Climax ≠ Relax
Interview: Yasue Matsuuba
Photography: Yoshiaki Sugiyama
Artwork: Kazutani Nishimoto
Styling: Tomoharu Yagi
Hair & Make-up: Takayuki Tanizaki
Turning what naturally gushes out from the inside of your mind and body into music through your flesh and instruments…… While only natural, that is the inherent work that a musician does. At times, it’s straining one’s self to the limits on stage, expressing feelings that are normally unimaginable. At times, it’s being in the recording studio or the workspace at home, getting so caught up in production work without any distinction between day and night. I believe that both cases are when the musicians that are BUCK-TICK have their musician’s moments.
But when we speak of people who are labelled as musicians, it can be seen that it is a fact that they will sooner or later face a huge wall if they do not manage the extremities in balancing between their moments of ‘climax’ and ‘relax’ from their various activities. This month’s issue is BUCK-TICK’s first opening feature in half a year, and in it, this collection of super individualistic characters’, these musician’s two sides of Climax ≠ Relax…… is what we are going to explore.
The first special in this feature is “Relax”, which personally analyses the 5 super individualistic characters of BUCK-TICK. Of course, they’d no doubt spend their private time with girls or drinking, but here, as we explore each of the members’ most relaxing environments/places/situations outside of performing and recording from a slightly more clear-cut perspective, we’ll also have them speak about how that affects their production and expression of music.
About an hour before the show starts, I’d feel relaxed and nervous at the same time
ーー I suppose that mentally, during recording or live performances, there is a delicate balance of the relationship between the mounting excitement and feeling emotionally relaxed, isn’t there?
Yeah. Things like that which appear to be contradictory upon first glance definitely do co-exist and occur at the same time, don’t they? Though there are times when either one is being projected more visibly on the surface than the other……
ーー Speaking of interviews, when there’s one to do, there’s nowhere I can stay whether it’s the studio where you’re recording in or the dressing rooms where you’ll be right before the performance (lol). No matter where I go, I’ll feel tense and uptight. Even though the band members will greet me with a “welcome” or something.
Although we can’t entertain you (lol). But there are those who do anyway (lol).
ーー Ahahaha. That’s U-TA-kun.
I don’t know how other musicians pass their time, but we don’t really feel… Or rather, it’s more like each of us do things at our own pace. Though, I suppose “the feeling that one can’t stay in this particular place” that Matsuuba-san* mentioned isn’t something that the 5 of us will sense, but it’s probably something that someone in the position of a third party would end up feeling after all.
ーー That being said, when you want things to be quiet, you wouldn’t want, for example, the staff to barge in and the sort, right?
About that, our staff already understand. We’ve been working together for a long while now so we understand each other and they’ll leave us be. Of course, I do think that there are times when I show an attitude. Like, I’d get the feeling that I want to be left alone today and promptly coop myself up in the dressing room without a word…… They’d understand that too so they’d let me by without saying anything. After all…… wanting to be left alone is for the sake of relaxing on my own before gradually heading towards the stage and getting into that emotional high, so it’s mandatory as a period of time for me to bring myself towards that. Even if I’m having a conversation, my mind will be somewhere else anyway, and I’d prefer to take my time to do makeup and all that. It’s not nice to rush, isn’t it?
ーー Even so, I often see you rushing though (lol).
That~ is true~ (lol). I keep in mind to keep my emotions relaxed. I’ll listen to my favourite music on my walkman. I’ve got a big cassette deck too, but between the two, I’d pick the one that will allow me to find my way deep into myself, so the walkman is the one that will allow me to run away from the “real world that I’m currently in” and into myself. Somehow…… It’s like, I personally know I need time for me to get into character, you know? Getting tense on your own, don’t you think that there’s no need to bully yourself like that?
ーー (Lol). But I can understand that it’s something like an implication that you can’t get on stage if you don’t do that.
Right from the start, from the opening of the performance, we want to keenly pierce the audience with us 5 BUCK-TICK members’ sharp edges; to have them fall into a kind of indescribable emotion that makes their hearts pound rather than rouse them up in a way that feels preset. That’s the kind of BUCK-TICK that I want everyone to feel.
ーー Does the live start from the moment you begin putting on makeup? Or does it start when you enter the venue? Or since rehearsals?
Hmm. I wonder… I guess, an hour before the performance begins. I’d look into the mirror, listen to my favourite songs, feel relaxed and nervous at the same time. While applying makeup, while putting on the outfits, I’d feel a special kind of way that feels as if I’m not in reality. Forcing myself to feel nervous probably seems weird but (lol), I’m performing a live show that I really love, aren’t I? I guess you could say that it’s my own kind of enthusiasm for a live show that I like a lot. Though I do feel awkward doing things enthusiastically myself (lol).
ーー Is it a period of time that you want to cherish?
Yeah, very much. It’s definitely the case for the (live) performance, but I really like the moments before and after that too. The hour before the live and the 30 minutes after. I hate tedium, so being both relaxed and nervous before the live, it’s a precious period of time when I will receive and unleash any form of stimulation. After the live performance ends, I’m probably in a daze (lol). You see, that’s when I won’t do anything, or can’t do anything while the tension is being released for me to return to my usual self. Because something that’s been pulled tight just a mere moment ago can’t suddenly revert to its original state.
ーー So, while you’re enjoying the spare time after a live, you’ll smoke.
That’s right. While still drenched in sweat, I’d plop myself down in a chair and slack off (lol). Days with a purpose are good for me. Because it’s as if things are clear before my eyes. The days when there is a live performance sometimes feels refreshing. Things are normally blur and fuzzy though (lol). When I wake up, even if my head has yet to focus, regardless of the weather outside, things are crystal clear. I love it. That feeling. Even if there are somewhat unpleasant things or other kinds of happenings, I’d feel happy.
