The entire interview, by popular request.
Normally, I never have time to do translations this long anymore, so please feel free to share this, but do not, do not, do not repost this translation elsewhere. Instead, share by posting a link back to Blog-Tick! Thank you.
Dave: Now it's time for Joe's Corner, where we welcome a special guest!
Joe: That's right!
Dave: I'm sorry, Mr. Sakurai.
Joe: What for?
Dave: For relegating you to this weird section of our program...
Joe: What are you saying, just the other day, Mr. Sakurai was...you remember?
Dave: But this corner is the least important part of the show!
Joe: Which is exactly why we had Mr. Sakurai show up, to make it cooler!
Dave: But this is the corner where we play tracks just because the record label promoter thinks they're cute, or something!
Joe: But that kind of corner is important, too, isn't it? I mean, it led to my second marriage!
Dave: What are you saying? It's been a while!
Sakurai: Nice to see you.
Dave: It's been...over a year, hasn't it?
Joe: Yeah, it's been that long since we had Mr. Sakurai on this program...though we have given Mr. Sakurai a few prank phonecalls from time to time...
Sakurai: Yes, yes, I'm sorry I couldn't give a better answer...
Dave: We'll be waiting for your answer from now!
Joe: No no, I don't think you should answer calls like that.
Sakurai: No, I believe that if you call me, I really ought to call you back...
Dave: So, how have you been?
Sakurai: I've been fine, though I have been busy. I'm working.
Dave: Yes, I hear you've been working on a new project?
Sakurai: That's right.
Dave: And you're on our program now to promote it.
Joe: Of course!
Sakurai: Thank you for having me.
Joe: You haven't just come on here to talk about booze.
Dave: 'The Mortal'! Is this a band, or is this your solo project?
Sakurai: Well, basically, it's a band.
Dave: And the members are decided.
Dave: Vocals, Sakurai Atsushi. Guitar, Jake Cloudchair! Guitar, Murata Yukio. And on bass, Miyo Ken. And on drums, Akiyama Takahiko. These are the members, am I right? How did you find these band members in the first place?
Sakurai: Well, eleven years ago, I did a solo project, so some of the members were people who wrote songs for me that time, or members who played in my live band that time, but the drummer, Mr. Akiyama, is someone I'm working with for the first time, this time. Anyway, we had those connections, so that's why we're working together this time.
Dave: So you were the one who brought these members together, then?
Sakurai: Yes, that's right.
Joe: If he said 'no' that would be weird!
Sakurai: Well, there is a producer working on this, too.
Dave: When did you start thinking about doing this project? Were you already planning it the last time you came on the show?
Sakurai: No, not at all.
Dave: You weren't thinking about it at all?
Sakurai: No, it really started in April or May of this year, and I met the members in June, and then we put the whole thing together with very little time to spare.
Joe: But last time you did a solo project, and this time you're doing a band...do you have a specific reason for that?
Sakurai: Hm, well...
Dave: Because you're lonely by yourself?
Sakurai: Yes, I am.
Dave: (laughs) You are, are you?
Sakurai: Yes, I'm lonely! But really, when I did the project by myself, there was too much variation in the types of songs, so this time I thought it would be better to have a more solidified format.
Joe: Oh, I see...and then the central theme of those songs is gothic and rock, right? This mini-album that you just released includes three covers out of a total of five songs, and this week for Joe's Selection I focused on gothic rock and played the original versions of the songs you covered, including Siouxsie and the Banshees and Bauhaus.
Sakurai: You can play those songs on this program?
Joe: Yes, I played them.
Dave: And actually there was a surprisingly good response on Twitter. There are actually a lot of core fans out there. And for you, Mr. Sakurai, these are favorites of yours, right?
Sakurai: Yes, that's right. But Dave doesn't really know about this genre, right?
Dave: Well, I've heard it a bit...but that's about it. So I guess it was good that I listened to this program!
Joe: Normally you'd never play songs like this!
