UV vol. 25 1997
Interview with Yagami Toll
Text by Okamoto Akira
Translation: Lola

Your sound has changed again since 'COSMOS' hasn't it?
Since we're in the demo tape stage now, the first thing we have to do is figure out how to join the songs together, I thought we'd loop them in a natural way. But when I was given it to listen to it was quite the opposite. I don't know if it was natural or just thrown together but I thought it balanced out.

So you won't fixate on the naturalness this time?
The thing with looped sound is that it is completely distinct from natural or raw sound but this time it was mixed up. Because Imai said he wanted to do hard techno.

What do you personally think about that approach?
It's tiresome. Because I'm getting dull and severe with age. It took me awhile but I get it now. My feelings regarding looped sound have changed. I used to think it was strange but now I find it fits the album like a glove. So I doubt I've had my fill of it yet.

Do you find the great demand of playing the drums a very difficult thing?
I do when I'm in the middle of playing, like during 'TABOO' I thought it was rough. That's when I began thinking about the producer.

Did you find you were becoming just a machine beating the drums?
No, hitting things is the fun part about playing the drums.

Just putting your groove into the song takes you to another world doesn't it?
Yeah it does. Our rhythm producer, Nara-san, has been helping me out with a lot of things. He did last time too. When it comes to rhythm recording, we all trust his judgement. If I start to beat out the rhythm in the bars, just to sound them out and count the beats he says, "No, no, No!" *smiles*. He says that for a good take I need to preserve my energy because if it's bad from the start and I'm tired we'll have to stop. This is our second time working together, he's given me a lot.

Such as?
When it's good or when it's bad he tells you plainly. He's been Yuuta's bass teacher from the beginning. He takes care of the rhythm part of the band.

Is the drum recording going smoothly then?
We've been recording rhythm for about two weeks and by this point the songs are almost complete. So it's fairly easy. It's just that because it's close to the end we're pressed for time so it wears me down *smiles*. I can't even take a day off to relax, it's like I'm in prison *smiles*. I have to concentrate.

You pay attention to the tiniest details. It's like within the great whole there are various little parts that can be seen forming it right?
Yes, that's it. Next is the mixing stage where Hiruma-san, our engineer, changes the timbre of the drums in each section. He makes it sound tight and suddenly the drums are an ambient sound. But even that changes too.

If you tried to say that you wanted to change the drum parts would they listen to you?
But I wouldn't because I think of it as a band ensemble. I've always thought the best thing is to have balance. Even during the technical direction phase I never questioned Hiruma-san's direction. Because the end result was good.

So you're not obsessed with anything? Like with the looping of the sound that isn't natural? Or if they only use one part of a phase as a sample you don't care?
I did before. I was also devoted to the songs. This time for 'Sexy Stream Liner' Imai and Yokoyama-kun, the manipulator, are working on it together. When it's time to record, they already have the drum parts in advance. They need that because they're going to use it. Seems like they like using the drums since they're used in every song.

So when you're drumming is there an expectation you're trying to arrive at?
Yeah, it's pretty basic. There is a perfect form in the composer's mind, that's what I aim for. But that's why the demo tape gets cut six or seven times. After that Imai adds what wants I guess.

Once it's complete, is your part completely different from how it was in the beginning?
Ah, no it's not. Because we record together from the beginning. It's just the quality of the sound that changes because it gets fixed. But the original is used, I know because I know the rhythm.

Which songs do you like playing?
'Sasayaki', 'Heroine' and 'My Fuckin' Valentine'.

When I listened to 'Heroine' initially I thought it was right for Buck-Tick to use that sound, then when I listened to the album once again I felt a new world was evolving. How do you see these current changes?
To me it's not so much a change but rather a return to the right track. Because 'COSMOS' was mainstream, I felt lost.

The focus then was on guitar sound.
I think that's why I was lost you know. Plus we had a different engineer.

The former engineer has returned?

The importance of the guitar has abated for now but nobody really cares?
It's great isn't it? That's the new Buck-Tick *smiles*.

Because you guys always put out the sound you want?
We do yes, because have two great composers.

Do you feel things have gone better than expected?
I have. I mean only the composer understands the complete picture in his head and even then the picture may change. But despite changing record labels our way of recording hasn't changed.

But don't you feel different?
There's that feeling of having to start all over again but that just makes us feel fresh.

Will the live be difficult?
I want to do almost all the songs I've listened to. So I'll have to practice *smiles*.

Because your December show at the Budoukan is close to the album release will the live mainly consist of those songs?
It's too far away to say, I don't know yet.

Do you think of lives differently than you do recording?
We change the order of songs for lives about 8 or 9 times. We try to make it sound as smooth as possible. The problem of course is that studio sound and live sound are different so it's impossible to attain that perfection. But we always want to come as close to it as possible during lives.

But you also need a specific mood for the live.
How did we manage till now? I think it just came automatically *smiles*. I'm sure it'll be the same for Budoukan and our tour next year.

How do you feel about including old songs with the new songs from this album on the tour?
I'm not sure. We didn't have to worry about that for 'Six/Nine' *smiles*. We didn't put any other songs so I don't know what we'll do. We'll have to try to mix the old with the new I guess. We'll try to make it enjoyable *smiles*.