音楽と人 - June 2007
Interview with Imai Hisashi
Text by Kanemitsu Hirofumi
Translation: Lola

So what we just listened to in the car was the album demo right?
Yes. I've already decided on the sound. But the songs are still temporary.

I see with this new single that the band is going in a simple direction and at first that sound reminded me of your debut. That's what I really thought right after listening.
Ah to say we're returning to our roots as a band isn't wrong in regards to technique. That's what I thought when I knew we'd do an album like this. Like I would aim for a sound that took in the drums and the bass at the same level.

And that means?
That I would just do what I could without digital stuff, using just us five in the band, with guitar sound even though that would limit the melody and chord progression it'd still be a different sound. Different from '13 kai wa gekkou' and 'Mona Lisa Overdrive', something that'd be quite easy to understand. Because of that I'm not doing something strange and modern this time.

So without being aware that you were going back, you ended up pursuing that same method.
Yes, that's it. So it's not that we intentionally decided to go back to the starting point. It's just in pursuit of a technique.

But why are you using this technique?
At first, it was just because I felt that I wanted to do something good that could be done simply with one acoustic guitar.

In other words, you wanted the strength of the melody to be prominent right?
Recently I said in a different interview with Acchan that I'd want to do something that people will think is good without it being about showing off. Once I knew that I knew I had to do something different, had to sharpen my technique. Problem is it's hard getting five people to sound like one.

It sounds disjointed?
Yeah. Previously even if I was fixated on one rugged sound I would take the various disjointed parts and put them all together to get it but it wasn't like that this time, I feel like I want to be even more unified. Since doing '13 kai~' I've been gradually moving in that direction. It all feels connected inside me you know. Like if doing something abstract turned into '13 kai~' then I wonder what will be created if I focus on something concrete.

When I first listened to it, they sound like complete opposites.
While we were still wrapped up in the gothic stuff, there was this rock and roll image that was starting to form too and that image grew rapidly into this great concept for an album. I felt I wanted to go in that direction, wanted to do an album with some ten songs like that that were good to listen to.

You see that simple rock and roll sound with 'Rendezvous~' but how does it feel to be doing something like that at your age?
It feels........young and fresh.

*smiles* Because of the technique you see, the technique. Like up till now during recording getting the guitar and keyboard parts to be exact was like putting together pieces of a puzzle but this time I just did what I could from beginning to end even if it was rough around the edges. That technique came from listening without headphones so while I was working on it I couldn't hear the little clicks and rough patches.

I said it around the time of '13kai~' too, the image came when we were playing one time. We were doing gothic songs but because it was unplugged, the performance felt really light. When I noticed, I thought that I wanted to keep things like that.

No matter the setting or style of an album, there's a certain theme you guys have and that doesn't change.
Yes. That's part of being in a band. The various times I've thought 'oh, that's good' is usually when the high point of the song and the melody are what stands out most. Things just seem to come together well when it's done that way. When that sort of thing seems to come out of course I don't want to suppress it. It's not like I planned it all out or anything. On the contrary, things just started to build up suddenly and I thought ah, this is it!

What about the idea to couple the new song with a self cover?
That and other crap was the record company's idea *smiles*. But aside from the songs on 'Koroshi no Shirabe' there's still a lot of songs I'd like to re-arrange.

Is there really that many?
Well yeah, there's everything from then until now!

I've always toyed with the idea in my head you know, that it'd be interesting to do something like that. I just haven't gotten around to it because it'd take a lot of work. And I haven't really had the opportunity.

But isn't this good timing, given your current technique?
Yes, that's why I thought it'd be interesting to do it. Really...at the time I thought 'whose musical compositions have evolved?'.

Yours *smiles*.
I was surprised. Now I feel like an idiot *smiles*. Because of how I am now, I don't do things shyly. But when I see someone else do it I think oh wow, they used such a bold chord!

But the fact that you do those things so coolly just proves that you're a genius.

Will you write that out in the magazine as 'laughs sarcastically'? *smiles*

I won't. But, it's because these things just come to you naturally right.
Yeah. But that's because when I'm recording with Buck-Tick, of course we're really invested in each album. No matter if it's gothic or anything else. I think it's because of that outlook that we can do what we do musically. So even though it suddenly appears like what we're doing isn't related to what we did before, it feels elliptical to me.

That connection is your foundation isn't it?
Yeah it is.

So, you're celebrating your 20th anniversary this year.
Seems like it.

You'll also be having the Buck-Tick fest.
By all means, please come and see it, we'd love to have you.

Ah! That was such a normal comment *smiles*.

You don't really have much experience with lives like that do you?
Not really. Just with PIG.

You've got Kiyoharu, J, Balzac, Tsuchiya Masami, Endo Michirou, Runaway Boys and AGE of PUNK all lined up for the tour.
I'm excited. I wonder how it'll turn out?

Maybe each band will just perform their cover songs.
Well but even so, anything can happen you know.

Yes, like I thought it'd be good if you and Michirou-san played and sang together.
N-n-n-no way no way!

With both of you on acoustic guitars playing something like 'Mushi'.
'Mushi' would be good.......if we could get Acchan to sing it.

Hahahaha, that, that would be an amazing collaboration to witness.
It'd be an insanely passionate performance *smiles*.

You have more of an emotional reaction to that than you do about your 20th anniversary....
I know. It's just a point in time for me.

Well just the fact that you're all older changes the environment too.
Ah, of course you'd think that but actually well Yuuta and I haven't changed at all, we're al~ways doing the same things. We haven't settled down.

Really, even after 20 years? *smiles*
Only Yuuta and I, you know I came to Tokyo without my driver's license. Then when I was around 30 I finally got it but when I think about it, that was a good ten years after I came *smiles*.

Do you think the changes of the people around you have influenced your melodies, or your own outlook or your lyrics?
What like even though Acchan's the one saying it, is he saying what I want to say?

Well the lyrics for 'Rendezvous~' are amazing!

It's just so openly happy with lines like 'I'm really happy to have been able to meet you', he's a very expressive person isn't he?
Then tell him that. Hyahahahahaha!

But I'm just not used to him being happy...how can I say it? He usually seems angry.

Well, clearly things have changed.
On top of that, whether it's good or bad because of the melody and the timing of the song I have a feeling that maybe there won't be other things like that. Because of the end of the song.

What are you hinting at?
Oh, nothing~ *smiles*.

Well no matter what kind of album it turns out to be I'm looking forward to it. But from the talk today I think I've gotten a glimpse of it.
Oh, you think so?

It's going to change even more isn't it?
Perhaps. But I think it'd be good to do something sharp and hone this rock and roll sound.

I look forward to it. Now, finally. Since when have you had this beard?
What......you don't like it?

I don't dislike it but it's just weird seeing you like that *smiles*.
One year ago.......right before Summer Sonic I think. I didn't bother shaving but initially it was never my intent to grow it out. Because I have weak facial hair by nature. But then I started to think that hey...you know, this looks pretty cool doesn't it and so I started to shape it. That's how it came to look like this.

Hide-san got a lot of grief from fans when he grew his out you know. They said it was your bad influence.
Hey........but I told him in advance because for Hide it just takes a day to grow a beard. After half a day his beard looks like mine right now. And that's just because he forgot to shave!

So it's just because he's lazy and here I thought it was all about fashion.
That's so wrong!