ーー You’d be swaying between nervousness and relaxation.
I think it’s probably more accurate to say that I can relax because I feel nervous, and because I can relax, I can enjoy the tension. If there was only either one or the other, I’d get sick of it, for sure. I don’t think I can stand it. There’s a pleasure that can never be experienced in regular life…… And I want to get there so badly that when I arrive, that climax and euphoria is so wonderful~. Like, I can feel my blood rushing through my veins and it feels like I’m going crazy on the inside. However, such a feeling is an indeterminate thing that can’t always be produced every single time so… But when I can pull that unknown towards myself, I’d feel pleasure again.
* Interviewer’s name
I like the composition process of letting the image expand in my head and then shaping it after that
ーー So, I decided to ask Imai-kun about songwriting and creating an environment that is conducive for it. You basically work on songwriting at home, right?
Yeah. In the composition room at home. Well… It’s a room that’s around 8 tatami mats in size. Though I can’t go in there a lot in a year…
ーー To have a room that you can’t enter often in a year, sounds kinda luxurious (lol).
(Lol). I won’t go in at all, you know.
ーー What on earth do you put in there while it’s sealed off?
Equipment and the console*, guitars and…… other things like a drum machine and audio-related equipment are in there.
ーー And despite that it’s a room that’s so full of music.
But, you see, that only makes it feel like a composition room……
ーー So, I guess unless Imai-kun gets into a state where you start thinking, “The deadline for songwriting is approaching! I have to compose a song!!”, you’d never go in there.
Yes. But it’s not as if I can’t do it unless I’m in that room anyway. It’s more like it’s better for me to move around between different locations. For some reason, I get an unpleasant feeling when I go to the 8-tatami-mat space.
ーー Like you’re being rushed?
That’s right. That’s why, there’s one way of doing things where I’d go to a room with a TV and think or contemplate a guitar riff until I more or less have it together then go to that room, or the other where it’s already the very last minute and I simply shut myself in from the start of the process. It’s like, personally, the most effective way is for me to get into the mood for it then put myself to work.
ーー Then, what kind of circumstances do you compose in? Like, is your room clean or messy? Do you eat or not? What’s your sleeping pattern like? How do you change your mood? Things like that.
First off, I’d create the mood with the room. I’d start by putting up cool posters, things like that, to create the ambience and get into it.
ーー I get it, I get it. I’d also start cleaning up profusely before I start writing a manuscript (lol).
I’d organise the shielded cables and things like that which are lying around in the room but……while I’m working it’ll all soon end up all over the place though. But I’ll first clean up.
ーー And after that?
It becomes super messy (lol). But I’m not particularly bothered even if it gets messy.
ーー What about sleep?
It doesn’t happen all the time, but there are instances when I wouldn’t sleep for two days or so. And during those periods, it’ll feel as if one day has 36 hours, so I’d feel sleepy and wake up at weird hours, and I won’t know how to manage having only 24 hours in a day. But, as expected, if I don’t sleep for two days, I’d get this weird-feeling clarity in my head, and because I can fall asleep anytime I want to, I’d feel fine even if I’m sleepy.
ーー That’s a kind of high, isn’t it?
I’d be dizzy, but I’m fine so it’s strange to me too (lol).
ーー What about meals? I’ve heard that you only eat bread and tomatoes and cucumbers when you’re working though.
If I eat rice, I’d feel suuuper full, which makes me sleep well.
ーー You’re weak against rice!
Yeah. I’m weak.
ーー So that’s why you eat bread.
Bread. And at times soup or salad and the like…… Light meals work well for me. That and I’ll keep drinking coffee, black.
ーー Though it is true that when your stomach is full you’ll lose concentration. I suppose the reason why Imai-kun loses weight during recording is due to that diet and that lifestyle, right?
I forget when I’m writing songs. Be it the sense of time or meals. Even having to sleep and things like that, I’d end up deviation from life’s normal sense of time too…… It’s as if they become things that don’t matter.
ーー Do you often start at night?
It depends on each time. I often do start in the noon, there are also times when I start at night.
ーー Is there a difference? Between starting at night or in the afternoon……
That’s exactly what I mean by the messing up of my sleeping hours that I mentioned earlier. The state where there are 36 hours in a day, not sleeping for two days straight and things like that. My cycle changes when I do that and I can suddenly wake up in the morning and then start working in the afternoon, or wake up in the evening, have dinner then soon it turns to night. It’s very inconsistent.
ーー What about drinking?
I’ll end up not drinking much. I mostly don’t drink. It’s like I forgot about alcohol (lol).
It takes a long time for me to start working so…… I clean up, I read manga, I laze around. I even sit in the bath too.
ーー That really takes a lot of time. I guess it’s like a trigger that gets you into it?
I think so. I personally like the feeling of gradually getting into it anyway, since I like the process of letting the feeling or image of what I’m going to work on expand and then shaping it after that. So before that comes to me, I’ll be reading manga and doing the sort though (lol). Once I know what it’ll be, I’ll be able to go straight into it in one go. If I can make it the way I imagined it to be, then the work will be done very quickly.
ーー Speaking of your latest sound, that’ll be the track used in the video (CLIMAX TOGETHER), right? How did you work on that?
On the day before I go into the studio, I’ll analyse the chords that I want to use while visualising the scenes, then play the riffs for the bass on my guitar… But during recording, I kept thinking that it was a bit off no matter that I did, so recorded it at double speed.
