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FACTORY721 #0041 : Yasuharu Konish Long Interview

(Japanese version is here)

Yasuharu Konishi

Rock'n'roll


I always wonder "what's rock'n'roll?", I think it's a kind of impulse. When you see a girl and feel "I like her! " that kind of movement in you, like a libido, monkey or like a reflective thing you are driven, those kind of things are rock'n'roll I think. Then I don't look like a rock'n'roller maybe, but I guess I have a strong reaction more than others against that kinds of impulse since my childfood.
Most of DJs don't dance while they are djing, but I do. For example, when you listen to a James Brown's record you should dance, if you don't do that it will be odd for me. So when you meet a nice girl you want to hug her, like a realy beautiful girl, when you go tailor and you find clothes which you want, or when you find a book you want in a book shop, in those cases you don't hesitate, do you? you will buy a thing on impulse, won't you? That kind of impulse how short is it, I feel there is rock'n' roll. For example like an introduction of the Satisfaction, anything else. When you listen, just then you become "ah~".

KONISHI Yasuharu 1969


Yasuharu Konishi A tutor(governess) who was a student of Waseda university had come for me when I was 5 or 6th grade of the elementaly school, and the guy showed me many kinds of Manga, I had read "Garo". I had started to like Tuge Yoshiharu, Sasaki Maki, and so on.
Then around that time, Japanese graphic design was getting great. There was a super star named YOKOO Tadanori. Then I had become in love with that kind, modern arts, like that kind of a bit different graphic design. Yeh, I had loved T.V. and Manga.
Because of T.V. I had started to love music. Yes, there was a program named"Beat Pops" on FUJI t.v., OHASHI Kyosen san was the chairman, KIZAKI Yoshiji san and SEIKA Rumiko san were at his side, the program was a kind of top 30. I remember I turned on the T.V. wanting to see "Tigers", of course "Tigers"was good too, but I was awakened to the western-style music soon.
Then the singles which I had known through the "Beat Pops" and had bought first time in my life were very big influence, I think. Those were for example "Time of the season" of the Zombies, or "Touch me" of the Doors, yeh, those were the biggest. "Time of the season" was No.1 in the "Beat Pops". And then, I guess it was Fuji t.v.'s bigest studio, go go dancer were dancing in a very dark light, and that organ sound. Those were quite origin of rock'n'roll for me.
When I compose music, I don't use guitar so much. A lot of my music is formed by Drums and Bass, because of my experience with "Time of the season"by The Zombies from the "Beat Pops" is big, I guess. A vocal feel like a whisper, and girls have to dance first of all, like that.

KONISHI Yasuharu 1972


I went back to Sapporo when I was first grade in Junior high school, at that time Tokyo had a sort of a problem, like "Anpo toso". So when I wanted to go Shibuya for reading Manga, the riot police and a protest march were running, and bus were in the traffic. Posters of underground plays were put all over the town. Those things disappeared when I moved to Sapporo.
I didn't read Manga anymore. I was totaly into music. I became junior high shool student, I bought LPs insted of singles. I bought "ATOM HEART MOTHER"by PINK FLOYD, third album by Elton John, Crosby, Stills, Nash&Young, then my life was settled.
And, Happy end!

KONISHI Yasuharu 1977


When I became high school student, I went to the record shop after school.
And I had tought "Nobody have underground records more than me in Sapporo".
In fact it was true I guess.
When I was 3rd grade of the high shool in summer, I guess it was July, I heard WADA Hiromi san who was in a band called "Hatimitu pai (honey pie)"came back to Sapporo after he broke up that band. He then opened a cafe. WADA san and SHIMIZU Atushi san were in the cafe. Music was playing, with very low volume, from very rare singers and song writers which I had known only from music magazines. Usualy rock cafes were very dark, they played music very loudly. Lots of smoking even from high shool students, in that kind of atmosphere people were listening to music. I was shock by that. the WADA cafe plays music with very low volume. And when I talked about records to them, they seemed to know evrything. I was involved in the cafe. From the second term of my 3rd grade in high shool I was there all the time.
Yes, I was realy starved for music at that time. I went to record shops every day and I was checking a catalogue instead of checking the store. When I felt "This kind of records are still on the catalogue! ", I ordered it.
That was my daily life.

KONISHI Yasuharu 1979


Yasuharu Konishi After the high shooI, I went to a preparatory school. I chose the one in Shinjyuku, only because I wanted to go record shops. After the shool I could go to Edogawa or Nishi-shinjyuku and so on. I always went around and bought records starting from "the disk union" at Sinjyuku, almost every day I did.
When I was a university student, I joined a music club but I didn't like the club avtivities so much. After the classes I went to a cafe with my friends, and then after to second hand record shops starting from "the disk union" at Shibuya and I bought.
But at one point, I guess when I was a 3rd grade student, the band I belong broke up. So I didn't have anything to do, I had time. Because of that, I guess, I was always going to the cinema in my neighborhood, well I said neighborhood but still it was 30min by foot. I didn't have money so I was always walking in those days. There was a cinema near by a river, I watched 3 films by Clint Eastwood, after that day I developed an appetite for films. I watched about 300 films a year. I lived like that for about 5 years.
I saw the film "une femme est une femme" by Godard. I don't remember where. Japanese-French center?, there was no subtitle, but the images were very beautiful, one of the scene was Anna Karinna and Belmondo's dancing. At that moment, I thought "this is what I want to do!". I didn't exactly know what I wanted to make, music?, film?, but I wanted to make something. I didn't know what should I make or What could I make, but I felt "what I want to do is related to this". By the time, I noticed I could do music, and while I was looking for music which content the essence, it became the Pizzicato Five.

