Original: Tower Records
Translator: Erin Grace
This June, GO!GO!7188 will celebrate the 10th anniversary since their major debut. Akko (bass/vocals), Yuu (guitar/vocals), and Turkey (drums/vocals), whose music is nostalgic even on the first listen, have continued to play cute and exciting rock. They’re for sure a rock band that couldn’t have come from anywhere but Japan.
A year and four months after their last album, “Antenna,” GO!GO!7188 changed labels while in the midst of a rigorous tour and a battle of the bands series. They’ve now completed a new album, “Go!!GO!GO!Go!!” Having arranged more colorful and poppy songs than ever before, they’re evolving a flavor that only they could produce with their scaled-up performances. In this interview, they’ll candidly discuss what they were aiming for with this album.
Part 1 – We’ve been making use of the things we have
--This is the newest album since your last, a year and four months ago. How long have you been working on it?
Yuu: Since the beginning of this year. We took the first part of January off, but since then we’ve been writing songs, started rehearsing in January, held our live performances in February, and have been recording since March.
--You have the songs you’ve performed in lives, but it seems like you want to play them live as soon as you can.
Akko: We’ve been playing the songs wrote last year since last year, but this time we really want to play a live if we can, so we’ve been slowly going in that direction.
--Did you begin talking about playing these songs in a live before they were post-processed?
Yuu: Well, yeah. We got a feeling for the songs that could be played soon at a future live.
--Are they the songs that are easily digestible?
Akko: Playing a song in a live before recording it is unnatural, so we wanted to try as best we could.
--The songs on the new album are rich in variety and are very fun, but did you write them thinking that you’d like to write songs with a different feeling after these were done?
Akko: Looking at the balance of the whole thing, we’ve done the songs we have because we have songs like that. But this time, from the very beginning, there’s clearly a Japanese taste, there’s surf rock, and things like that. The theme from the beginning was just making this kind of music, right?
Yuu: Yeah, it was.
--With that album theme, was there anything in particular you were thinking of?
Akko: The entire album doesn’t have a theme, but we used the things we have. (Laugh) While doing that we’re doing up until now, we thought “This is very GO!GO!7188-esque,” and there were the parts of what we’re thinking. And we did that, thinking “Is this the right feeling? Is that the right feeling?” It wasn’t something that just flowed out of us, and that’s what we were going for.
--Do you want to broaden the image you’ve had up to now?
Akko: Yeah, it probably looks like we think “Whatever we do, it’s all good,” but even though we feel that way, it’s not a self-confidence thing. Japanese taste is our forte. We think, “This time, Japanese style has this feeling.”
--So then, it’s not so much that you’ve been able to create Japanese-style songs, but rather you set out with the clear intention of going in the direction of creating songs with a specific Japanese style?
Yuu: Yes, exactly.
--On your last album, “Antenna,” there was a feeling like “This is GO!GO!” throughout, wasn’t there?
Akko: At that time, on the contrary, there was a feeling of creating and having fun with that kind of item.
--What other keywords can you use to describe the feeling of the various songs?
Yuu: They’re like popular songs, some part of a series. (Laugh)
--The third sequel, right? (Laugh)
Yuu: Also, we’re always making ballads. The ballad we did this time, called “Ballad,” was written over ten years ago. Also, there are songs that we’ve always wanted to do in a live. And songs that act on a two-person chorus. That kind of thing.
--I think I know which keywords go with which songs. (Laugh) There’s an interesting chorus from the first song, “Eoeoe,” but is this a hint?
Yuu: In this album there are a lot of songs like that one. Like a negotiation. Somehow or other it occurred to us that “it’s fine to do it this way” many times.
--The two singing voices becomes an integral part of the song, just like musical instruments.
Yuu: Yeah. There are ranges that my voice can’t hit, and even though I want to do something in particular I can’t. In those places, we express it with Akko’s voice. There’s a feeling that we made use of that.
--And it’s not just in the chorus, it’s in the rest of the performance as well. There’s a clarity to your objective and the concept of the sound, even how to use a guitar riff.
Akko: The various roles can be clearly felt. We feel like we had fun with that.
Part 2 – It was fun to write the lyrics
--The lyrics, along with the sound, seem to imbue the music with a theme.
Akko: We were conscious of something like that, but this time writing the lyrics was just fun. It’s always been that way for us. We ride on the fun. That’s the feeling we have as we write them.
--It seems to have been important so far. (Laugh)
Akko: We seriously have to wring them out of us. (Laugh) This time, anyway, we have fun the whole time, like “We want to write lyrics!”
--It seems that, because of that, there are a lot of positive things about the music. Were you aware of this as you wrote?
Akko: We weren’t. We write what we like – I guess in that way we’re easy to understand. (Laugh)
--Is it something that makes you happy? (Laugh)
Akko: It was really run to write. (Laugh) We’re bad at writing a song then attaching lyrics, but this time even that was fun.
--(Laugh) There’s a song called “Nothing2,” but is there a “Nothing1?”
Akko: There is, isn’t there?
Yuu: Yeah, from before our debut.
Akko: We were 18 or 19? But I can’t remember. (Laugh)
Yuu: Probably it’s a song with lyrics in English, it seems like that was “Nothing.”
--Did you play it in a live?
Yuu: We didn’t, did we? We didn’t even finish writing it. (Laugh)
Akko: Yeah. (Laugh)
--So did the first form the base of the second?
Akko: No, it wasn’t that. We named it “Nothing2” because we didn’t have a title. (Laugh)
Yuu: Since there was a “1” we did a “2.”
Akko: We already had another song called “Nothing,” but we just thought, “Meh, whatever.” (Laugh)
Yuu: And now “2” is established. (Laugh) And then with the song “Ballad” we never had the timing to release it, so this time we made sure to add it to the album.
--Is there a reason you decided to put it onto this album?
Akko: Because we could?
Akko: But because we prefer to put out newer songs we always did that on previous albums. But this time, we thought if we already have a good ballad, can’t we just use the energy from it?
--Indeed. With the ballad named “Ballad,” are you going for the same feeling as naming a punk song “Punk” or a rock song “Rock” (as you did in your album “Dasoku Hokou” from 2000)? Did you write it around the same time?
Akko: Yeah. From back just before we came to Tokyo, I think.
--A song from 10 years ago. Do you remember anything from that time?
Akko: Sometimes I’ll think, “Hey, we did this during a live back in the day.”
Yuu: Was it 2000? When we played at Shibukou [Shibuya Public Hall].
Akko: We played twice at Yaon [Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall], too.
--Is this a song that fans might know?
Yuu: The people who know it would know it.
Akko: It’s on the “6.21 Jiken” DVD.
--And you only just got a studio recording?
Akko: That’s right.
Yuu: There are probably people out there thinking “Finally!”
--Did including 14 songs have an effect on the optimization of the compositions?
Akko: (Laugh) Yeah, we did a lot of songs, didn’t we?
Yuu: Yeah, but there was more to put in. We had more repertoire than normal.
--And is there a reason for not including the songs you didn’t include?
Akko: We don’t have anything like that. When we record things and review them, they’re pretty good. We’ve substituted some songs, because they move up the ranks. But for the ballad, we really felt that “Nothing2” and “Ballad” were necessary.