A huge 'thank you!' to justironic for proof-reading. :D
Please credit if sharing, I worked hard on this translation.
Gekkan Songs 2014/4 vol 136
Tackey & Tsubasa release their first single in two and a half years. They’re singing two very contrasting songs; “Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru” where we can enjoy the duo’s peaceful harmonies; and “Viva Viva More” with its harmonious and fun dialogue. I bring you a report from the recording of the music videos, as well as an interview with Takitsuba, who were out of energy in a good way. And simply because it’s them, I was shown a confident face that said “we were able to express ourselves”.
Interview with Takki
Q. If you were a woman... which would be your type of guy!? “carefree guy who does the best he can” vs “intellectual gentleman on his way towards the elite”
A. I prefer those who do their best. (laugh) Rather than the type who relies too much on positive thinking and chases after their dreams, the type who does the best they can seems more reliable. The intellectual type also appears (in our lyrics), but even compared to that I have the feeling that the balance of love seems good. But it could be that the elite type is more trustworthy. I wonder what he would be like in case of emergency. Probably nice, in any case.
Q. My star
A. If we’re talking Johnny’s, it’s Matchy (Masahiko Kondo). As a guy he’s cool, don’t you think? He can easily talk to people regardless of if they’re above him or below him. To be honest, that’s something that I really can’t. Of course, I wouldn’t say there’s not a fence between senpai and kouhai. But he’s someone who can hold a conversation without making a big deal out of it. I don’t really get it, but maybe he adjusts things like his own position based on the other person. My childhood star is Shimura Ken. I’ve been watching him on TV ever since that time. I didn’t watch “The Drifters” when it was originally aired, but when they did the re-run, and I also own in on DVD. I think Shimura Ken is a genius. Even when I watch some old “Drifters” skit, it still makes me laugh. I guess his skills never get old. However, I don’t want to meet in private with those who I really admire, people that I personally think are the best. (laugh) So even though I got a chance to meet him in private, I refused. But I did meet him once. That was a really strange feeling. I talked to him but it felt like it didn’t happen for real. (laugh)
Vocal Advise: “Viva Viva More”
I don’t have any particular advice. (laugh) In any case, I would like you to have fun while singing enthusiastically. Since the lyrics are like two guys having a dialogue, I think it’s more suitable to sing it in a fun way as if there are elements of a small drama, rather than singing it with a lot of feeling. If you have enough time, you could try and change some of the lyrics and sing about your own ideal guy. That could be fun. (laugh)
Interview with Takki and Tsubasa
It’s been 2,5 years since your last single.
Imai: That’s right. But to us it doesn’t feel like such a long time. (laugh)
Takizawa: It’s like, “oh, it’s been 2 years?” (laugh) If you only consider singles, it’s been 2 years, but we did release an album during that time.
During the 2,5 years that have passed you have done a lot of solo work. During that time, have you noticed any changes since you turned 30 years old?
Imai: Maybe it’s that, rather than noticing it ourselves, it's something that people watching us notice? So for us, nothing has changed. Rather than being completely true-to-life, I think this single ended up being a product that doesn’t put a weight on your shoulders, in a good way, don’t you think?
Takizawa: Ditto. (laugh) We didn’t crazily jump into the creation process, but wrote this song in a calm and relaxed manner.
This time you release a double A-side single. Could you tell us what you felt when you listened to each of the songs for the first time?
Imai: The A-side “Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru” has a simpleness to it. Therefore, the more I listened to it, the more I could feel the depth of the words and the gentleness in the song. So from there I went to the recording session, and while I was singing I let the scenes in the song expand.
The other song, “Viva Viva More”, is on the other hand a loud and fun song.
Imai: Yes, it’s a very different song compared to “Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru”. (laugh) I listened to these songs and thought that the theme of this single will be to display two different expressions on one CD.
Takizawa: But I thought that in a sense, both songs are typical for Takitsuba. We have crossed the line of age 30, but we can do both relaxing songs and fun upbeat songs. I got the impression that these two songs really were each other’s contrast.
What was it like to actually sing these different songs during the recording?
Imai: “Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru” was recorded by Takizawa first. I wouldn’t say that’s because I’m particularly conscious. But if, for example, I’m singing the second part of the harmony during the song’s chorus and Takizawa hasn’t recorded his main part yet, then I would finish my recording without knowing what kind of feeling Takizawa will put into the song. Although I cherish the feelings depicted through the lyrics while singing, I could sing that part of the song while sticking to the feelings Takizawa put into it.
