SIAM SHADE feat. Hideki

While the afterglow from the countrywide tour promoting the spectacular SIAM SHADE VI is still present, they're already back with a new album!! What's more it is their first all-English album consisting of two songs translated into English plus three songs already in English, all re-recorded. The album will satisfy also the fans of Western music. We asked the album's key man Hideki about his expectations and ambitions on targeting the world!!

Interview: 杉江由紀 (Sugie Yuki), 加藤祐介 (Katou Yuusuke), 長谷川幸信 (Hasegawa Yukinobu)

Finally aiming at the world! SIAM SHADE's new ambition!!

The maxim “if at first you don't succeed, try, try again” really applies here. Ater finishing their long countrywide tour safely, SIAM SHADE have released their album SIAM SHADE VII on 29.11. However, don't fall off your seats, it is a self-cover album completely in English. How did the “my English grades were always one”-vocalist Hideki end up singing English lyrics so wonderfully?

“I think we'll get fans from those who only listen to Western music.”

――In SIAM SHADE's case, you already had some songs in English on our previous albums. But this album consists of remakes of existing songs translated into English.

“ We wanted to do something a bit different. Since we already released an album (SIAM SHADE VI(1)) this year, I guess we should have released a single next. But the way singles are is changing with the times, and also, it wasn't what we wanted to do at this time. That was when the idea of doing remakes in English was brought up. ”

――Also, you did yourself mention before that you would like to do that sometime.

“ Right. Frankly speaking, there are people who only listen to Western music, you know? I thought that maybe such obstinate people would like our English songs, if they came on the radio and, you know, if the name of SIAM SHADE wasn't revealed. And maybe non-Japanese people would also listen to them. In that sense, I think that such an album was really needed, considering our 'future.' ”

――I heard that this album is going to be released in Korea and elsewhere.

“ This is the first time we could release something outside Japan. You can't release Japanese music in Korea yet, but this we can release. It was in Thailand I think, where it will also be released. Well, that was decided afterwards, but thinking about it now, it was worth doing my best. ”

――Was there anything different in the way you created this album, compared to creating your previous songs in English?

“ I would say everything. How should I put it... The English songs we made before were pretty much created on the spur of the moment, so my pronunciation and things like that were not correct. But this time, the concept being what it was, I did all sorts of things to get those things right. ”

――Was the pronunciation the most difficult part after all?

“ Yep. After all, my English grades were always one. (laughs) Because it was something I couldn't handle on my own, I asked Tim, who had helped us translate lyrics before, to live with me for three weeks and train me intensively for the recording. ”

――It's difficult enough to handle English conversations, but you also had to fit it into the notes.

“ It is nasty, really. With all that, this time Tim translated all of the lyrics and I focused just on the singing. ”

“The biggest thing might have been the feeling of not wanting to be made fun of”

――In some parts the pronunciation of Japanese and English differ completely, but you kept all that in mind, right?

“ That's right. It is really different. The point is that in Japanese you use your lips. You pronounce things by changing the shape of your lips, but with English you make sounds with your throat and you don't change the shape of your lips much. There are sounds that don't exist in Japanese all over the place, like “the sound between ル(ru) and トゥ(tu).” Of course, the pronunciation of “L and R” and “th” are important. Anyway, it's like making an elementary school student read a novel, for a non-native speaker to try to sing perfectly in English. (laughs) ”

――I guess so.

“ But I asked Tim to not give his approval until he thought that no one could find anything to complain about. To get to that level, I sang many times, recording each line on an MD. But thanks to that it has become somewhat unconscious. It has become so natural that when I go to a fast food restaurant and hear “**** please”, I think: “That's not how you pronounce it!” (laughs) ”

――Humans seem to be able to learn anything when pressed enough.

“ You can't do it when someone commands you, but when you yourself decide to do it, you can. And if I create something half-assed here, SIAM SHADE itself would be made fun of. That might have been the biggest thing, the feeling of not wanting to be made fun of. ”

“I thought that, considering our 'future', English lyrics would be necessary”

――While listening to the songs, I thought that when the same song has lyrics in English, the sound and feeling are subtly different. I think it also has to do with the articulation being different, it sounds kind of smoother, or how should I put it.

