BAND-MAID Roundtable Interview At MCM London Comic Con

BAND-MAID Roundtable Interview At MCM London Comic Con

0 comments 📅17 June 2016, 16:01

BAND-MAID Roundtable DSC01107(2)

With a unique fusion of rock and Japanese pop culture, BAND-MAID have been “breakin’ new gate” since their music videos for Thrill and REAL EXISTENCE went viral, both of which have gained over 2 million views on YouTube.

The group formed in Tokyo in July 2013, with each member having a musical background. Miku (guitar and vocals) was working at the Noodol Café and wanted to be in a band, merging the ideas of maids in a band. She approached Kanami (guitar), who brought along her friend Akane (drums). Akane then brought along her friend Misa (bassist). Member Saiki (vocals) joined in August 2013 after taking part in an audition (for they felt that two vocalists with opposing characteristics would be cool).

Their third mini-album, Brand New MAID is released across Europe today (17 June) via JPU Records, containing eight tracks, including the non-fiction days, ORDER, and alone. There is also an extra booklet containing lyric translations and transliterations into English.

Citing world domination as their main goal, they made their US debut at Seattle’s Sakura-Con earlier this year. May’s MCM London Comic Con saw BAND-MAID make their European debut, but before their performance, the Friday of the weekend saw the group sit down with some journalists for a roundtable interview.


How does it feel to be here in London for MCM Comic Con?

Kanami: I’m so very happy!

Miku: I’m so very happy! I was looking forward to coming to Comic Con. Popo (laughs).

Why were you looking forward to it? What excited you about being here today?

Miku: For us, serving in the UK is really important, because our purpose is world conquest. So this is a really important progression for us. Popo (laughs).

When you look back to when BAND-MAID began and compare it to where you are now, what would you say has changed the most?

Miku: When we formed the band, our purpose was world conquest. Now our dream has come true. So I’m really glad.

Did you go to maid cafés as research for your band?

Miku: Before I formed the band, I used to work at a maid café for three years. Popo (laughs).

Congratulations on Brand New MAID. It’s such a brilliant album.

Everyone: Thank you very much.

Was it hard work coming up with the track listings, to write these eight tracks?

Saiki: We worked hard to record our songs for this album.

Akane: We tried to [go beyond] the limits of techniques with [our] musical instruments.

For fans here in England who maybe have not experienced your music and your performance, how would you describe it to them? What can they expect?

Miku: BAND-MAID wants audiences to enjoy the contradiction between cool rock music and the cute costumes.

Many people are quite impressed that you can play your own instruments. How does that feel to be able to challenge the stereotype that idols are just about their looks?

Miku: BAND-MAID wants to break the stereotypical view of idols.

Which musicians made you want to play an instrument?

Kanami: Carlos Santana.

Akane: Maximum the Hormone. In Western music, Deep Purple.

Misa: The Smashing Pumpkins.

Saiki: I want to develop by myself.

Miku: I was inspired by Japanese traditional Enka.

You represent something that is very Japanese to us, but is there anything really English that you want to see while you’re here?

Kanami: Rock music.

Miku: Typical British rock music.


What is ‘popo’?

Miku: My first name is Kobato. Kobato means ‘small pigeon’.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the huge interest from fans outside of Japan. How does it feel when you see people commenting in different languages on your Instagram and Twitter pages?

Miku: When we see comments from outside of Japan, those comments and reactions encourage us to continue our music. We are really glad when see these comments from outside of Japan.

You spoke about how you worked in a maid cafe. I’m actually curious to find out how you went from working in a maid café to being BAND-MAID?

Miku: Before I formed the band, I thought, ‘This is a really interesting idea. The mixture of wearing cute costumes and playing cool rock music.’ So this is my idea.

To people outside of Japan, the maid costume has a very specific meaning. What does it mean to Japanese people, and what does it mean for you to wear it when you perform?

Miku: Even in Japan, wearing a maid costume is a bit special.

Saiki: We want to make an interesting contradiction between the outfits and also the music.

When you are not wearing your costume, what do you like to wear when you are on your own, not performing?

Miku: We wear different clothes in casual occasions. Everyone has [their] favourite types.

Saiki: I always wear clothes [which are] easy to move in.

