It feels like we covered a lot of new ground
--For this interview we have both Yamaguchi (Vo) and Ejima (D) with us.
Yamaguchi: Eiji [Ejima] did more work on “DocumentaLy” than on any other work of ours so far. He shouldered the burden of advancing the recording, and wrote more lyrics than even me. I was away from the group for a long time, and there was a lot of time where only the four other members worked on the album, so we were a little uneasy. We went forward with his brilliant leadership. I’m very grateful. (laugh)
Eijima: That’s not to say that I’m a better leader than Ichiro [Yamaguchi]. (laugh) To be honest, I was nervous at first, but as we four worked together, we began to understand one another better. Little by little we began to progress more smoothly.
Y: Until now everyone just interpreted the motifs that I threw out, and so the images we came up with were rather scattered. But this time, because of Eiji the ideas are much more homogenized.
--There are all kinds of songs gathered on this album, but they have a strange sense of unity. Is this part of your overall concept?
Y: At first our concept was vague, sort of like “Let’s express our vision of reality, revealed over time.” But after the earthquake the essence of that concept changed. Instead we thought, “This huge thing has happened, and we want to express it.”
--When I listen to this album, it seems to have more sadness to it than albums before it, and like it had a connection to a deeper feeling.
Y: Why do you think that? I always create music head-on, but while I’m doing it I don’t necessarily recognize the emotions that the work is exuding. This is a very dense album, so maybe the sadness just naturally comes out. Particularly with this album we tried out a technique were we completed the arrangement first, then tried out the lyrics and melodies on it afterward. Including the new technique, it feels like we covered a lot of new ground.
E: Until now we didn’t really have a way of doing things, or a way of proceeding with our music, so we used a lot of new techniques. But more than that, we were very honest in our work, and we work flexibly with each and every with every important part. As we were on the verge of completing it, we suddenly thought, “We should throw ourselves into changing it.” At first we were like, “Even though we’ve already done so much work?!” but we thought we’d at least try it out for the time being. But we cheerfully accepted what came out of it.
I want to express this era with my words and music
--Personally, from your recent live and your singles prior to this, I expected a “tribal” feeling album, and I was surprised.
E: Before we had created the album, we were also expecting it to have a more tribal image. But this album isn’t just an outgrowth of our previous work, and we tried to keep in mind our desire to create songs that convey a precise meaning, and that have their own arrangements.
--There are also quite a lot of songs on this album that have a message.
Y: I want to express what kind of era this is, and what kind of world this is, with my words and my music. It’s not fictional, and I wanted to sing plainly, using even the discomforting sway of real emotions. So I expressed the discomfort of the era as I felt it.
--A characteristic of the band is raising the questions without presuming to provide an answer.
Y: I don’t preach the answers because I’m not a perfect person. (laugh) I go so far as to say, “This is what I think, but what about you?” but no further. I also wanted this album to somehow have enlightening lyrics. I think we achieved that with “Endless.”
E: I think the lyrics on this album, including those form “Endless,” are truly a cut above. On top of that, we went into the album determined to create an unbeatable sound. By doing that, I think we were able to raise the quality of our sound and lyrics both.
Y: It’s because the delivery of the lyrics plays an extremely important role in music. We put that into practice with our Sakanaction-esque sound, and if “DocumetnaLy” can be our one inventive work that has a unique presentation, we’ll be happy.
(Interviewer: Ikeda Sukao Kazuhiro)