JPOP Summit 2017 with BAND-MAID

The five-piece band from Japan may look cute in their maid outfits, but their aura completely changes when they play on stage. Contrary to their appearances, BAND-MAID captivates the crowd with their commanding stage presence and powerful hard rock music. Before their show, APA gets to know the band better as they share why they chose the path of hard rock and how they write their own music.

APA: I hear that everyone had quite the music background before forming BAND-MAID. Could you tell us about that?

Kanami: Before joining BAND-MAID, I was a solo singer-songwriter.

Saiki: I used to sing and dance with a band backing me.

Miku: When I was younger, I learned enka from my grandmother and that’s how I got into music. I worked at a maid cafe before which inspired me to create a band with a maid concept.

Akane: I previously was a support drummer and also played for Kanami. I often played at restaurants and gained a lot of experience there.

Misa: Before BAND-MAID, I was a bassist for five and a half years, playing UK rock.

Miku: To sum it up, none of us had any experience playing hard rock before forming BAND-MAID.

APA: Why is it that when you all came together that you decided to play hard rock?

Miku: At first when we were deciding what direction we wanted the band to go in, we thought cute clothes and cool music was what we wanted. But how do we do it? Then, it just came to us that maid-inspired outfits and hard rock was the way we wanted to go.

APA: How do you go about composing music?

Kanami: I handle most of the composition. For each song, I get a lot of inspiration from Saiki. We also received a lot of inspiration from other hard rock bands we listen to like Metallica.

Miku: I tend to write the lyrics and I also get a lot of input from Saiki. I get inspiration from books and movies, and well, any kind of media!

APA: Could you give us some details on how the band wrote your latest singles “Daydreaming” and “Choose Me”?

Miku: For “Daydreaming,” Saiki asked for the song to feel more painful and heartwrenching, so the lyrics came out that way. I originally wrote a lot of the lyrics in English and Saiki said there was too much and I had to lessen it. [laughs] And for “Choose Me,” we wanted to write a song that’s opposite from “Daydreaming.” So, we wrote it in the perspective of a strong and straightforward girl.

APA: Miku, I noticed that you have a very unique way of speaking. You’ve been adding -ppo to the end of nearly all your sentences. Is there a meaning to that?

Miku: My surname is Kobato and that means “small pigeon,” so like a small pigeon, I make little pigeon noises and add -ppo at the end of my sentences.

APA: If you’re a small pigeon, what do you think the other members would be if they were animals?

Miku: Well, Saiki would be a cat, a princess-like cat. Kanami would be a dog who likes Saiki the cat, following her around and looking for love. Misa would be… a lizard…? An iguana…? [laughs] Or maybe a snake? Akane would be a gorilla because she’s strong. She performs really strongly on stage and eats a lot. [laughs]

APA: We’ve prepared some questions to get to know each of you better, so please select a card each.

What is your favorite season and why?

Misa: I like fall because I can dress up in warm, fashionable clothes and walk around in them.

Name three of your favorite artists.

Akane: Maximum Hormone, Deep Purple, and Anisong.

Miku: Anisong is a genre, not a band!

Akane: Fine! Hmm… Ling Toshite Sigure!

What are your three must-have apps?

Miku: I must have… my navigation app! And Line, so I can talk to the members. Also, a music app so I can listen to my music!

What’s something you haven’t done before, but want to challenge?

Saiki: [silent for a few minutes] Skip!

In the group, I am the best at _____.

Kanami: I would say eating sweets! I love them so much.

Saiki: Can I pick a different question?

Miku: Has anyone ever done this before? [laughs]

What’s your favorite moment with the band?

Miku: If she says none, what should we do? [laughs]

Saiki: I’ll say that our first time performing overseas in Seattle was the most memorable!

Miku: I hope we get to perform in more countries we haven’t visited yet!

Mai Nguyen

Editor-in-Chief at Asia Pacific Arts.
Feel free to send me a note on Twitter to @hellomailee.

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