Kurutta Taiyou Feature
Rockin’ on Japan
Interviewer: Ichikawa Tetsushi
Photographer: Somese Naoto
I’d like to produce a solo album before I die
Is this the long-awaited sprouting of his assertion, or is it just a mere whim? This is the Italian-casual* Hoshino’s “law of naturally-relaxed rock”.
⊳ This time around, Hide, you’ve given us your own specifications down to the concept for the shoot. That’s exceptionally groundbreaking planning coming from you.
Hoshino (H): (Lol) Is it?
⊳ Until now, you’ve never gone beyond your position as a member of BUCK-TICK even when we interview you, and you’ve turned a deaf ear to my goadings of, “Since the number of songs (you’ve written) has been growing, don’t you think it’s about time to compete with Imai?” ーー Though to me, it’s rather astounding that you’ve been so ordinary, so vacillating until now.
H: You’ve sure got a lot to say (lol).
⊳ For such a man to offer to “show up in my regular clothes rather than a costume”, wouldn’t I be surprised?
⊳ Is there any particular reason for this?
H: I guess you could say that I’ve always wanted to do this. When the 5 of us are together, there’s definitely this part in me which can’t shed the unified image that we’ve had thus far, so I personally wanted to give this a go.
⊳ I suppose it’s true that BUCK-TICK is basically a band which doesn’t really appear unless it’s the 5 of you coming out together as a band unit, and at the same time, there are very few opportunities for (the members) to make appearances as individuals ―― It’s a very strange band in that sense, isn’t it?
H: Ahh, yeah.
⊳ Then again, has Hoshino Hidehiko ever made solo appearances thus far?
H: Technically, I have, but until now, it’s always been in the image of BUCK-TICK ―― Because that’s the idea which I had in my mind. Something like, even if I’m on my own, I have to be BUCK-TICK.
⊳ Though it’s true that BUCK-TICK’s got something like a restriction where you’re not allowed to change your visuals or style. Something like, “(whatever it is,) anyway, it’s just black!”
H: It’s just black (lol).
⊳ Come to think of it, how many years has it been since your debut?
H: Probably close to 4 years, I guess. I’m not too sure, though (lol).
⊳ Look here, you. But, anyway, it’s already been 4 years. Having fortified and shouldered BUCK-TICK’s perfect image while performing it all this while, isn’t it about time for you to start nursing a desire to show off a different style?
H: But, you see, even before now, (I’ve always thought that) the stage also establishes the image as a form of staging. Because I don’t think that I’m personally the sort of person whose personal wardrobe is similar to that sort of (stage) image.
⊳ True enough, you’re dressed with an Italian-casual flair. I don’t think that’s something I’ll ever see on BUCK-TICK’s stage.
H: (Lol) (I’ve only started wearing) these clothes recently though ―― Because it’s now summer (lol).
⊳ (Lol). Isn’t BUCK-TICK’s band characteristic to go all out with targeting out-of-the-ordinary qualities whether it’s in your music or your live performances? As if you’re compelled to let out that once-warped version of yourself, or you’re unable to begin while in a naturally relaxed state. Though, Hide, you look like the kind of guy who fits into this routine the least.
H: Me? Mmー……
⊳ The appearance of this time’s casual Hoshino Hidehiko is merely the tip of the iceberg, but if we’re talking about the other 4 members, their personal wardrobes look very similar to the way they dress when they’re performing as BUCK-TICK, so there’s a connection there, right? But right now, Hide is completely separated from that, though.
H: …… I think that sort of aesthetic sense has been changing in terms of visuals too, for me. For example, the shift in preference from black to white and the like.
⊳ You’re probably the one with the most varied tastes in terms of music and the like, though.
H: Because it’s not in my nature to dig deep into things. I’m the type to pick up a little bit of everything.
⊳ But isn’t BUCK-TICK’s sound the type which you can’t produce without going deep and immersing yourself in it?
