Category Archives: Interviews

Hail DearDevil



There is a new group in town and they are here to share their music with the world. Kelly and Tom were honoured to interview this new and exciting group, so lets learn who and what DEARDEVIL are all about.


Thank you for joining us in this interview with Beyond Senpai! We are happy to finally get to know the members of DEARDEVIL and share your charms and goals with the world!

BEYOND SENPAI のインタビューにお付き合いいただき、ありがとうございます。ようやくDEARDEVILのメンバーのことを知ることができ、皆さんの魅力や目標を世界に発信することができて嬉しいです

Akane, Arara and Risa

BS: To start, please can you introduce yourselves individually.
BS: まず初めに、皆さんの自己紹介をお願いします。

– RISA:
Nice to meet you. I am RISA, and I am the leader of DEARDEVIL and in charge of the colour SUICIDE BLUE. I feel happiest when I am sleeping, and my favourite food is liver and sashimi.
-りさ:
はじめまして。SUICIDE BLUE担当のりさです。DEARDEVILのリーダーだったりします。寝ることに一番幸せを感じます。好きな食べ物はレバ刺しです。

– AKANE:
I am AKANE, the youngest member of DEARDEVIL who is in charge of the colour CANDY PINK.
– あかね:
きゃんでぃーぴんく担当、最年少のあかねです。

– ARARA
I am ARARA, and I am in charge of the colour Beautiful Violet. I am probably the loudest person here, too.
– あらら
クラシーヴァヤバイオレッド担当あららです。たぶん1番うるさいです。

– FUDOU:
Hello, nice to see you again.
My name is Fudou. I am the CEO and multi-creator of Devil Margin Inc.

BS: Please tell us a little about your goals and aspirations for DEARDEVIL.

BS: DEARDEVILでの目標や抱負をお聞かせください。

– RISA
My current goal is to increase the number of songs we have already. This way, we can do a one-man live show.
-りさ:
直近の目標はとにかく曲をたくさん増やしたいですね。ワンマンできるくらい。

– AKANE:
I want DEARDEVIL’s music to be known by people all over the world.
– あかね:
世界中の人にDEARDEVILの音楽を知ってもらえるようになりたいです。

– ARARA:
With our music, we want to reach as many people as possible.
– あらら:
できるだけ多くの人達にうちらの音楽を届けたいです。

– FUDOU:
We would like to send our music all over the world in the hope that it reaches those who are suffering, and aids them in changing for the better.

Akane

BS: Everyone within DEARDEVIL has previously worked as an idol together. Is there something that you experienced in the past that you hope to experience again as a member of DEARDEVIL?

BS: DEARDEVILのメンバーは全員、以前に一緒にアイドル活動をしていました。過去に経験したことの中で、DEARDEVILのメンバーとしてもう一度経験してみたいことはありますか?

– RISA:
In the past, I was able to perform in front of a lot of people in Malaysia. Someday, I would like to perform on a big stage like that again.
-りさ:
マレーシアで沢山の方の前でライブをさせていただいたことですかね。また大きいステージに立ちたいです。

– AKANE:
I would like to hold a live performance oversease again.
– あかね:
海外でLIVEしたいです。

– ARARA:
I want to perform abroad.
– あらら:
海外でライブしたい

Risa

BS: You recently made your stage and CD debut at the end of March. Congratulations! How did you feel standing together on stage again as a reborn group?

BS: 先日、3月末にステージ&CDデビューされましたね。おめでとうございます。生まれ変わったグループとして再びステージに立った感想は?

– RISA:
The music is great!
-りさ:
音楽サイコー!

– AKANE:
It was a lot of fun. I knew that I wanted to continue standing on stage for a long time, and I can do that once again.
It was a lot of fun. After all, I felt once again that I wanted to continue to stand on the stage.
– あかね:
とても楽しかったです。やっぱりこれからもずっとステージに立ち続けたいなと改めて感じました。

– ARARA:
I thought that I wouldn’t be able to stand on stage and perform anymore, so I was happy that I could return and sing once again.
– あらら:
もうステージに立てないんだろうなと思ってたのでまた歌うことができて嬉しかったです。

BS: Can you tell us a little about your debut single, ‘Calling’, and what message you want fans of DEARDEVIL to look out for in your music?

BS: デビューシングル「Calling」について、また、DEARDEVILのファンに注目してほしいメッセージを教えてください。

– RISA:
Even if I get hit by the pouring rain, I want to do my best. Life is full of mountains and valleys, so let’s do our best together. This is the message I want to convey.
-りさ:
降りしきる雨に打たれても頑張っていきたいです。人生山あり谷ありですが頑張りましょう。

– AKANE:
This is DEARDEVIL’s memorable debut single, so I hope that everyone will pay attention to all the deatails of the song.
– あかね:
DEARDEVILの記念すべきデビューシングルなので、隅々まで全部注目してほしいです。

– ARARA:
I love the last chorus, so I hope that this can become a song that will bring light to both the members of the group and our fans one day.
– あらら:
うちはラスサビが好き。いつか私たちやファンの方々に光をもたらしてくれる曲になれば嬉しいです。

– FUDOU:
As the successor to the original, real sound, I would like everyone to enjoy the overwhelming sound pressure and precise music from the core of your bones, just like the music of Satanic Punish.

Arara

BS: There has been support from the overseas Idol fandom with the announcement of your debut. How does it make you feel to know that you have fans supporting you from different countries?

BS: デビュー発表時から海外のアイドルファンからの応援がありました。さまざまな国のファンが応援してくれていることを知って、どのように感じていますか?

– RISA:
I am grateful that people from overseas want to listen to our music.
-りさ:
海を超えて私たちの音楽を聴いてくださるなんてありがたいです。

– AKANE:
I am very happy. I will continue to do my best so that I can meet everyone soon.
– あかね:
すごく嬉しいです。早く会いに行けるように頑張ります。

– ARARA:
I am happy that I have both people in Japan and overseas supporting me. The overseas fans talk to me a lot on Twitter, so I am very happy to hear from them.
– あらら:
国内外関係なく応援してもらえるのは嬉しいです。海外の方は特にツイッターとかで話しかけてくれるので、反応貰えるのが凄く嬉しい。

– FUDOU:
We appreciate everyone around the world that knows about us and keeps us in their hearts.

BS: Are there any countries that you would like to visit and potentially perform in one day?

BS: いつかは行ってみたい、演奏できる可能性のある国はありますか?

– RISA:
I want to visit England.
-りさ:
イギリスに行ってみたいです。

– AKANE:
I would like to visit New York.
– あかね:
ニューヨークに行ってみたいです。

– ARARA:
Wherever people support me, I want to go to those countries. I also want to go wherever delicious food is served.
– あらら:
応援してくれてる人のいる国は行けるなら全部行きたい。あと、ごはんが美味しいとこ。

– FUDOU:
We would like to visit Europe and the USA as soon as possible, once the situation with the virus is over and done with!!

BS: As the members of DEARDEVIL are in the same office as Satanic Punish, can you please tell us what your first and current impressions are of the Satanic Punish members, Webshiki and Himeno Usagi?

