Interview with Imai Hisashi, hide and Fuji Maki
hide - hide
Imai - Hisashi Imai
Fuji - Fuji Maki
As is customary when meeting early in the year, I must ask how was your New Year. Imai?
Imai: ...same as usual.
......but after the end of last year's tour, you sort of disappeared off stage, what were you doing?
Imai: I went to get my driver's license...that's all.
Everyone's all stunned now that you took so long to get it, why is that?
Imai: Well I used to think for sure I'd get it before I turned 30 but I spent too much time being idle about it *smiles*. In the end it was Yuuta who made me take the initiative before the tour to be sure I got it once the tour was finished.
Fuji: I hope you had a first aid class.
Ah, now they have such a course.
hide: I did mine when I was 20 so they didn't have that.
Fuji: Someone collapses. Someone beside them calls for help. "Excuse me, this person passed out! Please call an ambulance!!" And everybody's terribly embarrassed.
Imai: "Someone please help meeee!" *laughs*
hide: I'm so embarrassed. *laughs*
Imai: And then they discuss it after.
hide: Don't you get it?
Fuji: You're in a group with 3 people and you criticize each other's driving.
Imai: The instructor divides you into groups and then asks the other people how your driving was.
Aah, but that makes it awkward.
Fuji: What's worse is you're criticized by some completely unknown guy.
hide: It wasn't that much of an interactive subject.
It's true. It was the same when I got mine 17 years ago.
Imai: On top of that they put you through a driving simulation in this really dirty building. Then all of sudden this kid on a bike comes out of nowhere and goes flying because I rammed into him full force, it was horrible *laughs*. But kinda funny at the time *laughs*.
Fuji Maki, you also received unexpected criticism from people you didn't know?
Fuji: I was with a girl. She'd gush out compliments, we rode together for an hour and anything was ok *laughs*.
Anything goes. How was your New Year?
Fuji: Those were the days of period dramas. Even though every year they're boring and I hate them.
By any chance did you watch the twelve hours of dramas on TV Tokyo?
Fuji: Of course. *laugh* So this year I saw "Homura no bugyou, Oookaechizen nokami" and "Benkei", and...what else? "Ryuume ga yuku"!
hide: What's wrong with you *laughs*.
Fuji: And later, it was vexing because "Oookaechizen nokami" and NHK's period dramas all piled up.
Kukukuku. By the way, what played on NHK?
Fuji: I don't really know. I recorded them but haven't watched yet. (incidentally, after searching, it was "Kaze hikaru ken・Hachigokuto Hiken (1)”......hmm.)
And you hide, what did you do?
hide: I drank and grappled with HTML on my MAC *laughs*. I got smashed as if it was a drinking practice, and that lead to today.
Since when do you and Imai know each other? (These two have a long history. Imai's interest was first peeked in hide when long ago he bought one of X's videos, then they planned an interview together in a certain magazine and have been friends ever since.)
Imai: Since Hotei-san's live.
hide: Before that, Imai-kun came to see my show. When J brought him, I thought aah today......today he's bringing Imai......I'm soooo happy~ ♥ *laughs*
What an embarrassing story *laughs*. Imai and Fuji Maki, since when do you know each other? (As you know, those two are such close friends they formed the super industrial unit SCHAFT.)
Fuji: New Year's day.
Imai: We were drinking in the middle of the night at my house and Fuji Maki-kun came to join us.
Fuji: I had free time after that. I was lonely.
The JAPAN tribute in question was projected to win an award but then the two of you left the New Year's prize awarding ceremony. I heard you had been treated no better than extras who were just hoping to get a glimpse of the studio *laughs*
Even the record company officials didn't cover for you after......it was paaaaainful.
Hide and Fuji Maki, when was roughly one of your first meetings.
hide: I went to see a SCHAFT live back in the day and thought oh, so he also plays guitar, so then I asked him if he also played guitar and he answered something like "I just started to". We had a chat *laughs*.
