perform at livehouses with our instruments. There were interviews like this, appearances to do at record stores, meetings with sales staff, and all that.

――I recall the record company had branch offices in each major city back then.

Y: And it’s ultimately the idea that adults sell products. Well, although this is music we’re talking about. When we see everyone doing their best, we’d feel like we have to do our best too but then we have Production telling us, “Make music.” And Publicity telling us, “Go advertise.” And Sales telling us, “Go organise fan events.” We had people telling us to do all these kinds of things. Everyone would compete with each other to book times on our schedules so we couldn’t rest at all. Only on days when we were stuck travelling could we rest (lol). Those experiences I can never forget.

――Yagami-san said the same thing too. That they wanted to treat your travel time as off days.

Y: He said that? (Lol) But looking back at it now, I guess we were able to experience a whole lot of things because we went through that. Even though I just turned 20 at the time. It’s a good thing that happened at the time it did. If we were to go through that in our 30s, we’d probably start feeling like we don’t want to do this any more (lol). Because we didn’t know anything at the time so we thought our experiences were normal.

――This particular incident was also featured in the lyrics of Boogie Woogie in your new album, but it seems that in the middle of a tour, you all had to push a vehicle that ran out of fuel to move?

Y: On the Tomei Expressway, right? That was probably during our very first or second tour.

――You can still remember even now.

Y: I guess it’s because of how impactful it was. Our vehicle broke down because it ran out of fuel and we had to find a way to get it to the next parking area. I’m pretty sure we were in an area where Mount Fuji was visible too. So we just kept pushi—ng. And you know how parking areas are on a bit of a slope? When we got there, we were like, “Yes!  We did it!” and still pushing and it all went groon! (Lol)

――It sounds very much like youth.

Y: I guess you could say that it became a very significant part of our roots. Being able to go to each city to perform, seeing how [fans] have been waiting for us; that was when I feel a sense of fulfilment. I think it wouldn’t be wrong to say that this feeling is also connected to the present .

――If your car actually ran out of fuel, that probably means you were broke.

Y: That’s right. We’d pump just barely enough fuel for the road.

――Getting your major debut in such a situation, did it motivate you to want your music to be sellable?

Y: Rather than that, what I wanted more was to get feedback because we’re doing what we do.Because, for example, we could clearly tell that the people at the record company, these adults around us were happy for us. Everyone was all smiles. I feel like that’s not something that can be encapsulated in “wanting to sell well”.

――I’m going to change the subject here, but back in 2020, you were no longer able to hold concerts the same way you always have because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following that, you managed to hold shows at Yokohama Arena¹ last year, and even your first tour² since the pandemic.

Y: The first thing that came to mind was definitely how every band was probably going through the same thing because of COVID-19, and being unable to do anything was probably the most excruciating thing of all. So when the moment came that we could go on tour, I really felt like I finally understood how blessed we are to be able to do all these things we used to take for granted like touring, seeing everyone again. Also because when we started touring last year, there were still some people who were still worried and didn’t want to come. That’s why I’m sincerely grateful to those who did attend our concerts in the midst of that.

――In other words, it’s times like these when you appreciate your fans more than ever. Next, I’d like to move on to talking about your album³. To start, when did Higuchi-san switch to album production mode?

Y: I would’ve already gotten into that mode once I started recording, actually.

――I heard that it was last April when recording commenced. Back then, did you already have some expectation of how this album would turn out?

Y: That only came to me when I was about halfway through, in terms of the number of songs. But I knew that it was going to be a great album for sure. Each song could hold its own. Although I guess you could say that we know how to do this very well since the same could be said for quite a number of our songs. Everyone’s unconventional [in their own way], so that expands our range too.

――Back when ABRACADABRA⁴ was being released, one thing I remember very clearly from Higuchi-san’s interviewwas how you mentioned the band would avoid recording with each other, avoid having meals together, and head straight home right after you were done recording your parts. So it sounds like you’re saying that this time, it’s a complete opposite and things went pretty smoothly.

Y: That’s right. We didn’t have to go that far this time around.

――Does this mean you were able to talk about this and that and make changes during your recording sessions?

Y: That’s right. Because Imai-kun, Hide (Hoshino), the song composers would come too when I’m recording. Myself, I’d change certain things from the demo tapes I received, so I’d tell them how I’m going to do it and we’ll discuss things like that.

In extreme terms, I think this falls within the grounds of not playing anything (lol).
Because I really think that as long as I can enhance the song and the melody, it’s good enough.

――Did you encounter any new challenges when it came to bass recording this time around?

Y: Almost never happens? But I used an upright bass for Noraneko Blue (Stray Cat Blue) and Hizumi. I also felt pretty satisfied with how it turned out.

――Any new equipment?

Y: Nope, not really, I think.

――On the other hand, is there a bass guitar that you always use for recording? Or one that you’ve consistently used in these 35 years?

Y: None to that extent.

――So what is your main go-to when you’re recording?

Y: I mostly use the Zemaitis, the Precision Bass (Fender), or the Ricken (Backer). Surprisingly, I’ve used the Ricken for quite along time. Since Speed⁶, I believe.

――So Higuchi-san isn’t the type to keep changing up the equipment that you use.

Y: Because when it comes to the bass, I feel that its neck is everything. That’s why I use necks that I’m fond of. The Fender Precision Bass, it’s probably made in 1968 so the neck was super warped. And I actually commissioned them to make the exact same neck for me again. Down to its weight. They made that for me and then changed the parts too.

――In short, that just shows how much you like it. The comfort level when you play this bass.

Y: Yeah. It’s not as if the guitar can’t be played anymore without the original parts, but it just feels kind of weird if I switch to playing it high.

――But I think that’s also a reflection of Higuchi-san’s play style. Right, then. Let’s hear about the [album] tracks from you. Excluding the instrumental tracks at the start and at the end, the first song we have on the album is SCARECROW.

Y: For this song, I used a 5-string for the first time in a while. The demo tape didn’t originally feature a 5-string, but I thought it might be a good idea anyway.

―Even though you wouldn’t use the low B?

Y: No, I used the 5-string because I wanted to hit lower. Imai-kun’s original version in the demo tape played the bassline with the higher strings of a regular 4-string, but I wanted to bring it lower. I thought it might be better to bring out that bleakness according to the image of this song.

――Which 5-string bass did you use?

Y: One from Greco. Although, if I were to drop tune for a concert, I would use a 4-string Music Man to do that.

――I feel that Higuchi-san’s bass playing has a very human touch to it. What is something you keep in mind when playing?

Y: It’s got to be the melody. I feel like I used to focus more on the rhythm but now I’ve come to tend towards focusing more on the melody. Something like a form which accentuates the melody.

――The melody of the vocals?

Y: There are occasions when the bass itself becomes the melody too, but it’s meant to enhance the melody. But doing that would also mean I’ll gradually stop playing the bass (lol). I guess that’s comfortable to me now, on the contrary. Because in the past, I would’ve headed towards trying to bury it but now I don’t really want to.

――Would you say that your style of bass playing changed drastically in that aspect?

Y: A lot has changed, but the period that gets these comments the most has got to be darker than darkness -style93- ⁷.

――In other words, back in 1993.

Y: Because that’s when I switched from playing on beat to playing by groove. And another period when I sensed things changing bit by bit was around memento mori⁸.

――So, per your words earlier, you find yourself simplifying things as much as possible to enhance the melody itself.

Y: Yes.

――What are your thoughts on SCARECROW?

Y: I definitely thought that it changed a lot once the lyrics came in. That he’s really amazing, Acchan (Sakurai). Things like that. 

――Next, Warukyuure no Kikou (Ride of the Valkyries).

Y: This, I thought, whoa, Imai-kun, amazing (lol). It’s what you probably call a guitar-based composition, right? The arrangement of this song.

――How did you play your bass?

Y: This was done really simple. It’s so simple that we could probably cut and paste it but they wouldn’t let me (lol). Although that’s what made it interesting too, on the other hand.

――It’s a pretty heavy groove, though.

Y: But even though it’s heavy, how do I explain this… It’s got that uncomfortable, disturbing feeling that Western music had towards the end of the 80s and the start of the 90s (lol).

――Did you use a 4-string for this?

Y: 4-string, yes. I only used the 5-string in SCARECROW.

――Next, we have the album version of Sayonara Shelter.

Y: Our director had the same idea about this song, that it’s absolutely better that we release this song first. Given the historical times we live in. And that’s pretty much why it was released ahead of time.

――You have already decided to include it in the album, but it was included in your 35th anniversary best-of concept album⁹ and shown to the world ahead of the album first.

Y: Yeah. Because we felt that was the most appropriate time.

――In the album, the suffix destroy and regenerate-Mix has been attached to the song and you’ve invited Sachi-san from Kokushoku Sumire to play the violin here. What do you think about the album version of this song?

Y:  I think it’s great. They probably invited her to participate with the thought that it would definitely make the song more interesting if they changed it a little after releasing it like that.

――Next, Ai no Harem (Harem of Love). It sounds like Hoshino-san’s song has turned into a good hook for this album again.

Y: Yeah. It’s really as if something like an interlocking between the composers exists. And when that becomes a part of the album, it makes the whole even better, doesn’t it?

――I believe long tones and muting were crucial in playing the bass for this song.

Y: I originally wanted to try playing it almost the exact same way as what was in Hide’s demo tape, but I ended up changing a few patterns in it. Like taking it out or not.

――So, subtractions. In terms of fingers?

Y: Fingers, yes.

――Next, Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni (Bouquet for you). A cheerful song finally arrives at this point but…

Y: Personally, this song was the most difficult one of all.

――What made it difficult

Y: The groove. Because I somehow couldn’t quite get into the groove in a good way. But, well, it turned out nicely in the end anyway.

――Putting it another way, I guess we could say that that made the song one you played with purpose.

Y: Yeah. That’s what makes me look forward to playing songs like this one on tour more than others.

We produce the album and then complete it during the tour.
I look forward to touring. We get to find out how [the songs] will evolve.

――Next, THE FALLING DOWN. Was there anything in particular you kept in mind when producing such a bouncy rock ‘n’roll groove?

Y: We already made the decision to make this one sound crunchy. Even though it’s bouncy, it sounds crunchy, so it’s really got this “bzt, bzt” feeling. The song’s got a really straightforward vibe so I figured it would be better to play this one without too much thinking.

――How do you feel about the bounciness? 

Y: Surprisingly, I like it. Somehow, I realise I’m becoming bouncier and bouncier on the whole, as I grow older.

――I understand that feeling. You get this bounce that doesn’t translate to musical notation even for a regular 8-beat song, right?

Y: That’s why I also find myself finally understanding recently what an 8-beat is probably supposed to sound like.

――It’s your own 8-beat groove that’s slightly bouncy, and not the precise 8-beat that comes from a music score.

Y: Yes. I don’t want it flat.

――Your thoughts on Imai-san’s vocals? Although, there are already quite a number of songs with his singing now.

Y: But I definitely think that we’re able to show a lot of different sides of ourselves because these songs exist.

――So, one day, we’ll hear Higuchi-san too.

Y: Nah, that’s never going to happen (lol).

――Next, Taiyou to Icarus (The Sun and Icarus). What did you think when the song first came to you?

Y: I had the impression that it’s a cheerful song. And that it would be in the running to become a single. Rather, that it would probably reach that stage.

――So it wasn’t a song that was recommended for a single release from the outset.

Y: That’s right. Because that’s something we rarely do.

――Anything you took note of when playing bass for it?

 Y: I go up and down for this song. So properly, and carefully.

――You wanted to play carefully

Y: Or rather, personally, I think that going up and down makes things messy. Because playing it like that is similar to strokes on a guitar. I’m more careful with the down strokes here. So I play carefully to make sure it doesn’t end up sounding messy. It might just be me, but when I first received the demo tape, I felt like I was listening to a song by The Jam.

――A rock band from the early era.

Y: Yeah. I thought that’s the kind of song it was, that’s why I decided to play up-down like that, though.

――Next, Boogie Woogie. Literally, a boogie song.

Y: Don’t you think it’s the newest frontier for BUCK-TICK in this whole album? We don’t really have songs like this one, do we? Because, although the acoustic version of Uta¹⁰ had this vibe, we almost never bring out such a blatantly energetic vibe. I’m looking forward to bringing such an energy to our live performances.

――Next, Mugen LOOP -IZORA- (Infinity LOOP). 

Y: This was another song I thought was definitely in the running to become a single though.

――And it did actually become a single¹¹. A 16-beat melody basically makes it what people call city pop, though.

Y: Yeah. That’s why for the bass in this song, it might be weird to describe it as taking it in and out, but the groove I brought in was like that. This song is pretty interesting, isn’t it?

――It is. Although it’s city pop, there’s no doubt that it still has that wonky rock groove unique to BUCK-TICK.

Y: That is also what makes it a personal favourite for me too. Also, I think it was pretty well done.

――Next, Noraneko Blue (Stray Cat Blue).

Y: This is another song where I immediately decided I would use an upright bass for the moment I received it. It’s kind of hard to describe; because it’s not exactly jazzy but it’s got that vibe. I do want to try playing this with a real wood bass too, though. But it won’t be suitable for musicians like us since we perform in halls. The sound would get screwed up and all that.

――Because it’s just not the same as performing in livehouses like rockabilly and jazz musicians.

Y: And also because I don’t do those kinds of slaps. I won’t really get to do that playing normal basslines. I could do it if we performed in the quiet settings that jazz musicians have, but since we have music going on, the whole soundscape would have to come to a sudden standstill [if I were to do that].

