HISASHI Personal Long Interview (from GROOVY)
Hisashi is aggressive and cool and gives a lot of power to the audience. What is the relationship between his music and his band? I asked Hisashi about this. Interview by Mayu Motoike.
-Why did you start playing the guitar?
I wanted to express myself when I was in 2nd grade of junior highschool.
-What was your life like until then?
Nothing special. I just went to school, came back home and studied. I thought that would make my parents happy. My father died right after I went to junior highschool. I felt complex about not having a father. I tried not to stand out as much as I could. I don't think anybody really cared, but I was still self-conscious and I tried to be as ordinary as I could.
-Why the guitar?
Maybe it's genetic. My father liked new things. He was interested in many things, for example, he made a computer from scratch, and he liked cars and sports. He tried everything. I think his influence is big on me. He gave me a stereo. I longed for separate speakers. How can you make a sound close to a stereo? I removed the speakers and connected them to a radio-cassette player. When I was in elementary school, my father had many kinds of guitars-classic and acoustic. Someone said that the "Strato" (shape) of an acoustic guitar looks like a woman. I was interested in guitars very much but I wasn't thinking of living on it.
-And when you were in 2nd grade of junior highschool, you started playing with the guitar that was in your house.
It could have been anything if I had something. I wanted to do something different from school. I was living in the same way as I had been, but once I came back to my room, I was playing punk. I needed that kind of time. That was it. I tried not to stand out for about 2 years. I liked to listen to music rather than play.
-How did you get into punk music?
I got interested in things from the outside, even now. If I see cool things, I just try it. I found Uchoten on TV. I was impressed because they were on TV even though they were an underground band. I had a stereotype about bands or guitar players-that they were delinquents. But I started thinking that it could be a job to be a guitar player or to have a rock band. As I got to know Uchoten, I started liking rock and punk music. And then everything changed-my friends, the books I read, and the shops I went to.
-And then you started playing the electric guitar?
Yes. I wasn't satisfied with a classic guitar.
-Did you save your money?
No. I asked my mother and she bought it for me.
-You didn't think like, "I don't want to make my parent struggle?"
No. I didn't care because I really wanted it. It was the first time I think I wanted something expensive. It was different from asking for a Rajikon (a remote-controlled toy car).
-Did you play by yourself in the beginning?
Yes. In my junior high school, there was nobody I wanted to have a band with so I bought many kinds of scores and practised by myself.
-After you started playing the guitar, did your life change?
Yes. I started reading Takarajima (a music and variety magazine) and I started getting interested in not only bands, but also movies and underground plays. I don't know how to say it but I felt like I was into a unordinary world and I felt like I could go there. At the time, that kind of weird taste wasn't as popular as it is now. And Takarajima was the only kind of magazine which represented that taste. Sometimes I was disgusted but sometimes I was very interested in it.
-Your taste--I don't want to say weird--started around that time?
Yes. Because of my father's gene.
Did your father also like "kumo" (spider)?
No. He had a different kind of view about things. I think I have his influence to be able to know what I need. I think he was aggressive in that way.
-After your father died and you got older, do you think you found your father's new character?
Yes. When I was in elementary school, I couldn't see my father as a man but now I understand. For example, why my father got angry then, etc.
-Anyway, your life changed.
Yes. Until then, if I had school, family and my room, I cared about everything. But I came to care only about my room. I found my place. I started not studying.
-But you went to school and had good grades?
Why do you think I could keep good grades? I didn't study a lot but I could understand everything. In the entrance exam for highschool--amazingly, I could understand everything. I think I could have gone to a better highschool.
-You met Takuro in highschool so it was good that you didn't go to a better highschool. But why didn't you go to a better one?
Because it was a school for boys.
-You said when you were in junior highschool you were not interested in girls. But were you then?
Well... I'm not sure.
-When was your first love?
In highschool. I'm glad it was for both boys and girls.
-And when did you start a band?
Right after I entered highschool. I was pretty busy since I had a band and someone I liked. It was like a debut or being born again in another society.
-You mean you became different yourself?
Or I forced myself to be different.
-How did you make a band?
Some of my friends from junior highschool were also in the same highschool and I asked them, "Do you want to make a band?" It's a common story for highschool students.
-Why was it strange?
Because I'm the person who said that I wanted to make a band. I was introverted but I had a big ambition to write a song in a band. So I really wanted to have a band and I was so eager to ask people to join my band and asked anybody. I tried to collect information about anything related to music, such as anyone who was good at drums or any instrument.
-Were you looking for somebody in school?
I was so bold as to ask strangers to join my band.
