[Translation] "LOVEppears" Beatfreak track-by-track interview - Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai
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Old 2nd November 2009, 08:39 PM
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[Translation] "LOVEppears" Beatfreak track-by-track interview

I started this translation ages ago - one of several unfinished projects from the pre-A BEST era that I had going on. After tenshi no hane's translation of that Girlpop interview went up, I figured I'd finish this. Sorry if it's already been translated.

At the second album "LOVEppears", I tried to sing and
shout along with the sharp sounds in order to
express my true feeling of sadness and longing.

November 10th, Ayumi Hamasaki is simultaneously releasing her long-awaited Second Album "LOVEppears" and 300,000-copies-limited maxi single "appears". This appearance in beatfreak is her first in about 10 months. She talked about the album's production.

First off, can you tell us the origin of the title of your second album, "LOVEppears"? "LOVEppears" is the words LOVE and appears ("seems to be") mixed. People say that it's a coined term made up by Ayu, but what kind of meaning does it have?

Ayu: The title "LOVEppears" has two meanings to it, "thing that seems like love" and "discrepancy between what we see and what's really there." When I was thinking about the jacket design, I was concerned about the title I'd use, and my staff were there with a suggestion. They said, "You should use English word A and English word B, and put them together to make a whole new word."

How did you decide to connect "LOVE" and "appears" together in the first place?

Ayu: Before my trip to New York for the jacket photo shoot, I looked out the window from inside the car, and there was a couple that looked SO happy, but I personally was thinking, maybe they're in the middle of a serious crisis. Or maybe they're actually talking about separating. So I thought of the meaning "seems to be" for the word "appears" and stuck it on there. We give ourselves certain outward appearances and images, trying to make it look like things are good or bad, whatever we want to show people, but really things aren't as we're showing.

So yeah, that discrepancy between what's percieved & what's real that you mentioned. But with the sort of air you put forth, an objective third party could tell that the way you write here isn't like your style on your first album. Like for me, I think that style was more clear when put it next to songs like "TO BE" or "Boys & Girls." But what do you think?

Ayu: Mm-hmm, I think there was a change there.

Do you think it's a spontaneous occurrance, or do you think it's the result of yourself changing?

Ayu: I changed after absorbing various things & growing, but I was thinking for days about things like, what is it that I absorbed after my first album? Thanks to my writing, I think I became aware that after I figured something out, I would have to change as a result, wouldn't I?

As far as sound goes, on the maxi single "Boys & Girls" for example, there are alot of remixes with Hard House, Reggae, and other styles that have been produced.

Ayu: The producers were thinking that those sorts of sounds could be put in the second album. Both parties have to decide on a remix's core arrangement, so when people who like me & people who have helped me since my debut introduced me to the sound, I thought about it.

Tell us about how you prepared for the album.

Ayu: Sure! Well, while working on "A Song for XX," for example, during the sad times that I couldn't shake, I'd always be saying "I'm very sad, I can't shake this." Quietly crying, quietly wounded, quietly mourning. But with "LOVEppears," during sad times, I express it with furious sounds, shouting out, screaming. I can see that there are some things I couldn't change, but I had alot of that sort of tension this year. So that's how that was. This album is like that, but next time, what will I be like? I couldn't tell you. Maybe with the next album, I'll go back to sounding like I did on the first. Who knows? Or maybe I'll have a totally different way of doing things.

By the way, before doing this interview, when we talked to your producer Max Matsuura, he said: "Ayu is a very meticulous worker behind the scenes. Alot of the work she does by herself is more in the Producer's arena. I think really we should say 'Produced by ayumi hamasaki'." But what do you think of that statement?

Ayu: I've heard it said several times, "Let's say 'Produced by ayumi hamasaki'," but Ayu's producer is Max Matsuura, and it's meaningless to try to say otherwise. Sure, practically speaking, I do producer-like duties, as do a few others. But why do I do it? Why do I stretch myself to that extent? I ask myself that, but I think Max Matsuura is the one doing most of it after all. So, for the sake of holding onto myself, if anyone else wanted to be Hamasaki Ayumi's producer, I wouldn't be interested.

From that, it seems as though your producer Max Matsuura is giving you more credit than you think you deserve. Anyway, right after the album release, what kind of schedule is the year 2000 going to have for you?

Ayu: Once the album is out there, once the feeling starts to come to me, I plan on releasing who-knows-how-many new singles. Then after that.... ummm... Definitely gonna do something. I think! (laughs)

That "something" is very meaningful, isn't it?

Ayu: Yup. But it is a secret.