H: Yeah, exactly. For BUCK-TICK, yes.
⊳ You’d probably end up listening to a lot of dark new wave music and transformative dance music to get it all in (lol).
H: (Lol) That’s true.
⊳ So, to me, I’m getting the feeling that the gap between Hoshino Hidehiko and BUCK-TICK seems to be growing a little bit wider. In the sense that when you’re on your own, you’re yourself, but when you’re performing as a part of BUCK-TICK, you’ll turn into BUCK-TICK’s Hide.
H: That’s why I say that it’s because I do have a kind of desire (to be myself).
⊳ And having given a shot at embodying this desire, what do you think about it?
H: It’s fun.
⊳ Objectively speaking, at the start of the shoot, (I saw) the simply BUCK-TICK-like expression you had on, except, (I thought,) “Hey, your eyebrows are too thick,” but it was symbolic of your returning to the fundamental Hoshino. It took quite some time, though (lol).
H: Thanks for saying that (lol). But really, I’m at a stage where I’m thinking that my tastes have really changed a lot ―― Be it in music or with my image.
⊳ Let’s say, for example, how exactly have your tastes in music changed?
H: When debuted, (I) was mostly (listening to) new wave, but with a darker tone. I started with Bauhaus and the Cure and so on; in a maniacal direction.
⊳ I guess, people from the village of BUCK-TICK, so to speak. How did things develop from then on?
H: That didn’t change, but it’s more like I ended up widening the variety of music which I listened to. For example, what I’m listening to now is calm and mellow jazz singers and other similar types. But I’m listening to Ministry too (lol).
⊳ Those two extreme ends are beyond far apart (lol). I can’t understand people who listen to both violent sounds and non-electronic** vocals at the same time. You really mean it when you say “widen”.
H: (Lol) Right?
⊳ You’re not picky when it comes to music?
H: I’m not.
⊳ But you’re saying that now you’ve got a thing for very beautiful melodies and non-electronic** sounds.
H: Yeah. (Music that is) melodious and calm.
⊳ During Kurutta Taiyou, you said that you “sought easy-listening”, so was it right around then when your preferences changed?
H: Rather than that, it’s more like I’ve always enjoyed easy-listening music, to begin with.
⊳ But for the past 4 years, there was none of that at all, was there?
H: I didn’t show it (lol).
H: I couldn’t show it (lol).
⊳ Was it a reservation that you had due to your consideration of BUCK-TICK’s image as a band and that it would be more fitting if you said, “I like positive punk*** and Bauhaus”?
H: Yeah. That’s because the idea that the music that we make and the music we listen to should be unified is something that I’ve always believed. Though really, now I can think separately about the music that I make and the music that I listen to.
⊳ The guitarist Imai Hisashi exists and he is the best person for you to compare with, though. In Imai’s case, it’s as if the music he listens to and the music he makes is perfectly one and the same, or rather, he listens to new music for the purpose of creating a new strange sound, so he’s quite thorough with using music for that one function, isn’t he? He’s on the other extreme end from you, Hide.
⊳ Was there ever a period when you were considering whether it would be better for you to try out Imai’s method? Just, perhaps.
H: Yeaah. Well, doing that would be more for (the sake of making music for) myself, I think.
⊳ Even if you say it’s “for yourself”, I suppose it’s because you’d want to make music that makes you feel good sound good to you, or something like that.
H: Yes, exactly (lol). That’s what I mean, yes (lol).
⊳ And from there comes the existence of the “Acoustic Hoshino”.
H: (Lol) Who’s saying that?
⊳ Me. Although, Imai also casually mentioned that, “It’s Hide’s time to shine.”
H: Hahahaha. I wonder who made that decision.
⊳ But all of the acoustic guitar parts in BUCK-TICK’s songs are played by Hide, right?
H: Yeah. The very first time I did that was in Hyper Love and Illusion.
⊳ Is playing the acoustic guitar attractive to you?
