The Poem of June ──
Interview with Hoshino Hidehiko
Ongaku to Hito
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.
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).
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.
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 ♡