The Memoirs

The Memoirs

This is a little talk between the band members which took place somewhere in 2013 as a retrospective of 10 years from the major debut.

Chronology and retrospective of the last 10 years. 2003 was a memorable year, the year of our debut. Discussion around the memories of that year: meeting with the president and department director of a label, starting with the headlining concert (One Man Live), then with the meeting with the band Straightener during a tour.

Major debut!? Did you get ripped off?

Takahiro Yamada: My very first thought regarding this retrospective is our first headlining concert that year.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: In any case, we also performed numerous concerts that year.

Takahiro Yamada: The first time I saw this chronology, I forgot we had performed that much.

Kensuke Kita: To be honest with you, our debut in 2003 also was about a lot of casual jobs up to the end of March.

Takahiro Yamada: That’s right. But, when our headlining concert’s date had been scheduled, we were under huge stress. The kind of stress which forced us to quit our casual jobs. I remember when we were getting close to the headlining concert’s date (smiles). We were a little anxious but at that time, we had no money (smile).

Kiyoshi Ijichi: I graduated from university and got hired by a company, but I had to quit to do music professionally. But casual jobs had to be done anyway. At the end of the day, we thought we could do casual jobs and rehearse at the same time because we weren’t that busy. Also, even with all these concerts, we had a few nights left where we could rehearse in a local studio (Machistudio) and others to earn money. This way, we had no reason to stop our casual jobs. We thought we could continue to live that way. Finally, by republishing and doing promotions, we suddenly ended up being very busy.

Takahiro Yamada: That’s right, we ended up being busier and busier, and I had to stop my job and I even hadn’t the possibility to attend my leaving party (smiles). To follow my schedule, I made plans to get replaced by my workmates.

Kensuke Kita: We even went to meetings without Yama-chan, and because he couldn’t attend his own leaving party, it shows how busy we were.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: Before we knew the headlining concert’s date, we had lunch with the Ki/oon staff. We were wondering if it was a good thing to work with them because they looked severe. We had the feeling we got ripped off (laugh).

Takahiro Yamada: Oh yes, there was that lunch with the current president and the department director at that time.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: Yes yes, the department director of that time, Mr Shiroi. He then became the artistic director of Ajikan all the time.

Takahiro Yamada: And this restaurant was a bar in a basement.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: Haaa, that was fishy. The president’s and director’s faces, too (smile).

Takahiro Yamada: That was fishy, an extortion atmosphere. In any case, we couldn’t know what we were going to get involved in after this meeting.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: It was after a concert, wasn’t it? Where was it already?

Takahiro Yamada: Hmm, maybe it was after the cyclone in Shibuya?

Kiyoshi Ijichi: Oh yes! That was in 2002 after the cyclone in Shibuya.

Takahiro Yamada: When we wanted to go inside, they said, ‘Come with us this way’, and we ended up in the basement bar in no time. And they gave us their Ki/oon professional cards.

Kensuke Kita: And I, having total faith in Gotch and Yama-chan, followed them without thinking and trying to understand too much. I think that is why I couldn’t imagine that meeting was going to be the beginning of our career.

Takahiro Yamada: Yes, me neither, I didn’t have the feeling, neither the sensation that it was about or headling concert. ‘This is it! Yeah!’ I never felt it, at any time.

Kensuke Kita: Even Ki/oon collaborators had serious faces, they weren’t smiling at all.

Takahiro Yamada: They came to talk about the concert they saw, to speak with us and to decide if from now until a month, we could sign an agreement.

Kensuke Kita: In that bar, I don’t remember only having a professional discussion, it was after the show (laughs).

Takahiro Yamada: I think I remember that Ki/oon president, Mr Nakayama who is from Yokohama while listening to us, got enthusiastic. Then, I also remember they liked Houkai Amplifier so much, and that Ki/oon co-workers had difficulties classifying us, what type of artist we were, and from which movement.

Kensuke Kita: Fundamentally, it’s just like when we meet with an adult for the first time, we never forget. That was the same for our meeting with Mr Ogawa (our former manager, before our headlining concert), without the fishy look.

Takahiro Yamada: Ever since the band formation, Ken-chan is always ready when it comes to the band, however this time, he wasn’t convinced at all.

Kensuke Kita: Yes that’s right, but when we met with the president of Ki/oon, it was right after the concert, I surely understand only half of what was going on. But since it was strangers who invited us, I withdrew like a shellfish. (laughs)

Kiyoshi Ijichi: Ken-chan was staring at the floor for a very long time.

Kensuke Kita: But talking about Yokohama got me filled with enthusiasm (laughs). That year, the first thought crossing my mind is that with Yama-chan, we were impressed by the idea of doing our first headlining concert, which was in May at the Shelter. Following our headlining concert, there weren’t new bands performing headlining concerts anymore.

Takahiro Yamada: Even if it was our headlining concert, the title of our concert wasn’t displayed.

Kensuke Kita: Yes, at the Shelter, one can enter at anytime, day or night, it’s a huge live house. But we all agree to go there to play our headlining concert.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: There were many other possibilities for a live house but Shelter was the best for us.

Kensuke Kita: And then, we systematically started every tour playing at the Shelter.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: Right after our headlining concert at the Shelter, it was the release of our very first album Kimi Tsunagi Five M.

Takahiro Yamada: So, we had to play a song from Kimi Tsunagi.

Kensuke Kita: At the end, there was a double encore and we decided to sing a song that had no name yet – No Name. I had the feeling that Yama-Chan cried a little. At our first headlining concert, he got overwhelmed by his feelings (laughs).

Takahiro Yamada: It was still better than letting nothing appear (laughs). And I had a fear that the room wasn’t full.

Kensuke Kita: Moreover, tickets were sold on-site, and we were so happy.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: I perfectly remember the concert on 4 May at Shibuya BOXX.

Kensuke Kita: Gotch’s tone was bad right? At one point we were wondering if he would be able to produce a sound or not.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: Yes, surely 2 days before the concert Gotch became crazy from this. And yet, every day, he rested, protecting his throat. And was saying that for the next concert, he won’t have the voice anymore. And yet, this concert was very important and Mr Ogawa become agitated.

Kensuke Kita: (laughs) That concert became more and more emotional, he had to mute his feelings (laughs).

Takahiro Yamada: When the concert was over, I think I remember we got scolded by Mr Ogawa.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: It was the first time we got scolded. Personally, thinking about it, it was a very intense concert. Our first headlining concert deeply moved me. Thanks to this, I have the feeling we became a famous band.

Kensuke Kita: Besides, in autumn, we participated with the band Straightener at Nana Iro Electric Tour.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: That was awesome, we took pictures with Straightener, it was at Shibuya, right?

Kensuke Kita: Yes, inside the tunnel, outside the tunnel, etc.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: Straightener, how many CDs did they release? They have always been on top. They were younger than us but we wanted to follow their path and succeed like them.

Kensuke Kita: I thought, ‘Wow, Straightener!’ We were together in the rooms of Shibuya, but never talk seriously with them at that time. In 2002, before our handlining concert, at the Oomiya Heart concert, we finally talked together. Then in November, our first album Kimi Tsunagi Five M was released. We did a lot of promotion for this first album, until summer. With the four of us, we travelled a lot.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: I hated doing promotion (laugh). In December, we did a headlining concert at Liquidroom

Kensuke Kita: That year, we did three headlining concerts, Shelter, Quattro and Liquidroom.

Kiyoshi Ijichi: In 2003, this is how we remember it and hold a lot of memories. That year was very important.

Thanks to Julien Ti for the translation.

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