Wednesday, July 21, 2010

ROCKIN' ON JAPAN Interview Part 11 (page 054) - Final

The remaining of this interview is translated by non-other than uchihamel 大先生 from YL.

Say thanks to uchihamel for the translation ;)

Previous translations: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10

uchihamel: Italics


Even if I get lost, music teaches me a lot, and saves me. I think that was what kept me going, guiding me.

YUI: … Plus, Bianco Nero went to Tokyo about a year before me so I thought “Bianco Nero is in Tokyo too, so let’s do my best!” and that kind of made me more reassured. To have someone you are close to around definitely makes you more reassured. At first, I was feeling a mixture of anticipation and uncertainty but after moving to Tokyo, it became a sort of mental preparedness. Or determination. As such, I was ready to advance forward, and that was how it worked out.

# In YUI-san’s songs, even when there is a lot of darkness, loneliness or sadness, one will always strive towards that ray of hope. Which part of you do you think made you write such songs?

YUI: To not allow oneself to get defeated by that situation. When it seems that you are about to be defeated by the situation of things, if you do not have strong will, you will be defeated. To put it generally, hope. In order not for whatever circumstances to overcome you, you need to have strong will. Without it, you will definitely be unable to overcome various things. After debuting, many people are now listening to my songs, but hitting sales at a certain number is not my final goal. Even if there is a set target, upon achieving that, it becomes a new starting point. That was what I kept in mind as I went along. But there were definitely many times where I was saved by music. “Music is something which I cannot live without” is something which I said before debut but it still holds true now. Even if I get lost, music teaches me a lot, and saves me. I think that was what kept me going, guiding me.

# Tomorrow you are finally turning 20. How would you describe your 19 years of life?

YUI: ……… As usual, music plays an extremely vital part in YUI-san’s (jokingly referring to herself) life, yup (lol). It has influenced me a lot.

# That seems very true indeed.

YUI: I think so. Seeing that I was so obsessed with music. Though without doubt there was much hardship and trying times. Yet, precisely because it is something that I love which enabled me to overcome all obstacles and be where I am today. Up till now I have been carving a path by myself, so from now onwards I hope to continue doing so as well, while receiving support from the many people around me or new acquaintances, and moving forward positively with a strong will.

# The album「CAN’T BUY MY LOVE」is an album containing numbers with musical diversity, as well as a cheerful track which expresses gratitude towards one’s teenage years even though it consists of hardship. I think this album is reflective of how YUI-san will be in the many years to come, believing in music as well as things dear to you as you progress in life.

YUI: Yup. Right now, I feel very blessed to be able to do music. I hope to be able to continue doing music for a long time, and will give it my all in order to achieve that. I hope to work hard and show a truthful side of myself to everyone. In addition, I want to be able to excite people, put a smile on their faces and also make people say “Oh this is interesting”. I want to take on new challenges and enjoy my 20s.

# Your determination to do so won’t be swayed?

YUI: If it does, I will speak about it. And get encouragement, yup. But I think by going to watch more live performances, and recalling about how touched I was when I first watched a live, I will gain new inspiration. And also not wanting to change, in a good sense. (not being obstinate, but sticking to one’s own beliefs) I don’t want, for example, going to live houses to become part of my job. I have always loved music, so I hope to keep that touching memory of watching a live for the first time in mind as I go along. I also wish to learn many things from many people.

Picture credits to Reset.

# I see. Thank you very much for today.

YUI: Thank you very much!


YUI first released feel my soul in year 2005, and this interview was done in year 2007, time really passes fast.

Thanks to YUI, my 4 year university life became much more interesting.

Big thanks to uchihamel for helping out to finish up this long due project, can't wait to see you again in August =P

ROCKIN' ON JAPAN Interview Part 10 (page 053)

The remaining of this interview is translated by non-other than uchihamel 大先生 from YL.

Say thanks to uchihamel for the translation ;)

Previous translations: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9

uchihamel: Italics


… For quite a period of time I was in Fukuoka working on song writing, and it was then I began to think that I might be debuting. When I was told to go to Tokyo, since there were many things which I was not familiar with, my feelings was a mixture of uneasiness as well as anticipation. Therefore, I spent quite some time considering about things.

