Jake Cloudchair, well known in the Japanese rock scene for his savvy use of social media, took the opportunity with the release of the Ai no Wakusei Collector's Box to re-publish old entries from his previous blog that had been taken down when he changed blogging platforms.
He writes, "Now, when I go back and re-read the entries I wrote feeling so much inspiration nine years ago, I feel embarrassed, but I want you to think of my embarrassment as another reason to enjoy these records of the past, so please go on and read them."
Below is our translation of Jake's account of the genesis of "Neko," and of working with Mr. Sakurai in the studio. The verbal tics and high-tone language are our attempt at replicating Mr. Jake's individualistic Japanese phraseology in English.
One day, Mr. Tanaka, the director who has taken care of me since my pro debut, gave me a phone call. "Sakurai Atsushi, of Buck-Tick, is currently making a solo album. Would you be willing to provide one song?" As soon as he made the proposition, I told him twice that I would do it.
By the way, when I asked him what other sorts of people would be contributing to this album, he told me Satou Taiji, Okamura Yasuyuki, Tsuchiya Masami, Foetus, Cube Juice, Wayne Hussey (The Mission), Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins), etc.
Once I'd asked him, "What the hell festival is this?" to convey my excitement about what an elite and furthermore surprising lineup this was, and further asked him, "Why me?" yet again, feeling confused that I should be chosen, I told myself that from now on, I needed to be calm and collected and furthermore positive, and therefore I calmed myself down.
But then, when I asked him, "What kind of song should I write?"
Mr. Tanaka replied, "Something like David Bowie's 'Starman' or 'Space Oddity'...a dreamy and furthermore poppy feeling."
"Yes yes, I love that style, roger that!" I said, and hung up the phone.
This is gonna be easy, so easy, I hummed to myself. Something like Starman, I've got this, I've got it...but as soon as I spoke those words to myself, the feeling popped, and I returned to reality.
What he means is, he wants me to write a major famous hit...
But whether it was easy or whether I felt like I was fighting a losing battle, it had the desired effect, and somehow I produced a song that Mr. Sakurai liked. After a long back-and-forth with the sound engineer Sugiyama Yuuji both in the studio and over the internet, we felt we'd produced quite a delicate, elegant track, and the day for recording the vocals had arrived.
I hadn't seen Mr. Sakurai in quite a while, but from the moment he appeared, he had his aura turned up to full power, and just as I was feeling drunk on his atmosphere, he murmured a short message to me.
"Thank you for the beautiful song."
Gaaaah please be my lover, I thought, restraining the impulse to grab him and embrace him, and we began the vocal recording in a low-key manner.
For the first time, I read the lyrics he'd written for the song. The title was "Cat." I was mildly shocked.
This was the first time I'd ever seen someone start drinking wine before recording vocals, but there's certainly no one else who could make such a custom look so good. The song exuded so much sensuality I could practically smell it, and as I listened to it I felt I was falling in love, but just then, the vocal recording ended as smoothly as it had begun.
Of course. This guy is a pro rocker. But while we were still sighing, immersed in the lingering after-effect of the vocals, Mr. Tanaka made a suggestion.
"Would you try whispering the title over the intro?"
Huge question marks appeared over the heads of me and Mr. Sugiyama, having no idea what was going on or what Mr. Tanaka could possibly be asking, but without paying attention to us confused lot, Mr. Sakurai gave a broad, bold smile and with one word, "Okay," he entered the booth once more.
Everyone aside from Messrs. Tanaka and Sakurai were wondering what on earth was going to happen, holding the spit in their mouths from anticipation, both eyes glued to the speakers.
The intro began...and with impeccable timing, timing so good you couldn't imagine anything better, and furthermore in a low voice overflowing with seduction, he whispered one word.
Gaaaah, pleeease by my lover!
This has been another edition of "Just One More Fanboy." Thank you for reading. If you have any suggestions for the next installment, please write to us. Like always, all translations are by Cayce. Please do not re-post without linking back to Blog-Tick.
...and as for the rumors that Mr. Jake was spotted recently at a certain live house in Shibuya, all dressed up in his Mortal outfit topped off with that gear-laden steampunk top-hat of his, faux-casually bragging to starry-eyed young hipster-goth boys with mushroom haircuts and black skinny jeans about being in a band with Mr. Sakurai as they nodded up and down, faces shining with admiration...The Hisashi Inquirer insists these rumors are true, but we cannot confirm them.