Cut Magazine (2009.07): Part 4
Extract from Cut Magazine No. 248
F: I guess if I was able to form a band, I’d just be playing band music all this time. No more movies or solo debut then. I’ve done up my buttons in the wrong way from the very start, I hadn’t put on my clothes properly. It’d be too much of a hassle now to redo all the buttons again, since I’d already been through it once. Well, what’s done is done, I might as well just wear it through, it’s a bit like that (laugh). So before I heard anyone say “Even though you’ve done up your buttons wrong, that could become a fashion too”, I was resigned to the fact that I would have to carry on with this mistake, when I started. But looking at the outcome, it turned out to be a good thing. I guess the real Fukuyama Masaharu is quite an easy person. The reason I came to Tokyo was to form a band, but I went to join up the Amuse 10 Movies Audition instead.
■ You have a point. (laugh)
F: This decision didn’t make any sense. (laugh) I really wanted a chance at that time, so any way would do, that was my frame of mind. When I got the opportunity, the management company asked “Do you want to try a movie?” I thought I didn’t dislike it, so I told them I’d give it a try. Then they asked “Do you want to try going solo? Although I preferred to debut in a band but I thought if I could release a CD, a solo act is not too bad either. That was how I started back then. After that, the TV director came to persuade me to join a drama series. Aren’t there some girls who could never say no, if someone tried to persuade them into bed? I’m that type of person. (laugh)
But there are some who wouldn’t agree if they really didn’t like it, even if the other party pleaded. It’s not a matter of whether they can do it or not, but rather that they have it in their hearts “This is not what I want, I want to create my own music, I want to form a band!” However much others try to persuade them, these people will not accept. Not like me, I agreed to it pretty quickly. (laugh) On the contrary, I’m not the type to try and persuade others either. Perhaps people will find it hard to see me clearly if I appear in different forms, but from the outcome, this is probably the true me.
That’s why, I could be involved in something totally different in the future. Yep, 2 years ago, I couldn’t even begin to imagine that I would be (Sakamoto) Ryoma in a Taiga drama. (laugh) But as I said before, this was a timely opportunity to revive my hometown, and as a possible route in entertainment, I wanted to try it out. Of course, I want to play the role too. And I’m very interested in the series of events presented inside this drama. I’m not the kind who would be content with being in just one brilliant piece of work. To put it in another way, it’s like those people who ask “What else do you have for me?” after they’ve been persuaded into bed. (laugh)
■ Hahaha! But you’re going to play Sakamoto Ryoma, that really is a big change. Not only are you taking on a Taiga drama, it’s your first time as a historical figure.
F: It’s the first time.
■ Your first time as a real-life character. Fukuyama-san has played many roles before, and this time, you must play this person within the boundaries of “actual history”. It requires a different kind of creativity.
F: I want to change it a bit. I’m talking about the creativity part. Usually people don’t expect music to be created from scratch. You’re in the recording studio by yourself, writing out the melody and handling the preparatory work like playing the drums; the bass; the guitar etc., you build it up brick by brick as you would for a house. Well, since the “Galileo” drama series, I’ve participated in the same way for dramas as well. When I was about 38 years old, I had already wanted to do it my way, with the belief that “other people are other people, I am me”. It doesn’t matter even if it makes others feel that I’m doing as I please or that I’m forcing my way, I just want to be true to my principles.
■ I see.
F: Because my name is my brand, so that also represents a responsibility to myself. I’m not doing “what a lot of other people have told me”, but essentially what “I want from the bottom of my heart”, and I will put it together bit by bit. It’s becoming more obvious to me, that without fully discussing and agreeing on the job before we start, it will not work.
■ The way you started your single “Keshin” 《化身》, with the words “All worldly things are transitory” 「諸行無常」, it sort of symbolizes the way you’re actively seeking for changes now, doesn’t it?
F: I’ve been in this business for almost 20 years. I can truly feel how the times have changed. The era of using phones to sell music, something we had never thought about, is about to come. I believe we must earnestly abide by these changes, and do so cheerfully. Even if you were to say that “the timbre of an analog record is better”, record players can no longer be found in the homes of most music lovers. The way people listen to music has changed, so I want to be able to follow the trend with a smile. Even if you might get the feeling that you’re selling out your own soul.
■ But you’re also not the type to go with the flow!
F: If you want to bring this further, if you really want to use your own methods to present yourself in music, if you want to listen to analog records, then you’ll need to establish a corporate giant which can popularize records and record players. Like the SoftBank pioneered by Son Masayoshi (孫正義)* (laugh) That’s the way it is, we’re in a capitalist society.
But to bring out the entertainment within such a trend, is I believe, a predestination of our line of work (i.e. it’s their job to make it entertaining). And because of that, as the “software” (records, CDs etc) and “hardware” (audio appliances) go through that interesting phenomenon of evolvement, we must provide this “software” gladly. The dazzling brilliance that I found in the entertainment world as a kid, is still very much in existence today, and that feeling of freedom.
F: Of course, we’ll still hear people say “No, the sound quality in mobile phones is not good enough, the original timbre doesn’t come out”, that’s normal. But there are also others who say “Well, how many people actually use top class audio anyway?” meaning “Not many” (laugh)
F: Even with CDs, after you buy them now, you’d save the songs onto your MP3 and listen with earphones.
■ That’s true!
F: Although from our end, we must always use the highest standards to prepare this “software”, it’s wrong to force listeners to adopt a specific environment when they listen to and enjoy their music. For us working in the entertainment business, in the face of such volatile times (economic and political); in the face of the trend for timely opportunities and change, it’s our mission to adapt to it in good spirit. And I think that’s a good thing too. The type of work; performances or creative processes which focus on a single tree instead of the entire forest, are what I try to avoid.
~ The End ~
* SoftBank - more about it