# As a result, you had to go to Tokyo several times a month in order to prepare for your debut am I right?

YUI: Yes. A lot of preparation was in progress. I took the plane to Tokyo, and then switched to the monorail. When I viewed Tokyo from the monorail, it gave me a sense of disbelief. The scenery of Tokyo as seen from the monorail left quite an impression on me. And so after that I started song writing again. …… But I think I was doing so without any distractions. Instead of saying that I was overwhelmed with emotions, I was really able to concentrate working on compositions.

# You brought along the tortoise and goldfish that you were keeping when you moved to Tokyo?

YUI: That’s right. About a year or two before I moved to Tokyo – or perhaps longer than that? I bought them myself. They have lived really long haven’t they? Like my tortoise for example, it has grown so unbelievably big (lol). Even now I still wonder how much bigger it can get. I had to come to Tokyo several times a month for work and when I got the confirmed news that I would be moving to Tokyo the thing that I naturally thought of was how to bring my tortoise and goldfish along as well (lol). It seems that there was some discussion about that issue. Though I only heard about that later. My pet tortoise and goldfish which I so naturally and wilfully brought along to Tokyo are so pitiful (lol). In any case, during the later period in Fukuoka, in order to concentrate on music, I was not staying at my house, but living alone. I focused on song writing in that place. As it was a place which belonged to us, I guess that is why I naturally thought of bringing them along (to Tokyo).

# How was it coming to Tokyo and interacting with the people in your current label company and all sorts of people?

YUI: I think I was definitely nervous at first, and so I ended up keeping quiet most of the time, or either I could not really communicate well with them. But when my debut song “feel my soul” was confirmed as the theme song for drama airing during the 9pm slot on Mondays, days where I had to work with the drama producer began. Of course, the decision for the Monday 9pm slot was made before my debut, so that period was really crazy, but in a good way. Those days I had to work with the drama producer, and create several A melodies (verse) within a day. For the last time, I met up with the producer in a spacious conference room, bringing with me my guitar as well, and spoke with him for 4 hours. Based on my understanding of that discussion, the final version of the song was created. It was the first time I wrote a song in that way, so from the beginning it was really rough, and I was totally caught up with it. Because there were a lot of things which I could not understand clearly. All the struggles, exploration and trial and error were attempts at trying to see which one would actually be suitable. Coupled with the fact that I had to suddenly debut based on such a large scale project. Although for a brief period after my debut I continued performing street lives, there were a lot of things going on, and I think it took me some time to completely rationalize and comprehend everything.

Picture credits to Reset.

# After all, everything happened within such a short span of time isn’t it.

YUI: Yeah in the blink of an eye. I guess I felt a little fearful at that time too. But I think that fear was in a good sense. After all, since I was in a position where I totally couldn’t grasp an understanding of the current situation, there must have been a certain amount of insecurity and uncertainty about where it would all lead to.

# The theme song “feel my soul” for the Monday 9pm slot is a song which illustrates YUI-san’s emotions when you moved to Tokyo, and it is about searching for a ray of light in the darkness. To start off your major debut song with the phrase “I’m tired of crying”, what sort of feelings did that contain?

泣き疲れてたんだ 問いかける場所もなく
迷いながら つまずいても 立ち止まれない

Nakitsu karetetan da Toi kakeru basho mo naku
Mayoi nagara Tsumazuite mo Tachi domare nai

I got tired of crying. Life doesn’t hand out answers.
I might wander and stumble, but I can’t stop.
Translation: Gin

YUI: It was like a lot of pent up emotions from experiencing so many different things. I think that’s precisely what it was about. I think there are many factors involved, but a part of it would probably have to do with the seemingly impossibility of doing music in my future ahead back then when I was a first year high school student, and that was really saddening. It felt like I had nothing in my life.