Is there anything you try to bear in mind when you sing the second part of a harmony?
Imai: After all, the important thing is to grasp the feeling of Takizawa’s lead singing while I sing. Since I wouldn’t say there is a second line in the chorus, the standpoints of the lead part that Takizawa sings and the second part that I sing are about 50/50. Because I think that if you look at it as “I’m just singing the second part” and have that feeling while you’re singing, then it will seem as if the two of you belong to different worlds even though you’re singing the same song. But turning up the main part and creating a balance in the harmony is only done in the last mixing.
Takizawa: I, on the contrary, recorded my part first, so I sang while trying to imagine the harmony. “At this part our voices would overlap”, and so on.
Did it all turn out as you imagined it?
Takizawa: Being the first one to record the song means that it’s only later that I got to hear the state of our combined voices. As expected, there is a difference between what I imagined when I sang alone and the completed song with both voices.
When you recorded “Viva Viva More” I guess it was important to be enthusiastic.
Imai: Yes, the tension is important. And though it’s different from a play, in a sense it’s about these two contrasting characters approaching the same girl, and it turns into a dialogue. And at the main point of the song they have the same feelings for her. That’s the lively feelings that we made a point of putting into the song while singing, as well as the rhythm. The beat is always like ‘bang bang’, so we sang consciously.
Takizawa: I had fun singing this song. But the words I received turned kind of bad. (laugh) “More silly”, “more lightly” were the orders I got from the staff, so I consciously did like that.
Did it feel like acting a role?
Takizawa: Not quite like acting a role, but rather that if I was to sing this song in a safe and faultless way, it would turn into just a normal song. That’s the meaning behind the orders I got, I think.
Do you remember which one of you sang “Viva Viva More” first?
Imai: I think it was me. But when it comes to this song, instead of listening to it and imagining how to sing it, it felt like we did pretty much all of the work on the spot. Based on the balance of the sound and the ideas from the director we sang the song and completed it that way, that’s what it felt like.
Wasn’t it difficult to record the song one person at a time when it’s like a dialogue?
Imai: That wasn’t really a problem. Because obviously it’s good if each character stands out.
This time there were also 2 music videos created. What was the recording of those like?
Imai: I think that just like the songs there is a big difference between the content of them. It’s like we put “gentleness” and “fun” into them too.
Takizawa: The recording of the music video for “Viva Viva More” was just as fun as the recording of the song. There were scenes when we just fooled around.
Is there any choreography as well?
Imai: Because it turned out as a party-like tune there was choreography during the chorus. We also heard that there was a script, but it felt like it was mostly left up to us. (laugh)
Did the two of you meet in advance and plan it?
Takizawa: No, we just let one thing lead to another. (laugh)
Imai: (laugh) Please watch the enclosed DVD to see what we did.
Takizawa: At the beginning we got orders from the staff. (laugh) But gradually, we got less and less orders, and at the end it was like “We leave it all to you!” And then I thought “What? You’re kidding!” (laugh)
What was it like to record the music video for “Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru”?
Imai: A lot of the time we couldn’t at all work out what the result would look like. That’s because it ended up being shot in front of a green screen and then CG effects were added.
Takizawa: The starry sky was produced using CG effects. The setting is that we're star craftsmen. “Viva Viva More” had the feeling of being born on the set, but compared to that, instead of having a story “Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru” felt like the sets were properly planned before shooting the video.
What are the highlights of each video?
Imai: For “Viva Viva More” there is a certain fun that goes along with the song. As for “Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru”, the unrealistic theme is people who create stars, but as you would expect that’s established with music. That’s what I wish for you to see.
Takizawa: For the music videos, just as for the songs, isn’t it the Takitsuba-ness? When watching them, I wonder if you will get the impression of “That’s it, that’s it!”.
My impression is that Tackey & Tsubasa gives us songs of an unexpected nature with catchy choreography. What is typical for Takitsuba according to the two of you?
Imai: I think that “Viva Viva More” follows the line of songs like “Venus”. This kind of fun is also a quality of Takitsuba. But that is just one direction that our music takes. What will keep making our music all-powerful is that even in calm songs like “Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru”, it’s like the expression typical of Takitsuba can only be found in that particular song.
Takizawa: Yes, or rather, we can create songs that go in any course of direction. Releasing a double A-side single with such different songs, that takes some courage. But I think that’s the strength of Takitsuba, being able to do something like that.
