Explosive Conversations Paradise
Structure/Text: Michishita Yoshiyuki (道下善之)
Photographer: Horoshi Maruyama
Monthly Explosion Dialogue Paradise Under the Rock’n Roll Sky. Artist lively Talks go on “Like it” or “Not,” Let’s start up with extra-super line-ups for this month! ⁰
“Speaking of subways, I love seeing my face reflected in the glass.” (Lovin)
“Narcissistic bastard! …… But I get what you mean.” (Issay)
Teasing each other even as they agree, this month’s “Explosive Conversations Paradise” has become a mentor-mentee showdown (?). The very thing which led to this was the announcement that ISSAY was going to be a guest on the radio show MIDNIGHT ROCK CITY (airing on Friday, 16 April at 27:00-29:00 on FM NACK5!) which is hosted by LOVIN!
LOVIN (L): DER ZIBET had a bugler in the past, right?
ISSAY (I): Yeah, there was one, yes.
L: Inspired by David Bowie looks too…… I don’t suppose there were any other bands like yours which had a bugler back then, were there?
I: That’s right.
L: That’s what makes it so hard for me to wrap my head around it. Because it also feels like the song lyrics were made up of nothing else but “Baby I want you”.
I: Are you sure it’s allowed? Saying such things (lol).
L: (Lol) No, it’s not like that. …… But, you know, I guess you could say that as someone from the Heavy Metal Kids¹ era, I was surprised to see that.
I: Humm, I see. …… On the other hand, the first time I saw The Yellow Monkey was, that song you did on TV, was it Uta no Tenkiyohou (歌の天気予報)? (Lol) I knew that you debuted from TRIAD² so I watched until the very end, but I think my very first impression was, “They’re not as glam [rock] as everyone says they are.”
L: Mm-hmm. …… But when we actually met, I was relieved because you were like the nice, friendly older brother who’s easy to talk to (lol).
I: Kukkukku, a friendly older brother, huh (lol). I’m a self-conscious person, so I thought, “Ah, he’s probably a guy with a big personality.” About you.
L: Ahh, I guess I can sort of see that in you.
I: By the way, have you heard my new music?
L: I did, I did. The first track in particular made me laugh. …… Because, look, just when I thought that your sound would change with your changing of record companies, a distorted voice sudden goes, “Waa～” (lol). I was just so impressed with how stubborn you are.
I: Ah, well, you know, the older you get, the more hard headed you become, yeah.
L: Uhya～, should you be saying that about yourself? (Lol) …… What do you think about my (album)?
I: Yes, well…… I think it was the first track of your first album? The moment I heard it, I thought, “This person sure is brimming with the spirit of parodying” (lol). …… And that carries over into your second album in some areas too, but if that comical style is being performed by someone who overthinks it, it’d just turn into something unseemly, right? So it got me thinking that you’re someone who gets into it well.
L: Actually, I think we’re very close to the concept of pop. As in, The Yellow Monkey and Der Zibet. …… Or, maybe not.
I: No, I think you’re right. …… There’s definitely some concept of pop that can’t quite be appreciated by the general public (lol).
L: So, you know, I’m even thinking that this image of pop that we have that is just a tiny bit mismatched with this era we’re in might just be something that people can’t appreciate until maybe, 20 years later.
I: 20 years!? …… No way, I’d hate that (lol).
L: But then again, it’s not as if we’re deliberately making music that ignores these times, are we? I guess you could say that’s just something that I’m never quite satisfied with no matter what……
I: But, you know, doesn’t that just make it music that makes people smile? After all, it’s meaningless to make music that’s neither poison or medicine. …… Right?
L: Aren’t there certain songs that are making waves on the charts recently? The ones that imitate rock music. Don’t they make you wonder whether or not that sort of music can really be considered as rock? Since, I guess you’d be considered as a fan of rock music as long as you’re playing in a rock band.
I: You don’t say (lol).
L: They do the whole outfit too, like, aren’t there those who dress up like Marc Bolan³ and straight up imitate him? It’s as if they get a pass just because it’s something Marc Bolan wears…… Then again, I’m the one who’s doing the imitation anyway (lol).
I: What are you doing, digging your own grave (lol). …… But, look, you’ve got your own genre of rock music that you’re familiar with, right? So, I think it’s good enough for you to believe in that and just do it, for sure. Besides, I’ve recently been answering my interviews with, “Der Zibet is turning our backs on the world head on!”
L: Very nice, that expression. I like that (lol).
L: How many years has it been since you left Shizuoka for Tokyo?
I: Hm～…… I guess it’s been about a decade.
