Fish Tank 39
Interview with Sakurai Atsushi
Translation: Lola

What has brought us to be standing here while you're still in the middle of deciding about Budoukan?
I just felt that well...since a tour of the hall would be long, why not stand?

Is standing actually a concept that can be decided on Sakurai-san?
Perhaps it's like the feeling of being able to enjoy the best of every live house, or being given songs I love by that guy I like.

What impression are you left with after the tour?
It was an I.V. tour *smiles*. I had a terrible inflammation.

Oh yes, right.
I can tell you it wasn't that serious you know. Generally if I get a shot in advance it's ok. But, well, it was just difficult since we went to many places...during that tour that until now we didn't get to go to, like Fukuoka for instance, I think because of that, their was a tangible if subtle reaction to the older songs when we played them.

That makes sense since the Fan Club only live house events in 2005 were only in Tokyo and Osaka so other than the Fan Club members, it had been the first time in a long time for the people of Fukuoka and Nagoya.
Of course, when we do songs from the days of our debut to those of now it shows our best times, I think it's nice when we can do that.

How are songs you hadn't done in a long time?
Mmnn. Well if I take the top three songs from our debut days, I'm amazed at how extremely energetic they are.

They are. Then you made Yuuta-san sing during the encore at Zepp Tokyo.
Ah. I think he was surprised, he's the best you know.

Yuuta-san also said that he was really surprised at how very badly he sang.
The problem was...he didn't hear the sound properly *smiles*.

He said that he thought you'd lend him your ear monitor but you didn't.
Excuses. *smiles*

*smiles* Had you planned on not singing in the end?!
I sang, by sheer will power *smiles*.

I bet...*smiles*. It had been a long time since you've done standing lives, how did you find them?
They were amazingly energetic. It's strange, 20 years have passed without my even thinking about it, 20 years makes our Indies days seem so long ago but we can do our Indies songs...along with 'Romance' now...and I think this just confirms for us that we can do anything. I don't really think there was even a little doubt about wanting to perform old songs...and I'm really glad for that.

So after that you weren't worried about holding back at Budoukan were you? With the previous choice of songs?
I had already decided to do all the songs that were to be done on the tribute at Budoukan. It was a little difficult but I don't think we could have had the best tribute otherwise without them.

That's true. Just because you were selling two of them. Ah, after there was one song you played at Budoukan that I pushed for insanely, 'Brain, Whisper, Head, Hate is Noise'...*smiles*.
I see. How was it?

I just wanted to thank you!
Don't, there's no reason to thank me.

Because you treat fans like anybody else.
Really? That's a relief coming from a Fan Club member, unlike some who say 'that's too annoying, I don't have the right guitar...'. You just have to do it. I wrote the list of songs in advance.

You already decided the songs for the tribute but, you didn't really think about how they'd be arranged did you?
It's not necessary to arrange them. There's just...that feeling of gratitude with all the songs that were chosen for the tribute we were given.

On the other hand, it seems like very little songs weren't included on the tribute but 'Brain, Whisper~' wasn't even though it came in fourth but, what was the criterion for selecting songs anyway? (1)
I wanted to see the luminescence of happiness on people's faces.

*smiles* There are always happy faces outside the Fan Club's reception tent...
Perhaps but they didn't know I would perform 'Brain, Whisper~'.

No, no. Before you began properly, I heard you checked the dressing room and said 'There's absolutely no escaping!' and then quickly entered.
Well, yeah I'm liable to say something close to that. In general, when I say something it's a whisper of 'I want people to listen', because that is always what stays with me after... So songs that I love like 'Long Distance Call' and 'Rakuen' may not have a strong message but there is conflict on the inside...well, one year I'll put them in.

They are a message from Sakurai-san.
They're not messages. They're 'Can you see something on the other side of making drama?' or 'Can you see what's real?!'. After all that it set the stage for my wanting to do '13kai~' at Budoukan.

So, already from the onset you knew the place you would bring '13kai~' to a close.
It was never made to unravel that way, to put it simply it just happened to be better in two parts in the end.

