“A full album all of new songs was a pretty big thing.” (Takahashi)
--Last year you released a mini album, “Awa Come.” Did recording it feel different from recording a full-length album?
Fukuoka: It did. To begin with, with the big theme of “Awa Come” was that it was recorded in Tokushima [the band’s hometown], so this album was different from that. Before now we would release an album of our previous singles until we reached the end of them, but this time it was different. We didn’t release any singles, and we just thought “This is the concept we want for the album” and then made it, so it’s very special to us.
Hashimoto: But I feel like they were somewhat connected. Although they were recorded in totally different places, we started working on this album, “YOU MORE,” when “Awa Come” went on sale. So the feeling of this album is close to that of “Awa Come,” and the impression of “Awa Come” is of having fun recording in Tokushima, and although the image of this album isn’t the same, they seem to be close to one another.
F: For the people who were watching the sequence of our activities last year, I think this album is pretty easy to comprehend. We released our B-side collection (“Hyoujou <Coupling Collection>”) after our American tour, and after the B-side tour we recorded “Awa Come” in Tokushima. I think the people who saw all that could easily see the path to this album.
Takahashi: Something was different about this album, and I think it was that we didn’t release a single first. That was the challenge we set our minds to as a band. Until now we tended to release about four singles before releasing an album, but we didn’t really think about releasing something similar to the B-sides after that tour. So we released the mini album immediately after, without releasing any singles, and then we released a full album. We discussed this with the staff as well. A full album all of new songs was a pretty big thing for us.
--The two years between “Kokuhaku” and “YOU MORE” seems to have been sprinkled with assertive, if irregular, activities from the band. What was this period of time like for you?
F: Although the things we did were irregular, we came to see them as being like elements in a story. Until “Kokuhaku” it was like we were floating down an immeasurably huge river. We took the helm, and we could have changed course, but we felt like “This is the river, and this is where it’s going.” We weren’t really thinking about it too hard, and we kept going right down the middle. But we used up all our energy, and by the time we noticed, there wasn’t anything left... So we took a break.
F: But after that break all of our activity looked irregular, when in reality we were working on completing projects that each of us wanted to do, which was really closely tied to our self-confidence. To that end we used all of our energy, and we had faith in our staff, and more than that we’d come up with some interesting ideas. We were really happy that we’d be able to keep these ideas around for later use.
H: Ever since our debut we moved without stopping, so resting for the first time... I thought we should do it more often. Naturally, we thought of taking a break all at the same time. From there, we started feeling it was important to focus on ourselves. After “Kokuhaku” was done, we realized that it would be easy for us to ask someone to do something for us. I hadn’t realized that I could tell the other band members “I want to do this kind of thing” or “Let’s work on that sort of thing next.” And they asked me when I wanted to start working on my ideas. So we naturally thought of a lot of stuff during that time.
T: Also, we were able to add a second disc of just acoustic versions to our B-side collection, and that was also really big for us. We’re a rock band, so the acoustic disc is something we wouldn’t normally do.
--Since the beginning, it seems that you’ve been burdened by the preconceptions associated with being a rock band.
T: There was a lot of that. And there was a hard line there. But the staff said they thought it would be interesting if we tried the acoustic disc, and we said we’d try it, and when we finished the staff said that it was good. (laugh) That’s where the change came from, and we were freed by it all at once.