Why LOVEBITES are the most important Japanese band, to me.

A personal reflection by Andrew Goodhew.

On August 17th, 2021, the news that Miho – founding member and now former bassist of all female metal band LOVEBITES – was leaving the group was released, along with the announcement that the rest of the group would be going on hiatus. It sent shock waves through the metal scene in Japan and around the world. For me as one of their biggest fans in the UK, the announcement saddened and deflated me. It just feels so raw that a band that has meaningful lyrics, that sing to you about what you feel and inspired myself to be who I am today has gone on hiatus, and yes it hurts at times.

Here are my thoughts on why LOVEBITES are an important band to me.

Continue reading Why LOVEBITES are the most important Japanese band, to me.

TOKYO GIRLS LEVEL-UP: AN INTERVIEW WITH FEMM

Tokyo based mannequin rap duo FEMM have returned with their new album, Tokyo Girls Anthem.

RiRi & LuLa

After receiving a firmware update in the later months of 2020, a refreshed FEMM 2.0 levelled up, much to the delight of all Agents.

Far East Mention Mannequins chapter 2 began back in 2020 on November 6th with the release of Level Up feat. Duke of Harajuku, followed by brand new six track E.P 404 Not Found on November 20th. The E.P is described by FEMM as “brand-new music that doesn’t exist (yet), no matter how hard you search for it”.

Fast forward to December 2021, FEMM finally released their second studio album, Tokyo Girls Anthem, 7 years after the release of Femm-Isation. Lead track Tokyo Girls Anthem is already making waves and the newly released banger Mental Health, featuring singer-songwriter Yup’in, stands to be one of the biggest collaborations on the album, tackling some big issues that are sure to get people talking.

With their unique rap style mixed with dark pop, industrial beats and killer music videos, the new level FEMM are ready to make their mark on the international music scene.

‘Mannequins with emotion’ RiRi and LuLa joined Beyond Senpai to chat about the new album, collaborations, and the future of FEMM.

Continue reading TOKYO GIRLS LEVEL-UP: AN INTERVIEW WITH FEMM

The Heana Cat In-Between the Lines

Gothic-romantic songwriter and multi instrumentalist The Heana Cat returns with an epic re-recording and international release of The In-Between.

The Heana Cat

A cult favourite on the live Japanese music scene since 2013, The Heana Cat has turned classic J-Rock and J-pop on its head thanks to lead Hi-chan, who brings with her a dark and stylish fusion on the gothic-romantic genre.

With the long awaited release of mini album THE HEANA CAT to, moshimasu back in March – the first release in two years – Hi-chan has been busy on the live circuit and as well as being newly signed to Setsuzoku Records.

Now, the exclusive international release of The In-Between will be available on CD and digitally from December 10th, featuring 10 rerecorded songs along with an exclusive bonus track, Asobitai.

To celebrate this anticipated release, Hi-chan has joined Beyond Senpai to talk about the album, her inspirations and plans for the future.

Continue reading The Heana Cat In-Between the Lines

Reborn With A Smile: An Interview with LONDON BLUE and Kiyoshi Hayashi

On November 1st, 2021, LONDON BLUE revealed in a surprise announcement that the group would make a return to the stage after a year-long hiatus. What was more surprising was the member reveal, with current member AOBA – also known as Harumi Aoba – being the groups sole successor after the dissolution of her former group, Ever! BE Mayowanaide!! just a day before.

Now AOBA begins her journey with LONDON BLUE, and after holding her first mini one-man live at Ikebukuro MONO on November 13th, she is ready to take on the groups 8 year legacy with the support of her seniors and a never-ending smile.

It is time to celebrate LONDON BLUE’s return to the Idol world, so Beyond Senpai would like to welcome both AOBA and LONDON BLUE’s manager, Kiyoshi Hayashi, to talk about the groups revival, AOBA’s strengths and LONDON BLUE’s future goals.

Continue reading Reborn With A Smile: An Interview with LONDON BLUE and Kiyoshi Hayashi

BRIDEAR shine in the dark: An Interview with BRIDEAR

Bridear

After what feels like a lifetime of lock-downs and restrictions, it goes without saying that what transpired this past October was an event that had been a long time coming for fans of the Japanese live music scene. Of course, whilst things have not quite returned to complete normality, here in the UK and Europe music has made its triumphant return with the explosive tour from BRIDEAR.

