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

OKMusic
20 August 2022

Text=Yuka Okubo
Photos=Seitaro Tanaka

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

<Set List>

■D’ERLANGER

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

■Yagami Toll & Blue Sky

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

■BUCK-TICK

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: OKMusic, Lingua Sounda

 

 

Feature: What are your favourite things?

Après-guerre Reissue Vol.1
December 2015

 

Der Zibet celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. As the vocalist of the band, ISSAY’s presence is inimitable. With this issue’s theme surrounding our interviewees’ “favourite things”, we take a deep dive into his mind and catch a glimpse of a surprising side of him through conversation.

Der Zibet、KA.F.KA、ISSAY meets DOLLY

ISSAY

PROFILE
Active with Der Zibet,  KA.F.KA, ISSAY meets DOLLY among a wide variety of activities, ISSAY’s is ultimately a vocalist with an unwavering character whose presence radiates through his performances which incorporate pantomime and, of course, his singing.

INFORMATION 
ISSAY OFFICIAL H.P.: 
http://homepage2.nifty.com/issay/

Der Zibet OFFICIAL H.P.:
http://derzibet.com/

 

 

New album, Bessekai

―― Releasing an album this year, in the year of your 30th anniversary, did you take any special notice of things like milestones or turning points during production?

ISSAY (I): I think I’d be lying if I said no, but it’s not as if we paid all that much attention to it either. It was sometime around the end of last year when the band had drinks together while talking about the concept of the album. After that, we only decided on the album’s name after the start of this year. First came the concept, then came the name. And only afterwards did we start to put the music together.

―― Does it mean that everyone has the common idea of another world that isn’t the one we live in?

I: To start, when we were discussing the concept, we decided that we won’t do anything that would get classified as indie, or too niche, or anything like that. Der Zibet has always been a band that is said to be “too niche” to begin with anyway, but we’ve released a few albums since our reunion, and we’re of course satisfied with them, but we feel that we’ve producing them in a friendly manner. And thought, isn’t it about time that we made something that featured our quirks in the limelight? Those were the sentiments that came first. Once we had that down, we started thinking about what exactly were Der Zibet’s quirks, and things like MONDE MOVIE and MONDE FILM and MONDE MUSIC started coming to mind. Which led us to wondering, what’s the definition of MONDE in the first place? Cutting to the chase, it’s something like another world (bessekai / 別世界). As we started talking about how it seems to imply something that isn’t of this world but rather of another, we started to get the idea that Bessekai might be a good idea for an album title.

―― Hearing that gives me the impression that you’re only talking about going back to being “too niche” because this is for your 30th anniversary.

I: I don’t think the other band members feel this way, but for me, personally, I see our situation as a band from 1985, who made the type of music we did back then, thinking about what we want to create in the year 2015. Obviously, 30 years have passed, times have changed and even we have changed in our ways of working and all that, so all things considered, what are we going to do in 2015? What are we going to do now with the same underlying feelings that we had when we first started the band? That’s what I personally kept thinking about.

―― Apart from going in the niche or indie direction, does [this album] have any other tangible differences from your other recent works?

I: Rather than some strong, pointed intention to bring things towards this direction, we simply freed ourselves from our shackles. [Normally,] if I think that something might be difficult to grasp, I’d make small changes to it, right? So that’s something I decided to stop doing this time around. Even when we have [jam] sessions among ourselves as a band, we’d usually try our best to eliminate the thinking that certain parts of our music should be made more easily acceptable. No matter how niche we are, or how much people say we’re indie or whatever, we’re a band who’s attuned to pop, so no matter what, I think our melodies are pop-ish. That’s why we felt that it’s not possible for us to do anything ridiculously outlandish.

―― I also have the impression that as a band, Der Zibet is pop, but this album-

I: Is easy listening? (Lol)

―― -was somehow overwhelming to me from the second track onwards, when METRO was followed by Mr.Bad Trip and then Toki no Boumeisha (時の亡命者).

I: Because that’s the kind of flow we intended with the track order. If we wanted [the album] to sound like pop, we wouldn’t do this (dry laugh).

―― That’s true. So how do you feel about the work resulting from freeing yourself of the shackles of making yourselves easy to understand?

I: There’s quite a big difference when it comes to the lyrics. How do I explain this simply. Say, for example, there’s a second character in the lyrics. In previous albums, I think this second character would be given form and made visible. I’d write “you” and write it all down so the listener would know what kind of person this second character is. But this time, we completely ignored all of that. And we additionally also did our best to refrain from writing typical love songs. Love songs are easy to make sense of. Very easy. That’s what we wanted to rid ourselves of as much as possible. We just want to make the world we envision even more blatantly visible the way it is, you know? And, you can see it, can’t you? You just can’t help it (lol).

―― Because you show us the worlds that could be seen and felt with each song just as they are.

I: Exactly. That’s what it is in a nutshell. That’s why you can no longer describe it with the words ‘pop music’, right? But from each and every one of the songs, you can probably see different worlds in them. I think you’ll be able to see them clearly. But I don’t think there’s anything more to it than simply giving us a view of the worlds that the protagonist steps into. That’s the kind of work it is.

―― Going back to what you initially said about the concept, does this mean that MONDE MOVIE is one of the keys to this album?

I: No, not particularly. It’s just that when we were discussing Bessekai’s concept, the music that HIKARU presented was an instrumental piece. I thought it might be interesting to put lyrics to it, so I did that without anyone asking. That also happened to be the moment in time when I was trying to figure out what kind of lyrics I should write, so this ended up being the very first set of lyrics that I wrote for this album. And once this was done, I was easily able to compose the lyrics to the rest of the songs. For me, there’s this tunnel when I’m writing lyrics and if I don’t go through it, I won’t be able to write. The tunnel this time around wasn’t all that long, but I wrote the very first set of lyrics which were for MONDE MOVIE, without any thought at all and after that, it got easier and easier for me to write. It’s not that I want to do it all in this manner, but I just think it was a really good thing that this was how it started.

―― How did the recording go?

I: Smoothly. I used a hand mic to record my singing this time. I mentioned that there’s one mic that I really favour because I really like how it I sound recorded when I sing into it, and HIKARU said okay, sure. Then, let’s record with you singing into the the mic in your hand. It’s just so comfortable to sing with a hand mic, you know? The last time I sang into a hand mic was when we recorded our second album (dry laugh). Isn’t it nice to not have to worry about how and where you’re standing?

―― It’s the kind of album that makes me think of entering a world while you’re standing still and singing though.

I: Because there’s no song to sing unless I immerse myself in that world.

―― Not that. I was thinking of a more physical sort of world.

I: Like darkening the room? Personally, I generally do keep it darkened but not so much recently, I think. Because I want to make it relaxing, you know? If it’s set up ahead of time, I think it’ll just turn into something that makes my stomach hurt more. Anyway, I just didn’t want to be bothered by unnecessary things any more. I wanted to lose the tension in my shoulders. Does that make it easier to understand? Besides, don’t we use hand mics for live performances too anyway?

―― I just can’t imagine what kind of a live performance this album will yield. Although, I’d expect that there’s some form of live show unique to this album.

I: Well, it isn’t exactly an album with much leeway, is it?

―― Now that the album is complete and you’ve released it, do you think it’s turned out to be what you had imagined when you initially decided on the concept?

I: What we thought of in the beginning was in no way defined. It was something more ambiguous. That’s why it’d be wrong of me to say that we’ve created exactly what we envisioned. We are satisfied with how we executed it; the way it’s turned out with the kind of album name and concept it has. It’s a very experimental album for us from that perspective.

―― So you’re satisfied with the results of your experiment. What do you like about this fulfilling work of yours?

I: I guess I’m satisfied with the fact that it’s got quite a hefty presence as an album. I’m not talking about how it’d turn out in a live performance, but just the way it is as an album. I’m happy with it.

Going home

―― When you talk about going home, you’re referring to returning to your actual hometown where you grew up, right?

I: Literally what it generally means. I go back a few times a year. Although that includes occasions when I go back because I need to attend to something on this day and that day, regardless of my personal intentions.

―― Do you feel more relaxed or liberated when you go back?

I: I don’t. I think when I was about 27 or 28, before then, it felt like the city was telling me ‘Welcome home’ every time I got off the train and stood in the station. But after a certain point, it stopped saying that. It was then when I realised, “Ah, I don’t belong to this city anymore.”

―― What do you do when you go home?

I: I check.

―― Check what?

I: My own pain, for example. It’s a city where a river flows. When I go there, I can check on the pain that I felt from back then. Whatever the time, whether midnight or midday, I’d go to the beach and zone out while staring at the sea, and check on my past self who used to watch the sea like this too. I check and make sure that the person I was back then is still in this body of mine.

―― Is that because you want to stay the way you are?

I: Yeah.

―― I’m getting the impression that this is connected to your being a performer.

I: There’s no doubt that it is related. I need to drop by home, make my rounds and visit each key spot, and check how this sea looks to me at this point in time.

Rose garden

―― Do you like rose gardens?

I: I’ll go once or twice a year. Usually, I’d visit one in Tokyo.

―― I’m definitely very much into the idea of ISSAY-san with roses, but why rose gardens?

I: It’s fun, for some reason (smiles). It feels like I’m on a leisure trip. But I haven’t been able to see the spring or autumn roses. But when I was in Kamakura for business the other day, I went to the Kamakura Museum of Literature and there happened to be a rose garden there so I took photos (smiles).

―― Do roses mean something special to ISSAY-san?

I: That never crossed my mind. But don’t they make you feel, like “whoa” when they’re in full bloom? It makes me feel as if le spectre de la rose from that ballet might be in there somewhere. Like they inspire dreamy fantasies. Although, the same goes for cherry blossoms too. Because I feel a thrill in my blood when I go to places where cherry blossoms are blooming all over, you know? It’s embedded in Japanese DNA. I go cherry blossom viewing too.

―― You’re surprisingly fond of taking leisure trips.

I: I love them. I just don’t think of taking them often. I actually like man-made places and sights. Like places where buildings are all lined up together. I feel like the city is breathing when I see the buildings’ rooftop lights shine and flicker. I love it.

