Fish Tank 65
Text by Rumi Ikeda & Takahiro Chiba
Translation by Lola

Sakurai Atsushi

(About Toll's 50th birthday live)

You got to participate with some intense performers at Club Citta for Yagami-san's birthday live didn't you?
Very intense, yes *smiles*. When Anii first brought it up and we decided we were going to do it, I thought it would just be about showing our gratitude towards him but the whole event ended up being quite intense. Sharing the stage like that together was such an incredible honor, so much so I wanted to see that in faces of the audience.

Were you able to watch the other bands?
Yeah. As much as I could with the time I had.

And did you watch Yagami-san, the guest of honor, perform his [Yagami Toll & The New Blue Sky]?
Yes I did! How can I explain it? I think it might have been the most relaxed he's ever been able to be. Because obviously, when it's work, it's work and he treats it properly as such and has that professional awareness and I think that comes across when he performs.

(About Der Zibet)

You took part in Der Zibet's performance Sakurai-san but how did that come about?
Basically, Issay-san came up to me and said, "Atsushi, there's one song we can do together, "Masquerade"." Honestly, it had never occurred to me on my own. So when he came to tell me that I was so utterly beyond happy.

So you adlibbed the performance?
I improvised~! Though at the time I thought, oh god all the DerZibet fans are going to hate me now! *smiles*

(About Parade)

In June and July you had your battle of the bands tour, [TOUR PARADE 2012], so how did that go?
Most of the people were younger than me this time around and it was my first time meeting a lot of them. And at first, they were treating me with such respect that I felt uncomfortable and so completely shy about it...but everyone felt so original you know, of course they're there because they like what we do and they're happy to have the chance to do this with us but, I really felt like they were all unique in their own way and that was extremely inspiring for me.

It felt like everyone was saying, "I love you!!".
At first when someone says that there's always that sort of doubt you know, like ok well I guess you must if you're saying it but, they were so sincere about it. So when people are so earnest like that of course I truly do believe them!

(About their album, [Yumemiru Uchuu])

This year is your 25th anniversary and you're also releasing an album. How do you find this new album?
Personally I think it's the best one yet! But I probably say that every time we put something out...but I really do feel as though this time, I was truly able to express myself lyrically and vocally to the best of my ability.

Is there something that changed for you then, compared with past work?
There is, yes. Now, I've become able to do things with all my heart. Maybe I've finally become able to let go.

Yagami Toll

(About Toll's 50th birthday live)

So let's start by talking about your birthday live on the 19th of August and go from there.
There were people from my generation and also some other acquaintances that got to come. The best part of it all for me though was...that everyone was able to get along at the after party! *smiles* That's the very reason they're my friends.

Did you see though during the actual live performances? How everyone who arrived on stage kept saying, "Hey Anii! Happy Birthday!".
Yeah, I saw that. It's the first time isn't it? That we've done an event solely for one of our birthdays?

That's right it is.
You know what'd be great? If we did something like that for everyone when they turned 50. So for the next three, four years *smiles*.

(About CAROL and Toll's New Blue Sky)

The whole hall was filled with warm wishes for you from start to finish.
Yeah. And I was able to play CAROL songs on stage which was something I've longed to do. I think there were a lot of people that wanted to ask me why I made a CAROL copy band... it started for me when I was in junior high and I ended up doing it for an annual school festival. It's really how things started for me, you could say it's my foundation, the backbone for what I do and because these are the songs I first learned from and copied, I wanted the fans to see that.

So Yagami Toll & The New Blue Sky is formed by people who all want to do CAROL songs?
Of course!!

But it's not the Blue Sky, it's the New Blue Sky so is the New Blue Sky with different people?
Yeah. It's different people that before with the Blue Sky. The bassist is the oldest of us, Ota Kaname-san and I think he's about two or three years older than I am. He was originally a part of COSA NOSTRA and also produced the Ulfuls. Yagi-san, the lead guitarist started out as a studio musician. And then there's just Ari-kun who is a voice actor but who has musical inclinations.

(About the difference between B-T and The New Blue Sky)

Your demeanor was completely different on stage with The New Blue Sky than how you are with BUCK-TICK.
Yeah. You saw my inner child. But I was only able to be like that because back in the day I had trained my body to do that so I could be a perfect imitation *smiles*.

And because it was the first way you trained yourself to be, your body remembered.
Yeah. But I'd say I've gotten a lot better now compared to how I was then *smiles*.

