Think with music #001 Musician, Takeshi Ueda (AA=) part 3

Think with music

part 3 : Difference

aa06.jpgI asked him experimental questions in the latter part of the interview. The keyword is "Difference". Differences inside of Ueda-san himself, of society, and of our earth. I'd like to share the meaning of them we tried to find in this conversation. Also his message to you, reading this text now.

Q8: opposite, difference, and value
-I'm always attracted so much by the opposite nature of AA= music like fairness and loudness. Here in Japan, similarities are preferred compared to differences, and I think we've been feeling some stagnation. At the same time, seeing globally, differences have surely created new values as well as conflicts. I think differences have some power to advance forward.

And you Ueda-san, have such differences inside of yourself. How do you think of it?

I think my style of music might not be understandable at first glance and I'm sure that it's a very different from the general image of music. I've loved heavy and loud music since my teenage days, and also have been creating such music by myself, which is my solid base.

However, as we go on living, what we have to do and see could be found not only in a gorgeous context, where we might find nothing, I mean, for we tend to find nothing could be solved after any party. I realized them once and since then, have been rapidly getting to try to choose what makes any sense for me.

Surely it's not easy to change the world, but we can influence people around us..., which I think is a big challengefor us.

Two different things can be merged into one inside of myself, in the frame of Takeshi Ueda. It's interesting as well as difficult to try to form it and create new things.

There must be a big difference between our lives when we 're born in different countries or areas. I'm really grateful that I can create music freely in this country today.

I realized the difference once through my charity support for a Tamil child. He would sometimes send me some pictures with letters to tell that he'd got the next grade. In the pictures he had nice clothes on but wearing no shoes.

I could see the difference between us clearly. I'm apparently lucky so that I have a chance to create and perform music. I want to recognize them by myself rather than ignoring. It's a very difficult theme for me to try to express these kind of things through music but I never want to give it up managing to do.

Q9: Energy
-While difference might produce values as we discussed so far, sympathy overcomes difference. Every live or music fest has a huge power of sympathy towards music. Do you think it's possible to make the huge energy directed to problems of the earth, I mean, ours?

I think it's possible as long as in a right way, yes, I'm sure it can be, but it could be headed for viciousness at the same time. The purer the wish of a group gets, the stronger it grows, where it could cause something terrible when taking the wrong direction. It might raise a war. It's certain that my music can get many people together but I feel it danger simultaneously. We should recognize how danger to call sympathy by sharing some message through music. I've been always trying to keep the fact in my mind.

Nevertheless I'm sure we need difference. If we refused the difference each other, it would be closed. That's why I think how much we could accept the difference is very important.

For instance, we couldn't help saying "No" to the nuclear issues. And there are people saying "Yes" as well. If we took them like the symbol of the evil and simply said, "They're evil", we might lose the clue to solve it. Those who say "No" should think about why they say "Yes" from the negative point of view, and those who say "Yes" should think about "No" on the contrary.

I believe that we can take baby steps forward though we can't reach the right answer immediately. I've been always imagining to try and to be a help to make the situation into such way.

Q10: Think the Earth? Think human?
-The last question. It's said that environmental problem is a human issue. Could you give any message to the readers who don't give up thinking about and relating to the Earth in their lives?

I really want to be a member of you and learn what I haven't known yet. If I could get the answer by myself to take a step towards, the meaning for those who gathering to my music might get changed largely.

So please let me join, and talk to you.

aa07.jpg"I want to recognize the differences in the world by myself rather than ignoring. It's a very difficult theme for me to try to express these kind of things through music but I never want to give it up managing to do."

>>part 1 >>part 2
written& translated by Miyuki Toritani from Think the Earth
photo by Ken Shigematsu from Qualia Pictures
translation supported by Tsu Lim, Kim Aira, and Ryan Poppen

Editorial notes

About a year after 311, music suddenly came back to me and became an essential part of my life. I was so surprised to see that the music I saw again had already had everything that I had been searching for or realizing through my fighting days spent feeling troubled or sometimes losing my way since started working. As soon as I found out about it, I began to feel like talking with musicians living a different life from us but try to make things better as us. That's the moment my dream was born.

Expecting People gathering to Think the Earth and those gathering to music will meet each other thanks to "difference", shared our long conversation here. The interview itself may have been made by "difference" between us. I want to see many differences and share the value I'd found there, which is another dream of mine. I'll still go on dreaming with listening to music :)
(Interview, writing & translation / Miyuki Toritani from Think the Earth)
In this dialogue I felt that the complete way of AA= towards music and their evolving approach is the same as how he faces towards social issues.

Both creation and problem-solving demand determination to think about always and thorough attitude. I think it's because they both have no certain answers for themselves.

I feel some hints are existing in Ueda-san's word saying that, "It's always to choose what we think the right among them that leads us to the best ends finally." For the problems we have individually and socially.