BS: DEARDEVILのメンバーはSatanic Punishと同じ事務所に所属していたということで、Satanic PunishのメンバーであるWebshikiと姫野うさぎの第一印象と現在の印象を教えてください。

– RISA:
My first impression of Web-san: Her death growl
Now: Her drinking

My first impression of Usagi-san: She seems mature
Now: She talks a lot.
-りさ:
うぇぶちゃん 【第一印象】デスボ【今】酒
うさぎちゃん 【第一印象】大人しそう【今】めっちゃ喋る

– AKANE:
I had a scary image of them both at first, but now I think of them as kind and interesting people.
– あかね:
最初はお二人とも怖いイメージでした。今は優しくて面白い方々だと思ってます。

– ARARA:
For Web-san: Originally, she looked scary, but now I think that her laughing face is cute.
For Usagi-san: I thought that she looked mature, but now I know that she talks a lot. It makes me happy that we can talk about our favourite anime and games together.
– あらら:
うぇぶちゃん 怖そう→笑った顔かわいい
うさぎちゃん 大人しそう→めちゃ喋る。好きなゲームやアニメが一緒で嬉しい。

Satanic Punish & DEARDEVIL

BS: When you are not performing, what hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?

BS: 演奏活動をしていないときは、どのような趣味を持っていますか?

– RISA:
I am currently playing a game called ‘Compass sentō setsuri kaiseki shisutemu’, which is a smartphone app.
-りさ:
スマホアプリの「コンパス戦闘摂理解析システム」というゲームをしています。

– AKANE:
I like watching Youtube.
– あかね:
YouTube鑑賞するのが好きです。

– ARARA:
Watching Super Sentai, Kamen Rider and anime, and cosplay.
– あらら:
スーパー戦隊や仮面ライダー、アニメを見たりコスプレ

– FUDOU:
Eating Ramen Jiro, Kakei Ramen, searching for abandoned buildings, road biking and HIPHOP.
不動:
ラーメン二郎、家系ラーメン、廃墟探し、ロードバイク、HIPHOP

BS: If the members of DEARDEVIL could be transported into a game world for 24 hours, which game would you want to be a part of?

BS: DEARDEVILのメンバーが24時間だけゲームの世界に移動できるとしたら、どのゲームに参加したいですか?

– RISA:
Animal Crossing.
-りさ:
どうぶつの森

– AKANE:
Tomodachi Collection. I want to make even more friends.
– あかね:
トモダチコレクション。友達増やしたいです。

– ARARA:
Pokémon. I want to travel with Gengar.
– あらら:
ポケモン。ゲンガー連れて旅したい。

– FUDOU:
Silent Hill.

BS: Finally, do you have a message for the fans and future listeners of DEARDEVIL?

BS: 最後に、DEARDEVILのファンや未来のリスナーに向けてメッセージをお願いします。

– RISA:
Please look forward to our future activities as a group!
-りさ:
これからの活動にご期待ください!

– AKANE:
We will do our best to sing so that people all over the world can enjoy our music and performances, so we hope that you will support us.
– あかね:
世界中の人に私たちの音楽とパフォーマンスを楽しんでもらえるように全力で歌うので、応援してくれると嬉しいです。

– ARARA:
We are going to get stronger and stronger, so please look forward to watching us grow.
– あらら:
どんどん強くなるんで楽しみにしててください。

-FUDOU:
Music does not change the world. It’s forever. However, music can change people, and that will be forever. I sincerely hope that our music will at least save our hearts when we listen to it. We will continue to produce such songs that can allow each person who listens to consider the message contained in each song. We will continue working on the artistic activity called music with both DEARDEVIL and Satanic Punish.
不動:
音楽で世界は変わるることはない。それはこの先ずっと。ただ音楽で人は変わる。それはこれから先ずっと。自分たちの音楽が、せめて心の救いになることを心の底から願っています。そして、一曲一曲に込められたメッセージを一人一人考察できる、そんな楽曲をこれからも制作し続けていきます。音楽という名の芸術活動をDEARDEVIL、Satanic Punish共に続けていきます。


Bonus Questions:
ボーナスですね。

– Are there any types of food or snacks from other countries that you would like to try one day?
– いつか食べてみたいと思っている外国の食べ物やお菓子はありますか?

– RISA:
I want to try the Starbucks Cotton Candy Frappuccino.
-りさ:
スタバのコットンキャンディーフラペチーノ

– AKANE:
I want to eat and then compare the chocolates of each country.
– あかね:
各国のチョコレートを食べ比べしてみたい

– ARARA:
I want to eat potato chips from various countries!
– あらら:
色んな国のポテチ食べたい

– FUDOU:
The different ramen around the world.
不動:
世界中のラーメン

– Who are your favourite bands or artists to listen to right now?
– 今、聴いているお気に入りのバンドやアーティストは誰ですか?


– RISA:
Sanketsu Shojo Sayuri
Zutto Mayonaka de Iinoni. (ZUTOMAYO)
Yorushika
-りさ:
酸欠少女さユり
ずっと真夜中でいいのに
ヨルシカ

– AKANE:
Aimer
Yorushika
Chanmina
– あかね:
Aimer
ヨルシカ
ちゃんみな

– ARARA:
RONDO, GARNiDELiA
– あらら:
燐舞曲、GARNiDELiA


– FUDOU:
Alpha Wolf – Akudama
Crown The Empire’s “BLUE PILL”
Oceans Ate Alaska – Metamorph
WITHIN DESTRUCTION – HATE ME
REAL-T – ” 寒唄 (COLD SHIT) (prod.FEZBEATZ)
REAL-T – ” 勘ぐり関係 (prod.FEZBEATZ)
OUTLAW/BADSAIKUSH”舐達麻”Feat.KENNY-G”prod.GREEN ASSASSIN DOLLAR
LifeStash / 舐達麻 (prod.7SEEDS)
O-JEE – GANITO KAME ft KENNY G GANITO KAME

– Do you have a favourite Satanic Punish song?
– Satanic Punishのお気に入りの曲はありますか?


– RISA:
Alpha Omega
-りさ:
アルファオメガ

– AKANE:
Alpha Omega
– あかね:
アルファオメガ

– ARARA:
WHITEWOLF
– あらら:
WHITEWOLF


– FUDOU:
There are a number of unreleased sound sources from before the official song release that I like.
不動:
公開前の数々の未発表曲音源


Thank you all for taking the time to answer our questions and We look forward to supporting you in the future.

To support DEARDEVIL

Risa
https://twitter.com/DEARDEVIL_RISA
https://instagram.com/deardevil_risa?igshid=wjbvspeafwef

Arara
https://twitter.com/DEARDEVIL_ARARA
https://instagram.com/arara_0422_?igshid=n5jvdcl1ppjn

Akane
https://twitter.com/DEARDEVIL_AKANE
https://instagram.com/deardevil_akane?igshid=1sylea8dgx7n6

DearDevil
https://twitter.com/DEARDEVIL_JP
deardevil.idol@gmail.com – email

Sound cloud
m.soundcloud.com/deardeviljp

Base shop
https://satanic.base.shop/


Special thank you to one of our closest friends Kelly for helping out with the interview. Please go and support her with her Wota of the Round Table. And go follow her on twitter. https://twitter.com/RoundtableWota

Thank you to Just Panda for editing the article.

All photos are courtesy of DEARDEVIL.

Kakkoii Club-through the lens of Japanese live music photography

The live music experience isn’t all mosh pits in a hot, dark room with a few hundred strangers. Right at the front, beyond the barrier, are a niche group of people who capture those incredible moments in a split second.

The live music photographers have the best seat in the house. They take the very moments we fans enjoy and freeze them in time forever. And in the UK Japanese music scene, there is no one more widely known than Kakkoii Club.

