Fish Tank 63
Interview with Imai Hisashi
Reporter: Ikeda Rumi
Translation: Lola

Let's start with the lives. There was quite a bit of free time before the postponed lives but did that influence the lives in any way?
No. It didn't really have any effect on the lives. The only thing was that when I was composing, it influenced me in a way because all I could think was how I really wanted to do the lives soon. So I was glad to finally be able to do them.

So you've been composing on and off....
Yeah it felt odd for me. Having to stop midway through.

Were you in work mode during the tour as well?
Usually I do think about composing and things like that when I'm on tour, it's just that it felt a little weird this time to have been working on things, only to take a break and do lives. Well, I'm glad we did it though.

So you took a break from work to do the lives but do you feel that composing has been progressing smoothly and efficiently since the new year?
Hmm. Well I don't know if it's really for this reason but, I'd say it might just be because we are finally able to do good new things right now.

You had the Day in Question right after the postponed lives but how did you find performing that amazing set list?
It was interesting, for sure. I think it fit well you know, the plan of doing one song from each album from [HURRY UP MODE] all the way to our more current stuff to illustrate our 25 years.

Before now you've never really had songs follow each other in that way before either right?
But I wondered about it you know. It turned out to be incredibly interesting but it was exhausting too. Like, the mood for the old songs and the new songs are completely different, as well as the guitar arrangements and as I was playing I was wondering why it was so hard you know.

You mean the way you played when you were younger.
Yes, exactly.

After the earthquake, it was decided that the first DIQ would be in Sendai but how did you find the Sendai show went?
The mood was great.

The final DIQ at Budoukan was live streamed but did that affect your performance?
The Niconico live stream right. Did it affect me? Well, I'd say for sure I was aware that ok, it's happening now.

The fires got pretty high during your performance, weren't you hot?
Fire? The flames were hot, yeah. It was crazy! Maybe it was a little too much...*smiles*

There was also those old video clips playing in the background so you had no objections to that?
The clips of me? Not at all. Not now. I think I've really mellowed out. But if this had been ten years ago or so I'm sure I would have grumbled about it. At first I was confused by Yuuta and Hide's song choice and wondered why we were doing so many and what about Aku no Hana? Since we usually do it.... One song was picked from every album and so the whole live flowed as the songs progressed and the videos used were of those songs. Anyway, that was the result. But while I was hand ended up cramping up.

What?! Is it ok?
It doesn't hurt now and it was because of how I was picking at the beginning. It happened sometime around when we were doing 'Moonlight' as an encore, I started to play and my left hand cramped up completely and I thought 'uh oh'. Then for the next two or three songs of the encore it was ok because I figured alright I'll change how I hold my hand. But then because of that when it came to the end of 'Cosmos', it ended up that I couldn't play the chords properly, my fingers were cramped together so, although there's no arpeggio it was all I could do.

May I print that?
I'll think about it. And depending on my mood when I'm proofreading the issue I might say there's no way you're writing that *smiles*.

At the end of the Budoukan show, the screen was used to announce the band's grand plans for the coming year but didn't you end up bumping into the screen? I was a little worried *smiles*.
Oh, at the end?

There was no discussion about you remaining on stage like that during rehearsal was there?
Not at all. just happened because my fingers were cramped so I was trying to shake it off but then after when my siblings saw me, suddenly they were all freaking out over it and I was just like 'huh?'. But anyway, I think it turned out good in the end. Better than I thought it would.

Yes, it was good. But for those of us who knew what really happened, it was nerve wracking....
Yeah I got quite the earful about it from Taku-chan *smiles* (the director, Mr. Yamanaka). But it's not like I was under it on purpose!

Weren't you feeling pressured from all the announcements made on the screen?
No, I mean they'd already been decided! It just means that though the show ended, things aren't really over. Besides I think it's better not to get overly excited or overly uneasy about it since I mean, it's not even happening yet. You know Yoko-chan told me that he only did the sound in a hurry the day before for when they showed the announcements.

Uh, isn't that kinda rash?
Yokoyama: I was surprised. The day before the live I thought I'd have to beg to be allowed to do something but then they asked me if I could do something quickly as it was necessary to have some sound for when the put up the announcements at the very end.

And thanks to that, the announcements got everyone really excited in the venue.
I guess it's something to be excited about then *smiles*.

What did you think of the results of the fan votes that decided the top 30 songs for the special [CATALOGUE] compilation CD that was released on March 7th?
I'm happy the new songs were so high up in the ranking. And I was super surprised by how popular 'Shippu no Blade runner' was. Like no way?! Really?! *smiles*

Yagami-san said the same thing.
It's not that I thought it was unpopular but to be first? Definitely didn't expect that. I figured at least 'FLAME' would be higher than it. And I'm impressed that 'FLAME' is so high too. 'LONG DISTANCE CALL''s incredible.
Yokoyama: But I've loved those songs since I first worked them too *smiles*.

It came with a special DVD featuring old live footage but whatever happened to your main guitars from back then?
The black and red ones? They're kept safe.

Watching the old footage Imai-san, was there anything that left an impression?
The Shinjuku Koma Theatre really stood out for me. I remember when I performed there being insanely tired and yet the atmosphere is incredible. The mood for the live ended up being really great.

Wasn't it an event with some other bands?
Yes, yes. And our first song was 'Victims of Love' and the mood when we did it was amazing.... Actually didn't it end up being rebroadcast? On Satellite Circuit or WOWWOW or something like that? Anyway, during the opening sequence I noticed that I really needed to cut my nails. So I asked for someone to bring me some nail clippers. So then, like 30 seconds before the live starts, I'm standing there clipping my nails before going on stage *smiles*.

That's the amazing power of memory isn't it, that you can even remember something like that is incredible *smiles*. Finally, I would like you to please say a word to everyone who will be celebrating your 25th anniversary with you.
We'll have some incredibly cool new songs coming out so, I'm sure we'll have fun together for our 25th anniversary.

For information regarding the current recording situation, please see Imai's corner titled 'Imai na kanji'.