4th Maxi Single “DEADMAN” Release Memorial Interview
Rebels Style Vol. 002, June 2008
--It’s been 1 year since your last release, right.
--It feels like this is the single we’ve all been waiting for.
Otogi: Our concept was to use this single to bring forth various changes in AWOI.
Shou: It’s like we tackled a lot of new things.
Otogi: We wrote a bunch of songs, but it’s like we had to spend a lot of time on them until they could solidify into that shape, and they only became the way they are now because we kept watching for new developments.
--Was it a different approach from your previous works?
Otogi: That’s right. Even with the title “DEADMAN”, we were tackling something new.
Shou: He means that it’s the first time we used English.
--Ah, I was curious about that.
Otogi: First, the title creates an impact, doesn’t it. Next, the 1st song, “Koe”, is a new song, but out of all the songs we wrote from the time our last work was released up until today, it had a certain air about it, like “this is the perfect song to put on a single” or “it’ll probably become one of AWOI’s representative songs in the future”, so we thought we’d release it with this timing.
Shou: It’s like this is what AWOI’s new business card looks like.
--So this is the current AWOI.
Shou: That’s right. Considering everything we’ve done so far, this point at present is truly AWOI.
Saki: Both the sounds and the songs, everything. Including the visuals.
Otogi: I think that in a good way, the new AWOI and the old AWOI can be seen on and off. It’s like we focused on the melodies in all 3 songs this time, and there’s barely any heaviness, so you can basically hear all the singing in the songs.
--Were there any new changes to how you played or to the lyrics?
Shou: Hmm. Changes… There’s a solo in “Koe”, which is something we hardly ever did until now.
--Oh, so there’s a guitar solo!
Shou: I used monotones this time, so there’s a solo that really sounds like a solo.
Saki: I’m the same as before, steadily doing the backing. These guys need me after all.
--Ahh. I think I know what you mean.
Otogi: He’s a naughty boy.
Saki: I’m always backing them, but I thought that I should let out more of myself than before. That’s why I did various things while playing that I haven’t done up till now. Well, it was like all the members were breaking out into unchartered territory, like with Shou-kun playing the solo and all.
Shou: It would’ve been kind of ridiculous if there’d been no solo there this time. Also, I played rougher than ever before.
Otogi: Yeah. It’s like it’s a living being. Right?
Shou: Yeah. It’s like being in the flesh. I was pretty aware of that, so when we were recording, I took off my shoes and my shirt and got pretty rough.
--Is it like being at a live?
Shou: Like giving off a live feel. That’s why it feels groovy.
--Ah, so more band-like, more live-like.
Shou: We spiced it up with Hiro-kun’s drums, plus Saki-kun’s bass, and my grooves on top of them.
Otogi: Instead of just pursuing the rhythm and the tempo, we focused more on the individual songs and their atmospheres.
Shou: I think if you listen to the finished product, you’ll find that it’ll convey something.
--So the guitar solo was necessary and essential for that.
Otogi: Well, the guitar solo was pretty flexible too.
Shou: Actually, in the latter half of the solo, I didn’t play any decent phrases.
Saki: If you look at the music tabs, they’re a mess.
Shou: It’s probably impossible, right.
--Are you going to be able to play that at the lives?
Shou: See, that’s why that part’s all groovy too.
--Oh~. I see. How about you, Hiro-san?
Hiro: That’s right. “Kanashii Uta” is a song from before I joined, and this time when we rerecorded it, we focused on the rhythm more than the previous version of “Kanashii Uta”, and we kept thinking of ways to make it better, like how to bring about changes and improvements.
Otogi: There are 3 songs on this single: “Koe”, a new song, “Renai Shashin”, which is our representative song that we’ve always been doing at the lives, and “Kanashii Uta”, which had been on our 1st single, but in particular, “Renai Shashin” is a rearranged version, and it wasn’t produced in the usual manner, that is, we went into the studio as like a session band, and it’s like we wanted to try to change and improvise the original version, and so we basically rearranged the whole thing through a bunch of ad-libs.
Shou: We pretty much kept it in that vein during the recording too.
Otogi: The only thing we decided on was the original chord progressions, the phrases were left up to everyone individually, and we just made it up while going with the flow.
--Was the original “Renai Shashin” completely different?
Otogi: It’s almost entirely different from the original version. We made a bunch of changes. I think because we did that, out of the 3 songs, it’s the song that best captures that raw sound, and since we made great efforts from the time of making the song until the recording, it feels like this song came out great.
Shou: Out of the 3 songs, this song feels like it has the most groove.
--More than “Koe”?
Shou: Yeah, it’s #1. It came out of a jam session, so it flows really well. It’s also set off by a great pace.
Otogi: The bass sounds pretty sexy.
Saki: It’s erotic.
--So did you have a clear vision of the world that you wanted to convey through the lyrics in “DEADMAN”?
