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■ Featuring "Ice Cream," August 31 to September 29







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■ You were born in 1963. Could you talk about music experience in your infancy?

T: I consciously began to listen to pop music which almost meant Japanese folk songs, when I was in my fifth year of elementary school. That was in the middle of 1970s. Started from Inoue Yosui and Kaguya-hime, I got to older ones like Yoshida Takuro, Okabayashi Nobuyasu, Takada Wataru and Happy End against a then peripheral fashion. Not just Japanese pops, I also had foreign ones like the Beatles, Kiss, and Billy Joel etc. since my older brother loved.


■ Both cultivated your sense.

T: When I was in my second year of high school, Ohtaki Eiichi (ex. Happy End) released “A Long Vacation” on March 21, 1981. That was pretty good and completely hit me. I firstly met true colors of Mr. Ohtaki at all though I had heard Happy End a lot. Then, I went more absorbed in American and Britain pops which had cultivated Mr. Ohtaki, than Japanese ones.


■ Reasonable because “A Long Vacation” is said to be the final settlement of his denominator. So is it your masterpiece in Japanese pops?

T: No, it is not “A Long Vacation.” (After lengthy consideration) Let me cite one song as the most exquisite piece. “冬景色 Fuyu-geshiki (winter scenery)” is it. That is more excellent than any other ones in the combination of Japanese and melodies, although unknown is the writer. Of course, I don’t mean the older is better. In the combination, “Kimigayo” and “Hana (flower)” by Taki Rentaro sound so disgusting.


T: In an angle of pops, you can find the Golden Age of Japanese pops in ones of 1970s when they had correctly divided the works among singers, lyricists, composers, arrangers and A & R. Then pop songs are almost ideal and beautiful. Like Tsutsumi Kyohei, Tokura Syun-ichi, and Makaino Koji, they had each color and had written deeply thinking about the singers. In a song of Asaoka Megumi; a Japanese female singer, for instance, the A & R decided the subject matter and placed an order, and the makers wrote guessing about her picture and her register. We have hardly seen the ideal specialization now. Recently, in a ballad song of a singer, they have gathered about 100 songs without thinking about what should be sung at all. So there have been just colorless ones.


■ Then, Japanese pops have lately been poorer than ‘90s and ‘80s?

T: Well, packages like CDs almost mean offerings now. It gives you meaning to have CDs of your favorite artists, doesn't it?


■ There are several reasons, of course, it is supposed. They've supplied good songs and artists less than older years. And then, I dare say that creative directors in Japanese pop music have wasted away.

T: Record companies still have directors, but they are almost only in name. When offices can control artists and their songs, they need just the sound producers and don’t need any directors. The inclination has been conspicuous for this decade. So there are also many directors who never horn in music.


■ Singers and offices have recently taken the lead for good or ill, you mean.

T: I guess I am so given the cold shoulder because I often make them have another go. Now few do so. They are almost left to take care of themselves. The one truly has a gift somehow and it is good. But it just goes to a grave when the artist does not have. I believe my most important job is controlling the quality. I have established the methodology also for working with Spitz. I have learnt and imbibed a lot from them.


Interview & Text by Misaka Youhei

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