1: Introduction
(Music/Arrangement: HΛL)

2: Fly high
(Music: D・A・I/Arrangement: HΛL)

I'm rapping in this song!! Magazines were all writing stuff like "Ayu's next challenge - rapping!!" weren't they? (laughs) At first I thought I'd just do it in an interlude, but Nagao-san's demo tape for this song had a temporary English rap in it and it was really good. So just spontaneously we figured, "In the place of this English rap, we should put a rap with lyrics written by Ayu." But every time I thought about writing, I couldn't write... I was worried. Every time I wrote something down, it was different, so it was really difficult. On top of it, I don't know alot about rhyming, so with the sparse knowledge I had, I had to come up with words that rhymed, which I was very bad at. So it has this "Ayu monologue" feeling to it. Listeners might not be able to hear "rapping" but my voice while not singing is what I want people to hear. I think that's what I wanted to give them.

3: Trauma
(Music: D・A・I/Arrangement: Naoto Suzuki, D・A・I)

Of all the 4 songs on "A", I was most troubled when writing the lyrics to "Trauma." When I wrote the chorus, which was gonna be used in the CM, I did okay at expressing a positive, cute "jumping up in the air" feeling, but when it came to writing the whole song, I didn't have even KINDA the same mood.... So the words couldn't come out, I couldn't concentrate. When this happens, I'm thinking to myself, "I have this thing I want to say, but it's all fuzzy in my brain." What I had to write versus what I was really thinking caused me some worry, so I had to think about what I was going to put forth. Until this, I'd never used words like "cruelty" and "insanity," so I wondered if I should say that or if I should replace those words with something else. But now, honestly, I'm glad I used them, because I was able to convey my real feelings.

4: And Then
(Music: Yasuhiko Hoshino/Arrangement: Keisuke Kikuchi)

Take a building that's still under construction, for instance. When you see someone who's like that, it's not that they're incomplete, it's that they can't make any progress because they don't understand anyone but themselves. But a stranger might see it as already complete, although the inside of that "under construction" person is still completely imperfect. In "And Then," Ayu is expressing this.
In "TO BE" I wrote "ibitsu (imperfection)" and in "And Then," "fukanzen (incomplete)." I think I definitely have a penchant for such words. As for the way I write lyrics, I take the writing seriously of course, but I sometimes feel like playing around with them, honestly. At the part that goes, "It felt like I was writing lyrics, la la la...," this is Ayu seriously playing around. There are probably alot of people who didn't notice this, but the lyric that goes "I can't stay in the same place forever" later on, that's a lyric that can be found on "A Song for XX."

5: immature <Album Version>
(Music: Kazuhito Kikuchi/Arrangement: HΛL)

The lyrics for "immature" were written on the same day as "And Then" (their meaning being "unskilled at Being Human"). This song was already done during work on my first album, but I hesitated to put it on there, and afterwards I talked about making it a single. So this time I was able to finally show the song to the world, but it took more than a year for that to happen, and alot of history had occurred in the meantime, so the image the song put across was totally wrong, so I wrote really great new lyrics for it. "And Then," written the same day, has the same theme, but this one, "immature," is the much brighter song of the two. When I was faced with something incomplete, I very honestly and seriously painted the shape I was faced with in this work. The other song, "And Then," is in a minor key, because I'm looking at myself with calmer eyes, really facing that incomplete thing, and talking about that.

6: Boys & Girls
(Music: D・A・I/Arrangement: Naoto Suzuki, D・A・I)

"Boys & Girls" was my first maxi-single, so I guess alot of people know me now, huh? Usually, the single jackets were photographed in a studio, but we had a square to work with for the 12-cm single's design, so we said "If it's a square, we can't do that, so let's do a new photo design." So we took the photos by the ocean, which was different (laughs).
During this time, in both my work and private life, I think I was making difficult faces. I understood "Boys & Girls" as a turning point, but I didn't understand it as a good thing, so I put up barriers so my misunderstood self couldn't be seen. Although I was making difficult faces at the time, they didn't reflect how I really felt. Now... looking back, I definitely seem to have a calm face.

7: TO BE
(Music: D・A・I/Arrangement: Naoto Suzuki, D・A・I)

Do As Infinity have made their debut now, but this was the first time Nagao-san wrote a song for me. My first impression of Nagao-san was "large wall" (not like "a big barrier that I can't climb over cuz it's so big", I just mean his eyes were really high up! I'M SO SORRY Nagao-san! (laughs))
The chorus for "TO BE" has a much "thicker" sound than my other singles until now, but I wonder if everyone noticed? After the song's release, since I was really into 70's-style clothes at the time, I wore bandanas on my head for alot of my TV lives.

