Whether you learn an instrument methodically or end up playing in a band and learning ‘on-the-fly’ (I was the latter) the lesson I learnt was to have self-belief and to try to develop a style that wasn’t limited by lack of technique (a more studious player might fall into the trappings of being buried by technique). Playing an instrument is an opportunity to convey expression and it’s always worthwhile aiming for that.
I don’t have particularly fond memories of playing music as young boys, it was one long learning curve, although it didn’t seem so bad at the time, because until you’ve reached a better level you optimistically believe things are going in the right direction and are spurred on regardless. Probably at around 20 years old I settled in and started to have some idea of what I wanted to achieve as a musician.
(Outside The Music Machine – photo by Günther Rakete, 1978)
Would I consider missing Richard’s masterclass?
I don’t think I’m a suitable lecturer … no conveyable codes of practice nor feeling suitably specialised in any particular field …. just doing what I do. But I’m happy to take any questions your son may have and will endeavour to respond with whatever expertise, insights or amusing anecdotes I may posses.
Fin taught me a little about printing techniques and also about using large format cameras as I didn’t own one myself and I picked up on basic studio lighting techniques during our time working with him on a regular basis. I’m pretty sure there have been one or two photos published of him with the band. As for Yuka, she was ‘Cantonese Boy’ on the single cover image, not so shy… and she too has appeared in photos on various occasions.
- Fin Costello shoot (me not him) in Primrose Hill
- Fin Costello with not his camera … wait actually I think it is.
- Yuka in tour bus
- Yuka alternative shot for ‘Cantonese Boy’ single cover
First meeting with Ryuichi was on our second visit to Japan in 1980. He came backstage at The Budokan venue, Tokyo, (a photo of that encounter appears in my photo book) and an interview was arranged for a publication that he contributed to as an interviewer (this may have occurred in the reverse order… but either way). He was later invited to record on GTP when in the UK. He constructed the basic track purely on a Prophet-5 synth which was quite a masterclass in synth programming and sounded reminiscent of his inspiring solo album B2-Unit. I’ve worked with Ryuichi on quite a number of recordings over the years since then, as well as for live and tv performances and he is always a great pleasure to work with and the consummate professional.
The Gary Numan connection is rather vague. I think I sold his drummer my old kit.
Ryuichi ‘Polaroiding’ on day of Old Grey Whistle Test shoot with JAPAN in London.
Thank you for the nice comments. As it happens Górecki’s Symphony no.3 ‘Sorrowful Songs’ is one of my favourite pieces of music (along with Mahler’s Adagietto from Symphony no. 5) so to hear any comparison is quite the compliment.
The idea of making ‘Tender Extinction’ as an instrumental piece was looming during the mixing stages but I felt the need to write additional pieces to make it more cohesive. I didn’t record my own vocal versions of all the songs …. I think a second reworking of ‘Tender Extinction’ might be pushing things right now however the suggestion is much appreciated.
I do still have a Polaroid Land Camera. The film stands up well over time as long as they’re not in direct sunlight. Mine have been stored away which means there’s been no noticeable fading. Masami is holding a previously taken Polaroid in Polaroid 3. Both David & I had Polaroid cameras but I guess the album title would have simply been a collection of words to romanticise the concept rather than any direct reference. I’ve no idea what that song is about.
Nick Rhodes asked me if I would consider joining the band, which I think occurred prior to Masami being asked.
It was a fairly common trick; take a blunt edge such as a key and ‘draw’ on the Polaroid which would distort the image. I tended to do that if it wasn’t looking like a good photo, as was the case with Masami’s image (4) which is soft, in the hope of making it interesting enough to keep.
Masami and I first worked together as members of the Yukihiro Takahashi band in summer ’82. It was after this that he was invited to play with JAPAN on our final tour. We sometimes connect through various events/friends but not for some time now.
(photos by Steve Jansen)
Appreciating the rich, vivid colours of Polaroid film as well as its longevity.
From the summer of 1982 Takahashi tour of Japan (colourful times).
- during rehearsals with Hosono & Tsuchiya
- backstage dining with Takahashi
- evening bar with Takahashi, Sandii & Mokoto
- recording session for Akiko Yano (tv show theme song) with Sakamoto producing