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Interview by UTATEN part3 (For International)


Getting closer to the "scenes" in their minds

──Your B-side, "Smile" seems to be quite different from "start over," even while it sticks to conventional pop beats. Could you tell us more about how it came to be? 

Miku Kobato: We were pretty frazzled when we were told that Bubble would be used as the theme song for the drama, so after we wrapped that one up we were like, "Shoot, what do we do about the B-side?" It was pretty stressful, po.

So we looked to our demo stockpile to see if anything screamed at us, "Yes! This complements Bubble perfectly!" But nothing really jumped out at us, po.

Saiki: Don't forget we were on kind of a deadline, too. (Laughs)
Miku Kobato: And even then, our schedule was incredibly tight. We were more or less at the point where we absolutely had to have it finished by the next week or else, po... 

──You weren't kidding about the breakneck thing. 
Miku Kobato: So even though we'd stuck to releasing our own music ever since "WORLD DOMINATION," we decided to try reaching out to our old music producer, Kentaro Akutsu, for help, po. 
Saiki: Because if anyone was going to help us with our music, we agreed that it had to be Akutsu-san. 

──Why was that? 

Saiki: Well, he'd watched us from the very beginning... 
Miku Kobato: And we knew we'd be in good hands with him, po. 
Saiki: He understands both sides of BAND-MAID: where we were in the past, and where we stand now. 
Miku Kobato: And we figured our Masters and Princesses wanted another taste of "Akutsu-Ken" too, po. 
Saiki: Many of the songs Akutsu-san made for us are still very popular with our Masters and Princesses, so we thought it was about time we gave them something new. 
Miku Kobato: We'd been writing songs on our own for a while by that point, so we thought we could use his new creation as a kind of study tool. In a way, he's like the ultimate teacher... 

──The ultimate teacher, huh. 

Miku Kobato: So, we asked Akutsu-san for his help, po. 
Saiki: The piece he gave us was incredible! We never would have been able to produce anything like it on our own. 
Miku Kobato: Its melody was so refreshing, po. 

──Listening through your 4th and 5th singles, I was struck by how the lyrics and overall compositions seemed to reflect a worldview contrary to BAND-MAID itself. It was like... You were coming back to Japan, I suppose. 

Miku Kobato: Those lyrics were the first we wrote for our Masters and Princes specifically since the band was formed, po. We'd never written anything like it before, but we figured we should write something closer to our roots; especially since Akutsu-san was coming back for us too, po. 

──So in a way, it's like a thank-you letter. 

Miku Kobato: Right, po. We wanted to express BAND-MAID's appreciation for our Masters and Princesses who support us and have always let us serve them, and let them know that we're always listening. That was our part of the process, po. It honestly made me feel bashful, po. 

──It sounds like you put an incredible amount of thought into it. 

Saiki: The song itself was made with the idea of, "These are the things we want to tell our Masters and Princesses." 

──Were there any lyrics in particular that say, "This is the message we wanted to send!" to you? 

Saiki: I think it's this: "I'll shine, taking you with me every time." And "Where shall I sing with you next?" That one, too.

I think those parts conjure up the image of BAND-MAID that each Master and Princess holds in their hearts.

Miku Kobato: We wrote the lyrics to evoke an image of us serving them, po. 


Reacting to the intense support from Taiwanese fans

──To close us off, please share your outlook for 2019 with us! 

Saiki: BAND-MAID's ultimate goal has always been "World Domination," so we hope to juggle expanding our foreign touring efforts with our current commitments in Japan. And of course, we also hope to perform in concerts both in Japan and abroad. 

──It seems like much of your effort has been concentrated in the United States and Europe this year; do you have any upcoming plans to tour Asia? 

Miku Kobato: We've actually been asked that during our services, po. 
Saiki: We've been asked many, many times, "Please, please, please! Come to Taiwan!" 
Miku Kobato: "How come you hardly ever tour Asia, huh!?" 
Saiki: "We want to see you in Taiwan!" You get the picture. 

──Your fans in Taiwan are especially passionate, aren't they? They even have Facebook groups dedicated to BAND-MAID. 

Saiki: We're incredibly thankful for their support. Lately our tours have been limited to places like Singapore and Malaysia, but we'd love to bring our tours a little closer to home, as long as we get the chance. 

── Kobato-san, how about you? 

Miku Kobato: 2018 was a pretty breakneck year for us all around, so... Good question, po. 
Saiki: 2019's the year of the boar, isn't it? Oh, geeze... 
Miku Kobato: If we go rushing in headlong like a boar, we might smash headlong into a wall, huh... So I say we maintain the changes and momentum that we gained in 2018,

and make 2019 the year where we showcase our growth while taking it one step at a time.

──Thank you for speaking with me today. Here's hoping that 2019 brings great things for the group! 

Photos: Rio Tsumugi




Original article (in Japanese):