What gave you the idea to make “GACKTRACKS- ULTRA DJ ReMIX-”, the unique collaboration album of famous GACKT songs remixed by Japan’s top DJ’s?
“Starting with the 15th anniversary, there was a project to get things heated up heading into the LAST VISUALIVE, and during that, the idea of doing a remix album came up. My next original album is going to be Zipang Rock [=traditional Japanese influenced rock]. So because of that, I wanted to involve various artists in a remix album to give it a wider world view. I also wanted to be inspired myself. I wanted to see what kind of GACKT different artists would show me… so I decided, let’s try it. And then a lot of DJs quickly jumped on the project. Word got around faster than I imagined, and people were like, "Let me do it too”…“
The DJs nominated themselves?
"Of course at the beginning we made plans and started by asking people, "Will you do it?”, but when they heard the rumors, other DJs started saying things like, “If there’s a next time, I’d really like to help out”. Well, I’m grateful. And when I listened to the remixes, they were extremely interesting. “Just as expected,” I thought.”
It’s an album that affects you physically. You can’t just sit there and listen to it, while you’re listening your body will naturally start moving.
“Right. My original songs are mostly heavier and wilder, and a lot of them demand your full attention, but when I listen to the ones that the DJs have turned into club music with their ideas… I don’t want anyone to misunderstand what I’m saying, but you can let the song play, and enjoy listening to it even if you’re not concentrating on it.”
Did you like clubbing and club music to begin with?
“I like clubbing. I like clubs, and I’ve been going since I was in Malice.”
Oh, since that long ago.
“Yeah. Roppongi, Shinjuku, and a lot of clubs overseas.”
Doesn’t it cause a commotion when you show up at the club?
“I go to clubs aimed at foreigners. When I go, I get hit on by foreigners a lot (laughs).”
By foreign girls?
“And men (laughs). So I end up drinking with foreign guys a lot. But what’s mysterious is even though I go to so many clubs and get hit on by so many guys, "often suspected to be gay” is the only thing I haven’t had written about me (bitter laugh). But it’s fun. At clubs, I can communicate with people myself, right? So when I go to have fun, men and women come up to me like, “Hi GACKT!” There are some who say, “I’ve been a fan for a while,” too.“
You’re popular with people from other countries too.
"Its fun to talk to them like that, and it’s language practice too.”
Do you dance at clubs?
“Rather than dance, I just move with the music. And I like to have a drink while I watch girls dance. I can’t do that much in Japanese clubs. So I watch foreign girls dance, thinking about how pretty they are.”
You watch girls… But then you’re drinking with foreign guys (laughs).
“You got me (laughs).”
Hahahaha. So how did you choose the songs for this album?
“I left it all up to the DJs. I didn’t make any demands like, "I want you to do this song” for this remix album. I just told them to do what they wanted. The DJs were selected based on who we heard from first. When they received [permission] it was like they started moving immediately, so then we decided to end the list there. Then we had to apologize and tearfully reject all the people who heard about it from others and said, “I want to do it too!” and tell them next time.“
Like, "first come first served”.
But it’s an unprecedented thing for top DJs to all get together like this. GACKT is that popular and there are that many people who admire you as an artist.
“Well… I wonder. I’m not sure about that. But I feel grateful for it. But it’s not like I’m directly close friends with them. A lot of them I’ve never actually met. For example, even DJ KOO I’ve only met on TV shows. The only one who I met with privately during this project was Marc Panther, I think. Other than them there are people I didn’t know at all before this project. But in the end they made really excellent sounds. I’m really happy about that.”
Was there anyone that you’d never met before that you had interesting exchanges with during this project?
“No, no, we didn’t have any exchanges about the project. So part of me was worried too at first. You don’t want to reject work from people who’ve gone out of their way to work with you, right? But the instant I heard the finished songs for the first time, I honestly felt they were amazing. So there’s really zero "Do it like this and that” from me with regard to the song choice or contents of the remixes on this album.“
And each song really has its individuality without any overlap.
"That’s why when I heard it, I thought Japan’s DJs are pretty high level. As a listener, I was moved by that.”
Do you have any particular song out of these 14 that took your interest?
“I can’t make a sweeping statement like "This is the best one!”… but the ones I personally thought were awesome were “JESUS”, “CLAYMORE”, “LU:NA”, “WHITE LOVERS-shiawase na toki-”, and “OASIS”, I think. I was a bit surprised when I heard them. They exceeded my expectations.“