Fuji: But it was before that, we have actually met in Aomori.
hide: No way!
Fuji: I'm pretty certain it was the same year as our debut, we were in Aomori for our debut campaign, I went to this desolate club called Maharaja Nori and it turned out everyone from X was there as well.
hide: *laughs* What were you doing there?
Actually, the reason why this time around plans were born for this interview...at the end of last September it became clear that Ryuichi wouldn't be able to play during the JAPAN tribute commemorative launch. Fuji Maki was worried about finding a partner when Ryuichi mentioned that he was very interested in hide-san and it seemed like something interesting would surely come out of that. So right away he called him at an afterparty in Niigata and that's how it started.
Fuji: I'm very sorry for that time.
hide: No, no, the pleasure was mine. It was a special invitation. I thought that if I played it would be absolutely fascinating.
Hide agreed that it seemed like an amazing opportunity and he'd love to play but in the end, the schedule didn't work out. How regrettable.
Fuji: I called him from a deserted oden stand in Ikebukuro *laughs*. I bought his yellow solo album you know. (Announced in September of 96, Psyence had 3 kinds of colored covers.) When I first saw the video for Bacteria I thought it was pop! But not the type I'd hate.
Didn't you hate X simply because their image is too strong? *laughs*
Fuji: Back then didn't I exclude things on a principle? However, after we broke up I went to see them and first noticed their strong points. After that, it was great respect.
hide: Of course when I saw Maki-kun with SCHAFT was the first time I thought wow ♥ ! It was an amazingly smooth live. I went to see them without having listened to the CD (SWITCHBLADE, released September 94) or seen Raymond Watts (SCHAFT's British vocalist, in Japan the vocalist of the industrial metal band PIG). I thought everyone was cool except for Raymond. *laughs*. I bought the CD after that.
Whether in Soft Ballet, B-T or SCHAFT, I find those free and individualistic, missile-like personalities of yours have a lot of common points. Keeping hide's solo in mind. Can you relate?
hide: Yeah, I can or should I say, wow ♥.
*bitter smile* What does that mean?
hide: Don't you see? There are many people forming bands, aren't there. But Imai-kun and Maki-kun and everyone, even though they play music don't they seem to enjoy themselves?
Fuji: Ah, it's good to enjoy yourself.
For example, Fuji Maki and Imai have already formed SCHAFT but it must be quite stimulating to work with musicians outside your band?
Fuji: I feel more like I'm part of a band than in Soft Ballet.
*bitter smile* I see from Imai it seems that's something you have in common.
Imai: It feels like you're playing by yourself.
I thought that in Japan there were very few artists who are resolved to work alone.
hide: Now there's more but the truth is, isn't there a common pattern of bands being reduced to one or two members as a result of opinion conflicts? And then, let's say in a guitar band, you'll have few people composing the riffs?
In other words, there is too much rock music with preestablished harmonies. Doesn't that ever surprise you?
hide: It's always been that way. Right?
In that case, it is surprising to see the three of you together. On the contrary, I would have thought hide would be more comfortable playing solo than in a band.
hide: It's only TV that I hate, same as before. When I play by myself I have no choice but to talk. You don't find that somewhat forced? I never like lives when I only talk about myself.
Imai: But your MCs during your lives are funny. I still have a good laugh when I watch them *smiles*.
Oh, your MCs are being evaluated.
hide: Huahahaha! Hyaaa.
Are hide's solo lives fun?
Imai: They were very fun.
hide: Oh stop! *bashful laugh*
Imai: And I mean to just bring something together on that scale by himself and perform it live is amazing in itself.
Would you like to try something like that too?
Imai: I do and I don't, well I guess I'd like to try.
It's rare for Imai to reveal this sort of assertion. But that's a good thing, it's wonderful. Even if I wonder, what kind of solo live would suit him?
hide: Well, when he sings in SCHAFT doesn't he look great? Instead of always moving around like Raymond, Imai-kun just stood there so how come he looked cool?
