[Interview Extra Edition] Exploring KISAKI as a Bass Player and Composer

In this article, we feature core questions that regrettably didn’t make it into our KISAKI BAND WORKS 30th Anniversary Year interview. We will delve deeper into KISAKI, discussing his choice of instruments and his approach to composition, continuing from what was covered in our magazine.

I have thought about changing it, but as I’m an evaluator for ESP, I’ve been using the FOREST bass consistently. It has an appealing appearance, and in terms of sound, it is quite versatile. Plus, over time, you develop a certain attachment and get used to it.

Yes, I use it for recording too. I donʼt have many basses, but Iʼve borrowed three FOREST basses.
I rotate them during live performances. I destroyed one of my bass guitar in the heat of the moment during solo concert… It was beyond repair, but the people at ESP kindly provided me with a new one.

Exactly. But there’s this image that’s been built, right? KISAKI = the ESP FOREST(laughs).

I’m grateful to have been using it for so many years.

KISAKI's playing scene

I tried using a five-string in recording once, but I’ve been playing four-strings for so long that a five-string felt odd, also the bass guitar’s neck is thicker. I guess I prefer the four-string bass guitars that suits my style of play (laughs).
And I usually stick to regular tuning for my bass guitars.

Iʼve always used TRACE ELLIOT. The production of model I use has been discontinued, but it has a great sound balance, sounds really good. Now I mainly use AMPEG.

I put everything in simply. I often end up elaborating a lot, like “Give it this kind of vibe.” There are realistic guitar plugins available now, but I play them myself before handing them over. I don’t do guitar solos, though. For rough drafts, I create drum patterns with programming, and surprisingly, sometimes I program the bass guitar part too.
I think thereʼs no end to coming up with bass guitar phrases, so during the rough stage, I use programming.

Not in my case. I do keep them, though. Some songs arenʼt bad, but maybe they don’t match the timing or what’s needed at the moment.

Mostly when I’m about to sleep or actually sleeping, because that’s when I think a lot. Also, late at night, the background music on TV tends to be melancholic, and sometimes I find myself liking a phrase and thinking, “Hey, I like this.” Incidentally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was always at home with nothing to do, so I composed every day. There were no band activities and live shows kept getting canceled.
I thought, “What am I doing making so many songs?” But then I realized it was my 30th anniversary in 2023 (laughs).
That led to the trilogy Iʼm working on now.

They do. That’s why after I finish a song, I reset and completely clear my mind.
I only save the data. Then I take a day or two off. I say “take off,” but during the pandemic when I was working on 30 songs, I couldnʼt really go out.

That happened. There were several times I thought I couldn’t do it anymore.

If the song comes to me smoothly, I can finish everything in one day. Of course, sometimes it takes an incredibly long time to come up with the right phrases.
If I let a song sit for too long, I lose track of where it’s going, and I have to break it down and start over. I was taught that composition is about subtraction. If you keep adding, it never ends.
In this article, as a bass guitar player myself, I asked some core questions. I believe weʼve come to know more deeply about KISAKI, not just in terms of experiencing music but also the creation of “sound” and the struggles of composing music, from a playerʼs perspective.

Writer : Daisuke Hirose / Photographer : Sana Harukawa, Yoshinobu Bito / Makeup Artist : A.DO / Hair maintenance : hiko (UNDIVIDE) / Costume : ID JAPAN

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