The creativeness of music takes many forms, from the audible to the visual. And the artwork presented to us on our favourite record sleeves tell just as much of the musical story as the songs themselves.
Illustrator Yu-ki Iwata, known as Carnage Society, is one of the creative souls who works alongside bands and musicians to bring to life those album artworks.
Working as a freelance illustrator since high school, Yu-ki has worked on artworks for many prominent metal and visual kei artists. And more recently, with influences from death metal and grind core, Yu-ki has developed their style further, fusing kawaii and gore to create the original character GORE-GIRL.
Yu-ki joined Beyond Senpai to tell us more about the creativity involved in being an illustrator.
As the weekends since July 22nd pass us by, Hyper Japan continues to stand as more than just a memory to us all. The experience allowed us to reunite with friends old and new, and despite the stress that may have come with the bustling venue and the heatwave that pursued us all like the evil sun from Super Mario Bro’s, there has also been some undeniably incredible moments that we shall never forget.
One such memory comes in the form of MION, a singer-songwriter who hails all the way from Aichi, Japan, who currently resides in the UK in order to improver herself as a performer. With a sweet voice and powerful music that transcends the language barrier between us all, MION has been working hard since the beginning of 2022 to make a name for herself in the UK convention scene, and is only growing stronger the more she performs here.
With the memories of her music and personal interactions still fresh in our mind, Beyond Senpai’s Tom and Kelly are ready to reminisce about the heat of the Festival Stage at Hyper Japan Festival 2022, and talk about the impact that MION has had on them both.
Born into a music background in Mie prefecture, Japan, and raised in Aichi, the award winning singer-songwriter, MION, has over 10 years of experience behind her, and a catalogue of songs to entertain fans both old and new. Now based in the UK in order to deepen her knowledge of music, MION is growing even more as a performer as she sets her sights on becoming the bridge between Japan and the UK, with a hope to see artists from both countries to collaborate and perform music together.
With her guitar in hand and a passion for music that could rival the British heatwave of ’22, MION has been taking the UK convention scene by storm since the beginning of the year, and shows no sign of stopping any time soon.
A financial office worker during the week, and an Idol at the weekend, Tsukimori Kaede – also known by her nickname, Kaepyon – is a self-produced idol that has been making waves within the overseas idol fandom since her solo debut back in 2020.
From desk work to live streams, Kaepyon works hard to make her dreams come true, and encourages her fans – whom she affectionately calls ‘Kaepyonists’ – to also pursue their own dreams, no matter how old they might be! With a cute voice at her disposal and an ever-growing, loyal fanbase, Kaepyon is ready to welcome you into her sparkling world of colour and happiness.
Idols bring us hope, happiness and a drive to continue with our daily lives, no matter how mundane a day might be, or how weary we feel after the work has been done. Come rain or shine, the joy that an idol creates is second to none, and a core point of our fan journey.
Looking back at my own journey as a fan, there is one group that comes to mind when I think about the love I hold for Idols and Japanese music, and the role they have played in my life as an Idol fan.
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.
Gothic-romantic songwriter and multi instrumentalist The Heana Cat returns with an epic re-recording and international release of The In-Between.
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.
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.
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.
Making her return with one of the most anticipated releases of 2021, MIKUROMIKA brings MIKUROPOP to the international music scene. Set to drop on July 23rd with a worldwide release under SETSUZOKU RECORDS, MIKUROMIKA is ready to throw you into her bright and colourful world of music, fashion and art.
With a punchy mix full of dance breaks and reminiscent of the mid-90s house scene, and generously mixed with clean vocals and spoken word, MIKUROPOP is simply a pleasure on the ears and a joy to behold if you were around during those long summer days of years gone by.