Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai - View Single Post - Girlpop Interview Translation
View Single Post
Old 9th December 2005, 04:50 AM
etheruraura etheruraura is offline
As if.. Initiate
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 271
Girlpop Interview Translation

This is a really interesting interview, it really renews my love for Ayu.

Credits ~ ayu_iro @ AYUNITE!

As a forerunner to her new album scheduled for release next January, Ayumi Hamasaki has released a double face single, “Bold & Delicious/Pride”. Both songs were written by Geo of Sweetbox. This powerful work is just as the title says, bold and delicious, and it perfectly communicates Ayu”s pure heart.

Why did you decide to use a new songwriter for this single?
“I”d always thought Sweetbox were kind of neat, but it was only recently that I really grew to like them. I bought their best album, and it was so good, I ended up buying a copy for the house, a copy for the car, and a copy for the studio, and listened to it non-stop. They”re also on Avex, you know? And some of the staff on my team had worked on Western music before, so I told them, “I”d like to sing a song like this, a song like Sweetbox”s. Actually, it”d be best if they would actually write a song for me.” I hadn”t really been serious, I”d just said it very spur of the moment, but unbeknownst to me, my staff went and talked to the Geo side and when I”d forgotten about it altogether, I got a tape out of the blue, with 12 songs on it. He said if I liked one of the songs, I could sing it. All the songs were really great, but “Bold & Delicious” made the biggest impression on me. As soon as I heard it, I had to sing it. So even though I”d already finished recording another song to release as the single, I decided to record it.”

What part of the song was it that resonated with you?
“On the demo tape, the vocalist Jade had recorded it all alone, layer on top of layer, and that was so powerful and soulful and funky. I thought, “Oh, I want to make this even bigger, into something really happy, that everyone can sing and clap along to. I could see that it could be that kind of song, and I knew I had to do it.”

Of course the lyrics on the demo tape were in English, right? What about the phrase “Bold & Delicious”?
“It was in the lyrics.”

I thought so! Just because I felt like this song could be nothing else.

“That”s exactly right! I tried translating it into Japanese, looking for a different English word…I thought about it a lot, but in the end I decided that there”s no point to it if that part isn”t “Bold & Delicious”. Although the other parts had things that didn”t really fit in Japanese, so I played around with things a lot.”

I think you”re already quite bold. Did you want to inspire yourself even further?

“I”m going through a period where I”d really like to change. Of course I”ve always wanted to keep on evolving, but now I feel something more, like I want to do something that even I couldn”t have imagined. Like, outside of work, I”d like to visit counties I”ve never been to, and listen to opera and classical music, and study history.”

“When you”ve been working as long as I have, there aren”t many things you don”t know anymore. You know what to do to make people happy, you know what kind of songs everyone likes. But I want to throw something out that I don”t know what people will do with. Will people be scared of what I”ve thrown out and not be able to accept it, and pretend now to see it? Or will they try to catch it because it”s something Ayu”s thrown out, and follow me no matter what? I want to do something that I”m not sure of what people”s reactions about.”

Did you just start to feel that way naturally?
“Yeah. It”s not that I chose this song because I want to do something completely unexpected, it”s that just as I was thinking I wanted to do something surprising, this song appeared, and it was just what I”d been waiting for.”

As far as the sound goes, starting quietly, getting more heavy, and then ending quietly is something that”s very established as one Ayumi Hamasaki”s methods. Did you want to break that format?
“I think that JK-san, who always does my arrangements understood why I”d chosen this song even without my saying anything. Because he could have wrapped it up neatly to follow the pattern of most Ayumi Hamasaki music, but he didn”t. He made more like, “This is Ayumi Hamasaki music, but it”s different than usual.”

Is the feeling of the song on the demo tape very different?
“It was softer and more clean.”

Your version has a funky, gothic feel to it, like a really intense oil painting.
“Yeah. It was in NY that I decided that I wanted to make the chorus into something really large, with voices other than just my own.”

You had the recording in NY this time?
“That”s right, I recorded both songs there, and most of the songs for my new album as well.”

Why in NY?
“Because I”ve been wanting to go ever since a-nation. Or rather, I felt like I needed to go. Not for pleasure, but for work. And by the time I finally got the time to go, I also needed to record, so I thought, “This is telling me that I have to go record in NY.”

Let”s get back to the story of the chorus.
“While I was in NY, I went all over the place on my own. When I visited this church, the sound of the pipe organ sounded to me like something you can only hear in NY. I thought, “Oh, gospel!”, and decided I wanted a funky chorus that you could clap and sing along to. The vocals I”d been recording in NY sounded different than usual of course, but I began to think that I wanted to put something even bigger into “Bold~”, something that could only be done in NY.”