ーー How many days did it take from conception to production?
I thought about it when Director Hayashi** asked me to. So, I actually only touched the guitar the night before recording.
ーー As expected, it was last minute.
(Wry laugh). Since it won’t be a guitar’s sound, I can’t capture the ambience of it even if I played it at home. That’s why I went ahead with it at the studio all in one go and made it take shape there. This………… isn’t an excuse (lol).
* This word was originally 卓, which can mean either “desk” or “table”, but I went with “console” as in the mixing console that music producers would use in a studio because it made more sense to mention that than a table. (I could be wrong though.)
** Wataru Hayashi was the film director for Climax Together.
Personally, I’m still at the stage where I’ve just started messing around and trying out the Mac in the middle of the night
ーー Hide-kun has been declaring that you were going to buy a Macintosh computer since last year, and it looks like finally bought it.
Yes. Finally (lol).
ーー When did you get it?
Eーhm, it was after the Arena performance so I supposed it was around September. But I didn’t plug it all in for the longest time so it was only until recently (lol).
ーー So, it’s a world-famous computer that has been nicknamed the “Mac” but…… At this point, I’d like to ask Hide-kun to give us a simple explanation of what a “Mac” really is.
What!? Me!? I can’t, no way. I’ve only just started using it and I’m not yet familiar with it either.
ーー Ehー Anyway, “Mac” was derived from “Macintosh”, right?
Yes, yes. So, you can use it in a number of different ways and it seems convenient, but I haven’t reached that level as of yet (lol).
ーー Again, can you tell us why you bought it?
It was out of interest. That said, Yokoyama-kun who worked with us on DANCE 2 NOISE was using it during recording. At that time, I was watching him from the side and it looked like so much fun. I was staring and feeling like “Oh～ So when he does it like this it becomes like that～” (lol). I’m actually watching him work up close, but I could understand that he was applying music as if it were a game…… I mean, things like computers and machines, they have an extremely cold and inorganic image, don’t they? But it somehow looked so much fun playing with music that it felt great and it made me feel like maybe I should give it a go too. In any case, it’s capable of branching into a lot of different things and there are quite a few different ways that it can be used, but among all of that, I learnt the parts and software that is used for music. I’m at the stage where I have Yokoyama-kun as my teacher.
ーー By the way, how much did it cost?
Eーhm… Including the various accessories, probably around 500,000 yen. There are more expensive ones, but personally didn’t intend to use it as a main tool for recording, so I decided that this was sufficient since I’m only thinking about using it while working at home.
ーー How would you word a simple explanation of what it’s like to work on music with the Mac?
For example… Assuming that the simplest method of recording is to use a cassette tape recorder and sing the melody to yourself while playing the guitar, then this would be something like having tens of those recorders with you, I suppose. It’s an extremely simplistic explanation though. It’s a “Classic IIci”*, and I haven’t really gotten myself familiar with how to use it yet, so I think there actually are many more ways to use and express it though.
ーー You’re not mechanically inept**, are you?
Me? I’m useless, really. I even have problems with the effectors that I use myself.
ーー (Lol) And despite that, a Mac!
Right? What am I going to do (dry laugh).
ーー So, how did you set it up?
It’s in my equipment room. It’s a room where my guitars, my rhythm box, synthesiser, and all the music-related things are. For someone who does only live performances, I don’t think it’d have much merit to them. But for a person who works with all of it as a sequence, you can add the bass and the drums in, you can create all the synths as well so it’s very convenient. It’s like one of the wide-ranging music instruments. Though, that’s not the case for me.
ーー Then, what do you use it for?
ーー Hey, hey, hey.
There are a lot of game releases recently, you know.
ーー Oh, goodness. That isn’t a musical use, is it (lol)?
I mean… I guess it’s because I feel like I’m still trying to get used to using it. Anyway, there’s already this much to go through in the manual alone (shows a space about 10 cm wide between his thumb and index finger).
ーー That looks overwhelming.
Doesn’t it? That’s why I currently have Yoko-chan teaching me and whenever I ask, “What should I do in such a case?”, I’d receive direct guidance from him. Learning like this is much faster.
ーー If you master using it for music, may we assume that it will influence Hidehiko Hoshino’s work and BUCK-TICK in future?
I don’t think so (decisively).
ーー Why not?
But, you see, I guess I don’t have that intention… Because I didn’t buy it because I was looking for a change. Rather than that, it’s more of a personal thing, I suppose. Like, since there’s a way to doing things that I don’t know, and since Yoko-chan is nearby and all that, I felt that there’s no harm for me to try learning it if he would be willing to teach me. I guess it’s sort of like a toy.
ーー More like a hobby?
Yea. Something like that.
ーー And that’s why all you’re doing is playing games?
No, it’s not like that (lol). It’s more like I’m still getting a taste of it. Because I think that if I grow accustomed to it while enjoying it the way a beginner would, I’ll come to learn of yet another interesting side of the Mac… I guess mastering it and knowing how to use the Mac whenever I think of something I want to do comes after this.
ーー When do you play with the Mac?
I don’t have a set time, but it’s often at night. Messing around and trying it out.
ーー As a prediction, I’d say that we can look forward to how much Hidehiko Hoshino will absorb the yet unknown Mac.
I feel that we should be looking at it in the loooong run. Perhaps, it might turn into something that revolves heavily around music, but of course, as I’ve said earlier, I feel like this is more of a personal thing that is separate from BUCK-TICK’s musicality.
ーー It won’t affect the next album?
I don’t think so, and I won’t make it in time anyway (lol). Since I’ve yet to learn how to fully use it.
* The model of the Macintosh.