BS: Welcome to Beyond Senpai, please introduce yourself.

KC: Hey everyone! I’m Warren Smith, the creator and founder of KAKKOII CLUB. My website has seen many format and content changes since the site first launched in 2015. The website initially began as a webzine of sorts covering my main passion; music. This featured artist interviews (I was lucky enough to meet the legendary Yoshiki during his ‘We Are X’ UK promo tour), album reviews, Spotify playlists and more but I wasn’t shy to try out new items or features to keep things fresh for me as the sole content creator. I covered other elements of J-culture including reviews of all the latest treats and snacks direct from Japan, thanks to my monthly partnership with Oyatsubox. This ranged from Wasabi flavoured Kitkats to a variety of drinks, chocolate bars and seasonal favourites. As time progressed, there were already a number of webzine’s out there covering the J-Rock scene and I needed a different angle. While the KAKKOII CLUB name has always remained, the content has been streamlined over time to solely focus on live music photography – to capture and support the Japanese live music scene in the UK.

Fuki-Unlucky Morpheus (Metal Matsuri)

BS: How did you enter the world of photography? And what inspired you to pursue a focus in live music photography?

KC: I would find myself at gigs thinking “that would’ve been a great shot!” or watching the energy of a band member and wishing I could’ve captured that leg kick or fan interaction and not having the tools to hand began to frustrate me immensely the more gigs I attended! Post one gig, I knew this was something I was clearly interested in and the following day I watched countless videos on YouTube; from camera gear and setup reviews to music photography tips and where to get started. Once I bought my first camera, I headed down to my local venue and began to shoot there regularly (unpaid – in return for access). Pubs or small club venues are the perfect ‘boot camp’ for aspiring photographers! If you can survive the insane amount of red lighting (any photographer’s worst nightmare!), stage smoke so thick it covers the entire band and stage area, limited space to manoeuvre and (over time) improve and still get a decent shot, once you get to the O2 Academies and larger venues, you’ll not only be treated to a crowd barrier at larger shows but normally the lighting and general space to work in is greatly improved but you will get the occasional curveball from time to time. E.G. strobe lighting or rapid changes of lighting effects that really put you to the test and you’ll have to adapt your settings on the fly.

BS: What type of camera do you shoot with? And have your gear preferences changed over the years as you have become more involved in the live music scene?

KC: My initial camera was a Canon DSLR. I used this more for video work at the time. While I was learning to shoot at my local venue, pre-show I would interview the bands for the venues YouTube channel that I created but later discovered Nikon DSLR’s ticked more boxes for me photography wise. The Canon was then sold and replaced with my current setup: Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD. The lens itself weighs 825kg (a little less than a bag of sugar. My arms normally start to tremble after a full day at HYPER JAPAN or live event but the shots it brings is truly worth it!) I’d love to upgrade my camera at some stage but all of my work is unpaid, I’m just grateful to gain access to the venue or artist and help share some great memories with fans both in the UK and back In Japan. I have dabbled with other lenses but the 24-70mm covers all the ranges I require (I just wish it was a little lighter!)

BS: Having an eye for detail is certainly an important factor in your line of work, what is your process from when you close the shutter to publishing the finished article?

KC: Post gig, I enjoy the editing process just as much as capturing the images. You normally only get to shoot the first 3 songs / 10mins, so you get no time to check the images at the gig. I normally walk away from the set with around 500 images per band. As the majority of bands will need to approve all potential images before they are posted online (this can take a few days or few months depending on the band / artist / management, which is why there is sometimes a delay between the gig taking place and me being able to share my images.) This process can sometimes be complex but one that needs to be adhered to and respected if you want the chance to capture the band the next time they are in the UK. In light of this, I always look at my photos with the view of “What would the band approve?”. I tend to avoid having the same style of shot multiple times in my galleries as this isn’t interesting to look at. I try to capture as many of the band members / artists as possible even when the lighting over the poor drummer is always weak at best! I then try to cut down 500 images to potentially 30 and cut these down again until I’m happy with the final selection, which should be a varied mix and one that represents their live performance.

BS: The Japanese music community in the UK is undoubtedly a niche one, how did you become involved in the scene? Was it the music that came first or the photography? And who was the first band you got to work with?

KC: Covering music has always been a passion of mine and as KAKKOII CLUB ‘s content began to expand over the years, events such as HYPER JAPAN took a key role in blending music with J-culture on my website. I then began to photograph the event (mainly to cover the live artists) and bit by bit my portfolio began to expand and I have been fortunate to cover events such as Japan Matsuri and Metal Matsuri was an incredible two days to say the least! My first (and favourite) memory was when I first met MUTANT MONSTER in 2016. I asked their tour manager if I could take them for a quick tour around Camden Town prior to their gig at The Underworld and get a few shots (something a little different to just covering live gigs) and to my surprise he said “yes” and to make things more interesting, he left me with the band and just gave me a time they had to be back for in time for soundcheck! One of my favourite photos is the band standing in front of the iconic Camden Lock area. Bearing in mind this was a cold November day, the band removed their winter jackets and were happy to pose for a quick couple of shots which turned out great! Shortly after, we were on the way back to The Underworld when the band discovered a Dr. Martens store nearby. Let’s just say we ran a little late for soundcheck! I’ve loved shooting the band ever since and their enthusiasm and passion for performing live is truly infectious!

Mutant Monster

BS: On your website, you post a blog about the gigs you have worked at which gives a really interesting perspective on the scene, what made you decide to include this alongside your photography?

KC: I wanted to vary my content and have a feature to accompany the live photos or just write about a specific topic I had in mind as I think a different perspective can be thought provoking or interesting to those who are involved in the scene. Ideally, I’d love to produce multiple ‘behind the scenes’ videos with clips of the live show from my camera angle and share a few pics etc but the red tape with authorisations would make that incredibly difficult and most likely impossible to produce on a regular basis, unfortunately. I may add further blogs regarding my photo setup / commentary for each show in the future. If that would be something of interest, let me know on Twitter!

BS: You have photographed many of the Japanese bands and artists that have toured in the UK, who was the most surprising act to shoot and why?

KC: I have to admit I wasn’t ready for Ningen Isu! Initially I thought based on the ticket price for their show at The Underworld, I was expecting a low turnout. I couldn’t have been more wrong and I love it when that happens! A packed crowd, all fully behind the band, singing and totally getting involved! The stage presence of the group was outstanding and the many faces that Suzuki Ken-ichi displayed were entertaining to say the least! There was no barrier for this show (normally standard for The Underworld gigs) but I managed to get a great spot and was really pleased with the finished photos which both the band and venue later shared on their social media channels. Again, it goes to show that live music can always be unpredictable!

Ningen Isu

BS: In an ever-evolving world of technology it seems everyone is a photographer these days, how do you feel about the sea of mobile phones at live shows?

KC: I’m all for someone wanting to get a photo or two for their own memory of the night but I’ve seen people at gigs holding up iPads, that’s when it gets ridiculous! Get a few pics and then put your phone away, you’ve paid to see the band or artist in front of you, live the experience not through your smartphone for the entire show!

BS: The live music environment is one that doesn’t always run smoothly, are there many struggles in shooting live bands, such as where to position yourself and stage lighting? And how do you overcome these obstacles?