――Does that mean your touch and other factors would change when you use an electric upright bass?

Y: It will. I think…… I can’t really stray too far from the original pitch, but I guess bit by bit, I’m starting to understand lately that even if I do shift away from it, there’s some flavour that I’ll bring in. It’s like I’ll sound more like the real thing if I stray off instead (lol).

――Do you enjoy playing the upright?

Y: I actually quite like it.

――Next, Hizumi.

Y: This one features an upright too. The vibe here somehow feels kind of like a Tom Waits song; that’s what I thought when I received the demo tape.

――I get what you mean. That apathetic jazzy feeling befitting of an American bar.

Y: I got the vibe of Tom Waits’ slightly darker songs, so I thought the upright bass might be just the fit for it.

――And finally, the last song on the album which has lyrics, Na mo Naki Watashi (I, Nameless).

Y: I also thought this had the potential to become a single.


Y: Really, I thought it was a great song ever since I heard the demo tape. So, with our recording process, the guitars and all that comes first, right? After that, when Acchan’s part came in, I again thought, “Ah, what an amazing song it’s become.”

――What did you focus on when playing the bass here?

Y: For this song, it’s the same as the melody thing I mentioned earlier. Trying not to play more than necessary and all that. Dum……da-da-da…… Like that.

――That’s what we often call “restrained playing” though. Something within those grounds.

Y: Nah, in extreme terms, I think this falls within the grounds of not playing anything (lol). As good as plain dango without toppings. But it’s also because I really think that as long as I can enhance the song and the melody, it’s good enough. To the extent where I think it’s okay for me to sit out (lol).

――Playing in a way that is as good as “not playing” somehow sounds like some kind of zen answer.

Y: The bass in this song is really like that, isn’t it?

――Zen bass playing (lol). I’m sure this is another song that you would like people to hear live.

Y: But I really think it applies to the whole song, though. I say this every time, but for us, it’s definitely a case of producing the album and then completing it during the tour. When we try playing [a song] together, I’d get light bulb moments like, “Ah, so this song makes the listener feels like that.” That’s why I look forward to touring. Because we get to find out how [the songs] will evolve.

――Especially since this tour¹² is really one that is meant to carry the album. Looking forward to it is all there is.

Y: Yes. This being a tour during our 35th anniversary year firstly means that we get to see everyone again. And this time, I guess you could say that this time, we could go back to how things were. The rules on cheering have been relaxed too. It wouldn’t be immediate, but it would be nice if we could hold concerts the way we used to again.




¹ Yokohama Arena=Where “BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~” was held on 23〜24 September 2022.

² Tour=“BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv.” which was held between October and December 2022 (some shows postponed).

³ Album=Their 23rd album, 異空 -IZORA-. Released 12 April.

ABRACADABRA=Their 22nd album. Released September 2020.

Interview=Published in this magazine’s 91st issue, released September 2020.

Speed=Their 3rd single. Released January 1991.

darker than darkness -style93-=Their 7th album. Released July 1993.

memento mori=Their 16th album. Released February 2009.

Best-of concept=Their best-of concept album, CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.. Released September 2022.

¹⁰ Acoustic version of UtaUta Ver.2021 (唄 Ver.2021) which was recorded on their 40th single, Go-Go B-T TRAIN. Released September 2021.

¹¹ SingleMugen LOOP (無限 LOOP), their 42nd single. Released 22 March.¹² This tour=“BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA-” which commences on 19 April.



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Yagami Toll

I recently bought snares,
the supers sensitive type. To start with, I was using
a full-face when we debuted, so
I’m going back to my roots at 60.

profile & information
Born 19 August 1962. Blood type: A. Drummer of BUCK-TICK which formed in 1985 and had its major debut in 1987.

Interview & Text ◎ Yoshida Koji


BUCK-TICK’s style of recording music basically sees the drummer entering the studio last for recording among the members. The person who gets a bird’s eye view of the band, Yagami Toll, a.k.a. Anii tells us about the key notes regarding the drum groove in this album. And shares priceless stories from 35 years ago!

I want to re-record SEXUAL xxxxx! with my current level of skill.
But I won’t be able to pull it off the same way, for sure. You won’t get that recklessly-rushing-forward kind of feeling.

――You turned 60 last August, so, did anything change?

Toll (T): I don’t really pay it much attention. Because it’s just the passing of another year, isn’t it?

――How’s your back?

T: It’s alright. Since I do my stretches and all that before getting down to it.

――I assume that’s one of the methods you’ve cultivated over more than 35 years to ensure you can keep going, right?

T: That’s because I was, how old was it, in my late 40s? When I changed, right. I started going to the gym, changed my drumming form too. In short, everything underwent change. I don’t think anyone else knows, but I even changed my drumsticks to lighter ones, and my drumming range of movement. I used longer sticks in the past.

――You’re saying you used to rely on centrifugal force to drum?

T: I could do that when I was young, because I was flexible. If I do that now, I’d be gone, so I guess I can’t anymore (lol). And recently, I’ve started wearing gloves. With gloves on, it’s made things even more comfortable.

――But I thought that Yagami-san’s posture has always been great, even 35 years ago. You’ve always kept your back so straight. You don’t do that on purpose?

T: I don’t, not at all. Because it’s one of those things I’ve just carried on doing since my amateur days. It’s as simple as a matter of, “I’ll drum like this since this is the type of song we’re performing”. Being in my 20s back then, I didn’t really care about form and all those things. Although, maybe [my posture is] because I was a steelworker when I was young. When I was 18 up until I was 21, I was working with steel bars at construction sites and we really had to take care of our backs.

――You’ve got a strong back to begin with.

T: That’s why I understand the purpose of gloves, ever since my steelworking days. My seniors would tell me. Compared to doing things barehanded, people would ultimately only exert more strength when they’re protected. You’d often find jars that you can’t open because they’re stuck tight, right? You’ll be able to open them right up the moment you put on gloves. But you won’t be able to barehanded. As to why, it’s because you’re not going all out. Or rather, you can’t go all out. Because if you did, you’d get injured and all that. That’s why, now, wearing gloves…… I’m weighing it, all the time. Like on my right, [the drumstick feels] about 5 grams lighter and on the left, it feels about 5 grams heavier, but somehow, it all feels lighter when I’m wearing gloves as opposed to holding them barehand.

――There’s a left side and a right side even though they should be the same sticks, right?

T: But generally, what I heard from a lot of people and among my drummer friends too is that the left definitely feels heavier. In the end, I think it’s just the non-dominant arm making up the weight. There was a time when I also used a knocker type stick on this (left) side.

――The tipless type.

T: And on this (right) side, I used the regular tipped ones. That probably happened around the time we released Aku no Hana¹ and Kurutta Taiyou². Doing that would somehow make it more difficult to notice shot irregularities, something like that.

――So what’s the one thing you’ve got on your mind as you look back at the past 35 years?

T: Ahh, I want to re-record SEXUAL xxxxx!³ with my current level of skill. Ahahahaha! But I won’t be able to pull it off the same way, for sure. You won’t get that recklessly-rushing-forward kind of feeling.

Probably because I read How to be BIG (成りあがり) in high school.
That’s why I’d have the desire to perform at the Budokan and all that.

――But that’s good, isn’t it? By the way, it comes up in the lyrics of Boogie Woogie too, but it appears that you had the experience of your car breaking down on the Tomei Expressway in the past and everyone had to push it forward together.

T: Yeah. All manner of things happened. I think that might’ve happened on the Great Seto Bridge too. Since we were broke, we’d try and save money by refueling with the bare minimum of what we’d need, right? So even though we’re saying, we’re still good, we’re still good, that’s how we ran out of gas in the end. It’s hilarious, isn’t it? That’s just how broke we were. Myself, when I was steelworking, I weighed 60kg at my peak. Then when I was around 21, I started playing in a contest band, and then I joined BUCK-TICK at 23. Which means in those 2 years or so, I actually lost 10kg.

――Because you were broke.

T: Exactly. Living the broke life in Asagaya. (At the time, I was living with) Yuta (Higuchi) and he told me, we’re going to live on Baby Star Ramen for the next three days. I was all, that’s not a good joke. Like, give me a break. Don’t make me live like this. And you know how the water supply is considered as a life line, right? The water supply is the last one to get cut off, right? Ours did get cut.

――First goes gas, then electricity, and finally water.

T: Even our life line got cut (lol). When we made our debut, I only weighed 48kg. I went from 60kg to 48kg. I was living on the real poor man’s diet.

――But it’s a funny story now when you look back on it. Back then, did you honestly ever think you’d come this far?

T: I don’t know, but I had goals and the sort. Probably because I read How to be BIG (成りあがり / Nari Agari) in high school. The book by Yazawa (Eikichi)-san. That’s why I’d have the desire to perform at the Budokan. And Korakuen Stadium, although it doesn’t exist anymore. But I also wanted to perform at Tokyo Dome⁴. And Seibu Stadium⁵. When we first got to perform at the Budokan and Tokyo Dome, I was around the same age as Yazawa-san when he first did too, though.

――That’s the Yagami style of How to be BIG. Then, I assume you did want your music to sell well.

T: Rather, when we debut, I didn’t feel that joy you’re supposed to get by debuting. Partly because I felt that we’d be let go if we didn’t at least achieve a certain amount of sales. I thought, if we didn’t at least show some amount of success, we’re doomed. Because, you see, the goal isn’t simply to debut.

――In other words, it wasn’t paradise simply because you managed a major debut.

T: You’d eventually be expected to chart when you release your debut work, right? And SEXUAL xxxxx! was in thirty-something place. That was like, oh, shit. Because it felt like you have to minimally reach top ten or you’ll be dropped. But also, seriously, at the time, we were already running a crazy packed schedule. It was so awful that we really didn’t even have time to sleep or anything. I still remember our manager at the time going back and forth with the promotion people from Victor about our schedule. They opened up our schedule book and said, “It’s empty here.” And he said something like, that’s the day we’re travelling back or something. Then [the Victor staff] wanted to count that day we’re travelling back from tour as a day off. And he was arguing, that’s no day off! (Lol)

――I used to often hold interviews in the bullet train too back then.

T: That’s why it honestly felt like we barely got to rest in the first two, three years after we debuted.

――And you even had to style your hair up.

T: That too. If I had to do it from scratch, working on it on my own would probably take me about two hours, right? But we didn’t even have that kind of time. So I’d just sleep on my side with my hair still styled and take about thirty minutes to an hour to fix it before getting back to work. That’s why I’d only get to leave my hair down around two or three days a week. Because it’s faster to just fix it. It just so happened that the band members of PERSONZ were coming over to my home on one of those days off and I went to pick them up from the station. [When they saw me] they asked, “Huh, Anii, do you style your hair up like this all the time?” And I told them, “It’s only because I have work the day after tomorrow.” (Lol)

――Ahahaha. We’re going to change the subject here, but last year, following your show at Yokohama Arena⁶, you also went on your first tour⁷ since the COVID-19 pandemic started. How did you feel being on stage?

T: Really glad that we could make it happen, you know? Since it’s been such a long while. But no one could vocalise, they could only clap. I didn’t know whether to say it’s hilarious or not because of how much their response changed (lol). Because the cheers that we get are quite something, aren’t they? It’s already pretty hysterical back when we debuted (lol).

――How was the Yokohama Arena show?

T: I might’ve been more nervous for that one than Budokan. It somehow felt really huge. And it’s got quite a bit of length to it, right? That’s why I remember feeling a bit nervous.

――To think even Yagami-san would feel nervous.

T: Yeah. A bit (lol).

At worst, I recorded three songs in one day. It’s normal for me to record two songs within a day anyway.
It’s like Imai gives me a push and I roll (lol).

――And while you’re doing all that, you’ve also been working on the production of this new album⁹. How long were you in recording mode for?

T: I started recording around April of last year.

――One year ago. That’s quite a long time.

T: We initially planned to release two albums. That’s why we were working on it with a much more hurried pace than usual. At worst, I recorded three songs in one day. It’s like Imai gives me a push and I roll (lol). It’s normal for me to record two songs within a day anyway. It’s just that I have to rehearse a lot. Because the situation was such that when I [entered the studio], it’s purely for recording purposes. Which means I’d drum [a song] about only five times and only spend time deciding on what kind of sound we’re going for [in the studio]. And since way back I’ve never liked drumming like that very much (lol). Didn’t we release a 25th anniversary box¹⁰ for Aku no Hana? There’s an LP in there and it was my idea to have copies of the que sheet that was with the vinyl record. When you look at it, you’ll know exactly how many takes we took. Majority of the time I only needed one take and it would be good enough to be used for the record. That’s why it really feels as if I barely drummed. Ultimately I feel the most motivated when I do [the first take] so that probably made people feel that it was good to use.

――But doesn’t Yagami-san feel uneasy like this?

T: Precisely because I rehearsed that much ahead of time. In a way, I feel myself becoming more and more comfortable as I go.

――BUCK-TICK’s current style of recording means that drums are recorded last, but back when you did Aku no Hana, drums actually came first, right?

T: When we used to record drums first, it basically would mean that drums and bass and (Hoshino) Hide’s rhythm guitar are more or less recorded together. When we worked on SEXUAL xxxxx!, it was literally these three parts recording simultaneously. That’s why we were done quick. See, we took two to three weeks to finish SEXUAL xxxxx!. While HURRY UP MODE¹¹ only took us around ten days, including mixing. Because we really did it like, “One, two, and~”. We’d just fix the singing and the guitar solos a little bit after that. That’s why albums like SEXUAL xxxxx!, HURRY UP MODE were pretty much live studio sessions where we recorded together.