-So you didn't want to ask people to join a band directly?
Yes. I didn't want to ask directly. It's a psychological thing. Katsuo (a Japanese cartoon character) always does this.
-So when did you start a band?
We started practicing in the summer. We got along with each other against their will. We went to their house and listened to music.
-What was the name of the band?
Ari ("ant"). It's Ari!!
-So what kind of band?
Ari was a GREAT band.
It's too ambiguous to say that Ari was great but there were so many things and too many things to learn. As a result, the band grew very, very fast.
-What do you mean by growing fast? In terms of technique?
Everything. From the looks, for example. We started as a punk band and after changing some of the members, we ended up hardcore and we started making original songs. Usually, some bands change all the time but our band was burned out. Everybody burned out and we broke up. So I conclude that our band was NOT GREAT. But we did what we wanted to do. I found some answers in this band.
-What was the answer?
I found out what kind of music I wanted to play and I could express my feelings through the music. I believe that bands are short-lived. After you burn out, you have to break up. In my opinion, THAT is a great rock band and it becomes a legend.
-What kind of legend is there in your mind about Ari?
The Legend of Ari. [Laughs]
-Even now, we can see the name of Ari in the magazines. Is Ari the biggest thing in you mind?
In some sense, Ari is bigger than GLAY. Ari made GLAY. (He means that if he hadn't been in Ari, he would never have met GLAY.) Ari grew faster and I was influenced by the experience through Ari.
-Were you affected by the members of Ari?
Yes. It's like I wanted to absorb some new things from the members. At that time, I grew up faster in my life.
-Did you write a song for Ari?
No, but everybody else made a song. We didn't have lyrics for our songs. We didn't need it. We could express our music through the music, not through the lyrics.
-What did the vocalist do?
He just shouted and threw the chairs. At that time, THAT was our message-more than lyrics. We thought it was cool. We didn't have any style. We did not want to wear what other people were wearing. We didn't need to imitate. We were such idiots.
-So what did you wear?
We wore old blue jeans and the vocalist was topless. We didn't need shirts or lyrics. That's it.
-Is that the Ari you played in front of people for the first time?
-How did you feel? Do you remember?
It was great. It was the first time we played in front of people who paid for our tickets. I remember it was such a strong stimulus to be seen by people.
-You always say that you're acting-you don't reveal yourself. But through this interview, you're not acting. But you're very aggressive about doing what you want to do. You're a very honest man. You are always following your feelings.
I think you're right. I would say I hide myself after I get smarter. (He means that he doesn't think he's smart enough to act and hide himself.) I was so happy to be seen by my friends in the audience.
-Were you happy?
Yes, of course. I started the band because I wanted satisfaction from that. That motivated me to start a band. And I feel I continued playing. That idea comes from the impression of the first live concert of Ari (which was called "Bay City Street"). I had the same impression from the Budokan live. I had the same good impression from both the Budokan concert and the first live of Ari.
-Is the feeling you got from the Budokan concert and Bay City Street different from other concerts?
Yes, it's different. For example, we had a lot of concerts in Shibu-kou (nickname for Shibuya Koukaido). In that concert, we tried to entertain the audience. (He means that it wasn't natural.) It is necessary for the band to entertain people in order to make a band bigger. But my impression of it was less stronger than the one I had from the first Budokan concert and the first concert of Ari. So that's why the Budokan concert and Bay City Street are very different from other concerts.
-You want to be seen, not "show" yourself in concert? (Hisashi would rather get attention from people than entertain them.)
Yes. I'm addicted to being seen.
Of course! After we finished the first Budokan concert, maybe I was looking forward to doing concerts in the Budokan again. After the first live of Ari, I felt I wanted to write different songs.
-After you became addicted to that band, Ari broke up.
It was before Spring, about 1 year after we started the band. After that, we joined some band and played.
-Did you meet Takuro while you were playing in Ari?
Yes. At a concert where we were playing.
-Do you remember your first impression of Takuro?
No because he's very different from the members of Ari. Everything was different, such as the music instruments or the music. He was using a modulation effector (Hisashi didn't have this at the time). In Ari, we just focused on the distortion of music. We just believed it was good for our band to distort the sound, including the bass. But Takuro was different. He looked like a real guitarist. He looked like a normal person. But I felt that he really liked music, the same way I did. But I had negative feelings about Takuro. My music is really rock. His music is not rock.
-When was it that Takuro asked you to join GLAY?
It was in the 2nd grade of highschool. My band was mixed with his band. Everybody was together.
-So both of you were one of a band group. (A "band group" is a group of different bands who are friends with each other.)
