音楽と人 - September 2007
Interview with Buck-Tick
Translation: Lola

~Sakurai Atsushi~

The new single has a surprising tune.
*smiles* Does it?

Yeah. I can understand why Buck-Tick would go in that direction this time but, I'm surprised that it's now. What do you think about it Sakurai-san?
To be honest, I really thought that another song would have been good for the single because the other song was one I was rather fond of but, the opinion of the members and all the staff once they listened was that this one would be quite popular. So once I thought of it that way, as a single, I don't think there was anything better, since a single firstly has to be easy to remember, something pop is best. Then usually it's good if the high point of the song is in English. Those are things that a 'single' should have and it has all that. And slowly, I realized that for myself.

Now I think it's a super cute song *smiles*.

Ha ha ha ha. It's true. I agree, pop like songs are fun. In a previous interview Imai-san said that he'd use a more band like technique but, out of the ways he selected it seems like he's wanting to aim at something emotional, like now the songs are bouncy and happy but actually, Imai-san isn't exactly the happy bouncy type *smiles*. So I thought this whole thing must have seemed strange to the band too.
Personally, I was confused at first. Because the world I like hasn't changed, I thought we'd do something more hard and dark. It's just that if I try to think about it I know that we've done that already. So now I feel that I would like to do something that is light.

If I didn't think you'd want to do something light Sakurai-san it's because this song while completely fun to sing is not very challenging is it?
It isn't. Which is why I was confused initially. I shouldn't say such things when I'm promoting it though.

No it's ok, I wanted you to tell me. I know how you see the world Sakurai-san and I thought I knew the direction Buck-Tick was going. But then you put out this single. So I figured that how you felt about it would be really important and because it's such a good single of course I want you to talk about it.
.........I see. Recently, we filmed the PV for this song and I was already able to fully enjoy it *smiles*. Even though........I have that negative image, it spreads to those around me too. So if I change my feelings to something positive then the other members will join in and be happy too. I feel like this is the role I've been given.

Well then if you've turned your feelings away from being dark and heavy, what sort of image have you settled into now Sakurai-san?
Ah, in the previous album '13 kai wa gekkou', I wanted a gothic world to armor myself with and it worked perfectly for me in that sense, it felt natural for me but as a challenge it left me wanting but now it's done. So~ that part of me is sealed for now. Of course, I'm always polishing what's inside me so if it happens that that sort of world comes out as a result, then naturally, it's something I will do.

You're always open to possibility.
*smiles* Yes.

So with this song it would seem likely to me that you and Imai-san would have problems practicing. Imai-san told me 'It's not about how happy I am now but rather about our band being able to express our happiness perhaps'. You have different ways of looking at the world but even you have happy feelings in your daily life Sakurai-san so, aren't you trying to show those feelings in Buck-Tick's love songs?
Yes, yes. Being able to express it really helped me, I'm grateful. As a singer, I don't know if it's a big thing or a small thing but, it's a step in the right direction I think.

Once again in your 20th year together as a band, it is a time of change but how will the world receive this change *smiles*? It's so characteristic of Buck-Tick.
Yes. Of course it was a turning point for us but it'll sound strange if I say that it's an unstable turning point *smiles*.

Ha ha ha ha! Yeah, I agree. That's something you'd say Sakurai-san. "At first I was confused by the other member's lyrics but now I sing it and it's fun", it seems that's the story of the new face of the band.
Ha ha ha ha. Yes, so you see the feeling is that we're not inert.

~Hoshino Hidehiko~

I was surprised by how pop like the new single is.
Ha ha ha ha, really? Maybe it won't be so successful as a release.

Nooooo, I have no doubt that it will be great.
......I think we had something like 4 or 5 candidate songs? There were various opinions within the band on which would make the best one. Something in a minor key *smiles*, something a little more rock but in the end this is what was chosen.

I think it's a great breakthrough, the whole album feels very genuine. Especially this single.
Ah, you think so?

Yes. I think it's why you've been able to change even now at this point after 20 years.
Perhaps it is......

I think if you couldn't change then you wouldn't have been together for so long. But at the same time if you hadn't been together then you wouldn't have been able to change either.
Yeah. It's not just about us enjoying it. We're changing. Previously we made a conceptual album. So, now we won't.

But which is better....?
They're both fun you know. Ha ha ha.

But where do you find fun in Buck-Tick? Oh god, I'm sorry, that sounds like such a childish question to ask.
Ha ha ha. For me, concentrating on just one thing, taking each album as one work at a time, that's what I find fun.

In that regard, what do you enjoy as a member?
It's the atmosphere.

So what role then do you think you have to carry out within the band? This is turning into a self analysis.
......what's my role? Well, back in the day I felt like I was the one who had to smooth things over. I'm not saying we didn't get along, we did. But I think I felt like the oil that fuels the band, keeps it running on track.

So, in that way you think you'll be able to continue to change with the band?
Well, as you said earlier if I hadn't been with them for so long then I wouldn't be able to.