―― And in all of that, you just happen to adore roses.

I: Yes. I’d go and look at the sea. I adore roses. And cherry blossoms. Those are the kinds of things I love.

 

Roses in full bloom (Taken by ISSAY)
Roses in full bloom (Taken by ISSAY)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Images: Yoshiyuki

 

 

On Their First Album
《Fantome † Noir》

ROCK JET Vol.62
August 2015

Interviewer = Fujitake Toshiya

 

・Interview・


KA.F.KA
Tsuchiya Masami
ISSAY

 

Leaving a legacy

―― Congratulations on KA.F.KA’s first album, Fantome † Noir being released. To start, please tell us about how the band came to be.

Tsuchiya (T): Touching on that will result in a large amount of printing to do (lol).

―― That’s okay (lol).

T: The very condensed version of it starts with my obsession with trip-hop back in the 90s and how I almost lost the desire to create and express myself during these past 10-plus years. I questioned the way music was being dominated by the internet and this situation where music itself was being turned towards that direction.
Expression is something that can only become material when there’s an audience and the level of those who are looking to make that happen have dropped so much that I felt like there was nothing I could do but sit and stare. Also, it dawned on me that I haven’t created anything worthy of a legacy.
I know that things will someday get better. But I figured that it’ll probably take quite a while before that happens. Because people themselves have become stupid enough that it’d take them a long time to realise that something isn’t right about this.
So, it was during the period when those thoughts occupied my head that I met ISSAY-kun. About 4 years ago, I was given a reserved seat at a BUCK-TICK concert and it just so happened that ISSAY-kun was seated next to me. I knew of him but I never had the chance to have a proper chat with him.
There, I spoke about the same topic that we’re on right now, and when I asked whether he’s left some sort of legacy, he said there’s nothing, so I said if that’s the case, maybe we should have something to leave behind. To leave a legacy, in this sense, would mean to make music.

―― So he asked you, out of the blue, whether you’re leaving a legacy.

ISSAY (I): That’s right. He started by asking me whether I’m leaving a legacy. I answered, “I’m not leaving anything.” And that’s where it ended then. The next time we met, I was thinking of doing something that involves making this kind of music when he asked, “Shall we work together?” Tsuchiya-san is someone I respected as a musician, and when I watched him play guitar at Kawamura Ryuichi-san’s¹ concert, I thought he was an amazing guitarist and if I ever had the chance, I’d like to work with him.
Having someone like that reach out to me, I readily replied, “Yes, let’s work together,” without a second thought. I was beyond happy. I only realised the gravity of the situation when the band started work.

T: It just so happened that at the time; that was 2013, by the way, Kaneko Mari-san² asked me if I would perform something at a Kyoto live house. In my head, the thought of creating something like this [KA.F.KA] had already formed but I was still undecided about when it would happen and what shape it would take. At that point in time, there was no band, nothing, except for the conversation I had with ISSAY-kun about ‘leaving a legacy’. But the words, “Let’s leave something behind” became a sort of motivator and I replied [Mari], “Well, then I’ll perform in a band.”

―― Out of nowhere.

T: That’s the time when things get done, right? So in any case, I started with ISSAY-kun, so Morioka Ken (ex-SOFT BALLET) will certainly be within reach. I saw drummer MOTOKATSU-kun playing at SUGIZO’s concert and I thought he was a great drummer so I reached out to him. As for our bassist, I asked KenKen, who’s also Mari-san’s son.
At that event, we performed as a band named KA.F.KA. It was wonderful. And the best part was the superb tension. We started our journey without any songs, wrote them within a few weeks and got in rehearsals too. It wouldn’t have worked if it weren’t for this sustained tension. We could spare no effort or time. But those nerves brought wonderful expression to life.
It’s been about 10 years since I did any sort of attention-grabbing musical endeavour by then, so I created my own record label and released my solo album Swan Dive first. I had ISSAY-kun sing 3 songs in that album. The song Last Shadow was obviously a KA.F.KA song, but I felt that it was needed in Swan Dive so I put it in. When I was making that album, I told the band members that the next album I’m making would be for this band. And so here we are now.

―― I see. So you’ve already started on this present album when you were producing Swan Dive which was released in 2013.

T: Swan Dive consists of 6 songs. KA.F.KA’s Fantome † Noir also has 6 songs. These two works put together are equal to one album. In other words, I’d prefer it if you’ll take them as one 12-song album. The A- and B-side; the front and the back of a vinyl record. They are to be listened to one after another. 
When Coyote, the last song on Fantome † Noir ends, it goes back to the first song of Swan Dive, Swan Dive Part-1. That’s the way it’s designed.
It would’ve been difficult to make a 12-song album all of a sudden, wouldn’t it? While I do have my own record label, it was difficult to match schedules with the members of the band. Especially with KenKen who was so very busy that we had to ask Ueno Kouji-kun³ to play bass for KA.F.KA.

―― What made Tsuchiya-san reach out to ISSAY-san?

T: It’s because he’s the most striking person by far. Is there anyone else who cuts as conspicuous a figure as him among rock vocalists? I can’t think of any. And in my mind, I don’t see e ISSAY-kun as just a vocalist. Instead, he’s more like an avant-garde performing artist…… Actually, it’s probably more accurate to describe him as an avant-garde dancer. That’s the image I have of him.
There are many vocalists who unwittingly flirt with their audience. Of course, this isn’t possible unless there’s someone at the receiving end of it, though. There are all kinds of rock bands, and there’s a lot of difference between the way each vocalist carries themselves. Whether they’re flirtatious or not. It’s important to share the emotion but I don’t believe there’s such a thing in rock music where we ask [the audience] to “please listen” or “please sing along”. That may be a thing in other musical genres. But I have clear standards when it comes to this area.
There aren’t many vocalists who have an aesthetic sensibility in being unflirtatious. And because of that, ISSAY-kun is the cream of the crop in the rock genre. His stage presence, his choice of language, his lyrics; all of this make the sum of ISSAY-kun’s attractiveness.

―― It is indeed true that flirting [with the audience] in rock music is unseemly.

T: I’ve instructed ISSAY-kun against chatting on stage. ISSAY-kun is a good person. And his goodness comes through once he speaks (lol). We can’t show that. If people know that ISSAY-kun’s a nice person, even my own performance will become flirtatious to the audience (lol).

――  ISSAY-san’s an angel, isn’t he (lol).

T: We absolutely cannot let people know about that (lol). Ultimately, I want him to exude the presence of a scary, aloof person for KA.F.KA’s performances.

Phantom of darkness⁴

 

―― KA.F.KA’s worldview also comes through in the lyrics but the music comes first, then ISSAY-san listens to it and writes the lyrics for it, right?

I: That’s right.

―― What were your thoughts when Tsuchiya-san handed the music to you?

I: The worldview is very well thought out. That was my impression. But honestly, the very first thing that came to mind when I heard it was how complicated and bizarre it was. All parts were necessary no matter what angle you consider them from. The chord progression, the melody line, all of them appeared to be necessary. But the feeling of the guitar and all that, they were so unconventional and complex. Like, ah… I’m supposed to write lyrics for this song…… (lol).

―― Do you mean it was difficult?

I: No, because the worldview was concrete. I first listened, then grasped it with my own image of it, and after that went to check whether there were any keywords or anything like that via email, then did I come to understand what Tsuchiya-san intended through a word or two. I was able to get into the music’s world easily.

―― Is it different than when you’re writing lyrics for your own band?

I: I’ve never made that comparison, but when I’m writing lyrics, I have to make my way through a dark tunnel once. The tunnel for KA.F.KA’s lyrics has a deep darkness to it but I get through it unusually fast, so it’s short. That’s what it feels like.

T: My concept is to be “difficult to comprehend”. That’s what makes it different from my solo album. When it comes to my solo work, it’s musically kind to my listeners but that shouldn’t be the case for KA.F.KA. That’s the very thing I asked ISSAY-kun to pay attention to. His good nature has a tendency to show in his lyrics after all, and we can’t let that happen.

I: That, I’ve been told quite sternly (lol).

―― Don’t flirt with the audience, make it hard to understand.

T: But because of this, the universe of the songs also get to grow through the listeners’ imagination. I was surprised when I received the lyrics to Coyote. It got me thinking, “Oh, this is it!” And, just as expected, Coyote is well received. As to what brought about this response, I’m inclined to believe it’s the lyrics.
Be it film or music, all of it is actually an art of memory. The key to it is the amount of memories the performer has made and how much they have experienced. The more original the performer can be with their unique and strange experiences that only they have ever had, the better. In Coyote, it’s enjoyable if both the listeners and the composer possess memories of similar experiences, and even if that isn’t the case, the [audience’s] relationship with the song begins if they think it’s a circus song.
How moved you are [by the song] increases if it’s linked to a memory. That’s my ideal. And it’s the one thing I won’t compromise on.

―― Is the band’s name is inspired by Franz Kafka?

T: Precisely so.

―― Please tell me more about the album’s title.

T: After forming KA.F.KA, we held 3 shows in the form of an event which we called Fantome † Noir, meaning phantom of darkness⁴. It can’t be done with a person who doesn’t live in darkness. It’s not feasible with someone who’s cheerful and energetic or someone who comes alive in the summer. 

―― So, what you want is to illustrate the world of those who belong in darkness when it comes to KA.F.KA.

T: That’s my theme too. I like rainy days more than sunny days. I’d rather a dimly lit room than a brightly lit one. Instead of standing up, I’ll sit on the floor, hugging my knees. Those are the clear ideals I have.
Back to the topic of the album title, I already had in mind to name the album《Fantome † Noir》since the event started. 
I really don’t want to make an album in a rush when it comes to leaving something behind as a legacy. And that’s why there was no going around and asking “What should the title be?” or “What should the cover look like?” at all. Because I’ve been spending a long time asking myself questions to come up with the concept. So all of it had already taken shape when the time comes.

―― Does ISSAY-san like Franz Kafka?

