Outpouring from the heart
Pati-Pati Rock ‘n’ Roll
photography Hitoshi Iwakiri (岩切等)
hair & makeup Takayuki Tanizaki (谷崎隆幸)
styling Tomoharu Yagi (八木智晴)
The last issue featured a special segment for BUCK-TICK’s latest album Six/Niɴe, but due to space constraints, we could only publish half of the interview with Atsushi Sakurai, even though he made the effort to share his true feelings with us. And so, this time around, it’s the continuation. Through this interview, I hope you’d uncover the key to the change they displayed in the contentious Six/Niɴe.
And so, here is the second half of Atsushi Sakurai’s interview. It’s a continuation from last month’s issue, so please give that a read too.
In the end, (music) is just entertainment, isn’t it?
I’m just very happy that I can simply entertain.
S (Sakurai): It’s all sorts of things. Like…… Hmm…… Someone who says they like me? For example…… It’s like…… In the end, it’s entertainment, isn’t it? Like, I’m just very happy that I can simply entertain, and things like that.
―― So, even if you’re not doing anything that doesn’t satisfy the world, you’d be happy as long as you can feed yourself.
―― I suppose that’s for sure. I guess you could also say that it doesn’t matter at all whether everyone here (the artists, the manager, the journalist, the writers, etc.) are here or not.……
S: I wouldn’t go as far as to say that, though (lol). Well, I guess you could say that it’s the first time I felt like this.
―― Feeling grateful for that kind of happiness?
S: That…… what do you call it? You know how people often say, “First of all, I want to thank God,” or something like that when they receive some sort of an award? That sounds textbook, but there are times when you feel like that’s all just a lie. Somehow, the more someone says it, the more fake it sounds.
―― You mentioned someone who said they like you. Do you mean like a girlfriend or something?
S: Could be a girlfriend, or, well, fans or siblings, yeah. Someone important. Well, it could be people you work with, or you date. It’s just the people you’re together with, like, close friends and the like.
―― Hm. But that’s a very big change of heart, isn’t it?
S: That’s true.
―― In the past, you definitely gave off a stronger sense of “I’m alone”, right?
S: Well, that I’m alone, I think that was how I presented myself.
―― How you presented yourself.
S: Like, drawing sympathy [to myself], like begging for it.
―― So, that’s what you called theatrics earlier on, like a false pretense.
S: And all that other…… My apologies to others who are doing similar things, please don’t misunderstand, but if I was begging [for it], then I must be thankful, or rather, I want to be grateful [for what I received]. Or something like that.
―― And that state of mind has influenced your lyrics?
S: I suppose that’s where it seems to have started for me, personally.
―― But considering all those feelings, that actually makes it feel heavy on the whole, doesn’t it?
S: The sound?
―― Sound, lyrics. They certainly don’t have that bright, letting-go feeling.
S: I guess, isn’t that some sort of simplicity? Living and dying, likes and hates.
―― What artists have you been listening to lately?
S: All kinds of things inspire me. Records do, and movies, and manga, and so on. In this album, ISSAY-san (DER ZIBET) participated as a guest vocalist and I got to have a nice chat with him about his approach, the way he works and all that. So, you could say that I was influenced in that manner too. Having read the books and manga that were recommended to me, those he said he liked quite a lot, that also really influenced me significantly. It’s like that with movies too. Just, anything. Like a snatch thief, because I’m hungry [for more]. Even people watching in a place like this (the pub where this interview is being held) can inspire me.
―― And doing this makes you come out of your shell more and more until those false pretenses fade away along with the negative parts of you. So, do you get the desire to try and create something where you’re in complete control of everything just so that you can show 100% of who you are as you gradually revert to being your natural self?
S: That’s plain troublesome.
―― (Lol) That’s the only thing that doesn’t change, is it? For you. Since the beginning.
S: That sort of thing, working the musical instruments, it’s such a pain that I just can’t.
―― But you don’t have to play the instruments. You can just give instructions, right?
S: Mmm…… But I don’t think I can convey [my ideas]. Because I don’t know them. The technical terms. Not one bit. I don’t even know the processing for voice effects and all that. But I want to change that. A bunch of things.
S: Limitations like being required to finish producing an album by a particular date, things like that. Like, promotional strategies. If these things can be changed, I’d like to do it myself. For about a year or so.
―― Album production. Well, certainly it’s probably good if you could spend more on it.
S: We can’t do that.
―― But with BUCK-TICK’s present position, the mixed-media portion of your promotional strategy has grown to comprise quite a large percentage of it, right?
―― Do you understand those things?
S: Yeah, I do.
―― It makes me wonder if you truly feel that it doesn’t matter whether or not your album sells. Even if you do say that, wouldn’t you still question in the back of your mind whether it’s good or not if it won’t sell?
S: No, I don’t really feel that way. It’s just that, even if it’s unpopular, we won’t have the time [to dwell on it] anyway.
―― I spoke to Imai-kun just now, and he said that it’s ultimately the buyers who judge your releases. So, this can only mean that the indication of their verdict will depend on how well your records sell. That is what was said, but does Sakurai-kun really feel that way?
S: But even if you like a particular song a lot, doesn’t the opinion change from person to person? Even if you’ve made a very good something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be popular. For me, I really love ambient music that doesn’t have singing voices. But even though they make me think, “This is so good!”, it doesn’t sell very well.
―― Ah, that’s about music other than your own, though.
S: You’re talking about my own music? Ahh. I’m not particularly interested in those kinds of things. This’ll probably make me sound like I’m just being cool but the number one thing [for me] is to like what I make. Well, it’s even better if it sells well too. I’d think everyone feels the same way.
―― But frankly speaking, BUCK-TICK does sell. If you’re someone who’s living from hand to mouth, you’d probably have a desperate desire for [your music] to sell. Depending on the person.
S: Right. I suppose so.
―― For a musician, I’d assume that you’d keenly hope that if you release a record, you’d want to sell enough to at least fund your next work, or enough that you don’t have to work extra jobs. So, saying that you’re not concerned [with sales numbers] is.
S: Mm, the privilege of those who do sell well.
―― But there’s also the fact that because you’re someone whose records sell well, you must produce things that you like.
S: I think we’re doing that.
―― Right. Listening to this album, I felt that it’s an album that makes you want to listen to the next one as soon as possible.
S: Ah, really?
―― Somehow, this one gives me the feeling that you’ve yet to decide on what you’re going to do next.
S: I suppose that’s because it’s volatile, this album.
―― Probably, yes.
S: So, you want to listen to something stable?
―― Rather, your last album and even the one before made me want to take a careful good look at this world, but this time, in comparison, left me restless instead.
S: Oh, yes. I get it. But I think Imai wanted to demolish that expectation that you can listen and feel at ease.
―― Ah, there’s that too.
S: Whatever we’ve done so far has always been for ourselves.
―― Yes. But this changing direction somehow feels like a result of all the members going down different routes. That’s why I’d find myself wanting to listen to the next release as soon as possible where, hopefully, all the members would have settled on one direction and gone with it.
S: I don’t know whether we can (lol). I’d expect that we wouldn’t communicate enough again anyway.
―― But haven’t you learnt your lesson?
S: Buーut, I don’t think we ever will.
―― Hmm, based on my earlier conversation with Imai-kun, it’s not very……
S: He hasn’t leant, has he?
―― But it’s not right for me to be the one telling him that it’s not good for him to be slow with the song composition.
S: But you should’ve said it.
―― No way (lol).
S: Please tell him, it’s not fair (lol).
Scans: Endless Dei (@DeiEndless on Twitter)