KC: Ask anyone that shoots the J-music scene and they’ll tell you that trying to gain access to the venue or locate a contact to request a photo pass can sometimes be a mission in itself. Many of the artists won’t have UK contacts, so you have to do a lot of digging yourself via the bands social media channels and keep everything crossed someone may get back to you! Some gigs are more challenging than others and some promoters will literally get back to you on the day of the show, always be prepared! When you’re in the photo pit, you’re normally sharing the space with maybe 5 or 6 other photographers. Trying to not get them in your shots can be just as challenging as trying to capture ‘that’ defining image of the bands set in less than 10 minutes! I try to start on one side and move across during the duration, while being respectful of the other photographers and not blocking their shots or moving out of a space when necessary, nobody likes a ‘camper’*! (*someone that literally hogs the best spot and refuses to move for the duration.) When it comes to lighting, you’re at the mercy of the lighting director in the booth at the back of the venue. You’ll have no idea what he/she has planned or what set of colours they will be using. In cases like this, you need to know what your camera’s limits are and be able to change your settings on the fly to accommodate the multiple scenario’s you will be up against.

BS: The past year has certainly been a particularly difficult one for the live music scene, how has this affected you and how excited are you for that first live shoot that will happen?

KC: I can’t imagine how challenging this time has been for those in the profession as paid photographers, I’m fortunate that live photography is a side interest outside of my core full time job. Like you all I’m sure, I’ve missed live music incredibly during this time. What I wouldn’t give to hear a sound check or the screech of guitar feedback! I think my first live shoot will be incredibly emotional, not only to see a live band again but to be back capturing live music! There have been a lot of questions going through my mind during this time such as: will there be only one photographer per show moving forwards due to social distancing? Will the band have to provide their own ‘approved’ photographer? The answer is we really don’t know until the live scene starts to pick up again, it’s unknown territory for now but I hope I can be back down the front again as soon as it’s safe to do so!

BS: Among all of your works, which is your favourite and why? And is there a band or artist you really want to work with in the future?

KC: SCANDAL were one of the first J-Rock bands I followed and when I had the chance to capture their live show at O2 Academy Islington in 2016, I didn’t sleep much the night before! I sat on the crowd barrier steps with the other photographers (like we normally do, waiting for the house lights to go down.) and my jeans were caught against the metal railing on the step. I was freaking out! Here I am about to photograph SCANDAL and I can’t even stand up because my jeans are stuck and could rip, leaving me in a potentially very awkward scene! Luckily, the jeans were only caught for the first 20 seconds of the bands intro but believe me that felt like a lifetime! I lifted my camera up and adjusted the lens for the first shot, SCANDAL walked out on stage, I took my first shot, lowered my camera and then realised how close they were in front of me! Incredible memories and I then went to Paris the following day to capture their gig and this would be my first photography live event outside of the UK! I’d love to capture Wagakki Band; with so many different styles of musicians (and members!), it would be an incredible event to capture live! I’d also like to get more ‘behind the scenes’ photos. E.G. When you see the bands hanging out backstage/on the tour bus or during soundcheck, I love those intimate shots and would love to expand my portfolio outside of live music.

Scandal

BS: Do you have any tips or advice for prospective live music photographers?

KC: For me it all comes down to one word – Respect:

Respect security – They are there for your and the crowd’s protection. If they need you to move or leave the photo pit regardless of the number of songs you have shot, you move!

Respect the crowd – They’ve paid to see their favourite artist. Be respectful. Don’t stand directly in their line of view (where possible) or if there isn’t a crowd barrier, don’t stand down the front waving a camera around, most likely it’s going to get damaged if the crowd are jumping around and you don’t want to leave with a cracked lens! Grab a few shots from the first few songs and then find an alternative standpoint.

Respect the band/artist – The label/management/venue has put their trust in you and your work. Don’t get in the artists way, respect their space and only shoot the first three songs (don’t push your luck for more, you’ll only ruin your chances for future gigs!)

Respect the management’s decision – You may have sent the band’s management 30 images and they only approved 5. That might not be the result you were hoping for but you also don’t want to be blacklisted for the bands next UK show if you decide to upload all 30 and bypass their decision!

Respect the other photographers – The J-Rock scene is niche and you will see familiar photographers at other events. Say “hi” to the other photographers in the pit before the gig starts, it helps break the ice and you’re going to be working in a close space for the first 10 mins of the gig. It makes for a much nicer environment and things a little less awkward!

Thanks to Amanda and the Beyond Senpai Team for this opportunity.

Beyond Senpai thanks Warren for giving us a snapshot into the live music photography world.

To support KAKKOII Club http://www.kakkoii.club https://twitter.com/kakkoiiclub

Babybeard: Smile, dance, scream!

Ladybeard is back and has joined forces with Japanese idols Kotomi and Suzu for what they describe as an adorable assault on the senses.

Its been a year since we were teased about a new idol project from the legendary Ladybeard, and this week we have been blessed with news of BABYBEARD!

After spending 15 years onstage and on camera in the entertainment world, from pro-wrestling, heavy metal performance to stunt work, dance, theatre, film and TV, in no less than 5 languages, the Australian cross-dresser has achieved international success and a legion of adoring fans across the world.

Through all that, Ladybeard has come to realise his purpose on Earth…And he will fulfil that purpose with BABYBEARD.

Ladybeard moved to Japan in 2013, immersing himself in Japanese kawaii culture, and has worked hard in bringing that colourful and joyous culture to the rest of the world. In a world where we are all dealing with various challenges and struggles, the need for more positivity couldn’t be anymore welcome. BABYBEARD will no doubt bring much needed motivation and fun to us all, and what a ride it is going to be!

Ladybeard, Kotomi and Suzu joined Beyond Senpai for the world debut of BABYBEARD to chat all things kawaiicore!

Welcome to Beyond Senpai, please introduce yourselves!

LB: My name’s Ladybeard. I’m a cross-dressin pro-wrestler, metal singer and kawaii idol originally from Australia, now based in Japan.

S: Hello, I’m SUZU! My image colour is green. I like teddy bears, minions, sleeping, eating and shopping!

K: Hello. I’m KOTOMI, my image colour is blue, and I like Doraemon and idols very much!

BS: Can you tell us all about your new idol group?

LB: BABYBEARD!! An adorable assault on the senses!!!

1 x large bearded aussie in skirt screaming and dancing + 2 x tiny adorable female Japanese idols singing and dancing = UTTER PERFECTION!!!

K: Our unit is giving everyone KAWAII and much energy from Japan!

S: We are sending Japanese KAWAII culture and our happiness to the world!!

BS: It has been a year since the audition process for the group, a lot has gone on in the world, how have you dealt with these changes and how did they affect the unit?

LB: Well, slowed things down more than anything…. we were ready to get underway with this at the start of 2020. Finally we’re doing this and I’m thrilled, coz I was getting worried that we would never be able to actually get moving…..

BS: Kotomi-chan and Suzu-chan, can you tell us about how you felt after being chosen to be in this new idol group? And what are you most looking forward to at debut?

K: When I was told I passed the audition, I was happy from the botttom of my heart!!! I’m looking forward to going and seeing the fans face to face and bring them our genki!

S: At first I couldn’t believe I passed, but on my way home I realized it was real so I called my mom and dad immediately! I’ve never been on stage so I’m looking forward to doing a live show! I can’t wait!!

Suzu
Kotomi

BS: The fusion of Jpop kawaii and metal has been gaining popularity for some years now, what will your kawaiicore bring to the table for fans in both Japan and internationally? And can fans look forward to new releases soon?

