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Hot on the heels of the recent release of SHAG’s new album THE PROTEST JAM and Rebellmusik music video, we’ve been presented an opportunity to pick the brains of the mastermind behind the thoughtful album.

In the interview below, we ask about his world views and current feelings about the world. Sit back, put his new album on, and let’s explore the colorful mind of SUGIZO. He doesn’t need an introduction, so let’s dive straight into it.


Congratulations on your album with SHAG! To get started, please describe this album in 3 words.

SUGIZO: Extreme Jazz-Rock

Could you elaborate?

SUGIZO: Because we are working to advocate radical dopey jazz-rock of the 2020s.

We feel there’s a lot to be said about this album being released at this time with so much happening in the world…

SUGIZO: At a time of increasing division and conflict, and a rattled global economy, I believe that music and other artistic and expressive activities are an important way to bring positivity to the consciousness of the international community.

Do you remember at what point in time where you decided you wanted to make this album?

SUGIZO: I don’t remember clearly, but it was around mid-2021.

How did the band come up with the album name? When was it decided?

SUGIZO: I wanted to put into words the most appropriate awareness in light of the current situation in the world. The decision was really made just in time for delivery.

Which track do you feel most connected with?

SUGIZO: It’s really hard to choose one cuz I have feelings for all of the tracks, but right now I must say “Rebellmusik” because it is the lead track and the music video has just been revealed.

Why is that?

I believe this track embodies the spirituality of the album.

Were there any interesting stories that came up during the making of this release?

SUGIZO: I experienced many miraculous takes and miraculous connections during the editing work. There were so many incredible events happening.

This album taps on issues around social rebelliousness and anti-war.

SUGIZO: That’s right.

What’s on your mind the most lately?

SUGIZO: I have a few in my mind. 1. The Putin administration should stop the outrage over Ukraine as soon as possible. 2. Election trends and voter turnout, as Japan is currently in the midst of the Upper House election, and 3 is this abnormal weather. I can only think that global warming is progressing too rapidly. We must take action as soon as possible.

Why do you think things are the way they are at this moment in time?
SUGIZO: First is Putin’s insanity. I think it is due to extreme megalomania and paranoia. Secondly, the current political situation is the result of an abysmal voter turnout due to the lack of awareness of many Japanese who have stopped thinking. And lastly, it (global warming) is the result of humanity’s lack of awareness of climate change.

If there is one important issue happening in the world you can make people aware of, what would it be?

SUGIZO: If humanity does not shift its consciousness and take action as soon as possible, and we do not abandon old common sense, we are running out of time.

We’ve seen Miles Electric Band and Frank Zappa mentioned as influencers in your work.

SUGIZO: Yes

Can you tell us how you first discovered their music?

SUGIZO: As for Miles, my classmate gave me a cassette tape in my first year of high school. For Zappa, I was influenced by Missing Persons (American rock band) and Steve Vai (American guitarist, composer, songwriter, and producer), when I went to an import record store at the time to buy their vinyl, I came across Zappa’s vinyl.

If Miles Davis turned up to a SHAG show, what’s the first thing you would say or ask?

SUGIZO : I would express my gratitude like “Your intention, your DNA, came to life and created this kind of music. You are the Godfather.”

c. A while ago we saw a photo on your Instagram with a photo of Miles’ “DECOY” CD. Do you have a favorite track?

SUGIZO: “Decoy”, “Code M.D.”, “What It Is” and “That’s Right”.

The world today feels quite different now…

SUGIZO: Totally! It’s quite different.

If you could travel back in time, what would you tell yourself?

SUGIZO: Nothing. special. I would say, just keep doing what you’re doing.

What do you think will happen to the world if humans continue as we are in 100 years’ time?

SUGIZO: If this continues like this, the survival of the human race will be in jeopardy.

To wrap up, if you can give one piece of advice to someone to help make the world a better place, what would you tell them?

SUGIZO: All humans should have a sense of love and harmony.


Huge thanks to SUGIZO and staff for making this interview possible. Make sure to check out SHAG’s new album THE PROTEST JAM which is already out.

CD
  1. ANTI-WAR I
  2. THE CAGE
  3. Initiation of Rebellion
  4. FATIMA
  5. Rebellmusik
  6. Round Midnight
  7. Jam in the Plandemic
  8. ANTI-WAR II
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