I:  I read his work when I was in high school. Actually, there’s a song Kafka from Tsuchiya-san’s solo album RICE MUSIC, and I’ve once done a reading of Kafka’s Metamorphosis on stage with that song in the background. So while we were talking about these topics, I started discussing Metamorphosis with Tsuchiya-san and it suddenly drew out the very feeling that I got when I first read it, like, “It’s like this, right?!” I was surprised. That made my spine tingle.

―― That was the feeling of being understood, right?

I: Yes. It made me realise that there’s a house in my heart, and there was, surprisingly, a door in such a place. And this wasn’t pointed out to me in the, “It’s there, isn’t it?” way. It was more like a feeling of being given something to think about and as I thought about it, I noticed the door’s existence. And that I’ve opened that door before in the past. That’s how I’ve been feeling this whole time ever since KA.F.KA began. 

―― You’re not adding something new, but rather, you’re recalling a long-forgotten thing that exists within you. This is connected to the concept that art is based on your memories, right?

I: A door I’ve forgotten. And there’s also a door within me that I wasn’t aware of. I came to realise it with a, “Ah, so something like this exists in such an area.”

T: That’s right. ISSAY-kun is without a doubt an exceptionally rare person. His interests also lie in strange places. But it wasn’t my intention to draw anything out from within him. All we did was have a regular conversation and something like that happened. Isn’t it fascinating?  It’d be ideal if one could make something with that and turn it into a profession. A profession is a calling, work that lives. That’s why it’s not about putting up with something for the sake of doing what you want; that would make it a job. If you consider this from a Western perspective, it’d be called ego though. I really love the phrase, “This is what I was made to do.⁵” 
An occupation is something you say you are, right? It’s especially the case for musicians and all too. That’s why I’m thinking that someday, I want to write “poet” in my occupational field.

I: That’s so cool. I wanna write that too.

T: You’d just want to, right?

―― How wonderful it is that the both of you met. It’s as if it happened because you were meant to come together.

T: I strongly feel that. When I started making music, I had my period fo popularity and saleability too, but the seniors i met at the time said to me, “The real fun comes much, much later.” They also said, “When it’s time to die, it’ll happen in an instant so it’s okay.”

―― Really?

T: They were pretty easy going about that. And that was what I was told about 30 years ago. I noticed that meeting someone isn’t something that suddenly happens out of nowhere; it’s something that was years in the making.
Recently, I met Chuya-kun from the band Allergy for the first time, I felt the same way with him too. He’s been working with someone I’m very close to for a long time. The person who inspired me to become a musician had recorded with Chuya-kun before. Of course. I did know about the band Allergy since the 1980s, but I was surprised when I watched them perform for the first time after they reformed. They were just too cool. It’s like I witnessed first-hand someone who performs with the same awareness as us. ‘This is no ordinary person’, I thought, ‘I should talk to him’, and when I did, ‘I knew it’. He’s very similar to ISSAY-kun too. 

―― You’ll meet the people you’re meant to meet. And when that happens, you’ll be able to portray what you’re meant to portray.

T: It’s also important not to resist things and to let things go.

―― This is inspiring.

T: That’s what it is, right? Life. Because people are living things. Other people won’t know what makes a person happy. I did wonder before why do lazy people exist, but that’s precisely a case of what I just said.

―― There’s more to life than just living, right?

T: But [the answer to that] isn’t quite ‘the future’. I’m not optimistic about the future.

―― Are you saying that you’re not optimistic about what society will be like in the future?

T: That’s right. But society itself is a personalised thing, so if someone is under the impression that it doesn’t exist, then it doesn’t exist. 
The existence of people implies that there’s a universe that exists within each one of us and the moment the universe inhabits the body is the moment when the person is acknowledged by the universe. This appears to be similar to puberty. The awakening of the mind in that period is very similar to it. This is apparently when one’s personal values are determined. I believe it is during this period when the unnoticed door is formed. And that’s why boys and girls have a hard time when they enter puberty. Everyone has a door. But if you think you don’t have it, you don’t. If you think you do have it, you do. It makes me feel better to think this way.

I: Things will be quite tough until you arrive at this perspective.

T: That’s the kind of song The Prisoner is. And in the end, both the perpetrator and the victim are 15 years old. If an incident like this happens, if this song turns into reality, I’d be shocked though.

Joy Division and The Doors

―― Is there some basis behind the idea to form such a band?

T: As I said before, it’s the desire to leave something behind. Also, Joy Division’s a big part of it, right? I absolutely loved their 1978 release, Unknown Pleasures back when it first went on sale, but personally, I somehow feel that what we now call post-punk was still in its adolescence at that point in time, so I enjoyed it without truly understanding what it was. No, rather, I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. I only understood it from a technical perspective. Time went by before I finally realised, “Ah, so that’s what it’s about.”
In the end, it took me about 30 years [to get to that point]. 30 years is the equivalent of one cycle. In my case, it’s coming around for the second time. In my youth, I had my first adolescence, then I turned 30 and that was when I experienced another adolescence since becoming an adult, and now, another 30 years have passed and I’m once again gaining the ability to look at it all objectively.
Back then, I couldn’t explain what it was to others and more than that, I’ve come to understand that I overlooked the most important parts of it. Don’t you think this happens a lot? People who realise this probably get to live happy lives. Of course, even if you don’t realise it, it’s alright. Because it’s that person’s life to live. But it’s fun to find out.

―― So Joy Division is what started it.

T: That’s right. I realised it after discovering them once again. One day, I took their CD out of my cabinet for no particular reason to listen to them and found myself astounded. Listening to them now, their playing sounds exceptionally crude from a technical standpoint but that wasn’t what got me.
It was the question of why they decided to make something like this at such a time. And they weren’t the only ones, this was happening on a global scale back then. Something was changing and we could move towards it. People who saw things as they were held that belief. But I don’t have any proof of that. Which is what makes it cool.
That’s what we’re lacking the most these days, right? If you’re asking me whether people can be moved by blind faith or unquestioning conviction, I think they no longer can be. That’s the reason why things are no longer interesting.
The beginning of the 20th century, the 1910s were interesting. That was the age of German Expressionism. People came to think that it’s beautiful to destroy whatever came before. But there’s no proof at all that it’s truly the case. But it got to a point where they decided to destroy what they’ve created since it’s right in front of them. Then they questioned how they should destroy things. Which led to the pursuit of the beauty of destruction.
When punk came to an end, a mountain of things that had been broken was left before us and we found ourselves wondering how we were supposed to rebuild it all. We stood upon a mountain of rubble. We had Surrealism and Dadaism as our foundations. So, how do we rebuild it?
There is an appeal in that. How we chose to build differed from band to band. Among them, it was YMO who brought in technology.
Where do we go after Dadaism? It required a lot of energy for us to build the roads into the future too.
It couldn’t have been done unless you were driven. If you weren’t standing at the precipice, you wouldn’t have the energy for it. You wouldn’t even have enough to tell yourself, “I’m going to do my best.” Flailing and struggling in the sweeping trends, you’ll push to your very limits and there, you start to wonder, is there something I can do…… That is the point of time when a mysterious energy rises up.
But you must first tear things down. Because the lovely thing about humans is how they won’t understand unless they get to see first-hand the state of destruction.

―― Does this mean that Tsuchiya-san doesn’t align with Dadaism?

T: I do, after destruction. But that’s contemporary history or contemporary art that’s yet to be established. We haven’t arrived at its conclusion yet.
Joy Division and Factory Records were born out of Manchester, where the Industrial Revolution occurred. Therein lies a big hint. And as to what comes next, think about it yourself. It’s most definitely no coincidence.
What happened in Germany also happened in due course of history.

―― I see. I’m starting to understand why you named the band KA.F.KA.

T: It’s a courtesy, isn’t it? It’s a flow with proper etiquette. What’s important isn’t that the style of expression is new. If you have Shakespeare in your foundation, what you say will for some reason come across as beautiful even if you’re saying something harsh in your words. There’s not much point in being straight-up aggressive, neither is it attractive. Kafka wrote, “Our salvation is death, but not this one.”⁶ It’s brilliant, isn’t it? What does “this” refer to?

―― Right (lol).

T: Because a universe exists within each one of us. And in the end, that’s what it comes down to.
Our salvation is death. But what “this” refers to differs. That’s why we’re alive.
Kafka is just brilliant.

―― Like the eternally unobtainable in The Castle. But that’s why it’s good, right?

T: That’s right. Ultimately, where is the destination? You might have already gone past it.
There are those who say that the terminus for civilised society was 50 or 60 years ago. When we achieved a good balance. But after that, we’ve just been carrying out wasteful activities. There are also those who say that it all ended after the atomic bomb was created. That we’re just making things we don’t need.

―― Where does music stand in this?

T: This is the reason why music is important. Because it has to be made with care. To use it for the sole purpose of making money out of it is blasphemy. That’s not what music is.

―― I’d like to ask you about understanding people. For example, Miyazawa Kenji for years polished the story of Night on the Galactic Railroad⁷ while rewriting it for years, and in the end, he passed away without it ever being released to the world so what we’re now reading is the incomplete manuscript he held onto the whole time. Naturally, it was never read by anyone before his death. Not only that story, but all of Miyazawa Kenji’s works and his genius wasn’t understood in his lifetime.

T: This is because, the greater the excellence of a work, the longer it will take to understand it. But I think Miyazawa Kenji was very happy when he wrote Night on the Galactic Railroad. Because he created such a work of art. However, the level of those around him was too low for them to understand him sufficiently. And that is the misfortune of those who were not Miyazawa Kenji.
Van Gogh was put in the same situation. His wonderful works of art weren’t understood when he was alive. But I believe he spent an immense amount of energy painting those works, and he must’ve been absolutely thrilled with them. He must have been at the height of joy when he completed his paintings. Be it Miyazawa Kenji or Van Gogh, they were only understood by a few people like their siblings in their lives.
But now, Van Gogh’s paintings go for billions of yen. Something is fundamentally wrong. And that is the sad reality of our present era. You’re celebrated if you sell so many copies [of music] that it becomes a trending song, or if you generate lots of sales. But there’s probably nothing we can do about it because it’s a system that’s created in line with the society we live in.

―― KA.F.KA’s an amazing band. When the time came, Tsuchiya-san made your move and ISSAY-san joined in to create such great music.

