Second in the personal interview series is the bassist, Saga. Regarding their 11th Anniversary Live 「Re:birth -飛翔-」, he shares views with Nao whom we interviewed earlier on some things, but has differing views on other things. Also, with the unexpected amount of private topics in this interview, we came to know about "Saga" as a person, even more than before.
I wanted (us) to sing together
Q: First, tell us your thoughts about your live performance on August 23rd.
Saga: As expected, I could feel the energy of the fans who had been waiting for us. It's the first time for me to take so long in reading fan letters. There are a lot of heavy letters. So many sentences (laughs). The number of letters itself was more than usual, but each letter was also longer (laughs). I got that they (the fans) had really been waiting for us.
Q: Do you feel like you've completely come back?
Saga: I've felt that since a while back. Since Phoenix was out (March 2015), I've felt that we've started again.
Q: How did you feel when the curtains dropped after the opening "PRAY" and you could see the audience?
Saga: I was a bit embarrassed (laughs). For some reason I've always felt embarrassed when we were there since the beginning and there were curtains and they fell down (laughs). Til now we've had several live performances which were like that, but I still get embarrased (laughs).
Q: Is it more natural for you to come onstage welcomed by cheers?
Saga: That's right. I feel more energetic when I go onstage normally (laughs). No matter what, with that (the curtain), somehow.. I feel embarrassed for around 2 songs.
Q: I see (laughs). Was the setlist decided smoothly?
Saga: It was relatively fast. This time, adding solo corner for each member was a new challenge, but this past one year the members' personal activities had also increased, so I thought, how about we feature each member and incorporate it (in our performance).
Q: You had drums session with Nao-san and according to Nao-san, you suddenly came and told him only a few days before (the live performance).
Saga: That is.. initially it was supposed to be drums & bass session.. but I got bored (laughs). I thought of an interesting thing to do and came up with the two of us playing drums. I had a lot of fun, but it was quite long, so I maybe I wouldn't play that long anymore, that one was special service for first day (laughs).
Q: So only few people could see it. Did you come up with the rhythm?
Saga: In general, yes.
Q: But the session really seemed like a lot of fun.
Saga: It was. I had the most fun when not playing bass (laughs). It's carefree. Because I think that I have to properly play the bass.
Q: I see (laughs). You put 'subete e' on the very end. Was that decided early?
Saga: At first, it was between 'the beautiful name' and 'subete e'. Usually we ended with 'the beautiful name', and also we wanted all of us to sing together, so we chose 'subete e'.
Q: It was the first song last year.
Saga: Yeah, that also came to mind. And also, we wanted to make a well-balanced setlist, so we kept in mind to put songs from all albums equally. For songs in "Supernova", there are songs that we definitely want to perform in our next tour. During a tour, we know which songs that we really want to play, and songs we don't want to play anymore.
Q: "kaisen zenya" has become a must-perform, hasn't it.
Saga: That's right, I wanted it to be that. I wanted to have a song in which people can go crazy. Moreover, I'm the one deciding the setlist, so this will (definitely) be included (laughs).
Q: (laughs). By the way, in the end of 'haikara naru rinbukyoku', when you kissed the neck of your bass..
Saga: It was good, wasn't it?
Q: It was (laughs).
Saga: Something with a subtle feeling like that is good (laughs). I did something weird at one time (laughs).
Q: (laughs). How did you feel, performing your new songs for the first time?
Saga: We've got better reactions than expected, like "ah, so it was like this". I also want to keep brushing them up during the tour. As expected, we still have a long way to go in performing them, and I also understand that the fans were still confused. Like, what to do on this song (laughs).
Q: Songs like 'doukeshi' and 'juudan' seem difficult.
Saga: Once you're used to them, they're fun songs. But they're quite complicated, so maybe it's difficult to follow when you're not used to it. When the tour ends I think everyone will have already gotten used to then.
Q: I see. Tell us your most memorable moment of the performance.
Saga: Hmm.. I guess, it's 'subete e' when everyone sang together. After that, (I could hear) the voices requesting for encore, and that really touched me. Before that, I couldn't play calmly since my mind was full with performing properly, since it had already been a year (since our last performance). But during 'subete e' I got a calmer and played while thinking, the fans sing well too.
Q: Once again, tell us about your enthusiasm towards your upcoming tour.
Saga: I guess it will be a tour which keeps changing shape. Til now it had been more or less the same since the beginning, but this time I guess it will change little by little. There are new things to show, and we've got a lot of new songs, so there are still things which we haven't really set yet. I want it to grow as we do it, reflecting on what's good and what's not so good, and cherish each and every performance.