By the way, after you turned 30 years old, is there anything that has changed in the relationship between the two of you?
Imai: No, nothing has changed there either, and that’s in a good way. We don’t tell each other “Let’s do like this!” strongly without compromising, and we also don’t do things half-heartedly.
Takizawa: Yes, that’s just natural. Maybe it’s natural to keep a distance? When we meet, we never say “I gotta do this, I gotta do that”.
Imai: Of course we have met in private during the past 2 years, but people have asked us if we are together all the time, and that’s not the case. (laugh) Maybe it’s also about timing? There’s nothing special about why we did or did not meet.
Takizawa: Because we’re not lovers! But we often get asked if we meet in private. (laugh) But even if meeting in private has a special meaning, I wouldn’t say that that would change anything. If we didn’t meet, we would always have to start our relationship from scratch every time. As it is now, we don’t have to do that.
Imai: While we create songs for our listeners, I think it’s necessary for us to look in the same direction. But there’s no need for us to always be together at any cost, or to be bound to each other to get along. (laugh)
Takizawa: This is merely a conversation about the fact that it’s been 2,5 years since our last single release. There’s no need to be so concerned about those years! Yes, we did meet casually during that time too. (laugh)
I was going to ask “Surely, you meet in private?” but it’s too late for that now. So, to finish this off. Tell us about the Takitsuba that you would like to show the world from now on.
Imai: There’s not really anything to tell... I don’t mean it in a bad way. I think the reason why we have managed to be active for this many years is that we don’t think too much about that kind of things. We also don’t think “Because I’m this age now, these are the things I want to do”. Since we have this job, I think we will still feel the same, no matter if we're teenagers or 40 years old. If some kind of opportunity turned up, maybe I would accept doing something new. But I think that depends on new encounters. Maybe through a song or through my work.
Takizawa: I agree. A feeling of doing things when the time is right and it’s possible to do them.
Imai: If you think about things too much, it feels like a clock starts ticking in your head, and if you can’t achieve your ideas you panic. But I also have the feeling that if you’re doing things case by case you are able to have more fun.
So in that sense, you’re saying that the meeting of these two very different songs was good.
Imai: Yes. I think we succeeded in creating a direction for Tackey & Tsubasa. From now on, we will promote the single in the news media. If there’s a chance for us to perform as Takitsuba, I hope that the Takitsuba-ness in the songs can be felt even more than on the CD.
Takizawa: I think there is something like making the expression of a song fit your age. For example, if we had run into these songs when we were teenagers, we would have expressed them differently. I think we managed to represent our current generation through these songs. So I will be very happy if people enjoy that.
Interview with Tsubasa
Q. If you were a woman... which would be your type of guy!? “carefree guy who does the best he can” vs “intellectual gentleman on his way towards the elite”
A. Since I happened to be born as a guy, I don’t know what’s good from a woman’s point of view. (laugh) But isn’t that up to the women who look for a guy? If they want a true gentleman, then they would choose the intellectual type. And if they prefer a straightforward guy who treats them frankly, then they would choose the guy who does the best he can.
Q. My star
A. My heroes are James Bond from the 007 movie series, Yazawa Eikichi, and Michael Jackson. There are posters and figures of them on display all around my desk. (laugh) Before I enter the stage it happens that I listen to the 007 soundtrack or songs by Yazawa or Michael. When I want to get all pumped up, I listen to Yazawa. And when I listen to Yazawa, for some reason I always want to push my bangs backwards. (laugh) As for 007, there are different theme songs. But I’m still a novice when it comes to 007. I became a fan when I watched the James Bond played by Daniel Craig. One time at a party I was wearing a James Bond-style suit designed by Tom Ford. Michael was a legend. Both in regards to dancing and singing, I don’t think there is anyone who has remained in people’s memories like him. Michael’s performances never get rusty no matter what time it is. I have the feeling that he will keep existing in people’s hearts, regardless of when those people live. People who are my stars or heroes, are those who exist within me forever. I have a kind of feeling that such a presence will keep growing steadily.
Vocal Advise: “Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru”
Simply because the song is simple, the lyrics can clearly be understood. The content of the lyrics is, that each person has a different way of understanding things, so I think that maybe it would be good to sing this song while adding the feelings that those people feel in
different ways. That being said, you don’t have to think carefully about the content of the lyrics. It’s totally fine if you just sing with feeling.
