It has been 2 years since Idol Renaissance was formed in 2014 and they have just released their first album “Our Songs” on March 22, 2016. They are a unique idol group that has made a name for themselves as the leaders of a “Mei-kyoku Renaissance”, the name given to their covers of famous Japanese pop songs inherited from a previous generation and reinvigorated by their exceptional singing and dancing skills. With the release of their album and their upcoming 3rd one-man live on May 4, 2016, Tokyo Girls’ Update sat down with Idol Renaissance to talk with them about their current feelings and future plans to expand their mission globally.


-First of all, would you please introduce yourself?

Momo’oka: I’m Koyoi Momo’oka, 14 years old and in the 2nd grade of middle school. Nice to meet you.


Arai: I’m Noa Arai, 17 years old and in the 2nd grade of high school. Nice to meet you.


Miyamoto: I’m Marin Miyamoto, 14 years old and in the 2nd grade of middle school . Nice to meet you.


Higa: I’m Nanako Higa, 16 years old and in the 1st grade of high school. Nice to meet you.


Minamibata: I’m Maina Minamibata, 16 years old and in the 1st grade of high school. Nice to meet you.


Ishino: I’m Riko Ishino, 15 years old and in the 5th grade of middle school…ah no! 3rd grade in middle school! Nice to meet you.


-Is it OK for you to have this sort of character (5th year middle school student)?

All: No, it’s fine (laughs)

-So, please let me ask some questions. You had second one-man live at Ebisu LIQUIDROOM the other day. How was it?

Minamibata: We were so nervous at the 1st one-man live, of course we enjoyed it but at the same time there were some points we regretted. So we wanted to revenge, re, revenge, revenge it….

-You really wanted to revenge it (laugh).

Minamibata: (Laughs) I really wanted to revenge it and take on the new challenge of doing an acoustic live too. Because the venue was so much bigger, I was very conscious of wanting to do something that the fans who came to see us could enjoy and become unified with all of the members, something that would convey the gratitude that we have for them from within all of us as well so I think it was a good starting point.

-You said you wanted to get revenge, but for example, what you wanted to improve upon?

Momo’oka: Because the first one-man live was our first experience with such a venue, without realizing that incidents could happen, we only prepared by rehearsing our singing and dancing. Because it was also right after the graduation of one of the members (Kana Hashimoto, who graduated in September of 2015), I didn’t really understand what kind of thing a one-man live was. During the second half of the live, my physical strength started to give out and singing became difficult because I was short of breath. I couldn’t settle down and kind of lost my composure. Just as Maina said earlier, I was totally unable to be on the same page as everyone else when it came to the first one-man.


-So for the second one-man live, all those problems like being nervous, being too excited, getting exhausted, for example, all went away?

All: Yes! (laughs)

-I’m glad to hear it! The reports from your second one-man were outstanding, so I think you made it. How was it performing an “acoustic live” for the first time?

Higa: It was the very first time for us to perform with acoustic music, so it was really fun! We received so many positive reactions from fans at the Tokuten-kai (fan meeting) after the live. If we have chance to perform our songs live with acoustic instruments again, I want to do more songs like that!

Ishino: I felt that I’m really close to the music, and since we didn’t dance during the acoustic performance, it felt really different from how it usually is. It was also our first experience where we could sing while seeing the faces in the audience, so I felt more relaxed and thought we could sing in a good atmosphere.


-It’s true that you can see the audience more carefully with an acoustic live than the usual performance which includes dancing.

Ishino: I also felt the audience were listening our songs more carefully.

Arai: We could also enjoy the music by ourselves.

-So you could enjoy the music more with an acoustic live. Your group’s concept is making people enjoy music more, right? What’s the next challenge for you?

Miyamoto: We’ll hold our second anniversary live at TSUTAYA O-EAST (in Shibuya) on May 4, 2016. The audience capacity for the first one-man live was 550 people, the second one was 900, and the next will be around 1,300. We had enough time before second one-man live after the first one-man so the tickets eventually sold out by the day of the concert, but we don’t really have enough time for the next live. But it is the day we celebrate our second anniversary, show gratitude to fans who have supported our activities for two years, and we want the audience to see how we have ‘skilled up’ in that time, so we hope that a lot of people would come to see us. We’ll be doing our best to put on a performance to the best of our abilities so I think we will be able to have the best second anniversary live ever with 1,300 fans there on that day.


-It would be really great to have it sell out.

Momo’oka: Right now, I think it is very important that we are promoting the release of our new album. It’s our first album so there are new songs, songs that are popular live, and the songs which we have previously released, it’s a disc that summarizes everything we have done up until now, I really hope a lot of people will get it.

-Thank you very much. I was just thinking of shifting the conversation to the subject of your album (laughs). Because it’s an album, please talk about your favorite points about it, what you think the highlights are, or any stories you might have when it came to making it.

Miyamoto: For songs like “17-sai” and “Taiyou to Shinzou”, we didn’t re-record them, leaving them as they were originally recorded when they were released as singles. I would be really happy if people would listen to the difference between how our voices sounded back then compared to on the newly recorded songs. Plus, there are 2 songs from singles that were released before we changed labels and are now out of print. It’s something you can only get on the album so whenever you have a chance (get it)! For those who have recently started liking us and those who wanted to have “17-sai” on a CD again, I would love it if they took this chance to finally get it. The song has been left as is so they can definitely experience the feelings from that time when listening to it. Even though, that was only 2 years ago (laughs).


-So, please tell us your favorite song from the album.