Fuji: You know it's so enjoyable to perform live with Imai-kun. I can say that even though I hate lives, Imai-kun makes them good.
hide: You hate lives?
Fuji: Right before I come onstage I'm always panicked saying “No no no! I want to go home! I want to go home!” *laughs* Don't you get scared when you peek from back stage and see all the people?
hide: No, I don't think of them as people. *laughs* I imagine it's a design. I've always done that. Look, the lights go on at the ending tune right? If it was that bright from the first song I'd probably go mad. And if it's an open air event right under the sky, everyone is perfectly visible. Those times I usually stare at the sky *laughs*.
Fuji: Even though I have bad eyes I don't wear my contacts during lives. Then I'd just sort of switch to staring at some point above the stage while I played but when my father saw that he told me to stop because I looked indecent with my eyes rolled back *laughs*. So then when I wore my contacts I could see everyone's faces so clearly and it scared the hell out of me. Until then I had just seen a blur of color.
Now that you can see what are you going to do? Hide your eyes? *laughs*
Fuji: Now that I can see I glare a lot.
*laughs* Maybe it'd be better if you didn't glare.
Fuji: Now it's become a habit that whenever my eyes meet someone else's, I glare at them.
hide: You glared, you did. How should I put it, I used to think Maki-kun was a goodhearted guy. This one time I saw a TV special on Soft Ballet. Then right in the middle during the meeting he kicked the desk. "What time will this end!" BANG! *laughs*
Fuji: Ah that was prearranged though, but one time Imai-kun saw my true nature.
Imai: I went to go see Soft Ballet in Shibuya with Yuuta and before the show started I waited in the dressing room with the members, was drinking coffee and chewing tobacco when suddenly there was this loud BAM! *laughs*
What did he kick a desk again?
Imai: No a person! *laughs*
hide: Did he really? *laughs*
Fuji: ....it's true.
*smiles* So when you see people you glare, does that mean you wait for them to lower their eyes?
Fuji: No, I just look away and then I get these letters from people saying “Why did you avert your eyes when you saw me?”
When you look away you look so defeated.
Fuji: Something like that.
hide: It's like some complicated fanservice *laughs*.
Imai: I don't think I really look at people...but when I do it's really just one specific person the whole time.
Fuji: When we perform together on stage, Imai-kun's eyes are so enigmatic. *smiles* I never know what he's thinking.
So what makes you only look at one particular person sometimes?
Imai: When suddenly our eyes meet and they look bored, I wonder if maybe they can't see me from where they are.
Maybe the fan is looking at all the members.
*everyone roars with laughter*
Imai: But really I can't stand it when someone looks away from far then I feel like I've done something horrible at that moment.
What gives you the impression you did something so inexcusable during a live?
Imai: Huh? Sorry I spaced out *smiles*.
hide: *laughs* At least try to listen.
So, how are the legions of cosplayers among your fans?
hide: A while back when I had a live in Sendai there was a team cosplaying a cow tongue *laughs*
Fuji: Did it cover their whole body?
hide: Yeah. I only got it cause they had "cow tongue" written on it *laughs*.
Like a red 'Ittan Momen (2)' *laughs*.
Fuji: There was a lot of people dressed as Oba Q (3) at my lives too.
hide: Ah, at mine too. Why is Oba Q everywhere *laughs*.
Well in your case Fuji Maki it's your own fault for shaving your head that you have people showing up as Oba Q.
Fuji: That too.
How do you feel when you see people cosplaying you from three, five years ago?
hide: Before my solo tour I used to hate when people cosplayed my old look. But then I thought about it a bit...read what some fans wrote. "I went to one of your concerts back when I was in junior high. Lately, after a long wait I was able to go for the first time since then so I cosplayed your look from when you had just started." Before I got people's reasons for cosplay I would throw water at them from a bucket *laughs*, maybe there were kids like the one in the letter. But now I want make a big sign saying I was wrong *laughs*. So now I don't mind at all if individual people want to play but I hate that it's a whole movement.