LB: Well I think our biggest differentiating factor is the marriage of the male and female vocals, plus legitimate dancing from all members. It’s my opinion that most artists can take EITHER pop OR metal seriously, and it’s rare to find artists who can legitimately perform both. I’m hoping that will shine through in the tracks and onstage. And of course, we have musical geniuses Asano-san and Tadano-san making our tracks, and we feature a bearded man in a skirt. Bearded men in skirts improve all situations.

K: We will bring much joy, relief and KAWAII! Our debut song NIPPON KARA KONNICHIWA is a joyous song which brings you genki and happiness from here in Japan. The other new song PIENNIZER is the song which uses the word PIEN, which is used when you face something pitiful or sad, and the message is “Even though you have a sad moment, tomorrow is another day, so don’t worry!” It’s a very positive song! Both songs will make you happy, so please listen to them as many times as possible!!

S: I hope we can provide more people opportunities to know about Japanese pop culture. Also I hope we can make Japanese KAWAII more global and popular so more people like Japan! Our new songs are catchy, so once you hear them you will not forget! Also they bring your energy with their upbeat rhythm. Please listen to these songs and I hope they’ll be two of your favourites!

BS: Can you tell us the inspiration for the styling of Babybeard and how pop culture has driven you to succeed in the entertainment world?

LB: I think Japanese styling in fashion, make up and hair is respected all round the world. As with most things, nobody can do it quite like the Japanese can. Our first costumes were made by a designer named Ono-san, who tailored them to our specific requirements for performance and presentation, and made in the design in the image of…. cupcakes! Yes, you read right, our wardrobe is modelled on cupcakes. Maybe that’s how we manage to look so sweet🥰

BS: What bands or artists inspire you to make music? And has anyone directly influenced your death vocal style?

LB: Well, with singing and screaming (screaming in particular), it’s best to learn good screaming technique, then see what sound naturally comes out of you, and run with that. If you try to impersonate someone else’s scream, it can be quite easy to get injured. That said, screamers who’ve had the biggest impact on me emotionally would be Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Lajon Whitherspoon of Sevendust, Wednesday 13, Christian Machado of Ill Nino and Danny Filth for the witch squeals. Anyone who wants to start screaming, my biggest piece of advice is to train with a proper teacher who can teach you to scream safely, consistently. Anyone can do a great scream once. It’s learning to deliver day after day that’s the key.

K: An idol group “Kamiyado.” They inspired me to become an idol in the first place.

S: BLACKPINK. I was inspired by their cool and kawaii performance.

Ladybeard

BS: Can we expect the same energy and dance choreography we have come to love from you?

LB: Oh my goodness….. You better prepare yourself, senpai-lovers! We’re gonna burn a HOLE in the dancefloor!

BS: As the world starts opening up for business, is there hope for Babybeard to tour? And where in the world would you most like to perform?

LB: HELL YES!! The second we can get overseas, we’ll be there! I’m keen to get back to the UK, the US, Europe and Latin America. And of course, back home to Oz, and New Zealand.

I’ve also become interested in the African continent recently…. there’s a few anime cons over there, so maybe we can bring some kawaiicore to the Sahara!

K: I want to go and perform overseas! I’ll do what I can until I can see our fans face to face!

S: Of course!! I want to see everyone around the world and I can’t wait for the day like that!

BS: For fans who would love to visit Japan, where would you all recommend for them to add to their bucket list?

LB: I’ll let the girls field that question.

K: How about my hometown Kagoshima? It has a lot of beautiful nature and surroundings, and food is great! I strongly recommend Shirokuma, Japanese shaved ice. If you go there, you can’t miss it!!

S: I recommend Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture. I went there 3 years ago and I was very impressed with the quality of food there♡ Also the place is filled with beautiful traditional Japanese atmosphere so I think it’s a great place to visit!

BS: Do you have a message for your fans, old and new?

K: We will work hard to bring you a lot of Kawaii and energy, so please support us! Let’s meet face to face when everything settles down!

S: I want to make as many people happy as possible by our songs and performance. I can’t wait to see you face to face♡

LB: Fans of Ladybeard, kawaiicore, and Japanese pop culture, get yourselves ready, BABYBEARD is coming your way!! Get your eyes on our social media, and check out our first single “Nippon Kara Konnichiwa” and PIENNIZER, hitting streaming services April 28.

BABYBEARD: An adorable assault on the senses!!

Beyond Senpai would like to thank Ladybeard, Kotomi and Suzu for joining us.

Singles ‘Nippon Kara Konnichiwa’ and ‘PIENNIZER’ will be available on streaming platforms from April 28th.

To support BABYBEARD https://www.facebook.com/BABYBEARDjapan https://twitter.com/babybeard_japan https://www.instagram.com/babybeard_japan/ http://ladybeard.com/en/ https://twitter.com/Ladybeard_Japan https://www.instagram.com/ladybeard_japan/ https://twitter.com/kotomi_hinata__ https://www.instagram.com/kotomi_hinata/ https://twitter.com/suz__uzu https://www.instagram.com/suzu.suzyu/

Its a Good Day with MIKUROMIKA

It’s a Good Day at Beyond Senpai as we are joined by J-pop artist MIKUROMIKA. With her catchy dance fusion vibes ready to take over your playlist, Mika gives us the low down on her rise to J-pop stardom.



Beyond Senpai~ Welcome to Beyond Senpai, please introduce yourself.


Mika~Hi! My name is MIKUROMIKA. I’m a Japanese pop singer-songwriter
based in Canada and Japan. My signature concept is Japanese FASHION×MUSIC with energetic, feel-good music, inspirational lyrics and colourful performance.

BS~ Congratulations on joining the Setsuzoku Records roster! How did this partnership come about?

M~ I’m a singer-songwriter and I’m an overseas manager at the Japan Artist Association so I’m supporting Japanese artists who want to share their art and music to outside of Japan. I met Setsuzoku Records through online conference meetings.

I’m really happy that they love my music and believe in my potential!

BS~ What inspired you to become a J-pop artist? And does your sense of fashion play a part in your overall musical style?

M~ I wanted to be a J-pop singer in Japan because I want to help and cheer up people with my music and performance. But since I had cancer, my passion for music became stronger. I want to inspire people to chase their dreams.

Also my fashion style is very connected to my music.
I’m trying to express a more artistic sense through music and fashion and not just music.

BS~ You recently released a new single, Good Day, and the B side Baby, can you tell us the inspiration for these tracks?

M~ My song Good Day was inspired by a picture of the Japanese photopgrapher/artist Yoshitaka Goto and it’s a song about a princess who wants to escape from her castle to learn what real life is.

For the song Baby I was inspired by tropical house music which is a style I love and I wanted to combine it with the sounds of Japanese instruments. The story came from a real relationship experience.

Yoshitaka Goto https://instagram.com/lomogocchin

BS~ You have a unique sound to your music, what is your creative process and what is it like working alongside international producers?

M~ Thank you so much! I’m working with international sound producers and I like that because even though I make J-pop, it is never going to be only mainstream J-pop. My sound producers are like spice in cooking food so my music is like “Japanese fusion.”

Our native languages are different so then sometimes I feel it is difficult to explain small details, but we have music as a language. So somehow we can communicate well 🙂

BS~ How do you feel about breaking into the international scene?

M~ I’m just soooo excited. Music is a communication tool and I’m sure that when I’m singing in Japanese you guys can feel my emotions.

I really want to perform as much as possible outside of Japan. Taking my music to the world is my dream!