You're right. There was even two parts to the encore wasn't there. When you were about to do the encore Sakurai-san, you said 'I'm going to talk a little bit', then went on to say 'I've done this for 20 years with these members' and then you didn't introduce them. You've never really been able to talk Sakurai-san, even when you had to, is there something to that?
How isn't it that way when I'm talking. Recently even though there are some people who have just become fans, there are some who have always been listening for 20 years. For everyone involved, the staff, then us, these words aren't an end but maybe they're necessary. They're a part of the flow, the atmosphere, all part of a role in the event.

That's true.
Anyway I say it I end up sounding reticent though *smiles*.

You're right, you do. But that's because you're playing a role on stage. Like during 'Dress' when the last thing you did was pull out a rose...
No, that I had always planned on. Well, ok, perhaps I hadn't realized I would... It was more that I was thinking look, look! Well now I'm just trying to rationalize what came out in the end but I'm happy with how it turned out.

But we have to talk about the candles on stage during the '13 kai' tour. They were really intense.
That was...the stage designer Sasaki-san's idea. From the beginning he wanted to have a more dynamic scene with candles at Budoukan and since it was just for '13 kai' I decided to use them one time for an encore. (2)

Right so, then when doing tribute songs, you had already performed '13 kai' once at Budoukan right.
That's right. I wondered what I should do at first but then I felt like I just knew which way was best.

What do you think of the 'The Day in Question' being in its fifth year in 2005?
Again with this question?! Perhaps I'd better go on vacation soon for a little while...damn.(3)

Is that how you feel?!
It's because going on's something right, but deciding to go on vacation well, that's unpleasant you know.

Because then you have to do all these things to prepare, it sucks.

But when you're on tour with an album then don't the songs on the album become the main focus, aren't they the ones you have to perform? So at least during the time of year that you're touring, you don't even have to worry about deciding on songs or places to tour right?
Mmnn. Well, it's difficult you know. There's a slight the fact that I have no choice. I think I end up thinking this every year. It's like I keep going back & forth in the end. In my own way I think I want something to change but...Well, it's ok but...the date of the 29th is perhaps something that I can't change.

Huh, what do you mean?!
As it's a terribly busy time of year, it's a time I miss out on a lot. Like the 31st.

I guess you miss the countdown.
I can't even write New Year's cards.

Aa, so that's the problem *smiles*. Because even before the 29th you have rehearsals and other things you have to do right.
Recently it's like I really want to have a taste of Japanese tradition you know, well more truthfully...that's just a little part of it. ...I know everyone has fun at New Year's. But on the 29th, everyone wants to return to their parents' home *smiles*. I've said it in some way.

Yes that's true, but on the other hand you can say that there are also people can come and go after the closing of work.
You se~ee?! But that's just the same thing as going home.

Ah, I see.
That's the peak time for returning home. The 28th, 29th and 30th.

Yeah it's the worst time. I think it's easy to see that. Being unable to return home for the holidays isn't an easy thing *smiles*. 'The Day in Question' itself is good but for you Sakurai-san, I feel perhaps it would be better to take a little break from your schedule *smiles*.
Perhaps it's not so unexpected in the end is it. Though it was the first five times. It's not because it's not a tour that I hate doing it, it's because it falls during that busy time of year.

I see. Certainly the Fan Club's inquiries of whether or not you'll do a show in Budoukan this year have decreased.
Yes that's true. That is, once again, rather vexing. Perhaps they think I'll do it if they're silent?

*smiles*. That's the trouble around here.
Perhaps it would be interesting if I say I'll do it on the 28th.

But it will be bad since everyone takes their vacations then.
Even though it's never been empty perhaps people would complain anyway. Just because they're silent they think I won't be vexed?!

No. It's because they've become accustomed to it.
A live with the mood of bounenkai(4) is the worst.

Then you absolutely have to say something like 'Job well done' or 'Happy New Year!' in closing.
Something like that, yeah. If you do a live at that time.

But, that also seems to depend on which artist it is.
But for '13kai' I just held up the candles. I never said 'Happy New Year!' you know. But I think there may be a little room for it this year.

