2018.10.30 interview by Michel
10.30 interview by Michel
・What is your first childhood memory that made you listen to a sound like a musical experience?
・What did you listen as a child and later as a teenager in your family and high school? What place did music have in your life at that time?
・Was there a record or a concert that made you want to make music your turn? Have you studied music? How did you start? What music did you want to do?
My mother let me attend an organ class being held in an nursly school when I was 2years old and a half. So I could say that the first musical experience came from the sound from my instrument not from the music of others, I was often sleeping during the lesson, though.
“1969 Velvet Underground Live With Lou Reed LP” was the first music from others, not from my instruments.
My parents had got some LPs of classical music and single records. I do not remember but my mother says I had been singing the low chorus part of “You’ll never know” of the Platters when I was a baby.
My mother says that when I was 3 and was on the way back home with my parents after the concert of Mari Iwamoto’s string quartet at a local hall, I suddenly picked up a small violin in a store and ran out from there with it. So my parents could not avoid buying it. The cost was comparable to their monthly income.
My parents had no TV at home but I was listening the radio dramas and the theme were these;
When I was 6, I got the upright piano by my grandfather’s retirement allowance. I was playing the piano every day from the start and gradually moving to improvisation.
I remenber I danced the “monkee dance” of the monkees when the neighboufood were gathering for anual meeting in January.
My mother started playing the folk guitar like “dona dona”and I learned the simple chords from her when I was 8.
After TV came to my house, I was listening to these proglams;
I remember the movie theatre in my town used to play Claude Ciari’s “la playa” loudly every 6 o’clock in the evening.
I hated popular music program on TV. I hated both of almost of all Enka and Western songs sung by Japanese divas.
My teacher called me “the beatles” when I was 9 because my hair was longer than others. By that time, I had finished collecting all the beatles songs on cassettes through the radio.
When I was 12, I start buying LPs of female pop singer’s, like Yumi Arai, Hako Yamazaki, Mayumi Itsuwa, Minako Yoshida. Also I was listening to T-Rex, Roxy Music,through TV and radio program.
・What are your first musical projects? With which musicians? Around which ideas do you started your first bands?
When I was 12, I started playing the piano in a jazz band at a club in Matsuyama city, but the songs played there were not my songs. Then I was ordered to offer a commercial song for a kimono company’s spot sale event at the agricultural cooperative association hall in my town. The jazz band which I was involved at that time, played the song I composed. Although the moderator from the kimono company sang this song and oblige audience to follow after him, the audience were shy enough and their mouths were never opened. Later, the same melody was used on MSHB song named “this side of paradise”.
At about the same season, I composed a song called “plum blossoms are almost finishing, while cherry is not yet” , which lyric was based on traditional “hauta” .
I played this song with my class mates as entertainment around the campfire. These were the first times that I organised others to play my own music.
・ Syd Barrett, the Shaggs, Roland Kirk, there is a community with your music. Psychedelism and free music, folk and improvisation. It could do a mapping of your music. What did you get from all these groups?
Following Lakan’s steps, Sid Barrett has only “le Réel”. The Shaggs does not have “le symbolique”. Roland Kirk had “le symbolique”, “l’imaginaire”, and “le réel”. What was common to these three was that their rhythms were in “le réel”.
・In an interview you said you like the music of non-musicians. What do you mean negative about the musicians’ music? Your music is often associated with amateurism. I have a memory of a concert by Maher Shalal Hash Baz during which you stopped the musicians after a few seconds and offered them other scores in full progress of the concert. Which is unthinkable in a concert in the West. One would hesitate between seeing provocation, casualness, or amateurism. Especially since the melodies that were just beginning to take shape were beautiful and you cut them sharp. Do you have a critical look with the idea of perfection, accomplishment, finitude? How do you think the concert as a concept?
I am not negative about the music of musicians. However,I think that in music there are only enemy music and ally music. Especially singing is very special, only to find an ally inside the enemy and to find an enemy inside the ally to sing. Even among non-musicians I often see an enemy, just as I see an ally among musicians. Takehisa Kosugi expressed the problematique of enemies and allies as the battle of Indian music and tango. It meant the battle of the horizontal and vertical on the time axis. I have made stage as collaboration of music and theater with several playwrights such as Jacob Wren. As John Cage says, music is only part of theater. Nevertheless, on such occasions I was trying to rescue music as music. Even though by letting music a suicide bomber, I will bring the stage to a certain level. Everything is for music and the form of a concert exists solely for making the ally’s music sonorous in the enemy’s position. Music is a personal incident and inspiration. It is the mission of a musician to convey it. If it seemed to interrupt the song, it was because it was the life of the song. Each song has the number of repeats depending on the song. It is determined by the relationship between the world and the melody. If it exceeds a specified number of times, it would become enemy’s music even if it’s my own song. Short songs are usually sufficient once, but there is a song that would be necessary to repeat forever. Such nuance may not be conveyed to the band members, it is hard to say. In that way I always want perfection and I want to play without mistakes.
