This is the translation of the interview found in the See-Saw Dreamfield Shinseido sampler.
-First of all , please tell me when and how you formed See-Saw.
(Kajiura Yuki) Chiaki’s elder sister and I were classmates in highshool, and she was a member of a band, 15 SAND(Ichigo sand), whose name is cute.(interviewer’s note: I’ve heard that its name is “15″ because they formed it when they were 15 years old.). I joined them as a keyboardist after I had graduated from highschool. That started the whole thing. Chiaki’s elder sister was a member of them as a drammer,and Chiaki later joined them as a vocalist.
-What kind of band was “15 sand” ?
(Kajiura) It had been a copy band till I joined it. They performed anything such as “Of Course” and “TOTO” and “Ozaki Ami” ― They performed any songs they wanted to perform. It was very fun.
-What singers did you like in those days?
(Kajiura) I’ve been influenced by Mike Oldfield even now.
(Ishikawa Chiaki) I don’t have so-called “the singer I adore”. At first “15-sand” was a copy band, but they came to perform fewer and fewer songs they copied since Kajiura came to compose more and more her songs. Because of that, I found it very fun that I first sing original songs. That made me very positive. So I don’t have a certain person who made me want to be a singer.
-By the way, what was the first CD you bought?
(Chiaki) It’s “Monta & Brothers”my mother asked me to buy.
(Kajiura) I guess it was either “ABBA” or “the Beatles” ,but I can’t remember.
-Had you thought about being a musician since your childhood?
(Chiaki) Not at all. I found myself being a musician.
(Kajiura) “15 SAND” continued till our graduation from university, but we once gave up our band activity due to job hunting and working. Later the three―I, Chiaki, Nishioka Yukiko― restarted our activity, renaming us See-Saw.
-What is the origin of the name See-Saw?
(Kajiura) As it is, a see-saw that is in a park. We sit on a see-saw face-to-face, don’t we? Sometimes our eyes meet and part, and sometimes we bring and lose a balance― I thought it was interesting as it’s like human relationships.
-Your first album was released in 1993. Looking back to ten years ago, how do you feel about that?
(Chiaki) I feel embarrassed.
(Kajiura) When I listen to the songs and recordings of that time, I think I was able to make many of them only at that time because music is perishable.Those songs are dear to me because I can’t absolutely write those songs and lyrics now. Though it’s my pleasure that many people listen to them, when I listen to them now, I think “Please let me remake this part !!” about once in 15 minutes.
-At the live of October last year, you performed your old songs in your present interpretation. How was it?
(Kajiura) Though the arrangement of the songs were changed, they became very simple as I thought the melodies most important.
-How about the lyrics?
I didn’t feel much odd. I think, it is because of my old self that my present self exists.
-Certainly, as long as I listen to your first album, I can feel very much that you are enjoying present.
(Kajiura) Technique can’t make that feeling.
-After you had released two albums and temporarily suspended the activity as See-Saw, each of you had been doing musical activities individually. How did you come to perform as See-Saw again?
(Kajiura) When I was charged with the OST of TV-animation “NOIR”, director Mashimo asked me for an insert song and I picked out “Indio”. This was, in fact, my own song that has exsisted since a long time ago. I wrote its lyrics when I was very young. And I hit on an idea that this song would go well with”NOIR” because this anime expressed pitifulness of the young girls. So that I thought only Chiaki was able to sing this.
-She named you in much hope as the singer of the song. What did you do when you received her request?
(Chiaki) I accepted it , saying “OK”. I think I was light-hearted, looking back on that now.
-After that, you made the opening and ending themes of “.hack//SIGN” at quite a pace. I think many people got interested in “obsession” when they saw the commercial of “.hack//SIGN”. That was certainly the beginning of “New See-Saw221;, right?
(Kajiura) It was soon after we restarted See-Saw, so I honestly didn’t think of the future. I made “obsession” light-heartedly, feeling like ” I can perform with Chiaki again.”. I was originally writing “obsession” as the ending theme instead of the opening. I was going to write English lyrics first and rewrite them into Japanese later on. The melody, however, didn’t match Japanese lyrics. And I thought the melody was suitable for an opening , far from an ending. I worried, “As this is a Japanese anime, isn’t an English song good?”. But the director said “All right” very easily. Then “Yasashii Yoake”, which we were first going to use as the opening, was used as the ending.
-You were in charge of Anime songs in a row, such as “NOIR” and “.hack//SIGN”. Did you personally like animes?
