GiGS 10/1996: Psyence song commentary

Translated by Iguana, original page now deleted

Interviewer: Okay, we should go through the songs on your CD one by one. So right from the beginning we get into the Psyence world. 
hide: Well this piece I made because I'm very selfish and wanted to have an opening for a concert. I wanted to promote myself and the album before I'm singing later. 
I: But there is a certain special image that gets conveyed right by this first piece... 
hide: Well, that's what I call "Psyence", I guess this piece expresses the way I feel at the moment.

I: And right after that "Erase"... 
hide: I wanted to have "Erase" as the opening song of the album,  I wanted to have this somehow acid feeling to it that I cannot really grasp myself. It was the last song I made for this album, within 3 days only and it goes down from E to C, that*s why you are hearing the bass so strongly and why I played it so heavily. 
I: Down to C... So it falls down to the C on the 6th tab, that's very very nice to play, isn't it? 
hide: On the guitar you can still stand it, but one the bass... oh dear. However it felt very good, yes. Well but I had quite some trouble when I added the vocals later (laugh). I guess that's why in the end it doesn't feel so fast nor so acid-like. 
I: Well, if we don't ask we don't find out about all those unknown episodes, right?

Genkai Haretsu
hide: The guy who mixed "Genkai Haretsu" for me, Bill Kennedy, he worked with Nine Inch Nails or Danzig and remixed them, and Joe is on drums and Takashi Kaneuchi is on bass. 
I: Ah, at the beginning this crunchy guitar cutting in is very nice. 
hide: This song froze a little bit in process at the re-mastering phase, I wanted to have a cutting in after the previous song "Erase" and the result was quite like I had imagined, going from the 2nd to the 3rd song. Therefore "Genkai" had to wait before getting finished until "Erase" was finished. If you listen to the CD now it's like POW! And when I did the re-mastering you could really hear something from Takashi's bass again.

I: The next one, "Damage" is a pretty hard song. 
hide: That's because the drums are like John Bonham's drums. I personally call that a zepping drum. It's twin drums from Joe and the drummer of Zeppet Store, Eiki Yanagita. 
I: What? Really? 
hide: Yeah, in the intro you don't really hear it, in the beginning, well there Yanagita is drumming and Joe comes in later. You start with the left drum, then the right drum and center it. But it's two people's drums. At the other songs usually Joe is drumming though... alone. 
I: Wow. So that's the secret, I was wondering why both their names are mentioned in the booklet for this song. 
hide: Yeah, somewhere in the middle of the song you have it again, that there are twin drums. You know, actually I did "Damage" last year (95) but I have changed the lyrics and the arrangement completely, so the drums have become much more like John Bonham's, a little like a sampling feeling. Therefore Joe and Yanagita came along and when we did the actual live recording of the drums, Eric said (Eric Westfall, sound technician) All right! Let's make it a Bonham feeling, I want to hear some bazooka sounds from you that blow my ears away! 
I: ... to intensify? 
hide: Yes, it was pretty interesting. We put some metal coated buffer in front of the mike (for the drums) and we really recorded that literally like a bazooka, it rebounced wonderfully. I think it was very good. 
I:... sounds interesting indeed. 
hide: I'm playing the bass in this song and in "Lemoned I Scream" as well.

Lemoned I Scream
I: Do you like bass? 
hide: Oh, very much. I've been pretty bad in letting the sounds disappear when you are folding and folding the notes, but when you are playing bass you notice so clearly what you don't need, what is a waste and so on, it's great... You really understand in the same moment what you need and what you don't need. I've really become crazy about bass. Well, I still can't do it with my fingers so I'm still doing it only with a pick. 
I: Lemoned I scream is the song that's also being used in the Lemoned video, right? 
hide: I made this one as the motto of the Lemoned video and idea. When I went through all the songs once more to decide what comes into the album I went through the back tracks as well and remixed Lemoned and here we are.