*smiles*. Not because there's room for it, because it's Japanese custom... So after that you spoke to people about participating in the tribute album?
I spoke with Kiyoharu-kun in an interview. And I sent an email to Tsuchiya-san and Satou Taiji-kun.

So how was this year's New Year's?
It was really quiet sadly. I picked up some traditional New Year's food(5) was so quiet...and cold. No matter where I go...

As Buck-Tick is on a little break now, what you do you think you'll do Sakurai-san?
I won't do anything. I think I'd like a little vacation. Last year was too much in my mind and I ended up exhausted. As I'm forever catching colds, I want a little rest.

You need to recharge. In regards to taking a holiday, since there is time for one now, have you begun planning one?
I'm looking into it. Now, I'm only reading.

How much are you reading?
Right now I'm slowly ploughing my way through the heavy Kyougoku Natsuhiko(6). It sucks that I'm such a slow reader. It's, how can I say it, in the end I have to keep going back.

Reading slowly is what allows you to be absorbed in it.
But I'm not even absorbed in it *smiles*. What should I do, you know it wasn't even on sale.

As a singer in the middle of vacation time is there something you need to take care of?
No there isn't *smiles*.

Then what will become of Buck-Tick this year?!
You know our true form isn't active.

From this point on, does Buck-Tick have a vision Sakurai-san?
I have a vision. Anyway, like with '13 kai' you know, everything from the sound, the concept, the design, the art to the live itself was all carefully detailed from the beginning. Then the image and sound for the completed CD and DVD, well...I was already pretty much completely satisfied with that, and now with that sort of reaction maybe... that's more, well, I sort of feel like if we can do that then we can do more but...that's just my personal opinion.

Lastly, do you have a little message for the fans who are waiting for Buck-Tick's next activity?
I look forward to when we can meet again. Please take care. Thank you.

1- I'm really not sure what he means here about 'Brain, Whisper, Head, Hate is Noise' being it's not on BT's 2005 Catalogue, or Catarogue as their website would have you believe *snickers* and it's not on the tribute album 'Parade' either. Perhaps he means it came in 4th when fans voted? I don't remember the list of songs anymore...I do remember that a lot of songs that were voted for by fans were not on either albums though.
2-'s a bit funny because he speaks of 'fortifying himself' and rationalizing that it's ok since it's a one time thing. So...maybe he actually was afraid of playing with candles? It certainly doesn't appear that way...but I omitted the 'fortifying' part because it sounded awkward...literally 'just for 13kai I rationalized to fortify myself in this way to do an encore one time.'
3- I would just like to point out...that Sakurai's tone changes completely in these next three lines; suddenly he sounds very pouty.
4- Bounenkai: traditional end of the year party in Japan. I agree with Sakurai here, they suck! Hahaha. Basically, it's a tradition where you MUST go out with your coworkers and drink and be merry and it's just not heard of to decline going. You just have to go. It's fairly annoying, as quite often some companies will have several. To make sure that every staff member gets to interact with others. This is also a means of keeping husbands away from their wives during the holidays and getting them drunk only to encourage them to have affairs. I'm not exaggerating. Some bosses actually bring women purposefully to these things to give their employees the chance to cheat. It's sick. Now, not all bounenkais are like this but...a fair amount of them are meant as a means of have the male and female staff intermingle and hopefully pair off as during the rest of the year there are too many stupid social taboos to just date. *rolls eyes* To me...just seems like an excuse to act retarded and leave street okonomiyaki everywhere. >.> But really that's not so different from our New Year's celebrations...
5- Traditional New Year's food in Japan usually consists of sushi New Year's eve and then little beer snacks after that you nibble on till right before midnight while drinking beer and sweet wine. Then you go off at midnight to the temple to make your New Year's wish and drink hot sake and mocchi soup by a big bonfire. New Year's day is all sorts of delicious food, you have another kind of mocchi soup (more mocchi in this one) and then a salad like dish, shrimp like things and...uh...all sorts of other delicious things that I can't really remember right now but it's good stuff. *___*
6- I have no idea what it is, I only found one reference that made sense in Japanese and this is it: If you know what this is, please enlighten me.