――And then it got more and more experimental. Like Six/Nine¹².

T: That was never-ending though. And multiple things were going on at the same time already. Like, there was a studio for rhythm players to record, another studio for the mixing. It felt like the early stages of production were going on simultaneously with the late stages.

――For this album, did Yagami-san have any expectation of how it would turn out?

T: Nope. It’s always the case where I can’t really tell when it’s Imai or Hide filling in the vocals first. It’s only after Acchan (Sakurai) has written and sung the lyrics when I’ll feel, “Ah, this is good,” for the first time. Because the song would somehow sound like a song by some UK indie band with Imai’s substitute singing (lol).

――I get the feeling that would sound cool too, though (lol). So here, I’d like to have Yagami-san comment on each song [on the new album]. Skipping the instrumental track in the beginning, let’s start with the first actual song on the album, SCARECROW.

T: There’s this kind of half-time feeling and then at the chorus or something it turns into an 8-beat, doesn’t it? Both share the same tempo but we’ve deliberately changed the nuance of it. During the half-time beat I drummed as heavily as possible, and when things speed up, I tried to make it feel like we’re charging all the way to the very edge. I used a clicker so the tempo is actually the same. That’s why I say that it’s just the nuance that changed.

――Next, Warukyuure no Kikou (Ride of the Valkyries). How did you bring out heaviness when you drum?

T: In short, by holding the sticks in reverse and getting the rimshot in deep. And also changing the drumming position. If I want to keep things light, I can just hit the edge anyway.

――So that means you drummed soft for the next song, Sayonara Shelter -destroy and regenerate-Mix.

T: That’s right, I didn’t use a lot of strength.

――The album version includes violins. What are your thoughts on that?

T: She’s good, isn’t she? Sacchan (Sachi) from Kokushoku (Sumire). Genius Sacchan. It’s just amazing, her ability to improvise.

――[The melody] wasn’t written out on a score, right?

T: I believe not.

――Next, Ai no Harem (Harem of Love).

T: It’s a song by Hide, but the rap bit in the middle of it was interesting. Because that’s exactly how he sung it in the demo tape, as a substitute.

――Ahh. So you can hear Hoshino-san rapping in the demo tape.

T: That’s right. And I think I might’ve used real leather for this song. Cow. That’s often the case with Hide’s songs. There’s a song, Luna Park¹³ previously where I used real leather too.

――Aren’t snare heads usually made of plastic?

T: Not actually. Using real leather would make a rounder sound. I heard there used to be tons of varieties. Like pigskin, sheepskin. That’s what I learnt when I had that dialogue with Inomata Takeshi-san. I asked him what kinds there were, and he said cowhide was the most expensive, but when they didn’t have the money for it, they’d buy horse or sheep. But pigskin has porse so the moment a brush or something gets in, it would rip in an instant. That’s why they try to avoid pigskin but he still would if he didn’t have enough money. Then he’d have to deal with it breaking a lot.

――Such a topic feels like you shared the secret behind the sound of the drums in this song. Because I think it has a unique warmth to it. Next, Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni (Bouquet for you). The tune here kind of lightens things up here.

T: But I bet no one ever thought that such a tune would carry words like “machine gun” and “missile” in its lyrics (lol).

――It’s not something you’d expect when you hear the music.

T: That’s why I had fun drumming it (lol).

――With the way these lyrics would surprise people (lol). Next, THE FALLING DOWN. Isn’t it difficult to drum such a bouncy rock groove?

T:  But it’s my own way of bouncy. It differs from person to person, doesn’t it? The nuance. This is my style.

――So you just had to bring in your own groove.

T: Or rather, it’s the only thing I can do. When it comes to this kind of a groove, the only way I can execute it is with my own nuance, right?

――Man, I think it’s a really cool groove, though. Up next, Taiyou to Icarus (The Sun and Icarus).

T: This, I decided to drum like I’m in a really good mood (lol). The melody feels like that, high spirited. The kind of feeling that makes me want to try and drum hard.

――Next, Boogie Woogie, an unexpected boogie rock song, but is this also the same style of groove that Yagami-san spoke about?

T: The riff kind of reminded me of (Led) Zeppelin though. That was how they played it with programming but I tweaked it into something I could easily drum. This is another song I thought had interesting lyrics.

――We also touched on it earlier, how it’s got true stories thrown in as well. Next, Mugen LOOP -IZORA- (Infinity LOOP). BUCK-TICK’s style of city pop.

T: Isn’t it great? I really like songs like these.

――Yagami-san enjoys city pop too?

T: I do. Think about it, I like artists like Yuming right from the start. I even liked (Yamashita) Tatsuro-san too. So when I was performing with the Carol cover band, I was covering Yuming and Tatsuro-san and all these other artists after everyone went home.

――So while drumming 8-beat songs, you were drumming 16-beat songs too.

T: That’s right. The very first album I bought by Tatsuro-san was MOONGLOW, and in it was a song called RAINY WALK. The drums on that song were by (Takahashi) Yukihiro-san. He just kept going “Zut-ta, su-tzu-tzu-tzu……” It was like torture. On and on and on. That was the kind of thing I practised.

――Repeating the same thing over and over; in other words, drumming developed through endurance. That was during your teens, right? Have you never had the thought that it’s boring while doing that?

T: I never did. I guess it’s ultimately because hearing studio musicians like them drum inspires me.

――I feel like I managed to glimpse the starting point of the Yagami groove. By the way, what do you think about Yokoyama Kazutoshi-san’s remix¹⁴ of Mugen LOOP for the single?

T: I received a message from the staff asking, “How’s it?” and after I gave it a listen, I replied, “Tell Yoko-chan that I said it’s excellent.”

――Sounds very Yagami-san (lol). Next, Noraneko Blue (Stray Cat Blue).

T: I thought it sounds kind of like reggae, in the beginning. With Imai’s singing.

――The jazz 4-beat you drummed sounds so sophisticated, it’s really cool.

T: I really had to work in the ambience for this one.

――It doesn’t sound muted.

T: Actually, I generally don’t do muting all that much. Like maybe this tom drum or that, no, I don’t really [mute anything].

――Next, we have Hizumi.

T: For this song, in terms of nuance, it’s like a “Come, come on, come have a look” kind of vibe. I suppose that’s why I tried to go with a rather bleary feel. For the drum.

――Deliberately cheapening the feel.

T: I went into a tiny little booth, enclosed the bass drum and made it super dead.

――On top of that, you also made sure that the bass drum was tight, right?

T: That’s right. And that there’s no interference. There’s actually quite a bit of that. Like I’d use the one that won’t make the cymbals sound.

――And, excluding the last instrumental track, the final song on the album is Na mo Naki Watashi (I, Nameless).

T: It’s got the Okinawan scale, right? The tuning I did for this song was pretty close to what I use in live performances.

――I could really see this song being performed live and I suppose one of the reasons for that might have to do with the drum tuning you mentioned. By the way, do you change the way you think about how you drum depending on whether it’s a live show or a recording session?

T: I don’t. Because in our case, we aim to recreate the songs. So it’s like making all the right sounds in sequence.

――Don’t you seek the rhythmic swings that come from the roller coaster of emotions that can only come from live performances?

T: Instead, I actually can’t. Because now, I’m listening to click tracks for all the songs. And the lighting is also coordinated too. It’s really become a whole show. That’s why I’m more than happy to listen to it. The clicks. Since I’ve grown used to it recently (lol).

――That can’t be. I’m sure you used clicks even 35 years ago, right?

T: Using clicks, the first time was around the time we released Dress¹⁵.

――You have an upcoming tour¹⁶ for this album, and for this tour, Yagami-san’s priority is to focus recreating the source music, right?

T: That’s right. I want to execute it well, though. Right now, I’m thinking about what I should use, but I recently bought snares. Again. The super sensitive rim-clamped ones*.

――The Ludwig ones? The type of snare where the snare wires protrude from the head.

T: Yeah. From the 1970s. You know Drum City? I went there, and somehow, they told me that they procured it for me. So I bought it from them, can’t be helped, right? (Lol)

――It’s nice that you’re excited about having bought a new snare even at 60.

T: The first super sensitive I got was a gift that came with the Vistalite drum set that I bought. The rim-clamped one. But I’m not very familiar with the Vistalite, its nuance, you know? Just as I was thinking about buying a proper one, it so happened that I went to the store and it was there, I thought, “Ah, they said they procured this for me.” To start with, I was using Pearl’s full-face snare when we debuted. That’s why I feel great drumming on a rim-clamped snare for the first time in years. I’m going back to my roots at 60, ahahaha!




¹ Aku no Hana = Their 4th album. Released February 1990.

² Kurutta Taiyou =Their 5th album. Released February 1991.

³ SEXUAL xxxxx! =Their first major album. Released November 1987.

Tokyo Dome=Where “BUCK-TICK Phenomenon (バクチク現象 / BUCK-TICK Genshou)” was held on 29 December 1989.

Seibu Stadium =Where “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was held on 2 August 1990. Now named Belluna Dome.

Yokohama Arena =Where “BUCK-TICK 2022 “THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~” was held on 23〜24 September 2022.

Tour=“BUCK-TICK TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv.” which was held between October and December 2022 (some shows postponed).

Budokan=Where  “BUCK-TICK 2022 TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. FINALO in Budokan” was held on 29 December 2022.

New album=Their 23rd album, 異空 -IZORA-. Released 12 April.

¹⁰ 25th anniversary boxAku no Hana -Completeworks- which was released in February 2015.

¹¹ HURRY UP  MODE=Their indie album. Released April 1987.

¹² Six/Nine=Their 8th album. Released May 1995.

¹³ Luna Park=Recorded on their 38th single, Datenshi. Released January 2020.

¹⁴ RemixMugen LOOP -LEAP- which was recorded on their 42nd single, Mugen LOOP. released 22 March.

¹⁵ Dress=Their 6th single. Released May 1993.

¹⁶ Tour=“BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA-” which commences on 19 April.

* I actually have a really hard time trying to explain/translate what the Japanese call 全面当たり (zenmen atari – full-faced/rim-clamped?) which is the specific type Toll said he bought.
全面当たり refers to setting up the snare wires such that the snare wires protrude from the bottom head of the snare. This is mostly used for classic models.
内面当たり (naimen atari) is refers to setting up snare wires such that the whole length of it fits within the diameter of the snare drum. It’s the popular setting these days. 
Apparently there is no differentiating term for these two set-ups in English. 内面当たり appears to be the standard assumption.
For a visual representation of the difference between the two, click here. (Left is 内面当たり, right is 全面当たり)




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Part 2


Full『異空 -IZORA-』Song Review

異空 -IZORA- has 14 songs including the two opening and ending instrumental tracks.
To complement the interviews with each of the five members of the band, do read these commentaries for each of the tracks as well.

Text ◎ Okubo Yuka


An opening sound effect track that  sounds like the opening to the doors of a new chapter following the band’s 35 debut anniversary. A strong vitality can be felt from the power of each particle of sound.



Listeners who approach this album with the impression of “light” that the preceding singles, Taiyou to Icarus and Mugen LOOP carried would feel like this dark song has suddenly shoved them into the gloom. Lodged in the ground and unable to run away, the scarecrow sings of loneliness and despair. From the very beginning, the guitar arpeggio appears at key points in the song, evoking melancholy while the heavily reverberating bass resonates with despair.


  1. ワルキューレの騎行 [Warukyuure no Kikou / Ride of Valkyries]

A solemn and theatrical track. In old Norse mythology, valkyries are “maidens who select slain warriors”. Be it life or death, good or evil, only a fine line draws the distinction between each side. Lyrics that seem to flounder and struggle against absurdity leave a deep impression. The brisk, steady rhythm of the bass drum sounds like the regimented advance of calvary footsteps. The scale that the orchestra brings in the middle of the song is also nothing short of emotional.


  1. さよならシェルター destroy and regenerate-Mix [Sayonara Shelter]

The album version of Sayonara Shelter which was first released in September 2022 through the band’s 35th anniversary commemorative best-of concept album “CATALOGUE THE BEST 35th anniv.”. The addition of violins played by Kokushoku Sumire’s Sachi brings a sense of greenery and the feeling of light raining down to the song, adding the nuance of hope to the subtitle “destroy and regenerate”.


  1. 愛のハレム [Ai no Haremu / Harem of Love]

A mid-tempo track with its foundations in dub. The exotic rhythm which continues from the intro, and words like “Casablanca” and “Marrakesh” all hint towards the setting of this tale; Morocco. The second half of the song is the very heart of this track which creates an aura of indescribable foreboding with its narrative-style vocals and whispers chasing after it.


  1. Campanella 花束を君に [Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni / A Bouquet for You]

A traditional pop song that starts with scat and a jaunty guitar riff. Lyrics which spell war through the eyes of an innocent young boy have been stripped of superfluous words and are frankly simple. With its startlingly straightforward words sung in the manner of a sprightly young child along to a cheerful melody, this is one song that depicts the times we live in.



The only song in this album with both music and lyrics composed by Imai Hisashi, it’s got a bold, heavy guitar riff playing to a shuffle beat. It’s got a simple structure made out of a verse and a chorus sung by an angel falling from grace. With Imai’s rap-style singing in the verses and Sakurai singing as if he were almost shouting, this is a track that is bound to shine live.