It was a first, for you as a pro to take to the stage as part of a cover band so how was that for you?
Sorry but it's just because it was my birthday and I wanted to do what I wanted *smiles*. Well and I thought it'd be better if I could get other people to enjoy it too. Some people just have a knack for being able to enjoy themselves though. Yuuta's like that too so he had a blast *smiles*.

(On being 50)

Now that you've hit the big Five-O what are your future goals?
If I compare myself to when I was younger, there isn't quite as much room for growth anymore but I'd still like to push myself to get that little bit better. And like what was written on the card that got passed around, my wish is to always be able to play well for the fans and so I apply myself to that every day.

(About his birthday party)

So the party went on for quite awhile didn't it?
I don't really remember for how long but after the actual live, I was pumped on adrenaline so, during the party...I didn't even feel remotely drunk or anything. But then the moment I got home I was out like a light *smiles*.

Would you kindly say a few words to everyone who celebrated your birthday with you?
I'm truly grateful to everyone who celebrated my 50th with me. I don't know how long I can keep this up but as long as I'm able, I'm gonna keep on going! Just like the title of the live said, [IT'S A NOW!]. Because I was thinking how life is a sequence of moments in time. So for me, calling it [IT'S A NOW!] seemed like a good way to express that. You know I'm not talking about tomorrow, I'm talking about right now, this moment! So going back to what I was saying, when it comes to work, now I want to give my all. And I think it's better if I can just focus on things one day at a time. Maybe that way I can become an even greater drummer *smiles*. I'm still hungry to learn and improve!

Hoshino Hidehiko

(About his book)

How did the book come about?
The editor of [Ongaku to Hito], Kanemitsu-san, seduced me with the idea that it would be the perfect time to do it since it was BUCK-TICK's 25th anniversary and I've been doing interviews for the magazine for 12 years. That and he said we could do parts of it on location overseas! *smiles* And that's how we shamelessly ended up in Taiwan.

It was your first time in Taiwan then?
Yup. My first time in Taiwan.

Um...pardon my asking this so bluntly but...was that the point of going overseas specifically? *smiles*
Ha ha ha! No~ when we said let's go someplace overseas, we decided it should be someplace close. So I said, Hong Kong would be really nice. But no matter what I said, Kanemitsu-san was fixed on wanting to go to Taiwan *smiles*.

Uh...for work right?
Yes, yes. Work *smiles*.

Even though you put out a book, you also did a long interview for [Ongaku to Hito].
Ah yes, it was long wasn't it? That interview was done in Tokyo though.... And a little bit was done in Taiwan. We really did talk for a long time.

Anything happen while in Taiwan?
The driving in Taiwan is insane...I mean I was so scared because it actually felt like we were in a car chase. But then there's the food, like the soup dumplings and dried mullet roe that was delicious. And the Shaoxing wine.

(About Toll's 50th birthday live)

So how did you find Yagami-san's birthday live on the 19th of August?
It was intense. But it turned out to be fun like that. I'm really glad we did it you know.

Everyone's been saying how the star of the show had the best performance.
It's true. Anii was so full of spunk! *smiles*

You know the other day in Yagami-san's interview he said he had an order for everyone....
An order?

Yes. He said that you guys should have this kind of event for every member when they turn 50.
Ahaha. Should we? I'll think about it when the time comes.... But we might not be able to *smiles*.

(About the outdoor live)

I'd also like to ask you about the outdoor live...was everything ok? Given that it rained for both days.
I knew there was no way I wasn't going to get wet. Even though we had a roof set up, a lot of rain blew in. Because of the direction of the wind I was soaked before even going on stage but somehow the guitars and stuff managed to be spared getting wet till that point.

Were you ok being in the rain like that for two days?
I was absolutely fine. I figured it was all good because when I looked out at everyone...a lot of them were taking off their hoods and stuff. Though I did wonder how they'd manage going home being so sopping wet. But I heard that some people were really happy because of the fact that it was raining actually.

Yes. Because the way the lights were shining through the rain made it all feel incredibly magical.
Right. And when that's the result, then being in the rain isn't so bad after all.

Higuchi Yutaka

(About Toll's birthday live)

How did you find your big brother's 50th birthday live?
You could tell all the hard work that went into it because it all went so well. You could really tell that everyone was like, yeah! let's do this! Which made for a great live. Anii's solo band was so much cooler than I could ever imagine *smiles*. But I guess that's why they're part of the party right *smiles*.

Yagami-san's network of friends are well known. They were all BUCK-TICK's older sempai too.
Of course *smiles*. You know these are all people who were already on the scene when we were making our debut and who are still going strong even now's really great to be able to do something like this with them. The whole thing had this air of mystery about it because the people who came were so incredibly fascinating too.

