Amatsuki and BAND-MAID panel at MCM London Comic Con

Amatsuki and BAND-MAID panel at MCM London Comic Con

0 comments 📅29 May 2016, 12:47

Amatsuki and BAND-MAID panel at MCM London DSC_0209 (2)

The Friday of MCM London Comic Con saw the first panel of Amatsuki and BAND-MAID, which took place at the Pop Asia Stage. This was the first time they had come to perform in the UK.

Amatsuki posted videos from 2010 on NicoNico Douga, covering his favourite Vocaloid, anime and video game tracks, as well as original works. His voice and personality won him a huge following, which has resulted in over 500,000 followers on Twitter. He released his debut album Hello World in 2014, which reached #4 on Oricon’s daily chart.

BAND-MAID formed in 2013 and consists of Miku (guitar and vocals), Saiki (vocals), Kanami (guitar), Akane (drums) and Misa (bassist). With their combination of hard rock, while incorporating the culture of maid cafés (performing in authentic maid costumes), the group have gained worldwide attention. Their music videos for Thrill and REAL EXISTENCE both went viral and have since achieved over 2 million views on YouTube. They recently signed to JPU Records, who were selling their third mini-album Brand New MAID early at their stall.

The panel was hosted by Tom Smith of JPU Records, with a translator interpreting.

Having started out as unsigned, independent performers, they were asked what they felt got them noticed. Amatsuki responded, “I just kept doing what I want to do and then I [received] attention from many people.

Of BAND-MAID, Miku explained how she formed the band, saying, “I thought that this contrast between the music and the way that we are dressed on stage would attract everyone’s attention.”

When asked how it felt when people started taking an interest, Amatsuki said he continued to do his music, and as he got noticed more, he liked the attention.

Miku said how BAND-MAID’s main purpose was world domination. “I really like that I can get noticed from many masters and princesses from all over the world,” she said.

Having gained popularity via NicoNico Douga, Amatsuki was then asked how it felt performing in front of a live audience for the first time. “I got stomach ache when I first started [performing] in front of the audience, because of my nervousness,” he replied.

BAND-MAID were questioned on if they had performed in front of a live audience before being involved in the band. Miku explained that while joining BAND-MAID was her first experience of this, Misa used to be in a different band, Akane was a supporting musician and Saiki had previously sung in front of a live audience.

Amatsuki and BAND-MAID panel at MCM London DSC_0317 (2) Amatsuki and BAND-MAID panel at MCM London DSC_0234 (2)

Amatsuki was asked about how he felt being in front of an English speaking audience for the first time. “I just want to express my music,” said Amatsuki. “Language doesn’t matter in terms of music,” adding how he wanted to communicate with the audience at MCM through his performances over the weekend. Tom then enquired whether Amatsuki had practised or learnt any English phrases. “Do you like sushi?” was his response. “I can’t speak English very well, but I know, when people hear this phrase, they get excited,” as was demonstrated by the laughs and applause.

BAND-MAID were then asked about their experience performing in America at Sakura-Con. “We had been looking forward to playing in America,” said Miku. “So many came. This performing experience in America [was beyond] our expectations, so we were really glad.” They were also asked if they learnt any English words or phrases in America. Miku said that they all studied hard to speak in English, but the feeling and motivation to be able to speak in English is more important than simply studying it. “I remember my introduction in English,” added Miku who practised (and said to the audience in the panel) the following phrase: “My name is small pigeon. I small pigeon, and small pigeon called Kuropo.

Given the increase in their popularity, they were questioned on how they interacted with their fans now. “Before I had not experienced performing in front of the audience,” said Amatsuki. “I had never thought about the relationship between my followers and me.”

BAND-MAID were asked if they were surprised that their music had connected with fans overseas, given the numerous comments in different languages on their YouTube videos. Miku revealed that when she first saw comments from outside of Japan, she thought they were bad and was really surprised; but was ultimately glad.

When asked if there were any aspects of Japanese pop culture that influenced them, Amatsuki replied that he liked and was inspired by Japanese anime and comics, as well as Western animation and comics. “I like Japanese anime. When I saw many cosplayers here at this event, I really [liked it].”

For BAND-MAID Akihabara was a major influence. “I actually worked at a maid café for three years,” said Miku. “This maid costume is inspired by the culture in Akihabara.”

With BABYMETAL being being one of Japan’s most popular rock groups, they were then asked if they were surprised with the trio’s worldwide success. Miku said, “I will work hard to beat BABYMETAL,” at which point she, Akane and Kanami raised their fists.

Amatsuki and BAND-MAID panel at MCM London DSC_0314 (2) Amatsuki and BAND-MAID at MCM London DSC_0329 (2)

When questioned on what was currently popular in Japan, Saiki said that the Enzyme supplement is really big in Japan. She added that she was taking them herself and they make her feel comfortable and at peace. The other members of BAND-MAID decided to chip in with what they like, with Akane citing ramen (which drew laughs), Misa choosing whiskey (which resulted in applause), and Kanami selecting coffee.

As the opportunity to ask questions opened up to the audience, BAND-MAID were asked if they ever expected to go to America and the UK when they first formed. “We have been aiming for this,” replied Miku. “We are looking forward to playing in front of the audience tomorrow.”

An attendee asked Amatsuki if he would come back to tour in the UK. “This is my first time to perform here,” he said. “If the audience responds to my music then I would love to come to tour again here.”

Following this, BAND-MAID were asked if they would consider coming back with a tour in the UK. “I would love to play over here again,” said Miku. “Also we will be bigger and bigger.”

An attendee then asked Amatsuki if he likes fish and chips! He responded with, “I would love to try it, really good fish and chips,”which resulted in a round of applause.

The final question came from an attendee wanting to know what they like to do to relax. Saiki said drinking bear. Amatsuki said after his performance he would love to fall asleep.

Amatsuki and BAND-MAID panel at MCM London DSC_0305 (2) Amatsuki and BAND-MAID panel at MCM London DSC_0308 (2)

When giving their final words to the audience, Amatsuki said, “This is my first time coming to the UK. This is my first time to meet you guys. Tomorrow I will perform in front of you guys and I would really like to sing for you. Thank you.”

“I’m really, really looking forward to playing in front of the audience here and also [hoping] to take over the world, because this is our purpose… to conquer the world,” said Miku. “Please come to our service. I’m really looking forward to meeting our masters and princesses in our service.”

Written by Shalimar Sahota

Photos by Aaron Gaffney

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