We Interview Idols: Papermaiden Meets Koutei Camera Girl Drei

A few weeks ago, Steven Tanaka’s good tastes and altruistic hobbies graced Canada again in the form of Next Music From Tokyo volume 12. This edition’s lineup was a “best of” of sorts, having three bands from last year’s 10th edition, as well as newcomers Lucie, Too and Steven’s favourite idol act Koutei Camera. Koutei Camera Girl Drei (Twitter) was also part of the pan-Canadian tour for their debut this past October, and this time, we managed to interview the group and their manager.

Before leaping to the interview, I would like to thanks my dear translator and friend Hazuki S. for her interpretation and translation, as well as Jas, Ramy T Talata, Catch my Heart and Pacio to ‘npa for graciously taking the time to answer our questions.

Jas, as we start, I have a small question: I was wondering what are the current member colours of Kouteca?

Jas: There are no colours.

Well, that was fast (laughs). I guess I will have to update the fan wikis with that information. On that same topic, Ramy, you were initially announced as a member of Koutei Camera Drei under the name “Sharapova” but I have never seen you use it for your social medias (Twitter and Instagram), is there a certain reason for this?

Ramy T Talata: I don’t use it anymore

Jas: Actually, it was only at the beginning, when we didn’t reveal her face yet. “Sharapova” was a completely different person, who was later replaced by Ramy.

You’re an important part of the Kouteca history, both in the original group (briefly), the first spin off (Gal) and now in Drei and Gal concurrently. What is your take on the difference between “Girl” and “Gal”?

Ramy T Talata: I feel that the music is different even though both are rap music. It’s a little difficult to explain, they’re so different. I’ve changed between groups many times.

Catch my heart: Gal is more hip-hop, a music style that the crowd can get into with us. It’s not us trying to act like we’re cool, but we try to make it into something we can all enjoy and connect to together. Drei has more of a performance to show. Gal is mostly rap, but Drei has more singing in it.

Jas: Pacio joined because she loves music, Ramy and Catch joined because they love to sing. They didn’t know about rap. They listened to it for the first time after joining.

Why did you decide to join this particular group?

Ramy T Talata: I found out about it through a friend. Actually, she was invited by someone that used to be in the group but wasn’t really interested in the group’s style. When I told her that I wanted to become an idol, she brought me with her and introduced me to the company. My interest grew after hearing about the group.

Catch my heart: I’ve always loved singing, and always wanted to become an artist. My friend in Tokyo, who is also an idol, told me about the auditions, so I went for it.

This is your second time in Canada. What was different about your debut in Canada compared to the one in Japan?

Catch my heart: My very first live was in Canada. Everyone was so energetic and cheered along. I made some mistakes but it was really fun so I didn’t feel like it was a failure. In Canada, everyone has fun even if they don’t understand Japanese. When we went back to Japan, there are more people who understand, so the crowd can get really excited or really cold when they notice the mistakes. However, our debut was great in both counties.

Ramy T Talata: I never believe in my life that I would debut overseas, just the thought of leaving Japan never even crossed my mind. I wasn’t sure what to do. I wondered if I would be able to convey my feelings and messages in a completely different place. I was very anxious because I didn’t even know what kind of country Canada was. In Japan, many people already loved the first Kouteca. We were going to be a new group with new members, whose charms were very different from the original ones. I had to climb over that obstacle and the expectations. There was a lot of pressure. Many fans of the original group came to see us and were very happy. This pushed me to work even harder. I became more motivated.

What were you looking forward to do in Canada?

Catch my heart: With Pacio joining our group, our image became cooler. It’s our first time to show this image in Canada, and I was looking forward to how it would be received. On a personal side, I was excited to see the people I met last October again.

Ramy T Talata: Although we came back with the same group, this time we have a new member. I feel like the three of us are a great representation of Koutei Camera Girl Drei. I was really looking forward to show the new Drei, or rather the new lineup. There will be people who will see us for the first time, and those who have already seen us. It may be difficult to ask them to come see us in Japan, but I really want to be able to reach them, to have them know about us and be interested. Even if it’s just one person. I’m really excited to show everyone our performance.

The previous Kouteca was more colourful, whereas Drei has a polished and darker image. How would you describe, in a word, the concept of Kouteca?

Catch my heart: I think “cool” would be the right word.

Ramy t talata: I want us to be able to reach that “cool” image.

pacio to ‘npa, welcome to Kouteca! How do you feel about touring overseas for the first time?

pacio to ‘npa: How do I feel?! (hysterical laughing) Hm… How do I feel? I’ve really been looking forward to it.

Were you a fan of Kouteca before joining the group?

pacio to ‘npa: No, not at all!

Looking at your Instagram and Twitter, I noticed that you do a fair bit of modelling. Can you tell us about your work as a model?

Jas: She worked as a model when she wasn’t involved in any other activities. She wasn’t working as a professional model, and it isn’t something that she would be pursuing as a major job. She may model in the future if the offer arises, but her main job is concentrated on music.

What is different during lives in Canada and in Japan?

pacio to ‘npa: The people are different. They cheer and sing at different points and timing during the songs.

