UV vol. 25 1997
Interview with Sakurai Atsushi & Imai Hisashi
Text by Imai Tomoko
Translation: Lola

It seems like you've made good progress with song writing and recording but did you have a quick start?
Imai: Song writing is pretty much always the same, I start about one month before recording.

It's been about a year and a half since your previous album 'COSMOS' and in that time you've changed labels so I imagine your vision and enthusiasm is different for this album?
Imai: There's a bit of pressure but it's generally the same.

What pressure?
Imai: Things like the director changing, it takes some getting used to. Well and the staff has changed entirely too so I don't really know anything about any of them. But that will pass, we can't let that stop us. So we do as we always do.

Of course after doing so many albums together, a change of management won't affect your way of making an album.
Imai: Yeah that's what I think because when the time comes to make music, we fall into our natural rhythm.

By the way, did you plan in advance what sort of them this album would have?
Imai: Well I figured something vaguely technological.

And that is?
Imai: Well like techno. Or something digital.

Is it because that's the latest trend in music?
Imai: I don't think about that. I just go with what I want, and the sound that results from that.

Techno and digital sounds are elements that Buck-Tick has yet to conquer, and now the focus becomes the drums and the bass doesn't it?
Imai: Well, yeah. That's just how techno is. If you compare it to how we were till now, I think it's pretty straightforward.

Then it's only recently that you've wanted to move toward digital rock and techno?
Imai: No, I've wanted to from the very beginning, I have a predisposition for that sort of thing. I just wondered if we should do something so straightforward.

I wonder, is there anything that worries Buck-Tick as a band since there is nothing you can't do?
Imai: ......there is. But I look forward to that. I want to know what it could be.

You look forward to it?
Imai: Because, now there is no end in sight....

Sakurai-san, when you listened to the music for this album for the first time, how did you feel about it? Did you find it different from what you've done until now?
Sakurai: Mm...well, I guess a little. But I was told we'd be doing techno so it's not like I was surprised *smiles*.

Did the sound affect your lyrics?
Sakurai: No, it did not.

The single 'Heroine' was first released November 12th, were you aware it was going to be the single when you made it? Because the album version is a different mix.
Imai: Well I did a different mix of it for the album...because I knew it was going to be the song for the single.

And why did you choose it as a single?
Imai: It seemed like a single to me.

*smiles* That's it? Were the lyrics written when it was decided?
Sakurai: ....no, they were not.

Did you know you were writing lyrics for what would be the single before you wrote them?
Sakurai: Yes, I did.

So did you use words that are easy to sing along to and easy to understand because of that?
Sakurai: ...I only thought about being able to sing it in NHK hall *smiles*. Since I was unable to sing 'Candy'. Well not just that *smiles*, I also think about it being something people will listen to.

With that in mind, did you write other serious lyrics?
Sakurai: Not because of that, no.

Are you given some leeway when you write lyrics?
Sakurai: It depends on the song.

Which song did you have trouble with?
Sakurai: ...'Heroine'. ....and 'Thanatos'. Because I was told that they'd be on the single. Initially, I wasn't sure about 'Thanatos' being on the single when we discussed it. I think I was over analyzing it. Perhaps because I was trying to coerce them into putting 'Kimi ga shin...dara' onto the single *smiles*, but I wasn't allowed.

Did you ever feel when you did pop melodies, that no matter which song made it to the single it didn't matter?
Sakurai: Mm, I did. Around the time of 'Just one more kiss' *smiles*.

*smiles* Well that's ok, after all it was your first single. If you compare how you use kanji then and now, has it changed?
Sakurai: Ah, yes it has. With the use of the word processor. But I only began using that around 'Six/Nine'.

So it did change how you wrote?
Sakurai: It did *smiles*. Of course I have to be careful in my kanji selection. Like the way of reading a word may be the same, but the use of different kanji changes the meaning. I have to think about that when I choose.

What about the blank space here, "Ore wa bu ta ni nari"?
Sakurai: Mm, yes. ...that blank space looks strange doesn't it? But I didn't want to put the small 'tsu' between characters *smiles*. I just wanted to play around a bit.

So what does the album title mean?
Imai: I was going for an image of something that was streamlined. So 'Stream Liner' came to mind. But I wanted another word. Something that was slang or the new thing to say, like 'Sexy'. 'Stream Liner' alone people might not get the full meaning but line all three words up together and it makes for a rather interesting image I think.

Maybe I'm wrong but, for me streamlined makes me think of something that is linear.
Imai: No, that's it. Like speed...

The title song is an instrumental piece but did you write it only after all the others were done?
Imai: Yes. I wanted it to be something of a bridge, like a preparation(1) between songs.

This song is a bridge?
Imai: Yeah, it leads to 'Heroine'....

It seems like when you began recording the mood was set, songs steadily progressed and yet as the recording drags on, your mood doesn't change *smiles*.
Imai: I know *smiles*.

Before your upcoming tour in February, you have a couple end of year shows in Budoukan right? All your fans must be really excited. Because you'll have a new album and a tour after.
Sakurai: Mm, I guess so. We're always recording so for me, it's a bit difficult to understand.

You'll do a live with different new songs in spring. Because you're excited to move forward.
Imai: ...well you can't ad lib concerts of that size you know. But didn't we play old songs during our last tour? You know that's not an incentive for me, on the contrary I hate it *smiles*.

You get tired of them *smiles*?
Imai: Yeah. Because they're old, as are the arrangements. But see because I've said that now I'm motivated to change them and rework them *smiles*. So I had to hurry up and finish this album.

So then, in this tour you'll be excited to play all the songs?
Imai: Yes, I will.

(1) Ok, well this isn't so much a note as a point of amusement for me. The word Imai used can also mean 'to educate' which made me giggle endlessly given my...initial discoveries during the translation of songs on this album, namely...'My Fuckin' Valentine'. XD