Yes. But I was in a different classroom.
-Only you? Was there any other band member in your class?
No. I was alone.
-So did you start asking people to join your band?
No. I hadn't joined a band since Ari broke up so I didn't know what to do. I was already in the 2nd grade of highschool. I was wondering what I would do after I graduate. I didn't know what I wanted to do.
-You felt empty after you burned out in the band?
Yes. I felt empty so I thought I would start a band again. I actually went back to a band and played but I wasn't happy. I was not enjoying myself in that band. It was in Ari where I could do what I wanted. After Ari was over, I lost my hope in what I wanted to do.
-Is there any place you could go to other than a band?
No. I enjoyed playing the guitar.
-Did Takuro change you?
Yes, he gave me a chance.
-Do you remember when you were asked to join GLAY?
Yes, I remember. It was at the end of 2nd grade in highschool. One day, after school, I ran into him. Although we didn't talk to each other a lot, we became close friends. We had a strange conversation. I guess we were uncomfortable to be together but we went home together and I was asked to join GLAY by him because we didn't have anything to talk about.
-So you were asked to join GLAY for the sake of conversation.
I think so. We could have made a different conversation, such as "This pizza restaurant is very good" but there were no pizza restaurants around us. And I felt uncomfortable not to make any conversation so I just said, "Yes, I will join your band. It would be a good idea to join a band."
-What did you think about GLAY?
I thought GLAY is always looking for something they want to do. It is good-it's different from Ari.
-Different? Didn't Ari look for something?
Yes, but it was over. But GLAY continued to look for something. In Ari, everybody had different dreams. So we broke up-we went our different ways. But GLAY is different. GLAY's members have the same dream-the same direction to go and they want to achieve their goal together. I felt their dreams through their live concerts.
-And you joined GLAY. Did you change yourself in GLAY?
Yes, I did. It's not because Takuro and Teru changed me but because of the band. The band changed me and I have been absorbing a lot of new things. GLAY has an energy to make people love GLAY. So I was attracted to GLAY's energy (or power). So was Jiro. And we became members. If you can't catch up with GLAY, you will be left behind. GLAY has that energy all the time since we came to Tokyo.
-What about the last year in Hakodate?
I am a person who gets deeply involved in anything. I could not think about going to a University because of GLAY. I was always thinking about our concerts when I was in 3rd grade of highschool. I had a year to graduate. When I started the band, I would play in the band until graduation. But after I played in GLAY, I found something I wanted to do after graduation.
-Why did you decide to quit the band when you finished your highschool?
Because when I started GLAY, I never thought I would become a professional musician. Graduation was very important for me because I was very serious about my future. When I thought about working, school and family were the only places where I felt comfortable.
-Did you take the graduation seriously?
Yes. When I was in 2nd grade in highschool, there were some band members who planned to go to Universities while playing in the band. But I had nowhere to go so I thought playing in the band made me comfortable.
-You are repeating "comfortable." Did you struggle from having nothing to do?
Yes. I don't think there were many of my friends who had something they wanted to do. So I thought I would find something I wanted to do after I find a job. I think this is right. But I never knew what to do. If I went to a University, I would find what I wanted to do but going to a University was NOT what I wanted to do. So I couldn't decide what to do. I didn't know what I had to think about. When I was asked to join GLAY, I said "Yes" without hesitation. So my concern was gone. I didn't have time to think about that. I was always thinking about GLAY.
-In what month did you join GLAY?
The end of 2nd grade. When I joined GLAY, there were a lot of original songs to play. After we finished some concert, I didn't feel the concert was over but I started thinking, "How can we improve our music?" If I could use my experience from Ari, GLAY would be a better band. So Takuro and I talked about petty things which might improve our music. We tried to write a song together overnight.
-The relationship between you and Takuro has changed since the first time, when you never talked to each other.
Yes. When we talked a lot, I realized he has something I don't have.
-What is it?
It's a message we want to convey through the song because I didn't need any words in Ari. I just needed sounds and violence in Ari and I was confident about that. I believed that sounds and violence conveyed our message but Takuro, who is the same age, had a message to convey. I envied him.
-What did you feel GLAY's message was at the time?
I didn't like it very much because of the numerous love songs. If I wrote a song, maybe I would write about school or hardships in life. I was never hurt by love so joining a band in order to run away from real society is not the same as going to my girlfriend. Going to my girlfriend is boring. For example, on a Sunday, I wait for my girlfriend at 10 o'clock and go to see a movie. It's BORING.
-Don't you have a date?
No. I've never had a date with a girl.