L: So, you know, I’ve always felt that the culture shock which Issay-san experienced when you moved to Tokyo really influenced Der Zibet’s lyrics. …… Like, the kind of feeling that you liked your younger self yet hated it? And that’s probably the reason why you sing songs about “adolescence”.
I: Right. …… I also think that they’ve got a “Shizuoka flavour” (lol). Like something that comes from having grown up looking at the sea. …… But, see, don’t you think that Shizuoka locals are big-hearted although we tell harsh or cruel jokes?
L: That makes sense. …… When I was a kid, I did live in Shizuoka for a few years, and I’d often find frog carcasses on places like the paths by the rice fields……
I: Were there? Things like that (lol)?
L: It’s not that they were there because it’s Shizuoka, but they were certainly there (lol). …… I think the lyrics I write come from digesting the vivid memories of “frog carcasses” and “fish floating on the sea” which I saw in my youth.
I: …… You sure are weird, aren’t you (lol).
L: Am I? …… But, you know, after I moved to Tokyo from Shizuoka, my personality didn’t change but my music tastes changed quite a lot.
I: Rea～lly. …… So, you’re saying that when you were in Shizuoka, you listened to American rock because you lived in a seaside town?
L: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
I: I was listening to Gary Numan⁴ when I lived in Shizuoka, though.
L: Ah, that’s nice, very Issay-san (lol).
I: But I was delighted when first I came to Tokyo. There are all sorts of live houses, aren’t there? It felt like I could gorge myself anywhere.
L: That’s true.
I: And another thing I was really impressed by, the subway! That’s one thing I still love to this day.
L: It’s really cool, isn’t it, the subway (lol). I like it too.
I: That sense of isolation is absolutely irresistible, and don’t you just love that feeling you get when you’re going underground?
L: Yeah, exactly. …… Also, for me, I love it when I see my face reflected in the glass.
I: There it is, that narcissistic bastard! …… But I think I can understand that (lol).
L: Again, it’s about existing underground and never going outside (lol).
I: It certainly is underground, the subway (lol).
L: What about JR?
I: I hate it. …… Whenever I take that, it feels as if I’m going on some sort of journey or something.
L: Kukkukku, a journey, huh (lol). …… But you also prefer bars that are situated underground, and you simply love that hole too.
I: Stop saying it like that (lol). …… But, speaking of holes, I have memories of digging holes in the garden and going inside them as a child. …… I’ve also got memories of going into wardrobes…
L: I did that too. It’d be a～ll dark, and I’d often listen to the radio or something. …… And the [radio] show was All Night Nippon or something, though (lol).
I: Gyahahahaha. Yes, yes (lol).
L: Ah, right, so. I think it’s related to that, but I’m a mama’s boy⁵. …… What about Issay-san?
I: I’m also a mama’s boy.
L: Right. …… I like that sort of headspace you’d get with a mother complex. I’m sure you think of your mom, right?
I: I suppose so.
L: I wonder if there are many musicians who have this complex. …… Say, for example, both John Lennon and Lenny Kravitz wrote songs about “mothers”, right? I think that’s a clear sign of being a mama’s boy.
I: If that’s the case, then doesn’t it mean that the preference for small, dark spaces that we were talking about, along with this mother complex are simply signs of us being brilliantly influenced by our music? So, this is the correct way to be a musician.
L: You can say that again (lol).
I: …… Do you go out a lot?
L: Nu-uh, not really.
I: I see. Well, me neither, actually.
L: But didn’t you say, “I recently went to the beach,” when we were at the Marc Bolan memorial show?
I: Yeah. That was a rare occasion. …… It was the first time in roughly 15, no, 20 years that I went to the beach to swim.
L: I can’t imagine you doing that at all, being under the blazing sun.
I: I guess. …… It’s probably unexpected but I actually like summer and all that, you know. Because, you see, the contrast between the two sides [of that season] is obvious, isn’t it? Like, the plants are all vibrant and brimming with life, but they’d soon wither away. That sort of thing. …… But, I guess if we look at it that way, [summer] might be considered as a frigid season in that sense.
L: Because it has that sense of loneliness that comes when something comes to an end all too soon, right?
I: On the other hand, there’s also this one-of-a-kind air of frustration, isn’t there? Especially in the evenings…… Like, high schoolers and the sort would loiter around for no reason. I think it’s definitely something that gets your blood pumping, for sure (lol).
L: For students, summer holidays are long, right? Going out with the girl you like during that period…… That was nice too. And because of that frustration, it’d get me thinking, “Should I do it?” ⁶, you know? Furthermore, in Shizuoka dialect (lol).
I: Kukkukku, what a horrible guy (lol).
L: …… Hey. Were you good at sports?
I: Nope, I guess I was average.
L: You know, for the hundred metre sprint, I did 20 seconds.