BS~ Are there any venues or countries you would perform live in? Is there an artist you would like to collaborate with?

M~ Now is difficult to perform in venues because of COVID, but I would love to perform in the UK which is my dream.

Also I would love to collaborate with Rina Sawayama. I love her music and I respect her a lot.

BS~ You love using social media to connect with your fans, especially Instagram live, what do you enjoy most about this?

M~ I’ve been doing livestreams on Instagram for two years and I’m really enjoying it because I can communicate directly with my fans.

Every time I learn something new about who is listening to my music. I talk about my culture, music, experiences and more deep topics too sometimes. I feel loneliness easily, but chatting with my fans makes me happy and relaxed.

BS~ When you are not being a Jpop artist, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

M~ When I have time, I like to draw since I also make visual art. I also love watching bulldog videos. LOL!

I really really want to have bulldog one day!

BS~ Can your fans look forward to more new music from you in the future?

M~ Of course!! I’m making a bunch of songs now. With Setsuzoku Records I hope to release an EP later this year.

Please look forward to it. We hope it will be the soundtrack for your summer!

BS~ Do you have a message for your fanbase?

M~ Thank you so much for finding me! I think this is destiny⭐︎

I will make you happy with my music so please follow me!
And as you guys know I love to communicate with my fans♡

Come to chat on my livestream and ask me anything!

And I hope I can see you guys at my performance one day soon !!!

Good Day and Baby are available now on iTunes and Spotify.

To support MIKUROMIKA

https://twitter.com/3cro_mika https://instagram.com/mikuromika http://Mikuromika.com https://www.facebook.com/Mikuromika https://www.patreon.com/mikamikuro https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMerNygfH/

https://www.setsuzokurecords.com

All photos and artwork courtesy of MIKUROMIKA.

HEAVENSTAMP: New Horizons

Tomoya.S and Sally#Cinnamon

With today’s announcement of new album ‘From the Basement’, Tokyo based indie rockers HEAVENSTAMP joined Beyond Senpai for a chat about all that has happened this year and their outlook for the year ahead.

BS. Welcome to Beyond Senpai, congratulations on joining the Setsuzoku records roster! Can you tell us how this partnership started?

Beyond Senpaiへようこそ。Setsuzoku Recordへ名を連ねることになり、おめでとうございます。この度どのようにこの関係に至ったのか、話していただけませんか?

HS. Heavenstamp was supposed to tour the UK in June and July of this year, but due to the new coronavirus, we had to postpone.

In order to make the most of the time we didn’t have to tour, we started to work on a new album.

After completing the album, we decided to release the album in the UK, which we had always wanted to do, so we talked to a British friend who was supporting us on our UK tour and introduced us to Setsuzoku Records.

Thank you for this wonderful encounter!

Heavenstampは今年の6月から7月にかけてUKツアーを行う予定でしたが、新型コロナウイルスの影響で延期せざるを得ない状況になりました。

私たちはツアーが出来なかったこの時間を有効に使うため、新たなアルバムの制作に取り掛かりました。

アルバムの完成後、私たちのかねてからの希望だったイギリスでのアルバムリリースを実現するため、UKツアーをサポートしてくれるイギリス人の友人に相談し、Setsuzoku Recordsを紹介してくれたのが始まりです。

素晴らしい出会いに感謝しています!

BS. You have been working on new music, how do you find your inspiration for writing and what is the creative process like?

新しい音楽作りに携わっておられますが、曲作りの発想はどのように得ているのか、また制作のプロセスはどのように行っていますか?

HS. It is a mind-blowing experience.
For example, it could be a great movie, a beautiful landscape, a conversation with a friend, a relationship with a family member, or the world news.
I think all the inspirational things we see and experience are a source of inspiration.

There are various forms of creative process, such as the two of us discussing the direction of the song and lyrics, or vocalist Sally writing lyrics to a song inspired by guitarist Tomoya, but most of the time we write the lyrics with the song first.
Sometimes Tomoya is in charge of both writing and composing lyrics.

心を揺さぶられる体験です。
例えばそれは素晴らしい映画や風景、友人との会話や家族との関係、世界のニュース。
自分たちが目にし、経験したすべての心揺さぶられることがインスピレーションの源だと思います。

2人で曲の方向性や歌詞を相談しながら作る場合と、ギターリストのTomoyaのインスピレーションにより生まれた曲にボーカリストのSallyが歌詞を書いたりするなど、様々な形の創造的なプロセスがありますが、曲が先にある状態で歌詞を書くことが多いです。
時々、Tomoyaが作詞・作曲両方を担当する場合もあります。

BS. How did you develop your musical style?

あなた自身の音楽スタイルをどのように創造していますか?

HS. Both of us have loved and listened to all kinds of music from all over the world, from classical music, which we have listened to since we were children, to rock, hip-hop, and ambient, but we have also seen and experienced many wonderful live performances by foreign musicians who have visited Japan, which has had an important influence on Heavenstamp’s music.

I want to express the grooves that I feel with my body and the sense of unity with the audience in Heavenstamp’s music.
It also made me want to enjoy music with people all over the world.

2人共、幼少期から聴いていたクラシックをはじめ、ロックやヒップホップ、アンビエントに至るまで世界中のあらゆるジャンルの音楽が好きで聴いてきたのはもちろんですが、来日した外国のミュージシャンたちの素晴らしいライブを多く観て体験してきたことがHeavenstampの音楽に重要な影響を与えたと思います。

身体で感じるグルーヴやオーディエンスとの一体感などを、Heavenstampの音楽でも表現したい。
そして、世界中の人と音楽を楽しみたいと思わせてくれました。

BS. What artists have inspired you to make music and who would you like to collaborate with?

あなたの音楽作りに影響を与えたアーチストは?それから一緒に共演したい人は誰ですか?

HS. Tomoya first composed music at the age of six, imitating Beethoven on the piano.
He first composed rock music in junior high school, probably due to The Beatles.
Since then, I have been inspired by David Bowie, Radiohead, Blur, Super Furry Animals, and many other UK rock bands, as well as Bjork, The Flaming Lips, and Yura Yura Empire.

The band I would most like to collaborate with now is the Canadian band Arcade Fire.

Tomoyaが初めて作曲をしたのは6歳頃、ベートーヴェンの真似をしてピアノで作曲しました。
初めてロックの曲を作曲したのは中学生の頃、The Beatlesの影響だったと思います。
それ以降はDavid BowieやRadiohead、Blur、Super Furry Animalsなど多くのUKロック、他にもBjorkやThe Flaming Lips、ゆらゆら帝国など様々な国の音楽からも刺激を受けました。

今一番コラボレーションしたいのは、カナダのバンドであるArcade Fireです。

BS. 2020 has been a crazy year, how have you kept busy when performing live has  been affected?

2020年は大変な年でした。その状況の中でライブで活動をすることを含め、どのように過ごされましたか?

HS. It’s a bit of a duplicate, but I think it was the production of a new album.
It was all done in Tomoya’s private studio, and we had a lot of new ideas to try, but we had plenty of time so we were able to complete the album on our own.

It was definitely a difficult time, but we are positive that we learned a lot and gained a lot from it.

重複してしまいますが、やはり新しいアルバムの制作をしたことだと思います。
全てTomoyaのプライベートスタジオでの作業で、新たな試みも多くありましたが、時間は沢山あったので音源は自分たちだけで完成させることができました。

確かに困難な時期ではありましたが、その分多くの学びや成果を得ることができたと前向きに捉えています。

BS. Do you think the live music industry will change due to the pandemic?

