Fish Tank 50
Interview with Sakurai Atsushi
Translation: Lola

You've been recording this whole year but how did it go this time?
Hmm, I don't really...want to talk about how recording went this time but, that's because there were arguments over one or two songs and that was hard for me.

Were you at ease with the scheduling...?
Well, I mean at ease in that things were not done frantically as they were done when I was young. But you know, I'm at ease with things going slowly but having so many songs takes a toll physically. My physical state always goes with my state of mind so when one crashes....

In the last interview you were still in the middle of working on everything but now, with the whole image nearly complete, what kind of album do you think it will be?
......I was really free to do what I wanted, ......but it's not really what I promised. If you compare the previous album with the others, it feels like we did whatever we wanted to, so this one is the same only to a greater extent.

Imai-san wrote lyrics too this time but how do you find singing Imai-san's lyrics compared to your own?
I try not to think about it. ......if it's my own then it's hard for me to feel embarrassed about it. But because Imai-san's lyrics use words or tell a story that isn't mine, I have to concentrate when I'm singing the song.

What about your own?
If you're asking which is easier for me then I don't know but it's because they're completely different.... For my own lyrics, I know where to put the power when I that power comes through all the more. Whereas with Imai-san's it's more like...I just do the best I can, because I can't mess it up...*smiles* ...I tend to look more at his words while I sing the song. With my own, I become emotional and then feel drained after from the unexpected intensity of it.

Does Imai-san tell you anything when you sing his songs?
He doesn't really go into details about it. For instance, I'll try to sing it once for him, then if he has any specific requests after I can try it again. He usually asks for things that are easily accomplished though like sing lightly here or use more power there. Generally he leaves it up to me though.

At the time of the last interview I don't think you were completely finished writing lyrics.
At that point, I was already right in the midst of it all.......We had just begun vocals and if you look back at the interview I said that I had not slept.... That was my most jumbled time....

How was lyric writing this time?
Good. I mean, the vague songs are the most difficult in the end. Songs that to a certain extent......don't have a clear image. Like the songs on '13kai wa gekkou'. When things are clear, it's like the words come together one piece at a time in my mind and then things go quite smoothly.

So then the story came to you easily?
Yeah. The image too. ......what is the most distressing is trying to figure out where to take a song and how to do it well....... Even though I've done this many times, I still wonder if it will fit the song. While I do worry, I also let the song go its own way to a degree.

You decided on two singles this time, starting with 'HEAVEN'. What kind of song is it?
The kind that everyone was rather scattered about. If I say I didn't care which song was picked because any one is good then that sounds reckless but, they are all made up of things that I like so...I had to think about...whether it would sell or not *smiles*, as for 'GALAXY' part of me was aware that it would be the best pick for a single when I wrote the lyrics but I still wasn't sure about it but then, well, as always the majority rule decided! With Imai-san as the voice of authority! *laughs*

Well that explains why you released two singles but why did you pick 'HEAVEN' as the first single?
Because we weren't really sure what else to put first. ......but I do think 'HEAVEN' is completely right for a single. As for the second single ......when I thought about various things, of course 'GALAXY' struck me as the best suited for a single. Perhaps that's what ended the dispute. Each person had a song that they liked and I think it made us feel disconnected in a lot of ways. So it helped having an objective point of view from the record company too in regards to 'GALAXY'.

But you thought of 'GALAXY' as a single from the beginning when you wrote it didn't you Sakurai-san?
Already in the demo tape phase, I thought it was heading in that direction and then, the new person in charge of overseeing our work at BMG got all excited about it too when he first listened with us. And you know, these record company people are pros at knowing what CD will sell. And they all said 'GALAXY' was good and so that's why I think it's the best choice for the second single.

How did the filming of the PV for 'HEAVEN' go?
It was...well we got to experience the highlands a little. It was still October so I thought it would be quite refreshing~ and there was some light sprinkling rain...but it was cold. But I didn't think it was that uncomfortable as far as PVs go. Personally I've had to do worse like being suspended in midair, and having to carry a cross on my back in the desert *smiles*. In the end all I had to do was wear colored contacts this time. So, becau~se it was just that, there's nothing in particular that would make me say....."It was so hard this time!" you know. Because.....I've experienced much worse than that *smiles*.

*smiles* Did you imagine it would be worse?
Not really. Well, it's just because it's been a long time since we filmed a PV outdoors. But, doing that suited the song really well.

After that you have 'GALAXY' with the same director but where do you think you'll film that? *smiles*
Somewhere like Shigakogen(1) or Utsukushigahara(2)...*smiles*. But maybe the weather is already too~ intense at this time of year.

It'd be freezing. But it would work with the song title for the night sky.
I have a feeling the director will disagree though.......

The other day you made your selections for the costume design contest but, what did you think of all the work that went into it?
Firstly, I just really want to say thank you to everyone who sent stuff in! It was amazing to see. But because Yagi-san and I had such a hard time deciding over the costumes, I would like to do this more often from now on.....we're outsourcing *smiles*.

You also had the songs that people requested for the lives with some unusual results.
*looking at the results of the requests* Yeah. I think we'll consult this...and do what we can.

How would you say 2008 was in retrospect.....?
It's hard to say. *...thinking...thinking.......* A lot of various things happened this with work I was absorbed in recording. Concentrating on the production. I even had various things going on in my private life. It was a heavy year for me.

How would you say you want next year to be like?
I can't say~, I mean I'm barely free from the difficulties of this year but, I'd like an happy year.

And finally, would you say something to everyone who is awaiting the live at Budoukan, the new single and the new album.
Merry Christmas!! We've poured a lot of energy into our new album this year so, I look forward to showing everyone during the tour next year. I hope it will be a good year. A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!(3)

(1) Shigakogen is in Nakano.
(2) Utsukushigahara is in Nagano, Matsumoto city. Both places are gorgeous when you look at photos. Mountains, snow in winter and beautiful green in summer. Utsukushigahara is very aptly named. I can only imagine how magical 'GALAXY' would have been if filmed there...
(3) The Happy New Year was actually written in English. That's why I italicized it.