It's strange isn't it? That all this change musically hasn't caused friction? Usually friction between people is only natural.
Aah, it seems that way generally doesn't it?

But we just have fun together, the five of us and that's all there is to it.

So, how do you feel then Hoshino-san, in regards to the band and your position in it and how you've changed this year?
Actually, we haven't really changed fundamentally. That's true for the band and myself. In some ways it's really the same mood as when we were in senior high school. Of course there were things that we almost weren't able to do then. It's like were members within our own society *smiles*. So, basically we haven't changed.

I see.
I think the situation is what it is just because we've been doing this for 20 years.

And because you haven't changed, you're sure of that.
That too. Actually, even in relation to us regarding our musical stance, we haven't changed since we began to write our own original music, it's more that it was natural for us to do different things from the start. So I honestly don't feel like change is a sudden thing.

~Yagami Toll~

What are you thoughts on touring with different bands?
Ah, it's interesting. It's been a long time since we've done something like that. The last time we did something like that with Japanese artists was LSB wasn't it?

How has it been going so far?
Of course it's great to be able to watch our wonderful guests during rehearsals and stuff. Like Michirou-san and Tsuchiya-san. For me it was great, like watching a one man show! *smiles*

I enjoyed it. The whole live had a good atmosphere.

It did. So, I heard that you strongly recommended 'Alice in Wonder Underground' to be the single.
While I listened to it during track down I knew that song absolutely had to be a single. I thought this is exactly what we wanted as a single but neither Acchan nor Imai really thought so.......*smiles*.

Kukuku. I thought it'd make a good single even when I listened to it in the rough stages.
See! I thought the arrangement really fit the tune. I'm surprised the composer himself didn't see it. Everyone around kept insisting it would be a good single!

Everyone else can be objective about it. This single, along with the album, have that recurring band sound, what do you think about that?
It feels like hard rock and country with something like an traditional element. There isn't that feeling of precise construction as there was for '13 kai~'. So it feels like rock.

Do you find this simple style difficult in comparison?
It is difficult, yeah. The type of construction that goes into that type of song seems hard when you listen to it but as the person playing it it's quite easy as an ensemble. The difference when we do simple songs like that is in the moods that come out from it day to day. Emotional highs and lows. That's what makes it interesting but since it requires that emotion to go into it, that's what makes it hard.

About the recording....
Even though everything's fine now there were some complications with the album. Like with songs that were almost finished having their arrangements changed that we then had to re-record.

What about the title, 'Tenshi no Revolver'?
At first........I was full of confidence about it *smiles*.

And then after awhile, I wondered if maybe it should be different *smiles*.

Kukuku. You paired the single with a self cover of 'tight rope'.
I laughed at that, it's like the last round of the outlaw movement. Like with the Beatles *smiles*. But it was a good extra. It sounds more fresh now.

You must be looking forward to 'ON PARADE'?
Well I'm sure it'll be fun but it'll be long too. How long is it supposed to go on for again?

I'm not sure about how much live time there will be but the event starts at 1pm so it'll go on for a total of eight hours.
8 hours! Hahaha, well I think it's been a good year for us. I just have to be careful to not succumb to heat stroke *smiles*.

~Higuchi Yutaka~

I heard you called off the final show of the tour in Okinawa due to a typhoon.
Yeah. Because of that, I got drunk.

Huh? What?
Yesterday, I was drinking with Kimura-kun (from hurdy gurdy). I was falling asleep so I thought I should go home you know and then Asaki-chan came in. He woke me up.

Wahahaha, so you acted responsibly I see.
Yeah I drank more, hahahaha.

So for now that tour is at an end.
Yeah but it made me so happy. I don't feel drained at all. It was a real privilege for me to work with everyone and even they seemed to be happy doing it. And the fans were happy too. We all understood each other, I felt like we all understood how to work with each other too. I was really glad.

And then you'll end everything with 'ON PARADE' in September.
I wanted to do something that felt like Zepp. What is the best part of the event isn't that it's for us really, it's that everyone who is performing with us are wonderful artists and because we've stuck together, Buck-Tick gets to do this.

So, tell us the story behind the single.
This time, we just really wanted a good song. I thought they were all good. They all sounded professional.

They're amazingly simple and you've really sharpened your way of working on things but it does remind me of your early days stylistically.
It's interesting isn't it. The story with this album is that of course we've reduced the number of sounds. So that it'll sound more raw, we wanted it to have that real feeling so that you hear the singing, you hear the guitars and bass, you hear the power of the drums.

I see.
But, how can I put it........I'm not saying that sound isn't important, it is very important to have those five sounds. It's that feeling we're trying to convey of the five of us that's important.

Ah, of course.
When we're all in the studio, we don't just start like that like 'hey, let's do it', we've actually been thinking about it before we even get to the studio. We already understand the song before doing it. I feel like that's something we understand more now as a band.

That's why it's so powerful now.
What we do as five people has become even stronger I find. Whether it's a pop song, or something industrial, of if I want to go to an extreme and say if we did enka the way Acchan sings, the way I play and Ani plays, and when Imai-kun and Hide play, no matter the style, that's what makes us Buck-Tick.