パンデミックな状況の下で今後の音楽業界は変化すると思いますか?

HS. To be honest, we don’t know.
But I don’t think it’s necessarily all doom and gloom.
Nowadays, people all over the world can watch our live performances wherever they are, thanks to the technology of distribution, so there may be more people who get to know our music.
However, there is still a greatness that cannot be replaced by actually experiencing a live concert in a venue.
I believe that the day will come when we will be able to safely enjoy live music with people all over the world.
All we can do is to make the best choice we can at that time and do our best.

正直なところ、私たちには分かりません。
でも、必ずしも悲観することばかりではないと思っています。
今は配信の技術もあって、世界中の人がどこにいてもライブを観ることができますから、新たに私たちの音楽を知る人も増えるかもしれません。
でも、やはり実際に会場で体験するライブには変え難い素晴らしさがあるのは確かです。
安全に、ライブを世界中の人と楽しむことができる日が来ることを信じています。
私たちに出来ることは、その時出来るベストな選択をし、最善を尽くすことだけです。

BS. In what venue would you most like to perform live?

あなたが一番好きなライブ施設はどこですか?

HS. After all, the Glastonbury Festival has been a goal of mine for many years.
I imagine the stage every day and every night.

Another one is Alexandra Palace in England, where I saw my friends Bloc Party live in 2018.
It was a lovely venue with a lot of history.

Then there’s Windmill, a venue in Brixton where I’ve played many gigs and have some great friends.

やはり、長年の目標であるGlastonbury Festivalです。
毎日、毎晩ステージをイメージしています。

他には、2018年に友人のBloc Partyのライブを観たイギリスのAlexandra Palaceです。
歴史を感じる、素敵な会場でした。

そして、これまで何度もライブを行ってきた、素敵な友人たちのいるBrixtonのヴェニュー、Windmillです。

BS. What do you enjoy most when performing and do you have any backstage rituals?

演奏中一番楽しいと思うことは何ですか?また楽屋で行う儀式があれば教えてください。

HS. I love to see the audience enjoying themselves the most.
I play with a sense of wonderment that each of our lives can come together in the same place at the same moment.

Backstage, I warm up my throat and body to boost my spirits, but I am basically relaxed.

オーディエンスが楽しんでいるのを見るのが一番好きです。
それぞれの人生がその瞬間、同じ場所に集う素晴らしさを噛み締めて演奏しています。

舞台裏では、喉や身体のウォーミングアップをしながら気持ちを高めていきますが、基本的にはリラックスしています。

BS. We missed you in the UK this year, are there plans for you to return?

残念ながら今年はイギリスに来ていただけませんでしたが、また来ていただく計画はありますか?

HS. The summer tour was postponed, but I am sure it will happen someday.

夏のツーが延期になってしまったのですが、いつか必ず実現できると信じています。

BS. Do you have a message for your fans?

ファンの方々へ伝えたいメッセージを是非お願いいたします

HS. If you have known Heavenstamp in the past, or if you are new to us, we are glad to meet you.
People all over the world are going through difficult times, but we will continue to send out music.
I hope you enjoy it.
I believe that we will meet at a live concert someday. Until then, please be well.
I wish you all the best.

これまでHeavenstampを知っていてくれた方、また初めて知った方も、出会えて嬉しく思います。
世界中の人がそれぞれ大変な状況にありますが、私たちは絶えず音楽を発信していきます。
楽しんでくれたら嬉しいです。
いつかライブで会えると信じています。それまでどうか元気でいてください。
みなさんの幸せを願っています。

New single ‘Sail to Heaven’ will be released on January 22nd 2021 followed by the new album ‘In The Basement’ on February 26th 2021.

Beyond Senpai thanks SETSUZOKU RECORDS for arranging this interview and to HEAVENSTAMP for joining us.

Special thanks to Hideki Narita for his translation skills.

To support HEAVENSTAMP

http://heavenstamp.net/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJwk7SEnuxoATNyx_IWpUjA

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Rule: GARUDA

Yuffie Sakimura aka Garuda has been busy creating her upcoming debut album, The Battle of Nightmares, due for release on September 9th. Between filming her new MV, 支配者 (Ruler), and performing live with her idol unit Melon Batake a GO GO, Yuffie-san found time to answer some questions with Beyond Senpai.

Beyond Senpai: Yuffie, how are you?

BS: こんにちは

Garuda: I’m doing very well! Thank you. 

G:とても元気です!ありがとうございます。 

BS:  It has been 3 years since your debut. What is your most memorable moment?

BS: デビューして3年経ちますが、1番の思い出は何でしょう?

G: My most memorable moment was being able to perform live in the UK.
I’m so glad that I didn’t give up on performing.

It wasn’t easy for me to continue with GARUDA on my own. It is very difficult to think about what I want to express, what I am passionate about, what I am actually able to express, and how to create something that can be accepted by everyone. So I was really surprised when I was invited to play in the UK, and I was really happy that I was accepted as an artist there. I vividly remember all three shows of the tour. I think people could tell by my facial expressions that I was nervous at the time, and it was refreshing to get different reactions to each song than in Japan. I still can’t forget how tense I was.

G: 一番の思い出はイギリスでのライブ公演ができたことです。

ステージに立つことを諦めずに続けていて良かったと心の底から思いました。

一人でGARUDAを続けていくことは容易ではありませんでした。自分が表現したいこと、こだわりを持つこと、実際に表現できていること、みんなに受け入れられるものを創ることを考えることはとても難しい問題です。その中で、イギリス公演の誘いをもらったとこは本当に驚きましたし、アーティストとして受け入れてもらえたことが本当に嬉しかったです。ツアーの3公演とも鮮明に覚えています。当時は私が緊張していることが表情でみんなに伝わっていたと思いますし、楽曲ごとに日本と違う反応がもらえたこともとても新鮮でした。あの緊張感は今でも忘れられません。

BS: The new song is great. Were you part of the creative process?

BS: 新曲は素晴らしいですね。今回の制作のなかで、特にクリエイティブだったのはどんなところですか?

G:  Thank you. I’m glad to hear that.

This album was the first time I tried to write lyrics by myself. “Ruler” which I created the music video for, was the first song I wrote, and I completed the lyrics with the help of RIKA:NYAN from Bedtime Story. I didn’t have any knowledge of lyric writing at first, so she was the one who took my emotional writing and applied it to the song.

The whole album is about the struggle with life, and I built it around “The Dominator”. I think I was able to create a narrative in the order of the songs as well as one round. I hope it’s a fight song for myself, and I hope it’s a fight song for everyone.

G: ありがとうございます。そう言ってもらえて嬉しいです。

今回のアルバムは初めて自分で作詞に挑戦しました。MVを創った『支配者』は1番最初にできた曲で、Bedtime StoryのRIKA:NYANに手伝ってもらいながら歌詞を完成させました。最初は作詞に関する知識もなかったので、私の感情のままに書いた文章を曲に当てはめたのが彼女です。

アルバム全体を通して人生との戦いをテーマにしていて、『支配者』を中心として構築していきました。曲の順番も1周すると物語性があるようにできたと思っています。自分自身へのファイトソングとして、みんなにとってのファイトソングになったら良いなと思っています。

Indie Idol and Infamous Tour (London) Photo courtesy of Peter Goodhew

BS: You have an industrial style to the music. Does this help you create your character and performance?