-Don't you have a girlfriend?
Yes. But going shopping with her is not a date. I think girls want to have a date but I find it boring to sit on a bench and just talk. I hate that. So if I am asked to write a love song, I can't write words about love.
-Don't you want to make your girlfriend happy?
I don't know. Maybe I don't want to. I'm not that kind of person.
-Don't you have any desire to do something for somebody you love?
It's only a date. I hate dates.
-You joined the band for yourself.
Yes. But I had a one-sided love.
-I see. After you came to Tokyo, tell me about yourself at that time.
I haven't changed a lot.
-When you came to Tokyo from Hakodate, you changed yourself to be what you are right now?
My impression of Tokyo is that I hated everyone who played in a band. I hated their spirit for their bands so I cooled down because of their spirit[?]. In addition, I found what I wanted to do. Although it was my dream, one of my dreams came true when I played in Ari. I could find my answer. I could ask strangers to join my band which I never thought I could do in my junior highschool. I could do something in highschool I couldn't do in junior highschool. I did this in just one year. So I realized that my dream came true. And I could see the other side and once I could see the other side, I changed.
-It sounds like you were affected more by Ari than GLAY to be what you are.
-What you learned in Ari influenced who you are right now?
Yes. When I started GLAY in highschool and we were not popular yet, I could have the same feeling which I had in Ari.
-What was the dream in GLAY when you started?
There was a lot, like a concert in the Budokan and that dream came true gradually. I could hold onto my dream because of my last concert in Hakodate. Our fans came to our last live to see us in our last concert and they were happy to let us go to Tokyo. So we thought we would be fine in Tokyo.
-After you came to Tokyo, your dreams were about concerts.
A concert is the only place to express our message. I think it the coolest to do a concert. And when I was in 3rd grade of highschool, I had a dream in which I had a concert in a big hall. I guess it would be the Budokan. And I talked about this to Takuro the next morning, and he said "That's nice." At the time, I decided to go to Tokyo. The only way to enjoy my life is achieving my dream.
-It happened to you, didn't it?
Yes. I was so happy with what Takuro said. Ever since I was a kid, I always tried to attain my dream. That power led to have successful concerts in the Budokan. Other members of GLAY have the same power so we could do the concert in the Budokan.
-You are repeating Budokan all the time but I heard that you think that the Budokan is nothing.
Wait a minute. I never said that.
-You said, "The Budokan has the same value as a loft (a small concert hall)." You never thought of the Budokan as special.
[Angry] No. I was talking about the size. I resent what you said. It was an adventure to go to the loft from Hakodate. And it's progress, going from the loft to the Budokan. Usually, after I attain my dream I look at a new dream. It was Shibu-kou but after playing in the Budokan, there is no-place beyond the Budokan. The concert in the Budokan was successful this time. I expected what we did in concert. We could express our feelings and we could convey our feelings through the music. It was great for the first concert. And next time will be the first (real) concert in the Budokan.
-So you felt that you were seen by people.
Yes. Next time I will show our band. (He means that in the first live at the Budokan, he just wanted the attention of the audience. In their next live, he will play to entertain others, not just for himself.)
-So the next time you are going to attain your new dream in the Budokan? What are you going to do?
I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. So I'm looking forward to seeing myself tomorrow. I wish I could say better and maybe I will be better-looking in the picture tomorrow than in the picture today.
-What do you think of Teru, Takuro and Jiro, who influence you?
They are good rivals. I think GLAY is a good place to stay because it's comfortable. We are good friends and stimulate each other. We balance each other. We are helping each other. When we stop doing this, we will go in different directions.
-What are you in the band?
I'm not the responsible person. I can see GLAY a year from now.
-What is it?
I can't talk to you. I'm PSYCHIC. This is the first time for me to say that I'm psychic. If everybody goes crazy, I can see what happens.
-It's YOU who can tell what's going to happen to GLAY?
