Phew this took me a while.
Thanks to Spring-san for the extra help.
Considering that yui still hasn’t written a Diary in more than a year and that either live or TV (or even magazine) appearances are scheduled, it seems like the waiting game is still on. The most probable is that we won’t be hearing from yui again this year. But even despite all that, it really looks like yui is working hard to recover and come back to do music. After reading this interview it really seems like there is still a lot FLOWER FLOWER to look forward in the (hopefully not so distant) future.
FLOWER FLOWER releases their first single after yui got married and gave birth.
A mail interview about their resumption of activities, and how they embrace their evolution with the songs “Takaramono” and “Honou”.
Questions for FLOWER FLOWER
Takaramono is a song that was performed at concerts even before the band started their activities officially. You said that the song was recorded a second time with the purpose of including “the band’s current feelings”. Why did you decide to release “the current Takaramono” as your first single?
Thank you very much. In the time I was allowed to rest, the engineer Uni-san gave me a special mix of the song as a birthday present and said “It would be nice if this song came out for the world to hear”. The band members also told me they loved the song. So that was the beginning of it all.
I started thinking that this was a significant song with a strong presence within FLOWER FLOWER.
We recorded the song time ago at a studio in Hokkaido. But when we got together and made music again after that long period I felt that the atmosphere and groove of the band had changed.
I liked the previous version too, but I proposed them that I wanted to hear the current “Takaramono”.
After deciding the release of the new single, the band members brainstormed about what song would be the most suitable for the title. Squeezing for a candidate we also continued recording one extra song. At the time we also wanted to do a current take for “Takaramono”. When we did that, we realised the new version was better than we imagined. Yui’s current feelings after getting married and giving birth granted a great sense of reality to Takaramono’s lyrics. You are listening to a song devoted to yui’s godfather. But the new recording has a personal impact, because it also became a song of yui having a family of her own. She is not including her own feelings in this song. Also, the performance of the bandmembers is simple, somewhat gentle, but the sound is deep. We included all the emotions experienced through these near 2 years we spent without working. It’s the song that represents our feelings the most. So it became the title of the single. That’s the most important factor for sure.
When the band had just started, yui-chan played Takaramono for us. We joined her guitar and started performing together. In an instant we had finished a prototype of the final arrangement.
I think the arrangement itself at that time was almost the same. Later, during the secret lives and the short tour, the version of “Takaramono” we performed became an important song that consolidated the beginning of FF.
By the time this release was about to be announced and we thought of recording Takaramono to turn it into a single, we didn’t plan about making just one song. We thought of making yet another song with a different world view.
In the first album “Mi”, we already had a recording of “Takaramono” to be included, but it didn’t make it to the final cut. So we decided to use that song for the announcement of this single. But yui-chan’s way to treat the lyrics had changed, so that would make the song to have a different atmosphere. If we used the old music, her voice would sound disconnected. In the end, we made a current take of “Takaramono”.
When I compare this take to the older one, I experience many things. Yui-chan’s voice and guitar atmosphere have changed, but I like her current self. As for my drums, I also managed to do a better performance. I’m happy that we re-recorded it.
We had other candidates, but we have been performing this song ever since the band was formed. It feels like this is the song that started everything, so making it the first single was a natural decision.
It seems like the second song, “Honou” was completed in 2016 after you restarted the music sessions. What kind of work flow did you use? Also, you didn’t have such sessions with FLOWER FLOWER in a long time, and I feel a new scope in these sounds. What kind of feedback did you get?
From the moment I walked into the studio, just like before, I’m always insecure about whether or not the music will work out. From the moment the sounds started to come out I could shake the tension away and I had a strange sensation as if I returned to that time.
But the times of the previous works were also different. I feel that more relaxed sounds have been born now.
After 2 years we went to the recording studio and started making music the 4 or us. By doing so I felt thrilled and excited. I also felt a bit insecure somehow (Haha). But as soon as the sounds came out, we simply had fun. Murajun beat the piano vigorously as usual, sacchan played his perverted beats looking cool. yui made roaring sounds with her guitar at a step I couldn’t understand. Combining the memories of the band and the sounds we were creating. When we took a short break, someone was making sounds. Someone was still piling up sounds in there. When I heard something that resembled a song. Yui was playing improvised melodies and lyrics. That’s the kind of flow we have had ever since we formed the band, and that hasn’t changed. With such haphazard session after two years is that the song “Honou” came to life in the blink of an eye.
The impressive words “kimi no watashi ni natte” (Become the “me” that’s yours) were already present by the time of the music session, but the song had a reggae rhythm in the beginning (Haha).
It was good to recognize under a new light that as usual FLOWER FLOWER’s creation process is fast!
But the thing that makes me happier than anything is the fact that the 4 of us could make music again after two years.
We have only released an album and a mini album, so there are many songs yet to release until we can say “This is the sound of FLOWER FLOWER!”
This time is also possible that you will hear new grounds in “Honou”, but there are more songs with even newer frontiers!
