INTERVIEW AN INTERVIEW FROM GERMAN MAGAZINE "BLACK " (May 2001)



BLACK
I read some interviews with you now but I never found a question concerning the name
JACK OR JIVE. Why did you chose it and what would you like to express through it?

chako I felt the sound of "JACK OR JIVE" pleasant to my ears, so I chose this name for my music
activities. The name JACK OR JIVE has no particular meanings. I have no intentions to
express any messages through this name. If one seeks for meaning in this name
without meaning, they will find out that it represents our music's one aspect, a lyric without
any linguistic meanings.



BLACK Among your latest releases was the Vinyl release of a real opera you did not perform
yourself but which was written and planned by you. What can you tell us about the opera
"Legend of Biwako"? What is it about and how did you come acoss to produce this opera?

chako I had an opportunity to compose that opera by a commission from Noriko Yamamoto,
the opera singer who was the original writer of the opera. She was suffering from a terminal
cancer, and she asked for us to compose for her last original opera work.
This was an epochal work for us, and I was glad that she asked for us. Eventually, she was
not able to perform in the opera, but the opera itself was a success. She died three months
after the opera was performed. I felt some curious coincidence in which the way I met her.
The theme of the opera is about the huge lake in the Shiga prefecture. The historic lake, called
lake Biwa, is often spoken as a symbol of environmental issues. The story was based upon
an image of nature and human co-existing. For there existed a lyric, composing was a
precious experience for me. The outcome was something like a healing music opera.


BLACK How did you realize this (I assume) big project?

chako Yes, surely it was a big project. To be precise, I have to say that I did not realize the project,
but I had a chance to participate in the part of this great project.


BLACK Are you both or is any of you involved in other artistical projects besides JACK OR JIVE
or even besides music? I know that Chako is a calligrapher for example...

chako I am just now collaborating with the Italian band GOR.
Me(CHAKO) loves to paint besides calligraphy.


BLACK Would you say you have a somehow "special Japanese" or "eastern" approach in
what you do? Do you see certain differences in your work or way of working and that of artists
from other countries? If this is so, what do you think that this might be?

chako In my case, I feel that approach on making the work is quite unique.
The image comes the first in my method, so the output is sometimes eastern and sometimes
it's western. I had a strong consciousness of being an Asian along ago, but now I am free from
such feeling. If I faithfully follow the images, the output will be free and beyond such distinction
like eastern or western.


BLACK Usually one tends to associate music from Japan with either extreme forms of
noise-music(mostly referred to as "Japanoise") or J-Pop (often sort of "girl pop" (sometimes
combined with a certain "lolita image") on the other hand.
JACK OR JIVE are pretty different from all these schemes or styles.
The only other Japanese band I could name which might go (or have gone) in a slightly same
direction would be "After Dinner".
How do you see Japanese music in general and your role in it in special?

chako In the Japanese music scene, I don't feel good about KARAOKE culture. KARAOKE culture is
being a main stream in the scene, and music consumed in such scene won't last long.
In other words, music to be consumed is growing its shares. The worst part in this is that such
music has a power in the scene. As a result, music which are not intended for the large music
consumption market will never be heard by the listeners.
Not few people feels that this system is wrong in some ways. A music which has a rhythm and
lyrics deviating from the standard in the market needs someone to explain them individually.
The music's great aspect is that it can move emotion of people without any explanation,
so this situation makes me very sad. As for me, I want the people who feel doubt about
consumption music to know that there is a person like me making a music like this in Japan.


BLACK What are your musical influences?

chako I had no influences from some particular music. In creating the music, I feel the creative
impulse when I experience emotional movement from daily event and stunning event that occur.



BLACK How would you describe the main differences between Japanese and European society?

chako In Europe, individuality is looked as important nature, but in Japan, individuality is still taken as
eccentricity and will be strongly excluded. But I think that most Japanese soon accepts the
individuality as they know other's personality through deep relationship. Japanese must have a
nature of misreading by judging other people's individuality by their first impression.


