What inspired your original vision for C’est La Dernière Chanson ? Did you have specific sonic textures or thematic ideas that you wanted to capture?
It was kind of “at sight” project for people who happened to be present there. While “blues du jour” format was for rigorous collective improvisation, this project was for rather orthodox ensemble. Irrespective of reading ability, players can chose whether to read or to ignore the score, after each song is explained.
Any textures should have been seen as the result after recording this time.
As for the theme, at first in my mind I had just got an English title “XXsongs of maher shalal hash baz”, like “49 Americans” that had a sunny image.
Being in France at that period I preferred such English title, while I had adopted “L’autre Cap” being in Olympia, USA.
Since you recorded over 200 songs in six days, did it seem like you were being rushed?
On the 6th day we recorded until 4 a.m. That is why the sound becomes getting thin as the end of the cd comes to a close. Many songs to be recorded were still left.
What was the mood like in the studio? As the band leader, was it difficult to get everyone on the same page creatively?
The studio called Chaudelande was in beautiful rural area near Cherbourg. We were happily fed. Though it was a challenge to keep unrepeatable “at sight” discipline, we all were getting acclimatized to it gradually.
Is there a particular reason that you composed these songs to be so short? What draws you to that aesthetic?
Short songs themselves have been always written since early 80’s, like my diary. Those short pieces had often been abandoned behind longer songs so far, but this time picked up.
With so many different styles and moods on the album, was it difficult to know how these songs would fit together into a coherent album?
Without thinking any total image, I just automatically recorded my pieces written from 2005 to 2007, after “L’autre cap”.
While “L’autre cap” songs were about sin, this album mainly shows the upper layer of my life, like impressions about places, people, creatures, and mourning.
Words like “amateurish” and “naive” are often associated with your music. Do you agree with that interpretation or is that a misunderstanding of what you are doing?
If I were a Cornelius Cardew, I would write minimalist-ish piece under an error principle that should make its result richer. I am not a socialist designer for amateurs or shamateurs but just an egoist who is trying to realise own inspiration. It is just a economical reason why my music sounds shabby.
Since you also work as a ceramicist, does your work in the medium influence your work as a songwriter? Is there a unifying thread through all of your creative work?
As well as I do not like mixing clays taken from different places, I dislike blended inspirations and blended coffee beans. As for pottery, I prefer quick-inevitable throwing of Liao Dynasty than famous Song Dynasty.
Seeing that you have been making music for many years now, do you think your songwriting aesthetic has changed since you started? What continues to inspire you as an artist?
I think everyone are pursuing to grasp a solid substance. Lou Reed once called it “reality” on his liner note for metal machine music. Just as a punk, I have been doing it within the scope of my ability.
How did you come to record for K Records? Is your music received differently in U.S. than in Japan?
My colleague McCloud Zicmuse introduced me to studio Chaudelande, then my friend Arrington de Dionyso talked to Calvin Johnson about this release.
I have not known even how many maher cds are sold so far in U.S.
Finally, what would you like your listener to take from C’est la Derniere Chanson?
When you go to a museum, you would spend one or two hours there. You will see one drawing reading its caption. It could take about 10 seconds to walk down to next drawing. To listen to these pieces may become similar experience for the visitor.