Locus Solus and the Future
Ongaku to Hito
text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi
photographs by Kudo Azusa
And after the 2nd day of Locus Solus no Kemonotachi concludes, the (surprisingly) 19th iteration of the Poem of June [Roku Gatsu no Fuubutsushi*] was carried out backstage. The photoshoot was done 10 days before this when rehearsals for the Makuhari performances had just started. It was taken at the park near the studio but, well, he was naturally relaxed. Nothing has changed in these past 19 years. And this interview. It was barely 20 minutes after the live concert had wrapped up, so I was worried about whether he was still tense from it, but here, too, he was his usual naturally-relaxed self. The soon-to-be 53-year-old took the trouble to bring out chairs himself to set up a space for the interview. Most wonderful of all is that this naturally-relaxed guitarist is still able to say, “This is where (my) happiness is,” just as he did 19 years ago during our first interview for this series, which truly makes me feel that this is what’s great about this band.
There’s no time to rest, but I think of that as happiness so it’s alright.
Because even now, today, this many people are willing to come and see us. Mm…… BUCK‐TICK is my happiness
―― Thank you for today’s wonderful performance. This is already the 19th time we’re doing the annual birthday month interview, but it’s the first time that we’re doing it in a live venue, and also the first time we’re having the interview right after a performance.
Hide (H): Ah, so it’s the first time we’re doing it like this…… That said, this is the 19th?
―― It’s the 19th. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of this Fuubutsushi, so shall we visit a Southern island (for it)?
H: That sounds ni~ce. To think it’ll be the 20th year.
―― So, today’s live. It was absolutely great.
H: Wasn’t it? Yeah, it was great.
―― Though, I was surprised by the Gegege version of Hidehiko** (lol).
H: Th-that’s what you want to talk about (lol). About that, the illustration was delivered to us and our manager asked us, “What do you think?”, but even if we’re being asked for an opinion, you know (wry smile). I didn’t bother asking them to redraw it. Because (I think that) there needs to be one who makes people laugh.
―― Well, that’s true (lol).
H: I’m happy as long as people enjoy it (lol).
―― And about the live……
H: Well, it was pretty hectic yesterday, right? I feel bad for the fans because there wasn’t enough time for the stage set up and all that. It appeared that even the commencement of venue entry procedures and goods sales were delayed. I’m sorry for the inconveniences.
―― I see, you were concerned about that. For this event, we could perhaps say that the song selection was rather unique.
H: Ahh, I guess that’s true.
―― If I were to venture an opinion, it seemed as if the band’s decadence/gothness was distilled and in between that was a composition that put together upbeat songs that are suitable for the concert.
H: That’s right. Imai-san probably mentioned it. We decided on the impactful name “Locus Solus no Kemonotachi”, and thought that it would be nice if we could bring the image of the live close to that…… I read PHY, though.
―― Come on, speak frankly (lol).
H: Well, that’s too late now, isn’t it~?
―― Is PHY the members’ group journal (lol).
H: Hahahaha. It’s not that I’ve never heard those words before, but we only knew what the event name was, so we formed an impression from there and selected songs. Then, we picked songs from that selection and put the setlist together, but even though everyone interwove the new and old songs, we ended up with that particular kind.
―― So, you’re saying that this was the result of what everyone brought to the table based on the image of “Locus Solus”, rather than having a lingua franca of decadence or gothness.
H: Yes, yes. That’s the result of it.
―― What kind of songs did Hide-san (pick)?
H: Those I brought up were “Shanikusai -Carnival”, and “Kirameki no Naka de…” too, and also “Thanatos”. There were other songs I raised which ended up getting cut, but in short, I guess you could say that we were going for something that we could share with the fans, rather than creating an atmosphere of, “It’s a celebration, so let’s party!”.
―― Ahh. It’s like what Imai-san said with the “gathering of nonconformists”.
H: I guess that’s the sense of it. But we felt that it wouldn’t work well if we only rounded up songs that are like that, so I guess that’s why we strategically placed songs like the opening, “Kemonotachi no Yoru”, and “ICONOCLASM” to turn it into a balanced arrangement.
―― I see.
H: Though, at the stage of when we were picking the songs, maybe everyone also felt that they wanted to do something that is different from THE DAY IN QUESTION and CLIMAX TOGETHER.
―― The result of it is that you ended up with a live which was strongly characterised by decadence/goth, but this does give the feeling that it might be nice to do it again, doesn’t it?
H: Yeah. It’s fresh, and it was great that we had a variety of surprises too. Like having an unplugged session for the first time.
―― Right, the unplugged session sure was wonderful. Rather than simply playing an acoustic set, you changed those songs with such arrangements, and such a display feels like it exudes the bond or experience that the band has built up over the years.
H: I’m glad to hear that.
―― Who chose the songs for the unplugged session?
H: That’s Imai-san. Initially, our staff happened to blurt, “What do you think about doing something like this once in a while?”. I wonder, did they probably think, “Maybe the band doesn’t like doing such things”? But it felt as if everyone wasn’t as against it as they (the staff) might’ve expected (lol). Like, “It’s worth giving it a shot, isn’t it?”.
H: It’s not that we’re particularly against it, but I guess it just never really came to mind. And when it was brought up there and then, we thought, “Ahh, right. There’s that kind of option too”. Then, Imai-san said, “I have an idea that might work so I’ll rearrange the songs.”
―― Ahh, thank goodness for that.