Bringing their Into The Dark Forever tour to several cities across the UK and Europe, BRIDEAR delighted the fans who travelled near and far for what was the first (of hopefully many) Japanese tours in almost 2 years. It goes without saying that this was more than just the music; this was a reunion of fans and friends, a reason to rock out and enjoy themselves after enduring many months without leaving their homes, let alone their counties. This was about everyone embracing their love for the music, the band and the metal that they bring.

Now that a few weeks have passed since BRIDEAR graced us with their incredible performance, the girls have since returned to Japan, but Beyond Senpai’s team were able to catch up with the members and reminisce about their time touring overseas. So, please welcome Kimi, Haru, Ayumi, Natsumi and Misaki as they join Beyond Senpai for a post-tour chat.

Continue reading BRIDEAR shine in the dark: An Interview with BRIDEAR

A conversation with Re:O

Hot off the release of her new self-produced single Guild, Saitama based singer-song writer Re:O is making moves in the music world with her dark and ambient dream-pop sounds.

With raw lyrics close to her heart, Guild tackles the dark world of losing hope. In a time where we live to work, Re:O used her talent for writing lyrics to transcend the darkness and struggles so many people face in a world that doesn’t seem too slow.

Please welcome the multi instrumentalist who joined Beyond Senpai to talk about music, creativity and her musical inspirations.

Continue reading A conversation with Re:O

Let’s Talk About: misola de edison

If you know me, then you are probably aware that my general interest lies in the generic and cute, over-saturated Orthodox Idol scene. You know, the sugary-sweet bubblegum pop that sets off your diabetes and will probably leave you with a headache, only because more than one member is most likely off-key.

That is my typical brand of J-pop, and I own it. Thing is, I love a variety of groups and various styles of music within the Japanese music scene, and whilst my love for over-the-top cuteness will always be apparent, I do have a soft-spot for another brand of Idol: The creepy and cute kind.

So with that in mind, let’s talk about misola de edison.

Continue reading Let’s Talk About: misola de edison

Houkago Princess Light Up The Stage In ‘Psyllium no Shoumei’

Release Date: September 15th, 2021

With a decade’s worth of support behind them, Houkago Princess celebrate their 10th anniversary with the release of Psyllium no Shoumei, a release dedicated to the passion and drive of the fans who have supported the Idol industry throughout the years. Whether it is the support of Houkago Princesses various era’s or the trial and error of the other groups that surround them, this is a single that aims to thank all fans far and wide for dedicating themselves to the brilliant and shining world of Idols.

Based around the theme ‘The Idol World’s Princesses’, Psyllium no Shoumei is the third original installment to the groups Princess themed releases, as well as the last to feature the entirety of the current main lineup, as all five Regular members a set to graduate in Spring of 2022.

Continue reading Houkago Princess Light Up The Stage In ‘Psyllium no Shoumei’

Double And for the future

It’s been a hot minute since Saki Chitose, better known as Double And (stylised 2&) released her first self produced EP, Nisoku De Hokou, released on July 10th this year.

With the 2020 pandemic and closure of venues last year, Saki has been busy promoting herself online and showcasing her talent to fans within Japan and overseas. Despite the restrictions set in Japan, Saki has managed to overcome the hurdles set before her and showcased her growth as a performer.

Today, Saki has joined Beyond Senpai for a Q & A to tell us about the past year and her hopes for the future.

Continue reading Double And for the future

The Ebimayo Experience: An Interview with Ever!BE Mayowanaide!!

Since beginning their activities as Ever!BE Mayowanaide!! over a year ago, the charming duo made up of Natsukawa Aoba and Momoha Airi are moving forward after wrapping up their tour to promote their debut EP, #Ebimayo.

In the midst of the worlds current issues and its slow repair, both Aoba and Airi have continued to work hard as idols to create hope for their fans, whilst also taking on their own challenges as performers. Be it writing their own lyrics for the first time or preparing the choreography for their music, Ebimayo’s Aoba and Airi are starting a journey that will hopefully lead them to success the more they pursue this path they have undertaken.

Now after the successfully wrapping up their first CD release tour, Beyond Senpai were lucky enough to have a chat with the members of Ever!BE Mayowanaide!! to get to know the idols behind the music, and to find out what it was like working alongside the cute noodle loving mascot, Udon-Nou.

Continue reading The Ebimayo Experience: An Interview with Ever!BE Mayowanaide!!

The music and culture webzine