To create a new theme for the Golden Globes telecast, Yoshiki, leader of the Japanese rock group X Japan, used a piano concerto he wrote 13 years ago to celebrate the Emperor of Japan’s reign as a source of inspiration. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association responded with notes.
“They asked me to make it more edgy so I added guitar, bass and drums,” Yoshiki tells Billboard.com. “The composition did not take long to do. Getting the right image took 10 days, two weeks.”
The theme will premiere at the top of the telecast on Jan. 15.
Yoshiki and the president of the HFPA, Aida Takla-O’Reilly, began discussing the theme in the summer, but a 15-country tour by X Japan meant he could not get started until late November. He started the recording in Los Angeles, recorded a 34-piece string section and piano in Tokyo and then returned to Los Angeles to finish the piece.
When he was finished, the piece ran seven to eight minutes; the HFPA, which wanted a theme for the organization, said they only needed two or 2-1/2 minutes.
“I told them they could cut anywhere,” Yoshiki says.
Now 46, Yoshiki began studying classical piano at age 4 and started X Japan as a seed metal band in the late 1980s. As the band caught on, their music became more mainstream rock and Yoshiki continued to write classical works as side projects. He was musical director for the 2005 World Expo, composing its theme song and conducting the orchestra at the opening ceremonies and co-produced his own classical album with Sir George Martin that was recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
He is currently wrapping up X Japan’s first English language project, an album that is split 50/50 between older songs and new material, 95 percent of it sung in English, much as they did while on their recent world tour. EMI will distribute the album.
“It’s 90 percent done and it will be finished in the next several weeks,” he says. “It’s for the international market — we’ve never done that.”