expwy. to yr skull
Join Date: Mar 2007
AC : Back when you were doing Lost Aaraaff, did you ever use external stimulants like alcohol or drugs?
Never. I had and have absolutely no interest in that. And that's why I am the way I am now. I don't resemble anyone, nor do I have any intention of doing so. I want to avoid the gaze of god. God is always watching, always following and that's why people are able to do things. When I do something, I don't want it to be under the gaze of god. If I do it properly then I can avoid that gaze. That's the true meaning of being an outsider. That's where everyone goes wrong. The reason why people say that they want to be free is because they aren't. They want to be something that they aren't–but once you are conscious of that, the same state will persist forever. That's why I am an outsider in the true sense of the word–I am something else. I don't mean blaspheming and saying fuck you to god. Everyone is born a descendant of god–the true outsider wishes to go somewhere else. That's what I want to do. I believe that I need to do that in order to make my own music. There's no one who can legitimately use the word "myself"–everyone is a "too." That's why I think that I am justified in saying "I myself" so much in my lyrics. And that is far more difficult than taking drugs. What I am doing is the real stimulant. To truly perceive yourself, to realize that you are alone and then see how far you can go on your own.
Have you always been interested in religion, or did you gradually begin to think and connect what you were doing with god later?
It's not thought, it's consciousness. Thinking is something that you do after the event, you analyze it. Consciousness is something that exists before, during and after. I don't like this idea of just thinking... For me, consciousness is the most important thing. When I listen to someone's music, first I try to feel what they are conscious of–melody, rhythm and so on comes later.
AC : What do you want to do with your music?
KH : (collapses in pretend shock) Revolution and miracles. If you're going to ask clichéd questions like that then I'm going to give you clichéd answers. (laughs) Just the same thing as I have always said, I'd be happy if my music has a therapeutic effect on someone.
AC : When did you start to think that you could do that kind of thing with music?
KH : I do it because I don't think it's possible.
AC : So it's more of an attempt, a striving towards the ultimate power of music?
KH : Umm, that's... again, looking back now I can put this interpretation on it. When I was very young there was a Protestant church(8) behind our house. I'd go to church every Sunday and my childlike self absorbed the idea that my aim in life should be to help people, to love people and so on. Possibly I absorbed all those ideas in a simple way, but I believe that they're still inside me. On a very simple, surface level.
AC : Was there music at church too?
KH : I wasn't very aware of any music there. But as an element that sometimes appears within me, I definitely got something from when I would sing at church when I was in elementary school or junior high. Even if it's not specifically Christ, I think that there is something within me. I feel that sometimes.
AC : You mean that you unconsciously absorbed some connection between religion and music?
KH : Rather than using the word "religion," I often say "prayer." To me prayer is stronger. I have never been baptized, nor do I have any intention of doing so.
AC : What does prayer mean to you?
KH : The desire that things become even slightly better than they are now. An appeal to something outside myself.
AC : You often use the word "curse," as opposed to prayer...
KH : It's impossible to explain curses to someone who doesn't understand the meaning of prayer. I use the word "curse" in the same way that I use the word "Fushitsusha." When you have completely rejected everything, there comes a time when, in order to keep on living, affirmation is the only thing left open to you. When I say "a time" I don't mean the flow of time, I mean a place. Especially in English, "curse" is liable to be a very weighted word. What I mean when I use it is, a curse that it is impossible not to affirm, a curse that has been accepted. Prayer is not a word that I use to confuse people. For me prayer has only one meaning. By way of example, I was really surprised once when someone told me that the word "Fushitsusha" appears in a Buddhist sutra(9). On one level, if you are able to explain what "Fushitsusha" means then that means that you can also define what Buddhism means. I heard that from an actual priest, someone who has read a lot of obscure texts. That's the sense in which I use "Fushitsusha." We talked about this before–how in Buddhism nothing is the same as everything, so nothingness is not something that you should aim for. And that's what a curse is, something that seems to appear on the surface if you keep on praying properly and continuously. I don't curse people, or do anything negative like that.
AC : In your lyrics the idea of the relationship between the individual and the universe comes up a lot. Could you say something about that?
KH : Could you make the question more specific? It's too wide a subject just to ask me to talk about it.
AC : It's something that you've talked about a lot in interviews, but hasn't really been touched upon in anything published in English. I suppose what I'm most interested in is this idea about a separation between the self and the universe, and what rôle music can play in bringing the two together.
KH : As far as I am concerned, everything outside of me is the universe. To put it another way, there is just me, the first person, and then everything else which is other. I don't make any distinction between the second person "you" and third person "he/she." The other, which is not me, is the universe. When I use the word "omae"(10) (you) when I'm singing, most of the time I'm not referring to one person but to everything. On a personal level I think there are times when people I know in the audience think that I'm singing just to them, even though I wasn't using the word "you" in that sense. In general when I use the word "you," I'm not using it on a personal level, because for me everything outside of me is the universe. It's very simple. It's not one on one, it's one on everything, one on the universe if you like. It's not a confrontational relationship though. Sometimes I want to melt into the universe. Because I'm here now, there are also times when I want to call up as much as possible of the universe within me. To drag it into me, breathe it all in, and then reveal it to people. But this is all stuff that I've talked about again and again, regardless of whether it has appeared in English or not.
NM : You didn't say anything about what part music plays in your conception of the self and the universe.
KH : Briefly, it's possible to be conscious of very many things, but I believe that it's impossible to be aware of the whole of the universe. So what I was saying earlier about the desire to melt into the universe, that's a prayer–and for me, making sound is also a type of prayer. Sometimes that prayer is expressed through my voice, sometimes through percussion. It's a prayer, but not the kind of weak prayer that is just pleading for something. I don't think that those kinds of prayer are capable of accomplishing anything. It's very hard to sum this up, but I think that things will gradually become clearer as the interview continues. It's probably better to ask more precise questions. It's almost like asking someone why they are alive. You can only really reply that you were born and didn't have a lot of choice in the matter, or that you enjoy living–ask more detailed questions.