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Ai am BEST Interview with excite.co.jp

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Celsius005
Posted: Mar 29, 2007 9:47 pm Reply with quote
Planetarium Planetarium
Joined: 23 May 2006 Posts: 685 Location: USA
[Sorry for the long wait! This last week of school before Sping Break has been somewhat of a pain, and thusly time to translate was reduced. I'm happy to say that the job's finally done now! Nod ] Happy reading, everyone!
...
I didn't find this interview particularly surprising or entertaining as the previous few, but it still proved to be quite an interesting read. I suppose there isn't really anything new to expect regarding specific songs seeing that her latest album is a compilation of her history. What we get out of this interview is more like an extended diary entry as we explore Ai's inner thoughts on the subject of her career (not to mention her more personal habits Giggle).
...
Many thanks to zyzzyva for her explanation on the tour's subtitle. Love
And credit for translation goes to Celsius005, please.
--

Interview with Otsuka Ai

Itís been 3 years since Otsuka Ai released her debut single [Momo no Hanabira] in September of 2003. She will now be releasing her very first best album [ am Best]. The contents will mainly comprise her hit singles with an addition to make a total of 13 tracks. Furthermore the package is complete with PVs for all songs, making this the perfect compilation for her biggest fans. I say sheís got a lot in store for us this time. Through various live performances, sheís developed quite a reputation. Otsuka Ai is here with us today to participate in another interview, in which weíll tackle from each and every angle. The theme?óďOtsuka Aiís Dissection.Ē

(Interviewer/Katagai Kumiko, Photographer/Kondou Seiji, Camera/Matsuzashi Naoki)

Q: [This best album [ am BEST] contains songs starting back from your debut song Momo no Hanabira to LOVE MUSIC, the final track of your 3rd studio album [LOVE COOK]. This album has 3 years worth of your history engraved in itóWhat are your thoughts on this?]
A: [As opposed to this best album being a compilation of my past activities, I see it as a step toward new ideas for the futureÖItís like my ďbusiness cardĒ in a sense. Everything is inscribed into that one card. When I think about it this way, everything Iíve done for 3 years since my debutóthe basicsóseem to become my foundation for the future.]

Q: [I understand that your discography is composed of songs youíve had planned way back and those youíve just made recently. How do you decide on which songs to release when?]
A: [Each song is ready for release whenever I can say Itís time, self. If not, itís more like Not yet, self (haha). There are times when Iíll release a song right when Iíve got it down, but other times I must wait for it to bloom like a flowerÖ Iím a wonder.]

Q: [Of course you listen for your songs to give the word, but are there not times when it works conversely? Such that youíre in high spirits but you write a slow ballad in contrast to those feelings?]
A: [Thatís something Iíd like to know as well. In any case, I tend to wonder what the audience may want to listen to, or whether the audience would like to hear such-and-such song now. This is very important to consider.]

Q: [I see. So youíve gauged your releases at a specific pace to suit each of your 3 years. Do you also preplan a certain number of singles or albums to be released in a set amount of time?]
A: [Basically, yes. I neither rush things nor slow down when it comes to releasing. I think about the best way to manage releases based on what feels right at any given time. This is my timing.]

Q: [So itís not exactly like acting on impulse only.]
A: [This has proven to be a very good pace lately.]

Q: [Is that so. Such ideal circumstances you work under.]
A: [Thatís right.]

Q: [It just crossed my mind that Iíve interviewed you countless times since your debut and Iím always learning something new (haha). I think today is a fine day for such opportunity. This may sound a bit basic, but Iíd like to start off by asking what music or artists have inspired you?]
A: [These are such daring words, but Iíd like to say everything has. Most of all, I think the songs that run in doramas have inspired me the most. I believe this not only because they were songs for everyone, but also because I simply had to listen to each and every song to see the trends. Even now I donít think that part of meís ever changed. To begin with, my life has never exactly revolved only around music. I canít say that it wasnít important in my life, however. Music is just one part of the whole that makes me who I am.]

Q: [In that case, what got you to start composing at 15 years old?]
A: [It all started during my lesson days when I was given orders to start composing. I suppose ďtaking the initiativeĒ is one way of looking at it (hehe). When I think about it, Iíve always been told that you become someone before you realize it yourself. I never thought much of those words, but I think now that it may actually be the truth (haha).]