8: End roll
(Music: D・A・I/Arrangement: Naoto Suzuki, D・A・I)

I've never been able to watch a movie the whole way to the end, so I'm always leaving the movie theaters in the middle. I really do want to watch until the end, but I feel like I'm stuck and I want to get up, and that's such a good snapshot of myself, I feel strongly about that... It's a great thing to write, but really, if I stay till the end, the exit is packed, and it gets so bright because of the lights, and it's such a dumb thing to worry about, but I can't take it. lol! But that's something that really symbolizes the present Ayu, I thought. Always somewhere being so very awkward. There are other things I want to do, other useless things I'm worrying about, necessary things I'm unable to do. "End roll" comes from me telling myself over & over, "One of these days I'm going to watch a movie the whole way through to the end roll."

9: P.S II
(Music: Hideaki Kuwabara/Arrangement: HΛL)

This song, "P.S II," is a sequel to the song "POWDER SNOW" from my first album. I wonder if the people who didn't like me until hearing songs like "LOVE ~Destiny~" and "TO BE" after my first album was released will hear this song after hearing "POWDER SNOW"? This song was made for people who have supported me since my debut, sort of like a "secret password" with me, I think. Next to the quieter "POWDER SNOW," "P.S II" is much more intense. When you compare the two works, they have a completely different sound.
This is me having a hard time using the proper phrase to express my gratitude, so I'm using the next closest phrase to replace it. It symbolizes the way I am this year.

10: WHATEVER <Dub's 1999 Club Remix>
(Music: Kazuhito Kikuchi/Arrangement: Izumi "D.M.X" Miyazaki)

This is my first single of 1999. Track one on the single was a remix version called "version M," and the approach to this work was different than my work until now. At first, the original version, "version J", was planned to be track 1 and "version M" was planned to be track 2 on the single, but when I listened to the original and the remix, the original version lost the contest every time. The repeating of "ta" in "kogoesou de me wo tojiteta" felt very fresh to me at the time. Putting the remix as track 1 was something I was nervous about. Would everyone agree to it? But it turned out to be a more popular decision than I thought it would.

11: too late
(Music: D・A・I/Arrangement: Naoto Suzuki, D・A・I)

"too late" and "End roll." Those two songs use opposing techniques in their melodies to illustrate the same thing, in order to display the world that I wanted to display & express the words that I wanted to express. The so-called "manner of speaking" they both have. The phrase "too late" has a negative context, but in this case I mean that if there's something you can't make on time, but you still just keep going, you gain experience and knowledge for every step you take, you understand your circumstances and situation. Even if you don't make it, even if you're too late, in the end, some good has come of it, and chances are that more good will come from it eventually. Of course, if you do nothing but wait, that's no good, but... I felt, since I was expressing the idea of "too late" being a more positive phrase, the song should overflow with feelings of speed.

12: appears <Album Version>
(Music: Kazuhito Kikuchi/Arrangement: HΛL)

Before singing this song, but after I finished the lyrics, I had the words in my head but they weren't finalized yet (laughs). In my works until now, I only used the words "watashi" and "anata" (for "me" and "you"), and here a protagonist saying "kimi" makes her entrance. I usually sang about people's feelings and thoughts, what was "inside the heart," you could say. But this time was the first time I used the term "lovers." Lovers that we see may seem perfectly happy, like everything's normal. From far away, a third party looking on might get that impression. By the way, this song was on its own single limited to 300,000 copies, but the version that appears on the album is a bit different. Oh, and saying "KISU" in the lyrics here was also a first for me. I sang the song during the PV shoot and I felt very shy, lol.

13: monochrome
(Music: D・A・I/Arrangement: Naoto Suzuki, D・A・I)

"monochrome" is a song written with a "fairytale" theme. When I was a child, the idea of a princess bound to her Prince Charming was a lovely thought to me. But now that I've become an adult, really, I think that I shouldn't wish for that type of thing, I should be serious now. Thinking, "A princess is so lucky, she can wear pretty dresses and eat delicious things, right?" In the lyrics I say "This fun, sad, and tender story." I'm saying there that I, now, am grasping onto fairytale. I've been able to hold on to certain various things, but right at this moment, there are alot of things I have to let go of. That's the impression those words give.