H: Surprisingly, we weren’t nervous either. I think it might be the first time since Koenji’s Pal Studio (note: the rehearsal studio that they used immediately after they first moved to Tokyo) that us 5 squeezed together and played in such a small space (lol). We used to rehearse like that all the time.
―― The way you went to the centre stage was also surprising, though.
H: It was unexpected, wasn’t it (lol).
―― Even though you could walk there from the stage extension as per usual (lol).
H: At first, we were told to do that, but then we were told that the walking distance was far. Then, it got to, “Well, isn’t it shortest if we walked through the audience seats?”.
―― I think the distance is probably the same, though (lol). But it was nice to feel like something impossible had happened.
H: It was surprising, wasn’t it? I suppose (the audience) was especially surprised on the first day (lol).
―― I thought that it would’ve been nice if you spent a little more time on the stage extension, though (lol).
H: But we weren’t wearing in-ear monitors, so we couldn’t really go to the front of the stage extension. The sound gets muffled and we won’t be able to play at all. Imai-san goes anyway without a care at all, though (lol). But for songs that hinge heavily on the rhythm, we couldn’t really leave the main stage. “GUSTAVE” can be played crudely so I went in front, and it was pretty nice (lol).
―― It was also great that the sound output for “RONDO” was 5.1ch***, along with that set for “Aikawarazu no “Are” no Katamari ga Nosabaru Hedo no Soko no Fukidamari” where Sakurai-san was being shown on the screens.
H: It does seem like it. But we (the band) can’t experience it~ (lol).
―― That’s unfortunately true. But including those set-ups, I truly feel that this really was one special live.
H: You do get the feeling of, “to think that after having done this for 31 years, there’s such a way to draw^^^ out a part of us that even we weren’t aware of”, don’t you? And, “to think that putting all of that together can actually produce something as interesting as this.” I suppose it’s nice, once in a while, to do things like this.
―― I think that the unplugged session also opened up a new way of expression (for you).
H: But if we do that every time, won’t it become washed out (lol)?
―― Well, I guess that’s true. It’s also a little different than the full-blown types typically performed at Blue Note^ or Billboard^ and the sort, isn’t it?
H: I wonder if we can be that legitimate (lol). Well, it’s fun to do that for a bit, isn’t it? Though, I do want to do this again someday.
―― The flurry of falling cherry blossoms during “Sakura” was great too. There was quite a lot fluttering about today, wasn’t there?
H: There really was quite a bit (lol). It was a bit more modest yesterday, though.
―― Ah, was it?
H: Yeah. Yesterday, the stage director said, “Ah, it looks like it’s a little too little today～. Sorry, we’ll have more of it tomorrow.” So, I wondered what it would be like, and today, there was so much that it’s as if there was no end (lol).
H: It was great that Sakurai-san’s health is back to normal too.
―― Indeed. During the members’ introduction today, he suddenly started with, “On vocals, Sakurai Atsushi!” How rare that he started off with himself (lol).
H: Ah. He does that some times, introducing himself first. I guess, maybe he felt like that.
―― Perhaps. And, it was announced today, that you’ll be holding THE DAY IN QUESTION in December.
H: Since the Nippon Budokan was undergoing renovation works, I was wondering how we were going to do it this year, but through everyone’s hard work, it’s great that we were able to fulfil the promise that we have always kept. It’ll be the first time that we’re playing at Yoyogi Gymnasium too.
―― There’s still a lot to look forward to.
H: Well, we’ll be staying in the basement to write songs for a while. And it looks like our schedule is getting filled bit by bit. We’ll be performing at a few locations for December’s THE DAY IN QUESTION, and maybe we’ll go on tour again next year?
―― There’s no time to rest.
H: I think of that as happiness so it’s alright. Because even now, today, this many people are willing to come and see us. Mm…… BUCK‐TICK is my happiness.
―― It sure is.
H: And also, the bandmaster^^ will be giving me all kinds of things to do in the near future, opening up new drawers^^^ for me.
―― Let’s open up Hide-san’s drawers^^^ too!
H: But my drawers^^^ don’t open and close smoothly (lol).
* It would appear that this particular interview with Hide is an annual special called “6月の風物詩”. “Fuubutsushi” (風物詩) is defined as “something which is reminiscent of a particular season” or “a poem about natural scenery or a particular season”.
** There was merchandise on sale that featured the band members drawn in the art style of Gegege no Kitaro, with which they had a collaboration in the form of the song Rondo being used as the 5th ending theme song of its 6th anime adaptation. This particular run celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original 1968 anime.
The art in question can be found here (scroll down): http://buck-tick.com/news/detail/10507/
*** A surround sound system that uses five audio channels plus a subwoofer channel (the “1” in 5.1). Widely used in home theatre systems, DVDs are often recorded in 5.1 audio encoding technologies (see Dolby Digital and DTS).
^ Blue Note Tokyo is a jazz venue in Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan. It is a branch of Blue Note Jazz Club in New York and located about 400 metres east of the Aoyama Gakuin University. It has been described as Tokyo’s best venue for live jazz.
Billboard Live Tokyo is similar to Blue Note Tokyo in the sense that both are venues for more intimate performances.
^^ Sounds like he’s talking about Imai lol.
^^^ 引き出し (hikidashi) as a verb would mean, “to draw out”, while as a noun, it would simply refer to “a drawer”, literally the ones in your cabinet. It looks to me that they’re doing a bit of wordplay in the last few instances.
Scans: patowinds on Tumblr