T: It might be amazing to people like us, but I’d suppose society would consider this as no big deal. But we’re Miyazawa Kenji in this case, so that’s fine anyway (lol).

―― I see (lol).

T: I don’t expect what we’re making to be that easily understandable. Because even for me, I took 30 years to understand Joy Division.

―― ISSAY-san likes Joy Division too, right?

T: There aren’t many who can listen and feel Joy Division above a certain level. In ISSAY-kun’s case, I believe The Doors came existed before [Joy Division]. He has a good sense of etiquette.
I went to see the Dolly project that ISSAY-kun is working on and there, I watched him perform Kurt Weill’s Alabama Song from Bertolt Brecht’s play, The Threepenny Opera. I have never seen a performance that did Kurt Weill’s song justice. The version he performed was The Doors’. And that he performed it quietly in a blue room was great. [He made it] a place where revered art is born.
N
ow, The Threepenny Opera is recognised for its outstanding artistry, but when it first premiered, it was thought to be a very strange thing. Probably because it looked like a miscreation in theatre.
Joy Division’s Ian Curtis admired David Bowie and was said to have become the kind of singer that he was. And as to why David Bowie was thought to be attractive, it’s because The Doors existed. Like Hayakawa Yoshio’s album, To Think Being Cool Is This Uncool (かっこいいことはなんてかっこ悪いんだろう / Kakkoii Koto wa Nante Kakko Waruindarou), that’s exactly what The Doors have achieved.
As a band, The Doors existed in the era when all the different facets of rock music were being established so in other words, they were thoroughly worn out. As a rock band, they gave off such a fatigued feeling, it really was Hayakawa Yoshio’s To Think Being Cool Is This Uncool. But that’s a good thing.
This To Think Being Cool Is This Uncool also applies to Joy Division. If we show a DVD of their concert footage to young ladies who don’t understand rock music, I think 100 out of 100 of them will say that Ian Curtis is gross and that will be the end of it (lol). But that’s a natural reaction. How could they understand? It’s not something that is easily understood.
Both The Doors and Joy Division truly gave their all in what they did. But it was crude. They were all out crude. But they had the courage to continue fighting in that state, and that’s what rock music is to me. It’s not something that’s smart or achieved by fixing the sounds with a computer.
It doesn’t matter to me if people call [us] gross and leave it at that. I’m not even that interested in getting people to understand us. As to why, it’s simply because we’re all different.
I’m categorised as part of the Beatles generation but this is no joke. When I was in middle school, there were only one or two people talking about the Beatles in school. And yet, now, those who were kids when the band came to Japan to perform are calling themselves the Beatles generation, and those who get called that think they are in this group too.

―― Was Tsuchiya-san listening to the Beatles in middle school?

T: I lived in the suburbs, but I was lucky in the sense that my older sister was exchanging letters with an American for her English language studies and her pen pal sent us Meet The Beatles!. That’s why I started listening to them very early on. Their harmonies were the very first thing that struck me. And that was when my musical journey began.

―― Where did ISSAY-san’s musical journey begin?

I: For me, I was rowdy as rowdy could be when I was young, so there was no time for music. But I was introduced to David Bowie and T. Rex and Sex Pistols, and that was when I started to listen actively. It felt like music said “Yes” to me.

T: Where from did you get this present disposition of yours? These exceptionally gentlemanly aspects and the like.

I: Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

T: Maybe family lineage.  Were your ancestors perchance samurai?

I: Yes, I do have samurai ancestry.

T: They must’ve been rowdy yet classy people as well (lol). I was born in Fuji-shi, and he, in Numazu. We’re both from Shizuoka.

I: When I was a teenager, I was so rowdy that I wasn’t allowed to stay in that city (lol).

―― Well then, I wish you all the best in your future endeavours (lol).

 

 

 

KA.F.KA will be performing! 
WORLD HAPPINESS 2015 
23 August 2015 (Sun)
Doors open 11:00 / Show starts 12:30 (Performance scheduled to end 20:00)
Yumenoshima Athletic Stadium, Tokyo
info: http://www.world-happiness.com/

  _______________________

《Fantome † Noir》
KA.F.KA

MBRC-9901 
Mazzy Bunny Records 
2000 yen (excl. tax)

  1. Jack The Midnight 
  2. The Prisoner 
  3. 夜明け前 ~Before the Dawn~ [Yoake Mae ~Before the Dawn~]
  4. Labiera Beladen 
  5. Silent Party 
  6. Coyote

 

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ Luna Sea’s vocalist.

² Kaneko Mari is a singer whose career began in the 1970s and took off with Smoky Medicine, the band she formed with Char. Her two sons are KenKen and Kaneko Nobuaki of RIZE.

³ Ueno Kouji was the bassist of THEE MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT. He’s currently in the band the HIATUS.

⁴ 暗闇の怪人 (kurayami no kaijin) is the actual phrase used, rather different from the direct translation of Fantome Noir, i.e. black ghost. The reason why I went with “phantom” for 怪人 is actually because Phantom of the Opera in Japanese also uses 怪人 in its title (オペラ座の怪人 / Opera-za no Kaijin).

⁵ This might not be the most accurate translation of “それを生業とする” but I think it most closely conveys what Tsuchiya is talking about here. A more literal translation of this phrase is, “This is what I do for a living.”

⁶ I think that’s the quote he’s referring to. If it’s wrong, please let me know.
The line in Japanese reads: 死は確かに救いだ。ただ君が考えているそれとは違う。

⁷ 銀河鉄道の夜 (Ginga Tetsudō no Yoru), sometimes translated as Milky Way Railroad, Night Train to the Stars or Fantasy Railroad in the Stars, is a classic Japanese fantasy novel by Miyazawa Kenji written around 1927.

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Pics: Yoshiyuki

 

SNIPER IN ‘88

Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll
March 1988

Photos by Sashi Motoko (佐志素子)
Text by Editorial department

 

The first time I came into contact with their concerts was in a live house in Shinjuku. On behalf of rock magazines, I’ve been to a few live houses but watching children being absorbed in their “kids’ meal” level of inferiority left me, in all honesty, sick of it.

On this night, the venue was packed with girls dressed up in black outfits. And for some reason, the live house was filled with an overwhelmingly charged atmosphere. On this night, DER ZIBET put on a show so manic and savage that it was more than plenty; that shook me to my core. In terms of the show itself, I did get a sense of inexperience from the structural problems and issues with the live house but in an instant, I understood what they were trying to do, and I found myself believing in them. These guys were serious, although they were also testy with impatience. 

“YOU MEET THE ROCK PARTY” is a project where we introduce rock bands we’ve selected to the readers of Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll. And kicking things off as our first band, we have DER ZIBET. We wanted to share with as many people as possible the joy and the fever that everyone gets to experience at their concerts that exemplify the “wild and danceable”. This interview with them was held after their two hall shows at Osaka’s Banana Hall and Nagoya’s HeartLand.

 

 

―― First, let’s hear about what you think of “YOU MEET THE ROCK PARTY”.

Hikaru (H): It was fun. This is just the first event but I think this is something that [people] can look forward to in future too. But I got the feeling that our reputation hasn’t quite built up yet. First-timers at our show were also starting to enjoy themselves in the second half, weren’t they? 

Issei (I): To perform an actual concert of what’s so far been spreading in print and then having the magazine make us known all over the country, it’s [a] groundbreaking [project], isn’t it? It always feels like this when DER ZIBET performs at a place we’ve never been to before. Although we’ve performed at this venue many times before, there were probably a lot of people who were seeing us for the first time, right? I was glad to see them gradually start dancing despite the case. Because things never turn out the way we expect it to.

HAL (HA): The audience weren’t our fans but a recon team, or something… They’re like people who’re here to see what kind of band we are.

Mayumi (M): It’s an honour to be the first (lol). I think this magazine has been satisfying the hearts of the audience these days (lol), so yeah, maybe it’s a good thing to bring on a little more party atmosphere.

―― Hey, wasn’t there a video? (Before the show started, a film was being screened by 4 projectors onto walls and such. Captured in it were things that each band member liked) Tell us about what you picked for that and why.

I: So, for me, my house is full of junk, y’know. I just can’t get myself to throw all these things and they pile up so much that I don’t even have space to sleep. [The things I picked for the video are] the things I see most often within that pile. A broken alarm clock. A music box. A book. A Lindsay Kemp¹ photobook. Things like that.

H: I focused on what’s in my bag. Like my driving license, my wallet, an ero-guro picture from the early Showa period.

HA: Boots, hat, beard, a Chinese doll from China atop my bass guitar. The cover of a Mingus² album. At the very end, my eye appears…… This is meant to represent an “eyeball”.

M: Ingenious (lol). As to what I chose, you know how in university there’s a library and a research lab, right? I borrowed a whole variety of books for the purpose of research and just like that, I dropped out (lol). So, those are fancy books that can never be bought with pocket change. Books about music, the arts, theatre, and so on. I picked a few out of them [for the video]. Aside from those, there’s also a Dalí³ brochure a fan gave me and things like that.

―― All your strange hobbies are being shown (lol). Right, so you’re releasing your LP soon but will your live concerts change after it’s out?

H: Yeah. Now that we’ve got this far, it feels like we can go anywhere. We’re not leaving anything behind, and besides, from this album on, we’ve included elements that make people feel and want to listen to our music in a way that’s different than before. Our live shows will probably end up with a mixed [format]…… Not only will it have a strong groove, but the flow on the whole also won’t change too, something like that.

I: I think the scale [of our shows] will grow bigger. Until now, our shows have been structured to make people go to their limits. You could say that our shows are like an hour’s sprint at full speed…… But this time, I think we’ll have a kind of tempo.

H: You know, in the past, we split [our shows] into two portions, and for the first, the audience can’t stand. We’d insist that they sit. …… Then suddenly we’d come out with oil lamps in our hands (rofl).

M: Sounds stupid, doesn’t it?

HA: We even had a street lamp erected on stage.

M: Wasn’t that around the same period? Next to the street lamp was the oil lamp, right? We did that a lot. But it wasn’t a bad thing. It’s just that, I guess it was embarrassing or something (lol).

―― Did you do that too after your debut?