I: So, and the next one is Hi-Ho 
hide: This is a remix of Rich Breen (mixing engineer). I had completed the song last year already, but the final mix and the last arrangement and the lyrics I finally made this year. In principle Joe is playing the drums but this rhythm is based on a groove that INA originated. 
I: This song seems so light when you hear it, however the lyrics are dealing with a heavy subject. 
hide: Yes... therefore... the phrase Hi-Ho has no meaning, has it? But I imagined singing that song in a concert and I wanted the crowd to shout it out, this meaningless Hi-Ho, it must be very thrilling to do that! 
I: Yeah, sure, it's a very cheerful rhythm. 
hide: Yeah, at the end you have almost some Polynesian rhythms there. Such a Polynesian rhythm was in my head for quite a while already and I wanted to do a song like that or at least integrate it into a song. And while I was thinking so, I had a session with INA and said: okay! Let's stop at bass 8 tab! Ina chan! Stop me! And pow! He stopped and suddenly, after he did that, I started with this Polynesian thing and INA started to beat some drums just like that to accompany me (laugh). And so we had the ending for this song. 
I: Sounds very funny. What about the next one: "Flame"?

hide: This one I wrote at the same time as the "Misery" Single CD. Well, if I'm being honest this song was also called "Misery". When I made the Single CD "Misery" I said to myself: "No, I'm just not content with this, let's start from zero again" and the result was this "Misery" that's called "Flame". Because of that the lyrics resemble each other also here and there. And then my attitude toward the songs changed a little and I decided okay, let's publish both of them! 
I: Is that so? 
hide: Well, in the end the one that became the "Misery" single CD everybody considers to be the real "Misery" song. But when you ask me which one is better, I like them both. 
I: Okay, so "Misery" is the big brother of "Flame". 
hide: Well, one is sung with several voices, the other only with one voice, but the overall topic is the same. By the way, the drums are played by Yanagita. 
I: He is a damn good drummer, right? Very tight and strong. 
hide: Old but new. As a drummer he is very much in the present, but he has a very big knowledge about drums, and he also listens to a lot of older stuff and yet he is a modern drummer. I like that very much. 
You know, just when I was making this song, I was in L.A. and saw Zeppet Store there. So INA and me said, "We just have to let Yanagita play something for us". Well and even though he went back to Japan, we invited him over to L.A. again and he came. I am really very fond of his drumming style. I wanted to have this speed of 1996 that he also can provide you with. This speed in a relaxed rhythm, I wanted to have that very much. I guess I would have found some guy like that in L.A. too, but I just wanted him to play something for me.

Beauty & Stupid
I: What about Beauty & Stupid? 
hide: Well after I was finished with my work for X Japan I thought, all right, all right, now let's get down to business for myself, that was about the end of June I think. And it was decided pretty quickly that I was supposed to release another single CD, and I stopped working on the album and started with that for the time being and I started boiling pretty much (laugh). Well, in principle I had the lyrics and the music done pretty soon, in the beginning it was an arrangement like a monkey, but also orthodox somehow. Well, I was all right with that, but somehow it felt too simple, not stimulating enough, but when I thought about it again I felt like: "So what, why am I not allowed to do simple things either?!" (laugh) 
I: So you suddenly returned to the basics (laugh) 
hide: So at this point I thought, okay it's good that it's so simple, I don't have to do anything about that, so I can get crazy about the arrangement. And at that time Yanagita and Joe were there and I thought okay, let them inspire me and I let Yanagita play to that simple, nothing about it version. 
I: It seems you all got stimulated 
hide: Yeah, and more or less at that time the version came up you can hear now. At the actual recording it is Joe who is playing though, but without Yanagita's impact that song would not be the same, I was very happy I had Yanagita around for this arrangement.

Oedo Cowboys
hide: Well, that's converted music. The atmosphere is like it's taken from an old Western compilation album. You know I did the guitar, the bass and even the drums all at my home.

I: What about the next one, heavy "Bacteria" 
hide: This "Bacteria" is a remastering from the Lemoned times. These drums... originally the drum phrase is repeated after 8 beats rather than a completely recorded drum phase. Joe played that thing and I put the beats together. At first I had Takashi play the bass but when I went to the editing I thought it would be better if I play myself and changed it. But there are some bass solo elements in it, like a DJ, I only left these parts from Takashi in it. 
I: In the middle, where the bass is pretty obvious? 
hide: Yes, that little jazzy feeling bass solo... but if you call that a solo Takashi will get angry! Well, I have to admit that I didn't tell Takashi yet that I killed his bass except for this solo part... sorry! (laugh) 
I: Okay... so you have apologized here and now (laugh)... Let's get to "Good Bye". 

