This interview was taken by Oricon somewhere in 2008 after the release of World World World album.
My first impression was: ‘This is a solid album with a good sense of speed.’ In your last album Fanclub, there were a lot of complex arrangements but the feeling of this album is quite different.
Masafumi Gotoh: If you try to do something difficult by difficult means, the balance falls apart. When you are performing a lot and you feel brand new it’s OK. But, once that’s gone, it all kinda falls apart.
Kensuke Kita: A while back, we thought that our band sounded the best when it was more of a ‘pop’ sound.
Takahiro Yamada: We do a lot of different things as a part of pop music… Although, something that’s important for us now and what wasn’t before is that when people hear the music, we don’t want them to think, ‘Those guys are doing some pretty difficult stuff.’
Kiyoshi Ijichi: Simple, yet good, songs are harder to make anyway, so this had been our challenge this time.
Masafumi Gotoh: We wanted to give the songs that extra sparkle. As you get older, you tend to like softer sounds but, for the guitar ‘kids’ in ourselves we took the song to a little higher level and made it stronger. (laughs)
So in your teens, you were all about the faster songs?
Masafumi Gotoh: That’s right. You know, when people are around 19, it’s when they are the most selfish. We were like, ‘I don’t listen to hougaku (traditional Japanese music), so why should I care about it?’ (laughs). But at the same time, I listened to THEE MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT, Sunny Day Service, eastern youth and so on… And I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to be considered a part of these bands?’
Kensuke Kita: Everyone kept telling us, ‘Hey! There’s some pretty cool hougaku out there too, man!’ (laughs)
Your lyrics seem to have changed a lot, too. Things that encourage the audience to get up and ‘do something’, like in Atarashii Sekai you say, ‘C’mon and spring out // To a wonderful New World.’ There’s also a lot about committing yourself to social problems.
Masafumi Gotoh: Yeah, what you said is a little complicated… Whether the song is political or not, I write by my vision of the world and society. As you get older, your views surely are going to change and as you watch the news and learn more, your comprehension of things get better. I think we Japanese people have a big responsibility to help poorer countries to build and grow food and so on… Damn, I’m getting a little too obscure here…
So you’re singing about the things that have been concerning you directly?
Masafumi Gotoh: Yeah, a little bit. There’s also the fact that we are finally grown up’s. There’s the sense of ‘Who am I?’ and I think it’s important to spend some time thinking about this. I’ve been thinking, though, that taking a new unknown route might give me a better result in the end.
Are you sad now that you are ‘finally grown up’s?’
Masafumi Gotoh: Hmmm… That’s hard to say. As long as we continue playing in our band, there will always be a sense of youth but there aren’t as many of those moments that take hold of you, right?
Kensuke Kita: It’s true! (laughs)
Masafumi Gotoh: There’s that feeling of impatience but if you don’t give it your all for things you can only do today, you’ll probably regret it later.
I think the album captures that. So your band now is close then?
Kensuke Kita: I think a huge part of this is the quality of the music you’re playing. If you have good music, the condition of the band as a whole is also good. That’s something I think it will never change.