Online Interview with Sakurai Atsushi & Imai Hisashi
August 2007
Translation by Lola

In this 22nd instalment, we have Buck-Tick to talk about the release of their new single 'Alice in Wonder Underground' which was released the 8th of August. Buck-Tick have been pioneers in the scene of alternative rock in Japan. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their major debut, they've put out releases, played lives in June & July and in September will have some amazing guests as part of the 13 groups of the BT fest. After that they will go on tour. It's due to the steadfastness of its members that BT is able to celebrate these 20 years. Within that time then, did there seem to be a turning point for the both of you?
Imai: During the recording of 'Kurutta Taiyou' (1991) we changed our approach. Until then it was like we were trapped, and with that we broke free. I remember there was a lot of arguing back and forth with our engineer Hiruma-san. He thought the things we did during recording we wouldn't be able to reproduce during the lives. But, then he noticed the more freedom we had, the better we performed.
Sakurai: It was very personal thing for me as that was when my mother died. In that album I was able to pour out all my feelings and it saved me. I have the strong tendency to let my personal feelings affect my work. But then because I was able to get it out, when I was working in the studio with Hiruma-san doing the recording, I was beginning to work properly. That was a hugely significant moment.

But surely it wasn't only that that kept you motivated for the duration of 20 years? Would you say Buck-Tick's fifth album, 'Kurutta Taiyou' is a masterpiece? Usually people say that a rock band's fifth album is the one to be avoided because they've already done what they wanted to do and are just doing what they should do.
Imai: But all of us in Buck-Tick believe there's so much more we can do. Plus we don't see how we could break up, it would be like a part of us was missing. We don't even talk about breaking up. We're as close as brothers can be *smiles*. ....I'd say the secret to keeping a band together for this long is patience and habit *smiles*. People will probably be disappointed that I said that *smiles*. No one can do anything by themselves *smiles*. Besides, we're like family we've been together so long. Yeah there are times we don't even speak but there are also times when we go out to eat and drink together and just talk about silly things.
Sakurai: Are you talking about that time Toll and Yuuta told us the strange story about the Hanshin Tigers versus the Giants *smiles*? Yuuta worries about Imai feeling lonely and worries about Hide and I being bored. So he tells us these silly stories.

Your new single 'Alice in Wonder Underground' makes me think of your early days, it seems like a shiny pop song with guitar at the forefront of the band sound.
Imai: It's a catchy melody with a simple arrangement. When I wrote it I thought it'd be interesting to have on the album. I think this was the first time I wrote the lyrics for the title track of a single.

On September 19th, your fifteenth album 'Tenshi no Revolver' comes out with guitar band sound as its theme. While certainly we knew you wouldn't only stick to dark things, I think even Buck-Tick's oldest fans will appreciate this new album with its catchy pop feel.
Imai: I think the concept of this new album is a reaction to our previous one '13kai wa Gekkou'. Since the point of this album is guitar rock it allows for more guitar solos, so I thought of what we could do with two guitars during the arrangements.
Sakurai: The vocals are very raw. It's the rawness of flesh and blood, of human acts, how they can be filthy but also beautiful, I thought it'd be good to convey that. I tried to have that rawness of rock in my voice when I recorded. I think that combined with the lyrics are what can make a song fun.