J’s concerts are known as whirlwinds of positive energy. “CRAZY CRAZY IV –THE FLAMING FREEDOM-“, a documentary video that captures that energy and groove, will be released on March 26. J’s 2013 activities are summarized in this fourth in a series of works.
J says that he is “searching for something absolute”, and the camera captures that “cool” attitude that J lives by. J talks about his sanctuary = performance outlook and how he always sees himself as the origin. He also talks in length about his relationship with his band members and the audience.
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■I want music to be something that is felt and not explained
■Other wise it’s not art, it’s an account
―――When you see the way the crowd is into the show, watching the video makes you feel like you are actually there. What do you request when you package a live performance?
J: I think there are two ways of going about recording a live performance. Will it become an account or art? I want it to become the later, so I request that the video capture the energy of the moment. It may be a difficult request, but the director and the crew all strive for the same thing. I like that mutual clashing that takes place when making a piece of work.
―――Do you get involved with the visual aspect?
J: Yes, I do. I do get involved with the tempo and the speed of the images. I’ll say things like, “This edit is cool, but it doesn’t sit right.” I might be capturing the visuals from a performance perspective.
―――I ask that question because I think there are no unnecessary moments. You talk straight to the point to the audience. When I watch at home, I get so into it that it’s over before I realize it. Is that what you mean by that “mutual clashing”?
J: This goes along what I was saying before, but I want music to be felt rather than explained. Otherwise, it becomes an account and not art. The banter, the timing between the songs, and how the show ends are dependent on the moment. The time between the songs could be boring, or it could be exciting. There are things that are necessary and unnecessary to keep the tension of the show from breaking. We had some mutual clashing when it came to the speed of the build up, but in the end, I think we made something very good.
――― I see. Scott Garrett (drums) and Takashi Fujita (guitar) have played with you for a long time now. In the DVD, Scott says that you both push each other. Do feel that your current supporting musicians, including Kazunori Mizoguchi (guitar), are like band members?
J: I can’t describe them in way than as a band. I play with them simply because I like their sound. I’m always amazed at how they express the songs I write, and there are times when I imagine them when I write songs. I think we understand each other and are on the same musical wavelength. Playing together for a long time makes you better, but I want to be able to bounce our energy off of each other and create something during the performance. Otherwise, I don’t think my vision of the songs can be conveyed properly.
―――When I hear you say that, it makes your concerts more real to me. As you get older, the band gets stronger rather than calmer.
J: Right now, we think the coolest thing is to create the most exciting moment with drums, bass, and guitar. It’s like being enlightened to the band’s sound again (laughs). Recently, I think our sound is getting more organic. We don’t have to consciously try to play hard, it just happens naturally. Scott says that you don’t need a big drum set to produce a big sound. I think we are getting stronger from the core, so we are all having a lot of fun.
―――Is the relationship with your audience getting stronger like the relationship with your band members?
J: This is my fourth live video, and I think that I am able to keep the same energy as the first one because I have the support of the audience. I feel like the energy is circulating between us and creating a solid mass of energy. I think the greatness of our live shows comes from the audience wanting to grasp something from it. It’s a wonderful thing. I truly feel blessed.
―――This documentary might show the secret of why you are so cool.
J: The reason why I wanted to make this documentary was because I thought that showing my everyday life would bring a certain realness to my concerts. People will see how many concerts I play. I was in production during the spring, so it’s mostly summer footage (laughs). There are a lot of fun moments in the documentary.
◆Continued in [Interview] Fourth stage of J’s series. Video is complete (Part 3 of 3)