Translated by Erin Grace
We talk to Anna about the explosion of her work! How is she recovering from her decline?!
Tsuchiya Anna has just completed her hot new album “RULE.” As we speak with her about this album, she holds nothing back!
“RULE” = Putting my own rules first
--This album is called “RULE,” but the songs on it seem free and uncontrolled. “Unruly,” if you will. (laugh)
Tsuchiya Anna: In this case, “rule” doesn’t mean law or regulations or routine, but instead it stands for your own personal rules. I mean, in war it’s just accepted that you are allowed to kill other people, but your personal rule doesn’t allow you to kill another human being no matter what. Or, no matter how badly you’re bullied and teased in class, you’ll never give up. I wanted the title to speak about putting your own rules first.
--So then, if the songs on this album are “Tsuchiya Anna’s Rules,” then did you use very personal lyrics?
A: I did. I sing about all different kinds of things, from the weirdness of the world, to the importance of life, to my real thoughts towards men. I just say everything that I think. I mean, human beings can be pretty disgusting, so it’s useless to act like we’re awesome. Of course, there are also children who can display the exact opposite of that, so I wanted to say that we’re not all perfect, but dammit, we’re trying. I don’t make humanity out to be perfect in any of my songs. I’m telling it straight.
--Did it feel good to just come out and say your thoughts so bravely?
A: It was wonderful! I added the words to the music exactly as I thought them up, we made some good changes to my singing in the arrangement, and everything just felt great. In “JUDGE” there’s this line “Yamatodamashii shiranee no ka?” [“Haven’t you ever heard of the Japanese spirit?”] that I just loved writing. (laugh)
--And “Boshokukei Danshi!!” [“Manly Men!!”] is full of great lines like “Okawari de osu ni nari houdai” [“And for seconds, all the ‘Wassups’ you could want”]. (laugh)
A: It’s awesome. But aren’t nice guys kind of gross? I feel like, if you’re a guy, you should live more instinctually. There’s no point in being delicate. Show me some muscle! (laugh) But I guess after this, I’d have to write “Boshokukei Joshi” [“Manly Girls”].
Rock has many different faces
--So on the one hand you have that kind of song, and on the other you’re singing ballads with a heavy message. That kind of breadth, breaking away from the norm, seems like typical Tsuchiya Anna.
A: That’s true, I like sad songs, too. On this album I especially wanted to sing about “life.” In “Believe in Love,” I sing about the strength of life, while in “Voice of butterfly” I sing about how fleeting and ephemeral it is. As for the other songs I included on this album, I wanted to display the beauty and raw power of rock. I wanted to show that rock has many different faces.
--Both your beautiful and your powerful songs have the warmth of compassion to them. Because of that, even when you sing about things that are crude, it’s not unlikeable.
A: That’s because no matter what I sing, there’s love in it. Conversely, because there’s love in it, I can say “don’t.” For example, it’s taken for granted that you scold children, but if you change your scolding to praise, the kid will eventually get more and more spoiled, and more and more bad. So you lovingly scold children, even if they aren’t your own. Something like, “You shouldn’t do that! Finish your food!” Of course, the kid’s parents might give you a nasty look. (laugh)
--But living your life like that necessarily comes with hardship and pain.
A: I’m strong, but if someone hit me I’d think it was the end, and I’d probably run off to some deserted island. (laugh) But if no one says anything, nothing will change. Even as much as I do say, still nothing might change. But if these words echo in even one person’s heart and help them live, or if I’m able to move someone to strive to achieve their dreams, the world will change little by little. To that end, I’m okay with saying that I’m a bad person. If someone hits me, I’ll call them an idiot. (laugh)
--Heh heh heh. But won’t even that Anna begin to decline?
A: Of course, and it won’t be fun. I’ll cry to the bitter end, drink, and finally sleep to distract myself. Then, if someone notices me, I’ll recover. (laugh)
Interview: Wakamatsu Masako