Translated summary of “What are Nogi Songs?” ~Sugiyama Katsuhiko x Akira Sunset, A One Night Only Honest Conversation~, streamed on 2021-01-31

Here is a translated summary of a live stream by Sugiyama Katsuhiko and Akira Sunset that was streamed on 2021-01-31:

「乃木曲ってどう?」~杉山勝彦×Akira Sunset一夜限りの本音対談~
“What are Nogi Songs?” ~Sugiyama Katsuhiko x Akira Sunset, A One Night Only Honest Conversation~

FYI, Sugiyama Katsuhiko and Akira Sunset are two of the most prolific music composers and arrangers of Nogizaka46 songs and well-known among Nogi fans for that fact.

A video for this can be found on bilibili at:
bilibili [dot] com/video/BV11b4y1Q7F9

Nogi songs that Sugiyama Katsuhiko and Akira Sunset have composed or arranged up to the date of the live stream:

A-side singles that the two composed (Sugiyama in blue, Akira in red):

A-side singles that the two composed (Sugiyama in blue, Akira in red), continued. Since the live stream date, there has also been: 27th Single: Gomenne Fingers Crossed by Sugiyama, 5th Album Lead: Saigo No Tight Hug by Sugiyama, and Ikuchan’s grad solo: Toki No Wadachi by Akira)

Until 2012, the concept for the music was “French Pops.” Akira says that hearing Sugiyama’s Seifuku No Mannequin was a shock to him after the French Pops era (he had already worked on Ookami Ni Kuchibue Wo and Kairyuu No Shima Yo). The shock motivated Akira to try harder to provide songs for Nogi.

Akira considers Kimi No Na Wa Kibou to have defined and molded Nogi’s musical image.
Sugiyama says that Kimi No Na Wa Kibou was inspired by trying something that wasn’t “usual” for idol songs at that time, as the “usual” at that time was energetic stuff, like “Heavy Rotation”, “Flying Get”, and Momoiro Clover.

Akira jokes how Sugiyama must be getting royalties every time Kimi No Na Wa Kibou plays at Nogizaka subway station

While laughing, Akira says that he once tweeted why he thought “Mannequin” was so great, talking about the chord progressions, but then people in the business more knowledgeable about music theory told him, “The stuff you tweeted is musically wrong. It’s embarrassing. Delete it.”

Sing Out! was created by people in Akira’s company, where he is a managing director (basically a top executive).

Sugiyama says that the 26th single went through 4 competitions among song makers until a song was chosen (which he won with Boku Wa Boku Wo Suki Ni Naru).

Before Akira became a composer, he was a performer, mainly in rap/hip hop. Before his rap/hip hop era, his inspirations were Southern All Stars, Ozaki Yutaka, TUBE.

Akira humbly says that the song 1・2・3 was only arranged by him (not composed by him). Sugiyama says, “That still makes it one more song than me” (on the list of all songs that they have created for Nogi).

Sugiyama (on the right) plays a short improv of Kimi No Na Wa Kibou.
Akira (on the left) at 0:11: Wow, stylish! How stylish!

Each of them states their Best 3 songs created by the other person.
Akira: 3. Boku Ga Iru Basho, 2. Sayonara No Imi, 1. Seifuku No Mannequin
Sugiyama: 3. Popipappapa-, 2. Ima Hanashitai Dareka Ga Iru, 1. Kizuitara Kataomoi

Album lead songs by Sugiyama: Boku Ga Iru Basho, Kikkake, Arigachi Na Ren’ai
3 out of the 4 Nogi albums
(Including Saigo No Tight Hug and the Under album, that would be 4 out of 6 album lead songs)

Sugiyama plays around with the key changes in Kizuitara Kataomoi.

They have a composer’s jam session and create a short song in 30 minutes. Akira composed the melody, Sugiyama did the instrumentation, and Akira did the singing and lyrics. For whatever reason, they autotuned Akira’s singing.


Honne ieba kimi to tabi shitai yo
Demo kono joukyou kami shinai to
Dakara itsumo no kono basho de
Sei ippai ni ai shitai yo

To say the truth, I want to travel with you
But we have to take into consideration these times (affected by covid)
So I want to love you all that I can
At this place, where we always do

Akira likes Naachan and Maimai’s voices.
He was impressed by Misa’s work ethic during Sonna Bakana and was moved when she and Maimai eventually got to the front row.
Akira seems to follow Nogi’s group details more than Sugiyama.
Sugiyama likes Ikuchan’s voice.

Akira jokes that he doesn’t like to do arranging.
APAZZI works in his company. APAZZI does a lot of arranging, including many for Nogi songs.

Sugiyama’s background is mostly as a composer, but he has also been a performer, especially in 2013-2016, during which Nogi has fewer songs by him than usual. He has a bit of classical background as well thus he likes using piano. He does anything: composition, arranging, lyrics

Viewer Question: Are you not going to provide songs to Sakurazaka/Hinatazaka?
Sugiyama: If they take our songs, I’ll write as many as they wanna take (laughs). We’re always writing songs.

Question: What do keep in your mind when you write songs?
Both: The deadline.
Sugiyama: Akira once said that what creates wonderful songs isn’t songwriters – it’s deadlines.

Songs they think have Akimoto Yasushi’s best lyrics
Sugiyama: Seifuku No Mannequin, Kimi No Na Wa Kibou, Baton Touch (for JULEPS)
Akira: Ano Hi Boku Wa Tossa Ni Uso Wo Tsuita

While Akimoto Yasushi was in his 20s writing lyrics, Akira was being a rebel doing hip hop and sticking his tongue out in his album photos.
Sugiyama jokes that Akira was more like Keyakizaka than Nogizaka back then.

Sugiyama’s oshimen is Maiyan.
Akira says he’s a DD, but biased towards 1ki.

They praise Yasushi a lot for his lyrics and ability to choose songs.
(However in a different interview from Nov 2020, linked here:, Sugiyama said he’s often surprised by Yasushi’s lyrics. “Oh, these are the lyrics he put for this song I composed? Huh.”)

Favorite Nogi songs
Sugiyama: Kimi No Na Wa Kibou, Sayonara No Imi, Seifuku No Mannequin, Kikkake
Akira: Hane No Kioku, Kizuitara Kataomoi, Nichijou, Ima Hanshitai Dareka Ga Iru, Dankeschon

Akira says, “I don’t know chords,” so his arranger will polish the chords in his songs.
Sugiyama jokes that his arranger changes his (Sugiyama’s) chords, if it’s good, he’s ok with it. If it isn’t, he’ll be pissed.

They both like Influencer.
They both love Mr. Children.

Nogi singles basically officially hold “competitions”, where Yasushi chooses the final songs for Nogi.
Most of the time, there is a lot of competition.

In some cases, as in the case of Kimi No Na Wa Kibou, Sugiyama just personally proposed the song to Sony/Yasushi and that was the song chosen (without a competition).

Akira’s hobbies: in the past surfing. Currently, wine, sushi.
Sugiyama: watching MMA videos, Hiroyuki’s videos (founder of 2ch).

Twitter thread version:

Tips are welcome 🙂 :


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