Skip to main content

Grassroots Spirit for Music that Deserves Better: Hedigan’s Interview Part 2

2024.4.25

#MUSIC


YONCE, also known as Yosuke Kawakishi from Suchmos, launched the band Hedigan’s with his old friends. As mentioned in the first part of the interview, we learned about the band’s formation. In the second part, we delved deeper into their perspectives on “music” and “band,” starting from the background of their first EP, “2000JPY,” and how their worldview is reflected in their music.

In the first part, drummer Take Ouchi referred to himself as a “music practitioner,” and in the music of Hedigan’s, we hear sounds and words that seem to emerge as if guided by music itself. Hence, the music reflects the band’s deep-rooted love for roots music and their countercultural spirit, while YONCE’s outlook on life and society comes across in an unadorned manner. While Hedigan’s distances itself from the deliberate creation of music, they are not striving for grandeur. However, YONCE’s parting words, “I hope music becomes something even more wonderful,” are particularly significant. Once again, I reiterate the words written in the first part: Hedigan’s confronts the fundamental allure of “music” and “band.”

YONCE’s Perspective on Expression: Satisfaction in Spontaneity

-Which was the first song you wrote after starting Hedigan’s?

Ouchi: While we were recording The Street Sliders, we asked ourselves, “If everyone’s in the mood, why don’t we try a little arrangement of our own song? I think we were asked to play “Preachy Old Man’s Rumba.

YONCE: I shared my voice memo with them and asked them to listen to it. I wrote the lyrics to “Preachy Old Man’s Rumba,” “Salsberg,” and “Love (XL)” in my first or second year at Corona, when I was a stay-at-home kid. I was writing lyrics all the time when I was staying at home, and I recorded voice memos of the songs I liked and tried to add chords and songs to them.

-So you had been writing songs before you started Hedigan’s.

YONCE: The way I think about songs hasn’t changed. I started with “It’s so dark in the world, I wonder why” and tried to put something concrete to it. I had no motivation to release the song, but rather just recorded it for the time being in a way that was similar to excretion, not to organize my feelings. When I decided to do it with this lineup, I asked everyone to listen to it, thinking it might be interesting to touch on this part.

Ouchi: When we had just finished recording The Street Sliders and were playing around with making demos, we were halfway through my birthday project (a concert held on July 10, 2023, in which eight of Ouchi’s bands gathered), and I recklessly asked them, “Why don’t you think about doing one live performance here? We decided to arrange one live show for the event.

YONCE: That’s right. So, at the time, rather than aiming for a sound package, we were writing songs with the idea of trying to create something that would be easy and fun to play live.

-When it came to recording, was the Kurita brothers’ studio “STUDIO DIG.” and engineer Terry a big part of your work? You mentioned Terry (Hiroki Ito) as “the sixth member” during the live shows on the tour.

YONCE: I think “Hedigan’s” might mean Terry. He takes care of all the sound sculpting.

Ouchi: We might be the material [laughs].

YONCE: Yes. I feel like we are just ingredients for Terry’s cooking. We first went into the studio in Shimokita. That time is deep in my memory. It made me realize that I wasn’t suited to making music according to the reserved time, looking at the clock and saying, “I’ve got this song in mind for about this time, and the next song will take about this much time. On the other hand, when I was at STUDIO DIG., I didn’t spend a lot of time playing instruments or coming up with ideas all the time, but rather, when we were having a chat over a cup of tea, an idea would pop up and someone would go into the booth and say, “I’ll go do some work. I think it’s a very good way to create an open atmosphere. And then there is Terry, who responds immediately. I think we are in a very rare environment to be able to do music.

-The atmosphere, the sound, and the content and attitude of the songs are all consistent with each other. If I were to put it into words, I would say that it is a counter to capitalism and efficiency.

YONCE: Maybe it is largely embodied in the way we do things. In short, rather than striving to make what we have proposed “true,” we simply accept the status quo as it is. I don’t think there is much that one person can control.

Ouchi: For the past several years or so, it has become difficult to know how much to play to the lyrics. Everyone puts their heart and soul into writing lyrics, and drummers should pay attention to the lyrics when they play, but lately I prefer to play without worrying too much about the lyrics. It’s not like, “I’m saying these words, so I’m going to create this worldview. It’s more like we melt into the sound.

YONCE: That’s completely true. I am satisfied when the words come out of my body, so I have no desire to make them reach the listener. I have many thoughts about lyrics when I listen to music, but when I output them, I don’t want them to be misinterpreted or conveyed in a way that is inconsistent. Because it’s impossible. You have to let the other person measure you according to their own criteria. It is not music for lyrics, but music for music.

Ouchi: If you want to convey the message correctly, you should say it directly [laughs]. There is no need to use a band. So they say they are going to mislead you greatly.

YONCE: If I may say so, the “manner of defeat” is already “funny. There is a sense of laughter, as if you can laugh at it or not. But it doesn’t really matter.

RECOMMEND

NiEW’S PLAYLIST

NiEW recommends alternative music🆕

NiEW Best Music is a playlist featuring artists leading the music scene and offering alternative styles in our rapidly evolving society. Hailing from Tokyo, the NiEW editorial team proudly curates outstanding music that transcends size, genre, and nationality.

EVENTS