Jas: We don’t expect anyone in the crowd to follow any set rules, we don’t have any. We want everyone to enjoy their experience how they want to, to have fun, and to not trouble those around them.

Jas, I’d like to hear more about your process. How do you come up with your song titles?

Jas: There is no link with the lyrics and the title. I like it better that way. Having a love song titled “Love Song” is just too normal. I want people to feel the song, the title should just sound good to your ears. I believe that the title doesn’t necessarily need to have a specific meaning to it.

Would you like to perform in all the cities you have named songs after?

Jas: Not in particular. For Toronto, I wrote the lyrics at a shady Burger King around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. “Toronto Lot” rolled off the tongue better. I don’t even know if it makes proper sense. I wrote this because I wanted to be in Toronto for a longer time. My inspiration was everything that happened to me in Toronto, but it’s not written as actual events.

As a foreign fan, there is very little information available in English about Koutei Camera Actress. Can you tell us more about their concept?

Jas: Koutei Camera is the name of all idol units under the Tapesok Records Label. They do a sort of underground club music that started with rap. Actress is under another management, but I still produce for them. The girls that are more interested in acting are in Actress, and if they would like to make music, they would join Tapesok Records. While Kouteca Drei is club music, Gal is more hip-hop, but I kind of do whatever I want to with their music. Actress are the ones that are closest to the “idol” image, they do pop music.

Kerrie Interviews Idols: Kai (Screaming Sixties)

What a wild ride. I only just recovered from Maison Book Girl last month, and now I’m back from hanging out with three other idol acts with barely any time to relax in between each one. I feel like I’ve ascended to a new plane of existence. A huge thank you to everybody who made this happen, from the Orion and show staff to Maniac and you guys, the readers (a couple of whom I even met on Monday! Sorry if I seemed awkward!) you’re the best.

Before Maniac changed plans to honor the new Oshi, this interview with Screaming Sixties’s very own Kai was the first of the week. Sadly, her partner in crime, Montero, couldn’t make it to the UK due to some last-minute visa issues, so Kai came completely alone this time around. But at the show, she promised to come back and bring Montero with her! Be warned, England.

Despite being nervous at going it alone, nobody would have been able to tell from Kai’s dominant energy and confidence once she was on stage. It was as if Montero was still performing for us, we just couldn’t see her. Like her spirit had possessed Kai to create one super-powerful being to make up for her absence. What I’m trying to say, is that Kai rocked it, and did an amazing job despite the unexpected setbacks.

Continue reading

Kerrie Interviews Idols: Maison Book Girl

You know, it’s funny. The other day, I was looking at my old Maison Book Girl tweets. I was trying to find one specific tweet but I also found this, from almost two years ago:

Well, then. Imagine 2018 Kerrie telling naive “never attended an idol gig and probably never will” 2016 Kerrie that, not only did she get her UK tour, but she also got to have a chat with Maison Book Girl too!

It’s been two weeks since I attended the first leg of Maison Book Girl’s tour, at Birmingham’s Hare and Hounds. Hopefully, that was enough to process my feelings that wasn’t just “I would sell my soul for their smiles,” but really, it was such a wild ride. Arriving about four hours before showtime, I got to see the makings of an idol gig, somewhat. The soundchecks, the debates between the UK and Japanese staff, the occasional MBG popping in and out. As mundane as it probably would have seemed to a veteran, to me, it felt surreal and unforgettable. Up until now, I had only seen the public view of live shows.

I’m not too good at reviewing live shows, but I know that’s not really what you came for. Again, after witnessing the various test-runs beforehand, when I watched the final production come alive on stage, I was fascinated. Continue reading

A Very Homicidol Night with NECRONOMIDOL

This is all that I could muster after a night that confirmed everything that I’ve been doing about this whole idol business. In front of gods and man and maniacs, NECRONOMIDOL had not only taken the stage and wreaked absolute havoc, but had cut a very different jib in meeting with me, in person, and providing some great insights.

Oh, and Oshi put on the tiara that I gifted her, and all was well. Continue reading

Inside the Mind of NECRONOMIDOL – Interview with Richard Wilson — Straight From Japan

As soon as Terry mentioned it, I had a feeling that this direct connection with Ricky Wilson himself was going to be a good time. Ever wondered about the relationship between this bugfuck of a film, RHYMEBERRY and “DAWNSLAYER”? Read on!

With the recent release of NECRONOMIDOL’s new single “DAWNSLAYER” we decided it would be a good time to have a chat with Richard (Ricky) Wilson, the man behind the group. He was very gracious in providing us with some of his time and answering a wide variety of questions about both himself and NECRONOMIDOL.

via Inside the mind of NECRONOMIDOL – Interview with Richard Wilson — Straight From Japan

I Interview Idol (Managers): Daichi

I alluded to this one yesterday, team, and I’m still buzzing a little bit from getting a chance to have a real-deal conversation with the man behind Guso Drop, 2&, Hoshina Fumimi, Himegoto Zettaichi, ancillarily Screaming Sixties, formerly Poroporo Baroque, and so on. Folks have been dying to know the score ever since it was announced a few weeks ago that Guso Drop was going to disband, and, while Daichi has been pouring his heart out on Twitter, there have been oh so many questions.