H: I do like playing acoustic guitars. But in our early days, it was simply used to add flavour (to the songs), as an embellishment which could only be heard in the background.
⊳ Since that’s the case, I suppose you’d want to have a song that puts the acoustic guitar in the forefront, right? Personally speaking.
H: I do think that it could be good to have such songs too, but, it’s like, (I’m) still at a stage where I’m unable to do so, or something like that. Personally speaking (lol).
⊳ What is this “stage where you’re unable to do so” that you speak of?
H: It’s that. In short, it’s where I suck at it (lol).
⊳ (Lol) But you’re far more adept than Imai, though.
H: Hahahahaha…… Mhmm (lol).
⊳ (Lol) But Hide’s naturally-relaxed melodious predisposition was revealed for the first time with this release’s Jupiter and it was an impressive acoustic number, wasn’t it? This result must also be satisfying for you, right?
H: That’s true. Well, it was a song that I decided to compose out of my desire to perform something acoustic. You could say that this was the first time that I composed with the acoustic guitar as the focus. I wanted to do this during Aku no Hana too, but when I played the acoustic guitar at home, it sounded noisy, so I only played my electric. For the demos too (lol).
⊳ What the heck. After Kurutta Taiyou was released, Jupiter was highly praised no matter what music magazine I picked up. Furthermore, it was remarked with, “This is the world of Hoshino Hidehiko.” In other words, among the general public, (you’ve actually got that image of) a “naturally-relaxed human being in actuality”.
H: That does seem like it. Shall I compose hard-hitting songs? Only intense hard-hitting songs (lol).
⊳ And what are you going to do if you distort yourself (lol). Though, what led to the birth of Jupiter is ultimately linked to your own personal changes, right?
H: …… Although, I think (of Jupiter) as something that I’ve always had (in me). In my mind, I feel that Jupiter might be exactly what my original musical sense is.
⊳ What was your very first musical experience to begin with?
H: The very beginning was definitely The Beatles after all. At the time I liked their early releases.
⊳ So ballad style songs are what moves you?
H: Seems like that recently. Look, man, the theme song of that TV drama, Mo Daremo Aisanai^…… That kind, you know.
⊳ (ROFL) Hoshino-san, mind, you’re no office lady. Though this does give off an exceptionally extreme feeling in its own way.
H: Sorry for being so extreme (lol).
⊳ Was this something that went through quite a transformation since the time BUCK-TICK was formed in your high school days?
H: After we formed the band, definitely ―― Yeah, I tried going in the maniacal direction and all that. I think maybe that’s when things started to change, though.
⊳ I think that it isn’t easy to achieve a balance between a maniacal sound and a beautiful melody in a song, but haven’t you ever any discomfort from this duality?
H: Not really, I guess you could say that I’ll accept anything. Both cool music and easy-listening music ――.
⊳ So they coexist as completely separate things to you.
⊳ You’re a dextrous man.
H: I suppose so (lol).
⊳ In other words, you’ve always possessed that extreme duality where you’re alright with both your normal self and the version of you who carries BUCK-TICK’s aesthetic style.
H: That’s probably the case.
⊳ Haven’t you ever lost that balance?
H: Well, it comes naturally, though.
⊳ But it can be quite constraining to simply remain as a part of this group that is BUCK-TICK, so have you wanted to revert to your original self?
H: In that regard, I have sought a place where I can unwind. The changes in my personal preferences could have been exactly that.
⊳ I’d expect you’d feel rather tired of being a part of BUCK-TICK all the time, won’t you?
H: I don’t know about how each of the other members feels, but for me, I think I definitely want to keep a part (of my life) private or personal in that sense.
⊳ Well, like I’ve said earlier, I think BUCK-TICK’s unique all-member exposure method works exceptionally well for a band, but there’s no personal expansion, is there? Well, you do get to do solo interviews at the same time, but what you end up talking about in the end is still BUCK-TICK’s activities or albums, right? I believe that if you want to grow as a performer, you’ll inevitably have to have this desire to show that you’re more than (the band). Don’t you get that desire?
