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[TRANSLATED] Spotify Interview - New Music Wednesday Music+Talk Edition (August 2023)
Joined: 2004/3/2
Posts: 1466
Listen to the original interview here: https://spoti.fi/NMW_UtadaHikaru

It was transcribed in Japanese here: https://spice.eplus.jp/articles/320799

And here is the English translation of that transcription:

"Digging deep into Hikaru Utada's new work "GOLD ~Until We Meet Again~" and talking about the production secrets on Spotify - "New Music Wednesday [Music+Talk Edition]" Long Interview x SPICE Collaboration Article
Interview Music

A collaboration between Spotify's popular podcast "New Music Wednesday [Music+Talk Edition]" special interview series and SPICE. This time, Hikaru Utada, who released her new song "GOLD ~Until We Meet Again~" on Friday, July 28th, appears as a guest! From the circumstances of the song's birth to the production with co-producer A. G. Cook, as well as the similarities between music and architecture, the relationship with the movie "Kingdom: Flames of Fate" (released on July 28th), which features the same song as its theme song, and lost items on SNS, etc., program navigator Takuya Takeuchi digs deep into this valuable long interview. SPICE delivers a digest of the episode currently being distributed on Spotify. For the full interview, please check it out on Spotify along with the song.

--In January 2022, when your album "BAD Mode" was released on Spotify, you provided a full explanation of all the songs in "Liner Voice+" by yourself. In it, you mentioned that for the theme song "Kimi ni Muchuu" for the drama "Saiai," there were no lyrics but there was a song before the drama. How about this time for "GOLD ~Until We Meet Again~"? Did you start writing after hearing about the movie?

When there is a tie-up, it is called a "newly written" song. But I don't write for a work with a tie-up. I can't choose the content of the song myself, so I think about what I'm thinking or feeling at that time, or what I want to write, and whether it can be matched to the tie-up? I feel like I'm getting closer to it, or if I can see common points that link what comes out of me with themes like emotions that are probably contained in the work. No matter whose story it is, if you go deep into its essence, there is a truth-like, deep cave-like pool where everyone is connected in common. So if you go towards the essence, (you can connect with) the work.

--When you say "connected to the essence," you have mentioned several times before that you think "all humans are the same." Is that a similar way of thinking?

Yes, I think so. Are souls not so different?

--When you say "all humans are the same," do you mean?

For example, everyone has completely different experiences, but emotions are like pain. You can't feel other people's pain, but biologically speaking, the mechanism is the same. So emotions also respond to external factors in how the brain reacts and releases components that make your body's heart pound or adrenaline or skin or organs or nerves release certain brain chemicals... In terms of what they are made of, I think "all humans are the same." Emotions and memories and sensations may seem different for each individual person, but including all of that, I think everyone is the same. Sadness or happiness or disappointment or excitement may be felt differently by different people for different things, but I think those feelings themselves are the same.

--In terms of creating music, does this way of thinking closely link to it? What do you think?

Isn't all creative work like that? Like proof. When I was a child and feeling very lonely, I read fiction at a rate of about one book a day for children. The reason why I immersed myself in it was because it was proof that "the emotions I'm feeling are already being felt by someone else and put into a book." The fact that this book written by this author has become a famous book and many people sympathize with it means that "the feeling of thinking that I am lonely is just everyone feeling the same way." It was like proof. It was very comforting to me to feel lonely and feel safe in my loneliness. When something I wrote or made into music myself ends up being said by many people who say things like "I feel like you're looking at me so much that you're writing my feelings too!" it becomes confirmation.

--So it wasn't because there was talk of this movie, but because there was an image or prototype and then music was created.

Yes, this song existed first too. Actually, it started from the part where it gets a little faster in the second half. I have a piano in my new house but my studio space isn't finished yet so I've been working mostly on piano for about a year now. So I was able to go back to chord sense and melody in composition and not think too much about arrangement but focus more on chord and melody which is most important skeleton and work on piano for a long time. At that time, the chord and melody of that part and the words "a tragedy that may happen someday..." came out almost at the beginning and I really liked it. I really want to make this now, but there was also talk of a movie and I was asked to do a ballad for the ending scene, so I couldn't start with this. So I thought about the ballad-like part in the first half for a long time, but it didn't come out easily...

--So the first half was made later.

Yes, and I struggled for about 3-4 months. But when that happens, it's like fishing. I think my job is to wait, and I know my ocean's time zone and currents and wind direction and fish ecology well, and how to catch them easily, and where I can fish easily. So all I can do is wait as much as possible there, thinking it'll work out somehow. And this time it's our third song with A. G. Cook, so I asked him if we could do it together and he said "Sure. I'll be back in London then."

--So you worked together in the studio?

It was our first time recording together in a London studio.

--A. G. Cook is your third song after "One Last Kiss" and "Kimi ni Muchuu." He himself is an artist who has worked with many artists before. Was "One Last Kiss" completely remote work?


--"Kimi ni Muchuu" was in New York?

Yes. We took a slightly larger hotel room in New York. We put speakers and equipment in there.

--You recorded in a hotel?

We chose a room where the sound would be okay and asked a place that rents out equipment for live shows to set it up. And then both he and I are the type who can do it with just a laptop and an interface, so we don't need much equipment, so we did it in that room for 2-3 days.

--What I'm curious about is whether A. G. Cook's involvement was similar for all three songs or whether it was different this time.

It's getting faster and faster. As we get to know each other better and get used to each other, our trust grows and we become more musically open to each other. The trigger was that I had been looking for someone to make tracks with for a long time, and my director introduced me to him saying he might be a good fit. But when he mentioned artists he had worked with or collaborated with before, he said "For example, Charli XCX," at first. Well, I felt like there were some common points there too. A singer-songwriter who doesn't fit into a mold. Skilled but also easily misunderstood, with a kind-hearted root feeling. In that sense, I kind of understand, maybe that's why the director felt that way too (laughs).

--Now that you mention it, maybe so.

But the sound is more aggressive or rough or something like that for her. So I thought maybe it would fit or something like that. So we decided to talk to A.G.Cook online first and when we talked he was really nice and easy to talk to and seemed like we could do something together and seemed like he understood me. And yet, I think I'm a difficult type to work with as a producer because I'm also a producer so if someone has their own opinion they clash with me. But he understands what I want to do and supports me as someone who can support me with his gentle personality and creative posture on top of that, who is interested in doing new things together with me or who has both parents as architects which also made me think he was good including that part too because music and architecture are very similar when it comes to making things in genres.

--How are architecture and music similar?

Both architecture and music are about creating space, building nothingness. In architecture, even if you build a house by making walls or using walls by people who use the house, you use the space of nothingness. Music too, for example you could put all the sounds in the world into it but you don't put most of them in. It's about how you divide up the gaps or spaces where there is no sound with sound. So sound is like walls or roofs or stairs or floors, in a sense like partitions, to create a space where people can drift and be enveloped. Music also starts with silence and ends with silence. When mixing or arranging, you especially feel that three-dimensional space creation. Let's cut this frequency or let's cut it with a filter because there are too many low frequencies and it's cluttered.

...to be continued

In addition to the interview, there are also discussions about the subtitle of the song and its relationship with the movie "Kingdom: Flames of Fate." And the conversation expands to include work feelings and perceptions of music and language. Check out the details on Spotify!

Interview = Takuya Takeuchi Text = SPICE Editorial Department (Kento Onishi)
Posted on: 2023/8/5 0:59
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