Dave: So first, let's play a song. This song is called 'Spirit.' Why did you choose to cover this song, Mr. Sakurai?
Sakurai: Well, Bauhaus is a band that I've liked since I was in my twenties, no, in my teens, and of their songs, I'd say that this one is the most...outward-looking, you could say, so I think it's the easiest to understand.
Dave: Please listen to 'Spirit' by The Mortal.
Dave: That was The Mortal's 'Spirit.' And we've gotten a lot of mails from our listeners. From Tomo: 'I listened to Spirit. It's a very intense song and the first time I heard it I just felt like I was being overwhelmed, but after that I got hooked on it and listened to it on repeat again and again.' Also, 'the whole image seems to be full of black and darkness, but even when the song is about death, I feel that there is also a ray of light somewhere in there, especially in "Yume." When Mr. Sakurai writes lyrics, he seems to always include some hope or wish, something positive...am I right in thinking this?'
Sakurai: Well, as this listener just pointed out, I wanted to delve into the darkness or whatever you want to call it, make everything pitch black, and I suggest that you keep going to a place where you have no choice but to find your own light.
Joe: What a sadist!
Sakurai: What I want is for you to search for your own light.
Dave: I see...so, from some more listeners, 'Goth-Goth Deca-Deca-san' and Akiyama-san, 'I don't think there is a dress code for the live tour, but probably most fans will come wearing black clothing, because Mr. Sakurai said that "black is charisma!"' Apparently you said that, Mr. Sakurai? 'Most people also wore black to Buck-Tick shows back in the day. I want some motivating words on Mr. Sakurai about what I should wear to the concerts this time.' I got some emails like that.
Sakurai: It's fine if you dress casually. Wear whatever you want to wear. It's fine if you don't want to wear black.
Dave: It is?
Joe: Mr. Sakurai, is there ever a time when you don't wear black?
Sakurai: Of course, I'm a normal person!
Joe: I always wear black myself.
Sakurai: Yes...yes, well, I always wear black when I'm at home.
Joe: So, do you wear pajamas?
Sakurai: Oh, yes. They're black, of course.
Joe: Black pajamas! But black pajamas are really...I mean, I usually wear black sweats.
Sakurai: Honestly, the idea of going outside wearing a color other than black is scarier to me.
Dave: Mr. Sakurai, do you believe in reincarnation? In past lives?
Sakurai: I believe...I mean, I want to believe...but, who knows.
Dave: But have you ever, you know, I mean, I have, gotten someone to look into it for you, see what you were in a past life and such, have you done that?
Sakurai: I have, a long time ago.
Dave: So what were you, in your past life?
Sakurai: I was an executioner, apparently.
Dave: What, really?
Sakurai: I was a person who administers torture...
Dave: Where was it? Like what country?
Sakurai: As you might guess, it was in Europe, apparently.
Dave: Yes, that's what I would have thought, for you.
Sakurai: But apparently that spirit is still alive in me today.
Dave: And even on the radio, Haru-san says that he saw Buck-Tick's performance at The Solar Budoukan and he was completely floored and became a fan. 'Makka na Yoru is the best' he said. Then last year, when Buck-Tick debuted Arui wa Anarchy, he went to see the show you played with Mucc, and then to the Lunatic Fest. So now he asks, about The Mortal's tour next month, there are going to be standing shows and seated shows, but will you change the staging or costumes for each type of show? Of course, he will be going to both and is looking forward to it.
Sakurai: Thank you very much.
Dave: So from the Solar Budoukan...I saw some kind of hand print, I think it was from that...is that right?
Joe: Yeah, I saw it. In the backyard they that this place where they were getting hand prints from the artists. Probably it was published somewhere, that would be my guess.
Dave: Anyway, about the difference between the hall and the standing shows?
Sakurai: Well, it won't be that different from the perspective of the performers, but depending on whether there are seats or not, the mood of the crowd is very different.
