Nico Touches the Walls Interview Translation, Part 1

Source: Excite

“We don’t intentionally do the music we want for our lives, we do it intuitively.” (Furumura)

--I listened to this album, and I thought that it was an incredible peice of work where the band’s vigor and the depth of the music really shines through. When did you start work on it?

Mitsumura: We’ve been writing songs continually since around the time we concluded our Budoukan performance last year. We started talking about recording an album at the beginning of this year. We didn’t think about what kind of album, but instead we thought about which songs would be fun to play in a live. There were a lot of songs, and when it came time to add them to the album there were so many good ones that it was hard to pick.

--You were at the Budoukan in March 2010, so you had the condense the songs that you’d created over the past year.

M: The span of time since our previous album isn’t all that different from other times, but that year we were mainly working on the tour, so the amount of things to do was different than usual. So had new songs poking out all over the place. That made us really happy, and it really increased our confidence as a band. We were really proud because all of them were songs that showed we’d gotten really good.

--So you focused on songs that would be good in a live.

Furumura: We’d finished the first stage of the tour, and when we gathered up the songs that we had it was easy to break them up across the live. We don’t intentionally do the music we want for our lives, we do it intuitively. But I think we got even more deep into it this time than ever before.

--You felt that you had an even greater degree of performance freedom. This time you included a song by Sakakura [“Matryoshka”], and in many ways this is a perfect album.

Sakakura: I was really happy to have my song included, and I also think it’s very good for the band. In the middle of last year’s live, the drum and bass complimented each other perfectly, and I think we hit our stride. I think we’ve grown as a band with this album.

--It has energy and a strong sound, but it’s not because creating energetic music is your guiding principal. There’s a message in each song, and you dig deep for it.

M: I think the songs this time are very “real.” On our last album, “Aurora,” we took a very “writerly” approach the to writing and felt like we’d achieved something, but this time, in contrast, we tried writing from within ourselves. Because of that, I can put more into it when I sing, and the words come more clearly than on our previous albums. We were strongly aware of what the performance will be like  live. You can’t just have the fans read the lyrics off a card in a live.

--The first song, “Rodeo,” is like a declartive statement for the whole album. The sound is like riding a mechanical bull, and the lyrics set that mood as well.

M: The concept for that song is, “What would it sound like if a Mexican mariachi band tried to play ‘My Sharona’ by The Knack?” From there, we hit on the idea of a Mexican/Arabian sound, and from there were went in the direction of a stateless sound. It was the first time in a long time that we’ve written such a strange song. But it has an exciting feeling, and it doesn’t feel like we’re overreaching ourselves, so it really feels like we’ve found our groove. We were writing music at the end of the year, so the staff didn’t think we’d be recording, but as a band we just thought “Now we really want to do an album!” and this is the number one song that we twisted their arms on.

F: Mitsumura and Tsushima wrote the first draft. When we were thinking about what to do with the guitar, we thought we’d try an Arabian sound. It was like we were testing ourselves, and we had fun creating it.

S: The theme for the rhythm section was also to give the feeling of a live. More than just playing accurately, Tsushima and I seemed to get into our own groove. No matter how many times we pre-processed, we worked together through the places that we didn’t understand and where we didn’t jive well, and we went through it a number of times.

M: On this album, more than those before it, the bass and drums really laid down their parts well. When we did the arrangement, their groove made up the “guts” of the band, so if they seemed to be getting a little too loose we’d stop right away. Sakakura would make faces (laugh), but we were really focused while we were recording, like we were weight training.

--”Mousou Taiin A” has powerful lyrics that give the impression of reality and fantasy mingled together.

M: We were going for a sound like “Erotica Seven” by Southern All Stars. Our generation was right in the middle of the mid-90s pop. I don’t know if there’s a trend in terms of themes right now, but we wanted to release stuff that shamelessly reflects our roots.