Actually I'm a popular guy
Q: What kind of band do you want A9 to be in the future?
Saga: I want us to be a band which can come to studio on time... that's all (laughs).
Q: (laughs) In that regard?
Saga: I want us to be a band which can start things on time. For some reason it doesn't happen... I'm loose when it comes to time, but even then in this band I'm among the not-so-loose ones. There are many people worse than me.
Q: Many (laughs). Who has the most discipline?
Saga: Lately, I guess it's me. If even a loose guy like me has the most discipline, it's bad. That's why, in order for us to become a band which can start things one time, do scold us harshly (laughs). It's okay, I mean it (laughs).
Q: By the way, it has been 3 days since the performance. What did you do during the 3 days?
Saga: I didn't leave home at all. Hiroto said he turned his mobile phone off and went to the sea or something (laughs). I didn't do anything. We're going on a tour soon, so I want to be at home as much as possible (laughs). I didn't feel like going out at all. Just cooking some stuffs.
Q: Ah, you make your own meals don't you.
Saga: Yes, lately. Before, there was a time when I kept ordering takeaway and my body became heavy (laughs). Also it's a waste of money, so I thought, I should make my own meal. Cooking gives me the same feeling as making plastic models or composing songs. That's why, surprisingly I don't dislike it. I ended up doing it without much problem.
Q: How particular are you about your cooking?
Saga: Well.. I didn't intend to be particular about it, but when I thought on how to make it more delicious, I ended up buying better ingredients, things like that.
Q: Which means..you're already very much into it aren't you? (laughs).
Saga: Like, is there anything better that I can use in place of cooking oil (laughs). And then without realising I guess it became better and better. But at first I couldn't even cut onions. My eyes hurt.
Q: Since you are very precise in making demo songs, you also seem to be particular about your cooking.
Saga: It looks like I like fine works. Especially things like curry in which you have a lot of freedom, I'll feel like creating a new dish (laughs). How would it taste like if I add this.. I like to make my own arrangement. I'm the one eating so it's enough if I think it's delicious.
Q: Have you cooked for someone else?
Saga: Not even once. But I've had Hiroto's cooking before. When I was doing some work in his house, he made me some pasta. It was good, but I feel I can make something like that now.
Q: Have you got a dish which you've nailed?
Saga: Maybe hui guo rou (twice cooked pork, Szechuan dish) or qingjiao rousi (Chinese pepper steak). Even though they're Chinese food, I think the Chinese food we have in Japan have Japanese taste. So I thought of making Chinese food in my style. For that I buy expensive capsicum, measure how long I stir fry the ingredients.. I do everything precisely.
Q: We can see your personality. And by the way, have you got a dish you want to try making?
Saga: Fish dish, such as salmon meuniere. Fish is quite troublesome (to cook). It smells, and it's difficult to clean up afterwards. But fish is indeed delicious, so I feel like cooking it once in a month or something. I want to try it.
Q: We asked a lot of private questions.
Saga: Actually, I'm quite a popular guy (laughs). I have what it takes to be popular.
Q: You have lots of them don't you (laughs).
Saga: I also like cleanliness and tidiness. I'm a popular guy for sure (laughs).
Q: You have that image of liking clean and tidy things.
Saga: I won't let even a strand of hair. As soon as I see it, I will clean it. I can clean my room 2-3 times a day. But I'm not obsessed with cleanliness.
Q: So you don't expect that from others?
Saga: No, I don't. Like, my doing it is enough. Ah, but A9's backstage is really untidy.
Q: Who's the biggest cause?
Saga: Tora and Nao. Lately it's getting worse. But, it's like.. I do things on my own at home so I'm not the stoic type who can tell people "you can't do this". So, it's also a sign of a popular guy (laughs).
Q: We talked a lot about your private life. Well then, what do you want A9 to try in the future?
Saga: I want to play futsal. I don't think anyone else would say it though (laughs). We played it once in a show, and I want to do it again.
Q: And in terms of music, (is there anything you want to try)?
Saga: Hm... I'm thinking of changing instruments and try something new.
Q: You seem like the type who would try a lot of instruments.
Saga: That's right. I find it's a waste to just play the bass. There are many interesting instruments. I want to make a new image (of a band). The band formation with twin guitars, bass and drums has been around for 40 years hasn't it? Soon maybe I will come with a new way to show our band. I want to do a lot of experimental things.
Q: I'm looking forward to it.
Saga: Yeah. Pretty sure I'll do something about it.
Translated by Val. Original interview here.
Also read: Nao | Saga | Tora | Hiroto | Show