I: We did at Kudan Kaikan, didn’t we? The [audience’s] reaction, wasn’t all that great (lol).

M: We did so many different things that I get exhausted thinking about it. I guess it’s sad, because we can’t get to the next level if we don’t do all this.

I: We were seriously theatrical. Yes, so theatrical that it’s nauseating. Maybe that’s the kind of nuance that comes through.

M: I think we can do it if we look at it as a form of entertainment. We’ve matured a little more now too……

HA: I want to make something like the progressive music that’s come after new wave.

―― That’ll leave an impression. In a past interview, you’ve said that what you want to do is more like a “tear [your shirt] buttons off” rather than a “undo [your shirt] buttons”.

HA: I guess in comparison, this time, we’re asking people to go off the beaten track, something like that.

 

I: Won’t putting it into words narrow [the possibilities] down? But well, yes, it’s like a state of nothingness. Or a state where there’s nothing but yourself. There are many ways to get there, and rock happens to have the essential element of aggression. Steadily stripping things down…… I guess you could say that even we are facing our true selves when we perform…… It’d be wonderful if we could turn our shows into spaces where everyone listening could do the same, don’t you think?
A while ago, I went to look at paintings…… You know, while I was viewing the art, I felt something that brought me to the verge of tears for the first time. That, in the end, is seeing the artist who drew it, right? And I could also see myself looking at it. It’s the most basic thing of all. Being able to see yourself as a human being.

―― Stripped down to the bare essentials, right?

I: The trouble with performing live is when people start to think, you know. I feel that it’s not about the words saying this or that. Rather, it should be [a sense of] “Ah, I get this.” If each and every person would feel like that, wouldn’t that be great?

―― So it’s not about persuading them.

I: When you listen to rock, [the most important thing is] that sensation of the very first thing you felt, right? That feeling of being forced to strip naked. The way it’s so unexpected. Making you wonder how it got you like this. That’s the one powerful thing rock music has. Rather than persuading you, it strips you naked and leaves you outside. That’s why, it makes you feel what you want to do instead of making you think about it.

―― You know, these days, pop songs that have always been so popular are now on the decline. Recently, I read the data that an advertising agency released and there’s one part in it that said we’re moving from the era of expressing “something similar to the heart” to expressing “the heart itself”. It has to be real if it’s going to work. How composed are you? How serious are you? There’s a stereotype, and people are no longer looking at the sweet. That’s the kind of era it’s going to be. Isn’t it amazing? Well, you could of course say it’s no surprise. That’s just the conclusion this advertising agency came to after studying the trends.

M: We want to become the leaders in that sense, though. For the kids 40 years in the future to be good people and follow the rules and keep their acts together…… Spiritually speaking, everyone ends up the same in the end, right? But the truth is that every single person is different. Although no two people are alike, we’re all really one human race. So to what extent can we express ourselves?   Socially speaking, it’s not accepted much, is it? But with music, we’re free. I think more and more people are starting to feel that way. [With music,] we can show ourselves off in a civil manner, not physically or violently. This way, it’s peaceful, we’re making music, right? For us, we were born in the mid-1950s, so I think we’re the first generation to realise what the younger generation thinks these days. Those older than us don’t really matter. Because they can do whatever they like and they’ll die first. It’s the younger generation.

I: They somehow believe things too carelessly, don’t they?

HA: But, you know, haven’t we always been cynical ever since we were kids? Then we’d brush it all off as a joke…… Come to think of it, that makes it difficult to tell what’s actually real.

I: You can’t really tell who’s friend or foe.

H: Because words like “That’s rank” and “Tragic” and all that were always on our lips. If something’s really moving to you, you’d say it’s rank⁴. Now we’re past that, right? We don’t use these words so lightly now. It’s exaggerated, right?

M: I guess it’s like the old days.

I: We just hope that the era where people are convinced they’re safe would end. From the perspective that everyone should take things seriously, you know?

H: But that we think that we can do that through music and lyrics. We want to think about it, but we don’t want to put it out there directly.

M: Because doing that is authoritarian⁵, right……

I: Ultimately, just one field is enough……⁶

―― Have you decided on the title of your LP?

I: DER ZIBET.

―― That’s straightforward. Why?

I: To say that this is “DER ZIBET”.

H: We could’ve come up with a one-word title or something, but we feel that there are still many people who don’t know us so…… We figured that this would be the most straightforward way to get that across.

M: This is our company (lol).

HA: With a capital C.

―― What does DER ZIBET mean though?

H: What it means is, well, the word “ZIBET” is what the civet cat is called in both English⁷ and German, but the “DER” that comes before it is a definite article in German that has been altered to an English reading. Germans wouldn’t know this word (lol).

―― So what about the single you’re releasing on 21 March?

I: It’s Only “You”, Only “Love”.

―― Why did you choose to make this the first cut?

I: Because it’s got good energy (lol). We really hope people will listen to it.

 

 

DER ZIBET is a band that has now just started to have a voice. Because they have finally broken out of their societal situation; of being too manic an artist. And also, because their self-titled album DER ZIBET will also be released on 21 March. The experimental approach that they have taken so far will probably continue in future too. But this attitude of ensuring satisfaction before moving on is, I believe, also one of the purest forms of rock ‘n’ roll history. I hope they will keep rocking forever with this purity. And also, that their live shows and albums will knock us clean out.

 

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ Lindsay Keith Kemp was a British dancer, actor, teacher, mime artist, and choreographer. He was probably best known for his 1974 flagship production of Flowers, a mime and music show based on Jean Genet’s novel Our Lady of the Flowers, in which he played the lead role of ‘Divine’. Owing to its homosexual themes and perceived decadence, reviews were sometimes hostile, but it was widely considered a theatrical and sensory sensation, and it toured globally for many years. He was also a mentor to David Bowie and Kate Bush.

² As in Charles Mingus, an American jazz double bassist, pianist, composer, and bandleader. A major proponent of collective improvisation, he is considered to be one of the greatest jazz musicians and composers in history, with a career spanning three decades and collaborations with other jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Herbie Hancock.

³ Salvador Dalí.

⁴ The original word here is クサイ (kusai) which is normally a descriptor for something that smells, or just to say that something stinks. But in this context, they’re obviously referring to some old slang interpretation of クサイ which no longer exists. I can’t think of any similar sort of slang/trend phrase in English, so I picked the rather questionable option of “rank”.

⁵ The word Mayumi used was “fascism (ファシズム)”. I didn’t use that direct translation because the implied meaning of it has probably evolved over the years to possess different connotations than it probably did back in the late 80s.

⁶ I don’t really know what he’s referring to but here’s the original text for your consideration:
あくまで、ひとつのフィー ルドでいいと……

⁷ Since this is an English translation, we know that’s not true lol. I believe he’s definitely talking about the word “Civet” but is just a little mixed up with the pronunciation of it.

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: morgianasama on LJ

X cross talking

J-rock Magazine
July 1996

Interviewed by Hiroshi Ishida
Photographer Akihito Takagi

 

Once the music is released, it’s not a personal possession any more

In March, the more than a decade long career of DER ZIBET was packed into a best-of album Ari which they released alongside their 12th full album Kirigirisu. They were supposed to go on their promotional tour for these two albums, Ari to Kirigirisu¹ but the tour was unfortunately put on hold when a band member suddenly took ill. You can imagine the shock of the fans who have been looking forward to their first tour in almost a year, but the band probably feels the same way too. How does ISSAY, for whom live performances are like an anxiolytic, feel about this? Let’s hear it from the man himself in his own words.

 

 

Be it pantomime or music
You can’t do either without the soul of a poet

―― How’s the general reaction to Ari and Kirigirisu?

ISSAY (I): … I don’t know.

―― Don’t the music reviews in magazines interest you?

I: It’s not as if I don’t care for them at all though. I do think it’s good to just read and see what that person feels about it. In the end I just feel distant from that kind of thing.

―― Because these reviews are subjective.

I: Besides, if they weren’t, the writer’s existence is moot. Even if it makes me think, “That’s not quite right though,” once the music is released, it’s not my personal possession any more. That’s why I just take [these reviews] as a matter of “Ah, so this person feels this way.” But if it sounds like “This guy isn’t listening,” it makes me want to beat them to death (lol). Like, “How dare you write something like this when you weren’t even listening enough,” or something (lol).

―― When I was listening to your latest album Kirigirisu and your best-of album Ari, I was really intrigued by ISSAY-san as an expressionist though. Like, with your lyrics, it feels as if a particular part of you is being brought out.

 

I: I suppose, first and foremost, it’s the sense of loneliness that’s always there, right? The sense of loneliness, alienation; those are the kinds of things that I want to bring out in a positive light. Because we humans are alone when we’re born and we’d be on our own ever since. I always want to put that positively. That, and the “swaying”, I guess. There are periods when our emotions get swayed, right? There are loads of these instances like In our adolescence, or when we fall in love, and I think it’d be great if I can bring that across.

―― Guitarist HIKARU-san said that, ‘ISSAY is picky with words but he’s pretty flexible when it comes to lyrics.’ But what does ISSAY-san think about this?

I: Right, I suppose that might especially be so in recent years. Because it’s a problem if you end up with the wrong impression of a particular word when writing lyrics. Even if someone suggests to me that it’s better to change a certain word, I’d say something like, “I don’t think it can be replaced.” To me, if I see the word “孤独 (kodoku / solitude)”, it’s neither negative nor positive. Because I see it as nothing more than a state of being. But if you change that to the word “寂しい (sabishii / lonely)”, it turns into something else entirely, so I’m very particular when it comes to things like that. But not when it comes to the order in which the words come. I’m not too bothered by the minor details as long as the song makes proper sense in the big picture.

―― As Der Zibet’s vocalist? Do you see it like this precisely because you’re one of four members of a band who each have strong personalities?

I: I don’t think that I’m just one quarter of the band. Besides, I think the one singing is the greatest of them all (lol). And once I start writing lyrics, it’s already out of my hands. How I’m going to sing it on stage next time is up to the future me who will be performing it so it’s about expressing how I feel about that particular piece of work, y’know?

―― Even though it’s something that originally came from inside of you?

