Translation of the Parallel Hearts interview with Yuki Kajiura. Thanks to ninetales for the translation!
The producer of the music for the TV anime “Pandora Hearts” is Kajiura Yuki-san! And the OP theme song “Parallel Hearts” from FictionJunction is released on March 29!
The new program “Pandora Hearts” begins in March on TBS. The manager of the show’s music, Kajiura Yuki-san works as a melody-maker. Kajiura-san’s solo project FictionJunction is in charge of the OP theme song. The four vocalists Kaori-san, Keiko-san, Wakana-san and Yuriko Kaida-san were appointed to perform this theme song, “Parallel Hearts”, in Kajiura-san’s lives. With a painful and tempestuous melody, the fusion of richly beautiful chorus work that stretches itself around untold layers gives the final touch to this wonderful pieces. Again the performance and live members go forward, and create a sound that has live emotions.
The coupling piece “Hitomi no Chikara” is one with the vocals of Yuuka-san, who has sang many of Kajiura-san’s songs as FictionJunction YUUKA. It’s a self-cover of the famous music she sang only once while in Minamiaoyama Young Ladies’ Opera Troupe (!?). Yuuka-san’s songs mostly have simple composition, with Kajiura-san’s piano as a backing track; they are an entirely different type of music that has the flavor of a medium ballad. The sentimental philosophy of love that anyone could sympathize with can draw lyrics that strike your heart.
When “Parallel Hearts” releases in July, they’ll begin the new (someplace) live tour. In August, it’s been decided that they’ll appear in “Animelo Summer Live 2009”. In Kajiura-san’s more-and-more active 2009, supplies are inexhaustible. She also has various other plans. Can we catch a glimpse of the full story in this interview!?
PART ONE: From here, you’ve unified the name of FictionJunction (!?)
Interviewer: What were your thoughts when you read the original work of “Pandora Hearts”?
Kajiura: I looked at the illustrations before reading the original work, and I thought they were pretty. Even the title was RPG-esque, with the risks, so I thought it was a cheerfully fun world. But when I got the original work from the producers, they said, “This is definitely a Kajiura-san-like work,” for some reason. When I started to read, the impressions of the pictures were different: the main characters Oz and Alice were cheerful, like a boy and girl, but it was very deep behind that world. As I advanced through the volumes, the deepness increased; time and space grew broad; I thought it was a work that was deep inside.
I: I think it’s a work where riddles whirl, and it has a splendid range of feelings – Gothic, action, mystery…
K: Oh, it’s definitely Gothic, action, and mystery (laughs). You can’t take it in all at once. I think it has a charm that pulls you in.
I: So being in charge of the music in this work, what sort of image music could you create?
K: The director told me, “If it’s characters, it’s character music; if it’s places, it’s place music; I want you to make something for each personality.” There’s a lot of music that expresses the world of the drama, and a lot of music that has a mysterious atmosphere.
I: You’re also in charge of the other music, the OP theme “Parallel Hearts”, and this time the name is just FictionJunction…
K: I think the OO part of “FictionJunction OO” (is that the Japanese version of “insert name here”?) can be taken out from now on. If when you change the vocalist, the artist name changes, all the various changes are terribly annoying; that’s the simple reason (laughs). Furthermore, in the case of the vocalists being four people like this time, it’d be a very long name…… (laughs). Even if I were to change the vocalists, it’s basically my subject anyway, so from here’s it just “FictionJunction”. In FictionJunction YUUKA’s case, I thought saying “featuring” was okay in the albums and lives I’ve put together with her, but there’s a possibility of me putting things together with various vocalists from now on.
I: In the official anime blog, there was a mention last December of your candidacy for the music, and in keeping with the image of your music there was great admiration.
K: First of all, in the beginning I didn’t know what to create, but the producers said to me, “Let’s go here.” The music they could use was, even for me, music that was tried again. I still couldn’t do the recording and so on, but the music had already been decided and when I reported it to everyone at the live late last year, it was fun (laughs).