H: That’s…… That’s true…… Maybe it’s somehow showing itself this time.
⊳ So, is that the reverse of the kind of confidence which tells, “I have this in me too”?
H: Confidence…… that I have it in me, huh.
⊳ So, you have that confidence?
H: I don’t.
⊳ (Lol) Good grief, you.
H: Understood (lol).
⊳ With 3 best songs recorded on Kurutta Taiyou, I asked whether it’s about time that you found your own pride as a composer who won’t lose to Imai, and you said, “I’ll include that sort of assertion in my solo album.” I thought that you might’ve been joking so I didn’t publish it in the magazine, but when I read your interviews with other magazines, (that statement) showed up in almost all of them, didn’t they? (Lol). I don’t mean to be rude, but were you serious when you said that?
H: (I just thought it might be nice) if I could produce such a solo album before I die――。
⊳ (ROFL) Look here, you.
H: (Lol) Well, that’s an exaggeration, but I do have the intention of trying. If I ever were to do it, I’d want to produce something that’s not along the lines of BUCK-TICK anyway.
⊳ When did this idea of a solo album come about? I assume it was after you completed Kurutta Taiyou?
H: Nope, I think it might’ve been around Aku no Hana’s time.
⊳ Well, then that means your confidence had already begun to sprout at the time of Aku no Hana.
H: Yeah. When I’m composing as a member of BUCK-TICK ―― since BUCK-TICK is made up of us 5 ―― I more or less find myself in something like a dilemma during the composition stage. In the sense that I can handle it all on my own if I were to use step recording myself.
⊳ In short, you constantly have these constraints where you have to consider Anii’s drums or Yuta’s bass in your head at the composition stage. Sort of like they’re requirements.
H: That, there is. Always, during songwriting.
⊳ Have you ever composed music that’s not in that category? That’s not meant for BUCK-TICK?
H: That’s why when I think about those conditions, it’s like, even if something comes to mind, it’s not as if I have any reason to make it, or even if I do, nothing would be done with it anyway.
⊳ So you’ve never fully fleshed one out before.
H: Yeah, I’ve never made anything concrete. Even if the image and the lyrics of a song come to mind, the moment I start thinking about the individual parts like the drums, the bass, the guitars, I’d get into a BUCK-TICK mindset and bring the song closer to BUCK-TICK(‘s style). That’s the kind of work that I always put in.
⊳ That, that. That’s where I think Hoshino Hidehiko’s problem lies. The thing that made it hard for me to get into your new album’s Henshin and Angelfish was how I could hear that you were far too conscious about the band. As in, there was too much work put into making it sound like BUCK-TICK’s work. I believe the reason why Jupiter was said to be “Hoshino-like” and “B-T’s new tone” is because there was barely much modification made. That’s why the essence of Hoshino Hidehiko shone through smoothly. Perhaps it’ll be more interesting if you tempered down that self-consciousness.
H: I guess I do end up being self-conscious.
⊳ I’ve said this before too, but it’s good for Hide to be an “orthodox man who fears”.
H: (Lol) This again?
⊳ I’ll say it as many times as I want (lol). You see, Imai’s methodology of “I’ll do anything as long as it’s weird and new!” itself has already been recognised as one and same with BUCK-TICK’s own methodology. That’s why there are no normal elements in any one of the members of BUCK-TICK, right? Like this, if the actually normal-dispositioned Hide could express himself honestly, Hide’s orthodoxy will instead be unorthodox and fresh for BUCK-TICK. That’s what Jupiter is.
H: I’m aware of that (lol).
⊳ How about you try writing a song without thinking about BUCK-TICK for once?
H: Yeah, I suppose.
⊳ But why won’t you?
H: I didn’t have the time, I’ve wasted it away (lol). Though, I’m thinking to do something experimental like that if I have a lot of time during this round’s time off or if I’ve got extra time.