Krv is the real hero here — because he’s friends with Daichi in addition to being a fan, he offered to hook up an interview, and then provided real-time translation over LINE, and at an ungodly hour for his timezone to boot. I have the patrons to thank, too, for providing a really good starting place in terms of questions and topics. I ultimately cut this about in half by combining thoughts and letting Daichi do some of the driving, but I hope that we were able to get to the gist of what you were curious about.

I was just hoping that I wasn’t going to offend anybody.

So! Have you ever wanted to get into the head of an idol manager? What about an idol manager who’s in the midst of ending his flagship project? Or an idol manager who’s always looked at himself as a musician first? Or even just a guy who’d say:

If he throws a dinner party with human flesh on the menu, I’d probably go along!

Read the whole thing! Continue reading

Here’s a Wonder Lander Interview … en français!

I’m clearly not the only person in the West who likes idols and also likes to write about idols and who also wishes more people would get into Wonder Lander — Passion Idol, from the francophonie, is right there with me. Yeah, it’s in French, but that’s way easier to read via machine translation than Japanese. Also, give Gru! a follow!

Taper ce titre me fait l’effet d’une consécration. Maintenant que c’est dit, passons au reste, au plus conventionnel : bonjour à tous, je suis très heureuse de vous retrouver pour un nouvel article ! Celui-ci, bien plus que les autres, est assez spécial puisqu’il s’agit d’une Interview, format jusqu’alors inconnu au bataillon. C’est un petit […]

via Interview : Wonder Lander — PASSION IDOL

Also, because I will start breaking arms if more of you all don’t get behind Wonder Lander, I’m going to force-feed you this awesome playlist:

They’re great, okay!

Here’s a (Tiny) Peek behind the DOTS Curtain

Hey gang! Brian over at Supreme Nothing may have an even deeper love for the enigmatic Dots than I do, and we got to chatting about this last week; the below is the result of his investigation into how this beautiful madness comes about. Remember to check out Brian’s other stuff, including playing ringleader for some of our more ambitious games, over on his site!

Shoegaze was the term coined for a sub-genre of postmodern bands, initially from the UK region, who played gorgeous, multi-layered rock with distorted guitars, obscured vocals and a dreamy quality that swept you up in emotions. The bands tended to let the music do the talking, so they often maintained a detached demeanor, rarely making eye contact with the audience. In other words, they gazed at their shoes as they played.

In the 90’s, bands like My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Ride and Slowdive enjoyed a rocketing burst of success worldwide. Some of the bands broke up, and others like MBV just sort of retreated away and were assumed by many to be done. In the last few years, all of these bands have been warmly welcomed back, some with new material and sold-out shows. Shoegaze is back once again in the West.

Meanwhile in Japan, it never really ended. This whole time there’s been a multitude of beloved shoegaze, dream pop and post-rock bands keeping that melancholy and dreamy torch lit. In fact, Japan has one of the best shoegaze scenes worldwide. Running parallel to this is an exploding scene of new independent pop idol groups who actively seek out experimentation with other styles in their quest to attract a piece of the wota pie. And that’s what brings us to our elusive subject at hand … Continue reading

We Interview Idols: NECRONOMIDOL

I’m sure by now you’ve all read Krv’s take on last week’s NECRONOMIDOL one-man in London, if not check it out here, because he put this experience into words far better than I ever could! But let’s just say; it was only a few months ago that I said that I’ll probably never attend an idol show for personal reasons (aka Japan is expensive), if you told March!Kerrie that in 4 months time she’d be having a quick chat with Necroma inside a tiny kitchen she’d say “did I get drunk and post bad self-insert fanfiction again?” But now I’ve had a few days to reflect on what the heck just happened, I can certainly say it’s real. I have audio files and photos to prove it. Continue reading

We Interview Idols: Yukueshirezutsurezure (Not Secured, Loose Ends)

I alluded to this in yesterday’s 100 Days of Tsurezure post; ol’ Maniac here ultimately had to cancel his plans to see Not Secured, Loosed Ends in Toronto, but Papermaiden had previously volunteered to provide translation help, and she did a great job with this. And it’s the first interview we’ve done! Pretty cool.

A few notes to get started: This interview has been edited for clarity. Most of the words are the members, transcribed from their sentences written live using PC translation. Most of the answers were kind of brainstormed by the members as a group, piecing up sentences. Unless otherwise specified, you can assume the answer is the group’s and not a particular member. Shidare, as the great leader she is, often guided the discussion and prompted members to see if they would like to add anything. Imamura-san, the founder of Codomomental, was also present and sometimes helped the girls answer questions about the essence and concept. Much of the interview was conducted textually. Imamurasan suggested to use Google Translate to facilitate the interview in case the Japanese-English language barrier got too dense*. For now, enjoy what might be the first official idol interview conducted in person through Google Translate.  Continue reading