BLACK Are you religious or at least "spiritual" in some way and has this an influence on your music?

chako It's not too much to say that my music takes birth when I felt something spiritual in the harmony.
Most of the power which moves my soul is always impulsive. It maybe rejoicing, and it maybe
full of sorrow in other hands.



BLACK Before some years you released a collaboration with the German sound-experimentalist
Christoph Heeman under the name "Yukigafuru". Additionally Heemann produced most of
your works. What can you tell us about that project and how came the extensive collaboration
with Christoph Heemann across?

chako I first met with Christoph in 1992 in my first visit to Germany. "YUKIGAFURU" was recorded
together then. After that, recordings were made in 1994 and 1997, but those were not released.
The direct cause of this corroboration was when I was suffering from severe stomach distress
for few days, he called the home doctor and relieved me from the pain. As a result, I accepted his
offer to record together.



BLACK You sometimes work with artists from other artistical fields. The most frequent one is the
textile-designer Seizo Inoue whose designs are on quite some of your album covers and who also
played an important role in the conduction of your opera.
How came this collaboration across? Do you think that his work specially fits your music?

chako He is an old friend of mine, and I have an extreme interaction in ART and music interests with
him. I always ask him to make the jacket's art work, and before he makes the art work, I ask him
to hear the songs in the album. I can trust him for the art work because he understands my
music very well. He makes our costume for the performance in Germany, too. It is oriental and
sometimes speculative. I love those costumes too.


BLACK You released two albums under the name JACK OR JIVE LIGHTS where you realeased some
somehow "lighter" songs which didn't fit the rest of your releases.
Are further releases planned in that direction?

chako There are no new releases scheduled for now.


BLACK I would say that - from what I see in the song titles etc. - you usually digest very serious issues
which also reflect in the music which I would describe as somehow "dark" and serious - but not
hopeless though... Where do you usually take your inspiration from?

chako I feel that you understand my music very well. I assume that everyone have their own borderline
to darkness and seriousness, but I don't have these borderline. I find hope even in the intense
sorrow.I think that this forward looking pain is felt much more when one takes away the
borderline. Talking about the inspiration, in my case, everything starts when my mind get moved.



BLACK You sometimes dedicate Songs - or in the case of "Kenka" whole albums - to certain people
or events. Do these dedications already play a role in the process of creation or are you thinking
about it after finishing them? After which criteria do you choose them?

chako "Kenka" was special for me. Thousands of people dying at once in the earthquake was a tragedy
I never experienced before. This led to the feeling to create this album. For the individual songs,
some of them were recorded right after I get shocked by some TV documentaries.
I turned the anger and the sorrow I felt into the sound. "CHIEKO" in MUJYO is a name of a
Japanese poet's wife. I had a chance to know about her life in a drama, so I made the song for her. Presumably, there seems to be particular event and incident which moves my emotion
greatly. The greater the movement in the emotion is, I get more driven to creating music.
I believe that something which cannot be described by words can be carried by the music
as an image.


BLACK What music do you listen to privately?
Maybe you could name the last 5 records you bought?

chako Well, most of them are quiet songs. There are no particular genre which I prefer.
These are the records which I bought or received recently.
1)ALIO DIE 「LE STANZE DELLA TRASCENDENZA」
2)TLON UQBAR 「LA BOLA PERDIDN」
3)ASIANOVA 「BURNING THE BLUE SKIES BLACK」
4)SAMINGAD 「VOICE OF PUYUMA」
5)EDWARD KA-SPEL 「PUBLIC DISTURBANCE」


BLACK What can we expect from you both in the future?
Do you think of doing any solo-material again?

chako I hope I can finish and release the collaboration album with Italian GOR in this year.
There are no plans for solo activity for now.
I want to visit Germany again next year and perform a LIVE there.


BLACK Have you anything left you would like to say to our readers?

chako In February we performed a LIVE in Germany, but there were some people who heard our music
for the first time. Please listen to our music once! This feeling is growing in intensity inside me.



Special thanx translate by Yakamo