PART TWO: Even though the look of the world is dark, they sang about positive feelings
I: What sort of images were you able to create?
K: In this work, from the part that’s very deep like black darkness, there’s a story that paints Oz’s growth, so it has various worldviews. For the OP piece there isn’t deep darkness; it’s a piece I wrote focusing on the positive emotions of Oz growing up.
I: This time you appointed Kaori-san, Keiko-san, Wakana-san and Yuriko Kaida-san as the vocalists. But how did you decide where to position them?
K: It’s like a live. I’ve used those four people more and more in lives; those times are very comfortable, and I think “This is nice” while watching them in the back. Those feelings of such coolness, which I wanted to make use of in the “Pandora Hearts” OP, just sprouted in it. I feel that those four songstresses express their feelings fully while they play harmonies, and that exactly matches the musicality of it.
I: You’re including strings even in the musical performances, but it’s a wonderfully simple performance.
K: The other day, the first collected album of FictionJunction’s songs, “Everlasting Songs” came out, and when I listened to those old songs, I thought, “Those times were simpler.” If I try thinking about arrangements that fit those melodies, I can’t really mix it up well. Even if I make the simple style that best fits the melody, I think it’s just okay. I’ve even used violin intros so many times in the past, and I won’t change that against my will; I keep thinking, “I want to try doing what I want to do,” about the band arrangements, and they sing to everyone what I keep thinking. While it’s good and simple the vocal and chorus are well enough, but it’s still complicated (laughs).
I: In order for it to be simple, it seems like each of the four vocals needs to be active. It’s on your mind until the chorus part.
K: I don’t think about having highlight scenes for the singers in the usual FictionJunction pieces. It’s a melody that I think is beautiful, I write a piece that I think is beautiful, so it’s a style where the vocalists sing what fits the piece. This time I decided for four people to sing, created each highlight scene, and the meaning it has is that they seem to sing in order, so I created a very artificial-sounding chorus part. Because I could make the piece, it was the assignment where I thought about lines and the height of sound that best fits each person, and created the second-half complicated chorus part. Wakana and Kaori are in the main part while Keiko and Yuriko Kaida do the chorus, but FictionJunction are extremely important in the chorus part, because it won’t be the same piece if there isn’t upper and lower harmony. I think it’s audible in the beginning of the second turn and the second half’s solo part.
I: What meaning is there in the title “Parallel Hearts”?
K: To begin with, when I wrote the lyrics, I wrote the title part of “Pandora Hearts”; from the start, the word “Hearts” wasn’t separate. Originally, I’d thought to create a theme of the heart’s distance. The distance of Oz’s heart and Alice’s heart, and the other characters’ hearts. Later, when I thought of a word that wasn’t “Pandora”, I thought of a heart that wasn’t close to a parallel line, so “Parallel Hearts”. But I felt, “This has become a title that’s close to the anime, sorry!” (laughs)
I: So you felt the depth of something “Parallel”. It’s like something you’re always next to, but never close to.
K: In a parallel line, you’re side by side seeing two-dimensionally, but if you already look from the side, it’s overlapping. Completely change the distance and the viewpoint, and even if you think you’re terribly separated, it might not be that way at all.
PART THREE: In the PV, we’re entering what hasn’t been done till now!
I: Did you think about writing the lyrics very much?
K: Of course I considered the subject following the work’s worldview and characters, and stopped using difficult words as much as possible. I wanted to make simple, easy-to-convey lyrics. I thought, “I want to write unadorned things.” Basically, I’m thinking that what the people who listen to this tune and the people who read the lyrics feel is the truth.
I: How exactly did you advance to recording?