** In other words, bad at using devices/machines.
I have 15 bass guitars. They’re cute.They all have their own personalities……
ーー How many bass guitars does U-TA-kun have now?
Ah, I haven’t been counting recently. Uーhm, for Greco’s, I have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6… 6. 3 Spectors, 1 Fender Jazz Bass guitar. And there’s that one that I used back in our indies days… and 1 Les Paul bass. I think that’s all of them. I don’t think I missed any out, did I? (lol)
ーー You have 15.
I sure do have a lot.
ーー You’re surprised too?
Yeah. But those that I actually use are limited though. Since I only use one as my main.
ーー Why? If you say that, then isn’t it odd to have so many bass guitars?
I use them during recording. When one’s got a sound that I think is great, I’d end up wanting it and then buying it.
ーー Around how much do you buy them for? I’d assume that it ranges from the cheap to the expensive though.
The Spectors were around 500,000 yen when I bought them, but it seems like the prices have gone up quite a lot since. The most expensive one among those that I have is probably the Jazz bass, I think. That one’s worth more than 500,000. Despite that, I bought it from a shop that our manager’s acquaintance runs so I got a bit of a discount.
ーー So, then the cheapest one would, as expected, be the bass that you used during your amateur days?
That’s right. It cost about 70,000 yen. I think I took a loan to buy that. And before that one…… The very first bass I had was given to a friend, so it’s no longer with me though.
ーー You’re not building a collection on purpose, are you?
It just ended up increasing while we recorded. When I start thinking of wanting to try a particular sound, I’d roughly know that if I use that particular bass, I’d be able to produce it, so I’d first lease it and try it out. Then, if I play it and feel, “This is good!”, I’d buy it. That’s why I’ll end up having more and more when we’re recording.
ーー But there’s no way you’re keeping them all at home, right?
Yeah. I have some in a warehouse, I have some at home. Right now, I have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… 5 at home. Because it’s humid in my own room, the necks can get warped and the strings can get rusty. That’s why the bass guitars in my house are those that can be played just for fun.
ーー Which is the bass you’ve got the best memories with?
I suppose it’s definitely my main Spector bass guitar that I use the most. Its body is small, so its suitable for my frame. Of course, the sound it produces is great too, and I use it a lot because it’s a sound that I like. I think the very first time that I bought a Spector was back when we were recording Aku no Hana. I’ve been using it for quite a long while since then, haven’t I? It’s easy to play, and it produces the kind of sound that I like…… It can be played without being plugged into an amp, and if I directly connect it into the mixing console with the line and play it with the same settings, the sound from the bass itself will come through. I really love that sound. If it’s not this particular bass guitar, then I’d say that the one I gave to my friend is the one that I’ve got the most memories with. Though…… It was a bass guitar from Tokai or some other brand, but it is, after all, still the very first instrument that I had, isn’t it?
ーー There’s no way you wouldn’t have made memories with it.
ーー But why did you become a bassist in the first place?
When we first started the band, it was a situation where the guitarist and vocalist have already been decided. And Anii was a drummer, so I decided, I guess I’ll play bass.
ーー What’s the joy in playing bass?
Anii said this in the very beginning. “It’s inevitable that you’d be playing the same instrument since you won’t be able to play together otherwise, right?” … And, after all, it’s different than what I expected when I actually gave it a go. There was a moment when I first tried it out and I suddenly realised what the joy of playing bass was. Ah, yes. I just remembered something about the bass that I now have at home!! I painted it myself. And, you know, Imai-san did that together with me too. Meaning, Imai-san painted too, and I painted too.
ーー Have you ever used that bass for a live performance? I wonder if I’ve seen it before.
Hmm, I wonder… Maybe I might’ve played it around the time of our performance at Nihon Seinenkan. But I’m not sure about my memory (lol).
ーー As an artist, you must’ve had the joy of becoming capable of buying a bass guitar that you like.
Yeah. There was that too. But for me, personally speaking, I was super happy the moment I got to own my own bass amp. Because [it meant that] I didn’t need to borrow from someone else. Like, this is my very own bass amp. I was sooo happy.
ーー When was that?
When I first came to Tokyo. There were quite a lot of live houses that wouldn’t lend you equipment, so when we had battles of the bands, I played using the bass amp that was provided. So when I had the ability to properly bring my own along, I was really happy… We bought an equipment vehicle around that time too. Yeah. We gradually gathered the things we needed, bit by bit.
ーー When do you get into the mood to play bass at home?
When I’m zoning out, you know. But during those times, I’d more often choose to play the guitar than the bass (lol).
ーー Please tell us the differences in the sounds made by the bass guitar.
I guess for the undulating songs, I use the fretless basses. Like “Victim…” and “Brain…”. When pauses are important, that’s the one. I use the Rickenbacker when it’s songs like “Speed” or “Oriental…”. They’re cuuute. They all have their own personalities…
There’s an affinity with drums, it’s not the price, but it’s something like fate. The encounter is important
ーー First off, please tell us about how Anii first got acquainted with drums. I’ve asked about it numerous times, but I’d like to hear about the start of your relationship with drums again, so, please.
It’s a memento of my older brother. I was in the 3rd year of junior high when my older brother died so…… that was when I was 15. I originally didn’t have any interest in drums. After all, the instrument that catches my ear first when I listen to music is the guitar too. I was the kind of guy who would hold a broom and pretend to play the guitar, you know (lol). Rather than hitting pots (lol).
ーー What made you think of playing the drums which were a keepsake?
When my older brother was still around, the drums set was like an altar. Because we couldn’t touch it without his permission. But my older brother died and my parents were going to put the drumset away, so I said that I’ll start playing it if they were going to put it away… I guess, in the end… it’s because [I felt] immensely sad to lose something that had always been there after all.