Otogi: My lyrics are dark, about a depressing world, and in that world, things like your weaknesses and the pain that comes with living. And how even though it’s tough to go on living, people can’t easily die. My lyrics emphasize the suffering and worrying in the midst of that, and this new single addresses those spots. For example. Like when you want something to come back but it doesn’t come back, and you can’t do anything about that, like that sense of helplessness. That’s the most difficult part of living. The thing I want to say the most is that humans are weak. That’s why we try to become stronger. My style isn’t to gloss over that part, but to write about it in easy-to-relate-to situations and words, and I think that really comes through.
--So you mean you also focused on the lyrics themselves?
Otogi: I have a holistic idea of the message and the thing that I want to convey the most at the time, and I try to write them down in a form that could most easily be conveyed.
--I see. So you were able to make one work that combined the lyrics and music that reflect your deep thinking, and that’s why you also added in your first video product this time?
Otogi: We wanted to try to make a PV, and we chose “Suzumushi” this time because it was the easiest to show off our worldview, and that encompasses our costume change and such.
Shou: The shooting itself was a mess.
Otogi: The site had a great atmosphere, and it fit into the world of AWOI and our songs perfectly. We also got ahold of some good staff members, and at every step of the shooting process, I was like, “this is going to be a great product.” We chose a relatively heavy number, so I think there’s a lot of dynamic motion in the work.
--Did you have any difficulties making your first PV?
Shou: It went on like usual.
Otogi: Most of the scenes were of us performing, so it’s like we just did what we always do at the lives, but made them seem even cooler.
Shou: The images are always moving around so it’s interesting.
Otogi: The scene progression was really fast, and we took many cuts too, so it felt like we were working reeeally hard.
Saki: It’s like there’s several scenes superimposed on each other.
Otogi: Even if it’s just one band performance, there’s shots taken of us from all different angles.
--Oh, I see! So you superimpose many sides, and they become one image, right.
Otogi: You can see many things in the PV itself, but in my case there’s some scenes of me performing, and I was trying to create a sexy atmosphere, or rather, a wild atmosphere, and I think it comes out, so I think you can sense that.
Hiro: Also, for those of us on the instruments, you can see quite a bit more of us performing stuff that you normally wouldn’t be able to see.
Shou: That’s exactly right. You can’t see our expressions close up in a live unless you’re in the front, but in the PV, you can see them suddenly showing up on the screen.
Otogi: The music is a given, but AWOI also has a lot of things that we want you to see on the visual front, and I think capturing this on screen lets you see our good sides from every nook and cranny.
--I see. So it’s undoubtably a work that you can fully enjoy both musically and visually.
Otogi: That’s right.
--Hnn. To accompany the release of “DEADMAN”, there’ll be a record-release tour, which includes a oneman finale, and it seems like it’ll drive up the energy even more.
Shou: We’ve never gone to the south before, but we’re going there on this tour, so I think we’d like to take “DEADMAN” around the entire country.
Otogi: It’s just in the middle of when AWOI is carrying out our changes right now. We also reaped a lot from our tour in May.
--You mean Generation’s?
Otogi: We fumbled our way around more or less, but we also had a strong desire to tackle new things, and we found that we’d changed a lot in the 3 places that began with
Shou: Out of those, it felt like we’d changed at the 2nd place, Esaka.
Shou: Honestly, with this “DEADMAN” CD, AWOI has done many things that we’ve never done before, and it’s like even at the lives, those parts are changing into what’s becoming our current atmosphere.
--Come to think of it, I did get the impression that I could directly feel the atmosphere of the band named “AWOI”.
Shou: It was the perfect opportunity for AWOI to change and show off our world.
Hiro: It’s like there’s some profound place that can’t be explained in words, and it’s been awakened, or rather, has started changing.
Otogi: Well, it’s like this is only beginning.
Shou: I think we’ll still be changing until the tour, and I think we’ll keep changing during the tour. It’s like how much can we change as we make it our own.
Otogi: And for the oneman, I’d like people to watch us without holding any preconceptions of the old AWOI. I think we’ll keep the good parts of the old AWOI and show them off in a more polished form at the oneman.
--I totally look forward to it! Anyways, finally, I think I’d like to have you answer the theme of our magazine.
--What does music mean to you?
Hiro: To me, music is…what I dye my everyday life with.
Saki: My reason for living. I don’t care if you laugh at me. That’s what I seriously think.
--reason for living.
Saki: It’s like, if someone asks me why I’m alive, I can reply, “because I wanna play music”, and if I gave up music right now, I wouldn’t know whether I’m alive or dead.
Shou: For me, it’s the thing that can express who I am the most. I think without music, I wouldn’t be able to convey that this is who I am, through the guitar.
Otogi: Music is my life. Music has taken up an incredibly big chunk of time in my life, and I think my life, what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard and what I’ve thought, shows up in the music I’m doing right now and even in the music I’ve done up until now.
Shou: That’s how serious everyone is about music.
--No doubts about it.
Shou: I think there’s still a lot of people who don’t know about AWOI. So if you pick up this free paper and wonder what we’re about, I think you’ll understand if you just come to our live. And I think you’ll sense our atmosphere.
Otogi: Yeah. AWOI will cover up all the preconceptions around us in the future too, and we’ll go on doing activities as the kind of band that’ll always betray everyone’s expectations, in the good sense, so please look forward to it.