Dear Steve, My name is Hans and am 54 years old and a fan of your music since the 1st Japan single. I had only once the opportunity to see you and David live in Amsterdam in 2007. It was a Great show then. Ever since then David did not Tour anymore. Can you explain why? And is there a chance you and David will ever perform live in the future? Thanks in advance for your answer. Kind Regards and Take care Hans

Thanks for your continued support over many years, Hans. Regarding your second question the answer is no, you can rest assured you witnessed the very last tour of that kind. Regarding your first question, it’s not a question for me.

Hello, I’m an 18 year old student from Sweden and i’ve been listening to JAPAN and various projects by all the members of JAPAN since february this year, like Dolphin Brothers and so forth. I have been incredibly inspired especially by JAPAN. Gentlemen and Tin Drum are two incredible albums i have to say. What was it like in the studio when you were recording the albums? How was the mood and such?

That’s a bigger question than you can imagine. I think the best thing I can do is point you in the direction of a recent book by Anthony Reynolds titled: Japan – A Foreign Place

The intent of the book was to shed some light on the workings of the band, in particular how the music was made. As that hadn’t been tackled before it was the reason I agreed to contribute. I think it provides the sort of insights you’re looking for.

Hi Steve! A question for you, Sir: Japan worked with Giorgio Moroder at a vital point of the band’s career (ie, around the time the band changed styles in both image and sonic presentation/arrangement). What short-term or long-term effect did Japan experience from working with Moroder? Thanks kindly!

Not much, I would say. We were quite strong about what we wanted to do musically. Working with Moroder was a whole lot of compromise. I believe the idea to collaborate originated with the German label we were with at the time. That project, as well as ‘I Second The Emotion’, were business decisions and were musically much more conventional than we would normally want to be, purely for the purposes of appealing to a wider audience.

Was spitting the rice at Takahashi rehearsed in the Stay Close mv? Or was that off the cuff? You look like you’re about to burst out laughing afterwards. It’s hilarious.

Haha. Yes it was indeed rehearsed (every scene was) and as with filming generally each person’s ‘take’ in the making of a face-to-face conversation is filmed separately so Takahashi wasn’t sitting opposite me when the filming was done, as was also the case with his filmed part. Someone had the job of throwing the rice in his face. I think there was only one camera used in the making of the film so we would perform the same sections for altered camera angles. This is common practice though.

Some Polaroids taken on the day

 

YouTube’s algorithm gave me the live version of “Stay Close” and I don’t remember seeing it before but people have told me about it over the years. A couple of questions, if you don’t mind . Firstly, your look is almost Elvis Presley here, at least to my eyes, and maybe I’ve noticed that before but maybe not . By Elvis I mean in general, the mid-’50s through mid-’60s version of that person . I also am referring to that part of that flow of what’s considered handsome that will never go away and that includes people like E.P. but also people like actor Alain Delon, etc. Was Elvis Presley ever a thing for you growing up, like the hits or even the movies he was in ? Were the outfits everyone wore on that tour part of Yukihiro’s clothing line, the BRICKS ? When Y.T. first appears it seems like he’s got mirrors on him but then a lot of other people in the band have sparkly raindrop-type articles of clothing on. The playing is superb on that tour and is really amazing on that song. The sax solos are fantastic and so is the guitar. With regards to the dual drummer segment, how does one rehearse something like that ? Not sure if you and Y.T. are playing exactly the same thing here, though. It’s quite a thunderous sound, the double-drum-kit blast of S.J. and Y.T., almost akin to Taiko. Any thoughts on Taiko ? Have you seen it performed? The basic rhythm has a sort of swing to it.

Elvis’ music didn’t really appeal to me much growing up but I liked watching the colourful Hawaiian movies, although usually a disappointing storyline, (unlike Alain Delon movies). The young Elvis comparison often came up not least of all from my bandmates which I didn’t care for much (and they knew it) mainly because of Elvis’ rock n roll image and how he was plagued by poor imitations, the likes of Shakin’ Stevens, who seemed to be enjoying a string of hits throughout the 80’s presumably purchased by a slightly older generation to mine which made it somewhat ‘uncool’ and a bit of a joke. But in hindsight I should have been more grateful as I would have been lucky to have had even a smidgeon of Elvis’ appeal.

The part of your question about the clothes I can’t recall. A Tweet to YT  … maybe he’ll know.

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Playing the dual drum part of ‘Stay Close’ was virtually no different to playing the part as a single drummer, the only aspect that can cause problems is if the two drummers ‘flam’ beats (not quite hitting at exactly the same time) which could sound messy. It also helps to avoid over complicating things.

I played the Taiko drum on the Tokyo session of the recording title ‘Steel Cathedrals‘.

I’ve seen a few Taiko drum performances, usually in drumming groups such as The Kodo Drummers and yes sometimes there is a swing element to it.