Tuesday, March 02, 2004

>what is your earliest memory of music?
>>i remember a fragment of a violin sonata of Cesar Franck, and a very low vocal part of the platters' singing "you'll never know".

>when did you first start creating any kind of music of your own?
>>i remember that i wrote a score titled "a flower on the mountain" when i was 4, it was very like early Mozart tune because of my learning classical piano at that time.

>how easily did 'songform' come to you as musician/writer?
>>it was not easy at all because i had not got any words to be sung before.

>was there a definite moment when you realised that music-making would be what you would do with your life?
>>one day i decided to create a cheap yet an unique musical format like rock'n roll, for dancers who were working at guys'n dolls, a cabaret in times square.

>what were your earliest desires and/or goals as an artist?
>>it was to become a menber of decembrists,

>was there a particular record or person who had a great influence on you when you were starting out?
>>a beard art student who came to work for my father's pottery workshop, taught me a hippie style when i was 10 years old. then a natural curly haired classmate taught me other things when i am 16.

>did you grow out of a particularly fertile time and/or place (both geographically and pop-culturally), or were you more isolated in your musical beginnings?
>>i think i had just been reading rock and jazz magazines and had been following dogmas of favourite critics.

>at what point along your musical timeline was the seed of maher shalal hash baz first sewn?
>>when masashi mitani gave up his career as a guitarist and decided to play the bass guitar for me, i started making songs for him.

>did the band come as an idea first, or did it grow out of people just playing together?
> >i always have an idea for my music regardless of playing with anyone. but when i write a score, i consider whether the player is able to play it and whether he likes it.
i do not like having a concept before forming a band. these days a musician like to have several bands according to each concept. i would like to do all things in one band.

>when you were starting out, what did you want maher shalal hash baz to be? were there qualities you wanted to embody? or sounds you wanted to explore? or vague ideas you had in mind?
>>i wanted to play with my clones.

>has maher been, over time, a thought-out endeavour, or has it been a more spontaneous thing?
>>doing maher is like being a ropewalker. i have always been trying to find some new ideas that allows me to continue music one more time.

>do you sit down and think about records before you undertake the recording of them?
>>usually i have not got any time to sit down even for choosing songs. i am always moving with all my heavy scores that hurt my knees.

>what ideas or thoughts on concepts may you have had in mind when setting out on working on 'blues du jour'?
>>at first, i was thinking of only 'blues du jour' which is a collective improvisation format for non musicians.

>do you try and make your albums have thematic content?
>>my recording has been like cutting a period out of my diary. consequently, it became a kind of "i" novels.

>is there a particular subject that interests you most, as songwriter, at the moment?
>>after 9.11, some musicians in the usa seem to have come to be able to put on others' shoes including even the concerned terrorist. such kind of empathy is absolutely nice but i think it also shows a kind of limitation of human relativism. they are always saying like "there are many flowers in the world and everyone is a unique flower", but they may not know who made the 250,000 kinds of flowers personally.

>to what degree are the arrangements on your songs orchestrated, and how much is improvised?
>>i let a left-faced player do improvisation for his/her right brain, but give a right-faced player a detailed score for his/her left brain.

>as band-leader, are you a hard taskmaster?
>>yes, i always demand sightreading.

>what characteristics do you think shine through most in maher's music?
>>malicious bitterness and a certain fearful expectation of judgement or destruction. sorry, not upbuilding at all...hope is the most important element for playing music

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