BAND MAID Interview at MCM London Comic Con
BAND-MAID answered the call of London as they made their European debut at MCM London Comic Con on May 27-29, 2016! Even with their busy schedule packed with “servings” (お給仕, okyuuji, their term for performances) that rocked the event all weekend long, Chris Woods was able to sit down with Miku (Guitar & Vocals), Saiki (Vocals), Kanami (Guitar), Misa (Bass), and Akane (Drums) to find out what’s on their minds.
-Welcome to the UK. So, this is your second live outside of Japan and possibly Mexico later this year. Have you any plans for more this year?
Miku: Nothing is confirmed as of yet, but we’re looking to do more and more gigs around the world in order to conquer the world.
(Since this interview, the group has announced their first European tour and will play London again on October 12th).
-Do you think you might come back to the UK?
Miku: Yes, we certainly would be more than willing to serve the masters here again.
-You’ve been working really hard since 2013, building your fan base – in the past year, you’ve done almost 100 lives, is that correct?
Miku: Indeed; I think we have done more than 100 gigs.
-That’s impressive! so have you been surprised by how quickly you’ve become popular outside of Japan? Were you expecting it?
Miku: Yes we are. But from the very start, we were looking outwards and aiming to do gigs outside of Japan. Here we are (in London) now, and we’re like, “Yes, our time has come!”
-Which single do you think was the point where you realised you could actually do this – was it “Thrill”? Was it something later, or something earlier? Did you already know you were going to be really popular before then?
Miku: There is no point in time where considered ourselves to be popular, but I think “Thrill” was the first one that caught the attention of people outside of Japan.
-In your music, there’s a big range of musical styles – rock, metal, jazz – and everyone has their own style, which is really cool. Akane has said that she was influenced by Nao-san from Maximum the Hormone; for the rest of you, who’s influenced you, and who inspires you now and gives you the inspiration to perform as you do?
Miku: Enka (the traditional Japanese genre of Japanese music) was what made me start singing, but I listen to all types of music, both from and outside of Japan. I also work on my performance by watching YouTube videos.
Saiki: In terms of stage performance, it would be SiM (a famous Japanese mixture band with elements of reggae, punk, rock and metal).
Kanami: In terms of my playing style, I would say Santana.
-And maybe a little John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)?
Akane: Yes yes, John as well. 😀
Kanami: I’ve always wanted to be a pâtissier and/or open a cake shop.
Miku: I’ve never really thought about it.. Since I was really small, I’ve always been into music, and I have to say, I’ve never thought about anything apart from music. Oh, but to put one other thing out, I do want to become a pigeon (Miku’s family name Kobato, 小鳩 is written with the character for pigeon). Poppo. I forgot horse racing as well. I love horses.
Saiki: I like taking photos of trains. British trains are very cute.
-You should go to the London Transport Museum! There’s steam trains, and an Underground simulator…
Saiki: There’s also a similar sort of museum in Japan, but I would like to go there too.
-Back to the music. Everyone’s personalities on camera are very different, and the interaction is great – but in the recording studio or rehearsals, who’s the boss? Is Akane always the leader or do other people sometimes take charge?
Akane: In this band, everyone brings their own opinions, and we very much make music together. It’s not like I alone get everyone together and instruct, but yes, I am the leader!
Kanami: Akane’s the mood maker! She always livens up the atmosphere and gets everyone pumped up.
Saiki: All of us are unique in some way or another, and bring something different to the band.
-Can you tell us about your songwriting process? How do you set about making the songs, how does a BAND-MAID album come together?
Miku: When we embark on making an album, we decide on a theme. In terms of composing, Kanami makes most of the backbone for us – the song structure and chord progressions. Then, everyone contributes their own ideas.
-It sounds very collaborative – there’s a bit of everyone in every song?
-Your music videos have, so far, always been group performances, with the band performing the songs. But you have such strong stories and themes in each album, so would you like to make some MVs that also tell a story related to the music – and perhaps act in them as characters?
Miku: In the current MVs, we don’t have anything like that, but we have been talking about making one that tells more of a story.
-Thinking of iconic music videos like “Enter Sandman” (Metallica) – which everyone remembers – is that the kind of MV you’d like to make?
Miku: Of course! But it really comes down to the budget… If we become more famous, definitely!
-Anybody here handy with a camera? Perhaps the band could record one themselves…
Akane: I take some short videos on my iPhone.
-There we go! Next video concept sorted!
-On “New Beginning” and “Brand New Maid”, you cover lots of topics – relationships, achieving your goals, defying rules and expectations that other people have for you. Have any of your new songs been inspired by your own experiences in the past few years since you formed the band?
Miku: Alone was the first track we made as BAND-MAID, so we poured all of our experiences, and what we learnt over the past three years into this.
-In the UK, the rock scene is largely comprised of male performers, and there’s almost no female groups. But it seems Japan has many all-women groups, and they do really well.
Miku: Extracurricular school activities and clubs make a big difference.
-So do you consider themselves as role models for more women to get into rock?
Miku: We’ve never considered ourselves to be role models, but we do want to be the representative girls band for Japan in the near future!
-Any particular artists you support and would like the readers to know more about?
Miku: the Japanese band Narudora!
-What’s next for BAND-MAID?
Miku: Hmmm, no idea. Something concept based? We want to become even more famous!
Saiki: Anime cosplay? That could be interesting…
-Any message for the fans?
Miku: BAND-MAID will try even harder to reach our goal of conquering the world, so we would like support from all of our Masters and Princesses. We wish to see you at our Servings, and enjoy music together.
Saiki: I want lots more people to love BAND-MAID.
Akane: I hope more girls will be encouraged to take up instruments!
Interview and photos by Chris Woods
Interview translation by Hayato ‘hamurun’ Aida
BAND-MAID “Brand New MAID” Release Tour World Series
October 9, 2016 (Sunday) SALA, Mexico City, Mexico
October 12, 2016 (Wednesday) The Underworld, London, UK
October 13, 2016 (Thursday) MTC, Cologne, Germany
October 15, 2016 (Saturday) Headcrash, Hamburg, Germany
October 16, 2016 (Sunday) La Boule Noire, Paris, France
October 19, 2016 (Wednesday) Hydrozagadka, Warsaw, Poland
October 30, 2016 (Sunday) Lucca Comics & Games 2016, Lucca, Italy
November 1, 2016 (Tuesday) Salón del Manga de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
November 5, 2016 (Saturday) Music Zone @ E-MAX, Hong Kong
BAND-MAID Official site: http://bandmaid.tokyo/
BAND-MAID Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/bandmaid
BAND-MAID Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bandmaid
BAND-MAID YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BANDMAID
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