  1. 太陽とイカロス [Taiyou to Icarus / The Sun and Icarus]

Sparkly sounding synth sounds and a catchy melody filled with momentum, this track sounds so fresh that it could almost rewrite the image that BUCK-TICK has had all this time. Yet at the same time, it tugs at your heartstrings because of how fleeting this optimism is. Inspired by the myth of Icarus, the lyrics are nothing short of excellence with the way it intricately describes the wavering emotions of the protagonist as he flies for the heavens with destiny weighing on his shoulders. I hope that listeners will pay close attention to the lyrics which place focus on each and every notation in this song.


  1. Boogie Woogie

Born from a striking guitar riff, this song is as its title suggests; a boogie track. The effective sound scape and theremin-enhanced interludes were impressive too. Lyrics which incorporate truths like stories from the band’s early days and the name of a bar the members frequented make the song all the more fun and dramatic.


  1. 無限 LOOP -IZORA- [Mugen LOOP / Infinity LOOP]

The album version feels lighter compared to the version of this song that was released in the preceding single. It begins with just one small bar of a synth riff and that riff loops on from the start of the song to the very end. The refreshing music inspires a resort-like atmosphere and is accompanied by singing that sounds beautiful yet somewhat haunting, like something delusive. Sakurai’s high-pitched chorus is another highlight to look out for.


  1. 野良猫ブルー [Noraneko Blue / Stray Cat Blue]

A jazzy, bluesy number that effectively employs swinging drums and the timbres of a piano and a double bass. The story of a man reeling at a stray cat living its life freely somehow gives off the atmosphere of some backwater suburb in the Showa era. The desperation of the trilling vocals mixed with the raucous wild piano that comes in towards the end is especially delicious.


  1. ヒズミ [Hizumi]

A riff that came from the intertwining of two guitars and a double bass tinged in melancholy has created an unsettling and dismal worldview. The complicated emotions and distressed cries of a protagonist who has had no choice but to distort themself are sung along to a tune that moves on with indifference. The outro is heartrending too, with the distortion of the guitars in the outro sounding like an explosion of suppressed emotions.


  1. 名も無きわたし [Na mo Naki Watashi / I, Nameless]

A ballad with a gorgeous Japanese melody. The arpeggio that goes on throughout the strong  sounds ephemerally beautiful, like dancing flower petals fluttering down and scattering. A single, nameless stalk of flower is the main character here telling of its small joys in everyday life, its encounters and farewells. Despite its short life, it lives with no regret, blooming as wildly as it can to the best of its ability. It is such a message which resounds in our hearts, quietly encouraging us.



The ending sound effect track that closes off this album. “QUANTUM” is defined as “an integer multiple of a unit quantity” but the keyboards which enter in the middle to play the single-note melody also invokes the “Quantum Prayer”, bringing the message of a “wish” with it.



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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki

Ongaku to Hito
May 2023

text by Ishii Eriko
photographs by Sasahara Kiyosaki_L MANAGEMENT
hair & make-up by Tanizaki Takayuki_Fats Berry (Sakurai/Imai)
styling by Shimizu Kenichi (Sakurai/Imai)



Sakurai Atsushi

I can’t run away
There’s nowhere else to go¹

BUCK-TICK’s 23rd album finally arrives. 23rd. It’s a truly impressive figure. In the sense that it inspires awe and reverence as something that cannot be easily imitated, and a fair amount of intense apprehension. Having experienced stagnancy because of COVID-19 and the reality of how easily a whole tour gets derailed from just one single illness or injury, it’s next to impossible to be optimistic about anything. And yet the heavier reality weighs, the further human mind soars. Or perhaps it’s the irresolvable reality that allows our imagination to spread its wings.

This is a different sky. A different space. Named 異空 -IZORA-, this album is a masterpiece, to say the least. To start, the way they found a balance between the unending darkness and fantastical popness, messages extracted from war and stories from real life experiences is nothing short of exquisite. Simply put, they have found a way to transmute the realities we rather shy away from into vivid narratives. How else will we find the strength to live on if not through the escape that is the entertainment craft. That is probably BUCK-TICK’s here and now.

Sakurai Atsushi is the first person we’ll hear from since the completion of this album.


Ultimately…… somehow, I think this is uncharacteristic of me too
but I feel that children cannot do without hope and dreams

――Have you been well?

Sakurai (S): Yes. Somehow, I’m managing.

――The last time we had an interview, we were talking about how your new song, Sayonara Shelter was going to be released within the concept best-of album last year. We speculated about the kind of reaction you might get from releasing such a song to the world we live in now, but what comments have you heard after its actual release?

S: Right. Well, I mostly get to hear these comments only through indirect means, like letters from fans and all that but it would seem that it’s precisely because we’re living in this day and age that everyone accepts [this song] with open arms. Even though I hesitated a little because I wondered whether it would be better if we should be doing something different so that people can forget about the sad world that we’re in. Precisely because this is the day and age we’re in. But everyone, the majority took the song in their strides so that made me feel that we can’t give up just yet.

――Yes. The impression this song leaves has gradually transformed throughout the 35th anniversary national tour after it was first performed at Yokohama Arena. What the audience takes away from it has changed with the performance and where it sits in your setlist despite the fact that it’s still the same song.

S: That’s right. Perhaps, in the beginning, even I could only capture the despair in it but the more we perform this song, it’s as if, bit by bit, with each iteration, I’ve gained the ability to emphasise the hopeful side of it too.

――Yeah. While [the song] is a compelling chronicle, a beautiful story reverberates from it too. That’s the impression it gives me.

S: Ah. Personally, I also feel like I’ve been cleansed. Reality is what it is, but like you said, I think it would be nice if it would work its way into our audience as a story. Uh, I’ve been giving my all to make that happen. Fufufuh. I’ve been gritting my teeth, really putting my back into it, so that this song wouldn’t end up going in circles (lol).

――I sense the potential of entertainment. That it can take something which originates from heartbreaking reality and turn it into a beautiful story through expressionism.

S: Ah…… I’m glad to hear you say that. I, myself have also had some tedious experiences and had really bad relationships with people too. But whenever I listen to beautiful music or watch someone perform, I feel liberated from it all. So even though the world remains as turbulent as ever, I believe that everyone wants to hear or see something beautiful that allows them to forget our transient world and feel cleansed of it. It’s not my intention to meet that expectation, but I think it’s something I naturally end up doing anyway.

――I think the album version of Sayonara Shelter with the violins in it pretty much represents what we’re talking about right now.

S: Agreed. This was also an idea that came from our director, Tanaka-san. Based on what I heard, he felt a very strong connection [between this song and] John Lenon’s ♪So this is Xmas~ (note: Happy Xmas (War Is Over)). Tanaka-san also suggested the idea of adding the angelic voices of a choir. We really liked that idea but we were kind of short on time. Although, with this violin, it really brings the image of yet another beautiful scene to mind, doesn’t it?

ーーYes. So even though I was initially apprehensive about just how dark this album might get……

S: Ah, I think it’s dark enough as it is.

――Yes(lol). But even so, not all of the songs are raw or painfully cutting. Like Campanella  Hanataba wo Kimi ni (Campanella 花束を君に / A Bouquet for You), it’s a song from the perspective of a very lovable child even though it’s a song about war.

S: Ahh. That’s right. Ultimately…… somehow, I think this is uncharacteristic of me too, but I feel that children cannot do without hope and dreams and the sort.

――I actually think that’s just like you. When faced with the harsh reality of war, Sakurai-san’s pen will turn its focus to the children and their families.

S: That’s true. Because even soldiers have fathers and mothers. Mm…… All the same, I don’t want to end this topic with a, “There’s nothing we can do about it.” Of course, there will be people who say that they don’t want to hear about anything related to politics, but I just wanted to sing one song with the perspective that we were all children. That’s the idea of it. If people were to call me a hypocrite, then I might as well go all the way with it.

――It’s very strong of you to say that.

S: …… I don’t give a shit. Hahahah.

――Even the single, Taiyou to Icarus (太陽とイカ口ス / The Sun and Icarus) could be interpreted as a song about war. From the perspective of Zero² pilots of the Special Attack Units.

S: Right. But Special Attack Units aren’t the only ones involved in a war, and there may be those who get upset by my beautification of it all. But also, I just hope that everyone can enjoy the story and the shadow theatrics of it all.

――You’ve written a good story for a pop song like this.

S: …… At first, that, made me feel a bit embarrassed. Because, this song, is it really something that we old men in our 50s make?

――Ahaha. It’s been quite a while since we heard something this cheerful from Hide-san (Hoshino Hidehiko/guitar).

S: Yes. (Our manipulator,) YOW-ROW-kun’s (GARI) sound already gets me wondering things like, “What’s wrong with pop?”, and it’s difficult for me to add more meat to it. I got really lost with what I should do here. No characters were coming to mind either. Then, I figured that instead of going along with the music, maybe I should do a 180 degree change on how I think about this and do what I have in mind at the moment. And that I should try and have fun with this contrast.

――That’s a thing BUCK-TICK established.

S: Uh…… We had no choice but to make that breakthrough. Hahahahaha! It was less of a stretch or be stretched, and more of a “Let’s completely distort ourselves”.

――The only other alternative to stretching (lol). Here you wrote about death before our eyes being “a celebration” and “freedom”, but what kind of emotions are these?

S: Ahh… But honestly, it’s the negative emotion of wishing you could actually run away from things. So that it would end without the need for me to kill people. A freedom… from yourself, from your consciousness, where everything disappears into nothingness. I might’ve been called unpatriotic 70 years ago though.

――Is this ultimately an imaginary story? Or emotions that Sakurai-san actually experiences?

S: …… I can’t dismiss it by saying that there’s none of that. In the end, I can imagine it. It’s only my imagination but, of course. I’m quite…… ill, so.

――In other words, this and the other songs in this album aren’t in reckless pursuit of death, are they? There are surprisingly few tracks fantasising about the nether world and frolicking there. If I had to name one, I’d think it was Ai no Harem (愛のハレム / Harem of Love).

S: Ahh…… It’s probably because there’s a part that personally holds no sense of reality to me. Because although I’ve experienced in real-life coming to the verge of death, anything that comes after that are only my fantasies. In the past, I might’ve had fun with it but these days, it’s less about what comes next and more about being on the precipice. Like this side of the Sanzu River³ versus the opposite side. Mm…… I’m not as young or naive to be attracted to invisible things anymore, and although I can play around with capturing it in the form of fantasies, when it’s something I write and sing myself…… Recently, I don’t feel very grounded to reality. [I need] more of, things that rouse my emotions, like words that stab me. That’s what would bring me to the edge of the Sanzu River.


Recalling what things were like back then, part of it is also because it’s our 35th anniversary
There’s also the implied sense within the story that things were really different back then

――That’s why Sakurai-san’s struggles in the real world rush forth right from the very start in the songs from this album.

S: Yeah…… I’d expect people to find me problematic though (lol). I cannot help that I’m struggling even at this age. But that’s all there is to it. Because on the other hand, if I lose this, then I’d be at a loss as to what I should do.

――Would you lose the ability to sing?

S: If that happens, then Taiyou to Icarus wouldn’t come to be. The song would lean even more towards pop…… I might sing words like, “You are the one~”, perhaps?

――Please stop (lol). This is a vague question, but what is Sakurai-san currently struggling with?

S: ……… It’s definitely, well, I always say this, but it’s PTSD⁴. And HSP⁵. I’m neurotic so I’ll feel deeply affected by all kinds of things, to the point where I’d drive myself deeper and deeper into a corner. People might probably look at me and wonder, “Huh? Really?” This might sound weird, but…… I get nightmares, right, a lot. I always drink but if I decide that I’ll go to bed without drinking today because I’m tired, I’ll very quickly have two, three terrifying dreams.

――May I ask about them? What happens in these dreams.

S: The dreams with people are lame, y’know? Dreams of a………… person with a steel bar in hand would come after me, and the whole time, I’d be like this, holding my breath and hiding.

――Fuh (lol). …… Sorry, I laughed a bit.

S: Hahaha! But it’s really the kind of dream a grade schooler would have. So, it’s okay, do laugh. I would jump out of bed breaking out in sweat and wheezing. But when I describe it in a sentence like this it’s really lame (lol).

――Even now, you still can’t run away from that part of yourself, can you?

S: In the end…… I really think it all boils down to trauma. My dreams are generally set in my parents’ home too. And the area around it. This is really something that has never changed even now when I’m in my mid-50s.

――In addition to the ever-present darkness, the songs in this album have a strong, overwhelming sense of solitude. Like SCARECROW and Warukyuure no Kikou (ワルキューレの騎行 / Ride of the Valkyries) in the first half.

S: Mm…… Well, but these are far-fetched imaginations and, at the same time, very real situations from my childhood to me. SCARECROW isn’t about anything cool or impressive, but rather, a figurehead. In a rural farming village. The image of standing there alone and staring at it came to mind and stuck very firmly. I also had the idea that [the scarecrow] might possess human intellect or could have even “witnessed” a murder before. I believe that everyone has some darkness lying within them, so maybe what I’m trying to say here is that [these possibilities] are scary.

――That said, this is a song and it’s also entertainment, as you said earlier. How do you weigh this balance?

S: Ahh. That might be where I help myself. I go around in circles, but I save myself through singing, through writing [lyrics] and singing. To say I’m consoling myself…… makes it sound like I’m a useless person, doesn’t it? Although, I might be running away through the words I write.

――No, I think it’s something far more positive than what you’re saying.

S: Is it? I don’t think my negative self listening to something that was created by my negative self would magically turn me into a positive person though. When it’s tough to write it’s just tough anyway. But…… mm… there are also times when I love what I produce when it’s done well.