I: But you see, it’s turned into something that is no longer the same thing as what was initially conceived, so if I were to keep holding on to the energy that I had in the beginning, [the song] would become too subjective and that’s not good. In the end, I’d be taking on a different stance when I perform. That’s something that I’ve been doing in recent years, especially since I released my solo album.

―― So, what’s Hamlet Machine, this other unit that you’re doing away from Der Zibet with Mizunaga-san?

I: Mm… Spite, I suppose (lol). I guess it’s unfettered spite and aggression. I’d say it’s something that is even more aggressive and abrasive than Der Zibet. An abrasive solitude, spitefulness; that’s the kind of thing we’re doing.

―― Der Zibet is a flesh and blood band but Hamlet Machine uses programming which gets me thinking that your method of expression would also change, so when you say that it gets aggressive, is that because of the background music being programming after all?

I: If we’re using programming, the background music will still be perfect even if we’re doing something crazy. That’s why I can always let loose with a piece of mind (lol). Because in the case of Hamlet Machine, at the music composition stage, we’re already assuming that the music will be played by a machine, you know?

―― Since ISSAY-san also does pantomime, do you think that you’re performing with a different side of yourself when you’re doing that as compared to music?

I: No, I think of it as the same. In the end, you can’t do pantomime if you don’t sing, you know? Because I think of it as a song without sound or a voice, so, be it pantomime or music, you can’t do either without the soul of a poet, y’know? That’s why, although the parts of me used in performance are different, in the end, I’m doing the same thing. But the pantomimes that I do are only those where I perform with my master, so since they’re not created by me, it’s probably more enjoyable (lol).

―― Come to think of it, what made you start pantomime?

I: I just happened to bump into my present master (Mochizuki Akira / 望月章) (lol). He suddenly asked me, “Won’t you perform in my next show?”, and I said, “I’ve never done it before so, I won’t,” but he said, “I’ll only let you do things within your ability,” so I said, “If that’s the case, then I guess I’ll give it a go.” More than 10 years have passed since…

―― You got hooked (lol). Is it because you were influenced by your master’s performances after all?

I: No, I was already performing before I saw his work. It’s because I liked that person.

―― Were you drawn by his character?

I: Saying it’s his character is weird but, yeah, I suppose it’s his character in a way.

―― I’d assume your master is one of them too, but aren’t there quite a number of artists who influenced you, ISSAY-san?

I: There are lots. I think that [the music] I’ve listened to all this while has definitely all influenced me. Besides, there are quite a number of musicians who inspired me to start listening to rock music. Like there’s David Bowie and Lou Reed and The Doors who [influenced me] in that sense of it, but I only decided to make music after I listened to T. Rex. I ended up with a huge misconception when I heard T. Rex… I thought, “If [this is rock], then even I can do it, right?” (lol). I think that was a serious misconception, but that’s what made me start music, you know (lol).

―― (Lol) But you’re here today because you thought that way.

I: Exactly, yes. Cocky, isn’t it? (Lol). I got this far in life by being cocky. Through misconceptions and cockiness.

Because making music, writing lyrics,
these are things I have no choice but to do

―― What made you decide to start writing lyrics?

I: It’s because I originally liked reading. I used to read Mishima Yukio and all that. So, one day, I found Tanikawa Shuntaro-san’s poetry collection in a second-hand bookstore, and that got me thinking maybe I should write lyrics..

―― Again, why?

I: I wonder… It made me want to try.

―― Not because you thought, “Even I can do it.” (Lol)

I: I think the idea that “Even I can do it” probably did cross my mind (lol). Since my life is just one of hubris (lol). Lyrics written with such simple vocabulary were fresh, weren’t they?

―― Even now, do you still remember the lyrics you wrote when you just started out?

I: (Lol) Because I have them. At home.

―― You still have some left?

I: I keep them. You know, I made small changes to the lyrics I wrote when I was in high school and turned it into our debut song Matsu Uta (lol).

―― Such lyrics you’ve written back in your high school days probably seem fresh when you read them today.

I: They do. They’re amateurish but I didn’t write them particularly because I absolutely had to come up with something, so it was really interesting because my emotions were in dire straits.

―― You didn’t have deadlines either back then, right?

I: Nope, none at all. And I never even had the mind to sing or anything like that back then, so it really was just me and my need to write, you know? Now, it’s me and my need to stand on stage, but at the time, I had to write lyrics no matter what. So much so that I found myself at the precipice of my… How do I say this, [these lyrics are] unpolished because they were written based on the unstable parts of my psyche, but they’re about things that we all understand very well, right?

―― I’m sure you felt a sense of release after you vented that out.

I: Probably, right? Then again, that much is still the same even now though (lol).

―― I heard that ISSAY-san had your own solo activities prior to the formation of Der Zibet, so what did it sound like?

I: I guess it was something that feels like a mix of punk and glam and electric pop.

―― So how did you go from that to deciding to form Der Zibet?

I: I was a one-man act so the members (of my backing band) weren’t fixed. It’d be a different lineup every month too. So I got sick of such an uncertain set up and was thinking about forming a band and giving that a go when I got acquainted with my present band members, and I thought, “Ah, this is it.” The moment I met this group, I decided that I’d formally form a band with them and make music with them.

―― And just like that, you’ve been together for 10 years. It’s amazing.

I: Yeah, in the end… I suppose it just goes to show how appealing this band is, right?

―― Come to think of it, ISSAY-san once acted in a movie too, right?

I: (Lol) I did.

―― So, why didn’t you continue down that path but chose to pursue music instead?

I: Rather, it’s because I had no choice but to do it. For me, making music, writing lyrics, these are things I have no choice but to do, you know? This isn’t a case of, “I’ll make it if I’m capable of it.” Even if I’m not, “I have no choice but to do it”, that’s how I felt, so… It’s still the same even now. Like, when I act in a movie, I’m not doing it because “I have no choice but to do it”. Back then, I only did it because of the people I met and because I thought it seemed like it would be fun. It was indeed fun in reality though.

―― From the perspective of such an expressionist like yourself, are there any recent artists of note to ISSAY-san?

I: There a~ren’t, are there, at all (lol). Even Western music hasn’t been interesting these recent few years. There’s good music, but I guess I just can’t get into it. … But I really like allnude’s present album² a lot though.

―― (Lol) I feel like I understand that.

I: Until I listened to that album, there were no artists that I liked recently at all, and there weren’t any artists who could get me emotionally invested like in the past, so I started to wonder whether it’s me who changed. If that were true, it’d be sad, but you know, when I heard allnude’s present album, I thought, “So I’m not wrong after all.” (Lol) I realised it’s just that there wasn’t anything like this until now.

―― When I listened to that album of allnude’s, I thought, “Ah, it’s Der Zibet.”

I: (Lol) We sound completely different, but we have things in common, don’t we?

――Somehow, there are similarities between Mizunaga-san’s lyrical universe and ISSAY-san’s.

I: That’s because we’re twins, me and that guy (lol).

―― (Lol) Then what about your little brother Sakurai Atsushi-san?

I: (Lol) I think he’s definitely putting out great work with his band BUCK-TICK. Because I also really like that last album³ that I participated in.

―― BUCK-TICK’s another band with a strong personality, aren’t they?

I: It’s nice to see them do things the way they want like that, isn’t it? When I went on a radio show recently, they played BUCK-TICK’s upcoming single and that was interesting too. It was a very good song. No, it really was good. Noisy (lol). The melody was pop, though, right?

 

Without concerts to hold
it feels like I’m going to lose it

―― It couldn’t be helped that your bassist HAL-san suddenly took ill, but it truly was unfortunate that your tour had to be put on hold considering that your show at Osaka was going to be the first in about a year…

I: I believe the band feels that more than anyone else. Including HAL. Because, you see, we’re useless human beings, right? (Lol) We have to get on a stage or we’re useless. That’s why [situations like] these are very frustrating. The number of shows Der Zibet had in these few years are too few so we want to play more but (lol).

―― (Lol) How is HAL-san?

I: He’s slowly getting better.

―― So I guess your tour will be confirmed as soon as he recovers.

I: That’s right. We feel that he shouldn’t force himself and that we should wait until he’s in good shape though. But looking at how he’s doing now, I think [the tour] probably isn’t going to be something that far off in the future. So we’re getting ready to charge when it happens (lol). And when it does, we’ll be having a ton of concerts. Without shows to play, it feels like I’m going to lose it. I really can’t take it (lol).

―― So once your next show is confirmed, the energy will be…

I: Through the roof (lol).

―― Considering how much you love being on stage, do you still remember the first time you went up there?

I: I was a real mess, y’know. I was so nervous. Because I did it despite being a person who’s always been bad at putting myself out there in front of a crowd (lol). I downed a pocket bottle of whiskey before going on stage. I was plastered drunk on stage, y’know. The first few years I had to drink because I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t go out (lol).

―― So why do you go on stage despite that?

I: Because I had no choice but to go on stage. If I don’t [do this], I’d get thrown off balance on the inside. If a person’s balance is thrown off, their mania⁴ would go out of hand and all that. So in the end, I have no choice but to do it, right? Even now, right before I go up on stage, I have the desire to go home (lol).

―― (Lol) No one would ever get that idea when they see you perform though.

I: It changes the moment I step out, y’know. Until then, I can’t do it. As long as I can get out there, I’ll be fine though…

―― The expression on ISSAY-san’s face when you’re singing live looks really happy.

I: I am happy, that’s for sure. Up on stage is where I’m most comfortable. I guess [on stage,] I can be anyone; I can feel very free. 

―― That’s the kind of place a live show is, right? Not only the ones on stage, but even the audience can escape reality…

I: Rather than calling it an escape, I think it’s more that [this particular space] is made up of only the innermost part of you. For example, there are lots of times when you can’t directly express that, “This is it!” even though that’s what you really think, right? And [live shows are] spaces where those barriers don’t exist at all. Since whatever you find in that space is really your innermost core self and that’s really what constitutes a live show, I think it’s truly a place of freedom

―― We touched on this earlier too, but HIKARU-san and HAL-san both have active solo careers. So, on that, does ISSAY-san have any plans for a 2nd solo album or anything like that?