14: Interlude
(Music/Arrangement: Naoto Suzuki)

15: LOVE ~refrain~
(Music: TSUNKU/Arrangement: Naoto Suzuki)

Up until making this album, I had been looking at "LOVE ~Destiny~" as my own song, but in alot of ways, I felt like it wasn't my song at all. But this time, when I made "LOVE ~refrain~," I finally felt confident that it was my own song, and I was able to be calm about it.
Truthfully, before "LOVE ~Destiny~" was created, Ayu wrote the idea of LOVE for "LOVE ~refrain~" based on Tsunku's composition.
Afterwards, this song was the last one finished for insertion in the album, and recording was done in New York. I'd always felt like the circumstances were wrong. But I feel like if "LOVE ~Destiny~" was the wrong shape for the song to be in, then it came to its strongest form with "LOVE ~refrain~."

16: Who...
(Music: Kazuhito Kikuchi/Arrangement: Naoto Suzuki)

Is it love or isn't it? Is it compassion or is it shared experience? I was holding on to questions like that, and this song's theme is the answers I finally got. The ellipsis at the end of the title, because it wouldn't look like something definitive that way. It kinda feels like making a "Hmmm?" sound in Japanese, doesn't it? I wanted to express that I was in an uncertain place. Plus, it has implications of "It seems like it's such-and-such, but maybe it's really not such-and-such!"
Afterwards, the end. Or rather, it "appears" to be the end (laughs)! This is a message from me to all of you. You'll understand what it means if you wait 30 seconds...
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Old 3rd November 2009, 02:08 AM
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Lady_Eowyn Lady_Eowyn is offline
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Thanks so much for translation deli, very hepful indeed ^_^
I need a new signature lol xD

Originally Posted by Yumsushi View Post
Maybe he has occasional feelings.

Ayu stans are Fugging scary.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 02:14 AM
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Thanks! It's a good read. Now I got to know that Ayu can't watch movie all the way till the end. lolz.. Wonder how is she like now?

Anw, I couldn't figure out the difference of appears in the single and the album version. ?_?

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Old 3rd November 2009, 02:24 AM
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Thanks for the translation Deli! I love how she got the title for End roll. And it always amazes me that even though she releases material at such a fast pace, she still puts so much thought into every little detail.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 02:29 AM
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thank you *_* I love reading these old things.

IG | YT | PR

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Old 3rd November 2009, 02:58 AM
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interestin interview.
I've never know that P.S II was POWDER SNOW part II D: lol they sounds reeeally different!


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Old 3rd November 2009, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by orangedream View Post
Anw, I couldn't figure out the difference of appears in the single and the album version. ?_?
The single version ("'99 Greeting Mix") has jingle bell sounds in it.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 03:16 AM
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thanks so much for this!
i love all interviews, new or old.

@koshka: the choruses are exactly the same though. xD
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Old 3rd November 2009, 04:14 AM
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Thanks Deli! Love reading Ayu's thoughts about her own music.
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Old 3rd November 2009, 05:14 AM
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Thanks for the translation Deli ^_^

I'm curious about this English rap from the original Fly High though! *_* I'm also surprised that she says writing Trauma was such a challenge...

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Old 3rd November 2009, 05:30 AM
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Thanks for the translation Deli!
I always love reading these kind of things.

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Old 3rd November 2009, 05:52 AM
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Thanks Deli!! love the translation!


You are my dream
Is this trap?
I don't know

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Old 3rd November 2009, 06:16 AM
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Oh wow! I've never read this! So many things I didn't know about her and all the insights it provides! It gets me feeling so nostalgic! I'm going to go listen to the album while I take a bath tonight.

Thank you so much! <3
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Old 3rd November 2009, 06:18 AM
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Thanks so much for translating Deli!!
i love how even the even the tiniest things she does always have a reason.

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♥ayu i love you with MY ALL♥

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Old 3rd November 2009, 06:54 AM
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Thank you for translation Deli!
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Old 3rd November 2009, 06:59 AM
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I have always been wondering what are the stories behind LOVEppears' songs. Now I know what she means with her lyrics that were so hard for me to understand. I really love this interview. I didn't know that WHATEVER's Version J was original version of the song. o.O I thought that was the remix, not the Version M.

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Old 3rd November 2009, 08:20 AM
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XD @ end roll. Now I know where it came from...lol
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Old 3rd November 2009, 08:24 AM
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Thank you so much for translating!

I love the last line where she implies about kanariya


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Old 3rd November 2009, 08:31 AM
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many many thanks deli!
i tried many times translating it but it never resulted so clear.
many many thanks.

~thanks pepper for the set~
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Old 3rd November 2009, 10:39 AM
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Many thanks for your translations Deli ^^

I enjoyed reading as Max Matsuura gave her complete freedom in their productions, Mr. Matsuura is like her guardian angel, a good guy!
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ayumi, beatfreak, hamasaki ayumi, loveppears, translation

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