# What was the most important reason which made you decide on coming to Tokyo and make your major debut?

YUI: ……… Firstly, I wanted to be a filial child to my mother. I’m sure that feeling was in me. For instance, to talk about something more practical, when I entered high school there was surprisingly quite a sum of money set saved for that. There were such things. There was somewhat a feeling that I wanted to be filial. As I was always seeing her working hard (to support the family). And also, there was a part of me which genuinely loved music. Bianco Nero and everyone else also gave me much support so I decided to do my best.


Next: ROCKIN' ON JAPAN Interview Part 11

ROCKIN' ON JAPAN Interview Part 9 (page 052)

The remaining of this interview is translated by non-other than uchihamel 大先生 from YL.

Say thanks to uchihamel for the translation ;)

Previous translations: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8

uchihamel: Italics


I was told “Should you lose interest in music someday and neglect it, I will be asking for that back” when I received my guitar.

… At the beginning, back in the past when people randomly stopped or just walked by, I was nervous, and didn’t know what was what. However, halfway through I began to calm down and sing more smoothly. Should the performer of the street live be nervous, people who would stop to listen will end up not stopping, thus with the thought of creating a relaxing and pleasant atmosphere in mind, I managed to calm myself down. Then, it was like one person would stop to listen a while, and then maybe another person would stop too. That was how it was like. There were people listening every now and then, and at times people who also performed street lives would chat a little with me when they pass by on their way home, like “Oh you’re doing a live today?”

# Did you feel that you were taking a step closer to your dream of doing music if you continued performing lives like that?

YUI: At that time I was simply thinking of the present, I just thought of improving my guitar playing skills.

# So this means that you had no serious thoughts on wanting to debut?

YUI: That’s right. I was not thinking about that yet. When I was just beginning music, I went to an audition that the people at the music school recommended me, and talks about debut began. I was simply doing things which I liked hence when it developed into talks of debut I was very surprised.

# That audition was Sony’s SD Audition right?

YUI: Yes, that’s right.

# It is an audition where many musicians make their debut, did you not think of anything related to that?

YUI: Not at all at first. Up till then I was not aiming to debut, but it was more like there happened to be an audition, and I went as part of the music school. At the audition I sang cheerfully as I usually did. As the talks went on should I say, rather only towards the end did the actual feeling and realization of debuting dawn upon me. I began to think about more things. During that time, I took an airplane for the first time and came to Tokyo for the first time too. The people at the music school were worried about me so they accompanied me. My thoughts were like ‘there are many people here after all’, ‘the buildings are really tall’ as I walked around looking upwards. And if you carried a lot of luggage with you, scouts would approach you. Though since I had this sort of image in my mind, I was not too surprised in a way like “So this is what Tokyo is like!” But as expected, going to an entirely unfamiliar place and meeting people you don’t know was a little unnerving. I went to this hall where there were a lot of people from the record company, and a final assessment was held. I got permission to perform in my usual style and sat cross-legged while playing the guitar. Although I was instructed to perform 2 songs, I sang a bit of a third song. I did the songs the way I did during my street lives. That is why instead of expecting some kind of response from the audience, I treated them as if they were casual listeners who stopped by to listen to my performance. Since I was really nervous, I recalled how I did my street lives, and decided to perform in the same way. Memories of how amazing Bianco looked when I first saw them surfaced, and I wanted to reproduce that same feeling in my performance. Instead of 2 songs, I did 2½ songs. The song “I know” was a song which I composed a little while back, and since it was a song full of hope, I wanted for them to listen to it, hence I sang just a teeny bit of it. But as I was kind of afraid that they might be annoyed at me for singing more than 2 songs, I quickly left the place after that before I got told off or something (lol). I left without making eye contact with anyone.

Picture credits to Reset.

# When and how did talks of debut take on a more concrete form?

YUI: There wasn’t exactly a detailed notification that I was going to debut. Rather, after discussions with the record company, I began to do a lot of compositions. So it was like I sort of saw that coming.


Next: ROCKIN' ON JAPAN Interview Part 10

ROCKIN' ON JAPAN Interview Part 8 (page 051)

The remaining of this interview is translated by non-other than uchihamel 大先生 from YL.