⊳ What kind of ideas do you have in mind, for example?
H: I’ve got quite a few. Like trying to play everything acoustically, or doing everything through step recording, and so on. It’s extreme (lol) but there are quite a few things I want to try doing.
⊳ If you’re already thinking about it, then just do it already. Well, although I guess we could say that it’s progress enough that you’ve even established an idea (of what to do) ―― Can I call this a sign of confidence? (Lol).
H: Yes! More like, you’re getting me so desperate, I don’t know what to do (lol).
⊳ (Lol) Seriously though, didn’t that high praise for Jupiter feel good?
H: Honestly, everyone was far more receptive to it than I expected so (I was actually more surprised). I was quite worried about it in the beginning, thinking, “I get the feeling that people are going to say that this song is drifting,” though (lol).
⊳ Heh. That it’s rather adventurous coming from Hide, huh.
H: It was certainly an adventure when I was composing it. The song suddenly starts with an acoustic guitar from the chorus, doesn’t it? While composing, I’d find myself wondering, “Is this okay?” (lol).
⊳ I get the feeling that’s also coming from being too conscious of BUCK-TICK, but Hide saying this proves that this is a very un-BUCK-TICK-like song, doesn’t it?
H: Yes, exactly. Then again, there are quite a lot of people who also said that Jupiter is “BUCK-TICK-like”, though――.
⊳ How puzzling (lol).
H: Isn’t it?
⊳ Just as an example, the BUCK-TICK-ness which Hide grasps, what is it like?
H: It’s most certainly the somewhat illogical songs which Imai-kun writes after all. This is something that I’m pretty intensely aware of.
⊳ Is that why you deliberately try to twist your own songs when you compose? Like, distort them or something.
H: Well, I’m already familiar with Imai-kun’s songs, so I can do it naturally, though. But I guess it’s true that there are songs which I intentionally bent when composing them.
⊳ And that’s why I can only say that you’re the “orthodox man who fears”. In fact, your natural and melodious taste in music, the everyday vibe that you give off when dressed in Italian casual, your straightforward self-expression is all interesting enough as you are. And when you’re composing music, isn’t it actually easier to write in a straightforward manner?
H: For me? It is.
⊳ Between chords and melody, which comes first?
H: In the beginning, I would mostly start by composing the melody first. But recently, the chords more often come first. The melody comes last now, I’d compose the bass line too.
⊳ When you used to start with the melody, isn’t figuring out the chords quite a difficult chore afterwards? Just, perhaps.
H: It was. It was tough, very much so.
⊳ Wouldn’t you at that point ignore music theory and go with some nonsensical chord progression?
H: I would (lol). I did that, I did. That’s why, now, if I come up with the chords first, my job would then be to pick the best melody out of a limited choice, so these days, I’ve come to think that this way is better for me.
⊳ But if the chords come first, I’d assume that it’d be difficult to make your songs sound like the typical twisted BUCK-TICK songs done in Imai’s style.
H: Can’t really bend them, right?
⊳ That’s why I think that the present method of chords-first is suitable for Hide’s straightforward disposition.
H: It’s a good fit, isn’t it (lol).
⊳ That’s just what I think, anyway. Because don’t you feel that Jupiter’s melody was particularly free of discomfort and harmonious with a clean chord progression?
H: It was a very simple chord progression, though.
⊳ That’s exactly what gave me the feeling that “This doesn’t sound like BUCK-TICK.” Because whether it’s Imai’s songs or Hide’s songs thus far, the majority of the music have incomprehensible chord progressions for BUCK-TICK.
H: You’re right, that’s true.
⊳ When you used to compose melody-first, I think it’s inevitable that Imai’s melodies, or in other words, BUCK-TICK’s melodies will subconsciously start playing in your head, making it easy for them to exert influence over your compositions.
H: They’d end up getting replicated, yes.
⊳ When that happens, you’ll twist, or something.