Like Sakurai-san's duet with Issay-san.
That was amazing! I mean the fact that they could do that without even rehearsing is a real testament to their bond *smiles*. I mean you couldn't tell who was playing the man and who was playing the woman.... Which I thought was really incredible.

So what should we do for your birthday live when you turn 50 Yuuta-san?
So first Anii's telling me to think about it and now you too *smiles*. But seriously, Anii's birthday live was truly a great live and up till then, he never really thought so much about possibilities for the future you know. So it was a great experience for him as well in that way. So now he's got this excitement for what's to come.

(About doing lives in some places for the first time)

This time around you'll get to do lives for the first time in Shiga, Tokushima and Saga.
We've been saying we've wanted to for a long time but...because of scheduling we never could so being finally able to go is a great honor for us. I'm pretty excited about it so I think we can manage to have some good lives. We've got some exciting things planned so I really hope people who are close by can make it.

(What's next?)

Anything you'd like to try to do in the future?
Because we've got so many songs now I was thinking it'd be cool to have an acoustic live or something. I mean because we have so many with such distinct atmospheres to them...we could really pick the right ones to create something specific for that kind of live you know. Like I thought it might be neat to have a live with only our ballad type songs. And the venue itself would be a part of that. So you could have all dark songs or all light songs...I think it's something we could actually do with our music.

Please say something to everyone awaiting what will follow from your 25th anniversary.
Right. Well we've been getting a lot e-mails about it and getting messages from everyone really gives me strength and just being able to be that excited with everyone for our 25th anniversary was truly amazing, it was just the greatest thing for me. Being able to share that excitement with everyone involved was just so important for us and makes me want to keep doing this forever so for now and everything that is to come, thank you, I really do appreciate all of your support.

Imai Hisashi

(About the outdoor live)

How was it for you, being out in the rain for two days?
We had songs that fit the rain...maybe that's why it decided to rain.

The first thing out of your mouth when you arrived at the venue for the first day was, "We still on for today?" *smiles*.
And I got an enthusiastic, "You bet we're on!" shot back at me *smiles*.

What was it like seeing everyone covered in rain jackets from the stage?
I thought they looked like a bunch of teruteru bozu (1) and so I wondered if they'd really manage to make the rain stop. So it was like I'd watch...and think, maybe it will?

I bet *smiles*. Was it slippery for you on stage?
It was, yeah. Rubber soles and water are a great pair right so yeah, it was super slippery.

(About the play he composed for)

What did the people around you say about it when they went to see it?
They said they could tell I wrote the music the moment they heard it.... Oh, right, that reminds me I hung out with Uno-san, we went to the Azabujuuban Festival.

Right. And how was the festival?
There was a crazy amount of people there and we ate yaki soba and drank beer and talked about the play and watched a DVD together.

So it was a good outing then?
Yeah well I like festivals. Not that I spend the whole time wandering around but I do like going and having a beer.

And were you invited to compose music for the next play?
No, I wasn't *smiles*.

(About doing a live for his 50th)

So Yagami-san's been spreading the idea around that it'd be good to plan something for all the other members when they turn 50, what do you think?
I'm not doing that! *smiles* Well, ok, I'll think about it when the time comes.

(About [Yumemiru Uchuu])

The new album comes out September 19th and before that you put out two singles but the recording itself took a long time didn't it, don't you think?
Yeah, well if you're talking about the whole thing from start to finish then, it was long.

And in the midst of that you had lives. There are some songs that once you compose them, you can get overview of what the album will be like as a whole and build on composing more songs from that but there are also songs that aren't indicative of the whole so how are the songs distributed in that sense this time?
I think the first songs I did were "LADY SKELETON" and "Yumemiru Uchuu".... And "CLIMAX TOGETHER" was done towards the end because I kind of wanted something simpler that people could just get excited about with a rock and roll beat.

It's rare for an album and a single to share the same title though.
Because I just thought those words were really nice. And that they really fit the album best. And the fact that we don't usually have an album share a title with a single just made it all the better *smiles*.

(About his hair)

So um..........
What?! *smiles*

I'm just really surprised by your hair style right now.
Hya-hya-hya! *smiles*

I was just wondering where you got the idea to style your hair like that. And was wondering if you were going to go on stage like that too today.
I'm not! *smiles* It's just like this because...I had trouble doing something neat with my hair when I don't have makeup on to complete the look. It just really...looked awful without makeup around my eyes to give it the proper impact *smiles*.

Notes: (1) Teruteru bozu are little dolls made of white paper or cloth that are hung up in windows in the hopes they will bring good weather.