――Yes. Next, Boogie Woogie which plays in the middle of the album is a bit of an oddball, isn’t it? This song is about the band, and touring, right?

S: That’s right. Really simply put, it’s a song that says “That’s what it was like in the past”, more or less. Deciding to recall what things were like back then, well, part of it is also because it’s our 35th anniversary. There’s also the implied sense within the story that things were really different back then. I’d say the song’s done its job if everyone, like our fans and even including the band members, find themselves nodding in agreement to it.

――By “back then”, do you mean the time you made your debut?

S: This song is set during our indies era when we were touring between Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. In a beat up van. That’s why the line with the “junk-heap of a van is out of gas” is a real story.

――Wahaha. ……Uh, so what happened after that?

S: Um, we travelled with two vehicles; a rented car and one other transporting our instruments. I was driving the rented car. Back then, there were no smartphones or car navigation systems yet, so we simply decided, “There should be a parking area a little further down so let’s make a pit stop there and take a break.” It felt like we arrived at the full-service rest area soon enough, like after around ten kilometres of driving. So, we arrived. Then, we waited and waited and waited but the vehicle behind us wasn’t arriving. So we decided to go and check on them…… only to find them far away, desperately pushing the vehicle along the road shoulder.

――Ahahahaha! What a story!

S: Sounds like something out of a manga, doesn’t it? Even the vehicle was breaking out in a sweat. Fufufuh.

――You mentioned that things have changed since then, but what do you think is the one thing that changed the most for you and the band?

S: It’s definitely what we capture and present in our professional work. Like our approach, how we make progress and all that. Getting things done based on momentum was our method around our 20s and 30s. The fact that we actually want to understand more about music itself, think about what we want to express; all these things we’re doing now is the biggest change to us. When we feel like something’s not quite right about a particular piece of music, when we’re not entirely satisfied; turning such thoughts and feelings into our fuel is how we arrived at where we are today.

――Yes. Also, I’m especially intrigued by Hizumi (ヒズミ) from the latter half of the album. It’s got me curious, and it’s also a song I personally like.

S: I like this song too.

――Not only is it dark, it also gives me this feeling that…… there’s no escape, or something.

S: Yes. Well, I was also deliberating on how much I should write here, but. At this point, we’ll just blame it on the work, right? Like, “Don’t loads of people die in this movie?”, or, “[They’ve] been dead all along in this novel, right?” So, I think it’s probably okay.


S: In my mind, I have a protagonist [for this song] called “Hizumi-chan”.

――Hizumi-chan! Is it a girl?

S: No, not a girl, but a boy, yet like I wrote at the start, “Hizumi-chan” is putting on make-up. Although, not very well, right? Since he’s got a stubble and all. Fufufu.

――At the end of this song, it sounds like you’re singing, “The next train is coming (次の電車が来る / Tsugi no densha ga kuru) but in actual face, the lyrics say “狂う (to go mad or crazy / kuruu)”. This is something else that appears significant.

S: I think [that line] initially said “The next train is coming (電車が来る)” but I was hung up on that part. Just the [choice of] word. I guess, “coming (来る)” comes across lighter in a way. While “going crazy (狂う)”…… Ah, this is completely unrelated, but where I live, there are a lot of railroad crossings, right?


S: There’s some near the park too, so I’d somehow or rather see a lot of trains. It’s a quiet body, but when you see it rushing past with all that speed, you’d have reason to look at it with a sense of fear. So I guess this “going crazy (狂う)” could also be interpreted as “going out of control (暴走する)”. And, this is another unrelated thing, but there are a lot of public housing complexes, near my home, you know?

――Y-yes (lol).

S: Some years ago there was a murder which happened in the vicinity, and a robbery at the post office, so it’s got me feeling like the level of public security there is pretty bad. There are times when I’d space out in the park alone, thinking about all these things. Then, when evening comes around, the lights would come on in the apartment complexes but…… there will be a number of rooms that won’t light up, right? Then I can’t help imagining things. Like, wondering whether something happened, whether it’s simply that there are people who don’t want to turn on the lights, things like that. And the more my mind wanders, the more frightful these musings become. That is “Hizumi-chan” ‘s world.

――Although Sakurai-san can look at this bleak reality with such a perspective, you’re not running away from it, nor do you think of looking for an easy way to end it. It’s as I’ve said numerous times before, you no longer long for the netherworld.

S: Ahh.

――Adding to this, I think you have a desire to live.

S: ……That might be true. I think that’s why I warp [myself] and will feel scared. What I’m about to say may not sound ethical, but aren’t there times when you feel like saying, “It’ll be easier if I die.”?  But I’m scared. [At the same time,] I still feel that death is terrifying. I still feel that if a person has the courage to jump in front of a train, why not live instead? But I guess there are a lot of people who have it tougher than what I imagine. That’s why I think it’s scary. Being born is scary, living is also scary. I think there are times when it’s really not the right circumstance to sing about the afterlife.

――Do you feel joy at having been able to produce an album with such a state of mind?

S: That’s right. Yeah. Because the direct opposite of joy, stresses outside of music, all these things will exist as long as we’re alive. But I guess, because there’s something that I have to do, I can shut those things out and focus. Somehow there’s something about this that redirects the energy I’d spend hurting myself for the sake of it…… I’m grateful for it.

――No matter how much pain you’re in, how much you’re struggling, I believe there are things you’re capable of doing because there’s someone else to think of, like your fans.

S: You’re right. Truly, the fact that everyone celebrated so much with us. When they tell us things like how they’re waiting for us to come on stage again…… the only thing I can do is stand firm and hold on, you know? If I can bring joy to people, then this job is a truly blessed one; that’s something I’m also thinking about recently.




¹ Lines from SCARECROW: 逃げられない   もう何処へも (Nigerarenai   Mou doko e mo)

² The Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” long-range carrier-based fighter aircraft which was usually referred to by its pilots as the Reisen (零戦, zero fighter). It was mainly used in World War II, towards the end of which, it was adapted for use in kamikaze operations (suicide missions).

³ The Buddhist equivalent of the River Styx, i.e. the river you cross after death, or the boundary between life and death.

⁴ Post traumatic stress disorder.

⁵ Highly sensitive person. A personality disorder.

⁶ A line from Boogie Woogie: オンボロ車はガス欠 (Onborosha wa gasu ke)




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Imai Hisashi (BUCK-TICK) ✕ Ueda Takeshi (AA=)

As the teen, so the man.¹

Looking at Ueda Takeshi’s journey from all the way back in 1990 when his previous band was formed to now when he goes by the name AA=, it is clear to see that he is one of the pioneers of the rock and punk scene and an unparalleled composer when it comes to utilising digital beats. Now, he is releasing a cover album in his own name for the first time.

YMO, The Stalin, Aburadako, RC Succession, Sheena & The Rokkets…… This collection of covers of popular songs exclusively from the 70s and 80s is straight up entitled TEENAGE DREAMS. It is the strong influence of his predecessors who once rewrote what rock music is that gave him the radical spirit of his early debut years that drove his determination to bring bold changes to the sounds of his own generation.

BUCK-TICK’s name is probably considered as one of his few compeers in this. Imai Hisashi plays his guitar in INU’s Merry Go Round, one of the songs covered within this album. This duet probably came about “because we’re friends”. 

In this issue, we bring a special conversation between these two people who continue to hone their edge, and have remained the same at heart throughout all this time.


While covering a particular song, over and over again, I’d keep getting the feeling
that this is where my fundamentals come from; my values, way of life, philosophy, all that
— Ueda

――In this album, Imai-san played the guitar for the cover of INU’s song at the behest of Takeshi-san.

Ueda Takeshi (U): That’s right. INU is a band I love to begin with, so I really wanted to include them in this work which was meant to be a collection of covers of songs that make up my roots. But the one singing was Machizou-san (vocalist / Machida Machizou), so I can’t exactly do as the original song did. So while choosing a song, I was thinking about how I should go about this. I wanted to play the bass riffs of Merry Go Round myself, but as for something that could rival Machizou-san’s voice, something that wouldn’t lose out to it…… I started thinking that maybe what I wanted was something weird, and at that moment, this man’s guitar playing came to mind.

――Fufufu. Something weird, huh? (Lol)

U: Isn’t there this part in BUCK-TICK concerts that’s a weird segment where it’s noisy and the sound just hits you? I associated that with what Machizou-san’s singing feels like. So [I reached out] to Imai-kun out of nowhere.

Imai Hisashi (I): Through email.

U: Yeah. I said, “Please play weird sounds for me.” (Lol) That’s the request I made.

――The original song doesn’t have such guitar playing, so did you have to make it a carefully thought out composition? Or was it more of a spur-of-the-moment thing?

U: Ah, that’s something I’m very curious about! “Noise” in my idea of a compliment is what I would call “weird sounds”. There’s no doubt that it sounds like something created by Imai-kun, but it also turned out to be something that sounds even more cutting that hits you in the gut. Did you already have this whole thing planned out in mind ahead of time?

I: Well, that, I come up with it through vague ideas of combinations. Even though it’s noise, I took the liberty of assuming it wasn’t just a messy flow he was looking for and decided that I would compose something rough. It just so happened that the entire recording system in my PC died at the same time. So this was the first recording I did at home since I did the full replacement. In that sense, it was a good thing I took the opportunity then to upgrade everything to the latest versions available (lol).

U: You know, when I was putting that cutting in, I thought, “Thank goodness I asked Imai-kun for help.” (Lol)

――Without focusing exclusively on the one song that Imai-san is involved in, how does Takeshi-san feel about the cover album on the whole?

I: Ah, I thought it was really interesting. Because there’s a part of it that covers my roots too. It was so much fun. I really liked working on it.

――The both of you are only 3 years apart in age so both of your generations probably listened to almost the same music.

U: That’s right. YMO was probably your middle school years?

I: Yeah. It was YMO’s influence that got me started on listening to all sorts of music.

U: Me too. I came across them in elementary school. In other words, the first music that I came to know of that wasn’t popular pop songs but band-type of music was YMO. I would think that there’s quite a number of us from this generation who experienced the same thing. For me, it was through this that I came to know of Sakamoto Ryuichi-san and (Imawano) Kiyoshiro-san’s Ikenai Rouge Magic, and then RC Succession, and even more about punk music from there.

I: Personally, I heard YMO and thereafter started looking for technopop and new wave and all sorts of other music that became my roots. Then, RC, it was some other chain of events that just so happened led me to hear ELPL on cassette.

U: EPLP. That was a good one, wasn’t it?

I: That made a quick fan out of me. Then Sakamoto Ryuichi and Imawano Kiyoshiro had that collaboration. That was surprising. I was all, “Ah, here’s their connection!” Yeah, so (Ueda’s covers of) Darlin’ Mishin, and TIGHTEN UP…… I love them all.

U: If it were up to Imai-kun, what songs would you choose?

I: Ah… that’s tough, isn’t it?

U: It is. It was tough for me too. I had fun though.

I: Auh…… But even I were the one choosing, I think most of the bands [I’d pick] would overlap [with yours]. Because I’d include RC, The Stalin, YMO, all of those.

U: All of them have been covered here (lol).

――This is turning out to be a pure conversation between fans (lol). Do you think it’s as they say, that whatever you pick up in your teens are forever?

U: I, think so. Definitely.

I: That’s something we can’t deny, I think.

――Not limited to musical experiences, but everything in that timeframe would become part of your personal development.

U: Ah, that’s something I felt all over again this time around. While covering a particular song, I’d keep getting the feeling that, “I knew it, this is where my fundamentals come from,” over and over again. And that’s what makes my values, way of life, philosophy, all that. In the sense that [these songs] define punk rock, or that this person’s style of rock deeply influenced me.

I: It’s also, because the amount of information that we have access to at the time is different than what things are like now. If we didn’t make the effort to go and look for it, there was no way we would’ve found anything. I guess we, ourselves also enjoyed that feeling of getting more and more exposed to these thorny aspects.


As long as you personally think it’s good, just do it. Because our ultimate goal is originality, something like that
— Imai

――Was it the spirit of punk and rebellion what you learnt from the bands of that era? Or would you call it something else?

I: Ahh. An abnormal spirit? Or something…… I wonder if that influenced me in any way? Because that’s an element that has always been inside of me since the beginning, so maybe [these bands] made me like that part of me even more instead.

U: Yeah. Also, the concept of walking your own way, right? Something like believing in my values and what I want to do. I’ve been influenced in many different ways, but within it all, I think all this music taught me to ask, “What’s uniquely me?” None of them are similar to the other, neither can you put them all in the same category. Each of them are so different whether music or stance that it muddles what the answer as to what the concept of punk is, but at the same time, that’s what they all had in common.

――You mean that abnormality?

U: I guess it’s the opinion that it doesn’t matter even if they were being presented as abnormal. I don’t have the intention to be abnormal, but if I were to come through with that’s uniquely me, then my values would differ from the vast majority of people. In this case, people might look at me and think I’m abnormal anyway. But even so, I would just say that, “Well, no. This is who I am.” So I feel like it’s these people [bands] who taught me that it doesn’t matter.

――Rather than being abnormal, it’s being true to yourself, right?

U: That’s what it is. I’ve been playing bass for punk music all this while, but when I started using programming, people began telling me that, “This isn’t punk music.” as if that’s the natural order of things. But all I felt was, “So?” It doesn’t matter at all to me that people are saying this. Because I believe that doing what I like and expressing what I enjoy is punk.

