Nona Reeves blog: V6’s 20th anniversary and “39 Symphony”

Nishidera Gota and corin have previously worked with V6 on songs like “Sexy.Honey.Bunny!” and “kEEP oN.” The following is an entry from his blog on working with them again to craft a megamix for the second half of their 20th anniversary concert. The mix ended up being called the “39 Symphony” (“Thank You Symphony” — 39 here is read as “san-kyuu” and is, as you might suspect, slang for “thank you”).

July 31st, evening. My iPhone rings and it’s Miyake, and as I glance at it, the name “Mr. T of Johnny’s Publications”1 comes to mind. It’s been a while since he’s called. Maybe he’s calling about working for V6 again… And at that moment, I thought “that’d be great if he was.”

My prediction was right on.

Yet I wouldn’t have thought they’d have needed me for something during this time. The subject of Mr. T’s talk went like this:

“V6’s 20th anniversary tour is going to be starting soon, and this time, we want to weave in the singles that were on our recently-released best album. When we thought of the original setlist, we noticed that there were 39 songs left over and wondered if we couldn’t make those into a surging medley and have that be the centerpiece for the second half. We have 39 songs, and our time limit is about 40 minutes. Thinking about it normally, we’d get about a minute per song, but it’s become a pretty difficult challenge thinking of how to find spots for the ballads and stuff and make it something that’ll fire everyone up.

All of us are in agreement that “we could do it if we had you and corin, the Nishikori combo.”

Unfortunately, we’re only going to be doing rehearsals until August 7th, so we’d need it done by then. We’ve got some stuff done and we want to get moving on the choreography and staging at the same time. Yesterday, we got together and got checks on the first half of stuff done, so would you be able to come by the gym tomorrow?”

V6 are riding the wave of their 20th anniversary. I’ll be able to work with them again. And isn’t this such an incredible offer (it’ll be really hard, and it’d have to be done on a tight schedule, and I’m also really busy…)! I’m definitely going to do it! is how I answered, and after I got off the phone, I did a little victory pose.

Right after that, I stayed up late that night measuring the tempo of each song on all three discs of the best album, making memos about the lyrics, and sketching out a rough idea of everything to prepare for the meeting the next day.

August 1st

I met with the 6 of them for the first time in a long time at the gym.

Okada, who’d gotten nearer to me, glanced at the names of the 39 songs filling the white board and, while smiling, asked, “what do you think? Can we do it?”

When I responded with a jovial “hm? Of course we can!” all the members laughed.

I definitely got the feeling from Ken that “it can’t be anyone but Nishikori.” Sakamoto-san greeted me politely and seemed really happy as he said, “Sorry for calling on you both so suddenly to do this for us while you’re both so busy.” And I said, “what are you saying?! I’m really happy you called me to do such an important job for you for your 20th anniversary!”

I gave the members the copies of the book I’d brought them, “Celebrating ‘We Are The World.’” After all, they’d done a track produced by Michael Jackson as part of J-FRIENDS.

So, I had them tell me their ideas again (this time face-to-face), and after we’d talked about their ideas for the start and the medley, they all went into the practice room to review the choreography for the first half. I was really moved watching them all dance, but I felt like what the hell was I doing intruding, so I left and then went out drinking with corin.

Tonight, as we walked around Shibuya, there were still a lot of young people lined up and making merry from Halloween a few days ago (though not in costume) (laughs). As a pro, you would get these sorts of offers, yeah? They’re difficult but at the same time, they also get you fired up.

Anyway, they collected all the data – 39 minutes of sounds, music, choruses, and vocals, all mixed up – and even just transferring it to PC was a huge task. And it all got sent to me two days later.

For example, it would be something that wouldn’t be used in concert for any year but this one, and I thought it might be interesting if they’d tried mixing up the members and had different versions of songs. In the end, the data they’d sent me ended up having close to 50 songs.

I completely locked down the schedules of Team Nishidera’s superior engineers, Kaneshige Tetsuya-kun and Tamoto Masahiro-kun, and we did it all at my home studio, GOTOWN STUDIO.

So for example, if something is 120BPM in the second half and 130BPM in the first half, we could even it out to around 130BPM (this makes sense if you’re a DJ) and it all came together well. Throughout all the sounds and songs, if we were to mix up the raps, we could have the rap from “Ai Nanda” over the beat of “Sexy.Honey.Bunny!”, and mix them together – that kind of thing. This is the techniques for so-called megamixes. I coalesced the 20 years’ worth of songs in my head like a robot making a super alloy.

Actually, from the last half of June and into July, I was writing the second volume of my book and absorbed in my writing career, and for four days in the first half of August, I was holed up in my studio writing songs for the musical, “JAM TOWN,” without doing any interviews or any other work. So I got really into V6’s request (laughs). I figured it’d be good if I could do my best on “JAM TOWN” after that (and actually, right after that, I concentrated and got 3 songs finished).

I’m gonna do it! no matter what because it’s the centerpiece medley of V6’s 20th anniversary tour!!!

So, it begins! And with that, I’ll continue this next time.

Nishidera Gota

. notes .
01. Why he’s calling Ken “Mr. T,” I have no idea. Well, I have an idea, but it may not be right, but anyway, that’s literally what it says so take it as you will.
xx. Also, this is part 1 but as of this writing, there is no part 2.

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