Joe: That makes sense, of course.
Sakurai: There are many more rules in halls. If you don't follow the rules they get mad at you...
Dave: So for The Mortal, what kind of live shows would you like to put on?
Sakurai: Hmm....mmm...well, the sound is very hard, the songs are very hard rock, but on the flipside there are also quiet songs, there's a kind of quiet darkness, too, so I'd like to draw a contrast.
Joe: And your tour is already starting from next month.
Sakurai: Yes, that's right.
Joe: You're still in rehearsal then, right?
Sakurai: We just finished the wrap party for the recording, so we haven't started rehearsing yet.
Joe: And of course you drank a lot, as usual.
Sakurai: If all I do is drink, I'll come to nothing.
Dave: Is there a contrast in your life routine, between when you're on tour and not?
Joe: Is there a secret light and happy Mr. Sakurai?
Dave: Well I've met you many times, and basically, this is your natural pace, am I right?
Sakurai: Yes, I'm often told that I'm slow and calm, but there are times when I get impatient, too. Today I got stuck in a traffic jam and I was just sitting there feeling totally pissed off and irritated...
Joe: I don't want to meet Mr. Sakurai when he's angry!
Dave: Do you ever watch sports and get all worked up and shout, go for it, go for it! Or anything like that?
Dave: You never go see a game at Jinguu Stadium and sing and dance?
Sakurai: No, I don't. Basically, getting together in a big group and making a lot of noise is probably something I don't like very much.
Dave: Let's go together! I'll bring a black umbrella. [Note from Cayce: people often bring miniature umbrellas in team colors to baseball games, to wave and cheer with when their team scores a point.]
Joe: You'll stand out too much that way! People are going to wonder who the hell you're cheering for if you've got a black umbrella!
Dave: From listener 'Mohawk Samurai': Congratulations to The Mortal on the release of their first mini-album. Of course, I bought it immediately and have been listening to it all the time. It's a very intense album. The Japanese lyrics for the cover songs sound totally natural and flow along with the original melodies. So I'd like to ask Mr. Sakurai, is there any difference between writing lyrics for Buck-Tick songs and writing lyrics for The Mortal?
Sakurai: Well, this time, I wanted to really channel all my feelings, channel those dark feelings and crash into them...with Buck-Tick, there are all kinds of different songs, up-tempo songs, so it's much more colorful, in a way.
Dave: So how was it, to just crash into nothing but blackness, as a policy for your writing?
Sakurai: It became a bit trying for me, psychologically.
Joe: I can imagine it would!
Dave: Now, from listener 'Nikuban-san,' when the members of The Mortal drink together, what kinds of things do you talk about? What do you get excited about besides music?
Sakurai: Honestly, we haven't had that many chances to go drinking together yet. That's all yet to happen. So the members are still a little shy I think, and mostly they're speaking to me in keigo...
Sakurai: They're still using '-san' on me.
Joe: So they call you Sakurai-san, then?
Sakurai: I told them to feel free to call me Atsushi or Acchan, but as yet I can't get them to actually do it...
Dave: You just have this aura, it's hard to do that without knowing you for a long time! I mean when we first met you, and even at the Solar Budoukan...
Joe: Yeah, it was like you had beams of light shooting from your eyes that would make Dave grow hair again!
Dave: You really had such an aura...
Joe: But of course, Dave still failed to grow hair.
Sakurai: Really, I had beams coming from my eyes?
Dave: Now, from Kuroneko Rumi, in Tokyo. 'I have a question for Acchan.'
Joe: Acchan! Haha!
Dave: 'Lately, what kind of alcohol do you like drinking? Is it still sweet potato shochu, 25%, as always?'
Sakurai: That's Acchan.
Dave: You like sweet potato shochu?
Joe: Really, sweet potato shochu? I thought you must prefer champagne or something like that...surprising!
Sakurai: That's me, normally I just mix sweet potato shochu with soda water and drink loads of it.