The non-fiction days is your fifth music video. Which one has been the most fun to record?

Miku: Don’t Let Me Down. I ran around famous Japanese tourist spots and I was really tired. When I recorded the music video, I had to wear high heel shoes. It was really hard. The next day my legs were really painful (laughs). Popo.

Did people wonder why Miku was running around? Did they stop and ask?

Miku: (Laughs) So many people actually asked me, ‘Why are you running?’ But in that song, we wanted to put a feeling of running through (imitates running) and running fast.

Saiki: REAL EXISTENCE, our second music video, that day was really, really hot. It was 30 degrees. It was really strong sunlight. We recorded the music video in front of a temple, but we wore maid outfits. So it was kind of awkward and also different… so it was interesting.

There are many idol bands in Japan, like AKB48, Morning Musume, Dempagumi. What do you think about them not playing their own instruments?

Saiki: Even though they don’t play musical instruments, they do things which we can’t do.

Miku: So we respect them.

Saiki: I can’t dance.

(They all laugh).


With festival season coming up, if you could pick any three bands to headline your festival, who would you choose?

Saiki: (Points to Kanami) Santana.

(They all laugh)

Akane: Maximum the Hormone.

Saiki: We would want the bands which are our favourites to come to our festival, so Maximum the Hormone, Santana, and The Smashing Pumpkins.

(They all laugh)

I understand Akane is in charge of performances and rehearsals. What issues do you tend to face, if any?

Akane: Thank you very much (laughs). [There are] so many things (laughs). Each member is really unique, so it’s really hard to put all the members together. Each of them are really individual.

Miku: (Laughs)

Akane: So it’s really hard to do some stuff with everyone, together.

Miku: Popo.

Akane: In terms of making music, each of them provides an opinion, so [in that regard], I’m not a leader.

You played Sakura-Con recently. Was it quite overwhelming for you to arrive in the States with people already knowing your music and enjoying the show?

Saiki: Before we played in the United States, we only saw the comments from outside of Japan. When we were on the stage and saw the actual audience we were all [glad].

You have so many fans around the world. What has been your most special experience with your fans?

Miku: While we were playing on the stage, the calls and response from the audience was a really good experience for us.

Saiki: The audience said, “BAND-MAID, BAND-MAID!”

Kanami: (Giggles)

Miku: We hear this and we were really, really happy.

When you were at Sakura-Con, did you notice a difference in the crowd and how they reacted to your music compared to a Japanese audience?

Miku: The heat from the audience is different between a Japanese audience and American audience. Japanese masters and mistresses, our Japanese fans, are really shy. However, in America, American masters and mistresses are really direct. When we perform 100%, the American masters and mistresses respond back to us with 1000% power. Popo (laughs).

In Japan, there are quite a few rock bands with an all female line up, but this seems much less common in America and in England. How do you feel about that? Do you feel that this is something that you could help change?

Miku: If [there is an increase] in girl bands, and those girl bands are inspired by BAND-MAID, if it happens, then I will be really happy. Popo (laughs).


Do you watch anime?

Miku: Yes, me and Akane often watch anime. Akane watches anime more often.

Favourite anime?

Akane: I have so many favourites, especially Neon Genesis Evangelion, Osomatsu-san and Gintama (laughs).

There are a couple of tracks from MAID IN JAPAN that sound like introduction tracks for an anime. Would you like to write a song for an anime series?

Miku: (Excited) I want them to use our songs. This is one of our dreams.

Is there a particular series?

Miku: (To Akane) Evangelion?

Akane: Evangelion!? (Laughs and shakes head)

Kanami: Tokyo Ghoul.

Miku: I want Bleach to use our songs.

Saiki: Detective Conan.

Miku: (SurprisedConan?

Akane: Conan? (Laughs)

Do you have a message for your fans all over the world?

Miku: Our most important purpose is world conquest. We want so many masters and mistresses all over the world to come to our service.

Saiki: Popo.

Miku: Popo.

Miku, Saiki and Akane: (Laughs)

Kanami: Popo.


Thank you to BAND-MAID and to JPU Records. You can purchase their latest album Brand New MAID by visiting JPU Records.

By Roxy Simons and Shalimar Sahota.

MCM Fringe performance photos by David Worthington.

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