I: Yeah. Like, as long as you personally think it’s good, just do it. I realise that’s what I think too. Another thing I have to consider is how I should arrange the music so that it sounds good being played by a band with two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. Even now, I’m still figuring that out through trial and error. Like, maybe I want to include a combination of rhythm loops and live drums, or a synth bass-like sound, but we have a live bassist here. I have fun working around this and that and figuring things out though.

――It’s clear that the two of you are also the driving force behind the bold introduction of techno and digital elements into the world of rock bands. What are your respective thoughts towards the other’s sound?

U: Personally, BUCK-TICK, or rather, Imai-kun gives off a really enigmatic vibe. The music he makes is also…… how do I describe it? Genre-less? Or, well, he makes music that can only be described as “BUCK-TICK”. I think there are rare few people who are like him, and I aspire to be like him too. His interests take precedence over others’ opinions, otherwise he wouldn’t find value in what he makes. I understand that sentiment very well, and, this may sound presumptuous, but I think it’s because I’m the same kind of person as he is. …… For better or for worse (lol).

――For better or for worse, valuing camaraderie and a sense of unity with the audience is quite unlike the current festival culture that we have these days.

U: Yes. I’m keenly aware of what people value these days, though. But I think we’re people who look for enjoyment that isn’t of this nature. Both myself, and Imai-kun too.

I: Yeah. Because our ultimate goal is originality, something like that.

――So, what does Imai-san think of Takeshi-san?

I: Well, there are elements in the music he makes that become influences to me too, so even now, he’s still a musician who I’m excited to hear new work from. When I first heard Takeshi’s sounds, I had a very strong feeling that he had definitely been influenced by techno or digital music. And after actually meeting him and speaking with him, as I expected, it was YMO after all.

――The first time you met each other was when you were young, both in your early 20s, right? Do you remember what was the first thing you talked about?

U: What I remember is…… not talking about anything at all.

――Hahahaha! What do you mean?

U: The first time we met was at a pub somewhere, and we had a mutual acquaintance who said to me, “Hey, Takeshi, Imai’s calling for you over there.”

I: Really? We met at a pub?

U: Yeah. Then I went to Imai-kun’s table and sat down next to him because, well, he called me over, right? But we just stared ahead and never said a single word. A few minutes later, I was like, “…… Okay, then.” And I left the seat. That was the very first meeting. Ahahaha!

I: I don’t remember that at all (lol).

U: After that, we grew to have conversations like this because of our mutual acquaintances though. It’s just that at the very, very first meeting I was like, “This vibe…… what’s this?” “He called me over, but what should I do?” (Lol) Now that I think about it, I suppose it would’ve worked if I said something first, but because I couldn’t bring myself to.

I: Nah, back then, I guess we were really young when we got to know each other…… in other words, flippant (lol).

U: For sure (lol).

I: Fuhahaha. Like, “I know what it should be, but I’m still going to do this anyway.”

――Truthfully, was your first impression [of Takeshi] bad?

I: Nah, it wasn’t bad. Not at all.

U: Imai-kun has always been this thoughtful. Ever since the first time I met BUCK-TICK, these people have never changed a bit. They take it easy, they’re peculiar. In a good way.

I: Even since those days, he’s always been coming over to my place when I get home after rehearsals. He’d often call me and ask, “Can I come over now?”

U: And if I went over, I wouldn’t be able to go home. I have to wait for Imai-kun to fall asleep (lol).

I: Fuhahaha. Waiting until I’m dead drunk.

U: I can’t drink, so I’d get absolutely trashed playing games with Imai-kun while he gradually gets drunk (lol). Then, after I’ve confirmed that “Ah…… he’s asleep”, I can go home. We had a lot of fun like that, didn’t we?

――Fufufu. Another thing that the two of you have in common is that the things you fancy will never change. There’s no such thing as “growing to enjoy the finer things as you age” with you, is there?

I: Ahh. Like trying out blues?

U: Not really. I guess you could say that new things that I start to like are actually an extension of the things I originally liked. Even if I come across new music, in the end, I’ll only like it if it has a similar vibe.

――Like techno, or punk.

U: Yeah. Even when dubstep came about and I liked it, even when I found myself liking breakcore, what I was truly after in these genres were ultimately the power in the music, something similar to punk.

I: I think I’m like that too. And as I said, I’m ultimately a guitarist, so when I really pursue something, it’s like, the guitar is still the route I would take…… to achieve a form it that is nothing like its original form. What I’m looking for is definitely not blues to begin with.

U: Imai-kun, do you change your equipment a lot? Like your amps.

I: Nope. More often than not, I’d leave it be, indifferent to it. Although there are times when I’d go on a spending spree when something effective suddenly becomes popular. Speaking of which, in terms of amps and the sort…… I think I just leave them alone.

U: Likewise. Even now, I’m still using the amp that I bought when I was 20.

――Rather than saying that you’re indifferent to it, I’d say you have something unshakeable within you that has decided, “This is so me!”

U: That’s right. I don’t understand other amps, neither am I interested in them.

I: You could also say that I’m not particularly concerned about it. Besides, I believe that people don’t change so easily.

U: Right, what’s at your very core doesn’t change. So following that logic, I like the sounds that I make myself.




¹ The phrase featured here is “ティーンエイジの魂百まで (tiin’eiji no tamashii hyaku made)”, a play on the Japanese saying 三つ子の魂百まで (mitsugo no tamashii hyaku made), the English equivalent of which is “the child is father to the man”, meaning that the qualities and personality traits one acquires as a child are carried over into adulthood. Another way to phrase this proverb in English is “as the boy, so the man”, which is also how I formatted this particular translation.



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Sakurai Atsushi | BUCK-TICK

After concluding another photoshoot, Sakurai-san arrives at this studio lit by natural light. As soon as he walks in, he utters, “Oof, so bright.”  Could this be proof that he’s of a certain……? This is a rare situation that saw Sakurai Atsushi doing a photoshoot under the sun. And because the pictures turned out so otherworldly beautiful, we saw editor-in-chief Kanemitsu very strongly advocating for it to be featured on the back cover of the magazine. Then, when Kanemitsu asked him to, “Write something (一言)” on the polaroid that would be distributed to readers as a gift, he took a moment to think about it before eventually writing, “Something (一言)”. That’s  the world’s most adorable Devil King Acchan for you ♡


Imai Hisashi | BUCK-TICK ✕ Ueda Takeshi | AA=

This dialogue took place at the venue of the front cover photoshoot for the special issue PHY so Takeshi-san travelled all the way here for it. Since the PHY photoshoot and filming was taking place within the same studio on this day, we rented an assembly hall adjacent to the studio for the dialogue. Takeshi-san arrives on site. With the intention to start with saying hello to the members of BUCK-TICK, he popped into the studio. Spotting him, Sakurai-san called out to him with, “Oh, hey, Take-chan. Long time no see〜”. Then proceeding to greet each of the members, Takeshi-san naturally gave off the disposition of a much-beloved junior but such a sight in itself was a rather rare one. Then, we moved ourselves into the assembly hall for the dialogue session, but this assembly hall turned out to be a large Japanese-style room the size of about 20 tatami mats. It was more like a banquet hall steeped in Showa-era charm. The moment our two interviewees walked in, they instinctively let out a “Whoa” and laughed. Here, we set up a seating area and sitting on their respective zabuton, Imai-san and Takeshi-san had their chat――That was the kind of surreal setting it turned out to be.



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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Pictures: Yoshiyuki

Ongaku to Hito
April 2023

I fly away

text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi, Ishii Eriko


With a release date slated for April 12, the title of their new album is 異空 -IZORA-. What kind of album will this be? Coming from a band who just celebrated their 35th anniversary while facing the challenges of the times and themselves. We’ll talk about that in detail in next month’s issue and the special publication PHY.

But this month, we’ll be talking to the composers of the two singles that precede the album’s release; guitarist Hoshino Hidehiko who composed Taiyou to Icarus (The Sun and Icarus), releasing on the 8th, and guitarist Imai Hisashi who composed Mugen LOOP (Infinite LOOP), releasing on the 22nd. Although the songs sound completely different, you can tell that they’ve got the same direction when you listen to them.

They’ve spent quite a long time recording, starting work in the beginning of last year and even continuing between tours. So what happened to the songs that they originally said would be released in two discs? And what were they intending with the decision to split the singles like this? Let’s find out where BUCK-TICK is going.



Imai Hisashi

text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi


IZORA was Mugen LOOP’s original working title
For some reason, that word continued to linger in my head, so I figured that it could be the album title instead

――You haven’t decided on the name of the album you’re releasing in April?

Imai (I): IZORA…… What? You didn’t know? (Lol)

――I wasn’t told what it’s called (lol). Izora, was it?

I: Yeah. Written in Kanji, it’s “異空”. It’s probably about time for us to announce it, right?

――I intend to ask you about the singles that will precede the album but first, last year’s tour. The closing show at Nippon Budokan was impressively executed and its overall worldview sharpened.

I: That was nice, wasn’t it? The tour…… Well, there were postponements because of COVID-19 and all that so it hasn’t exactly ended, but I’m satisfied despite all that has happened.

――The songs that you chose to perform for the THE BEST 35th anniv. tour were not the songs we’d call easily understood or songs that would get the crowd going. Instead, the set list was made up of what best represents the band BUCK-TICK of today and that was also really great.

I: That’s probably also the energy of the band as well. We members would suggest all the songs that we want to perform and at the end, Sakurai-san (Sakurai Atsushi / vocalist) would collect them up and fine tune the selection again. That’s how we usually decide on our set list, but I think that turned out well too.

――It’s also great that the execution just gets better and better with each performance. By the way, how’s your leg?

I: I got used to it (lol). It’s not what it used to be, but it’s not all that inconvenient [now]. Although, I kind of hate that I can’t run. That’s why I keep going for rehab sessions. I try to walk as much as I can, and today I walked here. I couldn’t [attend the sessions] at all while touring, but in any case, I move around the most when performing anyway. Maybe that in itself adds quite a lot of progress to rehabilitation.

――I heard that you’ve been recording throughout that tour too.

I: Right. That was pretty long. At first, I imagined that we’d release two [albums] with a short interval between them. The songs…… I think we probably had about 20 prepared. But then we gradually started to change our minds about it. We came to the conclusion that since we were going to divide the songs into two anyway, it would be more interesting if we split them into two more clearly defined themes for release. We wanted to do it better like that.

――So the division was a result of coincidence.

I: Right, exactly. Maybe, in future, I might think of working on a project based on such an idea. But this time, I think it’s probably better not to. Since the songs are more or less ready for release, we decided that this time, we’ll select some and make an album with them.

――Without any initial concept.

I: Yeah. Things got tight in terms of time too, so it wasn’t that we wouldn’t be able to pull it off. We just felt that we wouldn’t be able to pull it all off in time so we can only release this for now. It wouldn’t make sense anyway if we were to force it and squeeze out two albums, right? That’s why we came to this conclusion after a discussion among ourselves.

――Two different types of songs have been made into the two singles that you’re releasing ahead of the album; Mugen LOOP composed by Imai-san, and Taiyou to Icarus composed by Hoshino-san. Is this a remnant of your original concept?

I: It…… is?

――I wouldn’t know (lol).

I: Although, as a start, we began by generally grouping [the songs] into, say, those are performed by a physical band and those that are performed electronically. Oddly enough, while the songs were originally distinctly different, as we built on the songs, they eventually turned into the usual BUCK-TICK fare.

――Well, I guess that’s to be expected after how through these 35 years you’ve been making all kinds of music that don’t seem to come from the same band.

I: Because of that, I decided to try and create a song using synth and without guitars but it started to sound more and more like the usual BUCK-TICK song before we even got to the end. That’s why, if we were to do something conceptual, we have to make a conscious effort much earlier on.

――But I also think that this is proof that BUCK-TICK has been able to take in and incorporate all sorts of genres as a band.

I: Say, for example, if we compose a song that doesn’t feature guitars, it’ll be interesting to see how we would translate that into our live concerts performance-wise. That’s the kind of stuff I want to do.

――When you give yourself that kind of a restriction, what’s meant to stick out would stick out, so that’s certainly interesting to explore.

I: But, at that point in time, well, we’d then wonder what people think of it, right? I’m getting ahead here, but I’m thinking that it would be nice if we could try these things out and have fun recording after we’re done with this album’s tour.

――So, the new songs. Let’s start with Hoshino-san’s Taiyou to Icarus. It’s an unusual one considering that it’s a Hoshino composition.

I: Unusual, isn’t it? It sounds nothing like his usual style and that makes it interesting. There were about three other songs that we were considering, but while we were trying to decide which to pick and in what order we should arrange them, we settled on this.

――And when was Mugen LOOP completed?

I: Probably really early on. I can’t really remember exactly when, but I had the idea to try composing a song using only synth, so all I had in the beginning was a short synth melody. Then, I told Yoko-chan (Yokoyama Kazutoshi / manipulator), “I’m thinking of composing this with the synthesiser.” But all I had at the time was one short melody so when he listened to that, his eyes went blank like, “…… Huh?” (Lol)


I: He was all, “I never could’ve imagined that Imai-san would make me listen to this short of a synth segment.” (Lol)


――Just a short segment of an intro (lol).

I: It’s kind of boring with the usual chords on guitar anyway, so if we use a chord progression where this riff gets played over and over, it’ll end up feeling like that. I feel like I managed to do something interesting that I’ve never done before (lol).

――That synth comes right at the start. And even after the other instruments come in, it continues to loop in the background.

I: When all is said and done, it mainly gives the impression that it’s being the way guitar chords are, but I guess that’s good too.