ーー You were self-taught, right?
I suppose you could say that of the practice book… I used song sheets and learned by watching others. And my cousin also played the drums so I had them teach me too though.
ーー How long did it take you to get from that stage to being able to play in front of others?
My older brother passed away in May, so, let’s see… It was around August. Classmates from my class said, “Let’s form a band” and our first goal was the culture festival. We covered Carol*. Songs like “Funky Monkey Baby”* and “Nikui Ano Musume (憎いあの娘 / That Hateful Girl)” and so on.
ーー That’s quite something. Now, I’d like to hear about Anii’s drumset history.
For about 5 years, I played that drumset which belonged to my older brother. The new one that I bought when I was 20 was a Pearl. It was cheap. At the time, I was working as a steelworker, so compared to the other members, I had the money to be free. I basically debuted with that drumset that I bought myself (lol). I used it all the way until “Romanesque”. Then during “SEVENTH HEAVEN”, I remember using a rented one, and from around the time of our [first] Budokan performance, I finally got to use a professional drum set. That was the chronology of it, and since this year, I’ve settled with the manufacturer “Ludwig”. They’re good, I like it.
ーー Could you explain what a snare is in layman terms?
To put it veeery simply, it’s a small drum**. Like the kind of drum that you’d use in a brass band or during music periods [in school].
ーー It’s the one that’s sort of between your legs, right?
It’s the one that’s put right in front of you and closest to your body. Everyone, it’s a small drum between your thighs.
ーー That was extremely simple to understand. What is it about Ludwig that you like?
They’re a manufacturer that originated from Chicago and because of that, they’d, of course, be influenced by jazz and blues, and they also started out by providing for marching bands called fife and drum corps, so you can feel the “America” from their roots. I wanted to know more about this knowledge and Ludwig so much that I bought a book about their history and read it too. You know, in their heyday, they used genuine cow leather instead of plastic heads. To the extent that they had a ranch for those cows. And the mark that they used back then was a “cow”. No matter how much I wanted it, I felt that the price was too high and we don’t have it in Gunma’s countryside, so it took some time until I could buy it with my own money (lol). I love its sound quality. I’ve been influenced by the artists who used these drums too, so I’ve unknowingly been listening to Ludwig’s sound. Deep Purple’s Ian Paice. Led Zepplin’s John Bonham. Vanilla Fudge’s Carmine Appice… The easiest one to pick out is the Beatles. That sound is a Ludwig.
ーー BUCK-TICK and Ludwig. So what’s the relationship between Toll Yagami and Ludwig?
The unique characteristics of Ludwig are that the sound is tight and that there are no overtones. A closed, tight sound is naturally produced. Without needing to make any adjustments too. Of course, when I start playing them, it becomes BUCK-TICK’s drummer’s sound and rhythm. But it doesn’t mean that my influences won’t appear in the band. Instead, it simply means that that the band is based on the relationship that I have with Ludwig. Because, if, in the first place, I’m not interested, if I didn’t feel like playing those drums, if it didn’t produce a sound that I liked nor did our natures fit, that will only be bad for the band, won’t it?
ーー Not just for drums, but the same can be said for the other instruments too, right?
ーー Did you change your sticks?
I did. Ever since the rehearsals for Yokohama Arena before this.
ーー What are the drums that Anii currently has in his collection?
I’ve got about 20 sets now. Rather than calling it a collection, I’d say they’re sets that collected naturally. It could be something that I think I might use in future, or it’s something that I received as a gift, so I can’t sell it or give it away. In the end, it remains in my possession. And for foreign makers, aside from Ludwig, there’s an English manufacturer called Premier too. I have some from this maker that The Who’s Keith Moon used.
ーー What’s the criterion that makes Anii want something?
First, I’d try it out. It’s got nothing to do with looks. If it looks all worn out but sounds good, it’s love at first sight, no, sound (lol).
ーー So if Anii thinks “This is it!!”, you’ll buy it immediately?
I’ll play it 5 or 6 times. With drums, there’s an affinity involved. Because people have their own individual likes and dislikes, so it’s of course that there’s a possibility that even if I really really like something, some people might play it and think “What the hell is this!?”. A high price point doesn’t necessarily equate to a good sound. It’s like fate, really. The encounter is important.
* Carol (キャロル) is a Japanese rock band which formed in 1972 and disbanded in 1975. You will find that Anii mentions this band often. He covered their song, Funky Monkey Baby, in his first solo project album 1977 by Yagami Toll & Blue Sky.
** The term used was 小太鼓, which could be interpreted more literally as ‘a mini Taiko’.
BUCK-TICK has announced their first attempt at a pure live video (which was a large project that was filmed at a huge venue called Yokohama arena and spanned 5 days, including preparation time) on December 2.
In the second special of this opening feature, the “Climax” part will be presented in the form of an interview with all the members about the visual and musical highlights of this work, what sets it apart from the usual live performances, the moment they ‘climax’ on stage and more, plus a Q&A consisting of 6 questions with them.
The BUCK-TICK headline interview (with all the members) began after the entire photoshoot ended at 2 a.m. in the morning. (The first member who arrived at the studio, Hidehiko Hoshino, had already been holed up in here for 12 hours by this time!!) Goodness, gracious. The atmosphere felt perfectly apt for finally welcoming the climax of all interviews of this feature’s theme of “CLIMAX ≠ RELAX”!! …… Or not, as it would be expected. It’s in the middle of the night after all. And they’ve been having photoshoots and interviews all this time too.