Dave: Wow, I wouldn't have expected that.
Sakurai: Well, I like wine and I like champagne, but that kind of bubbly stuff...if I don't drink a whole lot of it, I don't feel it! I'm a bad habit.
Dave: So, your live information - November 16th, Osaka Namba Hatch, November 17th, Osaka Orix Theater, 19th, Shinkiba Studio Coast...and this is an extra performance, by the way...then November 25th, Tokyo NHK Hall, November 26th, Tokyo NHK Hall.
Joe: If you don't play a show on the weekend, Dave and I can't go see you...
Dave: I'm going to leave partway through.
Joe: You are?
Dave: I'm going to get someone to do the show for me...Mr. Sakurai, do you know anyone?
Sakurai: It's fine, I'll do it!
Joe: But then what will The Mortal do? Dave can't sing for The Mortal!
Dave: Now I'd like to play another song. 'Cities in the Dust,' by The Mortal.
Dave: That was The Mortal's 'Cities in Dust.' So I imagine you've been listening to these songs a lot...what do you think about when you listen to your own songs?
Sakurai: I think...god, it's so dark!
Joe: Because it's beyond dark.
Dave: So now we'd like to take ten minutes and do another corner on the show...but Mr. Sakurai is going to stick around to answer some more of our questions, so those of you who still want to send in questions and messages, you still have time. Now, a short break.
Dave: The Dave Fromm Show, we bring you Mr. Sakurai Atsushi, and he's been waiting for us to come back!
Joe: So we just played a song by Taiji-san...on your first album, for your solo first album, Taiji-san wrote you a song, right?
Sakurai: Yes, that's right.
Joe: A song called "Taiji".
Sakurai: Yes, that's right. That was the first time I met Taiji, eleven years ago, and I thought he was a very lovely gentleman.
Joe: With the two of them it's like light and dark lined up side by side...they have completely different auras...
Dave: Yes, completely different.
Sakurai: Yes, we talked about that when we met.
Dave: So what brought you together in the first place?
Sakurai: Eleven years ago when I was doing my first solo project, Mr. Tanaka, the producer, who is also producing The Mortal now, suggested that it might be an interesting partnership, and Taiji said, 'I'm Utopia, but Sakurai-kun, you're Deathtopia, aren't you?'
Dave: So since when did you come to represent Deathtopia? From the time you were a child?
Sakurai: Yes, that's right. My way of thinking was always Deathtopia. Like, 'what's with this world?' you know.
Dave: What's with this world? But seriously, if you looked at earth from outer space, you'd surely say that the world today is a terrible place. Don't you think so?
Sakurai: I do.
Dave: In all sorts of ways...nuclear accidents, wars, we're covered in darkness...so I'm sure you were in a better place in one of your past lives. Don't you wonder, how the hell did I get to a place like this?
Sakurai: It's hard to live.
Dave: Hard to live!
[everyone mutters agreement]
Dave: From Kazu-san: I listened to your mini-album, all the songs, including the cover songs, and I listened to the original versions of the cover songs, too. I really enjoyed The Mortal's arrangements of the cover songs. And 'Yume' gave me a very poignant, sad feeling, of the brevity of life...I love this feeling that it's corroding into your body. [Note form Cayce: What you did there. This corrosion. I see it!] You release your full album on November 11th, but I would like to ask, is there a specific song on the album you are particularly fond of? If so, what is it?
Sakurai: Well, this is sales talk, but...they're all good!
Joe: I listened to all of them.
Dave: You did?
Joe: Yes, I interviewed Mr. Sakurai for Rolling Stone Japan, so I listened to all the songs, and this isn't sales talk. They're all good! But I think that incorporating three covers into the mix was a good way of showing your own originality and style.
Sakurai: That's right. I just thought, if we really tried to do some serious covers of goth songs, what would it be like? I thought it would be fun. So in part we did it to have fun.