I: I’m not particularly interested in making another solo album. Even with my last solo project, I didn’t release an album because I just wanted to release one, you know? It just happened because I wanted to do a cover album, I did it, and it turned into a solo project. And that’s nothing I couldn’t have done in Der Zibet, right? It’s more or less just me doing what I want to do. Maybe [I might start another solo project] if I find something that I can’t do with Der Zibet like how that cover album turned out, but unless that happens, I don’t have even the slightest intention of going solo.

―― Since that’s the case, what do you think about HIKARU-san’s PUGS⁵ and all the other solo activities of your bandmates?

I: That’s not really HIKARU’s solo band work, right, just him joining in. “He’s doing interesting stuff,” is what I think but… (lol). I think he understands that too, but I suppose he might be doing it with the idea that it’s his solo work though.

―― With all your bandmates all dabbling in their own activities outside of Der Zibet, does that reflect in your album and  your music?

I: I think it does, y’know. Because with this present album, HAL, for some reason, said, “I want to bring out the good elements of ISSAY’s solo album [in this album].” I suppose when each of us head out, or leave home, you know, we see the goodness of home (lol). Because you’d get an outsider’s perspective and you’ll be able to see things with fresh eyes. Furthermore, we get stimulated differently when we work with other people, so that can also be brought back into the band, right?

―― It appears that the reason why the lyric work came first for Kirigirisu is also a result of HIKARU being influenced by his participation in Sasano Michiru⁶ recording work.

I: Because he is always picking up and bringing back those kinds of new things and techniques. I think I do that too, of course. Also, I think that’s the source of Der Zibet’s power to keep changing though.

―― Maybe [he] does things with the mind that, “This might be interesting to do with Der Zibet.”

I: Maybe the thought that, “This method might suit ISSAY,” passes his mind, right?

―― For an album packed with all those things, it requires quite some time between the end of your recording sessions to the release date, right? During that period, do you start thinking things like, “It might be good if we did that for this particular part.”?

I: No, no. The sample CD will be done some weeks before we release it, right? Until then, I can’t look at it objectively. Because I’d become objective for the first time only after that sample is done and I listen to it.

―― Until then, you’ll be immersed in the accomplishment of completing an album.

I: Because I’m still in the midst of that album, y’know? But when the disk is done and I listen to it objectively, I’d think, “Well, isn’t this cool,” (lol) and when the album tour is over, that’s when I can truly be objective. I guess it’s because I can’t flesh it out unless I perform it on stage after all.

―― The tour’s been halted, but are there any songs from this album that you’re dying to perform?

I: I want to do them all (lol). Although we did do Garasu-goshi no Sekai (ガラス越しの世界 / The World Through A Glass) in that gig we did last year end. I think songs like Gokuraku Ressha (極楽列車 / Paradise Train) and Dr. Real Love will probably be lots of fun.

―― For,  I’m hoping to hear Kirigirisu wo Koroshita no wa Dare? (キリギリスを殺したのは誰? / Who Killed The Grasshopper?) live though.

I: I actually think it’ll turn out to be something amazing (lol).

―― Especially that part in the chorus, when the noisy guitar whines and groans right after ISSAY-sings.

I: Y’know, when it gets too noisy, I can’t sing, right (lol). It was difficult when we were recording too. I’m like, “Scary. This guitar feedback, tone it down~~. I can’t sing~~.” (Lol)

―― Will it be okay live (lol).

I: We’ll make it work somehow. Because we’re professionals (lol).

―― You’re getting more and more excited for the tour.

I: It’s not that far off, so do look forward to it.

 

 

 

 

Notes:

¹ In reference to Aesop’s fable

² Taking the date of this interview into account, the album in question is allnude’s Children Of The Evolution. Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAimKiv6WCQ

³ That will be Six/Nine. ISSAY provides vocals for 愛しのロック・スター (Itoshi no Rock Star).

⁴ The word I translated as “mania” is 躁鬱 (sou-utsu), which is a word specifically used to refer to bipolar disorder or manic depression.

⁵ PUGS was formed in 1994 with HONEY★K, Hoppy Kamiyama, Okano Hajime, Steve Eto. Other musicians would join in to play with them typically as a band of six. There’s a short English article about the time they played as a second stage act on the Lollapalooza 1997 festival tour. https://wc.arizona.edu/papers/90/166/11_2_m.html

⁶ Michiru Sasano, is a Japanese pop singer and songwriter who debuted in 1988 with Japanese pop band Tokyo Shōnen where she was the band’s songwriter and vocalist. After the band broke up in 1993, she became a solo artist

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: Morgianasama on LiveJournal

 

 

2nd FOREVER MY WORSHIP
The search for a musician’s everlasting idol!

Fool’s Mate
February 1992

Text=ISSAY
Photos=Saori Tsuji

 

Following the well-received first of this series, today, we have Der Zibet’s ISSAY penning his thoughts about Jim Morrison, the vocalist of The Doors who dominated the late 60s and early 70s with their intense stage presence and visionary sound.

 

 

JIM MORRISON
(The Doors)

One night, when I was still in high school, a strange melody from an organ that I heard on the radio echoed in my ears. After the intro, my nerves were wrung by a voice that sounded wide awake on the surface and, at the same time, as if it was smouldering underwater.

That moment did me in.

Come on, baby, light my fire / Come on, baby, light my fire / Try to set the night on fire 

(Light My Fire)

This was my first encounter with The Doors.

 

As I recall at the time, their song The End was also the theme song of the movie Apocalypse Now, so it was a period when [my interest in] The Doors got rekindled for the umpteenth time. At the same time, I believe their songs were being played on the radio too.

Anyway, a few days later, I ran to the record store and bought the one and only copy of a compilation album, The Doors’ Greatest Hits.

This album which starts with the song Hello, I Love You, which Der Zibet also covered before, was perfectly made for newbies. At first glance, it looks like a pop album, but their characteristic acrimony was more than enough to intoxicate a tender high schooler. Having fallen for a deep dark world where a raspy voice like that of a teenager whose voice just broke floats in the repetitive flair of the keyboard, I decided that I would collect their original albums, but for all it was worth, I lived in a rural town by the sea where even the record stores didn’t bring in The Doors or anything like them. In the end, I could only keep borrowing whatever I could from friends and seniors at school. It feels like it was only quite recently that I really managed to collect their albums.

 

Now, here’s a simple list of their discography for those who aren’t too familiar with The Doors.

 

January 1967  “THE DOORS”
October 1967  “STRANGE DAYS”
July 1968  “WAITING FOR THE SUN”
July 1969  “SOFT PARADE”
February 1970  “MORRISON HOTEL”
July 1970  “ABSOLUTELY LIVE”
April 1971  “L.A. WOMAN”

Looking at it now, written like this, it really hit me that this was all in the span of a mere 5 years. They’re a band who within the mere 5 years of the late 60s, made 7 albums and came to an end right after the sudden death of their vocalist Jim Morrison. They’ve actually released a few other albums after that, but I do not acknowledge The Doors without Jim Morrison. Because to me, Jim Morrison is The Doors.

The man who claims that the spirit of a Native Indian who died in a car accident he witnessed as a child jumped into his soul. The man who got so drunk and drugged that he stood on the road and suddenly screamed, “I am the lizard king! I can do anything!” The man who sang, “Father, I want to kill you. Mother, I want to fuck you!” and got fired from a live music club. The man who emptied fire extinguishers inside a studio because he thought a fire might start if things got too heated among the band during recording. So on and so forth. Now, stories about Jim Morrison have even spawned numerous books in Japan, and even a movie. In a way, he’s one of the legendary rock musicians.

The Jim Morrison you’d see in concert on video is one whose eyes are wide open, clinging to the mic stand as he talks along with the music, as if singing (This is the aptest way to describe that man’s song). Then, in an instant, he twists and turns with a desperate shout, tensing up as he brings that tension to a peak.

In one interview, drummer John Densmore said, “On stage we (the members of The Doors) could get into a rhythm with Jim and let him do what he wanted, but we couldn’t get into a rhythm with his personal life.” But I suppose that’s the kind of person he had always been, Jim Morrison.

Standing between dream and reality, between real life and fantasy. While he had been traversing back and forth between the two, he had been sinking deeper into the depths of himself.  That is why he could sing such amazing songs. That is why his shouts were always directed inwards.

In the mid to late 60s. When the world was experiencing the height of the hippie movement. It was a time when anyone and everyone was dreaming of going to San Francisco. In the midst of it all, in Los Angeles, The Doors’ existence was like an overpowering shadow to the sun-kissed hippies (flower children).

At a time when everyone believed in being thoughtless and carefree and lauded doing things hand in hand as if they were under a spell, The Doors peered at their (own) inner selves.

Break on through to the other side / Break on through to the other side, yeah

 (Break On Through)

This is the powerful refrain of the very first song of their 1st album. Everything that The Doors are began here, and in the end, it feels as if it ended here too.

The image I harbour of The Doors is that of an eternal summer. The sounds and smells of flora and fauna in the early morning filled with the inexplicable exhilaration of youth and, the fleeting moment of eternity pierced by blinding white light.