Determination to go on the process without certain right answers, with which I firmly determined to face creation and problems again after this dialogue.
(Photo and editorial cooperation / Ken Shigematsu from Qualia Pictures)



Think with music #001 Musician, Takeshi Ueda (AA=) part 2

Think with music

part 2 : War and Humanity

aa04.jpgI asked him about his two singles "WARWARWAR" and "HUMANITY2" which were released in the autumn of 2013.

Q5: Why he divided.
-Digital and melody, war and human being, the city and the woods, suits and T-shirts, pink and yellow...We could see various conflicting pairs. Why did you try to divide in such way? What's your intention?

First I had an idea to try to show the opposite ends of mine by means of sounds. As soon as I started creating them, influenced by those sounds, the theme of mine started to divide naturally. For instance, future and past, those you've mentioned, gradually I could have realized such division inside of myself.

It was from such simple music interests that I started the challenge for the first time. I usually create the sounds well combined by the opposite sides of mine as I mentioned, but this time I challenged to divide them intentionally to see what'd be born then. Though I couldn't do it perfectly, contented that I've somehow managed to do it.

-I felt your sense of crisis strongly from that phrase of "WARWARWAR" about...The numbers of the keys are 96 and 9 in the PV.

I don't mean that all the message of the song is the warning for the revision of the constitution, but it's partially true. It's surely the theme we all think about, which we know from our history. So I adopted the theme.

Here in Japan, I can feel something has been growing worse since the postwar these days. On the other hand, the world has never spent days without conflicts or wars. We Japanese, the same as the other developed countries, have the problems to be solved for us.

Nevertheless I want to head for the future, and we surely have plenty of choices. But sadly we never knew which is the right answer to choose. It's always to choose what we think the right among them that leads us to the best ends finally. That's why I hope to have the message "not to give up nor to let ourselves be carried without our will" with me always.

Q7: Enemy
-Images from your younger days appeared in the "HUMANITY2" PV. I wonder if the enemy you'd been facing in those days is different from the one you've been facing these days.

They're quite different from each other. In my youth I was clueless about many things, and tended to get rid of them and to make enemies by myself. Now I've come to accept the difference between us and realized who I am, which is quite different compared to those days.

However from a broad perspective, I think a dominant ruler couldn't appear and make the world worse now. I've been worrying about much bigger enemies, such as a system made by ourselves or the greed of ours, might gather and precede into the wrong way, which may happen easily in the world these days. I'm sure that the world has been getting much better than before 1930's, but the issue is still there to be solved. I'll never give up fighting against such persistent problems and finding the way to resolve them.

aa05.jpg"The issue is still there to be solved. I'll never give up fighting against such persistent problems and finding the way to resolve them."

>>part 1 >>part 3
written& translated by Miyuki Toritani from Think the Earth
photo by Ken Shigematsu from Qualia Pictures
translation supported by Tsu Lim, Kim Aira, and Ryan Poppen



Think with music #001 Musician, Takeshi Ueda (AA=) part 1

Think with music

We never know exactly what is the right answer to choose when we try to go towards our future. I think, that to choose what I believe is the right for myself among the choices I have can only bring out the best result. So, I want to hold on to the message that we should never give up and to have our own minds always.


"All animals are equal"
Overwhelming energetic sound with a simple fair message, this is the style of music by Takeshi Ueda of AA=. Miyuki Toritani, a member of TTE, and a photographer of her friends Ken Shigematsu went to see him on one day in October. Here we share the conversation we had then.

part 1 : All animals are equal
part 2 : War and Humanity
part 3 : Difference

Social paths of Takeshi Ueda
Born in 1968, musician

1990-2006 Played as the bassist of the legendary band THE MAD CUPSULE MARKETS. Since their early days, the band had made challenges to advance into overseas music scenes by doing live tour and attending music fests. In 2003, during their EU tour, the band passed by the troops heading for the Iraq War in a highway parking in England.

In 2008, he started the new solo project called AA= to aim for the way of taking charge of everything he does in music. He's been pursuing new ways of creating music other than the mass consumption style, to fight against difficulties in global environment and human society.

In 2011, soon after 311, the Great East Japan Earthquake, he started the charity project named AA=AiD. He composed a new song "We're not alone" produced the song with his musician friends for free, and been continuing other charity work since then.

In 2012, he made a new song "The Klock" for the popular movie "Helter Skelter" directed by Mika Ninagawa.

Since 2012, he's been wearing an original Tee with the message of "anti- anthropocentrism"

In September 2013, AA= released the two new single "WARWARWAR" and "HUMANITY2" and releasing their 4th album by the end of the year. He says that we've got the band gradually after these 5 years after starting as his solo project (laughs).

In January 2014, he' s going to have a live tour #4

Official site http://www.aaequal.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aaequal
wikipedia Wikipedia

part 1 : All animals are equal
aa02.jpgHe named his solo project after a quate in the novel "Animal farm" by George Owell in the early 20th century.

Q1: All animals are equal
-I was surprised to see such simple four words. How did you come upon it?

