We Interview Idols: Yanakoto Sotto Mute

This past weekend, our man Daemon hit up the East Meets West Music Fest; with Monsterpanda in tow as translator, he sat down with literally three of this site’s all-time favorite idols. Today, we have his report back from entering the holiest of holies with Yanakoto Sotto Mute, the perfect modern idols.

Talking to the people waiting for the doors to Anaheim’s Chain Reaction to open for East Meets West Fest, it became apparent that the one group over from Japan that people were least familiar with was Yanakoto Sotto Mute. Even though their debut, “Bubble”, was on several websites’ Album of the Year lists for 2017, and their follow-up Mirrors is a contender for the current year, Yanamute still seems fly under the radar for some Western fans of chika idol. One person in line behind me said he had intentionally avoided listening to them. “I don’t want to know anything about them,” he said, “I want to experience them raw for the first time.”

While a part of me envied him that imminent experience, I was also a little concerned. Yanakoto Sotto Mute can be a lot to take in all at once. Their music is complex: Rife with signature, tempo and key changes while their vocals play with harmony and dissonance. Their dancing is like a more contemplative version of Mikiko-sensei’s gesture-based choreography and can seem more focused on expressing internal dialogue than generating audience participation. But for all of the brooding introspection, Yanamute’s performances also contain frequent, audience-churning moments of fierce and inspired joy.

A few hours prior, we had been given the opportunity to speak to Yanamute’s Nadeshiko, Mani, Ichika and Rena about their impending debut American performance. As we were led in to meet them, the quartet were dressed in their signature white costumes, each cut to a distinct and individual pattern. Much like their music, they came across as both bright and introspective; contemplative and friendly. And just a little nervous. Continue reading

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We Interview Idols: 14th Generation Hanako-san of the Toilet

This past weekend, our man Daemon hit up the East Meets West Music Fest; with Monsterpanda in tow as translator, he sat down with literally three of this site’s all-time favorite idols. Today, we have his report back from crossing paths — and surviving — with Hanako-san.

On the morning of the opening day of the East Meets West Music Fest, we are directed to a rehearsal studio that sits among the warehouses of industrial Anaheim. Far from Disneyland but about a mile from Chain Reaction, site of festival itself, the studio’s walls are plastered with photos of The Dickies, Agent Orange, Voodoo Glow Skulls and other indie icons of Orange County. Over a door with a hand written sign that reads “Control Room” is a doodle signed by Derek Riggs, the artist who created Iron Maiden’s mascot “Eddie”. While the place doesn’t exactly feel haunted, we are led through the door next to the control room to conduct a face-to-face interview with a blood-drenched ghost visiting all the way from Japan.

14th Generation Hanako-san of the Toilet is a 404 year-old youkai (ghost) who haunts fourth-floor bathrooms and performs as a solo punk idol. As she explains in the intro to her shows by holding up sign boards to the audience: “My head has been cut off. I cannot speak. But I can sing.” And sing she does in a brittle, child-like voice, but more significantly, she screams. Of all the harsh vocalists in chika idol, Hanako-san is perhaps the most natural screamer. Her screams are primal and ferocious and seem to come out of her more effortlessly than clean vocals.

Upon introduction to Hanako-san, she comes across as schoolgirl-cute in her signature red and white complete with a shiny red randoseru (the iconic backpack for Japanese schoolchildren). She is as unfailingly polite as any Japanese idol would be and often bursts into sincere giggles. The only indication that we are in the presence of something more ominous are her bandaged neck, blood-red eye and eyepatch, and the bloodstains patterning her white shirt and socks.

Hanako-san’s visit to America is not only the first time that she has been outside of Japan, but the first time she has ever been on a plane. My first question to her is to see how she is adjusting. Continue reading

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Let Me Help You or a Friend Go See Necroma, Yanamyu and Hanako-san in the Godly Flesh

The East Meets West Music Fest! You know what it is — NECRONOMIDOL, Yanakoto Sotto Mute and Hanako-san, in Anaheim in a month’s time, joined by a mess of metal bands and not-from-Japan idols for a two-day celebration of the collision of western and Japanese music, culture, etc. Yep, it’s peak Homicidols Dot Com:

  • Mission statement
  • Idol besties
  • Favorite idol thing ever
  • Unofficial site mascot

And I’m not even going! Circumstances collided in a perfect storm of things that preclude ol’ Maniac’s participation, which sucks mightily, but guess what.

Seriously, guess. Continue reading

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