Dave: From Yuki-san. Last year, I was in an accident, and now I'm listening to The Mortal while I'm in the hospital for my fifth surgery since then. I also bought a ticket for the last show on The Mortal's tour. I bought the new album, 'Spirit,' but the hospital is far away, so I haven't received the actual CD yet. If you have any words of encouragement for my recovery, I would be happy to hear anything you had to say.
Sakurai: Well, I feel that even if I were to encourage you, what would it do...but please, get well soon, really, they say you have to focus 100% on your treatment, so hang in there...or rather, get well soon.
Dave: Have you ever been hospitalized?
Dave: It's quite lonely, isn't it? I've been hospitalized twice.
Sakurai: Yes, that's true, it's like being isolated from society.
Dave: And the food is terrible.
Joe: God yes, the food!
Dave: What kinds of food do you like, Mr. Sakurai?
Sakurai: I like sushi, yakiniku...all stuff like that...stuff with lots of calories.
Dave: But you'll never get fat eating like that!
Sakurai: No, well...how do I say it...it's so unhealthy that I don't get fat!
Joe: Isn't that bad for you?
Sakurai: Maybe so.
Dave: Do you do any special sort of exercise, for your vocals, for your voice...I get asked that a lot, but I don't do anything in particular.
Sakurai: I don't do anything, either.
Dave: I just drink booze and smoke cigarettes, but somehow I get by.
Sakurai: Before a tour, there are times when I get moving and go to the gym, but drinking alcohol probably negates the benefit...
Dave: So you do go to the gym, then?
Sakurai: I was going, but this year I've only gone a few times. I've constantly been in recording, so I haven't had time for anything. My legs were shaking while I was in recording.
Dave: Because you haven't been moving?
Sakurai: Because I keep standing up and sitting down.
Dave: Are there times when you realize you need to rest your voice?
Sakurai: Of course. During the tours and recording, I try to stop eating spicy food, and I should stop drinking but if I did, I'd just get stressed out, so it might be worse if I didn't drink.
Dave: Oh really?
Dave: I feel the same way.
Joe: Dave is exactly the same! But this time, you've got two shows two days in a row...isn't that tough?
Sakurai: Well, I do take care. At the after parties, I don't talk much. I shouldn't be laughing in a loud voice or anything like that. It's boring, but I don't talk.
Dave: So you should wait till after the tour to come drinking with us, then.
Joe: Yeah, come out with us!
Sakurai: Even if you invited me, it's the Dave Show, so...[everyone mumbles about inviting Sakurai out drinking]
Dave: Now I'd like to play one more song by The Mortal. 'Shadow of Love.'
Dave: That was The Mortal's 'Shadow of Love.' Mr. Sakurai, do you spend a lot of time on recording? Do you do a lot of takes?
Sakurai: I wonder. I don't really know how it is for other people, but I don't usually do more than ten takes. Usually it's about ten, and then we pick the best take.
Dave: So basically, the producer chooses which take to use? Or do you choose it yourself?
Sakurai: The producer chooses. As a third party, he can look at it more objectively.
Dave: I see. How much time did you spend recording this new album?
Sakurai: I wonder. Everyone's professional, so in one day we can get the drum rhythms and basic bass and guitar for three songs, so really, we did it in about two weeks or so.
Joe: So the mini-album came out on Wednesday this week, but on November 11th, you've got a full album coming out. Did you record these two back-to-back?
Sakurai: Yes, we did. We just had our wrap party the other day. The whole thing took three, four, five months in total.
Dave: From Miho-san: if you do anything to improve your English on a daily basis, please tell me what it is! Also, are there any other languages you want to learn besides English?
Sakurai: I'm not studying English at all...I just listen to the Dave Fromm Show!
Joe: Thank you! That's the best possible advertising you could give us!
Dave: From Rain-san: Looking carefully at the album jacket for Spirit, the mini-album you just released, I noticed there's a cat on there. Is it a real cat? If you have any interesting stories about the photo sessions, I want to hear them.
