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【English ver.】BAND-MAIKO interview by BARKS : part2

I watched lots of maiko documentary videos
and referred to something like a Kyoto dialect dictionary

Tell us a little about creating arrangements of BAND-MAID's songs as BAND-MAIKO. 

Kanoemi: We usually focus on making our songs as simple as possible, but as BAND-MAIKO, we felt that we could do all of the things we can't do as BAND-MAID. We relied on the support of our usual engineer for programming the koto, the shakuhachi, and all sorts of traditional Japanese instruments. We asked our engineer about the kinds of sounds we wanted to include while working on the album, and not only did we learn a lot, we also improved our arrangement skills.

Was it difficult to change your original lyrics into Kyoto dialect phrases and add parts to the tracks that weren't there before? 

Hatoko: It was. Even for tracks other than "secret MAIKO lips", I've rewritten the lyrics into Kyoto dialect. The lyrics for BAND-MAID typically use strong words like "scream" and "feel it", but maiko don't use those kinds of words, and people like how they express things in a roundabout way. So I decided to write the lyrics so that the strength of our will comes across in gentle language. 

Like how instead of "ganbaru (stick to it)" you say "kibaru (carry on)", right? 

Hatoko: Yeah, they say stuff like "okibariyasu (carry on)". I studied the Kyoto dialect so hard to write these lyrics. Apparently, a lot of people come from far away to become maiko in Kyoto, and they develop a unique way of speaking. That's why I watched lots of maiko documentary videos and referred to something like a Kyoto dialect dictionary online. 

Was is difficult to sing in rhythm in the Kyoto dialect? 

Fujiki: That's right. At first, all I was sent was the lyrics, and I didn't really understand them (laughs). I didn't even know to correct intonations, so I was like, "Could you sing this for me?" to Hatoko. 
Hatoko: Before recording, I made a vocal recording and gave it to Fujiki as an example of how to sing. And whenever she asked me "What's this mean?" I'd give her an explanation. 

We noticed that you added lyrics to the intro of "ansan" ("anemone"). 

Hatoko: I debated about adding the lyrics until the last moment. They're quoted from "Man'yoshu", a collection of poetry that was really read in Kyoto. 

You can really enjoy the sound and the lyrics in a lot of ways, can't you? 

Kanoemi: The backup orchestra is basically the one we use for BAND-MAID, so I think it has an originality that comes from adding hard rock to traditional Japanese instruments. I hope people can enjoy comparing both versions. 

Were the other members surprised by the arrangements? 

Kanoemi: For every track, they said, "This is amazing!" and I was like, "I know, right?" (laughs). I sent each track with the message describing how I had tried to arrange it, and I'm so glad that the other members liked them. 
Akatuki: I think "Screaming" was especially interesting. I would never have imagined it being arranged in that way. 
Hatoko: Yeah, it's pretty fast-paced. It's like "Oh, so she used the sound of a taiko here." 
Fujiki: I didn't think she would overlay the guitar in the intro with a shamisen. 

It seems like your approach to "YOLOSIOSU" ("YOLO") was to bring to mind the image of a festival by adding children's voices and murmuring. 

Hatoko: That's right. We added a bit of clamor to give the atmosphere a new feel. There's also people calling out "hai!" on the track. 
Akatuki: That's the band doing that. 
That's right!  Other tracks have a very lively chorus too. 

Fujiki: Our band provides the chorus for BAND-MAIKO. 

Akatuki: I was glad we could all sing together. 
Fujiki: By the way, the male vocals were provided by the on-site manager (laughs). 

Kanoemi: For the part that Saiki sings on "Tora and Tora" ("One and only") in the BAND-MAID version, they suddenly told me "You're singing this part." 

Hatoko: We use a lot of ad libs in our BAND-MAID tracks, and we decided to add some elegant voices to give it a feeling suited to maiko. 

"Tora and Tora" sure is an interesting title, isn't it? (laughs) 

Hatoko: We got the name from "Tora-tora", one of the games performed by maiko. 
Fujiki: It's a kind of rock-paper-scissors. 
Hatoko: The part in the lyrics that goes "Watonai?  Tora?  Roba?" refers to that game. It's played at parties with maiko. 

So what about the part that goes "Konpira Fune-fune" and sounds like rapping? 

Hatoko: That's a maiko performance too. I quoted the lines "Konpira fune-fune/Hokakete/Shurashushu" directly from that song. 
Umemisa: (struck with admiration)

Wow, the deeper you dig, the more interesting BAND-MAIKO really is. 

Hatoko: I think people who are into maiko will enjoy it even more. 
Umemisa: Hatoko, you're amazing. 
Hatoko: (laughs) Thanks. And don't forget Kanoemi. 
Umemisa: Of course. Kanoemi's arrangement is amazing too. 

And we have to take note of how beautiful the five of you are as maiko. 

Fujiki: Our kimonos are even flashier than they were for April Fools in 2018, and our hairstyles have gone from basic to a little edgy (laughs). And this time, we're actually wearing okobo. 
Hatoko: Those are the sandals that make a chiming sound. 

Those are pretty high, right? 

Fujiki: Yeah, they're at least 10 cm. 
Umemisa: They're hard on the feet (laughs). 
Hatoko: They are wooden sandals, after all. 
Akatuki: But Umemisa is the best at making the clopping sound with them. 
Umemisa: (laugh) It's like tap dancing. 
Fujiki: She was doing it on the stairs, so she seriously got in trouble because she might fall down. (laughs) This time, the making of our music video is included in the complete production limited edition, so you'll get to see the tap dancing too. 

There's also a scene of Akatuki getting soba for takeout. 

Fujiki: Yeah, you can see her shouting "I got it!" in joy. This is our first ever making video. 
Hatoko: That's right. We have no making videos as BAND-MAID. 

It's a real chance to see your true natures bursting out. 

Hatoko: I agree. We're having lots of fun. 
Fujiki: I think we really look spent. Also, the complete production limited edition comes in a traditional Japanese-style pouch with an original design. 
Hatoko: Maiko have a sort of business card called a senjafuda, and the album also comes with senjafuda stickers with all of the members' names on them. 

You went all-out even on the packaging. 

Fujiki: It's quite deluxe. Get your hands on it before it sells out. 

To wrap up, please tell us something about your future activities as BAND-MAIKO. 

Fujiki: We officially started this as a project, so I'd like if we could do it every year. 

It's perfect for the cherry blossom season, isn't it? 

Hatoko: That's a good point. Maid outfits are certainly a part of Japanese culture, but maiko culture has been a part of Japan from ancient times, so we really want to spread both of them to the rest of the world. I think even if people get to know us through BAND-MAIKO, they'll come to learn about BAND-MAID too. And the reverse is probably true as well. 
Akatuki: We want to show the rest of the world the appeal of Japan. 

Do you have any plans to perform live as BAND-MAIKO?

All: We'd really like to. 
Kanoemi: Maybe if the kimonos were shorter. 
Hatoko: That would make them miniskirts (laugh). 
Kanoemi: It would be difficult for Akatuki to play the drums, so she'd have to wear a jinbei (laugh). 
Hatoko: Then she'd just be some person in white makeup (laughs). 

Interviewer/writer: Hiroko Yamamoto


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