The CLUBMIX ALBUM『GACKTRACKS -ULTRA DJ ReMIX-』that coloured GACKT’s songs will go on sale on 1 July.
This is a unique collaboration album between Japan’s top DJs, who have activities around the world, and GACKT. Headliner Djs remix GACKT’s sounds, with a degree of completion in『GACKTRACKS -ULTRA DJ ReMIX-』which gives the impression of a new revolution, delivering a gem that surprised GACKT as well.
Here, we introduce a special interview with GACKT X DJ KOO in celebration of the release of『GACKTRACKS -ULTRA DJ ReMIX-』.
──Originally, are the both of you acquaintances before this project?
GACKT： Not at all. We’ve seen each other on music programs but, we didn’t really grow close from that. That’s why, unexpectedly having KOO-san be involved in the remixing this time is… an honour.
──To KOO-san, what kind of impression do you have of GACKT-san?
DJ KOO： After doing this remix, I’m really into him（laughs）.
──In what way?
DJ KOO： In other words, he’s cool, amazing.（With regards to GACKT’s songs）My love grew (for them)（laughs）.
GACKT： （LOL）… I’m glad. To that extent, I’d really like to hear how bad an impression you had though（laughs）.
──To GACKT-san, what was your impression of KOO-san?
GACKT： Honestly, because I don’t personally know him, from his image, a silent, scary person. But, having him do a remix this time, he surprised me with the sound that he created. The style that it was brought across in made me listen to the song over and over again. Despite that we never met up before this, it really makes me happy that he has this much affection for me.
──KOO-san, how was it when you first spoke to him?
DJ KOO： He had a lot of interest in creating an album using the approach of the dance music genre.
──Did the image of the remix you wanted to do surface immediately?
DJ KOO： He let me listen to numerous songs, and while listening to them, most had what should be there, and were perfect as they were. That was what I thought in the beginning. So when I started doing the remix from there, firstly I had the thought that coming from me, someone who does dance mixes, I have to bring something fresh, so this time I wanted to try making a GACKT song with a four-on-the-floor. To do that the most suitable song is「CLAYMORE」.
GACKT： Initially, I thought, he picked「CLAYMORE」?? When I heard the remixed version of this song, I was surprised to find that this was a possible choice. I could not imagine at all how it would turn out, I had no idea at all. When I heard it, because it was something that far exceeded my expectations, this may sound rude to him but, I have the memory of saying over and over to myself “DJ’s are amazing”.
──Speaking of four-on-the-floor, this is KOO-san’s field of expertise. Do normal DJs attach feedback playing to songs?
DJ KOO： Although I think this remains the same no matter the era, because it’s easy to just take an existing song and remix it, you can give life to an original. Firstly, above all, it is worrisome that this “original” has a set key and 125 tempo. Even though it is possible to use other settings, you have to question why is it that they choose to use this tempo and key. That’s why, we first have to look into this thoroughly.
GACKT： That does appear to be something that many people are into…
DJ KOO： The reason why is, the remixer receives a normal song with vocals, and use that as the axis in his work but, I also put the person before me… Even amongst the tracks I’ve received recently, this song is, in any case something of an amazing quality.
──This charm has become something you want to explore right.
DJ KOO： That’s right. Though you can’t really define this charm in a concrete manner…
GACKT： I’m glad… For him to be able to say this about me, and just to hear it.
DJ KOO： Recently, normal DJs do their remixes on their PCs with “copy-and-paste” but, a song won’t get popular just like that. For that, using vocalizations that are different than usual, or bringing in the climax of the song a little later, these slight artistic differences make it amazing. When looking at the sound waves, you can calculate and understand this. Following that, whether to use an exquisite lead-into the chorus,or harmonies, I think that there are different reasons for their applications, with regards to that I would want to gather the junior DJs and discuss with them…
──It sure is an amazing world…
GACKT： For someone to delve into it to such an extent, normally that is quite rare right. The reason for this, being that such talk is not understandable to the layman, and in creating a song, there are those that are created by chance, and also many that were created with a calculated focus. In my case, especially for vocalizations, I am very particular about it in terms of the expression. Note by note, I look into the detailed nuances and intonations, for example, for me, even for one vibrato, I can shift around 7 to 10 different wave forms to use. As it were, many times I take the approach of a synthesizer basis to my voice, like applying distortion, or take the approach of an angel voice basis, and after trying out a different things, from there starting with the ones that I normally cannot sing and those that I cannot perform in actuality, I will put the final one into the recording. That’s why, while thinking about the timing and the rhythm, I sometimes have to make slight changes according to the song, in other words, I make changes while aiming for a song that makes you feel good when you listen to it. For me, all the while I’ve always wondered how many people are actually aware of this sensation and can hear it. But, this time doing it like this and talking to KOO-san, I am happy with the creation of it, perhaps its something like it being rewarding to create. Even amongst musicians, it is rare that we can get an awareness to this extent, so for that it is something I’m thankful for.