H: I’ll twist (lol).
⊳ I’d say that this change in composition approach, too, is a major factor which contributed to the birth of Hoshino Hidehiko’s essence that we see in Jupiter.
H: I think that’s probably true.
⊳ It’s really easy to understand, isn’t it?
H: Thank you. Is this clear, everyone? (Lol).
⊳ That said, your own musical style has come through in spite of everything you’ve gone through, and now Hide, you’ve started to value your own personal qualities too ―― So I think it’s time for me to ask you if you would fulfil my heart’s desire and dish out the great “Declaration of Hoshino Hidehiko’s Assertion”.
H: (Lol) Again?
⊳ You say “again”, but every other time I’ve interviewed you and tried to rouse you to assert yourself, you’ve never once lived up to my expectations, though (lol).
⊳ BUCK-TICK itself will definitely be a lot of fun when there are multiple Hoshino-flavoured straightforward songs being thrown into the mix, though. Without a doubt.
H: Mm… I think that’ll be difficult……
H: In terms of harmonising on all fronts. Both musically and image-wise.
⊳ It’s not as if I’m talking about getting on stage dressed in Italian-casual, though? Rather than saying that it’s difficult and all that, don’t you have any sort of “I want to do it so I’ll do it!” impulse? Can’t you run wild?
H: I can’t (lol).
⊳ …… Why?
H: I’m still very conscious of being a band after all.
⊳ Oh, geez, you…… Please, just throw in 3 or 4 fresh songs like Jupiter. It’s fine.
H: If I can play it my way…… I think it’ll be alright, though.
⊳ Then, do it.
H: I’ll try (lol).
⊳ Come on, we’re not talking about other people here. The band’s overall essence is definitely crucial and that’s, of course, something that you can’t make light of, but don’t you want to have your own individuality? To make people think, “So this is the kind of guy Hoshino is,” or, “When it’s his work, it’ll definitely turn out like that.”
H: Mm…… Well, in any case, not yet, I suppose. Like I’ve said earlier, if I were to do something, I’d want it to be for my solo.
⊳ Why do you do this, splitting yourself into two parts between going solo and being in the band? I wonder what’s the root of this sense of differentiation.
H: Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? What it is (lol).
⊳ Have you ever thought of sorting out either side of your two extreme dispositions?
H: At present, I feel that I can bring out myself better with this duality. Like, it comes out naturally.
⊳ On the contrary, don’t you think the fact that there’s a part of you which desires to be naturally-relaxed is more like an excuse to perform as BUCK-TICK, like an oxygen cylinder? More specifically, it’s as if it’s somehow easier that there are 2 versions of you.
H: That’s true (lol). That it’s somehow easier.
⊳ When I received Hide’s proactive offer of, “I’ll wear my regular clothes (for the shoot)”, I got so excited thinking, “It’s finally here! That assertiveness! That assertion I’ve been waiting for!”, that I even secured 8 pages for you.
H: Hahaha. Really?
⊳ I’m taking Hoshino Hidehiko’s steady progress in stride, though.
H: Actually, I think that’s true too. Right now, we’re discussing the schedule for our next album, but I’m feeling like I want to get it out as soon as possible or start writing as soon as possible or something.
⊳ That’s also a sign of confidence.
H: You’re right. But, well, this interview already feels like a solo.
⊳ So is that to say that this interview of mine is a replacement for the solo album that we’ll never know when it’ll be released?
H: This is the solo album itself (lol).
* Describing his style.
** The exact word used here was “ナチュラル (natural)” but we’re not talking about literally sounds of nature here. Rather, we’re comparing that in contrast to dance music so I’m going with “non-electronic” instead of literally translating it as “natural”.
*** Apparently, gothic rock was originally coined as “positive punk” in 1983.
^ もう誰も愛さない – A drama produced by FujiTV which ran from April to June 1991. I guess this is the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWGhYSHrYp8
Scans: spanielonthemoon on Tumblr