Tackey & Tsubasa. Debuted with the album “Hatachi” in 2002. Have so far released 13 singles and
Currently doing: Acting the lead role in “Takizawa Enbujo 2014” at Hakata-za Theatre in Fukuoka. Starting from April 7, it will be performed at Shimbashi Enbujo Theater in Tokyo (Takizawa). Starting from May 2, special guest dancer in “Burn the Floor - Dance with You” at Tokyu Theatre Orb in Tokyo. The show will also be performed in Osaka and Nagoya (Imai).
MV Recording Site Report
Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru
This set is very different from “Viva Viva More”. The recording studio has been decorated with stars and lightbulbs to create a setting with a chic atmosphere, a place for creating stars.
In the scene where Takizawa finds a star and Imai puts it inside a jar, the director gives them instructions about every detail, like how Imai should hold the jar. When he got the instruction “At this point you should look up with a sense of ‘Oh, what an amazing starry sky’ ”, Imai responded to that right away and looked as if there really was a starry sky. In another scene, Takizawa puts down a pair of binoculars and watches the stars. He was praised “That expression was really great”, which caused him to give an embarrassed smile.
During the breaktime, we could see Imai playing the guitar that is used in the MV, and the time was drifting away softly and gently, similar to the song on set.
Viva Viva More
A mirror ball was hanging from the ceiling on the colorful set, where Takizawa and Imai appeared in cute pop-art costumes.
After the scenes they had together they went on to shoot the solo scenes, during which they
sometimes made such funny faces that even the staff almost laughed. Imai imitated the ending pose of a certain comedian, while Takizawa unintentionally said “Eeeh!” when told “We’ll do that again!” after he bashfully had done a story. The thing to check out in this MV are the facial expressions of this duo, which can be observed only here.
The choreography during the chorus also turned out to seem very fun and easy to remember, starting with the reverse peace-sign. There are many songs by Tackey & Tsubasa where fans can take part in the choreography, and it looks like yet another one has been added to the songs which fans can enjoy together with them during concerts.
Boku no soba ni wa hoshi ga aru
Please, tell us about the concept of this video.
Takizawa: I think this is a MV that has a world view which is different from anything we’ve done before. We are star craftsmen in a studio, and we look for and create our own stars.
Imai: It’s been a very long time since we released a single. This time we release not just a single, but a double A-side single. The theme of this song is “stars”, as well as tenderness and warmth. The other song (”Viva Viva More”) turned out to be a very typical Takitsuba song that everyone can enjoy together with us.
In this song, “star” has the meaning of “something that is very important to you”. What are your “stars”?
Takizawa: What could that be... Well, I guess things like hope and dreams.
Imai: I really like stars. In my hometown there are stars, and when I go abroad there are stars. They feel so limitless. Well, the important thing for me is time.
What’s your best starry sky memory so far?
Takizawa: It was during a location recording locally in Japan... I saw it when we were shooting in a very remote place. I also have memories from abroad, like Tahiti. I could see things like the Milky Way.
Imai: When talking about other countries, Hawaii is a favorite. When I was there, I went to the summit of Mauna Kea. Watching the stars from there was fantastic. It felt almost like I had travelled to space. When it comes to Japan, I remember from our Takitsuba tour the year before last. While we travelled along the highway I looked up, and the starry sky was really beautiful.
Viva Viva More
What was the recording like?
Takizawa: Both for us and the other cast it was like having a fun party.
Imai: Isn’t “fun” exactly what’s important? It’s a long-awaited Takitsuba song, and it has something new in it as well.
It does seem to be a very fun song.
Takizawa: Of course, the song itself is very upbeat and fun, but we fool around a lot with playful expressions. So I wish for you to enjoy not only the music but also the music video.
Imai: When talking about Takitsuba, our motto is to let everyone else also have fun, and we have many songs like that. I guess this is yet another typical Takitsuba song.
Is there anything in particular you would like to tell us about this song?
Takizawa: The song itself is composed as a dialogue, so the MV is also like a dialogue. The result as a whole was really fun, I think.
In the solo cuts, there are features like facial expressions and poses. Are there any special things to pay attention to?
Takizawa: Well, we have probably done many serious music videos in the past. Doing such a silly video for the first time in ages was really fun.
Imai: We would like you to see the sillyness of grown-up Takitsuba.
Is there anything else to note?
Imai: Everything was improvised, or rather, everything was up to us. So I was very much looking forward to seeing the result. I believe the content of the music video is something that everyone will be able to enjoy.