Sakanaction "Boku to Hana" Exclusive Interview Translation

Source: Excite


Even though we promote the drama, we thought about our strategy as a band


--Your new single, “Boku to Hana,” has been chosen as the theme song for the drama “37-Sai de Isha ni Natta Boku ~Kenshui Junjou Monogatari~.” How did you feel when you got the offer?


Yamaguchi: Before this we were thinking about what we could do to make the band bigger, so we immediately took this opportunity. We’ve made music logically up to now, and it was important to have a different perspective for that. It was requested that the song act as a mental shortcut to the show, including the lyrics, so that it would be an active part of the show. Of course, we have to express what makes us unique, and think about our strategy as a band.


--Did the drama [producers] make any specific requests from you?


Y: The drama is about a 37 year-old who becomes a doctor, so they wanted a forward-facing song that has a message about being able to start again whenever you want. As a band we felt that it was important to have balance. A drama gets in front of a lot of different kinds of people. There will be people who already know Sakanaction, of course, and there will be some people who only know our name. Those people will be able to get a sense of our music. But there will also be the people who don’t know us and think “Who is this vocalist?” I really searched for that line [between pleasing those who know us and attracting those who don’t]. And we of course put in our emotions and impulses.


--It seems like there was a lot of give-and-take with the lyrics as well.


Y: The very first lyrics we wrote were a little too dark. (laugh) We re-wrote them so many times I lost count. The lyrics we finally decided on had the drama’s image of “what happens after.” People will probably come to understand the lyrics better as the drama goes on.


--So you’re saying that you’re aware of the people that will be watching the show every week. The music itself will also gradually seep into their consciousness.


Y: Yeah. Our singles up to now have been like “Here’s the hook!” but the song this time isn’t that flashy. We also noticed some nostalgia. This is a song that will embed itself into your mind no matter how many times you listen to it. I think even listening to just the track will make you crazy for it.


--The song has interesting sound topology; the timbre is very calculated. It has a lot of enjoyable facets. You really thought about a lot of different angles, including the listeners’ hobbies and situations.


Y: It’s fun to think about how we’ll deliver the music we’ve created. Of course, we also imagine how the people who get it will feel... But I think that’s the same in every business. It’s the same for people who cook for others. It’s just that, in the case of a musician, what we do is thought to be lofty. But that’s not it at all. We turn ordinary feelings into music.


Social networking allows fans to see the artists’ process


--On a related note, you express the feelings of a regular person in your music, changing nothing. You just absorbed that, didn’t you?


Y: Yeah... One thing I can say is that the number of people coming into contact with music through social media is increasing. Through Twitter and the others, people can know about bands’ and creators’ regular lives. And if they listen to the songs, they’ll be able to get a sense of how the music is made. I think this is an era where listeners can enjoy music by connecting the music to the artists’ lives and seeing artists share their processes. That’s not just true for Sakanaction; that’s the entire music scene. The people who use services like Twitter and UStream are gaining clarity [about music] little by little, and their level of familiarity with it is increasing. From now on, they’ll be able to ask questions like what musicians are choosing to do. Or artists can choose not to expose anything at all.


--I see. I think the second song on the single, “Neptunus,” reflects exactly what you’re talking about. Words like “heya” [“room”] and “nugisuterareta fuku” [“flung away clothes”] come up. What was your theme when you were writing this?


Y: It’s my room. (laugh) “Coelacanth to Boku” [from the album “kikUUiki”] was made the same way. With “Boku to Hana,” I took the atmosphere of my room and turned it into a song. I see the clothes I take off and think that they’re really a “shed skin.” (laugh) And after I climbed into bed and pulled up the covers, it felt like I had climbed into sand. Singing about those kind of individualistic things is what I think differentiates “Boku to Hana.” But I feel like they connect somewhere.


--Yeah, I can see that.


Y: The creation of the songs was totally different. With “Boku to Hana” it was like we created it with a pie chart. It was like we said “The A melody will be X% cute, X% manly, X% electronic,” and that would change the B melody and the hook. “Neputunus” was more impulsive. First I sang it for the other members, then we did the arrangement with the sound.


--That seems very “band-ish.” (laugh)


Y: Yeah. (laugh) To that extent, the feeling of the band right now is reflected in our mode. It was also good for us to include the ping-pong remix (“Rookie {Takkyu Ishino Remix)”) as our third song. It changes the atmosphere all of a sudden.


The things we experimented with on the ZEPP tour connect to our next development


--While this also appeals to the people who will see the drama, it also exhibits the newest “model” of Sakanaction.


Y: Yeah. It’s not just the theme song for a drama, it’s also the tie-in song for a commercial (for Mode Gakuen). With the drama theme song and the commercial, the song is very above ground. I don’t think that kind of band really appears at the Fuji Rock Festival. I think that’s pretty awesome.


--It is. And your live, “SAKANAQUARIUM 2012 ZEPP ALIVE” starts May 31. The curtain dropped on your previous one-man live last year. What do you want from your tour this time?


Y: We want to try different things. A tour that comes right on the heels of an album release will always be album-centered, but we have more freedom this time and we’re organizing it to include our past songs.


--That sounds fun. On a different note, you went to Europe at the beginning of the year.


Y: Ah, yes. We went to Paris, Berlin, and Belgium. We wanted to see the clubs over there.


--Did you do that privately?


Y: Yes, we did. We went on a longish break in January, and went to Europe during that time.


--Did you get an idea of what you wanted to do next?


Y: No, not really... A city is a city, right? (laugh) The energy that we get from it is the same in Tokyo as it is in Europe. The architecture is interesting [in Europe], but that’s not the inspiration for our music. You get more out of setting up a tent on a mountain and fishing than you do from that. You really have to be alone.


--Ah, I see.


Y: When you live in Tokyo, you don’t really get the opportunity to be truly alone. A long time ago, it was always like that for me. Fishing on the waves, I’d be totally alone before I knew it. I’d use the feelings I had during those times, and I felt like I was always active. Because of that, I think it’s important to return to that slow pace of life. It’s not about creating music or not creating music, it’s being human all by yourself. Well, before making the music, that is. (laugh)