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.

The venue and audience were small, most likely because everyone decided to go to the London show (support your local idols!), but as soon as the introduction to “bath room” began to play, it felt like a full house, everyone crowding in on the stage to catch a glimpse of our favourite Ikeacore aesthetic girls. Maison Book Girl’s performance was everything you would expect if you had heard their music beforehand; graceful, cool and just a little bit dramatic. Any cold impressions they may have initially expressed, however, quickly faded once it came to MC time, as the girls giggled on stage while trying their best to speak to the audience in English.

The overall show was pretty short, just an hour long, and it was clear that the audience wanted more, judging from their groans when it was announced that their performance of their UK debut single, “Karma”, would be the last song for tonight. Of course, it wasn’t completely the end, as shortly after wrapping up, everyone came back out for cheki time. I’m not sharing my cheki because, frankly, I look like Shrek, but if I hadn’t already known this from interviewing them beforehand, I would have found out then and there that Maison Book Girl are some of the sweetest girls you will ever meet. It’s no wonder Megumi is Pour Lui’s favourite YouTube co-star; if I was given the chance to goof off with an actual saint, I’d take it, too. Seriously, if you go to one of their shows, buy a cheki. You will feel like a million dollars afterwards.

And on that note, let’s get to the part you were all waiting for, the interview!

First things first, a great big stonking shout-out to our volunteer translator/superwoman, Saki, who was pretty much a lifesaver the entire afternoon, before, during and after the interview. I can’t thank her enough!

You recently announced your new Single, “elude”, to be released next month. Could you please describe it? How does it compare to previous material?

Wada Rin: The new single includes three songs, and the first one is similar to most of the previous MBG songs that use irregular meters. The first track, “Raincoat and a bird without its neck” also uses irregular meters, so at first, it may be hard to understand. I think MBG’s style is well-reflected in the first track.

Koshoji Megumi: The costume of this song has houndstooth check on it (which is called “thousand birds pattern” in Japanese), as “Bird” in the title. Also, “elude” will be out June 23rd, so it has a sense of the rainy season, like “Raincoat” in the first track’s title and the sound of rain in the second track.

Inoue Yui: In contrast to the first track, the second track, “Okaerisayonara”, is not complicated but rather simple for MBG songs. I think its a bit different from the other ones. The third track is a poetry reading. The lyrics are by Megumi as same as previous singles.

Your previous single, “cotoeri“, was written by an AI. Does it feel different to sing a computer-generated song compared to songs written by humans?

Megumi: I can’t get the meaning of the lyrics, but its quite normal for Sakurai-san (Sakurai Kenta, MBG’s producer), so I didn’t notice it was written by an AI during the recording, actually. I wasn’t really surprised to know that.

Rin: I always try to interpret abstract lyrics by Sakurai-san in my own way, so I did that for this time as well.

Yui: Our songs don’t always have straightforward stories in the lyrics, so I didn’t feel that different from other songs.

How does the creation of “cotoeri” play into the image of Maison Book Girl?

Rin: Many of our lyrics are looking back on the past. I think, randomly creating new lyrics from them is also connected to the past, in a sense of pulling out the past memories.

Megumi: Originally, “cotoeri”‘s concept was to connect to the past and the present.

Yagawa Aoi: The tentative theme of this song was “now and future”.

Megumi: The chorus part was written by Sakurai-san, and the rest was by AI. The song is focused on the interesting connection between the present (chorus) and the past (the rest of the lyrics). I think it is expressed well in this song.

Maison Book Girl is a particular niche in idol, as the performance is really stoic despite warm interaction with the fans during cheki time. How do you handle this discrepancy / what are your feelings about it?

Aoi: For me, I’m acting more natural when I’m with fans rather than on stage. For the performance, there’s the MBG world our producer wants to make, so I feel like we enter that world and adjust ourselves.

Yui: I don’t really know which is more natural for me. (Laughter)

Megumi: Really? Don’t you?

Rin: I’m not that active type, and I’m not good at talking with others, so I’m putting up myself more when interacting. (Laughter)

And finally, if you had to describe Maison Book Girl with one word, what word would you use?

That’s a hard question. Well … chaos, or bug? Like when the computer goes wrong? Or error? Maybe chaos, we think.

Big thanks to Kerrie for going out of her way to be in the presence of MBG, and big thanks to MBG for agreeing to chat with Especially big thanks to Saki for the translation!

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