Cut Magazine (2009.07): Part 3
Extract from Cut Magazine No. 248
■ You can remember so strongly about your hometown and roots now. Compared to 5 or 10 years ago, when you sang the earlier songs like “Tsuioku no Ame no Naka” 《追憶の雨の中》 which you did on Friday as well, would you feel differently about them now?
F: This time, I felt particularly emotional on this song and the fact that I was able to include its live version in my work upon entering the 20th anniversary year (the single “Keshin” 《化身》). When “Tsuioku no Ame no Naka” was first released, we only got orders for 2,800 copies. Although they told me it was 3,800, the actual figure was just 2,800. The extra 1,000 was a fib by my manager at that time. What was that pretense for? (laugh)
F: “Tsuioku no Ame no Naka” couldn’t sell at all. That’s why I really want to place it at No. 1 now.
F: It’s a bit like having a son with bad academic results and trying to get him into a school through the backdoor. (laugh) I really want to force my way to get it into a good university! (laugh) Oh, this is one song I’ll keep singing in my concerts.
■ That’s right.
F: I really like singing old songs at the concerts, experienced fans will respond to these old songs. But for people who attend for the first time, or for those who are not familiar with the old songs , it’s nothing more than a song they’ve never heard before. So from now on, bit by bit, I want to re-release the old songs sung at the concerts. There are so many I want to do, I just can’t find the opportunity. To release those old songs again so people will get to know them, that’s my plan (laugh).
■ It just seems that artists normally don’t want anything to do with those children of theirs who have fared badly. (laugh)
■ Why is Fukuyama-san so fond of them instead?
F: Yes, I believe the most important thing in creative work is the passion that drives you from inside. Not how well you’ve done or said it, but how much heart you’ve put in. Of course, I’m still going to work with a zest, but technically-speaking, in those days when I had no self-confidence at all, I had to give in every ounce I had. With a desperation to the extent of recklessness, because there was so much I didn’t know. I’m really touched by the gusto with which I poured into my work when I was young.
F: I want to reconstruct them (old songs) and, with the help from Inuoe Akira-san in (music) arrangement, have them performed by our outstanding band members at the concert. It’s true, when it comes to my songs in the past, the lyrics are often disjointed and unable to convey the message. But with sufficient thought and effort, it can still turn into a coherent piece of work, I have once again verified this. This is very crucial to me now. Because I am forever wanting to perfect my songs. In the midst of all this remixing, how can I retain the original flavor? It’s something I’ll need to work on, I’m afraid. Bearing all this in mind, the reconstruction of the old songs is an extremely important undertaking for me.
■ That’s because, as you said, you’ve graduated from chasing the sparkles and glamour. Although you were never that keen on your past and hometown before, but I guess the glitter that is the city of Tokyo, no longer embodies a purpose or a dream to you. It’s now simply an ordinary place.
F: But, I still haven’t been to any of those social events like parties or so.
■ (laugh) Is Tokyo really like that?
F: Though you don’t cover them in CUT, but in magazines like BRUTUS, don’t you have news of social parties at the very beginning? Don’t you think that has a very Tokyo-feel? (laugh)
■ (laugh) Yes, you’re right. But you didn’t come to Tokyo to go to its parties, did you?
F: No, but upto now, I still want to try it out a bit! Like the VIP rooms in some Clubs (laugh).
■ You can go anytime! (laugh) But you had written a line of songs on Tokyo, as well as the theme song for Lily-san’s “Tokyo Tower”, I would have thought Fukuyama-san is already able to see Tokyo as any ordinary place. But it doesn’t seem to be so…
■ I guess it’s because you were so determined to go to the place of your dreams – Tokyo, that you are now able to look back at Nagasaki through new eyes.
F: That’s to say I should be able to try settling down here. Yes, I had thought of that. Though you can’t say I’m attached to it, but Tokyo is still a bit special to me. If my child were to grow up in Tokyo, I think I would put him in a private school. This is no longer a matter of personal principle, I feel I must integrate into what is being thought of as the best methods in this city. But if we don’t end up staying in Tokyo, my thoughts could be entirely different.
F: Kyushu….is a really nice place (laugh).
■ Hahahaha! Do you want to go back?
F: Mmm, I don’t think I would move away from my life here, it works well as a base for work. I can write songs and refresh myself.
■ But, are you sure you would be staying in Tokyo for the next 10 years?
F: I will definitely have a base in Tokyo. The stimulation of a big city is vital (for me), I’m not the type who has plenty of inspiration gushing out from within. Without a certain extent of external stimulation, I can’t get anything done.
■ With Fukuyama-san as the cover for our CUT magazine this time, we want to prepare a special report under the theme of “Men Beyond Classification” *
F: Yes, so we’re doing the interview for the special report today. Yesterday, I had a chat with the recording engineer who had spent a long time working with me for the album “Zankyo”. Because I take on a lot of different roles, beyond any one category, people don’t see me as a creative artist (laugh). Almost everyone I work with, thinks I’m not the type of person involved in creative work. Of course I am also responsible for giving them that impression. But at the same time, this so-called “public image”…….like what you see on TV, is very powerful indeed. In the 90’s, we had the character “Chiinii-chan”, so I became “Chiinii-chan” to people. No matter how many songs I write, it’s very hard to change the image projected on the media. “Oh, they’re still treating me like I’m Chiinii-chan..” It’s a bit like that. And the latest (image) would be Galileo-sensei.
■ Yes, that is what happens.
F: I wanted to go beyond that, I really wanted to create a purely instrumental act (drama OST). If I didn’t think and plan it beforehand, then (Fukuyama Masaharu as) Galileo-sensei would just take on a purely actor’s image. Well, I guess as long as we’re in the entertainment business in Japan, we can’t beat the influence of the television. If I don’t take part in music programmes, it’s hard to let others know (about my music). Since the media is mainly centred around the TV, I need to consider what I want to let people see there. How I should present myself is very important. But if I focus just on the TV, people will think I’m wholly a TV artist. On the other hand, it’s vital to maintain a steady level of exposure. So, what genre do I really belong to……..If I was allowed to debut in the way I wanted back then, I wouldn’t have become involved in such a variety of work at all. Originally I came to Tokyo simply to form a band.
■ You have a point.
~ To be Continued ~
* The CUT special report on “Men Beyond Classification” includes in the order of coverage:
Fukuyama Masaharu / Takeshi Kitano / Clint Eastwood / Lily Franky
** Chiiinii-chan - second brother of the all time favourite drama series “Hitotsu Yane no Shita” (ひとつ屋根の下 Under the Same Roof)
Translated from Fukuyama Honne (Articles 6539 & 6549) with reference to the original article
This English translation was first posted on MashaPlus [dot] Info Forums. (Registration required to enter.)