By all means, I'd love to see you guys do enka.

Sorry I was being mean. Your musical depth has come out with things like the good rhythm but at the same time that approach seems to have taken away the need for guitar solos. Even though it sounds like that it's actually quite the opposite with this band isn't it?
Well if it's good then isn't that what matters? Even if it wasn't necessary for me to play bass, I'd feel dead if I didn't. I always want to be able to tell Imai-kun 'there's this too we can try'.

Your desires are rapidly growing.
Yes, exactly. It's not good to.....only rely on the name of the band to carry you but it's also not so good to do your own thing completely separate from everyone else. It's difficult. It's amazing how I'm not getting worked up about it while I'm talking about myself *smiles*. I don't get worked up anymore over songs. I really think that what we do, is just us, how we are.

What have you noticed, turning 40?
Honestly, I feel like I can understand so many things now. For example during the tour with all the other bands, even with TOKIE-san and J-san , it's like now I can say something is amazing when it is. Finally at this age I can honestly say I understand something. Maybe that's something only people who keep going understand.

I think you're a little proud of yourself.
Oh I am.

~Imai Hisashi~

So there was a typhoon. So the last show in Okinawa was cancelled.....
Well we had to think of the other people involved you know.

What people?
Even if people could go, the equipment couldn't. Like it'd have to be transported over land until Kyushu and how would we do that? Someone would have to drive and that means they wouldn't sleep for two days but that's too dangerous *smiles*.

How do you find touring with other bands?
The more we do it, the more I enjoy it. It's fun watching the other bands too. I'm always standing next to the stage, watching.

How was it? Seeing your great inspiration Michirou-san.
I was really excited.....that we got to play together. He played 'Warsaw no Gensou'. He called me to the stage for his last song.

Your heart must have been racing when you heard those longed for words.
About one minute before I went out my heart was pounding!! *smiles*

Tsuchiya-san was amazing on stage too.
I've told him already but I was so glad I got to see him *smiles*. My stomach felt all knotted inside, but in a good way it was just that amazing. I was watching the whole time from above and I was in my stage clothes so of course they were flashy. I wore a bright yellow shirt and I thought hm, I don't know? And then oh! Suddenly it was my time to go out. I felt really conspicuous.

After that when Nishikawa-kun performed 'Dress' I got goose bumps. He's just a natural born front man.

It's true.
I'm glad it all turned out how it did. I'm glad that the event didn't suddenly turn into a recital contest.

So, about 'Tenshi no Revolver'...
Isn't it cool?

The title made me all tingly, reminded me of old times.
Sakurai-san and I were quite troubled about it. We wanted to use the word 'revolver' in it no matter what. So I was wondering what else to use while I was drinking then, ding~! It came to me.

The word 'tenshi' came to you!
I e-mailed him right away.

I wonder what Sakurai-san thought when he got it. What about the previous single 'Alice~'?
I really wasn't thinking about that song as a single when I wrote it. I never thought it'd end up being a single. I just thought that after 'Rendezvous~' it was necessary to have a change and I thought perhaps something in a minor key would be good.

The album is all excellent though.
Yes, yes. Then Anii said that 'Alice~' would be good as the single. It seemed to come out of nowhere! So naturally I was astonished but of course, he persuaded me and even though I was still mildly troubled about it, it was decided, just like that.

What did he say exactly?
"This is............PERFECT!!!"

Hahahaha. But, were you troubled about a lot of things? In the previous interview you said, "I'm using the band sound of the early days as a technique" and you've seemed to really get into that theme.
Yeah. I wonder where I'll be allowed to go with this album.

With the previous single and also with the album doesn't it seem like they are extremely positive, catchy, the future is bright so let's go kind of pop songs?
You're talking about the sound right?

Yeah, the sound.
The songs........in truth, I have no idea!

Uh, of course there are songs like that but I don't feel as though I'm asking people if they understand. I usually put some pretty crazy things in songs but I've already removed them this time to the best of my ability. That was pretty easily accomplished with Yoko-chan doing the synthesizing for the drums and bass. After that I left the two guitars as is. It sounds good like that.

Simple is good.
Ah, yes precisely. It's often said that it's more practical with one guitar when that's perhaps what people like about the melody, the guitar part. Of course, crazy things are good too but to a very great extent, it's the simplicity that can captivate people the most.

So you've taken it upon yourself to do something like that this time.
Yes. I can't recall anything bad about it, I've really liked it from the start. I think I'd like to copy it........

Fuhahahaha. That's because you've never paid attention to that sort of thing till now *smiles*.
All of a sudden I just thought about 'Sexy Stream Liner'......how did I play guitar so good like that! *smiles*.

It seems you're copying a very gleeful guitar boy right now.

Notes: The interview actually took place on July 18th, 2007. Imai, Yuuta, and Toll were interviewed by Kanemitsu Hirofumi while Sakurai and Hide were interviewed by Yanagi Kenichiro.