BS: あなたの’industrial style’の曲制作は、ご自身の成長、性格や能力にどのような影響を与えていますか?

G: My original influences were metal and hard rock, before I fell in love with idols myself. My current activities are rooted in the style I originally liked. I love pretty performances, of course, but I consider cool performances to be more suited to me. I think having plague masks and nail bats helps me to create a stronger and darker world.

G: 私自身がアイドルを好きになるよりも先に、元々の影響を受けていたのがメタルやハードロックでした。今の活動は元々私が好きだったスタイルを根源としています。私は可愛いパフォーマンスはちろん大好きですが、クールなパフォーマンスの方が自分に向いていると考えています。ペストマスクや釘バットを持つことでより強く、よりダークな世界を創りだすことができていると思います。

BS:  What was it like on the set of the music video with Neko?

BS: ‘NEKO’さんとのMV撮影現場はどのような感じでしたか?

G: It was so great. She is a really nice lady!

I met NEKO when she was in a group called “Fetties”. I have had her perform at my birthday party. She is a real SM queen.

For this video, I hired a professional production company to work on the project. When I read the script, the first cast member who came to mind was NEKO, whose behaviour and demeanor fit the image I had in mind.
The extras were dressed in very hot outfits and we had to shoot for a long time, so she made everyone feel at ease and cared for them during the shoot.

G: とても最高でした。彼女は本当に素敵な女性です。

NEKOさんとは、彼女が「フェッテーズ」というグループで活動していた時に知り合いました。私の生誕祭にも出演してもらったことがあります。本物のSM女王様です。

今回のビデオはプロの制作会社の方に依頼をしてプロジェクトを進行しました。脚本を読んだとき、立ち居振る舞いがイメージにピッタリなキャストとして、一番最初に思い浮かんだのがNEKOさんでした。

エキストラたちの衣装はとても暑く、長時間の撮影だったので、撮影中もみんなのことを和ませてくれたり、気遣ってくれました。

Garuda and Neko on set. Photo courtesy of Garuda) Twitter)

BS:  The new album will be out soon, what are your thoughts on how it has turned out?

BS: 新アルバムがもうすぐ発売とのことですが、今の心境を聞かせてください。

G: I’m so excited and looking forward to it!

I decided on most things myself including the artwork, compositional images, and lyric production. This album is the first album that I truly created by myself. I’ve learned how hard it is to make an album, and it took me a long time to make, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how people will listen to this album and interpret the meaning of the songs.

G: とても楽しみでワクワクしています!

アートワーク、作曲イメージ、歌詞制作を含めたほとんどのことを自分自身で決めて創りました。このアルバムが本当の意味での初めて自分で制作した作品になります。今回で作品を作る大変さを思い知りましたし、アルバムを作るまでにたくさんの時間が掛かってしまいましたが、みなさんがどんな風にこのアルバムを聴いてくれるのか、曲の意味を解釈してくれるのかがとても楽しみです。

BS:  This is your first solo album. Have you enjoyed working with the creative team?

BS: 今回初のソロアルバム、制作チームとは楽しくお仕事することができましたか?

G: Of course.

I’ve recorded in a group activity before, but most of it was my first time with GARUDA. In the time between adding lyrics to the songs and recording, we received a lot of advice on how to make them even better. Thanks to everyone on the production team, I think the songs turned out great throughout the whole process. I can’t thank them enough.

G: もちろんです。

グループ活動でレコーディングをした経験はありますが、GARUDAでほとんどのことが初体験でした。出来上がった曲に歌詞を付けてからレコーディングするまでの間にも、もっと良い作品にするためにたくさんのアドバイスを頂きました。制作チームのみんなのおかげで全曲を通して最高の楽曲に仕上がったと思います。感謝しても感謝しきれません。

BS:  What artists or bands inspire you? Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

BS: 最も影響を受けたアーチスト、バンドは?もし共演できるとしたら誰としてみたいですか?

G: My biggest influence is Marilyn Manson. When I saw their music videos, I was struck by lightning!

The artists I would like to perform with are “Queen Bee” and “Denpagumi.inc”. These two groups have also had a great influence on me and I’ve always admired them.

G: 最も影響を受けたのはMarilyn Mansonです。彼らのMVを観たときは、雷に打たれたような衝撃を受けました。

共演したいアーティストは「女王蜂」「でんぱ組.inc」です。この二組も私に大きな影響を与えてくれたので、ずっと憧れの存在です。

BS:  Do you get time for yourself?

BS: いま、自分の時間は持てていますか?

G: Tough question….. it looks like I won’t be able to settle down much until after the GARUDA sponsored event. (LOL)

G: 難しい質問です…GARUDAの主催イベントが終わるまではあまり落ち着けなさそうです。(笑) 

BS: We miss you in the UK. Do you hope to travel overseas again?

BS: イギリスのファンは寂しがっています。また海外へ行きたいですか?

G: Of course I want to go!

I learned a lot from meeting fans in the UK. It was great to see not only people who live in the UK, but also people who came from neighboring countries to visit us. The reaction to each song was different, and I trained myself to think about what I was going to say during my MCs every day. In Japan, many people would stare at me as I flailed, but at the UK show, people welcomed me with open arms. When I returned to Japan, people would sometimes tell me that my staging had matured.

So far, I’ve had more international fans come to Japan, but if I get the chance, I’d like to visit the UK and many other countries as often as I can.

G: もちろん行きたいです!

イギリスのファンの方々に出会えたことでたくさんのことを学びました。イギリスに住んでいる方だけでなく、近隣の国から遊びに来てくれる方もいて嬉しかったです。楽曲ごとに盛り上がる反応も違いましたし、MCで話す内容も毎日考えることで鍛えられました。日本では私が暴れるのを見つめる人も多いのですが、イギリス公演ではみんなが声を出して歓迎してくれていました。日本に帰国後、ステージングが成長したと言ってもらえることもありました。

今までは海外のファンの方が日本に来ることの方が多いですが、機会ができれば私からも同じくらいの頻度でイギリスやたくさんの国に行きたいです。

BS:  You love Disney, who is your favourite character?

BS: ディズニーが大好きと聞きました。どのキャラクターが好きですか?

G: They’re all so cute it’s hard to choose!

The Nightmare Before Christmas ♥ Depending on my mood, I also like Gellatoni and Alien.

G: みんな可愛くて選ぶのが難しいです!

The Nightmare Before Christmas♥その日の気分によってジェラトーニやエイリアンも好きです。

BS: Do you have a message for your fans?

BS: あなたのファンの為にメッセージを送ってくれませんか?

G: Thank you for always looking out for me!

Thanks to everyone’s support so far, we’ve been able to put out this album. Thank you so much for waiting so long for this album. I hope this work will reach many people.

It may not be easy for me to do it again soon, but I look forward to seeing you again.

G: いつも私のことを気にかけてくれてありがとうございます!

みんながこれまで支えてくれたおかげで、今回のアルバムを出すことができました。長い間待ってくれていて本当にありがとうございます。この作品が多くの方に届くことを願っています。

またすぐには難しいかもしれませんが、また会えるのを楽しみにしています。

Beyond Senpai thanks Yuffie-san for her contribution and taking the time to talk with us. We will continue to support Garuda!

Special thanks to Hideki Narita for his assistance with translating.

Photos are gratefully accepted from the official Garuda Twitter.

To support Yuffie