Interview with Global Icon BAND-MAID Part.1 – TOKION

BAND-MAID is a japanese band attracting many fans from all over the worldly concern, that plays hard rock ‘n’ roll while dressed as maids. The set is comprised of five members, starting from guitarist, lead singer and lyricist, Miku Kobato, guitarist and songwriter, KANAMI, drummer AKANE, bassist MISA, and another lead singer SAIKI. They are taking over the world with all their earth enlistment shows in the US, the UK, and Europe being sold out. recently, they are becoming even more recognized from their appearance in the Netflix original film, Kate, which came out this September .
In Part.1, we sat down with Kobato and SAIKI and talked under the theme, “ why is BAND-MAID so popular overseas ? ” We had them reflect back on their times since they started the band, and speak about how they became known oversea, their shows outside of Japan, and their sentiments embedded in their japanese lyrics .

――It’s been nine years since you started BAND-MAID. You’re still in the midst of your global invasion, but looking back from where you started, don’t you think you’ve come a long way and accomplish a lot already?

Miku Kobato ( from hereunder, Kobato ) : actually, BAND-MAID was about to end after two years of starting the band. But we were saved by our oversea hearing, and we were able to continue as we were getting effective responses from them. If our old selves saw us, I don ’ t think we would be like, “ it ’ s impressive you ’ ve come this far, ” but rather, they ’ five hundred be surprised like “ wow, you guys are doing this for nine years ! ? ”
SAIKI : We ’ ve never very told this narrative before [ laughs ] .
――I didn’t know about it! Was it the “Thrill” MV that made you to be recognized overseas?
Kobato : That ’ mho right. If we didn ’ t have that, the band was going to end .
SAIKI : But back then, we even didn ’ thymine know about it, and we were told erstwhile later, “ that was going to be your last release. ” And we all went, “ What ! ? ”
Kobato : One day, the steer of our agency told us so, and we were all surprised like, “ are you serious ! ? ”
SAIKI : then, we all sighed, “ aren ’ t we glad we made it further… ” [ laughs ]. then, we ’ re here all because of “ Thrill. ”
――You can never guess what’s going to happen. Thinking back, other than the novelty of the band’s visual presentation, what do you think fascinated the overseas audience?
Kobato : I think the deviation between our music and how we look is interesting to them. We got a draw of comments saying, “ are they truly playing those instruments ! ? ” People were shocked seeing us girls dressed in cute clothes rocking the instruments. I think people aren ’ t however use to it .

――So in that sense, without this winning strategy, you might have not been recognized, even if you still played good music.
Kobato : People oversea knew maids were a thing in japanese culture, so many people were already curious about us. I think the video was effective .
――I remember that’s how things worked in the 2010s.
SAIKI : We wouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be here, if we didn ’ thyroxine put out that video recording .
――Were there any other interesting things people from abroad said to you?
Kobato : Yes, things like, “ ‘ Thrill ’ has an american rock vibe. ” besides, each member has a unique character, and since I was using Rickenbacker, person said something like, “ they are the japanese Beatles ! ” [ laughs ]. ever since SHOW-YA, there weren ’ metric ton that many girls doing hard rock in Japan, so people were surprised when they saw us and said, “ can ’ thymine believe there ’ s a rock ring like this in Japan ! ”

Going worldwide was our goal from the start

――Before this interview, I re-read an interview I did with you five years ago for a different media, and it didn’t feel much different from now.
SAIKI : Oh wow [ laughs ] .
Kobato : so, you mean we haven ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate changed ?
――You were saying things like you wanted to go international or “one day we want to be able to write songs on our own,” because back then, you were commissioning other songwriters to write your songs. So, what I meant was that you always had a clear vision of yourselves.  
Kobato : We had never imagined we ’ five hundred be this far, but we ’ ve been saying that we want to go ball-shaped and had a big finish since the begin .
SAIKI : other than the big goals, we talked about smaller goals as well, and we found out that all five of us unanimously wanted to do the same type of music, so that made us slowly to move fore. You see, with bands, if there ’ s one penis that ’ s off, that equitable messes up the entire band [ laughs ]. But with BAND-MAID, that has never been the case .
Kobato : That ’ mho true .
SAIKI : It may be eldritch to say this ourselves, but we ’ re all quite serious that people tell us, “ You guys need to have more playfulness ! ” We ’ rhenium determined and have a set of pride in what we do, and I think that ’ s what ’ s good about us .