(Chiaki) I often watched them, such as “Gundam”, “Waga seishun no Arcadia” , “Genma Taisen” and “Galaxy Express 999″and so on.
(Kajiura) I didn’t have a TV when I was a junior high school and high school student.So I didn’t watch animes at all.
-When you write anime songs, is “anime” the concept of the songs?
(Kajiura) Yes. But I write such songs with images I get from settings and scenarios, because films are yet to be completed when I write songs. In my case, directors often say to me “I’ll leave it up to you.” and ” Just make cool songs, please.”.
-What has changed since 10 years ago, as you restart See-Saw?
(Kajiura) I set up See-Saw’s homepage. There were no such things 10 years ago, so listeners’ impressions didn’t directly reach musicians. Now that listeners easily comment on a message board and such. Listening to music is very personal experience, isn’t it? It is the greatest pleasure for musicians to hear each listeners’ voice.
-And then finally, for the first time in eight years, your third album is released on Feb 21. What meaning does the title”Dream Field” have?
(Kajiura) One of the meanings is, that I’ve made songs for openings and endings of animes, which are fiction(=dream) . And the other is,that a new song named “Dream Field” was going to be the title song. In terms of recording capacity, however, that is not contained in the album. I was not sure whether to contain “edge”, too. When I listed all of the songs, I found this song was a little too characteristic to contain in the album. This time I didn’t contain it because I wanted to emphasize a flow of the songs.
-What is “Dream” for both of you, specifically?
(Kajiura) I’m very embarrassed… hmm… I wonder what it is …
-It’s “present”, right?
(Chiaki) I should live in the present! Not the future, nor the past.
(Kajiura) That is to say, it’s “playing music”, I guess.
-This album is almost the best album since it contains a lot of opening and ending themes. If you were to explain the concept of this album, what would you say?
(Chiaki) Certainly, the worldview of “.hack” had a great influence on this album. But I think Kaji-chan(Kajiura) would have made the same songs even without “.hack” . The worldview of See-Saw’s lyrics are originally like this kind. I think the worldview of “.hack” suited our songs. So I would say it is ” meeting”.
-This album has a strong impression of fictional worldview.
(Kajiura) I’ve been fond of songs that get me out of the real world. I like operas. Operas are utterly that kind of world, aren’t they? Beyond the space of an opera house, they weave another fantastic space for four hours. I love such songs with view of other worlds―like songs that distort rooms’ size when I listen to in my room. When I make melodies in my own sweet way, they become that kind. Lyrics like “I bought three radishes and found them cheap～♪” won’t match such songs! It would be like “A traveler searching for eternity～♪” instead.
-How do you write lyrics?
(Chiaki) As soon as I received a music sheet, I record the melody at my house. And I sing it with the words I’ve come up with. So I improvise most of my lyrics.
-Don’t you have something like a “lyrics notebook”?
(Chiaki) Such thing isn’t good for me. Like a diary, I can’t help but feel embarrassed and laugh when I see what I’ve written before.
-After finishing the album, how do you feel about the all 13 songs?
(Kajiura) Honestly speaking, I think this is a masterpiece.
(Chiaki) I guess this expresses more “See-Sawness” than our first and second albums.
-What is your favorite song?
(Chiaki) It’s “Senya ichiya”.
(Kajiura) For me, it’s “Natsu no tegami”, a new song.
-What are you planning for your activities after this album?
(Chiaki) I’d like to have a little break because I had run too much last year (note: “run” is a metaphor)
-What kind of things do you want to perform?
(Kajiura) I want to perform something like rock. I’d like to use more guitars. For example, like Collage. (note: I’m not sure whether she means a band “Collage”. http://www.collage.art.pl/ or not.) And songs that use only strings. I think also a song of only Chiaki and a strings quartet will be interesting.
(Chiaki) I want to cover some songs. I’d like to sing various singers’ songs as Ishikawa Chiaki. As See-Saw, I want to sing wriggling songs with more choruses than ever, feeling like they are instruments named voice, rather than vocals.
-In the end, please tell me your resolution of 2003.
(Chiaki) I’m pleased to release this new album on Feb 21. I want to hear listeners’ comments soon.
(Kajiura) I want to live this year to the fullest. Now I’m in a situation that I can make songs pleasantly in. I want to face each song and make good songs.
January 18, victor entertainment, Aoyama, Tokyo
Translation by oolong