It's originally a quote in a novel, and there's an animation movie based on it. I found it from a documentary about the campaign strategy of the two parties of the US. I've always liked "1984" by George Owell originally and knew the title of "Animal farm" but I've never read it. When I heard the phrase in the program, I wanted to read it, so this is how I met it.

In the novel, though the four words is used in the context of Communism and Marxism, ignoring it, it had so much impact on me. I even thought it such a holly words. You know such words can be used for both good and bad, but I decided to use it for my band name.

Q2: Roots
-I wonder what're the roots of you to find such words in your life.

I don't think I have particular roots for it, but there's something I've come to find it important as I've been doing the band work and met many kinds of people that... I think we can call a band an art for which we show our values by words and sounds with huge passion for something invisible like sounds or music.

The world of music is where everyone has his values for such things. But some people have different values. The bigger our former band grew, the more people with the different values gathered, when we had various kinds of confliction and collision.

Among these experiences, I've come to find what is important for me is keeping the pure mind to music or the faith to face music after many twists and turns of twenty years. I don't want to betray "the god of music" if there was him.

At the same time I felt it's really important to keep my theme clear and to hold my justice, without which I couldn't allow myself to create or play music though I know I have to use the word "justice" with care. After I decided to make the thought blush up and to perform them, I've got shifted so rapidly in such way.

Q3: anti-anthropocentrism
-The word you've been using for your message Tee.

It may be different from the strict meaning of the word, but I've been using it inspired by its image and their meaning I could catch.

When we go too selfish, the justice I think can't be existed, so I chose the word as a caution to myself not to forget about as well as a message. We have to think about it with whole of globe as well as our society. In addition to that, Anti-anthropocentrism is one of the words related to my justice. I know enough that it might cause danger to the world if we'd act perfectly as the word means, but to keep ourselves aware of it is important I think.

Q4: AA=AiD
-You've started AA=AiD, a charity action for 311 the Japan's great disaster, soon after it happened. Will you share the feelings and the thoughts you've got through it? And what do you feel the most strongly now?

I only did what I could, thinking of what I could support for the suffered people, which I'm sure that most of the people living at the moments thought and did. Since I'm a musician, I could bring such action quite impact in its own way and tend to draw your attention, but I think everyone living at that time did the same. I don't think I did something special.

"Yorisou", considering as how others feel, is so very difficult for there's a big difference between people experienced and didn't, or people lived there and didn't. We can easily say "Yorisou" with words, but apparently it's not such easy. So I'm sure that doing simply what I can do with my heart is the most important thing, which I could do.

I often have the chance to be asked to express my thoughts, and then I think about what my words might tell them, but only to find there's not much for it. Because many people suffered much more terrible experience than I, and I never think I can completely tell others about it.

However I could support those who went through such things by means of what I can do, which I think we only can keep doing for them. I often asked my speech, but I don't want to speak much.

On the contrary I expect that I can find something I can do more as I try to continue talking in that case, though I'm afraid I'd be wrong or make someone hurt because of my too much action... So I need to learn more.

aa03.jpg "I expect that I can find something I can do more as I try to continue talking in that case, though I'm afraid I'd be wrong or make someone hurt because of my too much action... So I need to learn more."

>>part 2 >>part 3
written& translated by Miyuki Toritani from Think the Earth
photo by Ken Shigematsu from Qualia Pictures
translation supported by Tsu Lim, Kim Aira, and Ryan Poppen



Think with music #001 音楽家・上田 剛士さん (AA=) 第1部

Think with music



All animals are equal -すべての創造は平等である-

第1部 All animals are equal
第2部 戦争と人間性
第3部 差異

--上田剛士さんのSocial pass--

1990年〜2006年、「THE MAD CUPSULE MARKETS」のメンバーとして活動。初期の頃からライブ等で積極的に海外への進出に挑む。03年のEUツアーの際、イギリスのハイウェイパーキングでイラク戦争に向かう兵士の一団と遭遇する。


2011年、東日本大震災直後にAA=AiDを立ち上げ。楽曲「We're not alone」を音楽家仲間と制作し無料配信したほか、支援活動を現在も継続。

2012年、映画「ヘルタースケルター」(蜷川実花監督)のエンディング・テーマとして新曲「The Klock」を提供。




公式サイト http://www.aaequal.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aaequal

第1部 All animals are equal

Q1 All animals are equal



Q2 原体験





Q3 anti-anthropocentrism










>>第2部  >>第3部



Think with music #001 音楽家・上田 剛士さん (AA=) 第2部

Think with music

第2部 戦争と人間性
aa04.jpg最新の楽曲「WARWARWAR」と「HUMANITY2」に込めた想いは? この秋リリースした2曲のシングルについて聞きました。

Q5 分けた意図







Q7 敵
―「HUMANITY2」のPVでは若い頃の映像も使われています。当時見えていた「敵」と今見えている「敵」は同じですか? 違いますか?




>>第1部  >>第3部