Q: [So would you say you owe it all to your teacher?]
A: [No, I wouldnít say I owe everything to my teacher. I was taught the rules of music and the sensation of playingóThatís when my passion began. I say this comes in 2nd.]

Q: [Do you still get a taste of those feelings even now?]
A: [Yes. Itís just like the times when I canít seem to compose anything. I think some things just canít be helped.]

Q: [So everything up Ďtil now as gone smoothly, would you say?]
A: [Yeah, Iím always ready to tackle new material. Iím just now going to release my best album and Iím already getting ahead of myself. This is why I said earlier that it acts more like a ďbusiness card.Ē Someone who doesnít know me will become familiar through this album.]

Q: [Being only the best of yours, Iím sure itís very easy to understand your diverse musicianship skills.]
A: [It makes me happy to know this. Upon listening, you probably wonder what goes on in my mind when I write these songs (haha).]

Q: [Iíve actually wondered that very thing.]
A: [Ahahaha.]

Q: [Amongst your songs, is there one you think served as a turning point for you?]
A: [Hmm, well all of my songs show variety. Oh, I think a lot of things point to Neko ni Fuusen. After that, Iíve been putting into my songs the same warmth people share. Thatís what I think. All in all having the richness of strings in a practical studio creates a completely different feel for things.]

Q: [Speaking of the instrumentation, youíve displayed quite a variety of instruments. Momo no Hanabira had a shamisen and Planetarium featured a bamboo fluteÖWhere did you get the idea?]
A: [It depends. When making Momo no Hanabira my arranger Ikoman said he wanted a shamisen. Thereon after my director wanted to implement a variety of impressive instruments, so we ended up using this and that.]

Q: [When you think about it, the bamboo flute is quite the novelty (haha).]
A: [Hahaha (hehe). The sound of a flute just sort of came to my ears. At this we had Ikoman play a DoReMiFa line and went with that. At first it was like ďThis sucks, itís eating up the vocals!Ē We ended up using it anyway though. (haha)]

Q: [So I see. (haha) Always itching to have some fun is very much your style, no? As long as the subject of Ikoman is brought up, why donít we talk about him for a bit? What is it like to have him around? He seems to act as both creator and executioner for your songs, after all.]
A: [Hmm, heís always around a bit too close so I donít really know (ha). Letís seeÖOf course having feedback is very important. Ikoman served as both that and a director of sorts. During Pon Pon he would issue very specific directions and orders, only to make necessary adjustments later on. He doesnít give up and works very hard at what he does. For me, he is a vital and authentic part of the team.]

Q: [Youíve got quite a partner there.]
A: [I agree. We met when I was 19 years old, so weíve known each other for a while.]

Q: [Next Iíd like to ask about song-writing. Once before you stated that the instrumentation, such as drums and bass, is just as key to a song as vocals are. I think that vocal lines and music are handled in very different ways from one another. What goes on in your head as youíre writing music? ]
A: [Iíd like to take a look at what goes on in my head as well (haha). Though I often feel Iíve got an ďOtsuka Ai Co.Ē going on up there. There, composition, vocals, visuals, works, promotion, live performances, etc. are all managed.]

Q: [Well then, what are your impressions on the Otsuka Ai in charge of composition?]
A: [I canít see her, so...]

Q: [Then what feedback to you get from those around you?]
A: [No one has ever seen me when Iím composing. Itís hard to write when there are people around, after all. No one other than myself knows what goes on, so I sometimes wonder if Iíve become another Beethoven (haha). Knowing the concentration required, I think itís something thatís done all at once.]

Q: [Within the composition department, are there different branches for singles and albums?]
A: [There are. For singles I tend to be very selective of their presentation. I try to keep the wording as simple as possible.]

Q: [Is it the melody that comes to mind first as youíre writing songs?]
A: [No, both parts surface at the same time. I think that means the right side and left side of my brain are working togetherÖ]

Q: [Youíre pretty adept. Did you acquire such skill from everyday life?]
A: [While it doesnít take much skill for fingertip tasks, I could just have a knack for undertaking original composition. Afterwards the two parts will just work themselves to fit together. For example, I canít just sit down and watch TV. I can only watch TV if Iím looking at a magazine at the same time.]