音楽家の音楽に対して否定的なわけではありません。ただ音楽には敵の音楽と味方の音楽しかないと思っています。特に、歌うということはとても特殊なことで、そのためには敵の中に味方を見、味方の中に敵を見るような方法でやるしかない。非音楽家の中にもわたしはしばしば敵を見ます。音楽家の中にも味方を見るのと同じように。 敵と味方という問題系を、小杉武久はインド音楽とタンゴの戦い、と表現した。それは時間軸における水平と垂直の戦いと言える。 私はジェイコブ・ウレンをはじめとする何人かの劇作家と音楽と演劇のコラボレーションとしてのステージを作ったことがあります。音楽はジョン・ケージが言うように、演劇の一部でしかありません。それでも、そうした機会に私が心がけるのは、音楽を音楽として救い出すことでした。音楽を自爆させてでも、ステージをある水準に持っていく気構えが私にはあります。すべては音楽のためにあり、コンサートという形式は敵の陣地のただなかで味方の音楽を鳴らすためだけに存在します。音楽とは個人的な事件であり、インスピレーションです。それを伝達するのが音楽家の使命です。 曲を中断させたように見えたのは、それがその曲の寿命だったからだと思う。それぞれの曲にはその曲に応じたリピートの回数がある。それは世と自分の関係で定められる。定められた回数を超えると自分の曲であってもそれは敵の音楽になってしまう。短い曲は大抵一回で十分だが、永遠に繰り返すことが必要な場合もある。そうしたニュアンスは人には伝わらないかもしれず、曰く言い難い。そういう風にして私は常に完全さを求めているし間違えずに演奏したいと思っている。
・In a text introducing you you were described as a deliberately dilettante musician, a jazz pianist who had become a revolutionary, an apostate who had discovered a religion. Do you find yourself in this description?
Cliché, deliberately incorporating the secular modalities ruled by Satan was the only way to break Adorno’s criticism of jazz.
Revolution had once seemed to be the only way human beings abolish the nations by human hands. It is evident by the war between Christian countries that Christendom is in apostasy as Christianity.
・What is it for you to be a musician? What does it entail? What are you looking for in the musical act?
I grew up playing Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy.
I listen to such classical pieces that flow from the radio and convert to hourly wages.
How many hours did the player practice until he became able to play this piece without mistake?
Is the income of this person worth it?
Many potential musicians can not buy musical instruments, and even if they manage to get them, there would be no time to spend training instruments in their life as slaves under this ultra-financial capitalism.
Despite that, I’m getting melodic subjects.
There is a scene where the protagonist suddenly comes up with a melody in the beginning part of “Nord” of Louis Ferdinand Celine.
He soaks in his melody within the brain for a while.
There are only two kinds in humans.
People who come up with such melodies and people who do not.
Those who do not have such inspiration are often financially comfortable enough to purchase musical instruments and have time for practice.
For those people, Yamaha will kindly develop keyboards that accompany with the function of automatically attached codes.
Such an aggregate constitutes the enemy’s music.
Because I am punk, I play only the music of the core of inspiration that I do not have to practice, in a way that I can say “Is it something like this?” against the disparity society.
・What was the atmosphere at the Minor Club in Tokyo at the time? What was going on there? What did you do on your side as a musician?
Free Jazz died at Minor. It gave way to free music. The session at Minor was like familiar ugly riding on Hawkwind. I was criticized as trying to play music.
・At the end of ’70 you form the Noise duo with your wife, who seems like a Japanese response to no-wave. What influenced you in this project? What were the ideas?
Our main concern was how to do with organ and vocal without imitating Suicide.
・You have put together several projects from cover bands like Tokyo Suicide or alluding to free-music like Machinegun Tango. How do you discover Suicide? How do you feel about having the need later to resume the particularly dark songs of this band? Their universe seems very far from your universe, the lightness of your orchestrations, if we can hear some punk amateurism it seems at least for the Western ear rather bright or peaceful.
One day in 1978? when I was hanging around with Keiji Haino in Kichijoji, I found Suicide’s single at a record shop. Its B side was “Land of a Thousand Dances “. We did not know such single had been released. Haino envied me so much.
It was obvious that Alan’s roots were in the 50’s. I met him in New York in 1980, then wrote a song called “To Alan”.
・Free-jazz, free-music. How do you discover these musics and what feelings does this cause in you? You frequent jazz-kissa? Could you mention your meeting with Kaoru Abe’s music and the Japanese free scene? Did you attend Derek Bailey’s tour in Japan?
I spent my high school days in Jazz-kissa. There were eight such cafes in Matsuyama city. One of them was for only European free jazz. Many followers of Kaoru Abe were there. Most of them were depressed, and gone then. I remember I went to see Derek Bailey by car when he came to Kochi that was next to my prefecture. It was 2 hours drive going over a mountain.