And in a little less than 5 years, The Doors had gone on into that eternity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation: Yoshiyuki
Scans: Morgianasama on LiveJournal

 

 

1988.03.21 | SIXTY RECORDS
DER ZIBET

Lyrics By ISSAY

Music By DER ZIBET

Japanese

 

冷えた部屋の入口でカギをさすのがこわくて
おまえの声は雑踏にふみつぶされて消えてゆく
乾いた胸を冷たいワインでしめらせて
明日の事でも考えておまえは家に帰るのか
おまえのからっぽのまなざしが宝物に見える
明日の事などどうでもいい

Yo Yo Yo いつの間にか臆病になって
Yo Yo Yo 大事な物まで捨てちまう
Yo Yo Yo ホントのおまえが好きなんだ
Yo Yo Yo 「おやすみ」なんて言わせない

選ぶものも多いし失うものも多すぎる
おまえの恋はウィンドウ・ショッピング
朝日があたればすべてが消える
人それぞれなんて言いながらみんなと同じ服を着て
さびしさまぎらわす為に言い訳をして電話かける
おまえのハッとした表情が宝物に見える
失う事などなんでもない

Yo Yo Yo しあわせだけが欲しいから
Yo Yo Yo みすみす深みにはまりこむ
Yo Yo Yo ホントのおまえが好きなんだ
Yo Yo Yo 「おやすみ」なんて言わせない

Romaji

By: Andy

Hieta heya no iriguchi de kagi wo sasu no ga kowakute
Omae no koe wa zattou ni fumi tsubusarete kiete yuku
Kawaita mune wo tsumetai wain de shimerasete
Ashita no koto demo kangaete omae wa uchi ni kaeru no ka
Omae no karappo no manazashi ga takaramono ni mieru
Ashita no koto nado dou demo ii

Yo Yo Yo Itsu no ma ni ka okubyou ni natte
Yo Yo Yo Daiji na mono made sutechimau
Yo Yo Yo Honto no omae ga suki nanda
Yo Yo Yo 「Oyasumi」nante iwasenai

Erabu mono mo ooii shi ushinau mono mo oosugiru
Omae no koi wa windou shoppingu
Asahi ga atareba subete ga kieru
Hito sorezore nante ii nagara minna to onaji fuku wo kite
Sabishisa magirawasu tame ni iiwake wo shite denwa kakeru
Omae no hattoshita hyoujou ga takaramono ni mieru
Ushinau koto nado nande mo nai

Yo Yo Yo Shiawase dake ga hoshii kara
Yo Yo Yo Misumisu fukami ni hamari komu
Yo Yo Yo Honto no omae ga suki nanda
Yo Yo Yo 「Oyasumi」nante iwasenai

English

By: Yoshiyuki

So fearful of putting the key into the door of the chilly room
Your voice gets trampled by the throng and fades away
Moistening a parched chest with chilled wine
Thinking about tomorrow, are you going home
Your hollow gaze looks like a treasure
Doesn’t matter whatever happens tomorrow

Yo Yo Yo Before I know it I’ve become a coward
Yo Yo Yo Throwing away even my most precious things
Yo Yo Yo I really really like you
Yo Yo Yo Don’t tell me “goodnight”

There’s a lot to choose and too much too lose
Your love is like window shopping
Once the morning sun hits, everything disappears
Saying ‘to each his own’ while wearing the same clothes as everyone
Giving excuses and making calls to distract from loneliness
Your startled expression looks like a treasure
There’s nothing to lose

Yo Yo Yo Because all I want is happiness
Yo Yo Yo Stuck mired deeply
Yo Yo Yo I really really like you
Yo Yo Yo Don’t tell me “goodnight”

1988.03.21 | SIXTY RECORDS
DER ZIBET

Lyrics By ISSAY

Music By DER ZIBET

Japanese

 

指一本触れられない
そんな予感がした
こわれそうな君
抱きしめる事もできない
並んだままじっとして
向かいあうことさえできない

君と一緒に宇宙を抱いて
眠りこんでしまいたい

Angelic 遠い瞳
Angelic そのままでいい
Angelic 不安はないさ
Angelic 逃げださないでいておくれ

今日までの全て捨てて
君の痛みに触れたい
消え入りそうな君
肉体がじゃまになる
子供の様に見つめるからごまかすこともできない

君と一緒に空気になって
溶けあってしまいたい

Angelic 遠い瞳
Angelic そのままでいい
Angelic 不安はないさ
Angelic 逃げださないでいておくれ

Romaji

By: Andy

Yubi ippon furerarenai
Sonna yokan ga shita
Koware sou na kimi
Dakishimeru koto mo dekinai
Naranda mama jitto shite
Mukai au koto sae dekinai

Kimi to issho ni uchuu wo daite
Nemuri konde shimaitai

Angelic Tooi hitomi
Angelic Sono mama de ii
Angelic Fuan wa nai sa
Angelic Nige dasanai de ite okure

Kyou made no subete sutete
Kimi no itami ni furetai
Kie iri sou na kimi
Karada ga jama ni naru
Kodomo no you ni mitsumeru kara gomakasu koto mo dekinai

Kimi to isshou ni kuuki ni natte
Toke atte shimaitai

Angelic Tooi hitomi
Angelic Sono mama de ii
Angelic Fuan wa nai sa
Angelic Nige dasanai de ite okure

English

By: Yoshiyuki

I can’t put my finger on it
That’s the kind of premonition I got
You’re on the verge on breaking
I can’t even hug you
Standing still in line and staring
Unable to even face each other

I wish I could embrace the cosmos
and fall asleep together with you

Angelic Distant eyes
Angelic Stay where you are
Angelic There’s nothing to worry about
Angelic Don’t keep running away from me

Throw away all that came before today
I want to feel your pain
You’re on the verge on fading out
The physical body is a hinderance
I can’t even fake it with you staring at me like a child

I wish I could blend into the background
and melt together with you

Angelic Distant eyes
Angelic Stay where you are
Angelic There’s nothing to worry about
Angelic Don’t keep running away from me

1988.03.21 | SIXTY RECORDS
DER ZIBET

Lyrics By DER ZIBET

Music By DER ZIBET

Japanese

 

いつも何かを探しここは自分の場所じゃないと
受話器を握りしめ言葉を夜空に投げつけた
探し物のある所まで
おまえの待つ所まで
愛せる者のいる所まで

自由に飛び越え行け
一人ぼっちじゃない
いくつもの夜が浮かんで消えて
Isolation

子供の頃夢見た線路はいつまでも止まらない
色あせた写真と失くした傷だらけのラブ・ソング
昨日の自分と向かい
明日の自分と語り
やっと「おまえ」に出会う
時間の流れを越えて
孤独に向かえ
いくつもの歌が浮んで消えて
Isolation

果てしない道は続く
終わりない旅は続く
探し物のある所まで
おまえの思うまま行け
一人ぼっちじゃない
いくつもの夢が浮んで消えて
Iso!ation

おまえの思うまま行け
一人ぼっちじゃない
いくつもの夜が浮んで消えて
Isolation

Romaji

By: Andy

Itsumo nani ka wo sagashi koko wa jibun no basho janai to
Juwaki wo nigirishime kotoba wo yozora ni nagetsuketa
Sagashi mono no aru tokoro made
Omae no matsu tokoro made
Aiseru mono no iru tokoro made

Jiyuu ni tobi koe yuke
Hitori bocchi janai
Ikutsu mo no yoru ga ukande kiete
Isolation

Kodomo no koro yume mita senro wa itsu made mo tomaranai
Iro aseta shashin to nakushita kizu darake no rabu songu
Kinou no jibun to mukai
Ashita no jibun to katari
Yatto「omae」ni deau
Jikan no nagare wo koete
Kodoku ni mukae
Ikutsu mo no uta ga ukande kiete
Isolation

Hateshinai michi wa tsudzuku
Owari nai tabi wa tsudzuku
Sagashi mono no aru tokoro made
Omae no omou mama ike
Hitori bocchi janai
Ikutsu mo no yume ga ukande kiete
Iso!ation

Omae no omou mama ike
Hitori bocchi janai
Ikutsu mo no yoru ga ukande kiete
Isolation

English

By: Yoshiyuki

Always searching for something, saying this isn’t where I belong
I throw the words clutching to the receiver away into the night sky
To where what I search for can be found
To where you await me
To where my beloved is

Fly far and free
You are not alone
Numerous nights float away and disappear
Isolation

The railway tracks I saw in my childhood dreams are never ending
A faded photo, a lost and wounded love song
Facing myself from yesterday
Talking to myself from tomorrow
Finally meeting “you”
Crossing the passage of time
Heading towards isolation
Numerous songs float away and disappear
Isolation

The perpetual road continues
The endless journey continues
To where what I search for can be found
Go your own way
You are not alone
Numerous dreams float away and disappear
Iso!ation

Go your own way
You are not alone
Numerous nights float away and disappear
Isolation

1988.03.21 | SIXTY RECORDS
Only “You”, Only “Love”

1988.03.21 | SIXTY RECORDS
DER ZIBET

1993.03.24 | SIXTY RECORDS
Historic Flowers

Lyrics By ISSAY

Music By DER ZIBET

Japanese

 

敵の見えない戦場におかれ
やりきれず叫び出す
標的のない孤独なスナイパー
そいつはおまえだ俺だ
からっぽの胸打ち抜け
目をそらすなよ

安全装置はずして since 1985
引金に指をかけとけ since 1985

ワイングラスの転がる独房
砕かれた記憶と受話器
ふるえる指先アドレス引き裂き
重いドアを蹴り破る
獲物求めて飛び出せ
乾いた街へ

安全装置はずして since 1985
引金に指をかけとけ since 1985

警告の年は終わった
照準合わせろ

安全装置はずして since 1985
引金に指をかけとけ since 1985

Romaji

By: Andy

Teki no mienai senjou ni okare
Yarikirezu sakebi dasu
Hyouteki no nai kodoku na sunaipaa
Soitsu wa omae da ore da
Karappo no mune uchinuke
Me wo sorasu na yo

Anzen souchi hazushite since 1985
Hikigane ni yubi wo kake toke since 1985

Wain gurasu no korogaru dokubou
Kudakareta kioku to juwaki
Furueru yubisaki adoresu hikisaki
Omoi doa wo keri yaburu
Emono motomete tobidase
Kawaita machi e

Anzen souchi hazushite since 1985
Hikigane ni yubi wo kake toke since 1985

Keikoku no toshi wa owatta
Shoujun awasero

Anzen souchi hazushite since 1985
Hikigane ni yubi wo kake toke since 1985

English

By: Yoshiyuki

In a battlefield of invisible enemies
Screaming unbearably
A target-less solitary sniper
That is you, is me
Punch through a hollow chest
Don’t look away

Safety off since 1985
Finger on the trigger since 1985

Isolation cell with a wine glass rolling
Shattered memories and phone receivers
A trembling finger tearing up the address
Kick down the heavy door
Burst out and search for prey
Into the parched city

Safety off since 1985
Finger on the trigger since 1985

A year of warnings has come to an end
Let’s take aim

Safety off since 1985
Finger on the trigger since 1985