Sakurai: The kitty was photographed separately.
Dave: Separately? So you didn't just turn around and find that there was a cat there?
Sakurai: Well, maybe there was.
Joe: Mr. Sakurai, you're really a cat maniac, aren't you?
Sakurai: A cat maniac? Is that what you call me.
Joe: Don't you just love cats?
Dave: And you have cats, too, don't you?
Sakurai: This year, I'm dealing with pet loss, so...I had cats for almost twenty years, but right now there nothing but a hole left.
Dave: But...do you plan on getting a new cat at some point?
Sakurai: Mmm...yes, I do, but when you deal with that sad parting, you can't see to the next one right away.
Joe: I see.
Sakurai: But they are so cute.
Dave: How long did you have them? Did you just have one?
Sakurai: I had three, so I had them for a total of more than twenty years, and I was living with cats that whole time, so now my house feels eerily quiet.
Dave: Cats...cats...it takes courage, doesn't it?
Joe: I got chased by a dog when I was a kid...so since then it's been it for me and animals, but Dave, you had a rabbit for a while, didn't you?
Sakurai: Oh that must have been cute.
Joe: But it followed Dave out of the house, and Dave tried to catch it but it jumped into the road and died.
Sakurai: Because it wanted to be with Dave.
Joe: Then Dave's daughter burst into tears and wouldn't stop crying. But Dave is the kind of guy who has an attitude like, caring for this rabbit was getting to be a pain in the ass, so maybe it's for the best that it died...but your daughter didn't take care of it at all, anyway!
Dave: Cats are better. They take care of themselves, go to the toilet on their own and such.
Sakurai: Yes, that's right.
Dave: I won't have a rabbit again. They poop and pee all over the place. It was a pain.
Sakurai: They say that rabbits die when they're lonely.
Joe: They do say that about rabbits.
Dave: Is that really true? But you know...how do you say it...it didn't come and show me affection at all! It never cared about me, but I had it out on my veranda, and what was weird was that in the middle of the night, when I would get a cigar and go out on the veranda to smoke the cigar, it would come over to me. It was very strange.
Sakurai: I guess it likes cigars?
Dave: It seemed it liked cigars. It would come over me and look very excited. At any other time it would run away from me. Isn't that weird? A rabbit that likes cigars?
Sakurai: Maybe it liked Dave when he had a cigar.
Joe: Very strange.
Dave: So Mr. Sakurai, the program is almost over, but there will be another special program featuring you...
Joe: That's right, there will be another special program!
Dave: Another special program, he says, just doing it for the money...
Joe: Hey, I don't get paid very much, so there has to be another special program!
Dave: It will be at 8PM, on November 11th, the full album will be released on that date, so Joe and Mr. Sakurai will be bringing you another special program. I was also supposed to appear, but I have to go to Kobe right after that.
Joe: Oh, that's right...
Sakurai: There's someone waiting for you in Kobe.
Dave: Yes, they're waiting for me. [repeats The Mortal's tour schedule] I'll try to skip work and go to at least one. They start at 7PM, right?
Joe: Usually, right? About 7?
Dave: I think that's right.
Joe: So at the live shows, in addition to the songs from the mini-album and the album, will you be playing anything else? Any other covers or anything?
Sakurai: We'll try to get it together and practice something.
Joe: The shows start at 6:30. That's too early! It's like you're telling us not to come!
Sakurai: No no no, that's not it.
Dave: Now, one more song before we say goodbye. This is the last one.
Dave: Yes. The special program is on at 8PM on November 11th! The full album will be out on that day so, give it a listen! And here we go, before we listen to The Mortal's 'Yume," thank you again, Mr. Sakurai. When the live shows are over.
Sakurai: Yes yes, send me an email.
Dave: I'll go to your neighborhood.
Joe: Please invite us!
Sakurai: See you then.
Dave: Thank you very much!
Sakurai: No, thank you!
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