Q: [Thatís a tad desirous.]
A: [Ahaha (hehe). The hand itches to do something as youíre watching TV.]

Q: [Well, that may be trueÖThe inner workings of your head become ever so mysterious and difficult to understand (haha).]
A: [In relation to musical composition, I suppose this is most like an ďinternal radioĒ. The sounds conjured in my mind are voiced, heard by my ears, and played back on piano. This is the process I generally work with.]

Q: [I see, so this is the task of the composition department. How about the vocals department in ďOtsuka Ai Co.Ē?]
A: [Again, this has various roles. Starting from the beginning I will vocalize low-pitch notes to high-pitch notes, practice breathing techniques, and form shapes with my mouth, but these change from time to time. Sort of like Alright, I choose this one today.]

Q: [Like, it depends on the tune itself.]
A: [Yeah, the vocal department is in charge of who sings.]

Q: [Thatís almost like a producer. Do you ever consider having someone else decide that for you?]
A: [Hmm, if it could be done in 1-10 minutes then it could possibly work outóIím not exactly sure. Right now I donít think the timing would be punctual enough.]

Q: [So everything right now is produced by Otsuka Ai.]
A: [Yup.]

Q: [Next, what does the live performance department do?]
A: [I think itís a lot like a trainerís job. During a live, you canít sing the entire concert all at once. There are limits as to how much endurance a singer has and how far you can push your throat.]

Q: [Speaking of live performances, youíve scheduled a nation-wide tour after the release of your best album. How do think itíll be?]
A: [Since itís being held in commemoration of my best album, itís feels very complete. Itíll be hectic (haha).]

Q: [Is the meaning of your subtitle 「Besutona Komento ni Meccha Ai wo Komento!!!」 one to be taken literally?]
A: [Thatís what I had intended. Speaking of which, the subtitle happens to be in Osaka-benÖI hope everyone else will be okay (haha).]

Q: [Someone with Kantou roots like me can understand it so it should be okay (haha). Since youíre from Osaka, do you feel more relaxed when performing live there?]
A: [Iím not entirely sure. Osakans disapprove when they donít like something and will shrug off things when they can. I actually think Iíd feel the exact oppositeótense and standing firmly. It would be more straining to perform in Osaka than any other district.]

Q: [One last questionóNot only is it your name, ďAi (love)Ē is a frequent theme in many of the songs in your best album, which also happens to be a namesake. Please tell us your thoughts on the word.]
A: [MmmÖlately, love and happiness have been on equal terms. ďOh my!Ē indeed.]

Q: [Very profound words for sure. Final thoughtówhat kind of person do you see yourself as?]
A: [I wonder what kind of person I amÖUp Ďtil now, Iíve had the heart of an angel in sorrowful times, only to have happiness intervene in the end. When my heart is that of a demonís, happiness will always become the punch line.]

Q: [But you know that such talk isnít always good and neither are jokes.]
A: [The former can sure be painful though (haha).]

Q: [Without a balance, wonít the lack of self-control get in the way with work?]
A: [That may be true. Of course if you think of it as taking one thing into your right hand, youíll have to eventually let go of what is already being held onto. With that in mind, itís almost a matter of deciding whether love=happiness.]

Q: [I see, you really are one profound human being (haha). Now concludes a clean dissection from Otsuka Ai. Excite Music will continue to follow you, and until another time please welcome us with your best regards.]
A: [As to you do I say the same. Best regards.]
--

Very poetic insight we get from Ai again. And I absolutely love her closing comments! Laughing


Last edited by Celsius005 on Mar 30, 2007 9:07 am; edited 1 time in total
 
yukarichan
Posted: Mar 29, 2007 10:32 pm Reply with quote
ユメクイ ユメクイ
Joined: 26 Jun 2006 Posts: 1061 Location: USA
wahhhh~thanks for translating all this!
long interview. took a few minutes to read.