K: It went very well. I did the arrangement without hesitation, it wasn’t a piece that seemed to puzzle the singers, and we did it with all our strength. As a matter of fact, the band’s tempo was quite fast, but the singing had a big rhythm; even if I was conscious of it, I talked about it. There were almost no worrisome things, and with it being an easy-to-grasp song, it was finished in a short amount of time.
I: It has much of a “live you listen to” feeling, but are you able to perform in lives with the same members?
K: Even this time, I requested the members who performed in the lives. I’m aware of the next live, so from in recording I said something like, “I want the live to come quickly!”
I: So you filmed the PV, and the location is a mysterious space.
K: It’s a place that did rice distribution in wartime, so nowadays only a reflecting wall of bricks remain. It was the optimum place for filming. On the day of filming, it was cold, but otherwise the weather was good.
I: Although you make phantom-like images for FictionJunction YUUKA (“FJY” from now on) PVs, they also feature many cuts. Are there many cuts this time too?
K: Yes, there are. There are many singers this time, so it took a while.
I: In FJY PVs, there are scenes where you appear, for just a little space; you might possibly be not appearing again, but your turn this time is…?
K: The rate at which I appear is large (laughs). At the beginning of FJY, I wrote only songs without piano, not on purpose, but I wasn’t in the PVs. This time I could appear many times at the piano.
I: I can see stormy playing scenes, the same as in the lives.
K: Because of the lives, I play loudly.
I: So did you listen to this song (Parallel Hearts) again?
K: Of course I listened; when the four songstresses sing in a carefree manner, and the arrangement is simple, it was easy to listen to and I want to savor the charm of the songstresses. Since I wrote this song for the work “Pandora Hearts”, please enjoy it along with the work.
PART FOUR: The song from the early days in the South is revived! Yuuka “seems to become my ‘prime self’, which is frightening”
I: So the coupling song, “Hitomi no Chikara”, is a completely antithesis-like medium ballad.
K: Actually, it’s quite an old song. When I got to know Yuuka while she and I were working in Minamiaoyama Young Ladies’ Opera Troupe, we did activity in plays and musicals, I wrote pieces for lives, and she sang that only one time. But more and more I thought I wanted Yuuka to sing for me, and I considered her singing that song when in FJY; but I felt that the piece’s gentleness didn’t fit with FJY’s worldview, so I temporarily abandoned it. “Parallel Hearts” had that gentle music, and although it was an antithesis-like melody it wasn’t a gentle companion. And my longtime wish came true.
I: The sound of Yuuka-san’s voice and the piano seems to penetrate the heart……
K: Yuuka being a singer with acting skills, you can listen to your heart’s content to a song with a piano. With a simple arrangement, the beginning is piano throughout, and I firmly controlled my feelings of “I want to make a change in band around here” and put in little sounds till the end (laughs).
I: Till now, in the best FJY songs I’ve listened to, there’s an ordinary realness.
K: I can say the same thing about Yuuka. “On the contrary, it’s frightening.” (laughs) If FJY pieces don’t enter the world and she doesn’t sing them, I also can’t sing them myself. I’ve said, “This piece being so ‘prime’ is difficult. I can’t make such a face.” She wrote this piece 10 years ago, and back then I think she wanted to sing gentle songs rather than harder ones, which explains the subject. When I carefully looked at its lyrics after a long time, I thought, “Even I could write such gentle lyrics!” (laughs)
I: They’re lyrics that resound in the heart of people who are falling in love, especially people for whom love was over.
K: I think regretting being unable to convey your feelings is something everyone knows. It’s like, “Somehow or other, I think I understand it.” First love or second love, you can fall into such a trap. Based in reflections like, “Even such things, mutually, I can’t understand,” I carefully made it from the next stage of love (laughs).
I: When I listened to the piece in advance, I was surprised as I thought it was a different type of singing, though when Yuuka sings it isn’t noticeable. In the recording, did you give it something of that direction?
