音楽と人 - June 2004
Imai Hisashi Interview
Translation: Lola

Sorry to start so abruptly.

I never thought that people could come together in their late 30s for a project and still have a youthful sound. *laughs*
Aa, you flatter me! Conveying youthfulness. Maybe because of the title of the piece 'Rolling Lucy'...you're already laughing. It's ok but only since Kiyoshi-kun wrote the lyrics and music for 'Rolling Lucy'! (<-said emphatically). I said it too you know. "Rolling...rolling it is I guess!" *laughs*.

It is especially obvious there but, I also feel that rash youthful vigour in other pieces as well.
What do you think is the theme of Lucy?

...the theme?
What are we doing? We thought about that, we had a meeting and the result was the conclusion that his* personality is light and playful. So we decided we would do something light. Thus 'Rockin'.

Rockin. (<-his pronunciation seems wrong)


............like as in rock! So the image doesn't seem serious, it appears more light.
Yes. The seriousness comes in gradually bit by bit through that eccentric almost harsh image. At the beginning we started with just two guitarists, I thought I could devote myself to everything but I was getting progressively busier...eventually I began to think that I want to do more with the band. So we had Kacchan on the drums. The idea of solely devoting myself to the programming among everything else faded rapidly.

That was at the beginning?
Yes. I thought it was better to have a band with a more tight image, it's easier to understand.

Where did the band's name 'Lucy' come from?
That's Kiyoshi-kun's idea. I don't really understand it either but, Lucy Monostone (In the first volume of the literary work of fiction, the character has a cultist feeling. The legend is that this person lives in America.) is the person he had in mind, it's hard to understand why. From the start that was his intent. It fits well though so it's ok.

Imai-san, when you hear Lucy, what kind of thing comes to mind?

Wahaha! But there's only the Lu and the Cy that matches. *laughs* Where did the image for the logo come from?
In the beginning it was simple and rather vague but I didn't think it was interesting. An amazing and gorgeous European feel to it. With the lightness of rockin, as with Lucy, a nice American feeling to the logo seemed to emerge but that wasn't what we were going for really.

So hold on, from the beginning I heard that you were the originator of this project?
No, Kiyoshi-kun suggested it. Already...almost close to 2 years ago now I think. I thought we'd get around to doing it eventually. You know since we constantly hang out.

You two are drinking buddies right.
Yes. When we get serious we always drink, since it's about that feeling. We talked a lot about it but I had to wait and see what Buck-Tick's activities were like, ah, I thought that if things are good there then maybe I can do this project. I got serious. But it all depends on how much free time I have, I can't do something seriously without the proper time but I thought I'd go for it and see.

Ok so you thought you'd do it based entirely on Buck-Tick's timing?
Yes. I kept saying things like 'I'll do it' and they'd say 'ok'. I just had to find an opening to do it and think of where I can do it.

Which did you end up doing, did you say something like 'I'll do a rockin' thing' or did you say 'I'm doing something different than Buck-Tick'?
I said 'I'm doing something different' because at the beginning I only had a vague idea. At first there wasn't really that light rockin' feeling right. Already from the start I thought that the feeling was progressively serious, it came out rapidly as I began working on it and like that gradually something band like came to be. This way you see this is the band's colour! Maybe it's interesting until you see it as it is.

It's true, I was also surprised when I first listened, it's like with inexperienced bands until now. I think perhaps the more digital elements clash usually but that didn't happen here.
Ah, that was an NG word.

What, digital?
Yes. It's not really a thing to avoid but, there's a tendency toward rejecting the digital when you come across it. But you know of course there are loops and synthesized sound in it. I can even make those sounds at home, here I think I want the synthesized sound to be ornamental so I look for something then, a really cheap sound comes out, but it sounds too rushed so it doesn't really fit.

You wanted to do something that would seem to fit?
I wanted to but it doesn't. With three people drinking and talking things get heated don't they?

Then drinking time is extended.
That's right. *laughs* Since you can't even talk seriously then. While talking about the logo, we had this not very polished sound, the kind that leaves an impression of being out of fashion but that doesn't leave a good impression, for it to be good all we had to do is do something to make it stick.

So it's not that you spent too much time confined in the studio brooding over what was to come out.
No no, it was much more liiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

......it was actually all realized while having a meeting and drinking late at night.

While drinking you tell Kiyoshi-san 'let's call Kacchan' so you call him, late at night, and he answers your summons to the scene right.