I: Isn’t that super slow? (Lol) I don’t remember [my exact timing], but I wasn’t that slow. …… But, you know, I’m just gonna say it, but actually, I, used to do Kendo.
L: Gyahahahaha! That’s not like you at all (lol). …… By the way, Issay-san, you know what?
L: Actually, I, used to do Judo……
I: Gyahahahaha! Who are you to judge (lol).
L: Furthermore, for 8 years.
I: Kukkukku, my goodness (lol). But I guess it’s better if we don’t fight. Let’s play nice and get along going forward (lol).
L: (Lol) But don’t you think that the shared element of “understated yet agressive” of two disciplines also comes through in both of our music too?
I: Ah, yes, I do think so.
L: Right, right?! …… Al～righty, so we’ll do our next photoshoot in our Kendo and Judo uniforms!
I: With makeup properly done (lol).
(The Yellow Monkey)
Yoshii “LOVIN” Kazuya Born 8 October 1966 in Tokyo. Blood type, A. The Yellow Monkey’s vocalist. They will be performing at Nippon Seinenkan for the first time on 19 June. Their second album Experience Movie is currently on sale!
■ LOVES: ① Home ／ ② Parents’ home ／ ③ Shinjuku-Dori ／ ④ La.mama ／⑤ Columbia head office⁷ ／⑥ BOWINMAN (agency office) ／ ⑦ Hokkaido ／ ⑧ Shizuoka ／ ⑨ 上条五丁目 (Kita-ku, Tokyo)⁸ ／ ⑩ Ferry
■ HATES: ① Koiwa Station⁹ ／ ② Azabu¹⁰ ／ ③ Shizuoka ／ ④ Roppongi ／ ⑤ Rokumeikan ／⑥ Juliana’s¹¹ ／ ⑦ Asagaya Station¹² ／⑧ Shibuya Center Gai¹³ ／⑨ Soap ／ ⑩ Kitchen
ISSAY Born 6 July 1962 in Shizuoka Prefecture. Blood type, AB. Der Zibet’s vocalist. Trash Land, their first album since their switching of labels to BMG Victor was just released last month.
■ LOVES: ① Songs ／ ② Mime ／ ③ Life with death right by its side ／ ④ Summer ／ ⑤ Good lies ／ ⑥ Sea ／⑦ Boys ／ ⑧ Girls ／ ⑨ In bed ／ ⑩ Solitude
■ HATES: ① Women ／ ② Men ／ ③ Boredom ／ ④ Collusion ／ ⑤ Time ／ ⑥ This body that can’t live without food ／ ⑦ Illness ／ ⑧ Boarding planes (scary) ／ ⑨ Bad lies ／ ⑩ Me, when I’m irritated
⁰ That’s the line of broken English that was printed on the magazine page.
¹ The Heavy Metal Kids are a British glam rock band who formed in 1973 from the merger of Heaven and Biggles.
² TRIAD is a rock label established within Nippon Columbia in May 1981, with the aim of creating a free and individualistic production group by actively recruiting talented production staff from outside the record company.
³ Marc Bolan was an English singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and poet. He was the lead singer of the band T. Rex and was one of the pioneers of the glam rock movement of the 1970s.
⁴ Gary Anthony James Webb, better known as Gary Numan, is an English musician, singer, songwriter, composer, and record producer. He entered the music industry as the frontman of the new wave band Tubeway Army.
⁵ Literally, ‘mother complex’.
⁶ Sexual context 😉
⁷ I think he means Nippon Columbia, the record label, not Columbia Sports, the fashion label.
⁸ Probably where he was born and where he grew up until he moved to Shizuoka.
⁹ Koiwa Station is a railway station on the Sōbu Main Line in Edogawa, Tokyo, Japan, operated by the East Japan Railway Company.
¹⁰ Azabu is a cosmopolitan area that encompasses 9 residential districts, including Roppongi, with its art museums and flashy dance clubs.
¹¹ Juliana’s, also known as Juliana’s Tokyo, was a Japanese discothèque that operated in Shibaura, Minato, Tokyo from May 15, 1991 till August 31, 1994. It was famous for its dance platforms, on which office ladies dressed in “bodycon” clubwear would congregate, as amateur go-go dancers.
¹² Asagaya Station is a railway station on the Chūō Main Line in Suginami, Tokyo, Japan, operated by East Japan Railway Company.
¹³ Center Gai is a narrow street in Udagawachō, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. It is a popular area for youths as it has a variety of popular brand name stores, fast food outlets and nightclubs. Its name is meant to signify how it is the “center” of Shibuya. It can be reached from Shibuya Station.
Scans: morgianasama on LJ