Yes, I can see everything. I'm the only person who can see. I'm the person who controls everybody. It's me...probably me...maybe it's me... I don't know. [Laughs]
GLAY Image Encyclopedia [B-PASS December 1996]
ALONE I don't want to talk to anyone because I don't have time for that
BOOK Neuromancer (by William Gibson). I bought this because I liked the title
CD Ken Ishi. I listen to him without thinking about rock
DRINK I have a good drink
ENJOY I made my own homepage which reflected my interest
FAN I feel warm after I read letters from our fans
GLAY It is a lifetime work (or job)
HOMETOWN Hakodate. I feel pain
JINX I used a secret medicine in the (BEAT out!) reprise Tour [Laughs]
KITTEN The cat is smart. It is clever
LIVE The place where I get nervous
MAC When on the MAC, I always use my own position
NEXT I want to make my own world the size of my room
OVERSEA I want to go to the Middle East if I have the time
PET I looked for a rabbit owner in a magazine but they didn't have as much affection as I did
QUESTION None. I have the ability to solve any problem
RADIO The job where I can reveal myself
SHOPPING I buy a lot. (I have) many machines at home [Laughs]
TELEPHONE I don't answer it because I don't want to be interrupted
USEFUL Accessory. Spider ring
VOICE I thought I had a short tongue when I heard my voice on the radio
WAIT I read a manual or play games. Or make fun of Takuro [Laughs]
X I have an interest in multimedia
YOU Feel warm after you listen to the next album
ZZZ I am often late because I don't have much time to sleep. But I have Teru's telephone
Q&A [B-PASS February 1996]
3 FAVORITE MUSICIANS:
Kanako Nakayama [Princess Princess], Andy Partridge, Trent Reznor [NIN]
THE SONG WHICH HAS THE STRONGEST IMPRESSION ON YOU:
CYNICAL [GLAY]-makes me happy and unhappy
YOUR ROLE IN GLAY:
To finish things off
A PERSON YOU RESPECT:
A regular businessman
HISTORY OF INSTRUMENTS YOU HAVE PLAYED:
Guitar-7 years, DTM [desktop music]-6 months
THE DISH YOU'RE GOOD AT COOKING:
WHEN YOU DRINK, WHAT DO YOU DRINK AND WHO DO YOU DRINK WITH:
I drink by myself
YOUR HOBBY OTHER THAN MUSIC:
YOUR AVERAGE SHOWER TIME & WHERE DO YOU START WASHING:
15 mins. Hair first
Mother, brother, little bunny
HOW DO YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS CALL YOU:
WHAT IS YOUR REQUEST TO THE OTHER GLAY MEMBERS:
Tell me your phone numbers[!]
MEDICINE YOU ALWAYS CARRY:
LICENSES YOU HAVE:
ACCESSORIES YOU ALWAYS CARRY:
HISTORY OF PART-TIME JOBS:
Convenient stores and game centers. Can't write them all
HISTORY OF PETS:
WHAT TYPE OF GIRL DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO AT THE CONCERT:
THE PRESENT YOU WILL BE HAPPY TO RECEIVE FROM FANS:
Hats, sunglasses, and rings
A PHRASE YOU USE TO GET A GIRL:
"It's okay until the morning"
IF YOU FIND OUT THAT YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS CHEATING:
I'm making a pithole
HAS ANYONE EVER TOLD YOU THAT YOU LOOK LIKE:
J [from LUNA SEA]
YOUR FAVORITE SPORT:
Freestyle skiing [or ski jumping]
YOUR LIFE GOAL:
To be active all the time
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR DAY OFF:
YOUR FAVORITE SPOT IN HAKODATE:
YOUR STRONG POINTS, WEAK POINTS, AND CHARM POINTS:
Optimistic, cynical, treasure [jewellery?]
THINGS YOU ALWAYS DO RIGHT BEFORE THE CONCERT:
Go to the bathroom
Monthly Kadokawa [May 1997 issue] Q&A: TO HISASHI
[Note: Questions in pink red are by Teru, dark red by Takuro, and yellow by Jiro. All answers are by Hisashi].
Why do you point out a person's weakness quicker than anyone else?
I don't want to compliment other people. I am envious of them.
You were always cool. Please teach me how not to be irritated.
I AM irritated. I always think I don't have enough calcium.
When you're with me, you seem so uncomfortable. Do you hate me?
If you're asking me whether I like you or hate you, probably the answer is the second one. And if I end my answer here, it will be interesting to see us onstage during the next tour.
You're good at ending relationships with a girl. Teach me how.
I am good at fading out of relationships with either a male or female[!]. And you should not make promises with anybody. And lock your door because you don't know what might happen to you[!].
In X magazine, you were writing an article and giving advice to amateur bands. Have you read any good book recently?
I read Ryu Murakami's "Love & Pop." He wrote about superficiality in the real life. And I thought it was interesting.
You never laugh at my jokes. Tell me which one of my jokes is the funniest.
Many people abbreviate words, like calling McDo [MacDonald's] "Mac's" but Teru's a little bit different. He calls shokuchu doku [food poisoning] "Shokuchu." [Shokuchu means "food in mouth"]. That's the funniest joke I ever heard from Teru. Teru's joke is tricky. But if you think about it later, you start to get the point slowly.
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