All About Jun Takahashi
UNDERCOVER HK 10th Anniversary
Jun徐徐抽著菸，架著一副墨鏡，我看著微小的動靜來揣摩他的情感變化。在遇到難以即時回應的問題會沉默片刻去思考，有時會在回答中途與旁邊的Nobu先生（Hysteric Glamour主腦Nobuhiko Kitamura）自顧自聊起來，自然到好像是我闖進了這雙好友的日常對話。
看UNDERCOVER的設計，屢屢會看到音樂在Jun的人生裡勾勒出的時光軌跡，無論是在衣服上大剌剌地印上喜歡的樂隊歌詞或專輯圖像，抑或是以Joy Division傳奇大碟《Unknown Pleasures》的經典山脈圖案為創作妙思。如果設計是他的溝通方式，那音樂就是當中的重要符號。於是訪問期間我問到，能否用一首歌或一種曲風去形容對香港的印象，豈料陷入了一陣沉默，他說在最狂熱地汲取音樂養分的年紀，聽得最多是60s、70s的日本搖滾，對香港的印象只有李小龍的電影及其黃色戰衣。
Takahashi was smoking unhurriedly with his eyes covered by a pair of sunglasses. I tried to interpret the change in his emotion through observing his gesture to the tiniest details. Sometimes he paused and thought before replying to the tricky questions, sometimes he turned his head to casually chat with Kitamura (Nobuhiko Kitamura, founder of Hysteric Glamour), as if I were an intruder to his daily conversation with a good friend.
The influence of music on Takahashi in different phases of life can be easily traced in the design of UNDERCOVER. It can be the boldly printed lyrics or album covers of his favorite bands, or the renowned digital mountain peaks on Unknown Pleasures, the legendary album of Joy Division. If design is Takahashi’s medium to communicate, music is an indispensable symbol within. During the interview, I asked if he could conclude his impression on Hong Kong using a song or a music genre. To my surprise, the question has led us into silence. He then said the age that he most enthusiastically crave for music was pretty much dominated by Japanese rock from the 60s and the 70s. His only impression about Hong Kong was Bruce Lee and his yellow tracksuit.
It was a memorable moment when he personally arranged an enormous sea of flowers in the Hong Kong shop when the brand first landed in the city 10 years ago. 10 years have easily gone by. A few years ago, the theme decoration in Hong Kong shop was also changed to an installation made up of 15000 light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, as well as a painting by Joachim Patinir from the 16th century. The contradicting aesthetics of the two pieces of work is an evidence of Takahashi’s persistent wildness; this made me even more curious about the change of Takahashi as a person.
日常也有閱讀習慣，最近剛看完村上春樹最新一本書 —— 《騎士團長殺人事件》。然而當思緒混沌時，反而什麼都不會看。
音樂是一旦喜歡上就不會生厭，過了多年偶爾突然想到曾經喜歡的一些音樂，還是會再聽。至於曾經討厭的東西，有的，最近還比較多遇到這種狀況，主要是80s的New Wave，還有The Smiths。
Could you talk about your recent choice of music?
I’m listening to records of various genres. Sometimes I listen to music while working, but not lately.
Have you been reading lately? Is there any book that you would read when bewildered?
Reading is a habit of mine. I have just finished reading Haruki Murakami’s latest work Killing Commendatore. However, I don’t read at all when I’m feeling bewildered.
Has your design focus shifted in these ten years?
The greatest change can be seen in the workflow of preparing for our runway show. I used to first come up with the clothes to showcase, matching accessories come next, finalizing the structure and presentation was the final step. In recent years It has been radically changed. I now first come up with a theme with the three core members of the brand, before laying down some other details. We start working on the design of clothes after the style is determined, then it comes to the final stage of matching the designs with accessories. I believe this is a rather unusual work process.
How about your daily life? Have you begun any new habit in your collection?
My latest collections are vinyl and vintage turntables. Recently I have finally acquired a full sound system and therefore I started to collect vinyl records. I wander in vinyl stores and spend time wondering how would the songs that I used to listen would sound like when they are played on a turntable. Only until then I realized playing jazz music vinyl record is an experience that iTunes can never compete with — realizing this got me addicted to the vinyl sound.
Are you still a fan of the songs you liked ten years ago? Is there anything that you used to hate, but began to like in recent years?
My love for a certain piece of music never turns into distaste. There are some music that I suddenly think of after a few years but still enjoy listening. Recently, I have quite some experience of beginning to accept things that I used to hate, chiefly New Wave music of the 80s, as well as The Smiths.
When talking about running, you once mentioned “it all started with a 30-minute run, and then an hour run; Slowly building up from a 3 km jog, now it became a habit of 10 km run.” Is this more or less the pattern of your creative process? Do you have other habits that have similar persistence?
I don’t think they are similar. Running is some sort of achievement that can make me rejuvenated.
Are you planning to do something that you haven’t had a chance to finish before, or to try something new? Is there anything that you found yourself incapable of after actually trying?
I am the kind of person that react impulsively to a sudden thought; I continue working with full strength once started, therefore I seldom leave anything unfinished. I believe swimming is what I found myself incapable of after trying. I’m not able to master it, perhaps living on land just suits me way better.
最後我不其然想起，在Jun編集的一期《A Magazine》裡，他這樣說過：「I think of myself as really normal, but inside, I’m totally alien. What I make, what I create is totally alien. But my personality is normal. I’m an ordinary person.」
Towards the end of the interview, I recalled in one of the A Magazine issues curated by Takahashi, he said, “I think of myself as really normal, but inside, I’m totally alien. What I make, what I create is totally alien. But my personality is normal. I’m an ordinary person.”
Before the interview started, I took out my recorder and placed it on the table. Seeing the smashed screen of my recorder and learning it was from the party held on the previous night celebrating UNDERCOVER’s 10th anniversary in Hong Kong, with a doubtful face, he asked if it was for real. What followed his question was a hearty laugh.