“ And that was another difficult part. Usually I do sing rather smoothly, but this time I was told many times that, “Hideki, English needs to be sung flowingly.” ”

――And at the same time, there's still the rhythm.

“ That's true. And you have to have attack inside that flow. ”

――That hard work was rewarded. Because of the English lyrics, you can feel the orientation to Western music remarkably in the sound itself.

“ Yeah, the sound is sort of dry, kind of LA sound. Basically we didn't change the sound of the background performances, but I too realized that it really sounds this different just by changing the lyrics. ”

――Do you intend to use this occasion to master English in everyday conversation also?

“ Yes, I intend to, at some point. They say that English is the common language of the world, and I think that as a musician you have to know it. At some point I'd like to live overseas. ”

Live Report!
Mötley Crüe Japan Tour opening act & tour final!!
Mötley Crüe 2000 Japan Tour
“Teach a dimension how to go, go insane!!!!!”
Tōkyō Bay N.K. Hall

A warm applause from Mötley fans

SIAM SHADE was worried that their performance at N.K. Hall would end up being stiff, because it was the members of Mötley Crüe themselves who picked them for the opening act after hearing their songs. However, Hideki, DAITA, KAZUMA, NATIN, and Junji were very relaxed and could easily show off their charm. Reassuring was also the fact that there were many of their fans in the crowd. But what most gave them confidence must have been their new album SIAM SHADE VII, which will be released also in Korea and Thailand. Despite the fact that their performance was only five songs long, and they performed on a narrow stage in front of Mötley's set, the five went as wild as they wanted. And in the end they received a warm applause from Mötley's fans.
National Yoyogi Stadium 1st Gymnasium

Exceptional playing without any rough sides!!

SIAM SHADE's tour “KICK UP THE DUST II” had its final on 11/10 in the National Yoyogi Stadium 1st Gymnasium. The live show began with with the sound of a propeller aircraft which starts the song “Fly High”. They didn't just play a line of their hit singles as the main thing, but also played songs from their newest album one after the other, placed according to their tunings. Because of their exceptional playing ability, even live, you couldn't find any rough sides. Halfway through the show, the piece “Triptych” offered plenty to listen to, as it featured solo time for DAITA, NATIN and Junji. Regrettably, we didn't see a performance that gave full use to the huge stage. Next time I would like to see a fiery show, even if it means that their playing gets a bit sloppy.
Personal Lesson by Hideki!!
Four articles for those who seriously want to take on English lyrics!!
#1 >> Sing flowingly!!
This is difficult, but it is of utmost importance. You should feel a clear flow when everything rhymes. A good way is to record yourself line by line on an MD.
#2 >> Clearly differentiate between L and R!!
When pronouncing L, touch your lower jaw with your tongue. When pronouncing R, you need to touch your upper jaw.
#3 >> Pronounce "th" properly!!
"Th" is pronounced by slightly biting your tongue. You can do it if you don't have some kind of super overbite. (laughs)
#4 >> Make good use of attack!!
Inside the connected flow, attack is still important. The point is to move your mouth vertically, not horizontally.

11/5 Tōkyō Bay N.K. Hall Set List
  2. PRIDE
  5. Don't Tell Lies
11/10 National Yoyogi Stadium 1st Gymnasium Set List
  1. Fly High
  2. Outsider
  3. D.Z.I
  4. BLACK
  5. Allergy
  6. Shangri-la
  8. if
  9. 今はただ…
  10. MOON
  11. Triptych
  13. BLOW OUT
  15. PRIDE
  16. PRAYER
  17. GET A LIFE
  2. Fine weather day
  3. Don't Tell Lies
  4. Dear…

(1) In the magazine it says SIAM SHADE VII, but I guess it must have been a misprint and they meant VI.

Band Yarouze magazine (January 2001) Scans by morgianasama