DJ KOO： For GACKT, what he mentioned is a natural thing for him that he applies to himself, and delivers one sound. There are things behind that that are not what normal people have, regarding the parts of the song or the words or the control of the song’s build-up, even parts that has to come across strongly can be delivered smoothly. That’s why this time, with the idea that you will feel good once you get into the rhythm, without using the synthesizer and reverb much I made the delay the main draw. That feedback was used to match the vocals. Of course, because it will become just another vocal track, I did not add auto-tune either, and used that power according to the dance music. To finish it off, instead of EDM I used cyber trance, to have it feel more like an artiste’s work than just another track.
──In other words, this time you leveraged on GACKT-san’s song.
GACKT： If it simply became a work that is “copy-and-paste”, I believe without a doubt the meanings of my songs will be misrepresented. At the very least my songs will be shaky. Besides, if you just add a tempo to something that is shaky, it will get worse, and when you think of reverting it, the goodness of the original song will no longer be there and rapidly disappear. To me, I’ve held that fear towards remixing, that’s why right at the start there were times when I was debating whether it was better to just call off this project. But, I have actually been asked, and I was moved by the fact that someone could love the songs so much, for example, even amongst the fans, even if there were those who fell in love with the songs, I wondered if they would love these songs too. This time, even for the parts that I have been particular about, in addition to being aware of various things, the fact that he was able to approach this without disrupting those really made me glad. For me, I pride myself on being the best at representations in my songs. That I can say not only in portrayals, but also in the level of recording. Also, what was tried out was not only different from the original, but it can be considered as things that can bring it above and beyond. To me, there is no meaning to creating something that I cannot deliver better live than on the CD. It is a minimum prerequisite that I can perform it on par with the CD version. I’m particular about making it only better from there. However, there are people who don’t even understand that. Those who do get it, are only a minority. There are parts where I feel I don’t really have any choice about those, but I’m happy as long as it feels good when people come for the live, I feel that it’s alright as long as I can create something unlike any other.
DJ KOO：I believe it can be said that GACKT does not take his songs lightly, you can feel that in the verses of his tracks, even for me, I’ve received good study materials this time around. Like where a breath is taken, or which part in his mouth his voice actually resonates. Now, my apprentice who went from Toho (School of Music) to Paris, has come back having completed 4 years of studies, and I asked him to write all about harmonies. By doing that, I can say that this kid, as expected, has a lot of interest in this.
──But, because you researched to that extent it made the affection grow right.
DJ KOO： As a DJ’s music is something that is danced to, originally, it is basic that the four-on-the-floor is especially used to bring a song higher, it’s mechanical sounding. That’s why, to add in emotions here is a big no-no. But, when I think about making this mechanical sound the attractive point in the song, I will hope to make something even better. This time around, I made this without being bound by the rules of EDM and such.
──For GACKT-san, what’s the appeal in dance music?
GACKT： Initially there was an era that melded classical music into rock music. In other words, it’s not a musical thing but following the energy’s direction, it is a one-way flow where the energy is received from the stage, but that is not the case for DJs and dance music due to the places where they appear and perform. The feel of the energy is one that flows from a center and outwards. Furthermore, for those listening to the music too, they don’t return the energy from the front, but it feels like what is received is instantly converted. That’s how I’ve always sensed it. Within me, in that moment, from how that energy is used, to how it is expressed out, the way it is enjoyed is in real time. What that means, is the way what we call music is used, compared to the flow of classic to rock, for DJs its very indigenous, originally it was folk music, and feels similar to religious music and rhythms, the energy starts from a center and spreads outwards. In a club, there is a stage, of course the music probably comes out from that one area but, the direction of the energy is completely different from that of a rock concert, it feels similar to the ripples in the water, like the feeling of everyone being synchronized together. And, I believe what ties that together is the remix.
DJ KOO： As he said, especially since it is enjoyed in large groups of people, there are even songs that can be conveyed simply with the bass. It’s very enjoyable. This time’s production was enjoyable too. We even came up with 8 different patterns in the span of a month. There was even a strings version and other versions.
GACKT：Certainly the second phase, I want to hear it in different forms. For me, about 15 years ago I tried the remix approach once, and after that time I thought to never do it again. What we did was take what we had and take it apart, throw in the four-on-the-floor beat, and completely ignored the original vocalization. I had the worry that it might end up like that again, but I was moved when I listened to the song that was put together. At the same time, what was clearly different was that I could feel Japan’s DJs were unlike those before and have risen to the international level. For that I was really happy. It’s really the best to have people like these undertake my songs and turn it into another creative work.