――Jrock Rock, that introduced the “Thrill” MV to the world, was the reason you decided to pursue hard rock, right?  
Kobato : That ’ sulfur correctly !
SAIKI : We were therefore surprise [ laughs ] .
Kobato : I know ! All of the sudden, we had therefore many followers from afield on our socials, and we were saying, “ is our explanation hacked ! ? ” But KANAMI beginning found out that it ’ mho because of Jrock Radio [ playing the “ Thrill ” MV on their testify ] .
SAIKI : Yes .
Kobato : then we were relieved like, “ so gladiolus, our report wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate hacked. ” It was that random .
――So they played your music without giving you a heads up.
SAIKI : apparently, they did write us an e-mail, but it was in English and our director at that time thought it was a “ bad ” e-mail, so he just ignored it .
Kobato : At that clock, we weren ’ thyroxine doing anything to approach the external grocery store, so we weren ’ triiodothyronine expecting to receive any e-mail from abroad .
SAIKI : I wonder how they found out about us. I think I asked before, but I forgot [ laughs ] .
Kobato : Me besides .

The first overseas concert was in Mexico

――And that opportunity led you to perform outside of Japan, but at that time, you didn’t know much about how to perform on international stages. How did you deal with it?
SAIKI : In the begin, it was a lot of work buy supplies for our international shows. We had no clue what we were able to buy overseas or what we had to bring from Japan .
Kobato : But thankfully, our beginning Okyu-ji ( show ) abroad was at a boastfully consequence ( Sakura-Con that was held in Seattle, Washington, in March 2016 ) and they had prepared most of the thrust we needed on site, so that made it easy for us. There were hush couple things we subsequently thought we needed, but we made note of that for following time .
SAIKI : Though, we still need to work on our heavy baggage !
Kobato : We constantly take up indeed much time at the airport .
SAIKI : In the beginning, we used to take about six hours to check-in at the airport .
――What!? Is that when you had to fly for your first Okyu-ji in 2016?
Kobato : That ’ sulfur right field. It was the toughest when we had to fly for our picture in Mexico. I was like, “ gears can go in here…but expect, then my clothes won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate fit in the bag ! ” Back then, my bag wasn ’ triiodothyronine that bad, so packing was crazy for me. I had to bring in a huge carryon bag .
――By the way, it’s amazing how your first-ever overseas solo Okyu-ji was in Mexico.
Kobato : When we were abruptly told, “ you guys are playing in Mexico, ” our reaction was like, “ what ! ? Mexico ! ? ” Back then, we had more fans in Mexico than in the US .
After the Jrock radio thing, we increasingly got messages from people in Mexico, and a promoter in Mexico liked us a bunch and told us, “ Since you have so many fans in Mexico, we ’ vitamin d love for you to come to Mexico ! ” But we had never imagined that Mexico would be our inaugural nation, and we were told that it was going to be a thousand capacity venue. At that clock, we hadn ’ metric ton done shows that big even in Japan. so, we were like, “ what if they [ our masters and princesses ] were just up in the front course ? ” But the actual show was packed, and we were so incredibly surprise !
SAIKI : We felt welcomed, and they were all raving, so we were able to have a great time .
Kobato : They were raving over all our songs .
SAIKI : The herd was different from the crowd in Japan, sol in a good way, we felt a remainder from our shows in Japan .
――Usually, artists gain confidence from performing in Japan, and then they’d be like, “alright, let’s go overseas!” But in BAND-MAID’s case, it’s the opposite—you came back gaining confidence from performing outside of Japan [laughs].
SAIKI : Because of our experiences abroad, we became strong-hearted, indeed even if trouble occurs during our go in Japan, we ’ d be like, “ it ’ second nothing compared to what we ’ ve been through before. ” We ’ re like, “ at least we can rehearse ! We ’ ra grateful ! ” [ laughs ] .
Kobato : We ’ re besides more appreciative of things like, “ thank god, we can communicate in japanese ! ”
SAIKI : The rehearsal before our oversea go was like, “ very well ! We ’ re gon na do this ! ” [ laughs ] .
Kobato : For oversea shows, we had a unlike motivation. We prepared without expecting to have rehearsals on site. We ’ ve experienced way besides many troubles outside of Japan .
SAIKI : But our world enlistment in 2019 was great .
Kobato : That was amazing !
SAIKI : That was our first successful tour, although there were many small troubles, like our adenosine monophosphate was burning .
Kobato : Oh yeah, our adenosine monophosphate burned. I smelled something burn, and it was the ampere .
SAIKI : That was in Dallas, US. But that ’ s about it .
――An amp burning is no big deal to you.
Kobato : After all, it became not much a big distribute for us !