Imai: But there are some funny ones too. During the tour before the last one, remember I had a custom made headdress? (It looked like a unicorn skull.) Then I thought I saw someone with something similar but when I got a better look....they had an alien larva attached to their head *laughs*.
Fuji: Huah huah huahah!
Imai: They looked like the spaceship Captain from Aihara Koji's 'Koji En' (4) *laughs*.
*everyone bursts out laughing*
Imai: Clearly it wasn't done as a gag *laughs*. But it had me all worried wondering what on earth do people think of me?
hide: There really are some people convinced they'll make us laugh! *laughs* But on the contrary, I don't want to sympathize with those kids who think they did well. I want to tell them they got it wrong! *laughs*
hide: When I released my old photo album I added photos done in Giger's (5) style. After that I saw some kids in regular clothes with what looked like vacuum hoses wound around their arms *laughs*.
It was that girl's imitation of Giger, huh?
hide: You know, it's like having a common language.
Fuji: From what I've seen Endo's and Morioka's fans are pretty normal, it's just mine that are strange. One of the weirdest was this woman who had bandages wound around her entire body. On top of that when she gave me her present it was this lump of wire. I don't know if she did that to be mean or if she really thought I'd like that.
*laughs* You've all had different encounters.
hide: Then again, back in the day when I'd go to a concert I used to bring something of that artist with me, as a symbol. For some reason I brought a screw to WASP (6) *laughs*. That's why now I completely get how those kids feel and because I understand I'll change my ways.
Imai: Like when I used to have my hair up. From the beginning I just wanted it that way because I thought it was long enough to put up like Hotei Tomoyasu-san's.
That's sweet, what about you Fuji Maki?
Fuji: Already dating from my debut my image was set. I already appeared dark and angry. Though really it just boils down to the fact that I have thin hair *laughs*.
Well your situation is special. Now how do you think hide would be useful in a band?
Fuji: It'd be interesting to have songs written by him. I have the utmost respect for him so in the end I'd be happy with anything he'd be willing to do.
On the other hand, how would you use Fuji Maki?
Fuji: I'm good at cleaning *smiles*.
hide: *laughs* I'd use him as my backup vocals, I want to make Maki-san record all the tracks, just with guitar and his vocals.
And what about Imai?
hide: I want to make him sing.
hide: No, I'm serious.
Fuji: Imai-kun has a really nice voice, doesn't he.
hide: I love it. Besides, he'd absolutely have to sing in Japanese.
Imai: Hyahyahya! But I can't sing things like in Buck-Tick with the A melody, B melody and the high point of the song.
hide: You just think you can't. *smiles*
Fuji: Let's play together in Schaft. But first we have to put out a single *smiles*.
Now Imai, how would you use hide?
Imai: Singing and song writing and other than that, I have all kinds of ideas.
But if you do that then what would you do?
Imai: Oh I'm included in those various ideas *smiles*.
hide: But in my case Maki-kun was extremely worried after seeing my style on some TV program a while ago. Especially since there aren't many people around me who like industrial music. He always reads Ongaku to Hito interviews so he knows there are interesting people out there but he still can't get that program out of his head *laughs*.
*laughs* Will the three of you form Super SCHAFT?
hide: We'll be like Super Saiyans. *laughs*
You can actually order this series from CD Japan.(2) Ittan Momen
. Just so you have an idea.(3) Oba Q
. It stands for 'Obake no Q Tarou'. He's supposed to be a ghost see... Anyone ever read 'Ayashi no Ceres'? Remember the old woman with the big mouth and eyes and hair pulled into a bun? They said she looked like Oba Q.
Aibara Koji is a cartoonist and one of his manga was titled 'Koji En'. His manga debut was in 1983.(5)
H.R. Giger. Designed hide's mask
for the 'hide your face' cover art and designed the creatures in the movie 'Alien'. He also has designed some pretty guitars
. *_* He is known as an artist of Fanatic Realism.(6)
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