K: I didn’t really. There were things like “I’d like to firmly sing those words there,” and “This part is emphasized,” and talking about small places, but Yuuka is the type that sings once she’s digested the song from me. I didn’t have to explain about the lyrics. I say something like “I wish I could explain” a lot, but she says, “I want to try doing it myself!” (laughs) Basically, I say to everyone, “It’s okay even if you don’t understand what I continue writing.” If, when you read the lyrics, scenery is visible to you, that’s good. Because it’s impossible to continue conveying the scenery that’s in my head when I write the lyrics 100%. I think that, with the image that can come to mind from the words and melody, if you keep singing it’ll be okay.
I: In spite of there being only two songs in this single, it’s wonderful to have five people singing, for FictionJunction.
K: It’s certainly an extravagance. It’s impossible to really talk about this single. It’s about the wonderful singers gathering, but it also gives me my motive power, and I think, “Everyone, this is awesome.” I can be happy just listening to the talented singers singing, and recording is fun too. I can create musical works I like, I can work together with the singers and band that I like. So this became one thing that gives me happiness.
PART FIVE: The tours give me energy, and it never stops!
I: If there are pieces in “Parallel Hearts” that you can be aware of in lives, there’s a chance to listen immediately next month.
K: On May 9, there’ll be the first debut of a “Pandora Hearts” event. And in July, we’ve got plans to go sing (somewhere) for the “FictionJunction Yuki Kajiura LIVE Vol.#4~Everlasting Songs Tour 2009~”.
I: Since it’s your first (somewhere) tour, what sort of subjects does it seem to bring up?
K: It’s been organized into two parts: the first part is FictionJunction YUUKA, while the second part is FictionJunction, which has accepted Kaori, Keiko, Wakana and Yuriko Kaida who’ve sung “Parallel Hearts”. After the release of “Everlasting Songs”, we have plans to report on the heart of the album. It’s still in the middle of the chosen songs, but it’s in the heart of the Japanese-language pieces, and till now it’s been the best of the live although I think that there’s a high ratio of Japanese-language songs (laughs). I think being on the stage makes it easy to have fun, even for the people who haven’t seen my lives yet, so please certainly come to visit.
I: In addition to your composition work, the May “Pandora Hearts” event, the May 16th Kalafina live, the July live tour, the “Animelo Summer Live” appearance in August, and a performance at an event going to the US (??)…you’re carrying “busy” to extremes!
K: I don’t feel much about the lives having work. When I’m working on pieces I’m completely in work mode, but in lives it’s like extended playtime. So I seldom think of it being terrible. First of all, if I’m not having fun, I think no one else can have fun. Events are that way, but with fans who listen it’s a firsthand thing; and when I can meet them, it’s good when they have a lot of directly true feelings and reaction about the music and performance. Every time, it gives me energy, and the best part is that I can never run out of fun.
PART SIX: I want to have fun in the fan club. Please look forward to it in ’09!
I: Please tell us about other plans you have from here.
K: I’m doing work on the “Pandora Hearts” soundtrack, and I’m in charge of the music for “Rekishi Hiwa Historia”, which started on NHK in April. Also, the fan club event is getting close. I want it to have different live feelings than the usual lives. I’m working with all my might in the fanclub that started from this spring, so if you have interest in what I think will be fun for everyone, please visit my official home page to start.
I: Lastly, please send a message to everyone.
K: “Parallel Hearts” is a piece I created while thinking various things about “Pandora Hearts”. Beginning with the protagonist Oz, I included the characters that wish for a bright future. Please enjoy this work in the same way. Also, the four songstresses in FictionJunction tried their best on it, and when you hear their lovely singing voices you’ll certainly want to listen. From now on, I have plans for events and lives, participating in a CD in July with the live tour that has everything the songstresses have worked in; and being able to meet with everyone who’s joined “Animelo Summer Live 2009” will be enjoyable. Even after this, I hope you’ll please help me continue to play and try my best to create music that’s wonderful to listen to.