Good Bye
hide: Well, I'd call it a ballad. I had the lyrics and the music already and I actually took the first take I ever made at my home and put it into the CD just like that. I wanted to change something and even brought the data into the studio, but then in the end I just couldn't change it. 
I: Yes, that's often the case, isn't it? That the first take has something special to it that you can't get again with other takes. 
hide: Yes... but when you are too hot about it, it can get you also into trouble, there are songs like that, too. I had this a few times and then you really suffer when you want and want and want to get to the point. So I asked myself, can you do that, be so obsessed with details? And I said to myself, I can't. So in this case too I decided to leave the first take as it is. Rich Breen mixed it for me.

Cafe le Psyence
I: "Cafe le Psyence" has again a very interesting style 
hide: When I did "Psyence" with the big band I took the bass take and put it into a loop. And I asked my engineer Eric to integrate it into the "Psyence" melody and make an ad-lib out of it. and he played it for about 30 minutes on the piano and didn't look very happy. And I told him, you are the pianist of the "Cafe le Psyence". That piece is some sort of an interlude.

I: All right, let's get to "Lassie", in the album it says demo master version... and by the way, is the dog meant here? Lassie? 
hide: Yes and that's a demo tape that I made at home just like that last year and I didn't change it. If you try to record it in some sort of nice, pretty version, it just doesn't work. This "that's the song" feeling I had only with this demo tape version, that was the best mix. Therefore this is the INA mix. 
I: And who is it who's howling the dog's voice? 
hide: Well, that's me... all of it... 
I: What?! That's you? That's all hide's voice?! 
hide: Yes! 
I: It really sounds like a real dog! 
hide: Well the demo tape that was supposed to be a demo tape but it turned out to be more than a demo tape and I have howled and barked all along, couldn't help it and then the song was finished. 
I: Wow. 
hide: It's Lassie the dog, but there are lots of people who behave like dogs and when they try to refutate they break the mirror one day and lose themselves. And when it's the last take, and you have no money and cannot buy something to eat and you sell your body for the applause and earn money with it... that's what I made this song for (laugh)

I: "Pose" you also played in your solo corner in X-Japan's concert 
hide: Yes, it's a pretty old song for me. I've done it for a pretty long time in X Japan's solo corner already. I did it also with another band (Zilch) and when you count them all together there are about 7 versions of this song. I have already forgotten which one was the original version. 
I: Yes, when you listen to all the version you ask yourself, what is the real face of this song? (laugh) 
hide: That's right. you know, there is this ping pong sound in the beginning... 
I: Yes, it's great. 
hide: You know, in L.A. in the studio there is a table tennis set and I played pretty often. And when I listened to the sound of the ball I though, hey... what's that?? Yes... sure... that's "Pose"... that's the intro of "Pose"! And in that moment I thought, all right! I'll take that. So we put a mike into the middle of the table tennis court and took the sound just like that into the song. 
I: It's great that sometimes it's nothing more and nothing less but born from playing and fooling around. 
hide: Yes... by the way, that was Eric's mix.

I: What we hear on the Album is a remix of the Single CD "Misery", right? 
hide: Actually I wanted to change the vocals completely, but when I looked at the mastered tapes later there was some noise in the recording and I couldn*t use it anymore, but of course in the end it has become a remix. 
I: Oh dear. 
hide: Well, but it's a little amazing, you never know what it's good for. I wanted the vocals of the album version to be lower than the single version but now it has become the other way round. The sound has become a little dry now, it really sounds different, I think.

Atomic MOM
I: And the last one, "Atomic MOM" 
hide: I made this piece after the album was finished so far. There are a lot of different songs in this album, aren't there? So if this was Psyence City and if you had played a confusing computer role playing game while going through the city and with the knowledge of Psyence City you gained in between and this technology you have learned, you can open the master computer room and by that time you know the password, and then you get into this room and enter the password Psyence and then you finally open the door and expect, I don't know what, but instead there is only this little guy who is laughing dirty at you... 
I: Laugh laugh laugh 
hide: So in the end you control nothing but pure junk that I provided for you. Because we always think we have science at our command, but our concept is that of idiots. If you want to call it symbolism the symbol should be a can. 
I: Now that you say so the jacket design of the album shows metal cans. 
hide: Yes, the symbol of Psyence album is a metal can. When the can is empty you kick it away with a lot of noise and they gather to mountains of trash, also that is something we gained by Psyence (psycho and science) 
I: That's very interesting. And I think this album concerns everybody, no matter what age and no matter if man or woman, and when listening to it everybody will ask: What kind of guy is hide?" 
hide: Well at least I think I won't regret it that I made a rock album in 1996...