Say thanks to uchihamel for the translation ;)

Previous translations: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

uchihamel: Italics


Song writing, Performances

# How often did you go each week?

YUI: … And in the midst of all that, I could feel myself wanting to learn more about music, becoming better at playing the guitar, and I was really happy. As such, one day, when someone from the music school said that he was giving me a guitar, I was elated. Having my own guitar made me feel very happy. That person also said to me “Should you lose interest in music someday and neglect it, I will be asking for that back”. And so I brought that guitar home. When I was going to practice at home, the sound of the guitar was loud, so I figured that I would not be able to practice at home. Instead, I went to places such as the paths in the rice paddy field or the seaside to practice the guitar. Doesn’t the body of the guitar feel a little chilly, or cooling? Or it could also be due to the fact that I played it during winter, I’m not sure. But I think I definitely became accustomed to this coolness over time. This allowed me to calm down. I felt secure too. Gradually, I became better at playing the guitar, and probably as there were many people around me who were composing their own songs, I naturally thought of trying it out too. As such, I started by attempting to create a melody in accordance with the chords. Before then, I had no idea that this was the way in which tunes were composed, so when I learnt of it, it had quite an impact on me. I was extremely thankful for being able to gain such knowledge. I would first strum a chord, and then somehow affix a tune that gave me a good feeling to it. Then as I went along, it gradually became a melody that was reflective of my own style. From there, I worked on the finer details of the song.

# The first song that you ever composed was “Why me” am I right?

YUI: Yes.

# What was the process of composing that song like?

YUI: As it was my first time trying to match the lyrics to the melody, it was pretty much trial and error. It was rather difficult indeed. I think I approached some people for advice, but I tried to match the lyrics to the melody in my own way. At first, the lyrics of ‘Why me” was entirely in English. Halfway, I changed the lyrics to Japanese and sang it. Upon completion, that special feeling of having a song which belonged to me just felt very unbelievable, and I was simply overjoyed. From then on, whether I was at home, or in a vacant room at the music school, I worked a lot on compositions. I was in contact with music every day, yup. And so, I composed 2 to 3 songs based on my feelings. Rather than saying that I got the hang of things and knew which direction to go in, it seemed more like I composed melodies based on the chord progressions I liked and so on, and in this way, more songs were created.

Song making session. Picture credits to Reset.

# Even now, you said that you are not familiar with things such as fashion, or other more girly stuff, but are there no other things which have caught your attention?

YUI: I don’t think there was any. I do read books now and then, but besides that I don’t think there was anything else. Music was really enjoyable and so, in a good way, I was totally engrossed with it. I was happy that it (my music knowledge) was slowly taking shape.

# Around when did you begin your street lives?

YUI: If I’m not wrong, it was after I composed “Why me”. It was to train my courage (to perform live in front of others). Other artistes such as Bianco often did street lives, and had their own following of fans. And so I was allowed to perform the opening act during their lives. It was truly good training for gaining courage. As it was my first time performing at a street live, I did not have the slightest idea about how it would be like, my mind just went blank and I could not even play my chords properly. However, Bianco was just next to me playing their guitars, and also sang the chorus along with me, so somehow I managed to get through my first ever performance like that.

# Approximately how many people were present at that live?

YUI: I think there were more than 20 people. They were all spread out in front. That’s why I was really nervous. But as they are all Bianco Nero’s fans, the atmosphere felt warm, so I was less worried about making mistakes. After that, when Bianco Nero performed at summer festivals or at temples, I would go along with them, and then perform a song for the opening act. And after singing, the uncles who came to the summer festival would approach me for an autograph. At that point of time, I recall simply writing my full name in kanji on their backs (lol). I was thinking if it would be okay since it meant ruining their t-shirts (lol). Those were good memories, yes. When I first started out doing solo street lives, I chose the spot where I first watched Bianco Nero’s live. That time the 4 of them were sitting cross-legged on the ground and playing their guitars, and now it was my turn to do the same at that spot. Everything began from there. Bianco Nero appeared dazzling when I first saw them, and as I kept wondering to myself what they were seeing and what sort of emotions did they have while singing, when I performed solo street lives it really held a special meaning for me.


Next: ROCKIN' ON JAPAN Interview Part 9