Translated by Erin Grace
Maybe we’re musicians because we’re bad at social media. Maybe if we were good at it, we’d have different careers.
--So why don’t you use Twitter?
K: You mean, since I’m an indies musician, maybe I’d want my name to spread like wildfire? Or maybe I’d want an easy way to make friends with people overseas? But I already know how it’ll be if I do something like that (laugh), and into the fires of that hell…
--…You’re not going to jump. (laugh) Do you also not use Twitter, Sato?
S: No. My wife does mixi [Japanese social networking site], and people post pictures of their kids there, and you leave messages for them like, “They’re getting to look like your wife!” But even when you talk to them like this, the people you’re talking to don’t exactly come to mind. What I thought was awesome is when you send messages like this, then go out for a smoke, and when you come back you get a call from that person (laugh), and they ask what you’ve been up to. When you do that, when you hear that person’s voice, all the memories of them come to mind. It’s the same feeling I get when I come back to Kyoto for the Obon Festival. I have a grandmother who died about ten years ago, and even though I want to remember her when I come back to Kyoto, it’s difficult; but as soon as I go back to the house where we all lived together the memories come right back.
--It must be a very powerful place for you.
S: There are plenty of people who are very serious with their blogs and things, and because of that there are plenty of people who take them seriously, who are turning to these kinds of media. But I personally am really bad at technology.
K: Maybe we’re musicians because we’re bad at social media. Maybe if we were good at it, we’d have different careers. Communication is one of the biggest desires that people have; we want to be noticed and to develop relationships with others, but we’re bad at that. Maybe if we were good at it we could aim to be lawyers or top-rate salarymen. (laugh)
K: Our communication tool of choice is music. I mean, the Do Mi So chord sounds beautiful, and when it becomes the So Do So Mi chord, isn’t it the same? But they sound totally different. The people listening have that intuitive intelligence, and they imagine all kinds of things, they feel all kinds of things. Playing on that is my job, and it’s hard. Even the title of this album was very hard to put into words.
You can make food from ready-made stuff, but people would rather eat the food made by a chef who uses the highest quality ingredients
--Quruli has been expressing these things all this time, but rather than screaming it from the top of your lungs, you keep expressing it through music. This time, you’ve changed the quality of your music to reflect the current era, you use a more direct title, and you seem to have come to the place where you think you should say what you mean more directly.
K: It’s not that we have conviction, although we do have that. I listened to this album for the first time in a while yesterday, and…well, you know how when a guy and girl are going out and they can’t fart in front of each other?
--Yeah, at first at least. (laugh)
K: But you let it out, right? I mean, I’m sure there are people who don’t, but this is an album with the same lack of subtlety as the “Aah” that comes when you finally let it out.
--Okay, I think I understand…
K: Hmm, it’s hard to explain… Let’s say you’re running of gas. This album is like that. It’s not like you’ve blown a tire, but you’re not running at peak efficiency. We can create something that’s higher efficiency, absolutely. You can make food from ready-made stuff, but people would rather eat the food made by a chef who uses the highest quality ingredients.
--Okay, I see.
K: How about this. I love trains. Around 1955 new motor and breaking systems were imported from overseas, and the subways, private rail, and national rail all started making new trains like crazy. At first they were in high demand because they had such great specs and cost a lot of money, but even so they didn’t have a lot of practical use. The old trains ran much more slowly, and although the highest speed for the new trains was high and the acceleration was great, in the end they didn’t make the best use of their performance. When that happened, they increased departures on the old, low-specced trains, but it was an easy to use system that worked fine in the end. That’s the kind of album this is. (laugh)
--I see. I understand now.
K: On this album it sounds like we’re just singing and humming while cutting something up in the kitchen. There’s not really music like that, in reality. You’d think there is, but there’s not.
We want to have that side of pop music again; we want to get back to that side of it.
--But when Quruli does that kind of music, it’s unconventional. Even though you’re just humming away, the “food” that you serve creates an abundant – if messy – menu. And you don’t just offer basic fare like rice and miso soup, although the basics are there as well. You offer the musical equivalent of things like sesame champloo [Okinawan dish] and foreign food as well.
K: I guess so. The music we write is pretty weird. (laugh)
--Would you say that there’s a connection between living in a wired society and the fading value of having a clear genre?
K: I think things like copying a musical style are kind of meaningless. I’m a musician, so if I only copy there are a lot of drawbacks. I mean, if I’m told to write songs that are inspired by salsa music, then I can say, “Sure, absolutely,” and do it. I can write any kind of music, even if I haven’t worked with it before. But instead, I transform the things that I’m thinking about into music.
--That kind of music is easier to get into, and just melts right into scenery in your mind.
K: We want to have that side of pop music again; we want to get back to that side of it. We’ve been conceptually shutting ourselves away more and more; I think it would be great to have music that gives you the sense of summer vacation but isn’t hard to listen to.