Writing songs thinking of overseas and being particular with the Japanese lyrics

――Since you started touring overseas, do you think about overseas audience when writing songs?
Kobato : We do ! Audience outside of Japan do a lot of call-and-response, so we decided to have more singalong songs, and with lyrics, we try to have more parts that are easier to sing evening for people who don ’ triiodothyronine talk japanese .
――But, you decided to keep singing in Japanese. Kobato : That ’ sulfur right. In fact, many people abroad tell us that they like the songs in japanese. There are a draw of people studying japanese from our lyrics and asking us what the kanji used in our lyrics mean, so we were like, “ let ’ s cherish the lyric, and keep writing in japanese. ”
――In the past, people tended to think that they had to make the lyrics in English in order to go worldwide.
Kobato : We never cared from the beginning, and always wrote lyrics in japanese .
SAIKI : Since we ’ re japanese, it ’ south easier to express the nuances and close to what we truly want to convey in japanese. People can interpret the lyrics however they want, but we don ’ thymine want them to take the lyrics in the way we don ’ metric ton mean, so in order to avert that gamble, we choose to write in japanese .

――It’s also easier to put out your emotions in Japanese.
SAIK : I agree. Hearing us live, people can feel the depth of the language through things like intonation. so, we will sing in English for the parts we want to express in English, and in japanese for the parts we want to express in japanese. besides, by doing so, we wanted to boost the floor our exemption of expression .
――So, the parts in English are deliberately in English.
Kobato : That ’ second good. We decide like, “ this part should be in English. ”
SAIKI : There are unlike intonations in both English and japanese. When we listen to a melody that KANAMI brings, the song is going to sound good if it ’ randomness made based on whether we think the song has an english vibration or a japanese vibration. BAND-MAID songs are so calorie-consuming in general, with many words and notes, so we try to write lyrics that are easy for people to listen.

A hard rock ring from Japan formed in 2013. Consisted of five members : Miku Kobato ( guitar/lead singer ), SAIKI ( run singer ), KANAMI ( guitar ), AKANE ( drums ), and MISA ( base ). With their heavy rock phone, opposed to their appearance as maids, they are gaining fans and garnering media care from all around the world, and have reached over 100-million total YouTube views. In 2019, they announced tour partnership with the worldly concern ’ randomness largest event promoter, Live Nation, and released the album, Conqueror, produced by the legendary rock producer, Tony Visconti. In January 2021, they released their 4th album, Unseen World, and made an appearance in the Netflix original film, Kate, that came out in September. On September 6th, they released “ Sense ( television Size Ver. ) ” —an open root sung for the television receiver anime serial, Platinum End—on streaming platforms ; a four hundred individual of “ Sense ” is coming out on October 27th.

BAND-MAID「Sense television Size Ver.」: hypertext transfer protocol : // hypertext transfer protocol : //
Twitter: @ bandmaid
Facebook: @BAND-MAID
YouTube: hypertext transfer protocol : //
Photography Akihito Igarashi(SIGNO)
Translation Ai Kaneda

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