Arai: “Besten Dank”. Harmonizing is one of the strong points of Idol Renaissance and you can recognize it clearly in this song. We put a lot of our ‘fighting spirit’ into the recording of it. I would like you to listen this song while paying attention with our beautiful six-part harmonies.

Contributor Wanted!!

Minamibata: My recommended song is our cover of Honey Works’ “Kinyoubi no Ohayo”. I liked this song before the staff told us that it was gonna be one of our new songs, so I was wondering how it would turn out when we covered it. During the recording, there was a real feeling of, “Ohhhhhh!” I couldn’t help grinning when I would hear the music. It’s a really cute song so for example, when Nonchan (Arai) sings, more than any other song, it will make your heart flutter. Even though what the lyrics for “Kinyoubi no Ohayou” are expressing similar things to the lyrics for “YOU”, the way that they are said are different. The rhythm of the song and the lyrics are totally different so it’s more of a reassuring feeling, how should I put it…ah, I ended up saying 2 songs (laughs)!


-Thank you very much, even though you said 2 songs (laughs).

Ishino: My recommendation is the cover of ™ NETWORK’s “STILL LOVE HER (Ushinawareta Fukei)”. It’s a fairly heartbreaking song but, I think when we sing it, there’s a sparkling quality mixed in with it as well. Also, during the chorus, the original melody is reintroduced. The harmonizing was also done very earnestly so I would love it if people would listen and compare our version to the original.


-Higa, would you like to go next?

Higa: Okay, my recommendation is “Anoko Bokuga Longshoot Kimetara Donnakao Surudaro”. It’s one of the songs that’s really popular live. It’s a song that hits the audience as soon as they hear the intro and makes them go, “Ohhhhh!” We recorded it in secret.

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Everyone: In secret!? (laughs)

-Because it was recording, right? To make sure other sounds didn’t get mixed in (laughs)?

Higa: That’s right (laughs)! Because it’s different from doing it live and when we were singing, we would automatically get excited. We wondered how to bring out that live feeling!

Arai:I imagined it was live!

-Imagination? (laughs)

Miyamoto: I saw the recording booth as a live stage.

Momo’oka: I was super hyped!

Higa: Because I thought really hard about bringing out the mood of the stage to the recording, I wonder if it comes through on the album. I asked people who were around during the time when Yasuyuki Okamura made the song and listened to it while thinking about that was well as the feelings I have when performing the song live. There are so many ways to enjoy the song so it’s my number one favorite song.


-It’s a song that can be enjoyed in many different ways. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing it.

Momo’oka: My recommendation is “Yeah!Yeah!Yeah!”. It’s a newly recorded song but, it’s a really forward-facing song so it kind of reawakens the memories that we have been making over the past 2 years.


-Thank you very much.

Miyamoto: All the new songs were taken…so the highlight of the album, has to be “17-sai”, right? It has to be.

Ishino: I wanted to say that. I understand.

Contributor Wanted!!

Miyamoto: After all, “17-sai” was our first single that we got since we became a group and it’s a song that we sang preciously all this time. Even people who didn’t know about Idol Renaissance have seen the MV, and with the single already out of print, so I’m really happy it was included on the album. Because it is such an important song that we sang to preciously, “17-sai” is our starting point stuck right in the middle of the album.

Ishino: “17-sai” is the 9th song on the album. So the 8th song is titled “-SKIT-” which is a recording of our ritual of getting in a circle and yelling “Dokaan” before a live, something we have done ever since our debut. So with that included right before “17-sai”, it captures how hard we have been working up until this point. I think that the progression from the 8th to the 9th song is also something to pay attention to.

Arai: The reason for “Dokaan” is not just something born out of getting hyped for a live; in the beginning, we didn’t really have a sense of unity so during rehearsals, the staff members told us to get in a circle, and through that , the “Dokaan” call was born.


-And it’s something that continues to this day?

Ishino: When we do the “Dokaan”, we’re somehow able to feel at ease. It’s very important to us.

Arai: For Idol Renaissance, “17-sai” and “Dokaan” are very important keywords.

Ishino: Everything in this album has a meaning for being included. For example, there’s the photo on the cover and the lyrics booklet, right?


Miyamoto: From beginning to end, everything is tied together by the thread that is “Our Songs”.

-So everything is bound together by that one thread? I see.

Miyamoto: The message of “everyone’s songs” is expressed in that manner. It’s all tied together through the music.

-I see, that’s pretty amazing. Next I would like to ask about the current state of Idol Renaissance, like the increase of fans, the introduction of the kouhosei, the changes in your outlook, for example. How are you doing in regards to all that?

Momo’oka: We’ve appeared as guests twice for the Kouhosei lives, everyone rehearsing together and doing collaborations; we’re really involved with them. Unable to forget the feelings that they must be having, we experience what it was like for us back then all over again when we watch them on stage. Even though we’ve been around for 2 years, sometimes staff members will say things like, “Recently hasn’t your singing gotten a little sloppy?” Watching the Kouhosei lives, we’re reminded that we have to keep improving ourselves.


-It’s like motivation, or should I say, something that makes you focus on your goals? Because Tokyo Girls’ Update is an internationally-focused site, I would like to ask about going overseas; in January of 2014, you went to Thailand, right? Was that your last time going abroad?

Next page : What do they think about oversea activities?


I am the Chief Idol Officer of Tokyo Girls Update, known as "Hiroro Ojisan" who loves Maachan. I produce the MV, art works, promotions, and tie-in campaign of idol groups such as "Team Syachihoko" and "Negicco". Please contact me if you know any "hanare-me" (wide-set eyed) idols.

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