──Japan’s DJ scene has really matured.
GACKT： Even the younger artistes, like me they can subtly shift the BPM, while creating something new they make new discoveries while overcoming the roadblocks that appear, when we, from different genres, listen to it, I wonder if it can be considered as feedback playing… Originally, it was something we absolutely had to do, we can’t do anything without first researching. We do say that this song is good, or it sounds cool but, you don’t know the reason why this song is cool. Because there is definitely a reason for that, we definitely have to research about it and put it into practice. In that sense you can say that I’m an engineer but, there aren’t many musicians nor researchers who can say that. That’s because in the first place doing things this way is a forte of Japanese. I feel that people should do this more.
──You rarely get to talk about these things right.
GACKT： Exactly. That’s why, I’m really happy to be able to bring this up now. I was surprised that KOO-san was so into it （laughs）. However, unless one really does this seriously, it will probably turn out bad. It’s not only about listening to the music, you can now easily get the materials to analyze what is behind a song, or why it sounds cool.
DJ KOO： This time’s album is not simply about changing the form of the music by remixing, I think that this is something of great value. I believe that it can stimulate a variety of people starting with the fans, and as GACKT said, we can consider it as a direction that we were heading for.
──So you’re saying that it can be appealing to musicians as well.
GACKT： This is a dilemma.
DJ KOO： To put it in words is indeed difficult, this isn’t a forte of mine so I might not be able to say it well but, the value of music can only be understood after it’s been chewed up, so if you can understand that, I believe that it can feel even more pleasant.
GACKT： In today’s world, saying it plainly I believe that music has to get more widespread. Disregarding the fact that anyone with a phone can listen to music, there is definitely a reason why music is in its decline. Because everyone is unaware of this reason, music is rapidly getting separated from daily life and people. Unless the musicians recognize this, music will increasingly become more and more irrelevant. In the first place, the creators are not aware of what is missing. By using new equipment, using new methods, applying new styles, they lose sight of what they originally wanted to create. I guess the essence is that they don’t realise that the spice that they thought they added in has disappeared. Although the same person is making the thing, it used to taste better in the past, like something has changed. If in it there is something that is lacking in actuality, it has changed. We have to recognise this, study it and pursue it. Because with the world progressing, the cost of making a song is falling too, even if you think about music starting with the need to get it more widespread, at this point in time the sales volume of music is only falling year after year. As to why this is so, musicians have to learn more. Because we can’t return to what it used to be, if we don’t do this now, it will only get even more difficult from here on. Also, if you cannot move a person with music… that’s just preposterous.
DJ KOO： The original track I received this time was really one without compromise, but that is only to be expected. And to deliver something even better than that live, that’s how far he thinks. He is a true pro at his work. To such a GACKT, really, respect!
GACKT： I’m grateful. Including my time in bands, it’s already been more than 20 years since I started making music, there were times when I could not get the members and staff to understand the things I’m particular about. Because there were various kinds of conflict in these 20 years, I’m really blessed to be able to be understood and do this remix in this style.
DJ KOO： Likewise, my apprentice had a chance to learn, it was a really good session.
GACKT： Today as well, I’m really happy, and honestly surprised that we were unexpectedly able to discuss this topic. Not only were we able to grasp an in-depth topic, I’m glad that I could get a feel of the work together. Thank you.
『GACKTRACKS -ULTRA DJ ReMIX-』
GACKT Store Special Edition（CD+DVD）
Accepting orders now
5,800 yen + tax
・Record jacket design
・Includes a MEGA MIX PV by Japan’s leading VJ, VJ WADAKEN
Normal edition（CD only）general sales start from 1 July 2015
2,800 yen + tax
・Lyric cards in booklet-form included
＜『GACKTRACKS -ULTRA DJ ReMIX-』Release Party＞
3 July 2015（Fri）
@ Shangri-la Tokyo
21：45 open / 22：30 start～midnight
Tickets：purchase prior to event day: 5,000 yen , purchase on event day: 7,000 yen
※A separate charge for drinks（1,000 yen）is required.
el poco maro
MASANORI MORITA（STUDIO APARTMENT）
☆Taku Takahashi（m-flo / block.fm）
Takeru John Otoguro（block.fm）
and SECRET GUEST！
Hisanori H（ENTIA RECORDS）
si oux（VIVE VAGINA）
CYBER JAPAN DANCERS
[For enquiries] Disc Garage：050-5533-0888
Translation: GACKT ITALIA Team
© GACKT ITALIA