“Pride” is in the complete opposite direction. It”s almost like classical, or like a song from a musical, like “Phantom of the Opera”.
“That”s just it! When I heard the demo for this song, I decided to make it like “The Phantom of the Opera”.”

“Rather than something from my own viewpoint, I wanted to make it into something that everyone is screaming the same thing about, so I put a lot into the chorus. The image I had was something cleaner, like something sung by a chorus, so I got together a whole bunch of people, from elementary school students to people in their fifties, and had them all sing together. That recording was done in Japan.”

Each chorus is song by a large group of people, but they sound completely different.
“When I heard the demos for both songs, I really could see the image of the finished product in my head. Usually I shape the direction as I go along, but this time there was no hesitation, I knew exactly how and by who I wanted it arranged.”

That clear vision must be why both songs have such a strong impact. It was almost hard for me to listen to the line, “Because there is nothing more frightening than giving up”, because it was so true.
“There are a lot of things that we understand, but can”t bring ourselves to do, you know? I have a lot of things like that myself. There are times when I whispered to myself, “You knew things would turn out like this, didn”t you?”. I think everyone”s like that, we make mistakes even though we really know better, we say things we don”t really mean. But I think that in the end, people are warm and that they can”t become truly cruel. So even though I do things like that, I don”t want to give up, and I wanted to tell everyone that I don”t want anyone else give up either. Because I think that giving up is the worst despair.”

I think that your songs are growing closer to the way they feel when you sing them live.
“That could be true. I did feel like that feeling became stronger while I was recording in NY.”

You don”t do it bit by bit because it”s a recording anymore, do you?
“ That”s right. The sound in the studio in NY was rougher, in a good way, and the headphones I used for recording the vocals had a completely different feel than the precise headphones I”m used to in Japan. At first I was really shocked, and I kept messing around with the cue box (she laughs) but in the midst of it I realized, “Hey, if I think of it as the same as when I”m doing a concert, it”s fine this way.” And after that, I had a lot more fun singing.”

Like, just sing, and don”t make a fuss.
“Right. I thought, “I”m in NY, so I need to go with the environment here and just enjoy it, or else there”s no point in being here.”

It”s fun to see both the promotion videos shot in NY. In “Bold” we get to see you riding on a big truck through 5th Avenue.
“The whole day police cars followed right behind us. We shot the video as we got their permission for where to go. They told us, “This street is too crowded now, so stop for a second, and go down this next street”, and things.”

You can see New Yorkers taking pictures in the video.
“But unfortunately I couldn”t see any of that. There was a wall of equipment – cameras, lights, and all of that – in front of me, and I was looking at the cameras the whole time we were filming.”

Mixed in with the pictures of this gorgeous, bold woman are images of your everyday self, right?
“I didn”t want to just make a pretty MV, so I put in a lot of funny faces. (laughter) I wanted to make something where they was a very clear line between on/off.”

Is showing your private side a bold thing to do?
“It is. In the past, I didn”t want people to see me trying new things, I wanted to protect a side of myself that no one knew about. But now, well, I”m not really scared of anything. (laughter)”

You mean, it”s okay no matter how people take it?
“Yeah, despite whether they think it”s good or not. Because this is what I want to do, that”s all.”

How about the MV for “Pride”?
“We filmed it on the bridge that goes from Harlem into New Jersey. Usually I”m very specific about exactly what I want, but this time I thought up a few different situations, and decided to see how things felt when we got there and just go with whichever felt best then. ”

Now then, the release of your new album isn”t too far away. What kind of album is it going to be?
“It was just a lot of fun to make. It was a lot of fun, and it felt really good, and I also worried and suffered over it, so I really think that it will be something that reflects all the heart I put into it.”

Looking back on 2005, is the biggest event for you that huge tour you did in the beginning of the year?
“That”s right. I feel as though that tour had a big part in forming who I am now. Because it was different than a normal tour.”

How so?
“It was a tour to promote “My Story”, which was an album that I really felt good about, and the members on the tour all changed, and that made me stronger, and it also made me weaker. But I feel like all of that had a lot of meaning. And I think that because we got together and really concentrated on everything together, the bonds between all of the members and I grew a lot stronger.”

It sounds like you got a lot out of everything that happened.
“It really made me feel just how wonderful people are. Yeah, 2005 was an amazing year. I think that something from the year will come out in this new album, so please look forward to it.”
Reply With Quote