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A Global Noise Magazine

Interview: blgtz's Shota Tamura (English and Japanese)

Matthew Bedford

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be granted the opportunity to interview blgtz frontman and songwriter Shota Tamura, who took time out of what has been a pretty busy last couple months to answer some questions. This is a very special post because I am a huge fan of his work and it gives Muso Japan the opportunity to get some first-hand input from a musician who epitomizes what Muso Japan admires in an artist: a passion for what he does and a high-quality of craftmanship. I want to thank Tamura-san for taking the time to contribute his words as well as blgtz's PR staff who made this interview possible. Last but not least a special thanks to Shiho Lukacek for being very patient and helpful! Enjoy. MusoJapan: When and how was blgtz formed?

Shota Tamura: Blgtz was formed in 2001 as a full group. Since then, a number of members have joined and left or taken leave from band activities. While this has been going on, the band has continued as mostly a solo unit.

MJ: What is the band’s current structure and at what points did you work mainly solo act?

ST: In December 2011 the current band’s support members joined. Until that point, it was a solo project.

MJ: What are your biggest musical influences?

ST: I’ve drawn inspiration from many records and CDs as well as from musicians who preceded me. As far as my biggest influence...it’s difficult to say. I can’t choose.

MJ: How would you describe your sound to someone who isn’t familiar with blgtz?

ST: My intention is to be making honest music that drives straight through the listener’s heart. As far as sound is concerned we have been considered a blend of Western music genres like new wave, post punk, shoegaze, post rock, etc. but those genres are just parts of music. You can even consider my music as J-Pop or J-Rock, so I don’t mind if my music is considered to be a part of any specific category.

MJ: What is your songwriting process like? Do you primarily write the songs yourself or is it a collaborative effort?

ST: I start by gathering all of the ideas I’ve come up with and then writing the songs myself. I then take the songs to the studio and have a band session where we finish the arrangement process. Finally, I write the lyrics. My main job is getting rid of unnecessary words which is the toughest part of the process for me.

MJ: In November, 2011 you released your 3rd album 同時に消える一日. How does this album differ from your previous albums?

ST: The big differences between this album and my previous albums are the vocals and the melodies. I wanted to make music that I could convey to anyone and so I tried to put an emphasis on too many things when making songs. What is different now than before is that when you first listen the music and singing sound simple, but live there are all sorts of detailed inventions and changes. I think that when you listen to it a bit it becomes understood.

MJ: What are your feelings about the state of Japanese indie-music today?

ST: In my case, I am just active as an independent musician, which isn’t to say I am trying to create a gap between independent and mainstream music, but I think that indie music in Japan offers something very substantial. There is an excess of information and good music which may be hidden, but there is a lot of high-quality music lying in the underground of Japanese music. Sooner or later I want to break through into the Japanese music scene and see a musical movement that excites listeners. It makes me happy to see Muso Japan working as a medium through which indie music can be introduced, and to know that the passion of music is being felt.

MJ: You have recently been playing concerts on your CD release tour and have a big show scheduled with the Novembers on February 4th. What else can listeners look forward to from blgtz in 2012?

ST: On February 26, I will be appearing at the ”Yuubari International Fantastic Film Festival” as a solo act. From March 23-25 blgtz will be playing a 3 day tour in Sapporo. A release for our live DVD is being planned after that. Other than that we are planning shows in cities as well as regional tours and plenty of other things. For more information please check our website: http://blgtz.com.

MusoJapan: いつどのようにこのblgtzは結成されたのですか?

田村昭太: 2001年、バンドとして結成しました。 その後、何度もメンバーの入れ替えと活動休止を繰り返しながら、 ほとんどを田村昭太のソロユニットとして継続して来ました。

MJ: 現在のバンドの形態とソロで活動をされていたのはいつ頃ですか?

田村:現在のバンドのサポートメンバーが揃ったのは2011年12月です。 それまで、ソロで活動してきました。

MJ: あなたの音楽に一番多大な影響を与えたのは誰ですか?

田村: 多くのレコード、CDを聞いて音楽の先人達から影響を受けてきました。 一番というと・・・・・とても難しいですね。選べないです。

MJ: blgtzを知らない人にblgtzのサウンドを説明するとしたら、どのように表現しますか?

田村: 胸に突き刺さる、嘘の無い音楽をやっているつもりです。 サウンド的にはニューウエーブ、ポストパンク、シューゲーザー、ポストロック等の洋楽的な括りで言われますが、それらは歌にとっての一部なので、J-POP/J-ROCKとして隔たり無くカテゴライズして頂いてかまいません。

MJ: あなたの歌作りのプロセスはどのような感じですか?一人で作りますか、それともみんなで作り上げますか?

田村: まず、浮かんできたアイデアをまとめて一人で曲を書きます。 それをスタジオに持って行き、バンドでセッションしながら注文を出しアレンジを仕上げていきます。最後に歌詞を書きます。無駄な言葉を削ぎ落とす作業が主なのでここが一番大変です。

MJ:2011年11月に三番目のアルバム「同時に消える一日」をリリースされましたが、このアルバムは前作とどこがどのように違いますか?

田村: 以前までの作品との大きな違いは歌とメロディーです。 誰にでも伝わる作品を作りたかったので、余計な物を剥ぎ取って歌に重きを置き作り上げました。しかし、以前と違い一聴するとシンプルな歌とバンドサウンドに聞こえますが、演奏面は色々と細かい処理や工夫がしてあります。 何度か聞いてもらえると分かると思います。

MJ: 日本のインディーズミュージックの現状についてどう思いますか?

田村: 僕の場合は、インディペンデントなやり方で活動をしているだけで、 メジャーとインディーの境目を設けて音楽をやっているわけでは無いんですが、 日本のインディーズミュージックの現状を考えると充実していると思います。 情報量が多すぎて良い音楽が埋もれてしまっているかも知れませんが、 日本のアンダーグラウンドでは良質な音楽が沢山眠っています。 いつか、リスナーの皆さんがワクワクするようなムーブメントを発信して 日本のシーンに風穴を開けたいですね。 そして、muso-japanさんの様にこういった個人発信の媒体で紹介してもらえるのは音楽の熱を感じられてとてもうれしく思います。ありがとうございます。

MJ: 最近はCDリリースツアーを行っていて、2月4日にはthe Novembersとの大きなコンサートが待ち構えていますが、その他に何かコンサートやイベント等、blgtzファンが知っておいた方がいいニュースはありますか?

田村: 2/26にゆうばり国際ファンタスティック映画祭に田村昭太ソロで出演。 3/23、3/24、3/25に札幌3daysツアー。 その後、LIVE DVDのリリースが予定されています。 それ以外にも都内でのライブ、各地ツアー等、色々と予定されています。 是非、webをチェックしてみて下さい。http://blgtz.com