KONISHI Yasuharu 1982


When I decided to do music, my friend brought a MTR tape recoder. And I made demo tapes. I brought a DX-7 synthesizer and started making music. So I guess that was my start. I thought "even me can make music". After all I couldn't play instruments well. But I had ears for it. But I didn't know how could I express myself, I thought "Like this, maybe I can make it".
I thought when you asked me now, if I was born a few years later and knew computers, maybe, I had chosen to be in art or graphics fields.

KONISHI Yasuharu Lylics


Yasuharu Konishi The first time was when I listented to "Kazamachi roman"(by Happy end). When I listened to it, it was already half year passed I guess, but I felt "waw, it's very fresh", I mean "very nice", simply. I bought the next record on the sale day. It was "HAPPY END" which was recorded in L.A..
"Kazamachi Roman" was, after all, the most fashionable music at that time or very refined, minor 7th chord progress sound or major 7th chord progress sound, those were sounds so well-formed. Just after I listened to OTAKI Eichi's solo album, it was full of nice music which I never heard. That's mean, there was essence of music before I started listening to music, in other words before the beatles age. And I found a essence of comedy, I mean, like a sense of humour were "great".
MATUMOTO Takashi san who wrote all the lylics in the Happy end, was a stylist, he chose words perfectly, like as I, who was junior high school student, could understand. Before that age, I didn't think about lylics so much. Now I can confess honestly that I was influenced by MATUMOTO Takashi san quite a lot. I wrote a love letter like a MATUMOTO Takashi san's writing way. Shucks(laugh)
Since I felt "I want to write lylics" or "I want to compose", I'd known I couldn't construct perfect stylish one as MATUMOTO san, or it was not fit for me, well like a it's not well-formed as him. Then I was naturally fascinated with HOSONO Haruomi san's lylics. And OTAKI san, YAMASHITA Taturou san who came just after him, or TIKADA san. HOSONO san's lylics were more ordinary than MATUMOTO san, but it's realy fit for music. And a bit time went up, Mussyu. KAMAYATU san's lylics were more common if you compare with MATUMOTO san, those were just words instead of calling them as lylics, but those were also fit for music. I've thought "I want to make like that, if I can" for a long time.

KONISHI Yasuharu 1999


At this point, making T-shirts is where I find most pleasure. I cannot believe myself, how involved I am. I simply wanted to make T-shirts which I like to wear. It's fun. When it's done it gives me such pleasure. When an idea is crossing my mind, I immidiately want to find a form. So it become sampling for my music. But I think T-shirts are more instant and direct than music, now I have a preference for them.
Nevertheless T-shirts fever is very related to Pizzicato Five music or reactionary, so far. I want to make best effort for Pizzicato Five music, and I wanted to make music immidiately from the idea which flashed across my mind, it's a instant like a polaroid. Recently Pizzicato Five has become a veteran band, without me noticing. Most of the idea I got were already used, someone has used, or used for ohter musician's records, I do next of Pizzicato Five's music. The hurdle is getting highter, I'd better make same things without thinking, but once I start thinking about it, I cannot start smoothly. On the other hand, when I create remixes for other musicians, surely I can make it in two days, or just one day. I like that kind of speedy feeling, so making T-shirts is quicker than making music I think.

KONISHI Yasuharu TOKYO


Yasuharu Konishi Why do I like Tokyo? Because its convenient. There are book shops open until morning. You can not find such a city in the world. A book shop open until midnight and a records shop open until 11p.m. do exist in Paris, but in Tokyo you can find book shops open until 5 a.m. and you can go to restaurants from 5 a.m., I guess I like that kind of convenience. Tokyo has unnecessary things, that's the good point of Tokyo.
I think when you examine the entertainments of music or film, there is a figure. How can I describe.........., Fred Astaire's dancing or Michel Legrand's music are very close to Nigiri-zushi by great shushi cook. Or like a very good barber. If you have an acquaintance who is very good barber and he comes to your home for cutting your hair, it's very luxury. I think the entertainment I believe in is that kind of things. When I make Pizzicato Five music I create from my personal interest or personal taste, and I want to change them to be able to have a fun when I express. I believe, there is a little bit more people who can understand what I want to tell in Tokyo. Maybe you will find those people more in Paris or N.Y., or you will find more number of those people in Tokyo than any citys, I don't know exactly. But I believe to be refined is closer to give gently service to the people.

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