MY STORY interview from TeamAyu magazine translation - Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai
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Old 22nd October 2020, 04:51 PM
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MY STORY interview from TeamAyu magazine translation

Translated by remove-mom from the AHS Discord. A very nice interview!

An urgent interview about the new album "MY STORY" released on December 15! Commentary on each of the 17 tracks is also provided on pages 6-7.

Q: First off, can we start with your initial impressions upon having released "MY STORY," your first full album in two years?
Ayu (henceforth A): I also wrote that I was singing my own praises a bit (laughs), but I think it turned out to be a really great album.

Q: There really were a lot of different posts pertaining to this album, but twice you wrote that you were singing your own praises! What kinds of things did you feel when you were writing lyrics and recording the songs?
A: This time around I worked by putting together a lot of different stories based on things I'd recalled from the past, so this time around things were mentally tough more so than physically. But it's because I worked in such a way to create the album that I think it'll have an impact on people's hearts, and because I've gone to such pains and writhed and shouted, trying to get that little bit more out of myself even though I'd already done so much, I think listeners will be able to appreciate it and sympathise all the more.

Q: This is something I've been thinking recently, and it goes without saying that this applies to your albums and all of your other records, but even aside from that, it seems like your goals and your scrupulousness when it comes to everything regarding "Ayumi Hamasaki" are really ascending to a new level year by year, doesn't it?
A: I am setting higher and higher goals for myself every year, yes. But isn't it the case that everybody else is doing the same, and not just myself? The only thing is that, in reality, things don't always end up working out the way that you want them to. That said, it's because there are parts that I'm dissatisfied with that I can take steps forward and strive to come as close I possibly can to being 100% satisfied. But it's when you to set out to make up for those parts that are lacking, and to try and surpass that which you've already done, that the standard for the goals you set gets higher and higher... at any rate, you end up having to do a lot more.
It's not only about my albums that I feel this way, but about everything else, as well; first and foremost, I have to be the one to put in the most effort and to exemplify an appropriate attitude for others to follow, and only then will my staff and others around me be able to see and understand.

Q: That's true. It's by being at your side that others will be able to recognise your thoughts and your hard-working attitude. By the way, I wanted to ask you about the concept behind this album...
A: The concept behind this album is the human emotional spectrum. This is something that was decided on during the production of the album -- I wanted something to unify the album in its entirety, meaning not just the songs but the visuals as well, and that's what came about as a result.

Q: What made you go with the emotional spectrum as the concept?
A: With "MY STORY" I wanted to make something unmistakably human, and as I was considering various themes it occurred to me that the emotional spectrum is something that everybody possesses within them; I thought that it would be good to go with the fundamentals of human emotion.

Q: "Unmistakably human" is a phrase you used during the MC portion of your tour from the beginning of this year (on April 25, 2004 at Yoyogi Park) as well, isn't it? And at that MC you also mentioned "joyful things, fun things, sorrowful things..."
A: Yes. From around that time, I felt strongly that I wanted to live more like a real person, and to do ordinary and natural things in an ordinary and natural way. I feel that the world I've found myself in is quite an unordinary one, and I feel that I spend my days in a way that feels very unrealistic. And of course, that in and of itself begins to feel ordinary to me and I take it for granted... but if the world around me continues to only be one that is unusual, there comes with that a kind of senselessness, and, in a sense, that which people can't ordinarily understand becomes something quite normal to me...

Q: There's likely a discrepancy between appearance and reality, isn't there? Regarding the artist "Ayumi Hamasaki" and the person named Ayumi Hamasaki. Each one possesses its own image and distinctions, as well as its own definition. In reality, the person named Ayumi Hamasaki sees the same things everybody else does, and she laughs and cries as well, but since everybody else only knows the artist, that's something that is impossible for them to see, and so it may not easily occur to them... By the way, if you directly translate the title of this album (to "Watashi no Monogatari"), it seems to lend itself to the interpretation that this "story" pertains to your life as a whole, doesn't it?
A: The "MY" in "MY STORY" not only refers to "ayu" but also to myself as an ordinary member of society. In addition to that, it's also my intention that those who listen to the album construct their own "MY STORY", so in that sense anybody and everybody can be the protagonist, and the title can be interpreted as being something closer to "OUR STORY" than simply my own.

Q: There are four different jackets for your album this time around, aren't there?
A: We decided to go with four different jackets to match the concept of the emotional spectrum! (TN: "emotional spectrum" in Japanese is expressed by an idiom comprised of four kanji ("kidoairaku"), one of each of which refers to joy, anger, grief and pleasure.) At least, that was the original intention -- it was only after taking steps toward doing the individual jackets that it became clear how impractical it was to try to convey only one of the four emotions contained within [kidoairaku], and due to the sense of incompleteness that came with that, we decided to unify the concept across all the jackets so that it can be understood no matter which version's CD you hold in your hands, namely through reading the lyrics.

Q: Speaking of which, it appears that the booklet attempts to capture "a day in the life of Ayumi Hamasaki".
A: Yes, in which I'm in the car, heading for the studio, where all my staff are, and where I do my makeup and other preparations, after which I'm on the stage, and after I've finished work I enjoy a meal with my good friends and my staff, and then I'm playing with my dogs...

Q: Because most people don't see any of those sides of yourself aside from you being on the stage, right?
A: They can't see me when I'm standing by backstage, or when I'm on the move, or when I'm just at home... that's why I wanted to show myself candidly in those kinds of surroundings. By the way, sometimes when I'm in the car on the way somewhere for work, the world that I see outside seems so foreign to me, and represents a sense of freedom that I always feel it would be nice to have... That kind of difference in perspective is something that I think I captured really well here. Also, the way I am when I'm eating after having gotten off stage -- that's the very essence of Ayu (laughs).

Q: The DVD for this album contains the four videos that you'd already released for this album's singles, as well as music videos for three new tracks and four making-of videos, correct?
A: I consulted with my producer regarding music videos for the new songs. Also, the making-of videos were my idea. When I wondered how best to please those who already possessed the DVDs for the singles that came prior to this album, I thought that releasing making videos for "GAME," "Moments," "CAROLS" and "INSPIRE" would help everybody to understand how those videos were made, which is something that I thought they would surely be curious about.

Q: Lastly, this is something that I really wanted to ask you about and to write about... listening to this album in its entirety, it genuinely seems as though you feel you've exhausted yourself putting everything you possibly could, everything that it means to be Ayumi Hamasaki at this very moment, into this album, and I mean that in a good way. Almost as though you've hit the reset button. How do you feel at this very moment?
A: I feel like I'm in a very neutral position, like there's a very level feeling... and as though I could go anywhere from here heading forward. I feel like I can do anything.
A LOT of nice details we have not seen before really here. Amazing work thanks to remove-mom!
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Old 22nd October 2020, 10:32 PM
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Evolution7/4 Evolution7/4 is offline
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Thanks for posting and thank you to remove-mom for the translation! A true benchmark, cinematic epic album!
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Old 23rd October 2020, 03:59 PM
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Thank you so much for the interview, love this album
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interview, my story, teamayu, translation

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