Please look forward to it!
The music session felt as they usually do, but someone is appropriately doing cords and phrases, or someone is presenting rhythm patterns, and the others will react. When it all comes together yui-chan starts humming a melody. We will record the whole process and then we listen the recording together. Then we pick the parts that might become a song and make a composition adding or removing details until the song is completed. Honou was made exactly like that. Nothing has changed (Haha) In both, the music sessions we had long ago and the ones we had recently, our songs are created and finished whenever we join our respective sounds and feel it together. I think it’s a mysterious band.
When we started one session, mafumafu or I started presenting a reggae-like pattern. I remember that was the first melody we came up with we made. Re-listening the recordings we thought “we could use this”, “this could be a song”. So we started a regular pre-production. But later I felt that if I used a hiphop beat it would suit the song better, so I changed it completely. But I think we should use the atmosphere of that reggae beat somewhere. So I tried to include a segment with an dancehall reggae or militant beat atmosphere. Also, mafumafu included many phrases, murajun played a synthesizer with an 80’s feel. The way we make songs has not changed since we started, but when we finished we now have a more playful mood. I think we allowed ourselves to have more fun.
In the end I beat the drums frantically, as if in a festival uproar. But I play in a stoic fashion so the heat of my heart won’t be visible, and yet it all explodes by the end of the song. That’s how I feel personally.
Being inspired by the sounds like this, and the atmosphere that yui-chan puts into the lyrics and voice is something that was not present in the album “Mi”. I would like you to put special attention in her voice in the first place. Please look forward to it!!!!
Doing a music session after a long time I felt like there is something amazing about this band for sure. Compared to the first time, I feel like I have also grown better. I developed the intuition to understand what kind of melody yui wants to sing. Conversely, when I let myself being led by her melody I know what type of music I should perform. I was able to restore the experiences I have learned from the past few years and apply them into the band’s own expression.
Anyway, music sessions are a lot of fun.
Questions for yui
You had to take a break due to an illness. After that, you gave birth to your children, so your life must have changed a lot. Has your way to face music creation changed as Zell? In that regard, in what way did you decide to restart your activities with FLOWER FLOWER?
I’ve been rescued from many incidents and issues. I think I have strongly healed from all of them.
There has been many difficult things that occupied my mind all this time. But now things are slowly becoming easier to manage.
Both “Takaramono” and “Honoo” revolve mainly around the theme of “Love”. It seems like to you, the topic of “Love and Affection is consistent throughout all your works. Under the name of “YUI”, also on the albums “Mi” and “Shiki” with FLOWER FLOWER and now with “Takaramono” is also the case. It seems that with each passing work, you become more and more inclined to sing songs that imply the importance of “love”. What do you think about that?
I think that no matter the subject, love is always lurking around, but there are many things that I didn’t know about. Even if I imagined them, there are things that I haven’t experienced personally. But still, I have managed to experience multicolored types of love and I think it is a good thing that have had a great impact in my lyrics and my voice.
Like I thought, this band is amazing.
A year and a half after the release of the mini album “Shiki”, their first single, “Takaramono” has arrived. “Takaramono” was performed since the earliest live performances. it starts with the verse “If you ever die, take away my breath too.” It’s a balade with with a mood that resembles a “singing to one’s own accompaniment” song. Inside the minimalistic sound design, from the deepest parts, it sings about the connection and love between two people. It’s a song characteristic of the yui that has been singing to the shivers of the heart for more than 10 years.
On the other side, “Honou”, was completed after returning to music sessions this year. The sound approach of this “lovers rock” makes you feel like floating and it’s very fresh. With a comfortable loop groove, yui sings “I become who you think I am / Fly, fly, fly” repeating it over and over, like a flame that burns surreptitiously. A love song of two people seeking each other deeply.
With these two songs, the depth of yui’s songwriting sincerely and honestly conceives many colors of “Love”. You can feel the thoroughness in the music the band FLOWER FLOWER and their diverse variety of knowledge and experience has.
yui wrote a blank chapter for nearly two years due to her medical treatment and the birth of her children, and one again she entered the recording studio with her band of 4. From the comments these 4 people placed in this pages it makes of this reunion something very stimulating. They transmit excitement as we are yet far to fully grasp the nature of FLOWER FLOWER.
In the first place she stopped her career as “YUI”, then she formed the band FLOWER FLOWER, recruiting musicians she respect. The chemistry that was born from the impulsive collision of these four brilliant musicians seems to know no limits.
Their first album “Mi” was an explosion of wonderful youth, as if we were looking at a completely new life-form. After a short span of 3 months, “Shiki” was delivered to us, which was written for the movie “Little Forest”. “Shiki” is an album filled with the delicacy and profoundness of the atmosphere of each season as if stuffed in a vacuum pack. And finally in this occasion, “Takaramono”.
I want to listen more and more songs. I’m anxiously waiting for their evolution from now on.