――And about the title, Mugen LOOP.

I: That’s Sakurai-san. This song’s original working title was IZORA.

――Ah, and this became the album’s title.

I: That’s right. A different sky, a different place. Something like that. For some reason, that word continued to linger in my head even after the song was renamed to Mugen LOOP, so I figured that it could be the album title instead.

――Based on what you’ve shared, I get the sense that you’re actively employing never-before-used methods but is there more to it?

I: Is there more…… No, I think there is, but this time, my PC died when I was in the middle of composing (lol). Song data, stuff I’ve been working on, all of it has been wiped away from this earth. People might assume that I would know what I wrote, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t remember a thing (lol).


I: And there were warning signs. Sometimes it’d do things that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, and when it’s starting up, I’d find myself thinking, “What’s going on, why is it taking so long……?” (Lol) It’s like I was negotiating with a machine.  Like, “Please!” (Lol)

――Then you should’ve done something about it earlier (lol).

I: But I made it (lol).

――Right (lol). There’s no end to the list of things you find interesting and the things you want to do, is there?

I: Yeah. When we go on tour again or something I’ll definitely find something I want to do again, so it’s something else that I look forward to as well, I suppose. Additionally, I’ve now got more time to rethink the songs that didn’t get included this time around so I guess this is good too.

――You’ve been working on band activities while spending some periods of time stuck in limbo because of COVID-19, but cyclicly speaking, I’m thinking that it’s about the time when you tend to start thinking about solo activities or working on something else. Is Imai-san getting any itch of that sort right now?

I: I guess I don’t really think about it. I imagine that stuff like Lucy, for example, would be interesting to work on once in a while, but I also think that it’s good if I could do it with BUCK-TICK anyway.

――Are you feeling very motivated when it comes to BUCK-TICK?

I: Yeah. There’s still stuff I want to do so all’s good.

――And this time, both singles will have remixes of songs from the album.

I: That’s right. It hasn’t been decided for Mugen LOOP, but we asked YOW-ROW (GARI) to work on the remix for the song Namonaki Watashi from the Taiyou to Icarus single. As he does the chord programming we’d tell him what we want it to feel like.

――Ah, so you’re not leaving it all up to the remixers.

I: That’s right. We tell them what we envision. Half remix, half rearrangement, something like that.

――How many tracks will the album have?

I: I think 14. There are songs where I’m the vocalist but just about all the lyrics are written by Sakurai-san.

――Well, it looks like you were able to finish up the album smoothly, so please go buy a new PC, a good one.

I: I was thinking that spending that money once should keep me set for 20 years but……

――There’s no such PC (lol).

I: Hahahahahaha!

――Also, just recently, the esteemed Takahashi Yukihiro-san (YMO) passed away.

I: Yeah. I knew that he wasn’t doing too good but it was still a shock.

――There’s no doubt that he was one of your influences, but he also invited you to perform with him before, right?

I: That, well, it happened in the middle of a conversation we were having for a magazine feature. I guess Yukihiro-san thought I was interesting since I was not only a guitarist who was influenced by YMO, but also my hair was sprayed up vertical, looking like a youngsters who’s into what they these days call Visual-Kei. And it just so happened that Yukihiro-san had a tour in the works at the time, so he suddenly raised the topic, “Imai-kun, how about playing guitar [with us]?”

――Well, of course, you’d be surprised then.

I: We had just released Aku no Hana at the time, so that was only two years after our debut? I was shocked by how flexible Yukihiro-san was, but from my perspective…… more than being happy about being offered such an opportunity…… you could say it was an immense burden (lol).


I: Because it was a time when even I wasn’t convinced that I was good enough. So I told him I didn’t think I could do it. If this happened after we released Kurutta Taiyou then maybe I’d feel excited about it, though.

――Imai-san, please take care of your health and live long.

I: Likewise (lol).

――Did you cut back on drinking alcohol too?

I: I don’t really drink at home anymore too. Somehow, I find it interesting that I’ve become like this too. I’ll drink when I meet people outside, but it’s no longer the way we used to with the “Hey, let’s drink until daybreak or until we’re dead drunk” intention.

――I guess it just means that all of us are at that age (lol).

I: Hahahaha.

――But based on what I’m sensing when I listen to the songs, it doesn’t feel very much like you’ve settled down, so that’s a relief.

I: Right. Because I’m thinking it’s better to have fun doing what I can do now.




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Hoshino Hidehiko

text by Ishii Eriko


It’s not the kind of pop that’s simply refreshing or feels like you’re breaking through something.
Likewise with the lyrics where it’s a bit of a thought-provoking story.

――I’d like to start by looking back at last year. Firstly, September’s two-day event at Yokohama Arena was an immense achievement for the band, wasn’t it?

Hoshino (H): Mm. That’s right. Well, it was sort of our 35th……

――Not “sort of” (lol).

H: Not “sort of” (lol). So far, we’ve had events for our 20th, 25th, and 30th anniversaries, but performing in an arena for our 35th felt like the mark of the beginning of a milestone. So there was this very significant feeling, like a weight.

――Because of the scale of it, right? It’s only natural.

H: Exactly. It’s not something we could skip and we couldn’t excuse ourselves from it with a, “Sorry, we caught COVID-19!” The pressure was immense. And that was also the case with our year-end show at Budokan. On the morning of the event, I really felt this, “Ah! Thank goodness I feel great!” Like, “I don’t have a fever. Do I? Ah, thank goodness, I can do this!”

――You can really feel it.

H: Then, when I arrive at the concert venue, I’ll check whether everyone’s here. To that extent, I don’t think these shows feel like any we’ve done before.

――But when you think about it, that’s probably how all the staff members and the twelve thousand audience members felt on event days too.

H: Right? (Lol) That’s why, somehow…… I really feel like something close to a miracle has happened. And just how precious concert days are. The same goes for our Yokohama Arena show too, it’s just so great that we managed to properly carry out those two days without a hitch.

――It was an amazing show. The weight that you mentioned earlier, was that mainly in reference to the pressure you felt?

H: It’s the pressure. Because we have to deliver something good to our fans who took the time to come together for our 35th anniversary, and there’s also all these emotions around reaching this milestone. I guess that’s what made things feel heavy.

――I think the content of the show had some heavy feelings for the audience too when I think about the song choices and the performance direction. Especially the flow of it in the middle segment.

H: That was an idea from Sakurai-san. Well, it’s like he said himself, this 35th anniversary isn’t just about celebrations. We gave it a lot of thought with the intention to put on the Yokohama Arena show in a way that’s uniquely us, uniquely BUCK-TICK. Also, we released our new song, Sayonara Shelter as a part of our 35th anniversary best-of concept album, so there’s also the fact that we started our song selection by first deciding that we wanted to perform that song. That’s why it’s not your usual anniversary show, and why it gives the feeling that it’s a little different.

――Ever since I attended the show, wild thoughts seem to have started sprouting up in me. It’s as if my peaceful life had suddenly been shattered and I’ve begun to think about things like how even BUCK‐TⅠCK will one day come to a sudden end…… and so on. I’m semi-paranoid about it (dry laugh).

H: Ahahahaha. Even so, we can’t deny that possibility.

――Please don’t say such things. Even though I’m the one who brought it up, I was hoping that you’d laugh it off like it’s unfounded.

H: Hahahaha. Who knows? But my view towards death has changed since my father’s passing and it’s easy enough to say that it feels close by too. Sooner or later…… Sooner or later, it’s something that comes for everyone eventually though, right? There are age-related reasons, and we don’t know when we’ll fall ill too. These things I feel very keenly now at this age. I also feel the desire to keep living and take it all in. But honestly, I do sometimes think about how things might all end suddenly.

――Not with pessimism, right?

H: Not at all. Of course, I do want to keep doing this for as long as I can. But there’s also nothing I can do if something were to happen. Those are the kind of thoughts I’ve been having these days.

――Has the mood within the band changed in recent years?

H: …… Has it? Well, it does feel like something’s changed since COVID-19 happened though. It’s like it’s gotten hard to communicate. Like we couldn’t even have a meal together.

――When all of you have been drinking together so much throughout all this time.

H: Hahaha. But oddly enough, I’ve come to find that there are parts of this situation that I find particularly freeing. Like I can now watch my downloaded movies on Netflix at our tour destination hotels. I can also do that when we’re on the move though. I guess I’m realising how much free time I can get now. Instead of wasting time doing nothing except drinking (lol).

――I see. So after the shows at Yokohama Arena, your 35th anniversary national tour began. I have the impression that this was where the expressive performance of Sayonara Shelter really changed.

H: Mm, that’s right. Those lyrics have a very obvious contextual background to begin with…… And, well, the war is still going on even now. I guess you could say that Sakurai-san gradually honed his performance. I couldn’t really watch because I’m playing my guitar (lol), but I’m hearing comments like, “There’s something gut wrenching about Sakurai-san’s performance,” or, “Brings tears to my eyes,” from our acquaintances and fans. Somehow, hearing such remarks makes me feel glad that we wrote it. It’s a song that’s steadily growing so I do wonder whether it’s reached its furthest potential yet.

――By the way, how does Hoshino-san feel about Sakurai-san writing such raw lyrics reflecting the times and applying them to his own performance? Do you think it’s a given?

H: Mm. Although…… I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a given. In any case, he’s the one who composed the lyrics, and I know that he wants to make sure that he does a faithful depiction of that perspective, so I fully understand his desire to convey the song’s message on stage. It’s not like I’m against it in any way, and to me, as the composer of the music, it’s all good as long as the song comes to life. So I’m more of the mind that he should be free to do as he pleases.

――Understood. Next, let’s talk about the new songs. They’ll first be released in the two singles, and then later on, in the album.

H: Yes. We’ve been busy with production and recording work since last year and we decided rather early on that we would release two singles. As for the album…… we actually planned to release two. But as we went on with a bunch of other things, it eventually turned into one. Hahahah.

――Is it simply because there weren’t enough songs?

H: Nah, there are a number of factors (lol). That’s why we’ve still got quite a number of songs that are halfway done. Maybe they’ll one day see the light of day?

――The first single is Taiyou to Icarus. It’s been a surprisingly long time since Hoshino-san’s song got released as a single.

H: Yes. Previously was LOVE PARADE’s double A-side which was the opening and ending theme song of our movie. That’s…… already 10 years ago, I think? So it really feels like it’s been a long time since.

――How did you decide on which songs to release as a single?

H: Ah, I had the thought of [making it] one of the pop-ish songs on the album when I was composing it. But as we worked on it, it turned out surprisingly well. Director Tanaka-san also said it’s really good and pushed for it, and well, I thought, “Oh? This doesn’t sound like anything I’ve done before. It’s super fresh. Maybe this would be a good choice.” So I also pushed for it too. There were other candidates too, but it feels like we decided on this in the end.

――What part of it felt new to you?

H: I wonder. It’s not something that can be simply branded as pop. How should I put this…… It’s also got all kinds of emotions like warmth and tragedy mixed in. But it’s not the kind of pop that’s simply refreshing or feels like you’re breaking through something. Likewise with the lyrics where it’s a bit of a thought-provoking story.

――Indeed. How did you feel when you first saw these lyrics.

H: Ah, I thought they were really great. The perspective fits the song too. And there’s so much bittersweet in it.

――You weren’t initially taken aback?

H: I wasn’t taken aback. Well, it’s the usual…… Although, saying it like this is kind of (lol). When you say taken aback, in what way do you mean it?

――Well…… The perspective of this song comes from a person who’s headed towards their end or death, right? I never would’ve thought that such a pop-sounding song would have such a worldview.

H: Ahh. Nah, because that’s always the case [for us]. Hahahaha! I don’t mind it at all. I just leave it all up to him.

――Sakurai-san always weaves a profound story and immerses himself in it. But not everyone in BUCK-TICK would immerse themselves in the that same world, right? In a good way.

H: Mm. Uh…… It’ll become a problem if all five of us get stuck in there (lol). It’s probably something to do with our inherent dispositions, but there’s a natural balance there.

――Especially since Hoshino-san comes off as an amiable person who tries to be natural. Is this something you’re mindful of?

H: Nope, it isn’t. This is just my true nature. Hahahaha.

――You don’t really want to act?

H: Acting is, mm…… I’d probably say it’s not my forte. I guess I just prefer to go with what’s true to me. Of course, there are definitely times when I get carried away by a song as a performer though. I think I’ve gotten deep into playing my guitar more often than putting on a performance though. It’s just that in our recent shows and concerts, it kind of feels more effective for me to communicate with our fans with my true self. I feel that a lot.

――For example, by going closer to the audience?

H: No, I’ve moved around in the past too, but I think there’s quite a gap between us and the audience. It’s just that we didn’t have many songs that allowed for that in the past (lol).

――Hahahaha! But there aren’t that many of those even now.

H: Mm. There aren’t all that many more, but I also understand the stance that it’s better to enjoy a song together when it allows for it, and I’ve come to want to have fun with it too. Like when we play up-tempo songs and such. If the vibe of the song is right, it’ll feel very viable for me to enjoy interacting with our audience. Compared to the way things were in the past, it’s not all darkness now.

――It would seem that the pop vibe in Taiyou to Icarus also calls for a fun atmosphere during a concert.

H: That’s right. I think it would be nice if that’s the song it would become, though.

――Its B-side is Namonaki Watashi -Kachoufuugetsu REMIX-. This is a rare case where we get to hear the remix of a new song from the album ahead of its original version.

H: That’s right. Looks like that’s how it’s turned out.

――With the remix coming first, people listening to it would be trying to figure out what the original might sound like and how much of it was remixed.

