Nakata Yasutaka "STEREO WORXXX" Exclusive Interview Translation

Source: Yahoo! Music Japan

 

It feels closer to being a manga artist than a musician

 

--Congratulations on completing then"STEREO WORXXX" album! What kind of album was this for you?

 

Nakata: I was very particular about maki gsure that it was full of the pleasure of music and an atmosphere of ringing sound. Capsule is a unit that puts out music with the utmost honesty. There are a lot of elements to the production that youwouldn't think about if they weren't there.

 

--Speaking of which, you work on mass productions like the music and vocals for Perfume and Kyari Pamyu Pamyu, the "ONE PIECE Ten" event and "LIAR GAME -Saisei-" soundtrack.

 

N: Of all those, capsule is the only project where I think about nothing but the music.

 

--The meliodious keyboard phrases of the first track, "Feelin' Alright," are impressive. It felt like you were going for a rock fusion with this song. Were you aware of that image?

 

N: That's the result of doing a lot of different things during production. Capsule has never been a unit where the vocalist is being produced. You called it "fusion," but when you imagine us on stage putting together phrases between Koshijima [Toshiko] and my synthesizer, that music is us fighting while moving forward. If you look at us like a band, Koshijima has a solo instrument and I'm the band master. And the vocals are a/the speaker. That's the atmosphere. When our two sounds come out of the speakers, that's capsule.

 

--When you say it that way, it's really easy to understand. That's the essence of capsule.

N: In my case I lead the sound. I have the most power in recorcding. Becuase of that, I'm honing my skills, knowledge, and senses everyday. It feels closer to being a manga artist than a musician, if you don't misunderstand me. I don't think I'm the leader - the work itself leads the way, like it leads a manga artist.

 

--Oh, that makes it really easy to understand. It's work-centric. When I'm in the studio, it's like I'm in my atelier. When the work produced there is able to show me the way, and people appreciate that work, that makes me the happiest.

 

--When you're able to lock yourself away in your atelier, aren't you able to complete all your mixing at once? How do you that it's done?

 

N: I have a deadline. (laugh) It's probably the same way for the manga artist.

 

--Ah, do you struggle with your deadlines?

 

N: I do struggle with them at the very end. When I've passed my time, there's a moment when I break past the quality wall. After that it's more about change than evolution, more about figuring out the feeling.

 

Even Kyary (Pamyu Pamyu) influences me

 

--Your fans, including myself, are very interested in your process, but you don't seem intersted in showing or telling us about it.

 

N: That's almost right, but I feel I've struck a deal by showing it. I probably wouldn't even do lives if I didn't get requests. But therre's an audience that wants to see Koshijima sing it.

 

--That's a simple answer. Speaking of which, I like the last song on the album, "Transparent," an intelligent "pop of the moment" song that draws a picture of the pop music from five years ago. The catharsis of the undulating melody is irresistable.

 

N: At first I wanted to do an album of nothing but songs like this one. This became a song where I took care to copy it by ear. Even I thought I was doing something interesting. But it was hard to find it's place in the album, and it eventually became the 9th and final song. I'm not saying that I'd like to have the opportunity to do mainly this kind of music in the future. Instead, I think I would have made the album more "Japanese" if I'd been able to extend the deadline by two months and focus only on "Transparent."

 

-- Speaking of which, are there any albums or other works that you were inflenced by while makinf "STEREO WORXXX?"

 

N: I want to be inflenced by all kinds of things. What I mean to say is, even Kyary (Pamyu Pamyu) influences me. Rather, I offer up the kinds of lyrics that I've been wanting to try out. It's not that I want to try everything, instead the places and people and timing that I have to work with are important.

 

--Kyary Pamyu Pamyu occupies an interesting place in the Japanese and world pop culture scene right now. What place do you think that is?

 

N: When Kyary debuted, the grown-up, business reaction was to worry if a long, weird name like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was really a good idea. I mean, there are people who say "Let's give it an easier to pronounce, easier to remember name with cooler characters* and sell to the people who are into Harajuku fashion!" But I think that's a really bad idea. It's already been done, so it's boring. So her weird sense is appealing. Because no one else has it. The process that those kinds of people follow is fun. In that way, Kyary is a true punk.

 

We can't decrease the amount of music people want to hear over great speakers

 

--That's true. I'm very interested in Kyary's success story. Now, I just have to ask, because it's you: what are your thoughts on the halt of evolution at a place where people historically enjoy harder audio?

 

N: I think we've regressed to a place where it's common to hear music on smart phones and cell phones. People don't go out of their way to listen to music; instead, the music is just "popping in."

 

--Becuase of online music distribution, like ChakuUta.

 

N: But I think how we enjoy it is evolving. From now on online music distribution is going to the cloud, and even though that doesn't always replace a CD, we're in a world where people are enjoying music. I'm not hung up on the hardware. Music is an individual taste, and I think you should listen to what you think is easy to listen to. People are renewed by different things, so it's better for them to listen to what fulfills them.

 

--I see. Everyone doesn't need a high priced analog player.

 

N: But as a professional musician, I want to make music where I fuss over every little sound. The music that would result if I stopped would be very much in the convience industry, so I want to hold it back. So wkth "STEREO WORXXX" I fused over everything, including the title. We can't decrease the amount of music people want to hear over great speakers.

 

(Interviewer: Fuku Ryou)

 

 

*Presumably English characters, since Kyrary Pamyu Pamyu is spelled with Japanese characters in Japan.