now that i read that no one has ever seen her composing....
I really wanna watch her composing a song.
watching TV&reading a magazine at the same time. hhaha
Giggle
 
cherrydreamer00
Posted: Mar 29, 2007 10:43 pm Reply with quote
Happy Days Happy Days
Joined: 06 Mar 2007 Posts: 113 Location: Phillipines
waa~ cute as always!! Nice interview... Hmm a realization has struck me there... Thank you Celsius005 and zyzzyva
 
AnimeDad
Posted: Mar 29, 2007 10:57 pm Reply with quote
Happy Days Happy Days
Joined: 28 Feb 2007 Posts: 115 Location: Australia
That's an awesome translation. Thanks so much, it's great to know what goes on in Ai-chan's head Smile
 
yangirl
Posted: Mar 30, 2007 12:37 am Reply with quote
SMILY SMILY
Joined: 13 May 2005 Posts: 469 Location: Canada
I'd expect a translation from you Celsius005; thanks a lot^^

*Now 1 thing we have in common^^ I too can't do anything good if there are ppl wandering around*
 
sakuraangel
Posted: Mar 30, 2007 1:35 am Reply with quote
クラゲ, 流れ星 クラゲ, 流れ星
Joined: 10 Feb 2007 Posts: 8011 Location: Canada
Thanks Celsius005 as well as zyzzyva for the translations, it was great to read the interview. I have a question though, when Ai-chin said "Osaka-ben" does that mean Osaka slang?
 
Celsius005
Posted: Mar 30, 2007 6:57 am Reply with quote
Planetarium Planetarium
Joined: 23 May 2006 Posts: 685 Location: USA
^ In a way, yes. I think people are more commonly familiar with Kansai-ben, but both are really talking about the same dialect. Osakans just call it Osaka-ben. Giggle
 
rvn85
Posted: Mar 30, 2007 7:45 am Reply with quote
金魚花火 金魚花火
Joined: 02 Jun 2005 Posts: 166 Location: Singapore
the more she matures... the more beautiful and better she gets!
 
orange_ka
Posted: Mar 30, 2007 9:54 am Reply with quote
ユメクイ ユメクイ
Joined: 01 Jul 2005 Posts: 1117 Location: *mentally in: yamapi/keita's world*
thank you so much for the translation Celsius005!! Boogie
 
mafee
Posted: Mar 30, 2007 2:13 pm Reply with quote
上塩タン焼680円 上塩タン焼680円
Joined: 04 Jan 2007 Posts: 346 Location: Bangkok
Thanks, Celsius005 and zyzzyva!!
I'll translate this into Thai when I have time. Boogie
With proper credit, as always.

Love

Edited: I've translated into Thai. My eyes sore.... And I give a big, big credit to you, Celsius005. Hehehe. Go here if you're interested what Thai letters look like. Tongue


Last edited by mafee on Apr 04, 2007 4:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
 
Heisei
Posted: Mar 30, 2007 2:47 pm Reply with quote
上塩タン焼680円 上塩タン焼680円
Joined: 19 Mar 2007 Posts: 375 Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Hum, great job! Smile I understand she canīt compose with anyone around... I canīt "do" music when anyone disturbs me.. Anyway, the interview was interesting, thanks for the translation.
 
fallenrival777
Posted: Apr 07, 2007 5:47 pm Reply with quote
桃ノ花ビラ 桃ノ花ビラ
Joined: 19 Mar 2007 Posts: 28
she is so cute and hot!!!!
 
cheRish<3
Posted: Apr 07, 2007 5:58 pm Reply with quote
Happy Days Happy Days
Joined: 02 Mar 2007 Posts: 123
Yay I can see the pictures =)! She looks great in all of the pictures, yay long hair<3. And thanks for translating too
 
Ayane
Posted: Apr 07, 2007 11:01 pm Reply with quote
金魚花火 金魚花火
Joined: 17 Nov 2006 Posts: 164
Ai looks so ladylike in the photo shoot. Her interview was fun to read too. It was nice to know how Ai works on her music.

Thank you for the pictures and the translation.
 
msSHOO
Posted: Apr 10, 2007 9:56 pm Reply with quote
桃ノ花ビラ 桃ノ花ビラ
Joined: 09 Apr 2007 Posts: 1
can someone show me how to get into the gallery because everything i try i could never get in? please help!
 
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