H: Ahh. I think it’ll be fun to listen and compare too, once the original version is available. So do have fun until then.

――Yes. The other single is Mugen LOOP. It’s a song written by Imai-san, but what’s your impression of it?

H: Mugen LOOP is also…… yeah, a very unusual melody, I guess? Like city pop, or something. It’s somehow a kind of a strange song, but. This, well, also came from our shortlist of songs and was selected to be our second single. I feel like this is a song that people from all walks of life might be able to appreciate, though.

――I would think these preceding singles are hints towards what the album would be like. Was it more of a bold decision to create first impressions with these two songs, or more of an obvious decision?

H: Hmー……… Bold, I think? If I were to pick one. With the knowledge that, well, these two songs aren’t all there are. That’s all I’ll say. Fufufu.

――Because we’re not sensing all that much darkness from these two singles, right? It’s like, so…… what’s on the other side?

H: Yes, yes, yes (lol). You’ve got it.

――Fufuf. I don’t think it’s that simple.

H: Well, something like that, maybe. I would like everyone to look forward to it. With a little bit of, “It’s going to be something you won’t expect based on what you hear in these singles~.” There’s a variety of genres and likewise with each worldview in each song. Well, I hope everyone would give it a listen. I can’t say any more yet (lol).




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2023.02.09 BUCK-TICK

The respective interviews with Hide-san and Imai-san were being held at the same time at the record company. After the interviews concluded, I mentioned that I’ll be going to Okinawa with Yuta-san in two days for his photoshoot and interviews, to which Imai-san quipped, “What’s that? You all are gonna watch baseball, aren’t you? Is that work? Do you call that work?” Then, Hoshino-san laughed, “That’s, you’re not going to shoot at the location where I did mine, are you?” I wonder what crossed their minds when they saw a red, sun-burnt Yuta-san back in Tokyo after that trip (lol). That aside, we took lots of great photos in Okinawa. Look forward to seeing them in Yuta-san’s upcoming book releasing on April 12!




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Translation: Yoshiyuki
Pictures: Yoshiyuki

Featured Dialogue:
Brought to life through connection

Après-guerre Reissue Vol.4
February 2017

Photos by Koki Matsunaga


ties can make special things
「the relationship between the perceiving and the perceived」


Toru Nogawa (Artist)

If you’re a fan of ISSAY, it’s highly likely that you’ve seen Toru Nogawa’s art with him featured as a model in them. Those pieces are not meant to be portraits of ISSAY, but rather of someone else. Someone who isn’t iSSAY. What was the process that led to the creation of these works? This dialogue session will follow the collaboration between the artist and the model.




―― Were you acquainted before you asked him to model for your art?

Toru Nogawa (N): I’ve known him as an artist since my teens, being a fan of Der Zibet.

ISSAY (I): And then, we got to know each other through a mutual acquaintance.

N: And then, when we were drinking at an afterparty in a live house after a show, I decided to shoot my shot and speak to him about modelling (wry smile). Because his style and vibe were just perfect for the theme I was going to paint with.

―― Come to think of it, has ISSAY-san ever been an art model before?

I: No, probably not. I don’t think so.

―― I would think that there were many opportunities for you to be in photoshoots, but how did the conversation about being an art model go?

I: I was very interested because he’s someone who is capable of painting absolutely fantastical art. In the case of photos, whatever’s in the environment you’re taking photos at will also show up in the photo, right? But that doesn’t necessarily happen in a painting, and I thought that would be fun to look forward to, so I was more than willing to be a part of it.

―― Does Nogawa-san have a theme in mind before looking for a model who fits it?

N: That is indeed how I create. I think it’ll be easier to consider this from the perspective of a theatre play. [The character] I asked of ISSAY-san back then was Siegfried, a protagonist from Richard Wagner’s opera, Der Ring des Nibelungen. It’s as good as me casting ISSAY-san in the role of this character. Another theme I had in mind at the time was Dracula. A vampire. A vampire aristocrat known as the Count from the era of black-and-white film.

He in the paintings who is not ISSAY

―― What’s your process when you’re creating the actual piece?

N: The standard procedure would involve the model posing in front of the artist, but ISSAY-san is of course a busy person which means that it would be difficult to do it this way. So he prepared the outfit, took photos for me in a studio and I drew based on what I received.

―― Did you discuss poses for specific scenarios?

N: I picture them in my head, so I think it’s similar to how one would stage a play. Whether it’s Siegfried or the vampire, I’m painting them based on the same person, ISSAY-san, so he has to become someone else entirely in the painting. His response to my requests was tremendously potential-filled. He really turned into a whole other person. It only really hit me later just how amazing a performing artist I asked to do this for me.

―― Do you imagine yourself as this character, or rather, embodying it?

I: I go into it with a simple posture. Like, since this is the type of scenario it is, this is the posture that would fit. Meaning it’s better if I position this leg a little further in front, for example. To compliment that, my left leg will end up like this, but would it be better if my legs were closer together? That’s the kind of thought process that goes into creating a detailed posture.

※From W.R.Wagner 『Der Ring des Nibelungen』Oil on canvas 33.4 x 24.3/cm

―― I suppose your pantomime experience comes in handy here.

I: Indeed. Pantomime may have been most helpful.

―― What were your thoughts about being cast as Siegfried and a vampire?

I: I hope it’ll be alright (dry laugh). And, since I was selected by the artist, I suppose there’s a good chance it’ll be fine. I think it doesn’t matter how he perceives it, as long as he’s able to bring it out through me.

N: I wrote an abnormally long email for our very first discussion (lol). What I pictured only existed in my mind and I wanted to share that with ISSAY-san, so I think I set the scene for him by writing something like a short story. For my Siegfried (※From W.R.Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen) piece, he doesn’t actually have a sword on his person but I requested that he posed in a way that suggested he was holding one. It’s pretty much a pantomime. And at the time, I also wrote an essay with details like the general length of the sword the character was supposed to hold, and descriptions of this locale that only I have a vision of, like how there’s a Greek architecture-inspired column in the back. From the second request on, ISSAY-san had kindly grasped my tendencies in my art, so I didn’t have to be as detailed anymore.

I: Since then, if I asked, “How’s this?”, for example, he’d just say, “More like this,” or something of the like.

N: I’ve been requesting images from ISSAY-san for a lot of my work in recent years. So doing it this way is better (lol).

―― How did you feel when you first laid eyes on the artwork that was created through such a process?

I: It’s difficult to put into words, but in a nutshell, like, “Whooa…”. “So this is how it turned out.” While there’s no doubt that I’m present in his world too, I couldn’t have ever imagined the extent of its depiction. Because my world is more indistinct. And this has taken shape as something beyond the world I imagined. What made me happy was seeing how [the character in the piece] was obviously me, but it wasn’t me. I was really happy about that.  He painted here what he saw through me.

―― I believe people who know ISSAY-san will be able to tell that he’s the model but this isn’t a painting of ISSAY-san, right?

N: If I were to do a portrait painting, I’ll probably have to paint ISSAY-san as he is. On the contrary, what I hoped to do was see how much of ISSAY-san’s inherent personality I could carve off.

―― So since then, you’ve been making paintings of different themes and settings.

N: To me, The Picture of D (Dの肖像 / D no Shouzou) is a mystery to be solved but I told ISSAY-san that it’s based on The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian Gray’s first initial is D, just as Dracula’s first initial is also D. In addition, something visitors to my exhibitions mentioned to me was that Der Zibet also starts with D. They commented the three D’s were brought together in this piece, so it’s a painting that I’m also very happy with. It’s a double-image piece of Dorian Gray along with a particular sort of immorality that is drawn from vampires, right? From this point, we can increasingly say that [the subject] isn’t entirely Dracula and what I painted is a marquis of darkness, an immortal undead king of ISSAY-san’s and my making. Dracula has a variety of appearances but he’s described as a member of the aristocratic class of marquis in mainstream European stories so this series actually leans closer to the original. From then on, I started to leave the details to him.

―― How did ISSAY-san carry out your part of the work?

I: Take, for example, this pose. I’ll move my body while thinking about factors like, to what extent can I exhibit an air of reclusiveness, or whether this character really considers themself to be alone, or what this person might think if another were in their presence, and things like that.

N: Since then, ISSAY-san would move and adjust his poses while I kept clicking the camera shutter. I feel that doing this gives the piece more depth than before. There’s an interesting element that comes from the lack of a specific target here. Through this method, that which is naturally unique to ISSAY-san would be incredibly apparent in the final piece. But that’s not the ISSAY-san we personally know. It’s the ISSAY-san who becomes the gaze of the character in the piece. Which puts us in a similar position as the audience who watch ISSAY-san when he performs on stage. That’s why I can look at the art more objectively. And that’s a good thing. The method I use is a classic technique of the old masters, so the painter has to remain calm too. Instead of wielding the brush in a subjective state of mind, I have to paint with a somewhat analytical perspective, as if I’m critiquing a painting done by another. That’s why it’s very good if I can look at a painting objectively.


「Ein Dunkler Markgraf:魔性の刻 (Mashou no Koku / Witching Hour)」 Oil on canvas 116.7 X 90.9/cm

Turning Der Zibet’s song into a painting

―― And after that, the theme that you chose to work on was Der Zibet’s song.

N: As a painter, when I watch their concerts or listen to their albums, as long as text or words or music are present, pictures will come to mind. So I mentioned that something like this came to mind and asked if it was okay for me to paint it since it was based on a Der Zibet song.

I: And I said, please go ahead (smiles). I appreciate it.

―― So you wanted to create an artwork of an image that came to mind from a song.

N: Of course, it’s not exactly the same as the lyrical world ISSAY-san writes about. Instead of tracing an artist’s work from the perspective of a third party experiencing it, what I feel I’m doing is closer to traversing the path carved out by their work and weaving yet another story out of the leaves and branches that I come across. 

「Ein Dunkler Markgraf:月下美人 (Gekka Bijin / Queen of the Night)」※ From “DER ZIBET” music piece
Oil on canvas 31.8 x 41/cm

―― What’s it like having a song by your own band turned into a painting?

I: It’s a strange feeling. But it makes me really happy, though. Like, ahh, so this is how it turned out. I have my own idea of what it might look like, right? When it’s released from Der Zibet’s control and turned into something that comes from Nogawa-san, it’s really refreshing for me to see what a great piece he’s made of it. I was very happy.

N: I didn’t notice at the time, but I just realised something. Thinking about it again, it’s a strange order of events for me to ask if you’d be willing to model and feature in this painting even though you’re singing in Der Zibet to begin with.

I: That work was actually done during our concert, right?

N: Ah, right.

I: Without me singing (dry laugh). It was really interesting though, wasn’t it? To me, I think the person in SISTER ROMANOID is kind of bubbly, somewhat crazy. This was brought with subtlety so I liked that. And it’s clearly got something that leans towards romanticism, doesn’t it? I love that a lot.

N: This isn’t an illustration, to begin with, but a world that I believe only the people present at a concert and people listening to this song possess. And [this painting] is just one of those [worlds].

I: Meaning that it just so happened that Nogawa-san opened this door, y’know?

N: It’s something like a parallel world, see? Following that, I’ll paint with a more confined essence from the lyrics. The most recent piece was Gekka Bijin which features the marquis of darkness. I overlapped the characters from Ein Dunkler Markgraf with Der Zibet’s Gekka Bijin.

―― In other words, you’ve arrived where your two worlds converge.

I: It’s like some kind of reaction occurred.

―― Will you continue to count on ISSAY-san as a model for your paintings going forward?

N: I’m thinking of starting a Der Ring des Nibelungen series alongside the marquis of darkness in 2017. I’ll also be holding an exhibition in November at a private gallery in Paris which is owned by the chairwoman of French automotive company Peugeot. Seeing a painting with ISSAY-san in a gallery located in a European cityscape is certainly fitting, isn’t it? That’s what foreigners will see.

―― It sounds like you’ll be creating many more pieces in the future.

N: Right now, I’m just listening to all the Der Zibet CDs I have (lol).






Vocalist in Der Zibet, KA.F.KA, ISSAY meets DOLLY. With an unparalleled presence unrivalled by any other artist, his charisma draws an impressive following. He has upcoming live events on February 19 at Kichijoji ROCK JOINT GB and on March 25 at Shibuya GLAD performing as Der Zibet.


■Nogawa Toru PROFILE
An artist who creates unique fantastical worlds with oil painting. A member of the International Fantastic Art Association (IFAA) and Fondation Taylor, Paris, France. His works have been exhibited in shows at locations like Ginza’s SPAN ART GALLERY. Planned activities this year include a two-person exhibition at SPAN ART GALLERY in autumn, an exhibition in Paris in November, and other vampire-themed group exhibitions.









Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: Yoshiyuki
Image of Ein Dunkler Markgraf:魔性の刻 : Toru Nogawa @ Official Blog, Twitter




Hoshino Hidehiko

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

35th anniv.

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

H: I played the keyboard?

――Yes…… Wait⁉ You did, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

――Was the insecurity present in your music?

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

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

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

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

H: Ah~, that’s it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

――What should you do to break past this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

――When did you start thinking like this?

H: Probably after “darkness”.

――What darkness⁉

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

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

H: Right, that’s right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

H: Is that so (lol).

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

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

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

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

――That’s true. What about Yagami-san?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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“THE PARADE” ~35th anniversary~

special live report

Text ◎ Koji Yoshida
Photos ◎ Tanaka Seitaro


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following segment was simply incredible. 

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

After that, the screen in the back turned into a starry nig