Feels like an “inner climax” where you’d get excited from within〔Hisashi Imai〕
ーー (Looking at the clock) It’s already so late.
Yuta (Y): It’s okay.
ーー Thank you. Alright then, we’ll be talking about this time’s live video, but when I first asked about the content back in the beginning, I was told that scenes from the dressing rooms might be included as private shots but I suppose that didn’t happen in the end.
Toll (T): It’s in there.
ーー Huh!? Where? Where?
T: The very first scene.
ーー But isn’t that the scene where Acchan’s holding a candle and shining it on the members’ faces in brief flashes?
Y: That, it was filmed in the staff’s dressing room.
T: See, it’s exactly as you were told about the dressing room scene being included, right? (Lol)
Atsushi (A): That’s the usual.
ーー It being too dark is the usual (lol).
A: That’s the way our dressing room always is. I’d walk around with a candle in hand (lol).
ーー Ahahaha. Normally, when we speak of dressing rooms scenes in live videos, aren’t we talking about things like the members eating bento or joking around, or rehearsal scenes?
Y: You’ve been deceived. Kekekek.
ーー After that dressing room scene (lol), the SE that Imai-kun produced starts playing but is there a title for it?
Imai (I): None in particular.
ーー So what should I call it?
I: Just SE’s fine.
ーー So, you’re saying, simply calling it “sound effect” is good enough.
T: As long as it’s not the theme of “Climax Together”.
I: It’s not that grandiose a thing so I don’t think that there’s a particular need to name it. It’s being used as an SE anyway, and I made it with the intention of creating an SE, so calling it SE is enough.
Y: So, doesn’t that make it’s title “SE”?
I: I didn’t think so deeply about titles (lol).
ーー There was a white curtain, or rather a thick drop curtain at the front of the stage. How did you feel about having that in front of you all? I suppose you’d be nervous. When the slides get projected or when you can hear the audience’s cheers.
Y: Since there’s a curtain, we can’t see the audience on the other side, right? There was a different feeling and atmosphere than usual, wasn’t there?
Hide (H): That said, I wasn’t really all that nervous anyway… I suppose it’s kind of like how you’d become more imaginative if you can’t see something. Wasn’t it rather interesting the way their cheering screams became entangled with the first song, Jupiter?
ーー What do you mean?
H: Well, isn’t there something like an expectation that the first song that comes will be one with a good momentum after all?
T: Like, “Here it comes! Here it comes!”
H: I suppose it could perhaps be expected that Jupiter was a surprise.
A: For me, I was moved. We can’t see the slides from where we are anyway. And for some reason, it really hits home in my chest when we transition from the chants to Jupiter.
H: This was also the first time that we’re starting a performance without raising the curtains once the song starts, so the part regarding how our tangent point with the audience was different than usual was interesting too.
A: I guess it’s things like the audience’s voices and the feeling of facing the curtain, but I could feel in my body the sense that there are a lot of people there with us. It’s not just sensing it with my eyes and ears, but it’s more like the sensation of feeling it in my skin.
T: I go over to the drums earlier than usual too. Because we’re filming. Usually, I’d be warming up, rolling my hands and wrists until the last minute though. This was the first thing that made me feel that there was something a little different than usual when I was up on stage (lol).
Y: I suppose the excitement that I felt was a combination of the tension that came from the curtains still being drawn when the song starts and the excitement of performing live. I was suuuper excited. I could see Acchan, Hide, and Imai-san’s shadows cast on the curtain, and I could see the slides too. It’s a live performance by us, but it did also make me feel that it was beyond cool.
ーー It’s quite suspenseful when you can’t see the band members, right?
Y: The suspense is at a level of 120% (lol).
ーー But in the video, there is quite a lot of footage from the band members’ point of view that has been put in.
T: Because it’s a live video filled with tantalising footage. It even includes a private dressing room scene (lol).
ーー There you go again (lol). Also, the live’s title of “Climax Together” was chosen to be the video title too, but the setlist and the order of the songs was made up of subdued songs rather than high spirited songs, right? The lighting was dark too, muted. I guess the climax that was born from this was different from that of your usual lives.
I: It sounds like a setlist made of songs that don’t burst out with a ‘bang!’, but I get the feeling that such songs are better at getting people excited from within in the first place… Mm, I suppose this is what you’d call an “inner climax”.
(Even as the band members burst out laughing at Imai-kun’s remark of an “inner climax”, they applauded how apt a phrase it was)
I guess the 90 minutes were all for the purpose of that climax〔Atsushi Sakurai〕
ーー That’s an expression I understand very well!
A: I think that the “inner climax” that Imai mentioned is also definitely something that can be found in the BUCK-TICK that has existed until now. So, it feels as if that day’s live performance enlarged that part of us. I believe that since the moment we started thinking about selecting songs for the setlist, we decided that we wanted to place importance on passionate things that gradually well up, little by little, on the inside. But we wanted to do this while remaining cool on the surface. Imai thought of the title after we decided on the songs, but when the staging and the setup and other various things came into play, it again turned into another world that is different from the title of “Climax Together” so… I’m personally in full agreement with that “inner” part too. I believe that those who watch it might perhaps be able to feel another interpretation of the interpretation of “Climax”.
ーー The aloof yet intense feeling?
A: That’s right.
ーー Both Imai-kun and Hide-kun stayed in their own positions without really moving until the second half, so in terms of movement variations, Imai-kun sat with one knee drawn up*…
I: Ah, is that what it is? Sitting with one knee up*…
ーー I don’t know if that’s the phrase I should use. But I can’t find any other words for it.
I: Well… That’s just one of the ways I entertain myself.