And then it's the same thing all over again with Kacchan dragged into it, am I right?
Kukuku, basically. *laughs*

Summoned at night and then kept in your company until morning, that looks bad.
But I just sent him an email! 'Come meet us, it's band stuff' 'ok'. It's not even a conversation! Hyahahahaha! (he's the only one who gets it)

......I thought Kacchan followed unconditionally from the beginning 'we're drinking again...', but I think I'm hearing only half the story.
I think it seems like that even now. *laughs*

Where did the visual come from?
Ah, from the start I thought if we used illustrations it would be cool, it went over well with the feel of the band. If it suits the band then it conveys a good image. I don't really want to say it's original material. *laughs*

Until now Imai-san, you've done various extracurricular activities like Schaft and Schwein, but what is the biggest difference between them?
It's easy to see that they're all completely different, in regards to the work and the sound. Usually having drums and bass...there is a that background noise that makes a song flow. It gives a band feeling. In this way I think perhaps the sound can pass without obstruction. Even with 2 guitarists, there's no way to really understand the concept of a unit. Buck-Tick is the type of band that, even when doing solo work, you see and think, I have to check that band out! I think that's the type of thing I want to do.

Is this something you can't do with Buck-Tick?
Can't do? Maybe it's more that I didn't do it. I was unexpectedly worn out with the band but ah, I had a good feeling about this idea. Yet if I'd said that to Buck-Tick, they would have dismissed it, at least that's the feeling I had. But if I did it with Buck-Tick, then I'd be a terrible liar. *laughs*

Ha ha ha. How is it a great difference then?
With Lucy things can pass without objection for one, even when doing nothing. But around the time the band began, maybe that feeling was there, just a little different. For how many years have I been doing this as a musician, for the time being it's just fun doing something slightly different you know. Lucy's youthfulness is fresh for sure.

The Imai-san phrase I love is 'just as spring will always be fresh, so will I' but, this freshness you speak of what word do you associate with it?

But I think that that coming out is a forte. At the same time I don't want to forget about the vivacity of course.

Everyone in Buck-Tick is also starting solo activities starts but, did they tell you?
Just Ani by accident. I'm looking forward to it though. Once though~ I saw something strange in my manager's bag. I said, Huh? Acchan is...performing? I started to feel uneasy then put it back in the bag properly demanding, get in here and explain! *laughs*

However, his is more digital isn't it.
At first I thought so too, I assumed it had that sound a little. But it didn't really fit or something. Maybe it can be cool if it's done, it just has to be a little different then. While making an album, it has to be enriched with a variety of sounds, with this feeling I think it can become number one and if that happened as a result I'd be really glad.

I got the Lucy MD today and listened to it, I was so excited, it's so fun~~! *laughs*
You know I was in the car listening to it and I just dissolved into roars of laughter, hyahahaha, like that.

It's like a 'Higher immaturity~' isn't it. *laughs*
That's why it is interesting. It's thrilling you know. But in the end I see it like a strange dream that does not come true. I guess I'm saying that it'd be fitting for this project to be a huge failure. *laughs*

You're surprisingly anxious. *laughs*
It's natural for me to see things this way sadly. Mainly this seems like a dream you know.

Do you feel overshadowed by Buck-Tick when doing something like this, it must have some influence right?
Well, I think there is with the sound for instance but it's done simply. But you might say this kind of sound is therefore Buck-Tick's. It's not really though, the sounds have the same intensity but they're not done the same way, that's what makes it cool.

With immaturity.

That's why the tour title is 'Shout! Speed! Shake!' right.
It's silly isn't it arranging it with all those S s. *laughs*

Kukuku. Composition wise how many are Kiyoshi-san's, Imai-san's...
About half and half. With about two instrumental pieces, those are the basic ones Kacchan made.

However, you and Kiyoshi-san have already been friends for a long time haven't you.
Already 7 or 8 years now I think. But Amazingly we've only been playing together for about 4 or 5 years. Of course after playing together, drinking sake, we want to make a band with fun people together. So then the concept of Lucy was born, that's pretty much exactly how it happened actually. I will say that despite the idea coming out I didn't think anything would come of it! I don't know why I had that feeling. It's the feeling of not seeing the whole picture.

In Buck-Tick, the frames of the picture are tightly linked.
Nn, they are, for example this image or concept I have the feeling that, if done with Buck-Tick, you can understand it. But the band is a little too heavy for it.

Its world view is strong.
There's also that but, maybe until now that's the one thing we've been doing. I think maybe this type of sound might be next there. The next route won't be the same as what was done before. That's really how it is, if I did it with Buck-Tick then it'd end looking like a rotten lie. Therefore, I do it here.

* the 'he' he's referring to is hide. Lucy being a tribute album.
** Could also be 'Luna Sea'. XD