H: We don’t think, “I’ll do this over there, I’ll do that over here”. We just do things naturally.
Y: Hide shows it through his shadow, right?
Y: When he was playing the 12-stringed guitar, Imai-kun was facing the side, Acchan was facing the front… And despite that, only Hide was weird.
T: I was surprised. Because the area where his ass is was so round.
ーー That wasn’t his ass but the guitar’s body, right?
Y: It’s a good thing that we’re putting it straight here so don’t think that that was his ass.
H: Oh, c’mon, no one thought so (lol).
ーー Ah, we’re strayed from the topic of climax……
T: Well, isn’t that because we’re all aware of the fact that we’re starting off with a different ambience than usual? It’s of course, but we do know what songs come in which sequence and how we’re going to perform them. But even though we know this, it was interesting, wasn’t it? You could probably say that lives are things that are unpredictable, so it’s not something you can get tired of. So, this live at Yokohama Arena is also the live performance that we gave on that day. There were cameras involved and cranes in the venue so the stage was more crowded with people than usual though (lol). But doing this and getting to see our own live performance on a proper video isn’t something that we get to have every single time, right? I think you can even say that us members may very well be the ones who want to watch it the most. Because we’ve never been able to watch a BUCK-TICK live.
A: Yeah. You can definitely say that. Having it turned it into a video, when we watch our own live performance, you’d somehow feel happy and at the same time it feels strange, doesn’t it? Like, “Ohh, so that’s what the lighting was like at this point in time”, or “so that’s what my band members are doing in a spot that was out of my field of view”. We’d feel excited too when watching it.
ーー I’d suppose that there were a lot of cuts, and there were moments that made you feel that the way a particular shot was taken was really cool. For example, the one that was only made up of Imai-kun’s guitar body, or the one with Acchan’s finger, or the silhouettes, and so on.
I: There’s also the fact that we don’t know what will be shown and that there were also shots which we had no idea when they were taken.
Y: Earlier, Acchan said that we were excited when we watched it even though it was footage of ourselves, but I think that this is a good thing. As a work in a video, it’s, of course, important that it has to be of really high quality, but I am extremely grateful to the director and the staff who were able to make us feel excited about our own live performance like this.
A: I believe that the tension was conveyed too. And it isn’t a tension that tears and strains at you, but instead, it’s something that is built upon that emotional climax.
Y: Yes, exactly. I was surprised by how great the timing was when they showed Hide spitting out the pick from his mouth at some spot that I couldn’t see.
H: That wasn’t spit (lol).
ーー Aーah, this has turned into a conversation at 3 a.m. (Incidentally, could it be that they were the type who can get high even without alcohol involved!?）
I: For me, I knew that Hide spat picks so it wasn’t all that surprised, though. I thought it was a good thing that it flew so nicely.
Y: If he spat it out with a “pht!” and it simply landed (in front of him) with a “phet!”, that would be so uncoolー.
H: I’m glad that they chose a good shot to use, yes.
ーー And that bright smile when Acchan looked towards Anii. That was something that the other band members weren’t aware of, right?
T: Even though that was something for just the two of us. Right, Acchan? (Lol)
A: Ah, they caught it (lol).
T: Jokes aside, that was a smile that has never been shown to neither the audience nor the other members on stage unless our direction gets turned 180 degrees. Well, shall we call that the “inner smile” (lol)?
A: Shy on the outside but tough on the inside**, that’s me.
ーー Don’t praise yourself (lol).
A: I suppose it’s expected that even I felt embarrassed with that scene because they captured the communication which happened naturally within the band and between individual members. But say, for instance, if they were to take only out-of-the-ordinary happenings to make it cool, maybe that would turn it into something amazing… Well, I think that it’s different from something that’s completely steeped in coolness. Since it’s not a smile that was done deliberately with the aim of making this particular expression at that timing (lol). That’s the reality that happened on stage, and it’s not as if we decided to cut that face in too…
Y: But that’s a nice expression. Personally, I like it. I’m sure that those who have watched it definitely thought that “(it’s nice) that he had such a facial expression on stage”.
ーー So, what would you say is the number one climax point of “Climax Together”?
A: Well, let’s seeー. I can’t really pick one in particular, but I guess I personally like Jupiter’s portion. It’s just that, rather than picking one single point, I guess the 90 minutes that began from this one song were all for the purpose of that climax. I feel that whichever the song, which ever the scene, all of it has been put there for the sake of feeling the climax, to thrust (the audience) into a world disparate from reality.
* The specific phrase that was used was 立て膝 (tatehiza).
** The specific saying used was 内弁慶 (uchibenkei).
Live Video at Yokohama Arena 1992.9.10 & 11
1. What is the music video that left the deepest impression on you? When did you see it? What song was it? Who was it by?
Atsushi Sakurai (A): Bauhaus’ “Shadow of Light”. It’s a collection of promotional videos but I really love it. I was around 20 when I watched it. It clearly depicted their image as a band.
Hisashi Imai (I): The one I’ve watched more than 10 times is LOVE & ROCKETS’ “LOVE & ROCKETS”. Part of it is because I liked the song, but at the same time, the pictures were gorgeous so it was enjoyable to watch throughout. I watched it a lot when it was first released 2 years ago though.
Hidehiko Hoshino (H): I think I saw it on MTV or something. It was a Western song, for sure. At the time, I was still a high school student so I didn’t have the money to buy videos and the like so…… Among what I watched on MTV, the one that left an impression on me was M. Jackson who was at his peak at the time (lol). Around the time of Thriller, I think.
Yutaka Higuchi (Y): What interested me was the (Sex) Pistols’ promotional video that I watched in middle school. My impression was, “Weeeird” (lol). During the recording of that promotional video, bassist Sid Vicious stopped playing and messed around with the volume and things like that, so I guess it was just him doing whatever he wanted.
Toll Yagami (T): The one that left the deepest impression on me was a video called “California Jam” from Deep Purple. At the time, I was already playing the drums so the technique that Deep Purple’s drummer, Ian Paice had left me speechless.
2. This time, what did you personally pay particular attention to, knowing that this live performance was going to be turned into a video?
A: I was particularly aware of the fact that it was to be a video, and I kept in mind to not make it just like any other regular concert. I think I personally did it with the awareness of the people who were calmly watching us from the other side of the lens.
I: Nothing…… Nothing in particular. Well, I guess, since it’ll be turned into a video, (I was focused on) not playing the wrong sounds, things like that…… But I did make mistakes (lol). Well, it was of the level of ‘in one ear and out the other’ though.
H: What I was most concerned about was the performance side of things. Because I have a fear that once I do something I can’t reverse it (lol). I’m not particularly bothered by being filmed but rather, I thought that if I could do this as per normal, it’d be good.
Y: It’s definitely sound. I was nervous (lol). If the bass is played wrongly, it’ll turn into a mess so if that happened, I’d become the jerk, so I felt quite strongly that I simply had to avoid fails and did my best.
T: I guess, in terms of performance, I drummed more strictly than usual since this was going to be immortalised as a piece of work after all. I’m recently not too bothered about making my performance visually cool to watch. Though, when we debuted, I have thoughts along the lines of, “It’d be cool if I drummed in this manner” (lol).
3. How do you feel now, after the arena live is over?
A: (When the concert ended) I felt that I was able to present the concert itself in the form that I imagined it to be, so I felt satisfied.
I: I felt the same as usual but I do want to watch the video as soon as possible.
H: It was a live performance that left me feeling rather satisfied. And I’d expect that it was great too, with regards to the film side of things.
Y: We were able to build that atmosphere and we managed to do what we wanted to do as well. I felt that it was really well done on the whole, wasn’t it?
T: I feel that whatever it is, as long as we were able to end up with a good video, it’s all good.
4. Points to reflect on and points you were satisfied with after watching the video.
A: For that live, I felt that we were able to illustrate the band’s world so I’m satisfied. And I was once again able to acknowledge the staff’s abilities in a new light.
I: No reflection points. I’m very satisfied. With both the order of the songs and the overall atmosphere. Well, I guess this is thanks to the director, but I was satisfied with the way things were cut and all that.
H: Reflection points, not much. I could perform as per normal, so I don’t think it was all that bad anyway, and it wasn’t as if I was particularly enthusiastic because it was going to be turned into a video.
Y: Nothing to reflect on!! (Lol) I think we were able to express what we wanted to express well. I’d give it about 98 points. Because if I gave it 100 points, we’d probably get told that we’ll never film anything ever again (lol).
T: There aren’t really any reflection points, are there? It’s just that I did more or less feel the pressure. As to what I’m satisfied with, I suppose it’s the fact that it doesn’t feel like I spent 90 minutes watching it after I finished the whole thing.
5. Considering both the filmography and performance, what’s your favourite song among from music videos and why?
A: Hyper Love ＝ We told the director how we wanted it to be filmed and we were able to express that clearly.
I: Chikashitsu no Melody (Melody from a Basement Room / 地下室のメロディ) ＝ Definitely because it feels like a live performance, and you can feel a sense of brutality from it.
H: Hyper Love = The fact that it feels large scale.
Taiyou ni Korosareta (Killed by the Sun / 太陽ニ殺サレタ) ＝ Simply put, because the imagery was great. But I honestly wanted to list all the songs from A to Z though.
Y: Hyper Love ＝ There are quite a number of highlights, and an interesting method of filming was employed.
T: Brain, Whisper, Head is Noise ＝ There are quite a lot of shots of the drummer (lol).
6. Apart from BUCK-TICK’s videos, please tell us about the music or videos that you like, including the artists and titles.
① Bauhaus ／ Shadow of Love
The reason is the same as the answer to the first question.
② Sinéad O’Connor ／ I don’t know the title.
I admire the way she brings out her energy.
③ Morrie ／ Romansha no Direnma (Romanticist’s Dilemma / 浪漫者のディレンマ)
I think this was released soon after he went solo…… I like the bed scene (lol).
① LOVE & ROCKETS ／ LOVE & ROCKETS
The reason is the same as the answer to the first question.
② Public Image Ltd ／ Bootleg live
Because I like John Lydon.
③ Bauhaus ／ Archive
Even though it’s promotional, it has a storyline to it and the flow is really beautiful.
① David Lynch ／ ANGELO BADALAMENTI
② Sinéad O’Connor ／ The Year of the Horse
I just like her as an artist.
③ Madonna ／ In Bed With Madonna (also known as Truth or Dare)
I guess it’s left an impression on me but I wouldn’t really call it a favourite.
① Bauhaus ／ Bootleg live
The lighting is really dark (lol). It’s a bit too dark to the point that I can’t see (lol).
② POLICE ／ Synchronicity Live
It’s got a variety both visually and musically speaking so it’s interesting.
① Grand Funk Railroad ／ Grand Funk live performance
(Forgot the title)
The drummer sings as he drums. And that was the only song by that band that hit number 1 on the hits chart (lol).
② Led Zepplin ／ The Song Remains the Same
I was speechless when saw the way the drummer looked like he was drumming at fast-forward speed.
③ The Who ／ The Kids Are Alright
I like that you could see The Who without makeup